Perhaps over 10 inches of rain fell between Tuesday and Wednesday Morning of this past week. On my Wednesday morning Stay Alive the commute I have come to love hate water was everywhere. Little Sugar Creek was overflowing in all directions the entire spin around the Jar starting with an open bridge at Albermarle. When I made the end of the bike lane traverse of Ave Centrole in to the dip of Dim Sum the Charlotte CMPD had the road blocked. The police man broadside in the drivers seat acted immediately defensive when I rolled straight up to him and asked if the road was closed. He let me know that there was 6 feet of water over Central and that Commonwealth may be open. How did I know without a radio what he thought he knew with one which is the reason why I came Ave Centrole to begin with thinking that it had a better chance than the low at Commonwealth and Morningside? Over Briar to Commonwealth down the hill and wide water was everywhere. Cars under water, brown murk of the aqua flow half way up the doors of certain apartments and brand new condos. Some folks looked confused with their belongings in plastic bags, I was not able to take their pictures because I had trouble with the whole dignity perceived of someone in their house shoes smoking grits on the curb looking for something from someone. I have to get over that because I have blown two photo ops in less than a few days because of my own nerves to get past something emotionally real to bring the image forward. After I made some images on CW and laughed at my friend Shannon from across the flood who was already trying to figure out why she just moved a few days ago into a flood plain, I took off for the next possible crossing into the Jar South and East at Monroe Road. Doral apartments on Monroe stopped me to take more pictures and see more folks in their house shoes sitting on curbs with their belongings in plastic bags at their feet. The firemen and women looked busy with boats, ropes and life jackets as they floated people around a hundred yards to safety from their flooded residences. The bridge at Monroe was open. The water was so high that I felt a need to carry speed across it just in case under the water line the pillars washed out from the under cutting hydraulic rage which would take the bridge and me on down storm stream water class 3 rapids.
Albermarle Commonwealth just below Morningside
These guys seemed to hold on to their dignity, the only people picture I felt compelled to take.
Shannon, do you see your water logged car?
From the 180's and 220's just a few months ago, what a great investment for your shelter!
Doral off of Monroe
that little bridge will not tolerate such water power much longer....
It is on a t-shirt little buddy, roughly 2 million of them printed every year totalling 45million dollars in sales annually. That is not including hats, bumper stickers, key chains, spare tire covers for SUV's and any other merchandise that they can buy emblazed with the quintessential statement of the American dream brought forward to the now. This is the only image I made on the day of the race, just this:
So now it is day 4 of transfer and the race is about to go down. Some folks who came without entry had to foot race for the open spots, Curt thought they did so well, he let them all in. 400 human entities are ready for the 10am start that went off at 10:17 with a shout of go for the horse corale and around about fashion no matter which way you went even if that meant right or left. Left in the pack running towards my bike around the corale realizing two things, one; I should not have put my bike near Dejay's like i had done in Stockholm with reward from a dream and two; you bastards that ran a third of the way around the right and then blended in like all was good better not have gotten a bottle opener with a number before mine and if you did I guess oh well the SSWC spirit is what it is. On the bike up the first climb somewhere next to a lot of people kicking up dust. Sharp burning pain in my right forearm where I had a scab forming from yesterday's high speed crash chasing Sean. I lift my arm up in spin and see a bee with his ass sunk in my wound, yikes hold the bar reach with other gloved hand and flick that little bastard off. Then Capt Morgan passes with tidy whiteys on and a peculiar sight indeed, shaved legs, thick hairy cheeks, how bizarre a sight to anyone could that have possibly been?/Go NC! Climb with Jackie P, reproposal(yea I know Swayze reproposal is not a word but I care not for it applies) and laughter. Over climb and steep descent, tons of folks watching and cheering those with one gear over the downward rocky slope. 1st lap down through venue, spirit is good, climb on again. Make right turn just before tree house and some crazy guy lets me have a mouthful of beer while I'm climbing simply by me tipping my head back and him pouring the can from above, running along side me like he was a waiter in a fancy restaurant that I had been to once, pouring water to the oohs and ahhhhs of the crowd with a two foot gap from pitcher to glass or in this case can to mouth. Yum, freezing cold beer in the high desert, more climb on. Inside this lap 2 near the lake on the last up hill before the descent just before the Chaprel trail Carl Decker the winner(I did not realize at the time) came by me on the uphill with Mark 'hell ride and helluva guy' Weir in tow. Speed, stand up the hill, black cape and the fan fare. Down low on the Chaprel through the rocks looking for the nastiest lines so that people would cheer because that is all I've got at that time and they did. Right hand line was bumpy and knocked a foot off into the air that made happiness felt from the sides. On the double track up the meadowy hill before descending into the start finish I too took the red twizzler hand up thinking: how strange beer at the beginning of this lap and red licorice at the end. Through the venue and on to the last climb I recognize John from the UK and our ride 2 years ago in Stockholm, smiles and continuance of pedal march forward up and over. Out of water in the pocket, it was a little hot and dry. Back around again up on the high part of the Chaprel I came up behind a man who was as he put it, "fricked mate, I am completely locked up", locked up he was like an erect skeleton completely frozen upright and vertical with muscles twitching apparent in his straightened almost hyper straightened legs. I rolled by asking if he was okay and even his face muscles appeared to be cramped. Poor mustardless fellow needed some shade asap. Down the hill and in and it was over. Someone asked me if I had seen the lake twice or three times, of course three times what do you think I came here for. He then handed me the bottle opener that was red which confused others other than me with a number of 189 on it. Where is the burrito?
