Thursday, December 31, 2015


The Running Man was hit and killed by an Isuzu Trooper on Tuesday morning, in the fog, while running west out of town on 250.  Toph sent me a text pretty much right away with the link to the story and the words we all felt, I FUCKING HATE THIS.  

It was inevitable.  It was inevitable because he was incredible.

As a guy who logged about 5,000 miles/year - on foot - on the roads of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, the exposure he faced and the risk he took on by doing what he loved were pretty high.  How high?  It's hard to say.  I've written more than a few times on this blog about the unlikely and unfortunate reality that Route 250 is the "safe route" out of town.

The timing of his death, so closely following the news story a month ago about the man himself and his accomplishments, his goals and lifestyle, is physically jarring for me.  Collectively, I feel like we just met him.  I'd seen him many times out on the roads, of course.  Pounding pavement on Garth, on gravel on Ridge, Reas Ford on the big hill up from the Rivanna, all over the place.  It's just what he did, wearing next to nothing, in freakishly cold weather, simply running.  Seeing him always made me smile.  The story on NBC29 back in November, though, gave a little context to the legend.  He was a loner.  He had no family.  He was running...somewhere, and in huge amounts.

Some mountain lions do this.  Wildlife biologists call it Dispersal.  Basically, it's the instinct that young, male mountain lions follow sometime before they turn 2 years old which drives them to vacate the area where they grew up.  They split.  They disconnect from their family, their home, and they run for it.  Typically, they travel about 100 miles, far enough that they won't have any chance of someday mating with their sisters or mothers and harming the collective DNA of the population, and they re-settle.  That new place becomes their home.  But sometimes, the dispersal instinct goes haywire, and they simply keep running.

In a well-documented case of such a dispersal gone too far, there's the chronicle of the mountain lion from The Black Hills of the Dakotas who, sometime around his 2nd birthday, went East - crossing the Mississippi way up in Minnesota somewhere, before plunging through Wisconsin in the snow, then farther North - into Canada, and across the northern edge of the Great Lakes before somehow (possibly by swimming the channel across Lake Erie near Buffalo) he crossed back into New York, traversing the entire state West-To-East, and winding up in Connecticut, almost making it to the Atlantic Ocean.

It would make a nice childrens' book, I've always thought - "The Cougar Who Walked To The Sea."  But you'd have to re-write the ending, the part where he was hit and killed by a Hyundai SUV on Route 15 near New Haven.

The truth is, we all share this instinct - at least a little of it.  You can run away from home.  But most of us have a governor of sorts - an opposing instinct that serves to pull us back into the fold.  We curb the dispersal instinct with those other instincts like, for example, nesting, or being a creature of habit.  Self-preservation.  Community.  Fatherhood.  These are the things that keep the rest of us grounded.

The Running Man's name was Philip Weber.  But I don't think anyone knew that.  He was a loner, an eccentric.  He recognized the risks, and he just kept going.

Here's the thing about Long-Range Dispersal that you might not consider, however.  Eventually, it's the cat who is willing to go the farthest and survive that ends up setting the the new mark for what is possible.  One day, that cat meets another cat in Connecticut, and they hook up, those two wandering souls, and they have a family together.  And where today, The Federal Ag department can tell you all about (and prove) that there is no reproducing population of mountain lions east of the Mississippi, suddenly - under those circumstances - we'd have one again.

Or,  suddenly, 5,000 miles/year is attainable.

We will miss you, Philip Weber.  The bar is set, and it's dangerously high.

Keep looking up, up, up.

Monday, December 28, 2015

There's no place like loam for the Holidays

Man.  70 degrees AGAIN tomorrow.  December 29th.  Liberal media bias and global warming fear mongerers notwithstanding, this weather is enough to make you want to vote with your conscience or something.

What it means to you, I don't know.  What it means to me is riding.
Wanna do this to yourself with myself tomorrow night?  Get in touch if you do.

Ol' man winter, lurking down there sub-surface, just dropped an ice storm on Los Angeles.  Don't be a fool - yer time is gonna come, Virginia.  Better get out while the gettin is still good.  REALLY good, as it turns out.

And I pity the fool who doesn't know what good is.  Especially when that fool is Nancy Reagan.  
You got 10 hours of daylight, kids.  But 14 glorious other ones too.  Enjoy yourselves.

Side note, mostly unrelated, unless greatness is something you aspire to...
Remember that time Kev29er whooped up on Qwadsworth back when Qwadsworth was still just a pup?

