'MERICA!



I’ve never been a daily blogger. I could blame it on laziness, lack of creativity and motivation, or a laundry list of other things so take your pick. However on today’s ride I decided that this week-long training camp in sunny California (…umm, it’s pouring rain right now) would be the perfect time to start daily disquisitions! And while I don’t think I’ll ever get caught by the daily blogging bug, this light-bulb-over-the-head moment hit me when I thought of this week’s blogging theme:

ONLY IN AMERICA

My patriotism is unrivaled as evidenced by this massive American flag that is so enormous, it doesn’t even fit in the limits of this blog. Yes, it’s that big.

As the sole USA-American representative for the Cervėlo TestTeam, I am surrounded by some pretty awesome cyclists and staff from all across the globe. At this year’s Tour of California, for example, between cyclists and staff we have a quintet of Spaniards, a Belgian, one Dutch Man, a Canadian, one Kiwi, a Norweigan, one Australian, one Italian, and German… and me.

While some of these guys have been to the States before, this marks the first trip to the USofA for others. Look, there’s no denying it – America is one big freakin’ superlative! It’s the biggest, baddest, best, worst, loudest in your face country this planet has ever seen. The result is that I see reactions from my teammates to all things American ranging from knee-slappingly hilarious to utterly baffled.

And so without further ado, I present unto you today’s ONLY IN AMERICA:

The Lumberjack World Championships!

This particular ONLY IN AMERICA struck my fancy while flipping through the massive TV in our hotel room. The testosterone in me sensed something was particularly awesome when I saw wood chips flying through the air and razor sharp steel swinging dangerously close to the handler’s toes. My favorite line in this lumberjacking documentary was from one particular logger named, and I kid you not, Bobby Dwayne. He chuckled, “It’s no surprise that at least one competitor has been nicknamed Stumpy.”

I should point out that the Lumberjack World Championships have a particularly fond place in my heart for two absurdly random reasons. One, I played on an intermural hockey team in college that was comprised entirely of ex-high school-hockey-all-stars-but-not-quite-good-enough-for-Middlebury-College-hockey, that bore the name “Team Rick Halvorson.” Why Team Rick Halvorson? I have no idea whatsoever, but Rick Halvorson is worthy of a quick trip over to THIS site (pay close attention to his hat. He’s such a fan of our IM hockey team that he made up some swag to support us!). What was really icing on the cake for T.R.H. was that when I had the t-shirts… err… jerseys made, the company I employed just happened to have an icon of an axe-wielding lumberjack on hockey skates! That all having been said, Rick Halvorson is unquestionably the man.

Reason two is that I went to college with not one, not two, but three champion caliber log rollers whilest at Middlebury. They were so good, in fact, that they had a special training log shipped from home in Wisconsin to Vermont and dumped into the school pool! If you go to THIS site and scroll down to the fourth competitor, you’ll see my classmate Elizabeth (or Liz as she’s called). What they somehow omited in her bio is that she’s incredibly good looking. A champion log roller who is startlingly good looking. I’m nearly speechless… but not quite so I will continue.

I digress…  ONLY IN AMERICA will you find a college dedicated to the practice of chopping wood at an extremely rapid rate as well as throwing axes at a bulls eye from a distance of 20 feet. Both of these “areas of study” can be found at Paul Smith’s College. I know this because the aforementioned documentary interviewed “students” and “professors” who “study” this Neanderthalic art. And please don’t be offended when I use that term, Neanderthalic, because the fellow on TV  explained how throwing axes is a direct segue from how our Stone Aged ancestors hunted with their homemade axes.

I will boastfully conclude by saying that I am so proud of this particular blog posting that I might break the rule of daily blogging and leave it up for two days. Well pride is one part, and the fact that I’ve stared at my computer typing this lengthy dissertation for a foolishly long time makes it worthy of two days. We’ll see where my motivation is tomorrow after a six hour ride.



Comments

  1. Bob T.

    OK… who’s going to be the first to quote the “Lumberjack Song”?

    I’m not entirely sure why, but the very concept of a “training log” cracks me right on up!

    Only in America, indeed.

    Reply
  2. ryan

    my dad went to paul smith college and he used to be a logger, he’s an arborist now but when i was little he took me to lumber jack competitions and let me drove skidders and stuff like that. It is AMERICAN.

    Reply
  3. ryank

    I frequently have ONLY IN AMERICA moments while ordering three baconators at a Wendy’s drive through.

    Reply
  4. josh a

    I was at Wagon Hill last winter and saw an American Bald Eagle kill a seagull (american sea eagle if you like)…IN MID AIR. America, F*&$ YEAH!

    Reply
  5. Chris

    Oh i’m a lumberjack and i’m ok, I sleep all night and I ride all day.

    Hey Ted are you going to stop by the cervelo dealer meeting on monday?

    Reply
    • iamtedking

      Hey Chris,

      We have camp running through next Thursday with guys subbing in and out to go to various prearranged meetings. Mine is up in Santa Rosa/SF area on Thursday, so no I won’t be at the one Monday… at least I don’t think so.

      Reply
  6. Huck

    Dude,
    Funny thing, Australia also run woodchop competitions, and they run a carnival in conjunction with our famous Christmas Carnival Track racing, running woodchops between cycling events. I don’t reckon that is the world championships, because an Aussie is the world champ (from memory)! Here’s the craziest thing of all; the axemen wear soft shoes in order to save the axe head from being damaged in the case of an accident! Seriously! You wouldn’t want to damage an axe head on a steel capped boot now would you?!

    Reply
  7. iamtedking

    Tommy!
    Yes that took a while for me to decide this particular ONLY IN AMERICA and I had a short moral battle whether it is actually ONLY in America if other countries take part. However, I decided to keep it when I saw Thor’s reaction to this documentary being on TV. He got a total kick out of the fact that American TV shows document stuff like this. Plus the fact that the actual World Championships take place every year in Wisconsin made for the clincher for my ONLY IN AMERICA.

    Reply
  8. dave benz

    Ted,
    From Roswell, GA and my new residence in Seattle, wishing you all the best this year mate!
    How could you abandon Asheville so quickly, for L.A. : )
    I read the invite to Giro, NICE!
    My old ski team coach at Middlebury Bobo Sheehan would wish you luck by stating “break a leg”. Must be an American thing!

    Sincere Personal Regards,
    From,
    Keallys Dad… a.k.a Oldie Dave to Tommy!

    Reply
  9. dave benz

    Ted,

    If you come to Seattle, we have no dunkin donuts, they all closed, BUT we do have Krispy Kreme (not the same per Huck who prefers Dunkin), and coffee is only 5 cents when you buy a donut, in the p.m. What we do have is GREAT smoked salmon!
    Keally’s Dad, a.k.a. Oldie Dave

    Reply
  10. Fritz T.

    Hey Ted,
    Didn’t get a chance to say goodbye and wish you luck at ToC. Sorry about our weather and our local sheriff yesterday.
    I can’t thank you guys enough for your hospitality and patience over the weekend. The team treated us so well, we’ll be bragging to our friends for years!
    Hope to see you in Sacramento and Davis. Thanks again and all the best.

    Fritz (old guy, white beard)

    Reply

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