Monday, August 31, 2009

Hincapie Wins-Zabriskie, Helicopters, Colombians & Cops!

Lap 1-2mins off the front Dave Zabriskie stands up on the pedals over the Col du Altamont. The Colombian Tifosi high on Altamont was having more fun than you could imagine. Notice Diego Garavito from an earlier post holding the Flag on the right side behind the pretty girl.
Sky 4 adding to the confusion.
State Highway Patrol
High on Altamont Rich demonstrates his free wheel track stand.
Earlier in the day we were in Paris Mountain State Park looking for things to yut off of. Yeah I know, yut is not a word.
He took this one of me too scared to yut.
On the descent off of the Col I decided to take this picture of myself just past a house party celebrating the race that was going by.
Yesterday morning Dicky and I headed south and west for Paris Mountain State Park just outside of Greenville South Carolina. After exploring the trail system and terrain of this new place we rode out of the park, traversed the State Park Roads and then headed up the backside of Altamont Road for the summit and a good spot to watch the US Pro National Cycling Championship Race.
First off the riding at the Paris Mountain was refreshing and a very fun place to be. The variance in terrain surprised me a bit. There were short ups and downs that rolled over the top of a decent sized mountain in the middle. We saw 2 large lake trout swimming along the shore in the big clear reservoir on the other side of the mountain. On the way out we ran the DH course which was something with its rock chunder and steep sections.
Once back to the car Dicky changed clothes and I donned my messenger bag. After a few minutes at the transition were back on our bikes riding out for Altamont Road and heading up the climb to find a spot to watch the race roll through. At the summit the Tifosi were already in place lining the road for about 200 meters on down the backside of the hill. I had never witnessed this type of an event before and when the final official cars came through on lap 1 blowing their horns I saw Dave Zabriskie stand up to the cheers of the cycling fans and go over the top. It was interesting to witness so close, the power of a human being inspired by the energy of many. We stayed on the summit for another lap then started the descent to find a corner spot to watch Lap 3 come down and fast. Light rain. Lap 3 flew by and then we headed for the car and 2 hour drive home. Later I found out that George Hincapie won the race and that the Bissell Tent was giving away vacuum cleaners if you could get the stationary bike to a certain wattage.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Trees Fall BTU a Plenty

Ms. Arcen climbed up to the center of the tree fall to examine the hole left in the sky when the huge oak at her feet came down taking with it 4 other mature hard woods including the one she is sitting on. For scale I took this one of her all the way back from the base of the old oak which is parallel to and about 12 feet off of the ground.
I have spent just over 8 hours so far since Monday night on my side of the tree fall damage clean up. That time was spent cutting back into the heart of the fall, throwing, stacking, dragging and of course twisting wire to mend the damaged sections of fence line that retains the dogs. On the first night in dusky light while I was cutting back into one of the main leaders of the oak I felt something warm on my arm then all of a sudden it was running on my neck. ANTS!! I hit the kill switch on the Husqvarna and frantically almost in a panic wiped away the dozens of black carpenter ants that had made their way up my arm and were running all over the back of my neck and head. Upon further inspection I found hundreds, if not thousands of them in a chaotic stream zig zagging out of a crack in the main section of the oak very close to the leader I was cutting on. These black ants are ultimately the cause of the tree's death and fall over during a heavy wind on Sunday afternoon while I was in the Outer Banks.
The clean up on my side is finished but the big job on my Good Neighbor Arturo's side has just begun. My saw at 16" is not enough to get into the bigger parts of this now dead fall so Arturo went out yesterday and dropped a dummy knot on a brand new Husky 455 with a 20" bar. There is prolly around 6-7 hours of ripping left to get the fallen trees back to the edge of his yard. With that cutting I will have plenty of wood to get on my side then split and stack for next year's BTU consumption. All of the hardwoods that came down as a result of the fall will be able to be cut and moved to my side, however 25 feet of the main trunk of the oak will be unmanageable with our paltry equipment so it will be left in place in the woods.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NC Outer Banks Part II

