Friday, November 17, 2017

Don't ask for whom the bell tolls.

It tolls for thee.

You know what was not tolling that day, back in 1985?
Mobile phones.

Not a single smartphone in that crowd, and look at them.  LOOK AT THEM.

They were ecstatic.  High on drugs, maybe, but still just really brilliantly happy.  Rocking their faces right off of their faces.

If you could have the same concert today, which you can't of course, but if you could, I guarantee you it's way more subdued.  Bizarre behavior, like people absorbing the scene by monitoring their twitter feed and seeing how the people around them are reacting to the music on social media, even though the music is RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.  Looking down, not up.  Awful.

Cranksgiving is right around the corner, folks.
Join together, I beg you, with your friends, family, pets, and most definitely your buddies and your 2-wheeled steed.  All that time which you will never get back.

Break away for an afternoon and ride something terrible, something you've been wanting to do for a while now but you were afraid of.  Something in the rain, or at night, or in another state that you shouldn't probably try to do - do it anyway.  Spend some quality time, phone-less, not looking down but actually in the real world, the universe itself which only exists in the six inches in front of your face.

At long last, log back in to reality, full sprint, looking up, up, up.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sled Dog Doping

It occurred to me that Sled Dog Doping could end up being the very last stand for clean-sport rhetoric.  The Maginot line, if you will, between making an effort to maintain competition by some semblance of fair standards and just giving up and allowing whatever is going to happen to finally happen, whatever that might be (Mad Max.)

I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, dude, and across this line you do not cross...

It's one thing if you want to give yourself the needle.  Shitty, for sure, but your business.  I hope we catch you, and the impact - either way - is something you'll have to own on a personal level.  In a greater sense, I don't usually believe your accomplishments anyway - the sport at a professional level has devolved to that kind of universal mistrust.  I enjoy it, don't get me wrong.  But the minute you say "i've never tested positive" I know that you know that I know, and we can just sort of nod at each other and go about our business.

But some rich, White, wanna-be eskimo with a bizarre, pack-driven need for speed way up in some godforsaken corner of the arctic circle giving his dog drugs so HE can win.  FUCK THAT GUY.  This seems like too far, even for a morbidly amoral population of speed freak assholes such as ourselves.  Even Lance Armstrong, Ryder Hesjedal, maybe even Francisco Mancebo would look at this and probably say, "woah, dude.  WOAH.  That's a little much, isn't it?  Think about what you're doing."

Canine doping.  The end of the road.  Cyclists, even as morally bankrupt about this kind of shit as we are, this is where we have to draw the line.

I hope your dog bites your face.

Up, up, up.

Friday, October 20, 2017


Somber morning here at Paranormal HQ, having just learned that Gord Downie - the voice and driving force behind The Tragically Hip - did, indeed, finally depart the earth this week.  It was just a year ago that I learned of his cancer diagnosis, and I was lamenting how sad I was going to be when this finally happened - and wouldn't you know it, it did, and I am.

At Woodstock in '99, they played this awesome set - and about 20 minutes in during "Nautical Disaster" he stares out at the crowd, wind blowing about 30 miles/hour, his tie whipping in the wind and Canadian flags streaming from stage right to left, and I hope he knew in that moment how much he meant to Canada, and how much he meant to the rest of us too.

Anyway, on that note, I'll take to the lectern and make my annual predictions for greatness and not-so - then we'll adjourn for the weekend and find out how wrong I am about everything.

Prediction 1 -
With 70 pre-registered attendees already, I believe this Paranormal will push the edge of largest Paranormal ever.  Someone said this is year 15, having now been hosted here at the Rancho relaxo for twice as long as it was hosted at Panorama farms.  In that time, I think we've exceeded 200 racers only once, and that was to support good brother Scud in his darkest hour.  But this year, and for no other reason that sheer inertia, I think we will go over 200 again.

Prediction 2 -
Ricky Everington for the W.  I spent some time last night in the lounge of pain that is Ricky's draft, but only when he was taking it easy enough on me to allow me to hold on.  It's been a while since someone had to go easy on me like that on my own trails so I could keep up - it was sort of like how I might ride with a child, allowing them to follow and even lead some without abandoning them in the woods because they might cry.  So yeah, if he can stay on course, Ricky for the W.

Prediction 3 - The lap is 7.5 miles, no matter what Strava says.  Over 1,000 feet of gain per lap.  It's dialed, leaf blown, marked, and pimped almost beyond recognition.  And it still takes almost 45 minutes at top speed.  I guess Ricky and Johnny P might go under 40 minutes a couple of times, but not for long.  Doing the math here on my abacus, I think 8 laps will win it.  

Prediction 4 - Perfect weather.

