Jun 21, 2011


My best childhood memories are of riding motorcycles with my dad. It’s what we both loved to do and we did it a lot. Sure, there were weekends spent at soccer games and many weekends dedicated to adding square-footage to our once tiny house, but overall motorcycles defined my family.

The Freeman household back then was similar to what you saw on TV shows like “The Wonder Years” and “That 70s Show.” Until I was a teenager, my mom didn’t work. She cooked, cleaned, and was there for my sister and me. Meanwhile my dad went to work and supported the household financially, much like Jack Arnold and Red Foreman did for their TV families. And much like Jack and Red, my dad would come home from his job in a less-than-cheerful mood.

Now that I’m a father and I no longer have a job that consists of jet-setting around the nation from motorcycle race to motorcycle race and from photo shoot to photo shoot, I understand why my dad was not Mr. Cheerful, Monday through Friday. He had work stress, a household to support, my sister and me to guide, and a marriage to uphold. All of that and then some, but maybe selfishly, all along what he really wanted to do was ride his motorcycle.

That may explain why my fondest memories of not only childhood, but of my dad are of motorcycle riding and racing. Maybe that’s when my dad was at his best, or at least felt his best. No traffic to deal with, no deadlines to meet, no meetings to sit through, no mortgage to pay. Just him and me, the trail, and our motorcycles. If that’s the case, then maybe one day Ryder’s fondest memories will be of riding mountain bikes with me.

I spent Father’s Day with my dad, mom, and Ryder at the Kenda Cup West Round 7 in Big Bear where I finished fifth in the Pro class. Although my back was killing me from working in the yard the day before and I had a horrible training week due to life’s nagging errands, I couldn’t have been better than I was on Father's Day.

Jun 15, 2011


My never-ending disgust for lazy people, video games, and reality TV has finally overflowed and become a flood of positive energy. It looks like me, Woody, and a few other key figures are going to jump into the SoCal High School Mountain Bike League pool and start a team for the Redlands area. First instinct is to call the team “No More Fat Kids,” but something like “Redlands SoCal MTB” would probably be more appropriate. We’d go with just plain “Team Redlands,” however some other rinky dink organization has already taken the name. They must be the entity that works with the Redlands Department of Tourism, or something. Who the heck knows.

Anyway, the official season for high school mountain biking runs from December to May, so if you’re interested in helping with weekly training rides during those months, drop me a line. Don’t send me an email telling me you want to help, and then drop off the face of the earth when January rolls around because the new season of Survivor or American Idol is in full swing. We’re looking for serious applicants only with a zest for bike life, a disturbing sick hatred for obesity and diabetes, and a strong back.

Aut vincere aut mori
That’s Latin for, “Either to conquer or to die.” In other words, this is going to be fantastic.

Jun 8, 2011


On some weekends there’s nothing good going on, but you can be sure there’s always a four-corner crit in an industrial complex within a 90-minute drive of my town. I like a nice tilt-up concrete warehouse wall and NASCAR style bike racing as much as the next wheel sucker, but when given the choice between riding over road dots lap after lap and riding on miles of rocky singletrack in the fresh San Bernardino Mountain air, I choose the latter nine times out of 10.

It’s usually a pretty easy decision to make. But on the weekend of June 4-5, there was no warehouse to go turn circles around. There was an actual road race, and a good one at that - the state championships, no less. The tragedy is that on the very same weekend, the second round of the 12-Hours of Temecula was taking place, and the final round of the Kenda Cup West Series was also running up in Santa Ynez. What’s an avid lover of both road and mountain bike racing to do?

Easy! Using an app that my parents gave me, called my brain, I concocted a complex plan to race on a 4-man singlespeed team in Temecula on Saturday, go home, sleep for a few hours, and then drive up to Bakersfield and do the Pro-1-2 road race on Sunday morning. The Santa Ynez race course isn’t much fun anyway, and besides, the report on Weather Underground called for clear skies and 70-degree temps in the Santa Ynez Valley so I knew it would probably rain instead, and of course it did.

The decision to race in Temecula was also an easy one because; A. Back in January, we won the first round of the three-round series; B. 12-hour team races are almost as much fun as flogging a 250cc four-stroke around the wet SoCal desert; and C. My teammates threatened to tarnish my good name by publishing incriminating photos of me on Facebook if I chose to skip the Temecula race. There was only one thing I could do, and that was to go help win round two. So we did, handily. Yawn.

I got home after midnight. And while Woody, Stanners, and Creed were tucked into their beds on Sunday, sleeping the morning away, I was awakened from a four-hour slumber by my wretched alarm clock. By 5:26AM, Tricia, Joey, and I were on the road to Bakersfield for a 9:00AM road race start. By 5:30AM, I was thinking to myself, “What the hell am I doing?”

