Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"What is journalism coming to?"

I sure am glad Tom Skujins is OK.  After crashing in the ToC last night, he staggered around in the road for a while, in traffic, looking sort of like a baby horse trying to find his legs.  Not good:

But if Frank Drebin can pull through such an on-camera daze, I'm sure Skujins will be just fine too.

Heal up, up, up, Kid.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Paranormal Costume Idea # 763,398

Paranormal Costume Idea # 763,398: Five Man Acoustical Jam.

Better get on that early, though.  It'll take some serious attention to detail - that purple shirt alone seems to defy physics by even holding on to Jeff Keith's wiry, chain-smoking torso.  Imagine him with a helmet on and tell me you don't see Richard Serton.  It would take some work, of course.  But for even one spectator to be like, "wait a minute, dudes, are you guys dressed as Tesla?" - it would all be worth it.

For authenticity, you'd have to smoke, which might inhibit your anaerobic capacity later in the evening.  But legends are legends, and you'd be playing your part in history, just another thing that rocked before Qwadsworth was even born.

And speaking of Qwadsworth, who is basically too famous to even check in most of the time these days, I've been getting shady text messages from him about his intent to race Il Giro D'Ville this year, a mere 4-day stage race to tune up his "i don't sit to pedal" ass before heading out to Dirty, Filthy Kansas to race 200 miles of sharp gravel on his cross bike.

Dirty Filthy Kansas, if you might recall, is where none other than Imposter Wadsworth lives , which I have to assume is the real reason our Wadsworth is going out there in the first place, to finally have the Highlander-themed showdown that has been brewing since I pointed out they share the same last name back in 2015 and Gordon proceeded to call Nathan all kinds of terrible names that I can't repeat here.

Again, as a devoted member of the cycling press corps, I'm committed to keeping you, the public, informed about how this all shakes out.  And though it might sound a little tired, haggard, pre-recorded even, I still think that Love Will Find A Way.

Which was my original point anyway.  TESLA.  Coming to JPJ tomorrow night, I'm told, opening for Def Leppard, just as they did in 1987.

Proving, once again, that the clock only runs one way, and that's up, up, up.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


So rarely am I out in front of a band that is on the rise.  Usually, I find out about great music shortly after the band breaks up, or someone vital to the sound dies, or goes to prison, or abandons the deal for a solo gig.  It's almost always over before I find out it even happened.

This time, though, I'm out in front of the fame, or some of the fame anyway, but just barely.  In about a year, when we're all rocking out to The Will Overman Band on our way back from the mountains on a Sunday afternoon, all sunshine and dirt and post ride buzz, I'll look over at you from shotgun (you'll be driving because i'm extremely drunk after consuming two entire bud lite limes) and swear I knew all about these guys and blah blah blah before they were big.

For a pittance, FOR FREE technically, on this Saturday eve, you too can be privy to the foresight and catch these guys in Afton at 530 PM.  Or make a difference for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.  Or just go and drink something slightly more socially acceptable than BLL.

As one youtube commenter so aptly put it - "This man has Jesus in his Vocal Chords."


Last but not least - and all the bike content I can muster today - THIS JUST IN:

West Virginia kicks ass.
Like, literally.  It will literally kick your ass.

For sale: pelican cooler.  Slightly used.  Seller recommends you wash it before using it, but hey, you do you.

Freedom, dirt, beer, and blood.  You know what to do with it.
Up, up, up.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Legal Fiction

These cautionary tales we seem trapped in  - the ones about the limits of the voice of the electorate after the votes are cast and the powers that be start doing whatever it is they do, however they do it - the ones we call "Ragged Mountain" or "The United States of America" which are actually serving to dissolve the already tenuous belief of a semi-voting population that what they think matters, are making us all crazy.

It's like it says in the bible: "You can't trust freedom when it's not in your hands."  (Axl, 3:16.)
It's enough to make you lose track of reality.

But if I might dust off a little chestnut from our local elected official/fringe scientist, Rick Randolph, "Go ride your bike."

He's right about that.

The rest, I reckon, will be decided in court.

Someday, I aspire to be the sort of individual who can use phrases like "legal fiction" with a straight face, to actually believe that I know so much about the system that you, on your side, whatever it is, your thoughts and beliefs are literally made-up shit that should reside in the fiction section of the library, right alongside Judy Blume.  

Until such time, I'll just do whatever Rick says, and then vote my conscience at every available opportunity, which - as always - is the only voice anyone who believes in Legal Fiction actually has.

The voting booth: the one place where Fiction can become a reality.

See also, the United States of America.

Up, up, up.

Monday, April 10, 2017

No Bird

WaffleHouse, 5:00 AM on Saturday.  I'm on my way to do trailwork in the mountains for the morning - cutting the deadfall off of Fore Mountain Trail down near Douthat State Park, so I'm up early and I need breakfast.  And it happens to be the morning after prom.  I didn't realize that until I walked in, but here we are.  The place looks like a mushroom and feta omelette blew up somewhere around the middle of the room, and as the night has worn on and people have come and gone, they've halfheartedly dropped napkins at the mess without bending over.  The girls are long gone, apparently, but three 18ish year-old boys are in a corner booth, the broken down aftereffects of a long and mischievous prom night playing out it's final hour, and one of them keeps shuffling from his booth back to the jukebox and putting on King Missile's "Detachable Penis" from the early 90's, long before he was born.  
Detachable Penis is apparently hilarious if you're an 18 year-old boy on the tail end of prom night, which is at it should be, I guess.  Over and over again, Detachable Penis.  One of them knows all the words and can run through the whole bizarre monologue, and he doesn't hesitate to do so while another one, though clearly a little drunk, is trying to talk the girl behind the counter into giving him a job.  My "salesperson" Kelli as her name tag reads - and I use the term "SalesPerson" very loosely, because at this hour of the night at Waffle House the menu pretty much sells itself - has a tattoo on the inside of her forearm: it's a bird cage, with the door open.  The door is open, but there's no bird anywhere to be found, and I wonder what that means.  

