Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big Creek Switch Back

Arleigh made this film of me fixing through a high switch back and down the trail on the top of the death descent. As much of an energy speed sucking sap riding mtn fixy is on the down hills normally easy technical became a personal challenge worth the self satisfaction reward and the shaking nervous feeling in my stomach. The box from Asheville will meet me uptown today for a courier to courier hand off if the creek does not rise.

As an aside Jordy of sent me an email over night with a link to David Byrne's April 15 blog entry titled Come The Revolution. For some reason I thought most of you would be interested in the read.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008-1st Quarter Nomination For QC Cyclist of the Year

goes to this Custom High Bike Rider and Train Hopper who I saw in the middle of the afternoon the other day pulling this cool bus stand on South Tryon. Nothing says bike riders are here in town to stay for the long haul like rolling revolutions down the main Avenue with your unprotected head higher in the Air than Shakil O'Neil's and finding a moving public transportation vehicular device to lean on.

Even though this attention drawing hip line was picked up by me a member of the voting committee from a block away only the bus driver seemed to notice. After rolling with the former future QC Cyclist of the Year skitch tipping on the window along a few feet up to the light the obviously aware driver refused to go on green until the High Bike Rider bodily disconnected. Amazingly enough the driver did not stop and have a chat with the rider, he must of realized that the kid was going for a coveted Charlotte Cycling prize.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Alive, not dead at all!

1206 along side itself one of the many big creek crossings
foundation from 1903, one of Vanderbilt's Hunting Lodge buildings

Yo, Yo, Yo....fist to the chest real hard for 650B better known as the friend that made me cry during the Double Down Sunday Special Edition Post from a few weeks back. She and I had headed to North Mills early Saturday for a classic ride up 1206 to Laurel Mountain, to Lord of the Rings/Gnome trail, to the Pisgah Inn, Blue Ridge Parkway North through the first tunnel, to Big Creak Aka The Death Descent, out the bottom to Trace Ridge Parking lot, lower Trace, Across the River and back to the car.

Ars was riding her new 650B custom Coupler and of course I was riding the same 32 x 18 Mercification fixy that has plagued me for 6 weeks. The good news is the fed ex man came while we were out on the trail and even though he left only a note saying that somethings were over nighted in my name from Asheville my hopes of coasting have been boosted. I should have something revolutionary and exciting to show you in the next few days that will help this weekend be my last fixy mountain ride for awhile. I feel like I have been in a hate/enjoyment purgatory hell since February. Sorry to get side tracked, back to the ride.

So, Fire Road 1206 flat rise to gravel climb upwards on the first step up to the top of the big toe of the giant we were about to ride. The good part of a fixy mountain ride is the way that it keeps coming behind you on the climb, direct drive. I stopped for a spell up high after a swooping switch back and saw an interesting angle of 1206 running parallel to itself 30 to 40 feet above and below itself. It made for an interesting photo and then one better when Ars rode by for scale. Over the top and into the single track climb of Laurel Mtn which until the top does not even feel like climbing especially as hard packed as it was. I laughed at myself by cleaning a few of the left hand wet rocky rising switches and pushed through some of the more scary ones that I can usually power/ratchet through. While climbing I looked around and saw that not hardly any trees were green and upon cursory examination I realized that some of the hard woods did not even appear to have green buds. It felt strangely arid on the high mountain and while I was alone snacking on PBJ/baguette waiting at what used to be decision log for my mtn buddy something happened that I cannot recall the like. I at once immediately in time found myself being stung on the leg. When I looked down to my shock and dismay I saw that my legs were covered from the knee down by what looked like standard black house flies. 20 to 30 on each leg and they began to bite. Yikes another tacit reminder of the Persian Gulf. As much as I swatted them away they kept on. It was only when I was moving that they stopped eating my flesh until we got over the 2,000$ climb. Seems as if they were only a problem for about 1,000ft of elevation on the warm dry mountain side.

