Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tour de Donut Recap

Today was the 23rd annual TDD in Staunton, IL. This fun and scenic race started out as kind of a riff on the Tour de France and has now grown to a 2000+ participant experience. The idea is to race 32 miles, stopping at two donut stations along the way and cramming your face full of the sweet stuff. For every one you eat, 5:00 minutes are deducted from your overall race time. This year we were really convinced we'd finish with the lead pack, and maybe we would have ... but due to some last minute bike adjustments we got to the start line way late and weren't able to ever catch them, even right off the mark. We did end up in the second big peloton though and were holding a pace between 23 - 27 mph most of the race, which is still cookin'. The lead pack was probably holding a 25 - 29 mph pace and if you're not with them at the start, you won't catch them.

Anyway, everything was going great for the first 25 miles, our group was a little sloppy in that nobody was really holding their line. Lots of cyclists meandering around in what was an effective but disorganized pack. Everyone was definitely focused on traveling fast though and that was our concern as well. Moving along and skipping donut stops our goal was to finish the 32 miles somewhere around the 1:20 mark (no-donut-eating, unadjusted time). Well, luckily it happened for my riding partner, Ryan. He finished 33rd out of 2000 (+?) riders today with a time of 1:24 and some change. I, however didn't fare as well...

At mile 25, after zooming down a large hill we bottomed out on a flat before another large climb. At this point things went crazy fast. Ryan was about three riders ahead of myself in the peloton so he never even knew what happened until i was trucked in to the finish line. This is all i remember: The man in front of me, who i was half a wheel's length behind looked to have had a major malfunction. I saw little bits of plastic and metal shoot out to the right from his front tire. Next thing i know, he's down in the fetal position sliding on the pavement in front of me and i have nowhere to go. The last thing i saw was my front tire hit him in the middle of the back at about 30 mph. BAM! I front flipped and landed on my helmet and left shoulder, doing an awesome version of a breakdancing head slide on the black top. I'm not sure how long i slid, probably not that far but i ended up catching friction and rolling out of it. I didn't get to lay on the ground and throw a pity party (was that link serious?) though for fear of being run over by the rest of the pack. I think i sort of hopped up and moved to the shoulder of the bridge we were on and just tried to get my bearings. The bike was too jacked to continue riding and that's a real bummer because i just dropped some coin on getting it overhauled so it was riding like a dream. Back to the shop i guess.

I ended up with road rash all up and down the left side of my body, i can't fully rotate my left arm yet ... hoping that's okay. My sunglasses lost a lens, never found that ... completely shredded a glove (pics are coming below ... they're not too gross i think) and will have to buy a new pair of those. That's fine because my naughty-dog had chewed them up before anyway. My sweet Twin Six jersey has an awesome hole in it from my roadway breakdancing move. The coolest destruction though, or lack thereof was on my helmet. I'm really convinced that it saved my from some very major injuries at the least today. It was chewed up and huge chunks of it (which would've been my scalp) were carved out from the pavement. I'm very glad i had it on. A nice local who's son was also racing that day threw the wreckage in the back of his truck and gave me a lift to the town the last 7 miles or so. I love Staunton because everyone comes out for this and the town is all about it while the races are happening.

Finally, i always advocate for wearing helmets, and encourage my friends to wear them too. I even bought one stubborn holdout friend of mine a helmet about a year ago. To each their own, there's no law in Missouri that says you have to wear a helmet. I get it, they can be hot and uncomfortable and sometimes i wish i wasn't wearing it, but i never take it off. These wrecks, i can attest to today can happen in the blink of an eye and smashing the road at any speed over 15 mph can be brutal. If you ride and don't wear one already ... consider doing it not for your own health but for your friends and family who will have to listen to you whine and complain about how bad your head hurts after you finally go down on it. Cycling can be a dangerous sport with things that happen outside of your own control, one head slam on the ground can alter your life in major ways. Okay, sorry, stepping down from soap-box ... and now ... some pictures (i apologize for the major farmer's tan, i call it a cyclist's tan so it sounds cooler ... it's not though) ~

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ADA Tour de Cure Recap

(I'm in the Mick Jagger pose, Ryan's the tall guy in white)
We woke up at 4:30 am Saturday morning for the big century ride out of Alton, IL. Check in was at 6 am and take off at 6:30. As usual, amenities and support were plentiful, and as we kicked out of the gate from Raging Rivers we were feeling really good.

We quickly met up with a solo-rider, Kurt, who was a great asset to our draft line. About seven miles in to the ride (the first half is really beautiful) we were cruising along somewhere around 22 - 25 mph with the help of a nice tail wind at our back. It was only around 7 am at this point and traffic was light, since we had left the gate about 5 - 10 minutes after everyone else, we were pretty distant from any sort of pack or other riders. I'm assuming what happened next must've been the first of many frustrations for Bubba from Illinois and his '72 pick-up truck...

