Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What a Christmas Weekend Part 2

This story is undoubtedly better told by Krogg, my caveman alter ego. Go for it Krogg old chap:

So Krogg in beautiful Sun Valley for Christmas weekend. Sun Valley home to many pretty hiking trail, and Krogg think, what better thing to do on day after Christmas than climb cute little Prospector Mountain. So Krogg ask fellow caveman Ryan Parnes (also called El Mammoth for soon-to-be-obvious reason): "EL MAMMOTH, YOU WANT TO CLIMB CUTE LITTLE PROSPECTOR MOUNTAIN WITH KROGG TOMORROW?" 

El Mammoth scoff at Krogg. "INTRIGUING," he say, "BUT I PROPOSE A DIFFERENT IDEA: WHY NOT ATTEMPT AN ALL-OUT ASSAULT ON BALD MOUNTAIN?" Krogg gulp hard. Spikey spears on a Sunday -- Bald Mountain? That gigantic ski mountain with over 3,300 vertical feet from top to bottom. But Krogg not want to appear like scared little cave squirrel and run from danger. KROGG FACE DANGER WITH BRAVERY OF 100 LION! "KROGG ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE, EL MAMMOTH! SEE YOU BRIGHT AND EARLY TOMORROW!" 

So Krogg and El Mammoth meet in parking lot to ski area bright and early, and begin all-out assault on Bald Mountain. Immediately Krogg start to suffer from lack of air. Krogg suck in wind faster than whole herd of buffalo on stampede. When Krogg try to tell story about Christmas, Krogg unable because breathing too hard! El Mammoth continue charge uphill like baby mountain goat (in talons of giant eagle). Here El Mammoth take photo of Krogg suffering: 



Eventually, Krogg and El Mammoth near summit of mighty Bald Mountain. Krogg overjoyed! As summit of Bald Mountain draw close, ski lift open, and skier start pouring down ski hill. Awh jeeze, Krogg think every out-of-control six-year old look exactly like knee-shattering missile. Krogg not very dexterous on snow, and suddenly, hike turn into game of ice-Frogger! Krogg must dodge fast-moving, brightly-colored, knee-shattering skier to survive. Krogg yell at skier: "YOU IDIOTS WHO TAKE SKI LIFT, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG! YOU MISS THE BEST PART!"   
Finally, Krogg and El Mammoth reach summit, and go inside for hot cocoa. Yum. Krogg love hot cocoa -- warm Krogg up like when wear bear skin and sit near fire in cave. Then Krogg and El Mammoth take gondola down hill (cavemen old after all -- gondola preserve knees). 

Krogg and El Mammoth reach parking lot at ski area. Krogg think adventure over (and pretty satisfied with quality of adventure too). But El Mammoth have trick up his trunk: "HEY, I KNOW OF SOME HOT SPRINGS RIGHT NEAR HERE...YOU WANT TO GO FOR A SOAK" If there one thing caveman love, it soak in hot springs. So Krogg follow El Mammoth to hot springs! It great! 

Quick Quiz: which photo is caveman, and which one is Japanese ice macaque? 
Hard to tell difference, Krogg know. 

What a Christmas Weekend Part 1

BOOM BAM! Christmas weekend has come and gone, and left a trail of wonderful memories in its wake. Let's get to some of the highlights!

I ate some holiday latkes with the Honorable Family Parnes (forgive me for embroidering):

Dearest Master Johnson, 
Your presence is requested on this, the twenty third of December, at the household of the Honorable Family Parnes. Tonight's festivities shall include the consumption of massive quantities of delicious fried potato mash (complete with the accompanying apple sauce, sour cream, BBQ sauce, and Coors Light). Entertainment shall be provided by the rowdy bunch of hooligans associated with the younger  Lord Daniel Parnes. Performances shall range from "forcefully taping each other into balls," to "making up a drinking game before our very eyes," and of course "possessing supernatural abilities at the game Quarters." A supremely challenging puzzle will be available, should you be so inclined. 

Honorably yours, 

Lord Ryan Mastodonius Parnes IV

P.S. should you be fit for the task, a tour of the fine drinking establishments found in the neighboring hamlet of Ketchum, Idaho will follow. 

