I repeat myself, could be a little cold on Saturday. Or a little wet. Or both.
As such, there's a virtual shitstorm brewing on the interwebs regarding the actual storm that might be brewing that may or may not be serving up some extra pain and frozen toes for the Paranormal. So, in an effort to settle this down a bit, I went to the real forecasting authority, Kev29er, who also happens to be the expert on record when it comes to local gearing choices for the 1-cog crowd. So you get a BOGO of wisdom here, which is worth something, or perhaps nothing, depending on your tolerance for bad weather and singlespeeding.
Weather: Showers likely, mainly before 2pm. Cloudy, with a high near 47. North wind 5 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Sat Night: A chance of showers before 8pm. Mostly clear, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
30% chance of showers = 70% chance of awesome, right?
Gearing Choice: 34X19 for the winner.
So there that is. It's only Thursday, but 50% of the authorities concur that there's a 50% chance that the worse of the 50% chance of sleet will be blown our of here by game time.
I like those odds.
In situations such as this, I do two things:
#1) I try to think about What Jesse The Body Ventura Would Do (WWJTBVD) in a situation like this (also Paranormal costume idea # 349,902,115):
and #2) I try to keep in mind that we race mountain bikes, in a large part, because it hurts, and if it didn't hurt everyone would do it, so pain is actually a part of what makes it good. And 6 hours of The Paranormal in a cold mist would certainly be good in that way, if you can admit to yourself the truth.
Because riding a ribbon of tacky dirt through a coating of snow is actually the very fulcrum upon which life turns:
Remember what the Tao says about these things: To be whole, you must let yourself break.
Pretty good chance it's gonna be a relatively cold paranormal. Not as cold as 2010 when it snowed, but cold nonetheless. High of 53 on Saturday, meaning that by the time things get intense it'll be down in the 40s. So consider that as you put the finishing touches on your sexy superhero costume, and really think about how much skin you want to be showing when the bell lap tolls.
Also worth considering, this will be the last year of this particular Paranormal course. Next year, the length will double, the singletrack improves, and most importantly, any Strava KOM's previously set will go down into permanent internet history. Current Strava glory, like most things in life, is owned by Mr. Qwadsworth. And, if that Ben-King-Besting, near-30 minute lap doesn't already intimidate you, it would appear that another person of interest has been practicing also. I'll be honest, I liked them both a lot better when I didn't know how fast they were. But that's a me problem. Your problem? Getting around the Paranormal loop in 29 and change, and slotting yourself a place in the very fringes of internet-based race result history.
Night ride preview? Wednesday night, 8 PM, departing from my house. It'll be an ungroomed, slightly slow, less tense preview - sort of like putting on your wedding dress without shaving (which I happen to do all the time.) But a preview of the course proper nonetheless.
To follow, leafblowing, limb chopping, and fun-sized Snicker eating to commence Thursday at 5ish.
Now if I can just squeeze my girth into this sexy referee costume, I'll be all set.
Holy shit, it's October 23rd already, and the Paranormal is next week.
Where does the time go? It's like that feeling I have when I look down and my kids are three years old already, and they're riding a Halloween-colored Superfly 16 without training wheels.
For that matter, Holy Shit, the Paranormal is 12 years old? The Big Blue Facehole in the Sky professes it to be so, so that can't be wrong. On one hand, I get the standard how-did-that-happen-already angst, but on the other hand, it sort of feels like it's been around forever anyway. So I dunno, maybe this whole "passage of time" anxiety I have it just a symptom of fall. And either way I should shut up and get to the meat of it.
The meat of it. I feel like I'm late getting to this (this being a slowly building blog frenzy leading up to the P-normal) but lucky for you and lucky for me I already spilled the beans last week about who I bet my spare money (of which I have none) on to take the W in Men's solo. And that is Mr. Mark Smith.
Nevermind that he's got a broken rib/kidney stone/hematoma situation like an 82 year-old man.
Nevermind that Petrylak has radical late season form, is just coming off a resounding win at the 18 on the farm, and pretty much doesn't lose races like this.
Nevermind that I don't actually know if Mark is coming.
He's my guy.
Look, you don't get rich gambling by picking the wrong horse. Have I ever steered you wrong before?
And here are the rest of my predictions to become champions, though all are heretofore and woefully unregistered as I'll get to in a moment:
Women's solo: Anne Pike. Cunningham and I were actually wondering if she might turn 10 laps, which is elusive for even the best of the best. I think Laura Hamm won The Paranormal with 9 laps a few years ago (while wearing a green leprechaun dress.) But if anyone has a shot at 10, it's Anne.
Men's Duo: This is hard. Not only do I have to predict who will be fast and who will actually show up, but I also have to predict who will actually team up once they finally do show up fit. You people make my job suck. But I'm committed to the cause, whatever that cause may be, and so I'm picking Lindbloom/Hackett with no real evidence that either of them are alive, coming, or actually teammates.
