Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday Evening Sherman Branch Trail Ride

After work yesterday I rode home, loaded up the mountain bike and headed out to Sherman Branch for a moving pastoral experience. There were only 4 cars in the lot when I pulled in, the 'heat' of the new south seemed to dampen the spirits of those looking for a more perfect weather window.
I took off at 1648hrs onto a very dry solidified trail as I realized we are simply another over flowing blue barrel away from drought conditions all over again. No sense thinking about it because if I did that would mean that I am emotionally connected to whatever the out come would be so why would I or anyone else for that matter choose to actively consider what is really going on around us. I mean if I can get 5 more yards down the field at 4th and 2 that would mean life really is good and I would have made the most of it my cerebral housing group allowed me to.
I would rather just throw out the canards lefty and right that way everyone around me can know how happy I am while I swim in the sea of everything is just fine. So, twice around the RC and something shiny catches my eye before my second, 2nd descent. It is a car or a a bike or a euro transfer or a blade of green grass stuck in the sidewall of my tire. I consider the splendor that the little shiny piece provides me in its eloquent simplicity and at the same time I understand that I do not own it. Just like I don't even really own my bike or the stupid toon shirt made in nowhere that I found in the gutter on a road ride that I cannot stop wearing. I have no idea when I last bought a shirt or pants for that matter. How could I own anything if there is no value to just wearing it while I pass by what is really happening around me.
Through the main trail my hippocampus seems very on it, maybe at least I do own that and my visual cortex because I did not pay anything for them. 91F code low orange is not hot, it was 98/98 for the past few weeks and now this 91 resembles nothing in the way of impediment. Flowing around up and over the forested woods I can hear the dryness just above my head in the branches as they grind together in the light summer wind.
On the lake loop I think about Ms. Arsen as I ride down and across the dry used to be wet culvert then the phone in my pocket vibrates my kidney. Dammit, the Dane and the Husky opened the door and are down the street. Thanks to the courier phone being on I now have a tinge of anxiety for the safety of the big dog and the blue eyed one. The Dane is smart, he can move a chair, push up the lock with his nose and then use his mouth to open the handle. By the lower rock garden a 1 minute buzz back lets me know that they are safe.

The ride ended but my thoughts about all that is happening did not. People say to me, "Why think about it?" and "You should only pay attention to what you can control." I say we control none of it except for Kevlar and bullets, big ships of war and plenty of happy people buying it at 2.66 and rising that are ignoring their own selves in the reflection of their ATM transactions. Life is Good Folks however every material and theoretical emotional control we think we have that represents how great we have it is collectively destroying not only the surface of the planet but as well the Earth's Low orbit(roughly 600-900miles up above our heads) where there is presently 1-4million pieces of garbage ranging in size from a finger nail to a cement truck encompassing our great day as we spin on axis into tomorrow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Saturday Road Ride