Dearest Lord Parnes, 
I most gratefully accept the invitation to your soiree. Surely your powers of divination are profound, for I am indeed a puzzler! My heart beats with supreme anticipation. 

Best regards, 
Samuel Kroggnatious Johnson, Esq. 
Puzzling a puzzling puzzle!

Ready for a night out on the TOWN!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Sam and Kristo Claus!

Hopefully by now you've seen the Drunk History version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. If you haven't, you're missing out big time, and you should rectify that situation immediately. If you aren't cackling with laughter within the first thirty seconds of this video then either A) you've never gotten drunk off whiskey, B) never had to try to do anything even remotely serious while under the influence of alcohol, or C) don't really get that whole "humor" thing people have been talking so much about. Throw some Oscar-worthy performances by Ryan Gosling and Jim Carey into the mix, and you've got yourself some Christmas GOLD right there! Enjoy:

Now then, in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to call up my friend Kristo and give him the gift ass kicking. For those who don't know Kristo is a serious badass. He's one of my favorite training partners because he's fun to hang out with for five hours or so at a time, and he's tough as nails. Naturally, I also kicked my own ass in the process, which if you think about it, is part of the holiday spirit: treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. Kristo and I tackled the EHB loop, one of my favorite training rides, and we did so in style:
Santa Sam!

Look at the twinkle in those eyes! 

Kristo Claus! 

SANTA SIGHTING! On the beach, near the frozen reservoir outside Emmett! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winds Changing

For the last three weeks, Boise has been draped in a temperature inversion. A blanket of frosty, stagnant air has filled the valley between the foothills and the Owyhees, and hasn't moved. The temperature, once a strong pulse from frigid nighttime lows, to balmy daytime highs -- flat-lined in the thirties. Air quality took a nosedive. The riding was fine in the same way gas station coffee is fine: rather tiresome, and never excellent, but consistent and tolerable. And besides, dry and calm and cold was better than wet and fierce and nasty. And besides, with enough pedal strokes, one could climb a ridge or two, and leave the fog behind, and breath the cleaner air, and feel the full strength of the sun's rays.

But today the winds returned! Like a blast from an atmospheric pressure washer, that inversion was chopped up, churned about, and blown out of here! Good riddance, mucky air. Hello dramatic Boise bluster!

I feel sorry for all those skiers in the area -- the hills are still bone dry, but DANG does that make for some stellar late-December mountain biking.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A White Elephant in the Room

I'm a big fan of white elephant parties -- where else can you purposefully steal someone else's gift without any social consequences? Last night I had the privilege of attending a fine one: hot buttered rum, tacky Christmas sweaters, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and quality gifts across the board.

I showed up with what I thought was an especially fine offering. First off, I must call attention to the packaging I used. My mother, ever so crafty (especially around the holidays), made these nice reusable gift bags to wrap presents in. They're festive, and keep paper our of the landfill. See?
What treasures lie within? 
My gift was this: a potato gun, and a bandoleer of ammunition. It was a successful gift (it was stolen once), but I didn't really think through the fact that whoever received this gift would undoubtedly use it right away, thus littering my friend's apartment with tiny little potato pellets (many of which were never found -- sorry Drew).

As for me, I made out like a bandit! I got this awesomely decorated turtle! It's gold, and has lots and lots of glitter, and has a painted shell. Once I got home, I cleared my coffee table off and let it walk around -- stretch its legs, you know? I'm still searching for a name for this turtle. So far, options include: Prospero, Chrestomanci, Mendanbar, and Telemain (yes, these names are all wizards or magicians). Behold: MY WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Now That is Some Customer Service!

Wow. I've gotten a nice follow-up email after going to a race, but a Christmas card? USA Pro Cycling Challenge, you just reset the bar...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Krogg start to enjoy winter training more and more. Knee pain start to leave Krogg alone. Weather stay dry. But Krogg still bothered by extreme cold, especially since Krogg get rid of winter KILLER MUSTACHE: 
I know, right? 

Winter KILLER mustache provide Krogg with near superpowers! Sadly not all powers are good ones to have. For instance, winter KILLER mustache make Krogg totally impervious to cold. Never shiver. Never say "burrrrrrrr." But, winter KILLER mustache also make Krogg behave like Hulk Hogan -- KROGG SMASH STRANGER WITH CHAIR, AND CLIMB LADDER AND PILE-DRIVE ENEMIES!!!! This not good thing! 