Over the 2k In God We Trust Units Climb off Laurel on to the Lord of the Rings trail which lived up to it's name with vistas of moss covered slanting huge boulder fields and over sized vibrant green floral fauna clinging to the hill side almost as high on a trail as you can be in NC. The carriage width surface in spots is old gray stones bench set in connecting arete to arete placed by humans in between 1 and 2 Centuries ago. A good portion of these medieval looking sections have been eroded, off setting stones and I could not keep my momentum through the tech so I pushed which was my only other option. At one point we rolled by the stone foundations of Vanderbilt's 1903 Hunting Lodge. Nuts Lunch Break outside Gray Federal Snack Hut with 15 cent recycling going on at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Who ever that guy with that gal and that mum was that noticed my Mountain Bike fixy leaning in the sun without my provocation, here's to you for paying attention.

Moral was high and so were we at parkway level how can you not be. Knobs on the asphalt, lessons about the light green Lichen being beaten back by the tires of sight seeing auto Vipers and stories of tunnel crashes all under a stacked cloud sky. Grins big in the wind. Big Creek Down: "Ars go first", I heard my self say for like a few seconds then, "Okay let me by already I feel great!" Thunder is around, lightning flashes on other hills, you can see over there towards the west and north. Steeper down in the big swooping turns under the tall hard wood trees the sky went dark with lightning and thunder at the same instant. Off the steep traversing past the dam up towards the Trace Ridge Parking Lot. Just then as a little drizzle began to fall I looked over at Ars and above her sophisticated right shoulder I saw what was happening on the next mountain over. I happily shouted, "Holy Crap look at the windy rain on that mountain over there, it is coming this way and going to be on us quick!" Then it fell and blew a gale of pouring water down upon us as if we were not present but were. Soaking wet, every part me and my bike were dripping off the falling water. I had an overwhelming feeling of being cleansed by this clear cool rain. Hurry up, the river is rising! Soon we were at the car and the rain tapered off with sun filtering through the clouds. Alive, no one died.
*Don't miss yesterdays Special Edition Video Post by clicking here
or just scroll down~!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Special Edition Video

Big Creek lower steep fixed geared entrance in to stream crossing. Ars, Thanks for catching it and the ensuing blunder on the AVI track.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dude's Big Jump at Poston Park

in Gaston county was the only picture that I really made on last night's trail ride and I really did not get it they way I thought I had at the time. I did however learn something about the thought behind this type of exposure which came to me minutes before getting to the above spot in the trail. I rode my mountain bike fixed at 32 x 28 yesterday so that I could head out on the Stabby military train with Rich after work. Dude and Johnathan drove separately and joined us just as the ride started. My chain exploded within the first two miles and I was left alone in the woods to fix the problem. In my saddle bag I had chain tool and plenty of extra PC-1 so I went to work trail side style. Dicky came back to get a sit rep(for those not ever in the Marine Corps Infantry sit rep is short for situation report). While fixing the chain I noticed a really bad place on my chain ring that was in need of rock hammer technology to straighten. Dude came back for a minute to let me use his small vice grips in place of a rock. I jumped back on and as soon as I stood up the chain exploded again! Back off trail side and tooling the fix, this time I felt like all looked well enough to continue searching for my friends through this relatively short and lucid series of hilly single tracks.

Pop, there it goes again, WTF? This third time as I was mending the chain I saw a twisted link that I had missed previously which may have been the original cause of the problem. Thought: early on in the trail I tried to ride through a V in a weird growing tree which is where my chain ring tooth and chain prolly bent to begin with. Oh well trail side fixing the chain again and replace bent link, third time was the charm. I may need to replace chain ring and chain before I do anything back country mountain again. On to the lonely woodsy chase, seeing the same thing twice within 2 miles of seeing it the first time. Yikes, where are they, this place is not that vast. Finally there was Rich and the rest. Then in forward direction flying around in the twi light lit forest with no more chain breaks chasing an image of something blurry.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Charlotte Image/What the? of the week~

The other morning while delivering my lightly cooked mail runs to the firms I turned the corner and ran right into a Federal and Local Homeland Security Dog and Pony Show happening in front of the Charlotte Convention Center. I nonchalantly rolled by observing the line of parked post 9/11 emergency response vehicles including CMPD's Sky Watch Mechanical Tower, a School Bus Conversion in to Mobile Command Center, a portable Hybrid Energy/Power Truck and then the above Mortuary Response Vehicle stopped me dead in my tracks, get it?
I have no idea, do you? Maybe we can rest easier in this fine productivity based city knowing that our government is prepared to stack our corpses in to the back of this Mountain Bike Team Trailer Conversion when the next need arises. Yea, that's it. I feel way better knowing that we are being taken care of by our ever concerned governmental agencies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

J Bone: Can You Hear me?