Hawley in Gastonia. Right on Titman
and the day before Paris they are going up Mt. Ventoux!
Now Famous State.
This Saturday I had to be in the center of Kings Mountain State Park in Blacksburg South Carolina to meet Ms. Arcen by 1030hrs. The night before I looked at the google map and planned a 43.5mile route that took me from the back door to below Gastonia then across the state line onto Battleground Rd and then into the park.
I left the house at 0745hrs and jumped out on the Stay Alive headed west which felt like a strange thing to do on a Saturday. At Executive Center Drive only a few minutes in I witnessed a really bad thing that I wished was not happening, wishing does not always work. A puppy and what appeared to be his owners were fumbling around in the middle of both directions in the early morning heat. The little brown pup prolly around 3 months old had no idea where he was as he paced back and forth smelling the concrete island. It seemed like the panicked owners were in a large truck trying to get out to help the little dog stuck in the middle but the traffic, even at this hour on a Saturday was already hellish. I looked over my shoulder and 3 abreast auto viper was coming west hard. I could not do anything even though none of it was my fault except for being there. I screamed to myself knowing that the outcome was going to be bad and then I pedaled forward. In seconds I heard brakes and that ripping skid sound that a car can make when it is trying to stop from a 55mph float. I could not look back. Dammit, Dammit, Dammit.
For 2 miles I felt like I had no business continuing because my heart was hurt by what my eyes and ears had witnessed. I thought to myself that a ride could turn around from bad to better or even perhaps from bad to worse. I kept on and went right through the Downtoon Jar and when I got to Moorehead I saw a lone rider wearing green go across and down. I caught him soon headed towards Wilkinson and his group of 6 welcomed me in their little rolling pack. Strange, I had not planned on riding with anyone and now these guys were headed all the way across the river and I was with them. I chatted at the back with a tall fellow on a fast looking Felt and then worked my way up to the front with the guy on the Carbon Trek he had bought from Ilan. He told me that he has given Ilan more money than he had his wife in the last 5 years. Over the river this little Tri training ride was going left and I was still going west so we parted with a sprint to the end of the bridge which somehow I took. All fun and Games.
Alone again continuing west out the 74 until Market Street Cramerton. Then off south and west into the country where the roads were calm and rolling. Every other house and church in Cramerton seemed to be having a yard or better yet described 'desperation' sale. Continuing through the back roads to across HWY321 and then more rural riding. Crowders Mountain was in plain view to the south and I could see Kings straight ahead whenever I was on top of a hill. NO cars coming from behind for about 5 miles, just me and the quiet steamy heat of a summer morning in North about to be South Carolina.
I stopped to take a picture at the state line and then entered the 3rd(Mecklenberg, Gaston &York) and final county of the day. Across Battleground Rd and into the park for the last 2.3miles of my ride. The trees were everywhere, I was completely surrounded and happy that I did not let the start of my ride be the end. I arrived at the camp at 1013hrs and my kid found me before I found her.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Header Image Doc

Vertical cloud and sun over the Jar shot by me on Thursday June 18th at 1715hrs under the awning of the Cool and Cool. The Sun is in the western sky almost directly above the BOA Corp Center. A lightening bolt had just struck the cell phone tower less than 50 meters to my direct left which loudly and exactly got my attention as if what were happening around me really was. I pulled the camera out of the bag and made this one click while some wino was trying to tell me to take a picture of the cloud to ground lightening in the far left distance. The wino's abstract advise was that when I see the bolt I should count to 4 then hit the button. Instead I saw the sun revealed to the right of the vertical cloud mass.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No Credit-No Problem

MountainBike.com forgot the teeny tiny small credit to the fledgling photographer: Billy Fehr

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thamserku in my Eyes

Jeff Botz took this image of me with his 8 x 1o negative view camera in May of 2001, a few hours effort straight up out of the village of Tengboche where we slept the night before. You may have heard of Tenboche because Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were blessed in the village's monastery on their fateful approach to as Jeff puts it, "Everest not Everest" The people who live on the Nepal side of the tall(est) mountain in the world recognize it as Sagarmatha meaning The Stick Which Churns the Ocean of Existence. The day before we had walked from Namche Bazaar and through the last hard wood and evergeen forest that we would see traveling north. When we stepped up onto the little plain that Tengboche rests on I saw Sagarmatha's dignity rise into the sky.

While Botzie was setting up for this picture I was looking through the binoculars at the broad side of another mountain named Thamserku(6608m). I was not really posing for this picture, I was already up there when Jeff realized there was a picture to be made. As I looked through the binos Jeff shouted over the wind, "Looks good, hold still" and at that second I was realizing that Thamserku's top was layered across with 600-800 feet of snow, perhaps in some of the giant crags up to a thousand feet. Amazing.