The good ol' days, as I like to call them.  Back before Qwadsworth grew a pair, and Kev was diagnosed with shizophrenia, hydrocephalia, syphillis, manic depression, and more broken bones and hurty toes than you can shake a wet, pink loofa at.  I have to admit, I liked Qwadsworth a lot better when we could push him around on the steep stuff a little, but following Kevin through the woods at those speeds was a fucking nightmare.  I'd live in the past, but I'll take what I can get, I guess.

Because if you like to get down, you gotta get up, up, up.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The worst mountain bike crash of my life

I took the worst mountain bike crash of my life last night.  Harrowing.  I'm lucky to be alive today.

It all started well enough.  60 degrees, a little damp but not bad, a nigh-full moon, and a leftover keg of Hydraulion from the Christmas party on Sunday.  For late December, the whole thing came together like a Christmas Miracle.  So four of us set out from the Rancho Relaxo at 6:30 to ride some gnarly local stuff for a couple of hours.  Good times all around - up and down the slightly slick but rideable paranormal loop, then onto the narrows and ledges of the nebula that exists in the time space continuum where Buck Mountain Reservoir should rightfully be.  Some great trails in there, not for the faint of heart - especially at night in a little mud, but again, all was well.

But we got back to the house and, excited and buzzed from the ride, I poured us 4 beers from the aforementioned leftover keg, and I was carrying three of them pyramid style in my hands while I had the 4th one for me in my teeth, and I was coming down the stairs off my front porch and I blew it.  Badly.

I was wearing bike shoes, which aren't great on stairs as I'm sure you know, and because of the 4 beers I was carrying I was sort of leaning backwards a little to balance them, and the stairs were a little damp I guess, so I sort of slipped and fell backwards at first.  I'm not sure what happened after that, because the 64 ounces of beer that I was carrying basically exploded, and the one in my teeth went up my nose, and I sort of choked on it, mid-crash, and I couldn't get my hands down in time to break my fall, and then I don't really know what happened.  I know I hit my back and my head on the stairs, and I remember not being able to breathe for a minute because of all the beer in my mouth and nose.  I'd like to think I turned it into a little tuck and roll, but that might not have happened, but anyway I came to some kind of rolling stop in the mud at the bottom of the steps, covered in beer, and rolling around in shame.  It took me a minute to get up.

C-ham came over from his truck where he'd been changing and asked poignantly, "what the fuck was that noise?"  He said it sounded like someone had dropped a tray of dishes.  I assume that was the sound my tailbone and ribs made as I was crashing down the stairs, but I don't know.  If there were a surveillance video of this, I'm thinking 10 million youtube hits, minimum.  As it is, no one saw it, not even me.

Today is painful.  I estimate that I snorted about 6 ounces of beer, which is not good for the nervous system.  It hurts my tailbone to take a deep breath, but I think it's bruised not broken. I have road rash on my back.  Bruises on both elbows and my butt.  Big lump on the back of my head.  I think if I'd had my helmet on, I'd have broken it.  The list goes on and on.

The lesson, of course, is that you should limit your beer carrying to three beers or less if you're wearing bike shoes at night and running down wet stairs.

The Pantani ride is in 7 weeks.  By all means, train, do your thing.  But be safe out there, kids.

Up, up, up.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gordon Wadsworth for President

Looking forward into 2016, which you may already know will be the first year that BRC officially backs Gordon Wadsworth in his bid for the Republican Nomination for the office of the President of the USA, I thought it would be worth our while to sit down and learn a little bit more about the man behind the mustache.  

You already know that he's tough, on drugs, and 100% committed to protecting our collective right to bare arm warmers.  You know he deserves your vote.  But I sat down with him to learn a little bit more.  

BRC:  I guess we should probably start with the weather.  It's 75 degrees in the middle of December.  Did you cause this?  Excessive watts or whatever, technically a measurement of heat, blowing right off your drivetrain and warming the atmosphere.  You can deny climate change all you want, but science is happening whether you admit it or not.  

QWAD: I'd like to start by paraphrasing one of my mentors, Sarah Palin, by saying that it's not yet confirmed if this whole global warming whosiewhatsit is a real thing, or just a natural part of the end of days.  And I wont say i "caused" it. But hey, gravity is a funny thing. I dont claim to be a scientist but I know something aint right about the present state of this planet and I know im feeling pretty good these days. Draw your own conclusions.

BRC:  Gun control.  What exactly are we supposed to do about your legs?  I support open carry, but come on, there's a limit.  You cant just walk around with those and expect there not be be trouble.  

QWAD: " Gun control?" Thats a neat way to say he with the biggest guns has all the control. So I guess what im saying you feel lucky punk? ya?