I heard you in 2001 and you have no idea how brilliantly your words educated me.

Yesterday morning after I posted the
Fresh Meat story over tea I went through my normal blog news routine by checking in with the regulars when something Boots posted as his header image caught my eye and soul. It was a big picture of J Bone who I immediately recognized from his world wide legendary status and more importantly as the fellow who spoke to me on moving film shot, directed, narrated and edited by none other than Chandelier aka Boots. I left the courier world in June of 2001 by selling to the Maillot Jaune after running 'My Own' half of a partnership entity for roughly three years which basically had me mentally back in a Corporate state of mind and in need of running away. Early that fall while I was trying to figure out how I would be earning my livity forward future Boots let me see that interview style documentary that he shot of J Bone, at that time a 17 year Vet of the courier realm in mainly Denver and partially Los Angles.

I sat in
Boots' shady Apt on his even shadier couch and watched a silhouetted J Bone in the basement of his Mom's house explain to me and only me what was really happening with the coolest career track in the world. Through a series of Boots moderated questions J Bone's dark outline conveyed back to me exactly what I had been feeling for my first 3 and a half rookie years on the street. When you 'Run your own business' things can quickly pick up and speed your life in a direction that is not really conducive to simplifying which for some reason I have been striving towards since giving up on working a successful job path during the winter of 97/98. The next thing you know the phone will be ringing 60 or 100 times a day to be able to manage the work flow, clients have needs of course and each are individual. While the phone is ringing your employee and a half need paid and depending on how much they deserve federal taxes have to be covered. Invoicing is due promptly at the end of each month, certain clients requested twice a month billing, some wanted client numbers others long hand written sheets. It was the ownership of the business that pushed me away not the job, not the nice people that counted on what I could do for them, not the info coming through my visual cortex, not the hook ups that are naturally bestowed on someone like me, not the companionship of other unique individuals on the streets pulling their weight on the bike, it was all of the complications that come up when you go for your 4 million in trade for owning something that cannot really be owned. J Bone knew that already and then he began to tell me how to fix the problem.

Through sips of what appeared to be skinny, tall and wrapped in a brown paper bag J Bone explained on the television that the courier needs to get the clients who are counting on you up on a schedule and a uniform program. As he sat quietly speaking in dark light I had my "Ahhh minute" on that one. It is basic and brilliant. Your clients are valuable to you, the source of your living why not give them every option to have the best service system that can be provided. His transfer to me was to take the days business as a whole and schedule it with a logical routing of that schedule say 3, 4 or 5 times a day depending on the volume of each client specifically. The next thing I knew I was picturing in my mind's eye a 3 dimensional spiraling helix rising up, each line a different color representing each a different client. These lines intersect at close by buildings, times of the day and needs of each. Always give the client a chance to call for the ever present "I need this done ten minutes ago!" service and charge them accordingly but try to get 9 out of 10 jobs done on the schedule by making certain that your client knows how well this will up the level of service. It is true, the client needs good service that they count on.

His tall Mohawk was shadowed and back lit, I never really saw his eyes but I felt with my heart the words of truth and conviction that he spoke. He talked about his time working, what it meant to him and what it meant to the people around him. Everything he was saying I had lived up to that point of my couriership and needed to get back in my life for my own sanity. I listened to his intelligence, honesty, and all knowing understanding of the world around him. If someone can do this job 17 years then which is 25 years in the now and be silently smiling internally vibrating with the embodiment of staying true to the wheel I had to listen to his vision. He gave me no choice, this smart fellow. 53 minutes of the video ended with me changed for ever set to manifest the spiraling 3D helix then which is exactly where I am today in the now. The other parts of the interview covered some other more top secret style business visions that I am not at liberty of discussing for fear of giving you the keys to the world without his permission but you should have a deeper understanding by checking in with
Boots, live from Denver daily in the near future.

