Monday, August 14, 2017

For A Statue

When the City finally tears these monuments out of the ground - and now, because of 8-12, they will have no choice - they will melt them down right there on site, re-use the bronze to build new statues, to pay tribute to people like Heather Heyer who tried to fight off an invasion with open arms.

Because that's honestly what it felt like: An Invasion.  I really didn't care about our statues before 8-12.  I could see both sides - both the need for social progress and also the need to maintain an honest assessment of our past.  But I'm unclear on how one's right to march down the street with AR-15's, body armor, and gas masks in an act of intimidation is protected by the Bill of Rights as a means of peaceful protest.  Apparently, the legal line between open carry and brandishing has now settled right at the act of pulling the trigger.  These are strange times.  Somewhere, MLK must have rolled over in his grave, turned on the news, given it the middle finger, and then rolled back over and went to sleep.

I just don't think you can invade our town, kill the locals, and expect us to protect your statues anymore.

Like it or not, where once stood a monument in remembrance of The Lost Cause, the complexity and meaning of which we struggle to understand, we will have, instead, an equally-sized statue of Heather's Chihuahua, Violet, smiling in that way that Chihuahuas do.

Because Karma might be slow, but eventually it works.

A statue of Berke Bates and that birthday cake he never got a chance to enjoy.

A statue of Jay Cullen ripping it down Tilman West.  We could put that one over in Stokesville.  There are no words to adequately thank you for your service and sacrifice, Jay.  You were literally protecting my town in our darkest hour, and you paid for that with your life.

Revisionist History notwithstanding, I'm just sad at this point, and I'm sick of it.  Where before I think you could have split rooms in Charlottesville on the subject of Confederate Statues, I think 8-12 stacks the deck almost completely against them.

What exactly was the point, then?  



"What is this statue trying to tell him? 
Think of me when you put on a wig?  
Think of my wooden teeth and remember to floss?
Think of me before catching pneumonia?
Think of me when you lose to the North?
Think of me when you cross your next river?
Think of the memory of me outlasting my lifetime while you're going to die unmissed, unremembered, and unloved you stupid schmuck."

-Marianne Wiggins, Almost Heaven

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Blinky

Look people.
If you want to live to see the nuclear apocalypse, you gotta survive a few more weeks.  And, assuming you ride bikes, which I assume you do a lot of if you're reading way down here at the bottom of the bike internet, then the PSA from Marky Mark below should be something you read, process, and act upon.

I'll trail off here, as I tend to do with most things before I'm actually finished, and just let MM do the talking:


From: Marky Mark
To:  Everyone

Hey everyone,

i know this subject has been beat to death on forums, facebooks, etc. But I really want to hammer this point home. 
We live in rural VA and commute 25+mi  to/from the city on rural roads for over a decade.  I ride my bike to/from the city and see on a daily basis the struggle between motorists and cyclists to get from point A to point B safely. Of a particular concern for me as a motorist and cyclist is the lack of daytime lights among cyclists. There is a false impression that hi-vis clothing makes you visible to motorists. In many conditions that is true. However during high contrast situations (sunny days along rural roads with intermittent tree cover) hi vis clothing is worthless.  
I have lost count the number of times I have had "oh shit moments" when I have suddenly encountered cyclists during high contrast days on rural roads. I have attached a photo to illustrate what I encounter as a motorist commuting home a sunny day. 3 cyclists riding single file. One in a hi-vis kit. They are doing everything right but they are not visible to motorists without a blinky. 
Y'all are my friends and I really want to see my friends arrive home safely. We as cyclists have the same rights to the road at motorists, but we are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to a 2 ton vehicle driven by distracted people. We need every advantage we can get. If you doubt that, you can ping Carla. She is an a jewitt brace for 6 weeks with two L4 fractures because she lost the bike/car battle on a rural road. 
Thanks and /PSA



I think it's 100% true - especially as we get down to the point when the end of days becomes really obvious, and the driving will become a little...tense, shall we say - that having a blinky on your butt could save your life.  For a little while.  

Commute away, by all means.  We all will have very little to lose anyway as that point as genuine panic and anarchy set in, and you know how some commuters ride pretty much nuke or shine (Noah.)

But please, blinky up.  
Every damn time. 

And up and up and up.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Beaver Results

Contributors are now sending me Beaver Pictures from other countries.  
The Beaver came and the Beaver went.  Results, if you're into that sort of thing, can be found here.  Other results...the ones that matter like good times, free beer, and Shawn being concerned enough for Will Leet's safety that he considered calling a cab to drive his wobbly ass home, were all unrecorded, but we'll cherish them anyway.

By the time the Paranormal rolls around, I reckon there will be 1 more mile of single track with a semi-decisive climb, which would make a lap about 8 miles with 1000 feet of up per.  Should be about right.

Until such time, keep the rubber side down and the beaver behind you at all costs.
He lurks.

UP.  UP. UP.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

El Beaver Diablo

The Beaver lurks:


She's 7 miles long, with 850 feet of climbing.  A moody beast - she is choppy at times, but silky smooth too.  Hopefully this big bucket of rain we're going to get on Friday quenches her thirst instead of pissing her off.