The picture as I have presented it is a relatively small scan of the 8 x 10 negative then turned positive. So, the quality is only enough to get the point across. Imagine that Jeff made a print of this image for me that Christmas at 24 x 30 and it is perfectly clear to where you can even see my wind burned cheeks and read the writing on the prayer flags carrying their prayers up to Sagarmatha.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Big City Critical Mass

I shot these images Friday 29May 2 thousand and mine on the Plaza just around the corner from the Cool and Cool. Everyone in the Southeast who loves to ride knows without getting the memo that the last Friday of the month the CM(Critical Mass) meets up at the CM(Common Market) at around about 1900hrs. No leaders needed, this entity is a plain following event that draws attention to cyclists and their well deserved last Friday of the month 2 hour spot in the road. When I saw them coming I ran out with the camera hoping to capture the power and essence of the force that these riders possessed rolling together in unison.
They were so fast that all I could do was see their backs.

The May Charlotte Critical Mass was a huge success.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mini Photo Essay: White Scaries

Now that Boots is back to the north Toon and has settled in his new job at Bicycle Sport we get to see him way more often than when he lived in Denver Colorado. Boots' daily long commute to the shop takes him right through the downtoon Jar and he usually stops by for a political discussion or to share with us his white lower half scaries. The view from behind is Super White. Notice the Rookie Chain Ring Scar on his right calf. Usually when a rookie gets the mark it is black nasty lube that paints the flesh and the rookie can simply wipe it clean later when he puts on his tight jeans. In Boots' case that is a 2 week old scab in the print/shape of the chain ring because the bike hit him really hard while he was trying to not fall over and touch the floor. Had he been in the big chain ring the incident may not have wounded him.
Boots down at LoLo giving us Ultra White Scary Frontal.
Finally the full white scary eagle spread like the talons of a Nation that we love and thank the French People for dying for.
Thanks a bunch for modeling your whiteness Boots, my readers surely appreciate your efforts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

09 Cowbell From Inside the Peloton

On Saturday morning I left Dooleyville on the white Lemond at around about 0745hrs bound for downtown Davidson NC with some water and a hand written 30mile google/map cue sheet in my jersey pocket. I arrived an hour and 38 minutes later to a large crowd of mountain bikers gathering, some I knew and some I had not seen before. Dicky was warming up, Becky had to pee after riding to the start with the gypsy train, Dejay high fived, I met Tim D. for the first time, then met Rob for the first time since SSWC08 and Harlan Price asked if I had any extra Tifosi sun glasses, so I gave him mine. Harlan said that he was sponsored by Tifosi but somehow he had forgotten his and squinting in the sun while trying to win can cause the brain to work more than it has to. I rode with Harlan once before on the Blue Ridge Parkway for about a quarter mile a few years ago when I went ahead of the ORAMM start. I remember telling him that he was the first person through and he genuinely smiled as he pulled away.

After the 1000hrs start I followed after the 3rd group went through on my road bike which gave an interesting perspective of the 6 mile road/green way section into the venue. After almost blowing my self up and pushing what felt like a half teaspoon of salt out of my body I caught up to the SS pack of Dicky, SSlOhio and another fellow who were flying. All three of their cadences appeared as fast as a sewing machine with the accelerator pegged. I heard the funny talk between them that sounded only like what could be inside the heads of dedicated Single Speed Family.

When the green way ended and the trail started with a KOM rise up towards the venue I stopped, breathed and yelled, "Hop, Hop, Hop, Hop, Hop...." for a bit. I stayed up at the pit area and walked a bit of the course until Harlan and my sunglasses won the race, then I headed out on the 29mile transfer back to Dooleyville. It was a hot day there and those folks that went through with their commitment to race the race should be admired for their tolerance of pain, my hat is off to you gentleman and ladies.

Now the visual smart ass commentary.