In the mean time,"Hey J Bone, yesterday morning on my
East Side Stay Alive I came up with a toast to you and the rest of the relatively small amount of folks world wide slinging the bag and doing what we do." Sorry it sounds like a poem but as you already know my hippocampus(part of the brain that reacts keeping you alive by sending instant neurological messages to the body's muscular system which reacts accordingly after seeing inward through the eyeballs and into the visual cortex) may be slightly larger than your average Bucket Head by default of the flow of vital information through my visual cortex.

Raise some hops and let them drop!

Here's to:

The ones who ride revolutions high on wind through lavender twilight and dark gray rain foggy din. Here's to those riding under the glass steel structures lit by sun, to those whose career path is no joke fun.... pick up and deliver that job until the day is done. Once it is tilt that glass, be proud of yourself and kiss my ass.

Here is to you and Thank You for giving me some logical understanding of the trade that is my profession.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fresh meat in the QC

Meet Paschal, the latest addition to the courier scene in Charlotte whose first day on the job was yesterday. I had a chance to talk with Paschal and found out where he is from and why he is here. This hard charger was born when I was 11 and for the last few years has been riding the streets of the thickly bike cultured ville of Richmond Virginia on his 2005 Fuji Track Pro where he had been working as a barista for a local coffee house. A few weeks ago while I was on The Double Down and back a crew from Charlotte was up in Richmond celebrating the Bike Festival Slaughterama. That is when Paschal met Steve Mills a Charlotte Courier and visual artist who let Paschal know how easy it was to get a rock start courier job here in the Jar. So Paschal with new motivation to score that job came down here last week, interviewed with The Q(formally City Sprint, A-Courier and City Bike) and started on the streets yesterday training with Dude. Paschal told me on the bench that he was having a good first day and that as he gets settled in with the summer picking up he looks forward to getting busy and doing more jobs. Come on man, it's The Q, how busy could they really get? At any rate I'm glad to meet this new rookie and I hope the job takes him safely to wherever he wants to go.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sand Hill National Wildlife Refuge Birthday Celebration

Birthday Kid rolling on Swamp Bike with her Faithful Warrior

This weekend was filled with physical experience in celebration of my kid's 9th Birthday. I find it hard to understand how she is now 9, half way to adulthood however it was just yesterday that she was small and in my arms. This next half will fly by out of my control even though I am aware of the potential time warp style experience ahead. All I know to do is to continue to be there for her, show her as much of the outside as I can and encourage her to pay attention to what is going on around her.
On Sunday I was able to have 5hrs to myself before the big party so I left the house on my mountain bike on a not so direct route to Renaissance. Once there through a series of urban connections I dove in the tennis court side over the bridge and through the woods. I past a few runners practicing for next year's run club of which one was going so fast I found it hard to get around her. When I popped out on the soft ball side before the Single Track on the right I ran in to none other than Brian from Sport and Theresa formally of Sport. I gravitated towards them as Theresa was making an adjustment to her new 29'er. It was nice to ride with two others in the trial for awhile. Brian was trying to tear my legs off on that side of the trial plus two times around the short track. On the traditional steep climb rock ledge I tried to pass Theresa on the right line who was falling over a bit when I messed up and the back wheel started fast over the top of my head. I put my hands out to protect my face and arrest my forward fall. The strangest thing then happened, my neck snapped forward throwing my head forward in to my chest. Yikes, that hurt and made me feel throated. We rode back around to the tennis court side and I peeled away to start the traverse back east. Back to the urban slog, connecting dirt, parks and green ways as I could.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Image of the Week

Taken early Tuesday morning, click to fit full screen big. I cannot remember our closest star looking exactly like this as it held for me to take the portrait. I waited(not really waited, more like time spent reading my book Aku Aku) for almost an hour for clouds to enter the frame from the left which up until that point was simply a crystal clear azure sky. The clouds are significant because they are never the exact same, minute by minute. One of the world's best photographers once told me that clouds in the sky are parallel and connected to the emotions that humanity possesses.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Interview with a Zither Player

I shot the above film three weeks ago in a park that no one knows about off of Central and Louise near the corner of Cool and Cool. In between now and then I was able to put together the final edit which I hope you have the time to watch and listen, it takes less than 5mins in a day that has about 1,440 of them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2 Tired Geese