So Krogg trade winter KILLER mustache for Mere Winter Scruff. See?
Krogg have everything need for cold ride: cap, buff, and scruff.
Mere Winter Scruff much more reasonable facial hair to sport through winter. But see how warm caveman? Without cap, buff, and scruff, Krogg freeze like shaved mammoth in blizzard storm. 


So it's only been a month since I announced that November 9th would henceforth be Official Bunny and Rabbit Awareness Day. The inaugural year was a smashing success, and the reverberations were felt far and wide. Clearly the "internet" interpreted those pictures of rabbits leaping over tiny jumps as a challenge. Well, another species has picked up that gauntlet, and thrown it right back down. Just look at this talented guinea pig athlete! Talk about hang time!

Honestly, while the video does impress me with how far that guinea pig jumped, I am still convinced that guinea pigs really aren't well suited to do anything other than eat foot pellets in captivity.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let The Royal Rumpus Begin!

Alright fans of domestic cycling -- your wait is over! Cyclingnews has released the domestic teams registered in the USA for 2012. You may begin drafting your fantasy cycling! Without further ado, I present Team Exergy's competition:

Bissell Cycling
Andy Baker (USA)
Chris Baldwin (USA)
Chris Barton (USA)
Patrick Bevin (NZl)
Andrew Dahleheim (USA)
Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA)
Carter Jones (USA)
Chase Pinkham (USA)
Kevin Pipp (USA)
Jeremy Vennell (NZl)
Eric Young (USA)
BMC Hincapie Sportswear Development Team
Isaac Enderline (USA)
Tyler Karnes (USA)
Parker Kyzer (USA)
Ty Magner (USA)
Alder Philip Martez (USA)
Andrew Joseph Meyer (USA)
Tanner Putt (USA)
Mike Stone (USA)
Edison Blair Turner (USA)
Alesksa Velickovic (Srb)
Jovan Zekaica (Srb)
Bontrager Livestrong Team
Josh Atkins (NZl)
Ian Boswell (USA)
Nathan Brown (USA)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Jasper De Buyst (Bel)
Joe Dombrowski (USA)
Ryan Eastman (USA)
Gavin Mannion (USA)
Dale Parker (USA)
Jasper Stuyven (Bel)
Chipotle Development Team
Joshua Berry (USA)
Robert Bush (USA)
Robin Carpenter (USA)
Andzs Flaksis (Lat)
Evan Hyde (USA)
Andrei Krasilikau (Blr)
Adam Leibovitz (USA)
Michael Midlarsky (USA)
Lachlan Morton (Aus)
Anders Newbury (USA)
Alister Ratcliff (USA)
Thomas Scully (NZl)
Robert Squire (USA)
Daniel Summerhill (USA)
Steele Von Hoff (Aus)
Competitive Cyclist Racing Team
Chad Beyer (USA)
Ian Burnett (USA)
Cesar Grajales (Col)
Phil Grenfell (Aus)
Cole House (USA)
Max Jenkins (USA)
Nate King (USA)
Francisco Mancebo (ESP)
Tommy Nankervis (Aus)
Mike Olheiser (USA)
Thomas Rabou (Ned)
Taylor Sheldon (USA)
David Williams (USA)
Jamis/Sutter Home
Fernando Antogna (Arg)
Alejandro Borrajo (Arg)
Anibal Borrajo (Arg)
James Driscoll (USA)
Bradley Gehrig (USA)
Carson Miller (USA)
Philip Mooney (USA)
Luis Romero Amaran (Cub)
Eric Schildge (USA)
John Simes (USA)
Petrus Van Dijk (Ned)
Kyle Wamsley (USA)
Tyler Wren (USA)
Jelly Belly Cycling Team
Menso De Young (USA)
Luis Enrique Davila (Mex)
Alex Hagman (USA)
Nic Hamilton (Can)
Sergio Hernandez (USA)
Charles Huff (USA)
Sean Mazich (USA)
Semerson Oronte (USA)