Women's Duo: Again, this is a tremendous Nostrodomian stretch, even for me, but I'll go out on a limb and say no one is catching Bridget Graves and Jenny Whedbee if they are indeed alive, coming, and actually teammates. I've bet on Whedbee before, of course, and she's let me down time and time again, and I take that shit personally and never forget it, etc etc. But overall I just don't see anyone taking a title from those two ladies if they put their minds to it.
Co-ed Duo: This is usually where I step in, talk some shit to Qwadsworth about how my lady and I are going to serve him and his lady up a heaping helping of their own asses if they come up to our home turf to try to take our coveted Duo title. But I have to remember that last year my lady and I didn't actually manage to get ourselves onto the podium before the beer struck. So, this year, I'm going to try to stay humble here and simply remind him that I own him like a cheap set of back up 26er wheels, and he can bring his little NUE title and "I'm going to La Ruta" nonsense to my house, and I'll help him polish it all up and insert it into his Urethra. Bring it.
Now about that whole pre-registration thing...
If you're like most of mountain bike racing 'Merica, you're likely waiting until the last minute to sign up for the Paranormal. Weather on Halloween weekend can be a little dodgy, and the race pretty much runs rain or shine, so I get that. But what you can't dally about until the last minute is your costume.
Over the years, there have been some really creative minds that show up with their best creations to amaze, offend, and get stuck in the spokes of themselves and others. And that's really what all of this is about anyway. But that shit takes time. The Earth wasn't built in a single day, and neither was Hiser's motorcycle gang member costume, nor did Shawn grow an Afro in a week. So wait on registration if you must, but don't hold back on your creative design. There's a time bonus to be had, and if your costume really sucks, you don't get that 5 minutes (all evaluations made by Momma T are final). So consider yourself warned.
If you have to, here's the oldest Halloween hack in the book, if there were a book for such things...Just dig last year's costume back out of the attic, wipe the beer off, and simply add an adjective to it. Something like:
DRUNK George Bush
PURPLE Poppa Smurf
SLUTTY Phil Collins
You get the idea.
When in doubt, make yourself useful: sign up early, and the rest will happen as it should.
Even though it's been raining for 40 days and 40 nights, even though Saturday is our anniversary, even though there's football to watch and laziness to be had, Shannon and I will be riding in the Spin-A-Thon on Saturday to support the Toy Lift.
Better yet, come ride.
The world only gets better when the people show up, up, up.
Second, and also lastly since I have a meeting in 4 minutes, does anyone actually think they can handle the big, juicy platter of pain that Mark Smith will be serving up to the solo field at the Paranormal?
Platter of Paranormal Pain. For a limited time only. That's a salad, an appetizer, two main courses, dessert, an aperitif, 15 beers, and a big glass of shut the hell up because you can't handle it.
The Paranormal is coming. Might as well break out the monster music. Because 165,000,000 youtubers can't possibly be wrong. With that out of the way, I'm here to tell you what you should be doing like I actually know better than you, because this is the internet after all. And what you should be doing is night riding. Like I said, The Paranormal is coming, and those 11 laps that it takes to win aren't going to ride themselves. To that end, and assuming the 2nd Blood Moon of the notorious and horrifying Tetrad doesn't mean the rapture begins on Tuesday night - or at least assuming that you're not going to be a part of the rapture like the other 98% of us who will have to figure out how to live with that fact - then we'll night ride Thursday night. In the mountains. Hopefully that will help us cope.
Should be a slightly waning full moon, but pretty full nonetheless.
Meet at my place at 8:00 PM, or at the corner of Brokenback and Simmons Gap (the church, how appropriate) at 8:30 PM. Approximately a 2 beer ride, depending on how hard you take the news. Singlespeeding encouraged, though be ready for a little hiking.
Those taken in the rapture are excused from attendance.
Sometime in the late 90's, the story goes that Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing was taking a terrible lot of drugs, and he was dating some fantastic young lady named Janine. And like most musicians inspired by love and drugs, he wrote a song about her.
But when he sat down to record the song for the next Soul Coughing album, he couldn't quite make it come out right - it just didn't quite convey how he felt about her. So, in a fit of bizarre, drug-induced brilliance, he had Janine leave the little apartment they shared in Manhattan, run down to the pay phone in the street in the middle of the night, call him at the apartment, and sing "The Lemon Tree." He missed the call, but the answering machine caught it, and in a show of real creative mastery of his craft, he took the answering machine to the studio and recorded what we now know as the album version of "Janine" over top of Janine singing "The Lemon Tree" on his answering machine to capture how she made him feel about her.
Lovely. Creative. Brilliant.
And so, similarly I hope, rather than photoshopping Qwadsworth onto a Georgia Tech Cheerleader -which I've been there and done and I think exhausted the creative brilliance right the hell out of - and in an effort to convey how I really feel about him, I'll photoshop his face onto a picture of the Iron Sheik giving Hacksaw Jim Duggan the camel clutch, and I hope it'll just stand for itself.
Consider this Paranormal Costume idea #396,415, and from there, thematically at the very least, onward we'll go.