Thursday

Bio Information

Photo: Just ahead of Lance Armstrong at the 1999 Austin BMC Criterium
After competing for 15 years as a cyclist (8 years professionally), I decided to retire, or retire from cycling as a profession. Subsequent to my cycling endeavors I received a BA in Finance and a MS in Financial Accounting and have since begun a career in International Corporate Tax, focusing on compliance, provision and foreign tax credits.

Friday


Redlands Classic


















US Postal Professional Cycling Team ~ 1997


















All rights to this image provided by:
US Postal Team Promotional Card: Photo Courtesy of US Postal Cycling Marketing Team
Tour of China ~ 1996


















Victory Salute at the USPRO Championship in Philadelphia, PA


















Break away with Stege Hegg and Freddy Rodriguez at the Olympic Trials.

Eddy Winning 1996 US PRO Road Race Championship

All rights to this image provided to Eddy Gragus by:
Photo by: Casey Gibson (http://www.cbgphoto.com/)
Outside use of this image is permissible if its creator (Casey Gibson) and his website (http://www.cbgphoto.com/) are sited.



























Saturday

Koh Samui, Thailand (second batch)





We are now on Koh Samui and have been here for a couple days. Samui is an island on the west side of southern Thailand and is absolutely stunning. Although it is a bit touristy on the upper west side in ways that I have not seen anywhere else in the world, it remains relatively calm and non-developed elsewhere on the island. Rie and I went to get Thai massages yesterday, which was a massage experience unlike anything I have ever had. It was only $10 for an hour of very good massage. We were in heaven. Drove around the island on a scooter yesterday and visited some beaches. Got abolutely torched by the sun. We hiked out about a mile across the low tide flats and by the time we got out there we were as red as a lobsters, well I was anyway, Rie was smart enough to wear sunscrean. This put us into survival mode and we headed back to the shade of the shore as quickly as possible. Great place though and I highly recommend visiting if any of you get the chance. I am already dreaming of returning soon, would love to visit Koh Toa, which is supposed to be even less developed.

Pictures from Chiang Mai (first batch)






This is the first batch of photos from Thailand. I have been trying to get on my Blog but it is like driving with a blindfold. Everything is in Thai on the internet and so I can't read anything and have to try and load these without really knowing what I am doing. Thailand has been amazing. We spent the first few days in Chaing Mai which is is the northern part of Thailand and though it's a busy little city (2nd largest in Thailand) it has the feel of a small city. The people are just amazingly friendly and will invite you into their home for dinner. Rie and I hiked up the Doi Suthep mountain, which was the hardest hike I have ever experienced for such a short hike. In total, it was only 4 miles or so long but steep and slippery is an understatement. The Kaualau Trail in Hawaii doesn't even come close. The jungle is so dense here that you get the impression that if you were to stay in one place too long you would be over run by plants and fungai. Apparently there was a 5.something earthquake while Rie and I hiked but we didn't even feel it. I have more photos and will post them soon now that I know how to do this. sawadeekap, from Thailand, Eddy

Graduation BBQ







Above are some scenes from the graduation BBQ. What an amazing day this was, to share such a special occassion with those closest in our lives comes too rarely it seems. I want to say thanks to those that attended. For those that didn't make it, you were missed and were in our thoughts: Jack & Pam, Aunt Deorlene, Aunt Marsha and all, Rie, Ted, Amy and Rianne, Clint, Liz, Zander and his baby sister, Michelle and James...Wow, this list could go on indefinately. **Click on the group photo to enlarge.



Sunday

Is it moving? No, it's just the memory imbedded in your eyes!

A woman looks at an optical illusion at the Optikpark in Rathenow, Germany. Photo: Michael Urban

Kauai, Hawaii (August 2006)



















Last August I had the pleasure of going to Kauai, which is one of the more undeveloped Hawaiian Islands. It boasts as being the wettest place on earth, receiving 180 inches of rain annually on the peaks of its mountains. The second day of our trip we hiked the Kaualua Trail up to the waterfalls, an 8 mile hike that is almost impossible to complete during the wet season. Fortunately, August is the dry season so we were blessed with warm temps and very little rain (but when it did rain, wow!, unlike anything I have ever seen). We stopped at Hanakapiai Beach which has claimed more lives than any other Hawaiian Beach (see photo of sign, this isn't a joke). I can see how people could die hear. The beach is narrow, maybe 100 meters, and has a very steep shoreline with steep cliffs on either side. I can almost picture an innocent tourist standing on the edge of the beach as a rogue wave comes crashing in on the fun and sweeps the unsuspecting tourist into the sea. Once in the ocean the rip currents move quickly because of the steepness of the shore and a person would be quickly dragged parallel to the beach until they reached the cliffs, at which point they would no longer be able to climb to safety and would eventually drown. What a hellish way to go out. Anyway, Kauai is a magical place. We snorkeled with green sea turtles who would come within inches of my face at times. Ate some very strange fruit that was impossible to chew, much like bubble gum, it never quite broke down. Mixed with some of the local surfers who demanded that I give them my savored "electricity" shirt in exchange for one of their hand painted t-shirts, which apparently gave entry into their coveted circle of rough edged surfers. Kauai was a trip I'll not forget soon.
Note: click on images to enlarge, it's worth it!

Saturday

Jan's Attack

Sunday

The Next Step

As a cyclist I spent countless months & years training and working my butt off without knowing what the actual outcome of my efforts would be. I simply did it because I loved it, which is perhaps the best reason to do anything in this life. As it happened, the days in the freezing rain and the months of living like a monk paid off ten fold as far as personal gratification and learning would have it. I went on to accomplish cycling goals that I could hardly dream of in advance, and was able to travel the world and meet some amazing people along the way. These experiences enriched my life beyond words and has made me who I am today. Well, school was remarkably similar, minus many of the big emotional payoffs. I was completely absorbed with school for the five years or so, without knowing where my efforts would lead me. In December 2005 I interviewed with PriceWaterhouse Coopers for an audit internship and it went better than I predicted. The hard work was beginning to pay off, and as fate would have it, the hard work that I put into cycling played an important role in receiving an offer from PWC. I interviewed three times and the final interview was the most critical. I was more nervous than with the first two interviews because the last interview was with one of the partners of the firm. The interview went surprisingly well and I completed an internship that lasted almost 3 months.


The internship was amazing and I learned a lot in just three months. However, although auditing has its upside, I didn't feel as though it was right for me. I finished my masters and began the search for gainful employment. I didn't have to look far before I found the perfect fit in terms of environment, learning potential and respected industry professionals to work along side. I ended up taking a position working as an International Tax Analyst (specifically international tax compliance) and have been challenged, rewarded and never bored since I began. Compared with cycling I have to say it isn't as exciting, nor is the scenery as beautiful as the rolling hills of Southern France but, intellectually it's far more stimulating and challenging, which is something I always felt cycling lacked. Also, as a tax analyst, I don't have to grovel in the freezing rain with dirt in my teeth, as cyclists in Europe often do. For those who are curious, yes, I still race on the weekends and ride my bike back and forth to work everyday, which provides enough groveling for my tastes these days.

The areas of international Tax that I have focused on include:

  • FAS 109 provision review and assisted foreign controllers in the preparation/determination of USGAAP to Local Statutory and Local Statutory to tax return differences & adjustments.
  • US International Tax Compliance including E&P, Subpart F, and preparation of forms 5471, 8858, 1042, 8621, 8865 and 8802.
  • Proficient in International Tax Compliance software (Insource/Onesource); Software specialist within International group.
  • Trained new hires in Tax Compliance software, processes and workpapers.
  • Instrumental in bringing all of Sun’s International Tax Compliance work “in-house” by improving processes and workpapers.
  • Liaison with foreign subsidiary finance staff.
  • Foreign withholding tax documentation and determination of IRC § 901 foreign tax
  • Extensive work with Insource/Onesource, Checkpoint/BNA Research, Oracle/IBIS 11i and Excel.
  • Assisted auditors.

Friday

Academic Pursuits


Received my BA in Finance and MS in Financial Accounting at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Over 150 Hrs Total
Over 30 hrs Specific Accounting Total

Accounting Courses I have completed:
Financial Accounting I
Financial Accounting II
Cost Management Accounting
Advanced Financial Accounting
Audit and Assurance Accounting
Advanced Auditing
Accounting for Governmental and Non-Profit Entities
Income Taxation
Advanced Business Law
Accounting Ethics and Current Events



When not spending time with
my wife and daughter,
riding my bike or
working, traveling is
my biggest priority.
Photo taken off the
coast of Costa Rica.
Finance Courses I Have Completed:
Financial Markets and Institutions
Corporate Finance
Applied Business Finance
Investment and Portfolio Management

Cycling Achievements


1995 Montgomery Bell Cycling Team

1995 1st Stage 4 Tour de Pologne, Zamosc (POLAND)

1995 3rd Stage 9 Tour de Pologne, Warszawa (POLAND)

1995 10th Overall GC Tour de Pologne (POLAND) (Held Leaders Jersey for 6 Stages)

1995 1st KOM CoreStates USPRO Road Championships (100 mi Solo Breakaway)


1996 US Postal Cycling Team

1996 1st CoreSates USPRO Road Championships, (USA)

1996 4th CoreSates Trenton Classic (USA)

1996 1st KOM Thrift Drug Classic (USA)

1996 1st Stage 10 Rutas de America, Montevideo (URUGUAY)

1996 1st Overall USPRO Tour (USA)

1996 5th Circuito de Getxo, (SPAIN)

1996 1st Tour of China Prologue ITT, Hong Kong (CHINA)

1996 2nd Tour of China Stage 1, Yuen Long Industrial Estate Circuit Race (CHINA)

1996 2nd Tour of China Stage 2 Mission Hills-Guangming-Mission Hills (CHINA)


1997 US Postal Cycling Team

1997 5th Stage 5 Vuelta Castilla y Leon, Burgos (SPAIN)

1997 1st Circuit de la Sarthe Climbers Competition (FRANCE)

1997 1st Stage 1, Redlands Bicycle Classic (USA)


1998 OilMe Cycling Team

1998 4th Stage Tour of Langkawi (Malaysia)

1998 4th Stage Tour of Langkawi (Malaysia)


1999 Ikon - Lexus Cycling Team

1999 World Championships (Verona, Italy) R.R. (US Team Member)

1999 1st Austin BMC Criterium (USA)

1999 1st Overall USPRO Saturn Tour (USA)

1999 7th USPRO Criterium Championship12 (USA)

1999 10th First Union USPRO Road Championships12 (USA)

1999 2nd First Union Classic - Trenton36 (USA)

1999 4th First Union Invitational - Lancaster27 (USA)

1999 14th Christiana Care Cup (USA)

1999 10th Sea Otter Classic7 (USA)


2000 Jelly Belly Cycling Team

2000 11th First Union USPRO Road Championships8 (USA)

2000 4th First Union Classic - Trenton27 (USA)

2000 10th First Union Invitational - Lancaster9 (USA)

2000 6th Tour LeFleur14 (USA)

2000 4th Redlands Classic, Stage 4 : Redlands Criterium (USA)

2000 1st Manayunk Wall Hill Climb (USA)

2000 3rd Stage 2 Fitchburg Longsjo Classic (USA)

2000 1st Stage 3 Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, Wachusett Mountain (USA)

2000 2nd General Classification Fitchburg Longsjo Classic (USA)


2001 Jelly Belly Cycling Team

2001 2nd Overall GC Sea Otter Classic60 (USA)

2001 6th Sea Otter Classic, Stage 2 : Fort Oad - Fort Oad (USA)

2001 5th Sea Otter Classic, Stage 1a : Laguna Seca I.T.T. (USA)

2001 8th Overall GC Redlands Classic28 (USA)

2001 4th Redlands Classic, Stage 4 : Redlands Criterium (USA)

2001 3rd Pine Flat Road Race (USA)


Post Retirement Results

2002 3rd Stage 2 International Cycling Classic, Manitowoc (USA)

2003 1st Boulder (b) (USA)

2003 2nd Portland (USA)

2003 1st Prologue Estes Cycling Challenge Colorado, Rabbit Mountain (USA)

2003 1st Stage 2 Estes Cycling Challenge Colorado, Devil's Gulch (USA)

2003 1st General Classification Estes Cycling Challenge Colorado (USA)

2005 2nd Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium (USA)

2006 2nd Melon Criterium (USA)

Thailand (batch 3)










