The Pettit~Files. The mad diary of a bike rep
Fresh oil and newer tranny fluid, four nearly new tires not one bought at the same time, over a half tank of gas and full cup of coffee. A cargo minivan wrapped out in SRAM red lurches towards the freeway, loaded with toys, goodies and a weary driver, except my elves live in Indianapolis and Taiwan and I pay for all of my presents.
I press the far right pedal till I get to cruising speed, then a couple of clicks of buttons and my foot comes off the floor and I’m free to move about the cabin. My body and mind know what’s ahead, five hours of windshield time in a barren area. Time to get caught up on lost phone calls, deep thoughts, emails, and static over the airwaves. I don’t have a usb cable fancy radio player, it does however play cd’s. Instead though, I like to tune into whatever voices comes through the dense hills and humors me. Stations switch and become fuzz, that’s when you know you’re leaving your neck of the woods. Different lulls and highs mark out a different channel, and I scan the dial from Mexican tuba infused music to right wing all hail Jesus jobs.
This trip through the mesas to Vegas was marked with wind, gust of 30 mph plus, the two lane roadway cluttered with semi’s, RV’s, and wagons of all sorts headed north by northwest. Sort of an Oregon trail for reps who cover this territory. We cross lanes and buzz like fat bugs in a heavy breeze, we’ll either collide with each other or reach our destinations, at times, seems like either outcome is available. The cab whirls between gears in the symphonic noise of the 3.5 liter 212 cubic inch engine rolls down the highway with 240 galloping horses nearing 80 miles an hour.
The hours somehow seemed small, maybe due to my only two stops or the constant buzz of my phone from work emails, and all the things I’ve got to handle while in Las Vegas. After hours of staring at the brown tinted green desert you roll into the outskirts of Nevada, just above the damned lake. Walk in to drain your bladder and your eyes have to focus on the lights bursting everywhere like the fourth of July fireworks lighting up a midnight sky. Brightly shooting neon is everywhere and overbearing, and already I await my exit past this same casino hotel and back to the hills and the areas around my home.
I’ve been sleeping heavy lately, maybe because of the miles or just the energy needed for this time of year. After I roll into a king size bed I’ll flip through pages of Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorites. Simplicity, you fool; is the answer to all of our ailments. And while I favor the purism of men like him and Norman Mclane, I sometimes delve into Hemmingway behavior however without the talent, nor the cash. I’ll nod off with the help of miles and scars oozing blood on my body, and the aid of a melatonin chewable and after some reading my mind wanders to an age of no sky scrapers, unobstructed views, honest people doing viable work to keep a style and comfort of living to keep them fed and warm. You see; simplicity.
I’ve come to believe the notion I’ve been broke so long I don’t know what feels right any longer. Different pains, growths, limps and rubs haunt me; but I love it. I screwed up my ankle and while conferring with another local endurance juggernaut I decided we should ride mountain bikes, then hike to more trails, then hike more and ride down. With a patch quilt ankle I bobbled a rock section tried to unclip and put weight on a right ankle that didn’t want any then promptly tumbled down a 10 foot chunky rock garden. You know you have good friends that know you’re not morbidly wounded and whip out their phone to capture your carnage and misfortune. But I did jab a rock with a rib bone off my back and after breaking a lot of them in my life, I’m moving and breathing like I have yet another one.
Fortunes favor the bold, and idiocy wins the tolerance award, I put out some long days right after and soon scooped up over 200 hundred of them by the time Monday morning rolled around. I like the thinking when your body is worked but knows there is more to do, and you shake like an addict for calories, you don’t want to slow the tempo to food but your mind and body aren’t on the same page. The cadence marches out a death roll that I force my body to keep or I’ll crumple to a 185 pound heap on side of the road.
Back to work and Vegas bound. With all the hotels booked up, a little gem came to my mind as Yeah Yeah Mcmaster and I tried to find a room for the night. Bonnie Springs is off the beaten path as they say, complete with a petting zoo, miniature train, gun fights and other oddities. It backs directly into the red rocks, the food is decent the atmosphere perfect and the bourbon poured neat and nice. You can hop on whatever bike you brought and go for a cruise, it’s very un Vegas and only a handful of miles away, all you can really see is the beam of light from the Luxor, other than that you’d think you were nowhere near Las Vegas. The beds where shitty, and a small scorpion greeted me in the shower, but laced with enough drink it was perfect and we passed out early.
It was a cold morning and peacocks clucked at each other as I opened the slider to our patio, I built up a new Rockshox charger dampner as puffs of cold air floated around my face as I drank nasty coffee. The mountain are beautiful and full of color their named for, much of me didn’t want to move, certainly not towards vegas. I would prefer to ride and explore the hills, sit by the fire and drink booker’s bourbon, write and think, but I’m a bike rep, not Anthony Bourdain.
Shops where busy, a good sign, lots of stops and getting caught up, more miles, more windshield time spent meeting new people and completing the rounds, sushi and sake for dinner and more views of Vegas. In the morning I tried to finish the rounds, it took force not to push home on the gps, but got everything wrapped up. Soon enough though, the wagon was cruising back to Chandler after two and a half days in Vegas. I stopped once for fuel and McMaster somehow was behind in the city I just left, two reps and better friends criss- crossing the territory. Less wind down the hill and again made decent time.
Friday was spent at home getting caught up on orders, laundry, bills, returning emails and conferring my future schedule, no riding Saturday more work, Sunday was spent With Hub Events and the Open water swim series that I donated swag for. Great event, better people and definitely on the calendar to both attend and participate. Afterwards I went up to Yeah yeahs house, met Melley at a gun range and spent the later afternoon clicking off rounds from 50-100 yards out on some targets, pretty fun actually. It’s crazy the schedules, cross races, swims, mtb events, triathlons, and rides. Sometimes it feels like I can’t catch my breath and I feel too spread out, most of me loves it, while the recluse goes a little stir crazy. Another 1,000 miles driven in a weeks’ time but it leads to my future and allows me the life I got, all worth it.
John Hammond burst through the speakers with songs written by Tom Waits, a blues guitar and harmonica in the key of G sets the mood and I get caught up on garage duty and a couple personal things. So much of our daily frame of mind is being forced by high paid execs and marketing folks. Beautiful people in mocked up glossy magazines, couture faces melded with some superficial expression, and bent in a way that nobody stands in or poses for that matter. Exes and storylines somehow we learn it’s not about us, we are the seconds that tick, compared to the hands of a clock. Words and sentiments, ideas and pre conceived notions, but we’re responsible for sharpening our own pencils to write our story. If we don’t others will for us and our own message will get lost in translations and versions others remember.
Routines and glass slippers, each needs something to fill them, each give us guidance a dream and hope. I think we all lose that everything is a memoir, everything lends us a form, it’s up to us to follow and see its guidance. Reform, shape shifters and second acts that’s how I see this dance. I’m not who I once was, nor are my friends and family. Decades and days we are mildly the same, mine are better with a bike, a slice of silence in a beautiful place, efforts spent and something to think back and on about.