First, we ride a lot ... we know the rules of the road, conduct / laws (in fact i carry a paper set in my panniers) and plain common sense that keeps us from getting creamed and made in to meat pies on the side of the road. Coming from behind was a deep rumble from said truck that quickly revved up and got way too close, way too fast. This rust-bucket breezed us with about a foot of room, slammed on the brakes about 20 yards ahead and threw it in to reverse. Order of our draft line at this point was: Ryan, Kurt and myself (front to back). I quickly hit the brakes and pulled right on to the small shoulder, Kurt took the left lane and Ryan kind of veered right while i yelled at him to get off the road and out of the way. This happened really fast. Luckily, all he wanted to do was heave his chest and tell us to get off of ... ahem ... and this is verbatim: "my road so i can drive on it." Well ... there are many problems with that short sentence, but one look at this guy and one wouldn't necessarily call him a "gentleman." I really wish i could remember what was said after that, but adrenaline was pumping and our major focus was not getting hit by a truck. Beyond that, in these scenarios it's like talking to a brick wall, a case like this would take some serious coddling and education in the proper forum to make any kind of point. Unfortunately the last thing on our minds was to get the license number, which would've been our best bet. Anyway, all i can wonder is if he ever realized that he had just accosted three people riding for a charity, and if he ever felt ignorant after catching up to the dozens of riders that had left just before us. My guess? Probably not, you can't fix stupid.

Horror story aside, we went on to have a great first 60 - 65 miles. Around 20 miles in, we caught up to a really strong pack from Gold's Gym, we held a rock and roll pace line of about 6 - 10 members, with people dropping off that couldn't hang, and others joining up as we passed them. For the most part it was a solid line of seven people, including Ryan, Kurt and myself. At mile 33, with a time of 1:40:00 we hit the ferry to cross a small river and then down some cold water and calories at a support station. By now we are all warmed up and feeling good but the temperature is getting dangerously hot. It turned out that it was the hottest June 4 ever on record in this area, and man did we feel it.

It wasn't until around mile 70 that we started bonking. A mixture of a hot head-wind, oppressive heat and high humidity, no shade and a constant struggle to stay hydrated made the last 30 the hardest i've ever ridden. This may be too much information, but Ryan and i only used the restroom once during the 6:30:00 ride, and that was at the 20 mile marker. We were drinking a lot of water, but it wasn't enough. We experienced an odd mixture of drink too much: i'll throw up. Drink too little: i'll dehydrate and pass out. We may have also (i hate to admit) pushed too hard on the front 50 and not saved enough of our energy reserves for the back half, but take my word when i say that the last 30 is no joke. There is little to no shade, ridiculous winds and the sun is violent. Plus you almost feel too disgusting to take in the calories that your body needs to do this, which probably also significantly added to the pain and the explosive cramps in my calves.

Suffice it to say, we finished. I'm not ashamed to admit that it almost broke me this year though, there was one stop where i was very close to calling it quits, but then you remember what and who you're doing this for and you dig deep and keep going. Everyone that finished that 100 mile ride is a testament to determination, hard work and big hearts, and it feels good to be in the company of such great athletes. I'm proud to have finished this again this year and raised even more funds for the ADA. Hopefully i can do the same in 2012.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vow Renewal Illustration

I worked on this one this afternoon ... hand drawn, "inked" in Illustrator with color applied in Photoshop. This will be applied to a Save the Date card the couple will be sending out. This client was really easy going and knew what they wanted and how to communicate it, making this a one-two-three punch kind of job.

Now i have a two hour drive to Taylorville, IL to draw until 5 am ... yaaaaaaaaaaay.............

(click on the images to view larger)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eleven Magazine Covers

Eleven dropped the new cover today and it features Lupe Fiasco (awesome song link ... has Thom Yorke!) on his new album, Lasers.

(click on the images to view larger)

The press kit photo had great lighting to play up the type creating the glow on Lupe (we're boys now i call him Lupe) and referencing the new album as well. With some great teamwork and ideas from Logan at Eleven, i finally nailed it down to where i thought i had a convincing look that sat well on the cover. The image on the left is w/out the content text, so if you're wondering about the empty space ... some will be filled. It's out on news stands on Friday, so pick one up if you're in St. Louis.

Below are a scan and a jpg of the last cover i was lucky enough to do, Girl Talk (free d/l!). This one was a lot of fun, but took quite a while to arrive at the right solution for his floating tools, including lots of sketches and almost using the many-arms-of-Vishnu setup. Glad we didn't do that ... nobody like drawing hands*.

* I realize tons of people love drawing hands.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dog Days

This is just a quickie illustration for the Illustration Friday Web site, where participants can submit drawings based on a weekly subject. Every Friday a "pick of the week" is randomly chosen and a new topic is picked to be illustrated. It's mainly just for kicks.

This week's keyword was "spent." I guess this can be taken in a couple of different ways, but when i hear the word it makes me think of someone or something that has spent all of their energy. I found some pretty funny web images of some tired dogs and took some liberties with one to come up with the drawing below..

Without further ado, here's my entry for this week.

(click on the image to view larger)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shoes Your Own Adventure

This shoe was a spec piece for a job that it looks like I'll be taking on for a few weeks. I'll be at Elan Polo as an illustrator working on shoe illustrations all day. I'll be there full time, and today about three new jobs came in the door to work on ... when it rains it pours. I should also have a spot of design work coming out in the next issue of Eleven Magazine, which is changing gears for upcoming issues and should be really slick and noticeable to regular readers. That's all I'll say without running the risk of giving too much away! All this combined with a couple of other projects coming in is going to make for a busy next few weeks, but I'm looking forward to it.

(click on the image to view larger)