Today marks the one year anniversary since CCFC landing, like the pilgrims hundreds of years prior, in Baltimore. In the same way that a veteran may look back at the Vietnam war, we feel a proud sense of accomplishment and a knot in our throats. As promised a year ago, let’s look at how the six cyclists have been fairing since that fateful day when they dipped our wheels in the Atlantic Ocean and marked the end of a 44-day cycling journey across the ol’ US of A.
Without further ado… the tales of intrigue and drama…
John jolted upright and felt a bead of warm sweat drip down his cheek. Wet, cold, and unable to feed himself, he looked around in a daze. Baltimore – he knew the city well, but not what had happened. His chronograph watch read August 2006 with a waning moon and 67% humidity – he’d lost over a month of his life. Stunned, he wracked his memories for a clue: Who am I? What have I been doing?
Suddenly wheels flashed in his head. Then an undulating road, a tasty dog, gun-shots, a girl riding in circles on a horse, coyotes howling at the moon, and an tiny echo in his ears… zoom-zoom… zoom-zoom… What could it all mean? Does it all add up to something coherent or are these just random fragments of a past life?
In his pocket, an iPod playing Randy Newman’s Short People on repeat apparently 12,465 times… and a sticky-note. A link to the past! The number was for a locker in a secure state-financed facility, but it was alright – John had broken into many government buildings before, some even bomb-proof. In that locker was a lab coat, stethoscope, tendon hammer, a Sim’s speculum, 12 foreign passports and $32,000 in various middle eastern currencies. Every choice has a consequence.
Each day at Johns Hopkins, John puts on that coat, and wears it as though it’s what he has always done. His every diagnosis comes from a place in his mind he can’t yet consciously reach, each prescription is written as if from muscle memory. But there are questions – questions that need answers – and the gentle ringing in his ears… zoom-zoom… zoom-zoom…
John is a doctor.
Patrick Garfjeld Roberts
“Paddy. Oh… God… Paddy.” His mother knew it even before he even did. Paddy was seven and all dressed up in her delicates. “You’re supposed to use mascara on your eyelids.”
Since CCFC, Patty has been completing his residency at Oxford Medicine. In between his rigorous schedule of clinical study and residency, he’s waste-deep in the local musical theatre scene. Recently the Oxford Medical Theatre has liberated Rogers and Hammerstein with productions of South Pacific Disease, The Sound of Nitroprussic, Carousel Syndrome, and most recently a sold-out tour of The King and I Want a Vasectomy. This is the second longest running production of the troupe, the first of course being Pirates of the Pericardium.
Paddy is currently playing in a rewrite of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in which he has been cast as Gandolf the White, the head surgeon at St. Mary’s Hospital. He looks forward to finishing up at Oxford and beginning a long career or prescribing music to hearts, tears to eyes, and smiles to faces. That and wart removal.
Paddy is a doctor.
David disappeared immediately following CCFC and surfaced a few months later in Switzerland. Even before we finished the ride, by the time we entered Indiana we knew he had changed. He wasn’t the same happy-go-lucky, always-a-smile, look-on-the-bright-side sort of chap. His girlfriend saw it too and broke his large heart into more manageable pieces by walking out of his life only days after his return. Only he knows what happened in those few months after CCFC, but here is what we’ve been able to collectively piece together.
There were key moments for David along the ride — and for us all, really. Key moments that created an addiction, something we all felt. An addiction that is wrong and unacceptable even in a post-modern culture of acceptance. Like Nick Chevotarevich in Deer Hunter, we became addicted to the thrill of death. However, while the rest of us wallowed in self-doubt and self-ostracization upon returning to our various domestic lifestyles, David vanished into a new life of thrill seeking.
While he tried cycling more, it proved too safe and enjoyable in more reasonable countries like Switzerland. He tried to express controversial views and heckle locals, but they took a neutral stance no matter what the issue. Nobody would sick dogs on him or try to run him off the road as he had come to expect.
David starting obsessing over anything that could get his adrenal glands pounding. He played russian roulette in the back room of the Taydo Vietnamese restaurant in Houston. Paid college kids to kick his arse at Fresno State. Ran with bulls in Spain. He even danced with the devil in the pale moon light. Both nothing… nothing could satiate his need for the low-speed game of death on a bike saddle that we all came to know and love. One road. Two flat tires. Four vicious dogs. A guy named Sally with a sawed-off duct taped under his dashboard. Those sorts of thrills don’t come without a price.