with words and pictures yet again. Java Hut parking lot in Fairfax California, the rally started before 10 and took off soon there after for some mountain biking. What fun indeed all of these bikes are single speeds, except for those who rode with gears. We rolled out through the small town when the houses became a bit more spread out the climb that turned dirt to gravel began. Turn left now the single track portion of the climb started and when it topped out the views looked like this.
Cpt Jason Morgan and Chris all the way from Asheville North Carolina checking out the golden bald nodule from the picture above.
Smiles are easy to come by when Jacquie P is around.....
The Excitement on Team Dicky's face says it all, that's right folks Alice B. Toeclips is writing the final contract for her sponsorship of TD's 09 season. Under this new deal Phelan will pay for Rich's entire next season budget and in trade Rich will not only have to do his best but he will have to learn to play the Banjo and jam on the podium to his own original Banjo tunes....
Retrotec bike in front belongs to the big man Olle(pronounced Oh-Lay)from Scandahoovia The rest of the bikes look good too.
Little Lunch after the mtn ride. Bo(pronounced Boo) from Scandahoovia is standing above Olle in the white, in case you were wondering who remembered your efforts.
I knew that Chris had heard it before but it was easy to make him look like Tom Hankswhom I thought he may have been the younger brother of. As for which Tom Hanks I'm not sure that the role has yet been played.
This reminds me of Dojo, like Mojo but instead of Good Luck the Dojo wards off evil spirits, that is if you believe in the mountains...
Curt Inglis, the man we have to thank for putting together such a good few days of networking and negotiating our priorities. His team attitude, no nonsense work ethic and can do attitude provided us with a positive response on the capital model. Thanks to the quick thinking of such a mover and a shaker the bottom line was fun and we all profited well. Thanks again Curt, hell of a time indeed!
Your first Banjo lesson is now Rich, start with three cords and the truth. Two days later and in different wool dress Ms Phelan played to an audience of 2 over the Verizon network all the way back to The Jar. Funny thing is that 1 of those listening knew exactly who it was.
These 2 faces look Familiar? That is because you saw them in Scandhoovia. I cannot remember either of their names but I do remember talking to these 2 who came from Stockholm, a long way to come for such a great ride....
You free country living in bastard.
Don't be sad little buddy, your 2 Yazoo sponsors will surely roll up soon.
Olle is digging the Climate, it reminds him of his Swedish homeland, the land that we all love an wish to defect to.
"Hey Grant, do you think anyone notices that our sweaters Match?"
So what is Slohio Rob showing these guys you ask?
Only the most photographed and disgusting Hematoma that I have ever seen. Daammmn man, I hope you are okay and all of your organs are still functioning like they should be.
a final look at what must hurt on a few levels.
Morgan right, Chris Left and I'm not sure who is in the middle but I thought I heard them talking about homemade whiskey from the NC mountains, something about the backings are good over oatmeal in the morning.
Color and color on top of color.
Yellow helmet bastard who who let a gap go between the lead riders and us leaving a splinter group including me to be lost for awhile. Were you really riding gears to top it off, yellow helmet?
Play Find Dicky, kinda like find Waldo, that is who I cannibalized it from. First one to respond on my comment line ID'ing where he is at gets a pair of Mavic 819-26" tubeless Rims without spokes in Good Condition and True. I will even throw in a random extra bike part from out of the barn.....baby needs new shoes.
find him on this one as well, it is way easier.
Strength in many hold up suicide bridge. More to follow on the Bridge soon, I cannot and will not do it just in this small space in time, I will do my best to bore you later when you least expect it....
All together work as one and the data is here to read when you click big.