You diggin' The Beav?

Sign up, up, up.  


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Beaver Blitz


For this year, at the very least, The Chimney Chase will be departing county land, leaving her home at Walnut Creek, and moving North to private land.  And if the forces that shape our world have their way, it'll be renamed The Beaver Blitz, since there are no Chimneys to be chased, but there is a carnivorous, potentially rabid, cannibal attack Beaver to flee.


As can be expected with any change in venue, we have a flood of questions pouring into the mailbag about course layout, description, length, elevation change, smell, etc.  All worthy questions, especially the smell ones.  The truth is, since there was a wee logging project that recently wrapped up here at the Rancho Relaxo, the course it still, as I write this, undergoing some changes, a nip and a tuck here and there, and being taped for first tracks.  Some of it is virgin, never been raced dirt.  Clumsy, but enthusiastic, and with enormous potential.

I should have a GPX file up here in the next day or so, showing a conclusive distance, elevation gain, and clearly marked danger areas where the Beav might actually try to attack you.  But in a general sense, I can already tell you it's a little smoother than Walnut Crick, a little less climbing that Walnut Crick, and with many, many more bermed turns where you can just neglect your brakes and stomp all over your 10 Tooth cog.

It'll be a lot like this, but not exactly like this:



Think 9 miles with 1,000 feet of climbing per lap.  So a touch smaller that what you see above.  And without costume requirements.  But again, thanks for signing up and immediately questioning your own judgement.  You'll do fine.

You can drop me a line here if you have any questions.   And again, I'll get you a proper map soon enough.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Banana Milkshake to go.

This afternoon, in a unique failure of multi-tasking, I dumped an entire homemade banana milkshake into my helmet.

I tell you this for 2 reasons:

1)  I feel good about -  vindicated, even - by the fact that I don't fool myself by calling it a "smoothie."  Putting a banana in a glass of chocolate ice cream does not a smoothie make, no matter what Dunkin' Donuts tells you.

2)  I feel that the act of dumping a milkshake into my helmet is the righteous embodiment of how busy this summer has become for me.  For a long time, this blog has sort of revolved around the buzz of two events - Il Pantani and The Paranormal, Spring and Fall, with a meager smattering of brain juice in large spaces between.  But this year, there's a 3rd event happening here on the home front, and that is the Chimney Chase.  Given the tenuous arrangement between mountain bikers and the County right now, the powers that be decided it would be best to move the Chimney Chase to private land until this whole Ragged Mountain mess, and whatever else,  blows over.  So here it will be, July 30th.  There's a whole lotta trail work to be done between now and then - which I relish, as you know.  So I've been banging away at the ground like an insane person, trying to dial some new stuff in before the gun goes off, which it will, at 10 AM rain or shine.  And while we might not have Chimneys to chase per se, we do have a Beaver, and the chances of it not being 90+ degrees is relatively low.  So it'll still hurt plenty.  Sign yourself up and partake in the magic.

Did I mention that I signed up to race SM100 on the singlespeed this year?
That's been a long time coming, actually.  I'll be 40 next year, and these knees aren't getting any younger it turns out.  As one of those bucket list races that I realize I just have to get out of my system, SS-M100, as I have dubbed it, is something I can't keep putting off if I actually want to finish it.  The trouble with that, of course, is that singlespeeding is hard.  There's just no getting around that.  I came into the summer in pretty good form riding geared bikes, but upon hopping aboard the 1-speed  and promptly falling apart in under 1 hour, multiple days in a row, I realized I had some work to do.  So I've been chipping away at that, like the trail itself, and progress is being made.  Enough to survive on Labor day?  I honestly don't know, and I think that's part of the appeal.

One interesting nuance of single speeding, especially for long rides, is that there's simply no place to hide.  You can either turn the pedals over or you can't.  On a geared bike, you can always put it in granny, spin it out, and you can pedal to the top of just about anything, eventually, albeit slowly.  But on a SS, you just can't do that.  Nor can you walk the entire last 30 miles of the hundo, unless you want to finish on Tuesday.  So I'm trying to figure some of that out.

And dumping a banana milkshake directly into my helmet is the result, thus far.  So bare with me if the content is a little slow.  This is the speed I've got:


It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll, and sometimes you have to clean up first.  And up, and up, and up.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ALICE COOPER

Paranormal Costume Idea #109,045: Alice Cooper


The Paranormal.  4 months, 1 week from tomorrow.  And speaking of which, The Paranormal course, post-logging-apocolypse, is coming along well.  So it would seem we'll have something around 9 miles of single to enjoy, race, and make dangerous passes in all the corners.
.
I think a really thoroughly put together Duo Team of Alice Cooper/Ozzy Osbourne might win the costume prize.  Young Ozzy or old Ozzy? Either way.  Tasteful, yet still terrifying.

Telephone is ringin.

Because if you want to get down, you gotta dress up.
Up.
UP!