BRC: OK, enough of that.  What is on your race calendar this year?  

QWAD: Race Calendar. Which is like a real calendar with family time scheduled in. Lots of NUE series again, maybe some of the new marathon series. But Ill be honest and say i have a score to settle with the Open Men's category. Ohio robbed me of some glory. And I love the way glory tastes. Like the ear off a chocolate bunny. 

BRC: Tell me about the NUE serieses.  Plural.  Is this just a way to allow Dicky to win a race series, or is it conceivable that you will win both, not just one?  

QWAD: Seri? Serieses? Hard to tell. Doubt it. Poor sweet little Dicky. Hes winning alright, just not at bike racing. Ill say this, not since Bruce Jenner became a lady bird has anybody paid that much attention to someone so generally forgettable. One things for sure, As long as Im on a podium we will go "Dicky Deep." If only for entertainment purposes.

BRC:  Do you still single speed, brah?  Like, what exactly are you riding these days?  

QWAD: One at a time maybe! Bikes are fast, bikes are fun, and I can get home to the beer and my lovely ladies faster sometimes when I flick the little lazer turtle shell blaster on the right side of the handlebars. 

BRC:  As a single speeder that seems to dabble in gears, do you find that you lack the proper butt callouses to really be competitive?  

QWAD: Sitting is hard on a man. The short I dont really get it. Weird because everybody thinks SS is the harder of the two and yet those shifty bits make me awfully uncomfortable sometimes! But I like the little "pew pew" sound the turtle shooter lever makes.  Also, on a related note,  I believe it's my right as an American to shoot wolves from my helicopter.  

BRC:   Pantani is Feb 13th.  When can I expect the Maillot Pistachio to be delivered to my house, laundered and pressed, neatly folded, along with your handwritten apology for possessing it without proper credentials for the past year? Also, Chaz Michaels has the right to punch you square in the dick whenever he'd like, in perpetuity.

QWAD: Well...Youve hit a sore topic. The Maillot Pistachio is a fickle mistress. She can be hard to give up. Literally, she has this sticky spot on one of the sleeves. its gross. Chaz Michaels Michaels (not a typo, just an inside joke) deserved it. No doubt. He a tough cookie, one thats tough to chew. And especially at his fighting weight hes a contender. Always. 

BRC:  The Tour De Burg turns 20 this year.  Gonna be a big one, I've been told.  Do you have any drug tests that you'll be facing in July/August?  

QWAD: Yeah!  I'd like that. Burgalicious. Why not. I heard about the fireworks they pack in their brownies up there! I heard they're great that is.

BRC:  Speaking of Drugs, Lance Armstrong recently came out and admitted that he's made two major mistakes in his life:  drugs and being a complete asshole.  But, in his defense, his mom wasn't the typical mom figure and did very little actual parenting during his formative years.  You, on the other hand, seem to not be on the juice, and your parents appear to have given you a healthy slap on the back of the head when you needed it, resulting in a mostly pretty good dude by all accounts.  So my question, naturally, is this: do you think you could get a date with Lance's mom?  

QWAD: I heard she had a thing for Tom maybe?!

BRC:  I knew Tom Selleck.  I worked with Tom Selleck.  You, my friend, are no Tom Selleck.  But remember that time I crushed you at SM100 three months, 6 days, 18 hours and 14 minutes ago?  

QWAD: Yeah, that was a good time. I almost died. It was swell! You didnt even stop to say hello at Aid 2 you bird dog. Stackhouse and I were having a metaphysical debate and you just blew by. Some blogger you are. No wonder Dicky gets more reads. 

BRC:   Qwad vs. Calf.  2 months.  Brokenback.  Now that you've seen Will Leet operate a mountain bike and not completely suck at it (only mostly), how do you like your odds?

QWAD: Well, center of gravity is worth noting. As is costume choice. But one things for sure. The rural folks are my people. Ive been living in Georgia buddy, I can speak red. So Leet better stick close to my wheel or else the country folk might take a liking to him and all his shiny teeth. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Well, there goes your social life.

back is a bit better. trending in the right direction, I think. May try to spin for 2 hours tomorrow
wanna go to byrom or something?
gonna be 73 at 2 pm
9:54 AM
nothing about byrom sounds spinny to me
its insanely steep
but your a singlespeeder
10:16 AM
I'm thinking I don't want to be hunched over huffing and puffing
still need to tend to that rear wheel on the moots too

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Weekenders

Just insanely good conditions for December, even for a modest Winter state like Virginia.  By all means, go out and do something terrible to yourself this weekend.

For example, the forecast for Stokesville: