Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Paranormal 2017

What-what.  What.  What?

 That's right.  The Paranormal will roll down the red carpet 1 month from right now.  Looking at your current state of non-fitness, tendinitis, and general disrepair, I can confirm that you are well and truly fucked as far as "racing" goes, whatever that is anyway.  But, as you and I both know, that doesn't matter, because this isn't about that.  This is about you looking incredible.  This is about celebrating the end of summer and the start of fall riding.  This is about drinking and eating and laughing and supporting CAMBC and fall beer selections and a variety of other annual things that deserve celebration.  This is about people like John Petrylak passing you 7 to 10 times over the course of 6 hours.   Technically, when Johnny P rolls through the transition area going mach 10 and you're lounging by the bonfire in your slutty MerMan costume drinking free beer and eating everything in sight, that counts as being passed.  And it feels amazing.  You look terrific by the way.

So really, I'm here to tell you that you have 1 month to swell up to non-race weight and wedge yourself into the most offensive, politically incorrect, semi-dangerous-to-ride-bikes-in-but-still-actually-ride-bikes costume you can muster.

And don't you dare tell me you don't have a costume.  I swear to Odin I will whack you right in the ding-ding with one of these leftover styrofoam Thor's hammers from yesteryear, make you carry it, and tie a cape around your neck that is long enough to almost certainly get wrapped up in your otherwise undecorated XTR derailleur.  Don't push me on this.  I've got enough lost and found costumes from years past in my basement to outfit the entire Wu Tang Klan, if for some reason Wu Tang didn't want to just come dressed as themselves.  (WuTang, if you come, please dress as Wu Tang.)

Plus, over the course of the last decade, I've spouted off about a million costume ideas right here in this hinterland of the internet.  A quick search should produce a lot of terrible ideas.  You can also youtube some paranormal starts from years past for ideas about how to look fantastic but still race your face off, if that's your bag baby.

Bonus costume idea, and hard to believe this is the case, but "young macklemore" in that fur coat with the baby blue scooter would be a good one.  Is Thrift shop really 5 years old already?  Jesus.  Anyone who can Fred-Flintstone a full paranormal lap on that Mackle-scooter, we'll have approximately $9000 in free beer and whiskey for you when you hit the finish line.  You'll need it.

There's a kids race too, typically starting at 3 pm, which conveniently is about the same time that Scotty emerges from his dressing room/creeper van in whatever sexually deviant, offensive, scary, wonderful costume he's managed to squeeze his chainsaw swinging triceps into that year.  Kids love this.  They don't get it necessarily, but instinctively they understand that it's hilarious.  No matter; we'll ply 'em with butterfingers and soda and point em out on a limited edition course in pursuit of Junior glory.

The big kids (read: YOU) race starts at 4 PM, or as soon as Shawn loads up the shotgun and lets one rip.  He'll shoot the shotgun too.

Anyway, by this point, most of you understand how this all works by experience, and those that don't can usually find real information on the world wide web.  I'd link you directly to said info - the sign up link/website/big blue marketing hype machine - for you to review, but Marky Mark has been out of the country, presumably wearing a fur fox skin, and holding down that seat at the end of the bar reserved for the guy who is just a little too old to be in this bar but he's here anyway.

But I'm sure he'll sober up soon and pull that stuff together for those who need it, which -  if you're reading this blog - is probably not you anyway.

Costume-Haters and Procrastinators: Get Your Shit Together.  I can't say it any clearer than that.

Until next episode, I remain, yours truly...

The Haunted Head

Thursday, September 14, 2017

These and other personal myths debunked, tonight on "Turning 40 next year"

Singlespeeding SM100 is actually easier than riding a geared bike.

I'm in peak trailwork shape right now, 4 or 5 hours of bench cutting per week has been totally fine.

I don't think I need any strength training anymore.  Singlespeeding and trailwork pretty much have me covered.

I'll never run again.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017


13 hours and 18 minutes of proving, as I suspected, that the expiration date on real, hard, terrible, deep endurance racing fitness is greater than a decade.  Even if you pull it out of the fridge, leave it in the sun, and don't touch it very often - it's still there, and it's technically edible.  You might not like it, but you'll survive.

And a smile to show for it.

In the name of science, I say.  Up, up, up.

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


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.