But thankfully this tale ends well. The rebuilding of David as we once new him came with a peaceful return to Switzerland and the advent of a cross country hike with a group of psychologists. David wore only a box for the entire journey. They dissected away and allowed him to peer deep into his own soul, a place he hadn’t visited since on the saddle in Missouri.
We think David found control over feeding his need for danger by diverting his attention to something productive. In Switzerland he started working at labs and researching medications. Making a difference for others who have mirrored his ordeal.
David is a doctor.
Max lives in Knightsbridge on the 7th floor corner of the new Hyde Park Avalon.
He believes in taking care of himself, a balanced diet, and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if his face is a little puffy he will put on an ice mask while doing his stomach crunches. He can do a thousand now.
In the shower he uses a water-activated gel cleanser then a honey-almond body scrub and on the face an exfoliating deep-pore cleansing gel scrub. Then he applies an herb-mint champagne facial masque which he leaves on for 10 minutes while he prepares the rest of his routine. He always uses an after-shave lotion with little or no alcohol because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then an oil-free moisturizer, then anti-aging eye balm, followed by a final moisturizing “protective” lotion.
Often on the way to work Max will stop off at a video store and prepare an evening of entertainment in case George, his assistant, can’t get him reservations at a five-star such as Topsi’s, Roe, or The Crown and Phoenix. During the morning if there aren’t any pressing messages to review from the previous evening, Max will watch a recording of the 1980 or 1981 Wimbledon Borg vs. McEnroe matches. He only rarely entertains calls or meetings prior to this ritual.
There is an idea of Max Capener, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real Max as you may have known him. He is now only an entity, something compelling yet illusory. And although you cannot see the cold beyond his youthful eyes, and you can feel his flesh gripping you in a confident handshake, he is simply just not there.
Max works in Real Estate.
Max will tell you there is too much money and too many nice guys around.
In case you don’t recall, Kansas was a stray pup that travelled with us for a brief while. His cuteness could melt the tits off a witch. I uh… I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry. But see for yourself:
Yah? I know. Breathtaking.
A few months after riding along with us, Kansas began a modeling career in his home state of… Kansas. While he briefly dabbled in calendar work, his rise to fame came through posing for commemorative and collectable plates. As you know, hunting plates are huge in the Hollywood scene as kitschy collectables. It wasn’t long before Kansas was humping legs with the best in the biz.
While on the set for Woody Allen’s forthcoming work Cassandra’s Dream, Kansas was adopted by Ewan McGregor and his wife Eve Mavrakis. They also have 12 cats and Kansas has been developing a sitcom from his experiences. As he would say, it practically writes itself. E! later interviewed Kansas – and on working with Allen, he’s been infamously quoted saying “bark-bark-whinnnnne-bark”.
Kanas, precocious for his young age and already desiring to “give back”, spends much of his time in retirement homes bringing smiles to the elderly. On the weekends he leaves the collar at home and often can be found clubbing or party crashing with the Hollywood “dog pack” (Tinkerbell, Lassie VI, Dan Castellaneta, etc.) in Beverly Hills.
Kansas is an entertainer.
Who me? Well, it took a few weeks to get over the initial shock of returning to domestic life after CCFC. That is, there were a few weeks of discovering the bathroom occupied and thinking “oh, I’ll just go in the side yard” along with other various feral thought processes that needed to be worked out. It took even longer for my body to realize it didn’t need to burn 5500 calories daily anymore. To this day I catch myself wolfing food like a prison inmate expecting this to be his last good meal.
As with David, I felt a loss at the end of an adventure. Like Max I started into the corporate life almost immediately afterwards. Like Paddy… well Paddy is very unique. Most of us have kept up with cycling to some extent, and we all dream of our next tour. Unfortunately sometimes
you get trapped real life happens and you find yourself with a mortgage or a wife or some other soul-sucking cultural institution created by non-adventurous folks to protect themselves from being jealous of true adventurers… further diluting their vapid existence until it only remains as a whisper of a memory, condemning every breathing moment to the systematic desecration of the very things that separate us from hoofed beasts: language, larger cranial cavity, mating for recreation… thumbs. Nietzsche wrote exhaustively about this “ressentiment” in The Will to Power and The Antichrist. That was before he fell in love with a Nazi playwright. But… I digress.
I miss the road. The open air. The deceptive simplicity of it all. But I sure as sh*t don’t miss the heatwave we travelled through.
My name is Jacob Pierce. I am a corporate lackey.