This is the length of the economic divide our country finds itself in - just how wide it yawns these days - and we're playing it out in a little vignette in real time.  If the kids will just pay their bill, I assume Kelli can finish up and go home for the night, which technically will be the day.  But she has to wait for these kids to wear themselves out first, to pay her, which is taking longer than she might have suspected.  I'm at the very edge of this scene, pushing 40 years old - decades older, and certainly an entire sleep cycle ahead of these people - on my way to recreation the likes of which I don't suppose they care about.  

For hours, I will climb up Fore Mountain with a chainsaw, brusher, rogue hoe, and spend an enormous amount of time, energy, money, effort, and consideration on what to cut and what not to cut - and what I'm doing is not even recreation - not yet.  I am preparing to recreate.  A month from now, 50 of my buddies and I want to race down this descent on $5,000 mountain bikes as fast as we can, and cleaning it up now is a way we've found to enhance the experience.  So I'm doing all of this now, 100 miles from home, to have more fun on a vacation that I will take with my white, middle-upper class friends later.  White Privilege, one might surmise, is spending an entire day preparing to vacation.  

The Birdcage tattoo haunts me though.  If the door is open, did the bird already fly the cage and is so far away as to not even be visible at this time?  Is it, for example, on her back somewhere?  Or was it never even there?  Has the bird just not arrived yet?  Is she two paychecks from finally being able to add the bird to the tattoo which, if you're reading the story at its most literal, represents getting away from whatever nightshift waitress paycheck situation she's in to begin with?  She stands there, watching these three teenagers, not that much younger than her but also WAY younger than her, and she's basically a statue but not quite.  I can't help but think she represents something.  She fidgets, naturally.  It's 5 AM, and she's out of cigarettes, so she bums a smoke from the guy on the grill, who is frying me a skillet of bacon, eggs, hash browns, and cheese that probably carries in the neighborhood of 3,000 heart-stopping or mountain-climbing calories, you choose, and she steps out back for a bit, and I never see her again.  

"Prom night," the grill man shoots me a wink and sets the huge plate of shit down in front of me, and suddenly I'm in on this, if only for a few minutes at 5 AM when pretty much everyone who is awake off of exit 94, regardless of your pursuit, converges at The Waffle House.  To love the mountain, I have found at times, is also to love its people.  

"Pay your bills" the grill man tells the kids.  
Kid #1 feeds the jukebox and selects Detachable Penis for what has to be the 10th time in the last hour.  
"Pay your bills," he tells the kids again.  
Kid #2 says hire him and he'll liven the place up.  I'm sure he's right about that.  
"Pay your bills, Please." the grill man tries this time.  
When I leave, the full moon is setting in the West and there's just a hint of pink in the sky behind me, and those kids are still sitting in the corner booth.  

Monday, March 27, 2017


MOONSHINE.  It's been a long, long time since I was so obsessed with a single trail.  But wow.

Make it a point to get out there while it's still dirty, fresh, and amazing.

The rest of this blog entry is postponed for moonshining.
I'll be back when the stoke level levels out a little.

Down down down down down down down...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Measured by Men

5-8 inches of snow.
2.4 inch tire.
6 inches of travel.
19 inch seat tube.
A fast 30 mile loop.
A quick nap.
A bite to eat.
A 12 percentage point lead in the polls.
A 10 minute climb.
All downhill from here.

One could write a book filled with lists of all the things that men can't accurately measure.  And of all the things that we, as a gender, can't quite add, I would estimate that snowfall is perhaps our most inaccurate.

But, of course, that's my estimation, which I am gender-prone to missing by an enormous margin, so pay no mind to it.

It's a good thing truth doesn't matter anymore, given our propensity to stretch it.  Otherwise, we might do something wild and crazy, like elect a woman.  

If you go deep into our current and massive discord as a culture, you'll find exactly this: two people who see the same thing two different ways.  It's easy to look at the world how you look at it, see it the way you see it, and call the other side wrong.

I don't think we'll get any better at measuring until we, on this side, look at that quarter-inch of snow and at least wonder a little if it's actually maybe 6 inches and we're the ones who can't see it accurately.  At least be open to it.

Maybe bikes DON'T belong there.
Maybe the EPA does need scrapped.
Maybe we are the ones who can't measure.
Not that any of those things needs to be true.  I'm talking about a mindset that yields the possibility that you might be wrong.  You're not wrong.  But you MIGHT be.

In my memory, I did the SM100 in 8:40 back in 2010, the year before my kids were born.
I dug through the bowels of the internet and pulled up the actual result just the other day, and in fact, I did the SM100 in 8:47.  But it was only 92 miles back then.  And that was in 2009, not 2010, and I raced for Bike Factory.

The transportation of the mind from belief to reality - that millisecond where the truth sets in - like politics, feels terrible.  We don't quite understand, and we never have.  It turns out WE are the asshole.

There's snow in the forecast for Saturday.  6 inches?  The truth is that no one actually knows.
We can only keep trying if, first, we listen.

Up, up, up.