When I was a younger man, I used to think sleep and rest were over-rated. Now that I’m old, I know sleep and rest is a necessity. It’s easy for excitement and adrenaline to overshadow what you already know to be correct and right. Take Congressman Weiner for example. He let the excitement and adrenaline of sending lewd photos overshadow the fact that he knew it was wrong. And surely by now, Sarah Palin must know that it’s not a good idea to open her mouth, yet the infinite knowledge in her brain gets overpowered by the excitement of seeing flash bulbs, big cameras lenses, and those funny foam balls on the end of a microphone.

So, like Weiner I kept it up. And like Palin, we kept driving. I started the race and I have to admit the campaign was going better than expected until I found myself sitting in the very back of the field going into the feedzone just before the final of three 31-mile laps. What could go wrong when you’re the last guy of 60, or so, speeding through a chaotic feedzone? What could go wrong when you’re a congressman sending photos of your “Weiner” across the internet? What could go wrong when you’re Sarah Palin and you open your mouth? I think a better question is, what could go right?

Jun 3, 2011


Today, Allen Ginsberg would have turned 85 if he was still alive. I have much admiration for Ginsberg, due mostly to the way he lived his life. Never giving up what he believed to be right and never selling out. Died in 1997, I wonder what Ginsberg would be doing if he were still alive. Would he be on Twitter? How would have this old Beat Poet functioned in the digital world? I wonder how it would have suited him.

Web 2.0 has become the double-edged sword for people of genuine talent, real artists, and actual rebels like Ginsberg, Dylan, Patty Smith, and Hemingway. New models of these types are out there somewhere, but will they be able to keep their heads above the stream of information that is over saturating the World Wide Web? Will it not be harder, if not impossible, to find the needle in this dull haystack of phonies, posers, and hacks? Like this blog, everyone has the opportunity to have a voice now. But is everyone’s voice worth your time, or are they just contributing to the bottleneck caused by an over abundance of digital trash?

Fortunately, situations similar to this one have historically resulted in an uprising of sorts (i.e. the Beat Generation, the Punk Revolution). Maybe the next generation of talent will also find a way to swim through the sea of schmucks, catch a wave, and ride it into shore. And then blow our minds like "Howl" did mine.

Jun 1, 2011


I don’t believe in Bucket Lists. Why limit your life experiences to a set list of accomplishments and goals when there’s an infinite amount of adventures, large and small, to be had? I’d rather look back on my life as whole and be satisfied with what I’ve done. That seems a lot better than looking at a checklist of things that may have (or may not have) lived up to their full potential when finally accomplished. Or worse yet, look at a list of things that were never checked off.

Yes, there are some things that I’d like to accomplish in this life, but if I don’t – then, oh well. They just weren’t meant to be. The first half of my life was spent obsessing over competing in the Olympics of off-road motorcycle racing, the International Six Day Enduro (ISDE, Six Days for short). While I never got that opportunity (yet), I got the opportunity to do a lot of other cool and exciting things along the way. It was my obsession for training for the Six Days that got me into this bicycle racing thing - and that has turned out pretty damn good. The Six Days may be an unrealized goal, but I only think about it once every 24 days now instead of 24 hours a day.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’d like to race RAAM. Not solo, but on a small team with people I can rely on and trust. Thinking I might have to start working on sponsorship for that one as it continues to consume my mind. And I’d really like a national championship in bicycle racing to go along with my state championship, but something tells me I’m going to have to drop my USAC pro status to make that one happen, if it’s gonna happen at all. If the three worst things that ever happened to me are that I never qualified for the Six Days, I never raced RAAM, and I never got a national championship jersey, then life ain’t bad. Things change. In ten years, there will probably be a couple of other things I’d really like to do instead.

But, some things stay the same. My parents have been taking my sister and me to National Parks for as long as I can remember. Some of my best memories as a kid, outside of motorcycle racing, are of trips to places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and lesser known parks such as Olympic. As a part time marketer, I know that if you can plant the seed of your products or services into the minds of youth, your chances of growing a lifelong customer are high. The National Parks Service (NPS) may not have the marketing budget of Disneyland or Coke, but it did a damn fine job of being in the background of all those family vacation photos, and not just literally. With the obvious help of my parents, NPS has made a lifelong customer out of me, and I’ll keep visiting as many as I can - some of them multiple times, until I finally kick the bucket.

Tricia and I went to Joshua Tree on Memorial Day for some hiking.

We also rode for a few hours.

And we saw a rattle snake. Look closely.

Much better than my last trip to J-Tree when I almost froze to death, but that's a different story all togther.