Back at Sky Line the Day before the little big race they built a pull up bar set just in enough time to confuse me into wondering why I would be doing Pull Ups at a mountain bike
event. As it turns out confusion was the intent for we never had to do any, even though it would not have surprised me or anyone else had we had to. Shortly after seeing the pull up bars go up I belled up Beccina who was on the other side of the field to coordinate a course pre-ride with her, Dejay, Thad, Grant, Dicky and I. Here comes Beckyand she is determined to get over that rough spot. I was perched up in a sturdy little tree along the trail trying to make a picture and heckle.
She is fast.
Then later I was descending shortly in front of her through the turns and switch backs. As I turned left with her at my back from where I'm standing with tele-photo lens seconds before I heard a sound. A thud that sounded simply as if a 50lb bag of potatoes had silently fallen out of the sky and landed in the rocks slightly above me. Impossible I thought until a few more feet down the trial when I realized that Thad was off his bike helping her off the ground. Wow, how could anything fall out of the sky at the same minute without warning but 30 minutes later?
Recovery and Smiles as redemption struck from above.
Dejay is such a bad ass that he can ride technical trail with his eyes closed wide shut. Similar and parallel without being the exact same to yesterday's eyes shut but wide openSenor Birch has the ability to see without sight and fluidly ride his simple machine of 2 circles and 2 triangles down the landscape of which he has been intrinsically attached to since his birth. Amazing TAO of riding, the keen sense to simply be the bike as one with the trail. With all that considered he is also fun to ride and hang around with.
Leaving The Jar from Concourse C I have the realization that even though I am sitting on a plane which is technically part of the problem, I am actually observing out of the window. The haze is so thick that I feel I should point out that if you look at the horizon at like the 1 O'clock you can hardly make out the outlines of the Jar Central which is only like 12 miles away and should be more discernible.
Click any of these for big For a closer look.
Then I accelerated upwards for roughly 15,000ft through the same haze, feeling the push of the motors as just one view of one person at this exact time on this day of this month and year. The actual line somewhere around 16,000ft of the haze brown line ending and perhaps clear air separation was completely perceivable. It is coppery and bizarre looking and quite honestly as guilty as I was for being on board and viewing it, I had the distinct awareness that I had never seen it exactly like it was for it has never been so much, in the now. Next year it will be more as each day goes by whether or not I get a free plane ticket.
Just as we descended into Chicago altho I should have I could barely see it.
My first and only self portrait of the journey a few seconds later.
Chicago to Sacramento
Once there we found Grant and Thad quite easily, I think we even walked right by them once with me asking Rich, "Is that them?" While they went to pick up the affordable and efficient stretch Hummer we were promised Rich stopped moving and made this face a bunch. He may only truly be happy while moving, either on his bike or feet or at least at high rates of speed in the general direction towards getting somewhere to be on his bike bike.
This is the only Dam picture I took.
Bill Nye on the Yuba River, what the? Once again showing of his relationship skilz with the land he loves.
After measuring the depth of the crystal clear water from his higher than it appears perch with some sort of spitting from above collegiate approved technique, he determined that there was plenty of safety in the self decelerating feet to the front form. Homey is in the hood, just like when Hans Rey and Greg Herbold got out of the car in the high desert except this is the thriving metropolis of Downieville, population 326 of which only around 200 may actually live there all year round.
My river side camp. I took this image shortly after my sunrise swim on the Yuba when I made contact with some trouts who looked at me as I looked at them without goggles or mask. The water was very clean.
The Sierra Buttes
The shirtless club for men president and his cabinet have moved to the Basin Lake Recreation area. What a better place to have a meeting.
Portrait of the Mother Ship in pastoral setting. The maiden voyage of this fine machine could not have happened in a more epic theater.
Sub Alpine lake, clean water.
Hop, Hop, Hop, Hop, Hop, Hop Bill Nye! That is German for Go, Go, Go Go, Go, Go Bill Nye
Now out of the trees, the landscape speaks for itself
The Map came out a lot this day, I got to see the Dicky Map dance a few times. It was always accompanied by some wind for the acoustics and cheers in agreement from the peloton.
Sweet Sherpa Joyko Style Bike Portage in the upwards direction by Grant.
This was headed towards the Dicky Map Break Dance but he could not find any cardboard to spin on.
Dicky and The Strong Fast Marsupialtook the Summit of Elwell First(7,860ft) and As I made/traversed my way around the peak with bikes a hundred feet below this is the rock/landscape face I saw.
Eyes Closed, yet wide open.
Team meeting on the top.
After the summit we descended around about 1,800 feet in less than 3 nautical miles. The forest was back from the rock garden reaches where we came but appeared different than the other side of the mountain.
Moss was growing on the south side of the trees, not the normal north.