The Pettitfiles

The most excellent miss adventues of Jonny P~The life and times

So for all of you who find my literature somewhat illiterate, this time around I won’t use Microsoft to correct some of my errors and instead I’ll fascinate you with my own language, how it forms in my head then comes to fruition in the lines you read, most of the time not fast enough to contain all the important matter, so that then your left with only what you read.

There have been so many things happen since the barn burner. My leg injury was worse than I thought and required more time than I imagined. The result was beyond frustrating, the final blow came in the last 4 miles where I flatted and lost a top ten placing. But I finished in 13th my lucky number not to mention birthday, and the winner wore plate number 77 the year I was born so in some cosmic universe all was right, and everything that was suppose to happen had.

Back to the Tukee, and settled in nicely at the job. Yours truly has even begun dating, yes I said dating aloud to whomever reads these things. Since my rebirth in the desert I held one sorta relationship and of course had the obligatory one night stands and the good ole f buddies. Every time I attempted to get close to someone our skeletons of past would have a death match and I would be long gone thinking of love over whiskey and empty pounders of beer talking to those in the same throughs as me, not really wanting to be where we where, but there we where. I’m not sure where to start on this story, there isn’t a grand depart, race or adventure, all though everything and day is a new chance to explore, and of course I usually like to hang in the shaded, seedier areas of life. The transparency of fakes, phonies, douche bags and trust funds wear thin on rough skin and sometimes my hide would like to knock the shit out of their coiffed hair and 100 dollar trousers.

I have many ideas and words I jot down in a day, crumpled pockets of paper that fit together like a Rockwell puzzle to a story or rhyme, but at days end they’re incoherent to even me. Lyrically they make sense and sometimes writing feels like a chore, mostly not, but it’s hard for me to find a beginning or end. I hate endings, death especially is by far the worst. I have a problem with death, the final period in a person’s life isn’t written by them, yet about them in some Sunday paper and somewhere somebody will say “Well I’ll be damned, he died.” Endings suck, I think of all the wrongs I want righted before I go, to prove those who I’ve burnt and doubted me and somehow someway leave a mark hopefully more positive than negative at my own end. But I’m just mature enough to know that you can’t please everyone, those that matter the most have to know, and the simple occurring things in life are what you must notice to stay sane in the madness, the best things are still free.

On the bike side, I’m back to trying to log some miles, I even raced a marathon and some cross races. I truly miss the idea of it back home, perhaps for more nostalgic purposes than anything. The cool air, and fat burnt orange of maple leafs on the frost covered ground. The sight of the Snohomish river and the sound, my Cascade mountains covered in snow and the look of everyone happily bundled up, a red tipped nose running with snot, icy cold hands holding beers, damn I’m homesick. My dad and I are two different people, but he made me promises and I met them and in return I got nicer bikes and chances to travel.

I don’t think I had too rough of a childhood, I definitley had some circumstances most didn’t, but I grew up on ten acres in beautiful country, close to lakes and streams and I always had a stinky dog by my side, even then being alone I found comfort. I use to unload 53’ trailers at the family biz, then from Thursday to Saturday night I would wash dishes at a restaurant in the next town over. I got off at around 11:30 to midnight and he would pick me up and let me drive home after some root beer, warm buns and salad I would get for him from the kitchen. It was a good job and Dave and me the other dishwasher had fun with the drunks in the bar and made some extra money off of them, if I knew then what I know now, then there is no way I would’ve graduated high school a virgin.

He worked six days a week and for the first time since he came into my life when I was about 3, we finally connected on something. He had a son of his own and my mom had me and together they had my sister, nowadays it’s the typical family tree. But his temper was short and my mouth ran long, even after a solid beaten I was still crying and rambling on, stupid hard-headed kid. I was happy to drive home and just talk to him about anything, that 20-30 minute drive was our time, and ours alone. Cross season is huge in my home state and I loved it. We where poor and clueless, we built up a sears and roebuck steel bike, painted it and found some cotter pin cranks, single wall 40 dollar wheels, flat bars, a bmx plastic seat, and I pedaled that fucker in the snow and mud with the purest, largest smile on my face you can imagine. Sunday mornings I’d be up before the winter sun, I started by brewing his coffee, packing the little Toyota truck with all my stuff and repeatedly knocking on my parents door every 5 minutes. Like a tired good father he’d shake himself awake on his only day off, get in the passenger seat and listen to me talk a hundred miles an hour about all these guys I’m meeting and new bikes, I think he was happy I wasn’t in to girls like my brother was, but maybe at the same time a little curious.

Some of the races where way south and north, so a good hour and longer to get there. The races where an hour plus a lap and still the biggest thrill to this day was seeing him light up on every lap telling me splits of who’s in front of me and those behind me, I wasn’t racing for me, I was pinning it for him. His efforts to get me there, and I suppose my graciousness for his time, I‘ve always liked suffering for others, yet again I‘ve always liked suffering. I get restless when everything goes too right all the time. After the mud soaked race we’d clean up and meet the other guys, then drive back home stopping to have lunch together, just the two of us, I’m not sure even to this day if he knows how much that meant me. We’d talk about the race, the course, the guys who beat me and those we where getting to know. Back home he’d plant himself on the couch and I would unload and clean the truck getting ready for the next series of adventures.

I remember drooling over a diamond back titanium bike in a shop in Lynwood, it was 2200 hundred bucks and it came without pedals or a suspension fork, all decked out in XTR. He said to me, you save for half I’ll get the other half. Now, washing dishes paid a whole 4.25 an hour and I worked I think maybe 16-20 hours a week, so you could imagine how long it took me. I had a passport account at Seafirst bank in Snohomish that kept track of my money, one day after school I deposited my check and the lady wrote the number 1, 287 dollars, I lit up like a Christmas tree and ran all the way to Steubers, where most my family works. I swung open the doors and as usual all the guys hollered at me, I gave my dad the passport savings account and said, let go to Olympic sports after work. I had to be foaming at the bit, and he said we let me call over there and see if this is real, the knot in his throat had to be huge, we’d just built a house, bills everywhere and now here I am with 1100 bucks saying “lets go old man, the clocks ticking” Like a man of his word, we went and got that bike.

For all of our differences and all of our fights and whatever happened In my childhood, the summer into my senior year my dad gave me a wad of cash, perhaps gained illegally, gave Lyle the mechanic at the nearby shop the keys to the Toyota and told us to go to Mammoth mountain to race the nationals there. That road trip opened my life, all the sights and sounds, being away from home. The freedom, the atmosphere, it wasn’t electric it was lightning. It taught me that you can do and go wherever you wanted. A poor kid who grew up in a single wide mobile home, who’s family got caught on the wrong side of the law once or twice could go and challenge some of the best athletes in the world, simply amazing, it didn’t have shit to do with components or cash, just the desire and will plain and simple, I didn’t have much of the first but my cup runneth over on the latter. To this day, that will always be the greatest road trip of my life, and all that adventure and possibilities where made by a damn bike, and an openness to explore, pretty damn amazing.

These days the adventures never stop. I’m still humbled and reminded of this nearly daily in my life, and it’s one of the greater things I like about myself. I caught the light rail from downtown Phoenix to work one day when I had too many flats. In my rush to leave my house I forgot any other shoes than riding shoes and when the flats came and it was time to hoof it, all that I could find or bum was a pair of women’s flip flops, anyone that knows me, knows how much I hate anything between my toes. But there I was wearing women’s thongs, pushing a 3500 dollar bike past homeless people towards a train thinking god damn I dig my life. The relationships that aren’t sexual but more meaningful I thought I would never have are starting to accumulate and I thank god for the Kathy Larsons of the world, and for the woman and people who can see beyond the exterior of people and myself.

So now four PRB’s deep, and into the hours of a new day. The ideas scramble in my head and the slight pain in my right thigh. There is many more real adventures, in life and love, not to mention the bike. It seems they get larger with fitness and perhaps the audacity that I’m still alive, come June me and Taylor Ladeen are racing the divide. From Banff Canada to Antelope Wells New Mexico on the border. Nearly 2800 miles, 200,000 feet of climbing on the continental divide trail, totally unsupported. I’m insecure a little about where I’m heading but comfortable in where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and try and report back on, I apologize if it’s been to long, sometimes the best stories are hard to get off the ground when they blend together in weeks and months.

Another stretch of holidays is upon us, and I’m in a different place than last year. Another year away from my family, sometimes that’s the best but it’s still a quiet missing of them, and of course chubbs the dog. I’m thankful for the people I’ve met in AZ, the Hillsamers, Scoobies, all those who lent an ear or rode alongside me, your presence comforts me in the best of ways, to bars on bikes, the Tuesday night group with beers and tacos, roomies, the boys at work, Steens, Biwers, global guys and gals, bartenders and patrons, those that ride to live, and those that live to live, the smiles the tears, the deaths and the forces that brought me here. I apologize to my friends back home I couldn’t do it there, but I think of you guys often and count on your friendship heavily when I didn’t have any. This is what it’s all about, it not the end result on a website or piece of paper, your place if life doesn’t bind to what was posted but what was written along the way. I’m proud of my friendships I’ve made down here, and proud of myself I haven’t tucked my tail and ran to all the things that surrounded me in my youth, the security in the things I know and love, and while I miss it greatly, my affection for the places and people only grows exponentially as I do along the way.


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