May 27: I have arrived back in the States since the journal entry below was written. Thailand and the people I met was something I will not forget and is an experience I'll cherish forever. Who knows, perhaps one day I'll be fortunate enough to live in Thailand. It's such and easy place to live. If I don't have the chance to live there some day then I'll certainly make the long trip to visit as often as possible.
May20 ?: Rie and I visited the island of Koh Samui, on the west coast of Thailand, this week. We wasted little time and jumped in the water almost as soon as we arrived and played liked children, splashing in the water and swimming with a persisitant local dog, who swam with us as though we were old friends. The water was welcoming and as warm as bath water.
Koh Samui is a fantastic destination and has something for just about everyone: good food, quiet beeches or crowded beaches, discos that rival anything I’ve seen, scuba trips, jungle exploring…the only thing it doesn’t have that I would have liked to have is good snorkeling. For snorkeling, you have to go to one of the other islands or visit during the non-rainy season. The water isn’t clear enough here right now, partly due to the runoff. Unfortunately, Rie had to go back to Chiang Mai for work related stuff so I found myself alone for the first time since arriving in Thailand but, I did meet several really nice locals yesterday and they took me to a Thai buffet. Similar to an American buffet, with a variety of foods to choose from, but that is where the similarities end. The buffet consists of raw sautéed meats, veggies, herbs, soup, and some fried foods such as spring rolls. You load up your plate and take it back to your table where you cook it yourself on a coal burner in the center of the table. I was a little hesitant at first because the meat was just sitting out in the hot air but after the first bite, I was convinced. It was delicious. I tried some of the spicy Thai sauce and after about a half hour of dipping into the sauce my lips began to burn like hell fire. The soup helped to put out the fire but my stomach has been shaky all day today, probably due to the spices. After dinner, we went to the beach and had a drink before we were to go to the disco. We sat amongst the many Aussies, Brits, Germans, and locals at the beachfront bar. This was very different. There are numerous platforms with pillows and a small table in the center. You can either lay down or sit cross legged on these platforms which sit about two feet off of the sand. It’s very decadent but nice as you are only twenty feet from the rolling sea. There were several local people selling miscellaneous things to those at the bar, bizarre things ranging from having your picture taken with a monkey or large snake to having your own fireworks display. Apparently you can choose the fireworks and the locals will shoot them off right there next to you at the beach bar. I should tell you that these are not small fireworks, they are massive explosions in the sky and when the first one blew up over us I nearly fell off of our platform. There was some German person trying to impress his girlfriend by paying for his own fireworks display, which was probably 15 feet from where we sat. They were getting there picture taken with the monkey as the local man set up the fireworks to be launched from the sand. As he set them up, I told my new friends that I had read that Thai fireworks are notoriously dangerous and that I was going to hide under the platform until they finished their freak show. They laughed at me. So I braved it out as all the other people did and sat stoically, awaiting the fireworks display and certain death. The Thai person takes his cigarette and lights the fireworks that were stuck in the sand (probably about six in total) and two of them immediately fell over in the sand, 15 feet from our table mind you. As I saw this happening, I jumped from our platform and started to run but immediately fell to the sand. One of these things takes off across the sand and literally detonates 5 feet from me. The entire beach bar was showered with small fireballs and I nearly lost my hearing. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen. The cops were sitting right there and they didn’t even leave their seats. Nobody was hurt but I found it ironic that the one person who had probably read about the dangers of Thai fireworks (me) was the one who was actually the closest to the explosion. Go figure. With adrenalin coursing through our veins, we headed for the disco. This place was awesome, not a huge place by any means but it had a lot of character. An open-air disco, half covered in wooden Thai architecture with the other half open to a small pedestrian street and there were maybe 100 people there. The sound was amazing and we danced for about and hour and a half before I started to fade and needed to sleep. It was still in the 90’s with 100% humidity at 1am. I was completely drenched. The funniest thing I saw all night were these two German guys dresses up as Superman, with a cape and tight little red Speedos they had stuffed with something or other. I watched as the Thai girls kept grabbing their butts, which the German boys were not to pleased about but it made for some hilarious entertainment to say the least. I wish Rie could have been there, she would have enjoyed it. Today is my last day on the island before I head back to Chiang Mai to rendezvous with Rie. It’s an exceptionally calm day, the sea is almost glass calm and it’s overcast but still in the 90’s and humid. I’m spending the day on the beach, swimming and walking. It’s been very relaxing being here.