Tony

Pony Xpress 160 Race Report

The following is an account of my experience in the Pony Xpress 160—an endurance gravel race in southern Colorado—on May 16, 2015. Enjoy.   *********************************** Minus 34.   No, that wasn’t the temperature at the start of the second annual Pony Xpress 160. And no, it’s not the answer to a math problem involving the number of beers remaining after X number of cyclists finish a gravel race. In this context, minus 34 is much more profound. It is a number that will shock and awe. A number that should never be found in the report of a mountain gravel ride.   “Okay, my interest is mildly piqued,” you say. “But be quick about it, because you said ‘beer,’ and now I must obtain one.”   Very well. Minus 34 was—drum roll please—the elevation reading on my GPS the day before I rode the PX 160. That’s right, in the space of 24 hours, me and my buddy, Pat Smith, crawled out of a 34-foot-below-sea-level hole in Houston, yawned our up way to Trinidad, Colorado, and toed the starting line of a mountainous gravel race, facing a daunting apex of nearly 9000 feet. No acclimatization. No real idea of what to expect. Just two blissfully ignorant cyclists with a spontaneous “you-should-be-dead-by-now” thirst for adventure.   The staging area was in Cokedale, CO, an old mining town at 6300 feet just west of Trinidad. We arrived at about 6:30 AM and were greeted by a single white tent, a Port-a-Potty on a mini trailer, and about 15 cyclists, give or take. This immediately answered a question we’d had since registering for the event four days prior—how big is this thing? In just its second year, the PX 160 is still in its infancy, so we’d been curious about how many riders would show. But participant info was marked as “private” on the registration web site, so we really had no idea what to expect. That being said, I’m betting this thing gets bigger over the next several years.   The temperature was a crisp 45 degrees—quite a smack in the face since we’d just slugged out of the soul-wilting 85 degree sauna of Houston. The 160-mile riders had rolled out at 6:00 AM, and the 50-mile riders were due to depart at 10:00. Pat and I were in the 90-mile group, which started at 7:00. After a quick rundown from...

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Science Says Readers Are Better Lovers

Science Says Readers Are Better Lovers

This article was originally published on EliteDaily.com. Ever finished a book? I mean, truly finished one? Cover to cover. Closed the spine with that slow awakening that comes with reentering consciousness? You take a breath, deep from the bottom of your lungs and sit there. Book in both hands, your head staring down at the cover, back page or wall in front of you. You’re grateful, thoughtful, pensive. You feel like a piece of you was just gained and lost. You’ve just experienced something deep, something intimate. (Maybe, erotic?) You just had an intense and somewhat transient metamorphosis. Like falling in love with a stranger you will never see again, you ache with the yearning and sadness of an ended affair, but at the same time, feel satisfied. Full from the experience, the connection, the richness that comes after digesting another soul. You feel fed, if only for a little while. This type of reading, according to TIME magazine’s Annie Murphy Paul, is called “deep reading,” a practice that is soon to be extinct now that people are skimming more and reading less. Readers, like voicemail leavers and card writers, are now a dying breed, their numbers decreasing with every GIF list and online tabloid. The worst part about this looming extinction is that readers are proven to be nicer and smarter than the average human, and maybe the only people worth falling in love with on this shallow hell on earth. According to both 2006 and 2009 studies published by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, those who read fiction are capable of the most empathy and “theory of mind,” which is the ability to hold opinions, beliefs and interests apart from their own. They can entertain other ideas, without rejecting them and still retain their own. While this is supposed to be an innate trait in all humans, it requires varying levels of social experiences to bring into fruition and probably the reason your last partner was such a narcissist. Did you ever see your ex with a book? Did you ever talk about books? If you didn’t, maybe you should think about changing your type. It’s no surprise that readers are better people. Having experienced someone else’s life through abstract eyes, they’ve learned what it’s like to leave their bodies and...

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A Bold Confession

I have a confession to make. No better way to make it than to just come out with it. *sigh* Here it goes. –I’m a woman– There, I said it. And I’ll say it again. I’m a woman. A pretty damn good-lookin’ one, too. My name is Jenny Cogburn. Well, really, it’s Tony Huston, but in my new novel, I’m Jenny Cogburn. The year is 2047, and I live near Boston with my husband, Kip. We have everything: a strong marriage, a beautiful home in the burbs, a baby on the way—I’m living the white picket fantasy that every young lady dreams of. And now I’m gonna get murdered. It’s all Kip’s fault. God knows I love him, but sometimes the man is so childish, you’d think his brain is made of Legos. See, he’s a sucker for new technology. Show him the latest HoloPhone or HoverTruck and he’ll show you his credit card with no questions asked. And now, he’s just brought home a robot—an ugly, creepy “android” that looks like the ghoulish love-child of Howdy Doody and the clown from IT. It lumbers around my house, leering at me with soulless blue eyes and a stack of gleaming, fake teeth. I swear it wants to kill me. “Oh, honey, don’t be silly,” says Kip with that irritating boyish charm. “The Brobot 3000 is harmless–he’s programmed to never hurt humans. In fact, he’ll be our servant! He’ll wash the dishes, he’ll do the laundry, he’ll mow the yard—he’s a godsend, honey!” That’s how Kip gets me. That’s how I cave and allow this THING into my home. An unpaid servant who’ll take on all my household chores so I can have more time to write my masterpiece. I’m an amateur writer, you see, and I’m trying to land a publishing contract. Seduced by the possibilities, I give this maid-bot free reign. I mean, how can a girl refuse a free maid, right? But I’ve made a mistake. It watches me. It smiles at me. Those rubbery lips. That voiceless grin. That fake, ruddy hair like you’d see on a 1930’s porcelain doll. Maybe I’m being silly. Maybe I’ve read too many horror novels. But I swear to God this thing is more intelligent than it lets on. Something bad is gonna happen. This “harmless” robot is plotting something, I know it. And most disturbing, it seems much too...

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The Gym Douche Diaries Entry 1

Dear diary, Here’s how it’s goin down, today. I’ma put on my Tom Cruise Ray Bans, my gold chain, and my white v-neck t-shirt. Then I’ma put on 25 squirts of Polo cologne. I’ll strut into the gym, get on the stairmaster right next to Tony Huston, whip out my cell phone, and yell my business while “working out” on the lowest speed possible. Everyone will look at me and think I’m AWESOME!! Douchefully yours, The Gym...

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Dear Old Guys in the Gym

Dear old guys in the gym, Though I greatly respect your contributions to society, I must insist that you stop: 1. standing at the urinal naked 2. weighing yourself naked 3. lollygagging aimlessly in the locker room….naked We can’t unsee you, bro.

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