Over the weekend while on a bicycle ride to Loch Dooley Ms. Arcen and I came across a goose sitting on a ground nest covering it's recently laid eggs less than 5meters from the waters edge right off the trail. Just off of land floating in the water was the mate, I'm not sure how to determine who is what gender but for some reason I felt like the man was the one on the nest.
We checked on the sight Monday and last night when I made the above images. The proud parent seemed noticeably exhausted while we were there last night. The goose's body seemed flat, sunken into the ground covering more than just the nest. It was having trouble keeping it's head up at the end of it's long drooping black neck. Through the lens I watched this big bird fight to keep it's eyes open as I took his/her picture. We will continue to check on the sight over the next few days and hopefully I can capture the goslings hitting the ground.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Big Fat lethal snake at Renny

This is the best scale photo/as they go down you get to see how big it actually is This animal has no legs
But it does have a diamond shaped head
This past weekend one week after the Double Down I found myself getting caught up on some domesticated chores around the house(including placement of 2 new rain barrels), taking the engagement portrait of an amazing couple to be married in October, getting Pemba placed in her permanent home and going for a Mountain bike ride at Renaissance Park over by the former ex home of the Charlotte Hornets.

Some fine folks from Tega Cay SC found Pemba's blog on pet finders thanks to the link from project HALO. They called Saturday just as I was trying to manifest her adoption by going to the park with some adoption signage. They drove up with a Pitty if their own named Rocco and as soon as Pemba started smiling she won them over for transport to her new home in the fine Palmetto State. It is rewarding on some level to turn something tragic like the death of a foster dog to the life of another. Pemba has it made.

On Sunday I was able to get over to Renaissance Mountain bike park and ride around with the place to myself except for the British couple for 2 hours. On my second time around on the softball side a serpentine shape ten feet from my left over the creek bridge caught my eye. I got off the bike, swung the camera bag around and made my way down to the waters edge to have a look see. It was a Copper Head that looked as if it had just swallowed a child. This thing was fat and long, it is hard to see the scale in the images but it was perhaps the biggest Copper Head that I have ever seen. The one good thing is I did not wake up with it next to me in bed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Last week in the QC

*Late Photo Edit: I wanted all y'all to see this close up of construction crane employees and fire fighters attending to the panicky victim that I took from the bridge 300ft below and a block away, the Zeiss lens is huge! This past Thursday a crane operator had an anxiety attack in the middle of the day in the little white booth in the top right hand corner of the first photo below roughly 300ft off the ground. That panic attacked set in to works a Charlotte Fire Department rescue. I had just finished lunch near the light rail tracks when I heard the emergency response vehicles and started seeing the local News helicopters hovering to get the best shot. The next thing I knew I was in it photographically from multiple angles trying to document what I was seeing and hearing by taking over 200 still images and 7mins of AVI. It was close to an hour and a half of before the man was safely on the ground then wheeled with no apparent physical problem in to the back of the ambulance to the cheers of the spectating crowd.

My first view from the Light Rail bridge over East Trade
Rope masters securing the gurney to the crane

Bringing the story to your living room

Eve bringing the story to the local FOX affiliate

Local citizens defacto authority on the big story

Fire Dept and local News go hand in hand

These guys patiently and lackadaisically waiting for the panic attack victim

My kids will be so happy I'm on the news

Sweet shades

Couriers have always been looked at as resident authorities on anything happening Uptown by the Local News

Can I put this interview on my MySpace page?

Ma'am, what do you think?

Look up, what do you see?

Serious and not

This is the best thing that has happened all week

Fire Fighter on his way down with the victim of Vertigo

A closer look

He made it and is okay!

Friday, April 11, 2008

08 Double Down and Back: Photo Dump

08 Team 283: Brought to you by The Eyeball Duncan
Truth is never weird
Ham Sammy Hampster
Riley, thanks for talking me in to being here

Ride with eyes open Chris
Helmet tattoo
Matt, I consider your honorable career with the highest level of respect

On the road in euro South Carolina transfer

The prettiest landscape of the return
Dead Feet Walking and riding