Jeremy Powers (USA)
Scott Stewart (USA)
Ricardo Van Der Velde (Ned)
Kenda/5-Hour Energy Cycling Team
Gregg Brandt (USA)
Luca Damiani (Ita)
Nathanial English (USA)
Philip Caimon (USA)
Chad Harltey (USA)
Stephen Housely (USA)
Isaac Howe (USA)
Andrew Jacques-Maynes (USA)
Roman Kilun (USA)
Max Korus (USA)
Patrick Lemieux (USA)
Paul Mach (USA)
Shawn Milne (USA)
Jonathan Murphy (USA)
James Stemper (USA)
Robert Sweeting (USA)
Curtis Winsor (USA)
Team Exergy
Carlos Alzate Escobar (Col)
Andre Alzate Escobar (Col)
Kai Applequist (USA)
Benjamin Chaddock (Can)
Matt Cooke (USA)
Zachary Davies (USA)
Andrew Diaz Corales (Col)
Sam Johnson (USA)
Quinn Keogh (USA)
Logan Loader (USA)
Conor Mullervy (USA)
Kevin Mullervy (USA)
Fred Rodriguez (USA)
Morgan Schmitt (USA)
Serghei Tvetcov (Mda)
Team Mountain Khakis/Smartstop
Neil Bezdek (USA)
Thomas Brown (USA)
Jon Hamblen (USA)
Luke Keough (USA)
Shane Kline (USA)
Travis Livermon (USA)
Chris Monteleone (USA)
Clay Murfet (Aus)
Jerome Townsend (USA)
Benjamin Zawacki (USA)
Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
Jesse Anthony (USA)
Andrew Bajadali (USA)
Colton Barrett (USA)
Alexander Candelario (USA)
Marsh Cooper (Can)
Michael Creed (USA)
Michael Friedman (USA)
Chad Haga (USA)
Kenneth Hanson (USA)
Cheyne Hoag (USA)
Ian Moir (USA)
Reid Mumford (USA)
Cody O’Reilly (USA)
Christopher Parrish (USA)
Sebastian Salas (Can)
Michael Sherer (USA)
Thomas Soladay (USA)
Thomas Zirbel (USA)
Scott Zwizanski (USA)
Wonderful Pistachios Cycling
Eric Bennett (USA)
Taylor Bertrand Barrett (USA)
Yosvany Falcon (USA)
Sterline Magnell (USA)
Victor Riquelme (USA)
Collin Samaan (USA)
Iggy Silva (USA)
Erik Slack (USA)
Brett Tack (USA)
Women’s UCI-Sanctioned Teams
Exergy TWENTY 12
Kaitlin Antonneau (USA)
Kristin Armstrong (USA)
Rhae Christie-Shaw (Can)
Theresa Cliff-Ryan (USA)
Jacquelyn Crowell (USA)
Andrea Dvorak (USA)
Kristin McGrath (USA)
Greta Neimanas (USA)
Coryn Rivera (USA)
Alison Tetrick (USA)
Taylor Wiles (USA)
Team TIBCO/To the Top
Megan Guarnier (USA)
Lauren Hall (USA)
Lauren Hecht (USA)
Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl)
Amanda Miller (USA)
Lindsay Myers (USA)
Jennifer Purcell (USA)
Kendall Ryan (USA)
Samantha Schneider (USA)
Jennifer Wheeler (USA)
Tara Whitten (Can)
Erinne Willock (Can)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Real Life Jim and Dwight!

So if you watch The Office, you'll know that one of the best parts of the show is when Jim plays elaborate pranks on Dwight. Here are some good ones:

But I recently checked in with the wonderful David Thorn, author of those hilarious antagonistic e-mail exchanges I wrote about a while back (remember the Floyd e-mail scandals?). Well it seems that David has been hard at work at his workplace -- not actually working, but rather, dreaming up elaborate pranks for his co-worker Simon.

Read the complete list of complaints Simon has filed against David here (and be sure to click on the link David provides about photoshopping Justin Bieber's face on Simon's stock photos). WHAT A HOOT!

Also, you could spend your time this way. Ho-ly-fuck!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Space, you sexy devil -- THANK YOU for blowing my mind on such a regular basis.