Prediction 5 - Spectacular Costumes

I'll trail off on that note.  Online registration is all wrapped up, but remember there's an enormous amount of race-day registration that happens for people who aren't great at planning, just like you.

See you fireside, then?

Up, up, up.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Predictions of Glory! (not until tomorrow...)

Registration for the 2017 Paranormal bike race closes in 7 hours and change.  But let's face it, any hope you had of actually racing this thing died long ago, right around the time you started scheming for how to best make your bike look like a veiny, uncircumcised phallus.

And I applaud that.  You know what you're good at, which is the costumes, having fun, drinking beers part of the Paranormal, and like 90% of the people who will be present, you'll be there to have fun the old fashioned way: intoxicated, among friends, laughing Brunswick stew out of your nose by the campfire.

There are a few, though, who will have fun the other way.  Which is 6+ hours of fury around a shit-hot, 7.5 mile single track loop that has more or less a thousand feet of up and down.  Those details still being worked out (in some cases, actually being built.)  But never mind that.  Looking through the current list of contenders, and contemplating the annual predictions that I am bound by birthright to make tomorrow on the eve of the race, a couple things jump out at me already:

1)  Mike The Hurricane Coco and Matt Kesecker aren't technically registered in the same category.  Not that they won't be both racing singlespeeds (The Hurricane doesn't even own a derailleur, as far as I know), not that they won't be absolutely murdering this loop with huge gears that I couldn't even pedal down Afton, and not that they won't be neck and neck at the bitter end, trying to crash each other into the creek for the glory of the top step...but they're not actually registered on the same page of BikeReg.  Interesting...

2) If you count Matty K, there are 20 fast, solo men signed up at this moment, but how many are actually there to race is impossible to say.  Hard to think Ricky Everington is coming for the party and not the glory.  Ditto that for multi-year Paranormal Champion, Johnny P.  But Thomas Bouber?  If he's there to hurt you with real intent, well, you're gonna get hurt (he's Dutch.)  But is he?  There's no way of knowing.  The same can be said for a lot of those names.  So picking a winner based upon pedigree alone won't due this time around - you've gotta have pedigree AND the fury in your heart to race hard for 6 hours in late October.  Which is not a common pairing.

3)  The solo women's category, like almost every other category, is a little lean on entries at the moment - and I know for a fact that the people who will win many of those categories aren't yet signed up.  So with 7 hours left to get your shit together, I ask that you actually get your shit together, tap all those clicky letter thingies down there under your enormous pumpkin pie eating fingers, and make my job of pre-picking a winner easy.  Vegas is counting on me.

That's it until tomorrow, at such time I'll chime in with who I think will get paid for their efforts, and who won't, and then we'll sign off for a weekend of actually finding out which is the fun part anyway.

Until then, I remain, yours truly...

The Haunted Head.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Costume idea # 387,110

This one just in from Marky Mark.


You got that right.

I'd write "up up up" here, but I just can't in this context.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Jumped by Bees.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, throws a left hook like a nest full of angry ground bees.

On the bright side though, which I've been making a real effort to find in all things lately, paranormal costume idea #987,016 is taking shape:

And that shape is swollen.

Busted up, but race ready.  What's your plan?

Up, up, up.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ain't No Half-Steppin'

Mmm. Mmm. Mmmm.
That kind of smooth is never coming back.
But - assuming you too don't become a statistic between now and the time you click the button - you can sign up for The Paranormal:
Ain't no half-steppin'.

Speaking of half-steppin', The Paranormal has become notorious as a non-race race.  Too much fun to have around the transition area, so why force yourself out onto another lap when it's getting dark?  That's the danger of half-night races that serve beer, I guess.

Last year, in particular, Ricky Everington rode himself onto the podium, not just through good form and skills, but also because he didn't really know anyone at the Paranormal yet.  In my experience, it's way, way easier to head back out on your 7th, 8th, 9th lap when your buddies aren't dangling beer and hotdogs in your face when you try to come through the pit zone hot.
Marky Mark costume selfie.  Watch out, Ricky.    
This year, I suspect Ricky will have his hands full.  He's faster than last year even, but he has more friends around the keg.  This often translates into 5 hot laps and a cab ride home.  Prove me wrong, Ricky.

Who, then, will come out victorious?
Remember when The Paranormal was a dogfight for the W, 12 to 15 riders deep?
This one comes to mind:

Lots of fast guys at the front of that one, breaking gear, cramping, giving it hell.  K-Rod came out on top that year...maybe 2010 or so?  I clearly remember being pretty drunk and stressing out about the outcome of that one at 10 PM.  OK, that's not true, I barely remember that.  But I do think a hotly contested race this year would be rad, if the contesters can manage to peel themselves away from the campfire and HTFU for ol' times sake.

At the very least, Half-Step.  Sign up and make it look like you're a contender.

What the photo says.