Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Out Like A Lamb

The End of March, good time of year to be riding a bike.

Race results all over the place, group rides, night rides, bike festivals; just enormous amounts of drinking, pedaling, and making life merry and worth living after all.  I won't rehash race results and war stories and rides with rock stars and what not herein, but I'm more than happy to summarize the general feel of it all, that being, "Catch you on the flip side, winter."

Video above, if you haven't checked it out already, is The War on Drugs.  If you dig it, now is the time, mostly because I just found out about them, which typically happens late for me in the life cycle of any given thing, shortly before the band is about to break up, or the technology deemed insufficient, or the product discontinued because it causes cancer.  So it's likely now or never.  And it's pretty amazing stuff, so give a listen and let yourself dream a little.

Worth noting, BRC is about to become a two trick pony as opposed to a one trick pony, which is huge and awesome.  Two shops, not just one.  Bravo, bro.

Northside: Hollymead Town Center, right next to Bonefish Grill, caddycorner to that other pillar of cycling reliability and innovation, Target.
Downtown: A gigantic flagship location in The Coke Building, opening in June.  Ish.

This whole arrangement is not only bigger, better, and easier to access for one and all, it's also a new launching point for the Northside Extreme night ride, which happens to be departing tonight at 8 pm from BRC Norte' to tour the sketchy halftrack and dirt road drug deal pulloffs of the northside hinterlands.  Charge your shit, and bring a beer to blend in.

Sure is spring.  Enjoy yourselves.

And I'm out.  Like a lamb that is.
Up, up, up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

"I've been running."

"I've been running."

Those three words you never want to hear your riding buddy say.  The dreaded siren's call, going back to foot travel, it's like seeing a toe tag on his cold, stiff corpse.

Still, time together in the woods is better than not, and the basic sense I get from exercise scientists with something to lose from being wrong about running is this: it'll keep your old man bones from going brittle and breaking under your own corpulence. 

So once/week or so, I've been running.  

The blue ridge school MTB race is Saturday morning.  As a $25 entry to a burly, muddy, rock-infested trail race with no prizes (all cash goes to World Bike Relief), one might summarize it as cheap, dirty, and purely for the glory.  

Like your mom.

Bike form not withstanding, I'm hoping
all of this running will translate into non-brittle bones and good hike-a-bike condition.  Both of which are pretty vital out there in my experience.

In short, I'm labeling myself here as the odds-on favorite not to break my arm on Saturday, and I recommend you to place your bets accordingly. 

Gonna be a big one.
Join me.

Up, up, up.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pantani X in the books

Scud would have been 65 today.  

Don't get me started on the passage of time.  I'll start blubbering, and you'll get uncomfortable, and we'll both leave this awkward blog post a little stranger than we started, and no one wants that.

Yesterday, under a huge blue sky and on near perfect dirt, The tenth Pantani ride went live after a rough go of weather for the last 6 weeks.  Sensory shock and springtime bliss being as they are, it was pretty surreal.  There was this long stretch in the middle of the afternoon, 2 pm or so I guess, and I was climbing brokenback and feeling pretty dizzy, and the sun was beating down and it was finally full-on hot, and I couldn't remember how old Scud was when he passed away, or what the last song was on the Metallica black album, or when I started riding bikes.

These are the things you begin to forget, I've been told.  But they also stick with you, in ways that you can't identify.

The last time I rode with Scud was up there, on a full moon ride to flattop, and the dirt that night might have been the only time it's ever been better.  So I always feel a little connected to Scud when I'm up that way.

Then, to make his point perhaps, there was this massive tailwind on the ride back in, maybe 20 miles/hour or more at times, and as I came past the turn for Davis Shop - for my tenth Pantani finish that is - there were dead leaves blowing up the hill faster than I could pedal.  I was physically and suddenly awakened by that, and I had to pause and smile.  Son of a bitch crafty old bike rats always know when to attack.

Chris Michaels from Rocktown took the W in fine form with a 30+ mile solo breakaway.  On a full suspension mountain bike.  Into a headwind.  Along the way, he got all 5 kom's, and he finished in 2:58.  That's some Pro level shit.

Not as pro, but way, way better, Chris is now the proud owner of the tackiest kit on Earth, that being the Maillot Pistachio for the W and the accompanying but not-so-matching handknit knickers.  I'll track those down and deliver them for you, Chris, after a really minimal amount of wearing them myself.

Anyway, a big crew hung about for a while, we followed all of the action up with a few hours of lying around in the sunshine on my front deck, eating chips and drinking beers, and swapping war stories and ride plans, and things finally came into focus.  It was like the afternoon was celebrating us just as much as vice versa, and you only get so many days like that.

So anyway, thanks to all of you for coming out and getting rad, and thanks for peeking in on us Scud, wherever you are, where I hope that you're out riding and not waiting for us.
Up, up, up.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Pantani Is On

These are the tides of life, I guess.

On Monday I'll be employed again, which is a good thing after a month off.  And, Sunday, with the cancellation of O-hill, the window has opened and, OH HELL YES, the Pantani is on.

I won't rehash the media frenzy that led up to the first cancellation of Pantani last month.  Nor will I repost route maps, tire recommendations, or dote over your bike choices.  We've already done all that.  

But I will deliver. 
So here we go:

Sunday, March 15th, departing at 11 AM from here at the rancho relaxo.  Due to the biblical flooding in my yard, parking will be at a premium, so please, carpool. 

Gonna be a beautiful day, but expect some mud.  

Any questions, get in touch with me.

Up, up, up.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shit riding

Two short quotes about adversity to start our little session this week:

"There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night."

"I don't need your bullshit perspective right now, I need barbecue."

Now, if you can pick which one was said by the great existential French philosopher Albert Camus and which one was sworn at me under her breath by my then-extremely pregnant wife while stuck in traffic, you get a prize: total enlightenment.

You see, here's the thing about adversity and perspective, it's sometimes just impossible.  FACT: No one can talk you into the positive nature of the situation sometimes.  

Times like those, I find it helpful to simply put all attempts at perspective aside, and ride anyway.  Even if that means:

1) intervals in the rain on 3 hours of sleep.
2) snow riding so thick you make it about a mile in an hour.
3) neighborhood cruising like its ET, except instead of ET you have Toph, and it's about 7 degrees, and the surface is 90% ice.
4) gasp - running!- with Keenan at night in the mud. 
5) trail work in the sleet with a head cold.

In the past two weeks, I've done all of those.  And let me tell you, the first 5 minutes or so always sucks.  Still, shit riding is better than not riding at all, and I count myself lucky to have a crew that, like it or not, is willing to go anyway.

Times like these, I find it's helpful to focus on the anyway.  Let the rest work itself out.  

For the most part, it will.  

Melt you big bastard.

Up, up, up.