The first 10 miles or so out were urban ick but the last around about 20 into Davidson looked like this and smelled like the woods as opposed to the spoiled milk burnt copper bile of the city.
Tifosi, your product in the start line went all the way to the win.
Moots, your product in the start line went all the way to the podium as well.
Becky on the start line contemplates being on the French Riviera sitting on the beach and drinking beer.
What you guys don't know 30 seconds before the start over the hill you are facing is that a little white Volvo unknowingly tried to turn right off a side street straight for you all. Thanks to Taylor's quick thinking and big white pick up truck a disaster was avoided. Great Job Taylor!!
Eye Contact with Tim D. and Dejay who were riding in the newest mountain bike category, 'Crazy Open'
Dicky descending like his life depended on it.
Don't let Rob's dapper appearance or that he later quit fool you. I watched this guy work SS on the 6 mile road start and he was fast, real fast.
Dicky leading a little fast SS train.
It is good to see SS'ers working together in the morning.
Skiddaladophy in fine form.
It was so hot that a part inside Tim's left melted, failed and gave him the perfect excuse to chillax.
Rich laughing by the broken fork very thankful that his has no moving parts.
Red Flower, loaded with Power!!
Matt is looking for information on how to kill someone using his new XT Wheel.
Clint takes the time to explain to Matt how once you undo the cones you can stab the person in the neck with the axle and then step over them as they bleed out on the ground.
Dejay chasing Dicky at this point through a meadow looking to throw yet another water bottle at the blue target.
Dejay Birtch, the SS winner pleads insanity. Oh wait, he was in the new Crazy Open class so maybe he simply pleads Singley.
Chain Puzzle?
Whenever I said, "Meeeeeow" to Vanderkitten Sandra Tomlinson,
she would run away as fast as possible. Wait Sandra, I read the Hawley Blog and he reads mine!!
Dude, you are dying and
Harlan Price's body without head wearing his Tifosi eye wear.
Becky and Harlan leaving dead guy behind as crankless rider mopes towards them.
My glasses transfer back to my face as I start my ride out of Davidson back towards Dooleyville. I thought about what Harlan's retinas saw through the same lenses that were now back on my face. I left the mud spots on the glasses the entire ride back, it was a strange crack out indeed. If you look in the reflection you will see gun 1 and 2.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

09 Cowbell Hot Hot Hot

Hottest and warmest Image of the day. Ladies breath and men look away for the blue light bulb stood out like a photon ruckus.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Peculiar Road Kill

Two male Cardinals take the Meriwether Lewis way in(without two pistols).

Friday morning, the day after a dark vertical cloud collided with a wide horizontal one over the Jar on my way out and all I have for you is two dead birds in Dooleyville. I see it all the time just like you do. Maybe some of you see it on the ground face to face while you are riding your bike or perhaps you see it from behind the relative safety of your auto's wind screen. Either way it is there all the time and everywhere. In this case as I was rolling by I was struck by the sight of not one but two of the same species dead 2 feet apart.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Attack of the 26" Wheel in the Jar

The other day in the Uptoon Arena of the Jar I received a call giving me notice that a large pack of 26" wheeled riders was headed north on Tryon for the square. Perfect. I grabbed my camera and positioned myself in the gutter when I looked up and saw this group of Bike Police in training legally stopped at the light. Apparently no one has looped the cops in on the advantages of a 29" wheel. On the other hand they make up for that disadvantage by rolling with a badge, gun, taser and bullet proof vest. Once the 2 in the front realised what I was up to they began yelling over their shoulders to the police peloton behind them, "Photographer, Photographer, Photographer!" Thanks to the intel I received jut a minute earlier I gave these officers of the law an unexpected transfer.
Protect and Serve never had such meaning. With my camera rolling they were protecting their egos and serving their souls with as much speed as their 26" wheels would allow. Cover down and align recruits, cover down!!
On of the strangest things I noticed as this group of Police Officers in BT(Bike Training) rolled by was that about every 4th one had something to say to me. I heard commentary like, "Hey, get out of the road!", "Photographer, sit up straight!", "Is he with the police department?" and "Get out of the road!" at least one more time. In my defense sir I was within 18 inches of the gutter in the right hand lane of north bound Tryon. Just across Trade the big white produce truck was illegally parked forcing car viper traffic into the left hand lane going north leaving me in a safe place threatening no one.
The city had a little extra budget left this year since they did not have to invest in a fleet of new 29'er cop bikes so they decided to spend that money on blowing the uptoon bike racks, what lucky racks indeed. We all know how important it is to keep a cleanly appearance around all bicycle improved areas. Charlotte is Bike Friendly, you got that right!