Friday, February 27, 2009

Talk about hilarious!

The Ignorant Motorist!

Two post's in a week! Don't get used to it, I just happen to be home with the flu and this blog is keeping me busy. Below is a letter to the editor that my buddy John wrote regarding an incident with an ignorant driver. People think it's funny to "brush" a cyclist or beep for kicks while they're riding. Sometimes they will throw things out the window! What the knucklehead doesn't realize is that when it startles the rider they can easily get sucked under the car, the rest is history. I experience someone yelling at me to get off the road twice a week, its sad, real sad. Thankfully the State of Massachusetts along with many others made this kind of behavior a felony because too many cyclist have been severely injured or killed.

Some parts of the law state that cyclists are allowed to ride two abreast on major roads. In addition automobiles have to provide a minimum of 3 feet between them and the cyclist and are only allowed to pass when it is safe. So when someone thinks its funny with their buddy's to see how close they can get and god forbid they clip them, it's now a felony! Local law enforcement is being sent to bicycle awareness classes as we speak. Thank god , anytime I've been swerved at and a police officer happens to be in the area, I won't get the usual ,"what do you want me to do."

Read the story below:

Share the road, not your Slurpee
To the editor:
As I was rolling into Newburyport down Water Street Sunday afternoon with my girlfriend freshly soaked off the PI Turnpike, it struck me! No, not my ambition to compete in this year's Tour de France, but a king-size Slurpee cup, courtesy of a big blue SUV with Mass. plates! That's right, it hit me like a clap of lightning at point-blank range via the smoking teenage copilot in the SUV. He hung out the window like a chimpanzee and clocked me, apparently just for his amusement.More stunned than hurt, thanks to my helmet, I rode alongside the vehicle for a good half mile. Considering that I was traveling the same speed as the flow of traffic, it was not difficult to stay with the offenders and plead for them to pull over. However, they chose to keep on truckin', apparently having no real bone to pick with me, and ignore my request to reason and share the road. With all of my adrenaline pumping, I failed to even get the litterbug's license plate number. I could only hope that someone in the line of traffic behind me who witnessed my plight — and perhaps had an inkling of the rules of the road — would report the incident. Unfortunately, no officer of the law or a Good Samaritan was in sight!

As we cyclists prepare for another busy spring, summer and fall on the roads, let this be a warning to you that to some drivers, we are mere asteroids in the field on their quest to grab another Slurpee for fire!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 2009

This is the start of what will be an interesting season of blogging. At first I had some reservations about blogging and had concerns on how it was perceived. I'm doing the blog for a couple of different reasons. First is for my friends and family as I attempt another season of professional mountain bike racing while trying to be a new dad and husband. Second is for my sponsor Cannondale Bicycle Corp. Some of you may know that after 15 years of racing and having been out of the sponsorship loop for a while, I have signed a contract to ride off road again for Cannondale. A lot of people went to bat for me including Tim J, Greg Orivitz, Matty J, Johs H, and some others in the industry. I'm grateful for another opportunity to ride with such a great bike company for 2009. So far, even though i am getting up there in age, I still feel my professional license is worth renewing for another year. I started mountain bike racing in 1994 with CCB/Racing and ironically have come full circle with this squad in the past 5 years or so. The main reason I went back was because of a good friend and mentor Steve Pucci, who has given me the go to try and do the Mtn bike thing again although he secretly cant stand it. CCB is an elite road team out of the Northeast that launched many cycling careers like Tim Johnson and Tyler Hamilton. Being an exclusive road program some have their opinions of off-road, I don't care. Speaking of which, quite a few people were hesitant about my fast ascent off-road and warned me of signing my first contract in 1997 with the Nautilus Barracuda Mountain Bike Team. Sometimes I wished I had listened but that's all part of the experience. The growth as an individual, maturity (some would argue this one), and patience I have learned through my cycling experiences are second to none. After Nautilus I tried the road for a while which allowed me opportunities to race in Europe and all over the country in a slew of different races. The transition from mountain bike racing to a low level pro road team with no direction was tough. As I've matured in this sport I see a lot of people making the same mistakes I made when I was trying to "make it". Cycling can be so humbling yet very rewarding at the same time. It is a true test of mental and physical endurance and without patience and foresight you can't survive. Hopefully as the season goes on I will be able to relay all the tales of bike racing that make it such a beautiful yet painful experience all in one.

By the way the Blog title has a long story behind it that I will try to keep short and comprehensible. Those of you who knew my dad understood how he could take a story and translate it to real life, literally. The Endurance is a true story about a ship and its crew that made it through some of the harshest conditions ever endured by both vessel and humans. My dad gave me the book and proceeded to name himself, me, and my uncles after characters in the story. Funny, classic him. Very simply it reminds me of some parts of a race or training when you think you cant go any further but somehow your mind and body continue. Something to be said for that........

Ciao for now.

Matty O.