Right now, I'm reading Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut. It's about how 1,000,000 years in the future, humans have evolved (or devolved) into something more like walruses: our hands have morphed into flippers, we eat a diet that consists mostly of fish, and our brains have decreased in size dramatically. Throughout the story, Vonnegut points out many of the ways that our gigantic brains get us into trouble (or rather, got us into trouble). As a human, I am equipped with a mind capable of doing all sorts of things that are at best useless, and at worst downright counterproductive. I can convince myself of things that aren't true. I can have self-destructive tendencies. I can form emotional bonds that have more influence over my behavior than my desire to survive. But perhaps best of all, I can try to understand things I have no business understanding. I can stretch my mind beyond myself, and explore the entire universe in a way my dog never will. 

William Hazlett said: "man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be."

My brain isn't a spectacular example of our species' capacity. I'm no Einstein, breaking new ground on the frontiers of our knowledge, but I enjoy trying to squeeze big ideas into my tiny head. Remember a while back when I confessed my fascination with the largest numbers yet discovered? The first time I read that article --blam-- my mind was blown to smithereens, and my brain was liquefied, and it dribbled out my ears like pink GoGurt out of the tube. A week later, I re-read the article, and this time my mind held together slightly better. Well it's been a few months, and just when I thought I was comfortable with the scale of those numbers --blam again-- and thus the cycle of mind-explosion and brain-melt repeats itself. I'll never be comfortable with the sheer, utter, astonishing vastness of the universe, but then again anyone who claims they are comfortable with it is either a genius like we've never seen, or simply isn't trying very hard. 

Here are a few pieces of mind dynamite I've stumbled across recently: 

First, there's this remarkable sliding scale of the universe. You can effortlessly scroll between the tiniest subatomic particles and the largest galaxies. Ask yourself, where does your actual comprehension of the objects give way to sheer imagination?

And this is kind of similar, but also effective: 

See now I'm comfortable with the size of the sun compared to the size of the earth (kind of). When I was a kid we created a scale model of the solar system, whereby a marble represented the Earth, a basketball represented  Jupiter, and a giant chalk outline on the soccer field represented the sun. The fact that there are single stars big enough to shove the whole model down by oh, about four orders of magnitude  (making the sun the marble?!) is a bit much for my tiny fragile human brain to contain.

Also, we've discovered another planet that is likely to support a rich atmosphere and liquid water.

Also, we've discovered huge amounts of ice on Mars.

Also, we've discovered a black hole that is, ahem: 37-billion times as massive as our own sun.

Ok. Enough dorking out for one morning. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Remembering TEMA

This December marks the third anniversary of my trip to Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador as part of The Extra Mile Adventure (TEMA). The trip involved boarding a retro-fitted forty-foot school bus, alongside twenty of the most amazing artists, musicians, actors, and activists I've ever met. We drove from San Francisco to El Salvador and back again, leaving a trail of performances, workshops, construction, and universe-bending good-will in our wake. Here are some choice photos:

If you're curious, I invite you to visit my blog during the months of December 2008, and January 2009. Poke around in there -- you'll find some of the best writing I've done. Some of it's crazy, some of it's tragic, some of it's magic -- oh and I invent a game called Montezuma's Revenge, and play several rounds

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dear Ada County Highway Department

Dear Ada County Highway Department,

I am writing to express my thanks for the good work you do in keeping the roads and highways that surround Boise in such good condition. Believe it or not, Boise is home to a professional bicycle racing team called Team Exergy. While our racing calendar takes all around the country and the globe, several members of the team, myself included, live and train in Boise all year round. I ride my bike on the roads that surround Boise every day -- not just for fun, but for a living. While there are plenty of exceptions, most of Ada county's highways have a generous shoulder and are kept relatively clean and free of debris. Thank you, and please continue to keep cyclists in mind when you sweep the roads.

I'd also like to share my appreciation of some of the new road projects you've recently completed. You recently resurfaced Pierce Park road and Dry Creek road, both of which can be connected to other roads for some really cool new road rides. Also, today I was delighted to discover the pavement extension you added to Willow Creek road -- are there plans of extending the pavement all the way to Highway 16? My teammates and I would certainly be in favor of that!

Thanks again for making Boise such a great place to ride road bikes, and follow Team Exergy's upcoming season at


Sam Johnson