I found this interesting map of the Outer Banks created by Fred Hurteau with a NASA photo. The Oregon Inlet Bridge is clearly marked at center right. We camped on that tiny little strip of land just on the north side of the bridge.
We arrived Sunday morning to a Red Flag Beach which contrary to my belief means no swimming. I swam in the surf for about 15 minutes while Ms. Arcen played high on the sand with Mary. I was not sure why I was the only one out there battling it until the 4 wheeler came to give me the message that a Red Flag Beach means NO SWIMMING.
Kitty Hawk. Here child, dog and huge chunk of rock mark the spot where the first successful flight of an airplane piloted by Orville Wright took place on December 17, 1903.
There were 3 short flights to mark the occasion then the long one all the way to the end of the field. Ms. Arcen looked at me over her shoulder smiling and exclaimed, "I'll race ya dad!" It was on.
Look out out people I have to get to the top of Kill Devil Hill to check out the monument!
Leading the way, as usual.
On top of Kill Devil Hill child and dog are inspired by seeing the monument from afar, now up close.
This monument felt dark and grand at the same time.
Ms. Arcen told me that her inspiration comes from thoughts of history and of what it must have been like to live at that time. Notice the scale of the blocks behind Mary then look back at the previous image.
No one told me that the Wright Brothers were from Ohio until we returned.
Ms. Arcen marks the spot above our camp where we started our approach to the ocean roughly 120 meters to the east. Later that night well after dark under the twinkling blanket of the Milky Way I laid in the tent facing the direction of the ocean feeling sleep come over me. I was connected by a thin mat and the tent fabric to this narrow piece of landscape which is surrounded by water(see above map). At the point of unconsciousness I could feel how small I really am intrinsically attached to that place and time on earth. My heartbeat was bouncing off of the solid but vulnerable sand dune. Without moving I then heard Karsen's heartbeat feeling the same smallness and grandeur. She felt it too but the awareness was happening while she was already asleep and dreaming in color.
The look over the first hill shows the configuration of hummocky dunes that lead to the Atlantic Ocean.
This present Header Image is telling.
I know Mary has been to the ocean with me more than once before but she must have forgot what it tastes like. She drank a big sip and then could not seem to get the salty taste out of her mouth.
The kitchen at our camp.
The surf was still big, 6 to 7ft 2 days after Hurricane Bill passed a few hundred miles off shore.
The Gulls sometimes simply floated above our heads riding the wind currents without effort or forward movement in front of an azure cloudscape back drop.
Sunset over the Pamlico Sound.
The base of the Bodie Lighthouse.
In early dawn the search for shark teeth was on.
To find a shark's tooth one has to look for the small signature black triangle pointy through a myriad of ocean debris that always looks like this.
Unbelievably Ms. Arcen shot this image of my right arm coming out of the explosion of water that I was pummeled by. Like I am waving hello or flailing for control of my human form, you tell me. Later after this picture was made a wave that I was planning on diving through lifted me up to the crest, turned my face up to the sky body parallel to the coast and then dropped me straight down hard into the sand floor. Besides Gravity there is love.
Mary is right, this stuff tastes really bad.
The Albemarle Sound Monday morning.
The last physical challenge before we headed home was a 45 minute ankle deep sand walk in the Soundside Nature Trail. The views of the back side of Jockey's Ridge were amazing and the hike was unique for it was not the normal forested trail that we are used to walking on.
Child and dog fared well, they are strong, healthy and intuitive in the way that they interact with the world they are surrounded by. I do love both of them and I enjoy travelling to new places with them which allows me to experience beauty and truth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Outer Banks Interruption!


Map of Jurassic Park Island where the long distance package was delivered to.
Yurgen Kirby, an employee of Charlotte based Velocity Bicycle Couriers called me on the gas grill 2 hours ago looking for logistics help related to his unique situation of being stuck in Jurassic Park since last September after successfully delivering a DNA sample to the Park's Executive Officer. According to Yurgen on September 2, 2008 he was dispatched by Swazey the Owner/Operator/President of Velocity to ride his bike to Charlestoon South Carolina where he would meet a man in a straw hat who would give him a sealed capsule containing the DNA sample of an extinct Dilophosaurus. Once he had the sample Yurgen was instructed by his boss to put the package in his bag, ride down to the port and with his bike board the rusty container ship the Emerald Sea. Swazey told him that the arrangements had been made and that the Ship's Captain knew he was coming. The Emerald Sea was bound for Antarctica with supplies for McMurdo Station and on day 20 when the ship passed within a mile of Jurassic Park Island they would send out a skiff to deposit Yurgen, his bike and the special delivery. Yurgen always in search of global adventure was so exited about this 'Special Delivery' that he never asked about the exit plan. All he remembers Swazey saying over the Crackberry was, "Don't screw this up Yurgen, it is a $143,879 billable invoice. Oh Yeah, wear your Damn Velocity T-Shirt because not only will the guy in the straw hat be looking for that but I want my business to be marketed the whole length of the way. This Dinosaur DNA stuff is going to be big I tell you Jurgen, huge in the future and I want that market mostly because I still owe Briko a quarter million dollars for that life time supply order I made in 1999!" That afternoon Yurgen rode the 220 miles through the night down to Charlestoon, picked up the DNA, boarded the ship and after 3 weeks at sea was dropped off on the western shore of Jurassic Park Island. The skiff coxswain realizing that Yurgen had no exit plan agreed to wait 6 hours for him to return while the Emerald Sea anchored a mile off shore. Plenty of time Yurgen thought to himself, a simple 20 mile round trip, that's 2 Stay Alives. A little disorientated at first Yurgen pedalled his way some 10 miles to the north east corner of the island where he found the office of an eager scientist who was willing to sign the Crackberry screen in receipt of the precious delivery on September 29, 2008 at 0815hrs. Yurgen rode away from the building struck by the beauty of the island. All of a sudden Yurgen came to a huge wall of electrified fencing designed to keep the Dinosaurs on the Island. He rode along traveling in the direction that he had come from but he just kept riding and never found the waiting skiff. Time lapsed from hours into days, then weeks into months while Yurgen desperately tried to find his way out of the electrified containment area that seemed to surround the entire island. He has survived by eating wild dates that he dries himself and these crazy prehistoric plumbs that grow to the size of A VW Bug. Yurgen has had plenty of fresh water that flows in the island's netowrk of mountain streams. A few weeks short of a year has passed since Yurgen left this fine nation in which we dwell and he just figured out how to get some battery power for his Crackberry by standing near the electrified wire fencing. The first call Yurgen made in almost a year after being lost on Jurassic Park Island was to his boss Swazey.

Jurgen Kirby stuck in Jurassic Park proudly wearing his Velocity Flair.
Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and the 20 bucks that I gave to a hacker friend of mine I can share with you my lovely audience the transcript of that call that took place yesterday:

Swazey's Crackberry rings with the tone of the U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday in his cottage kitchen while he his reading the New York Times over an Owens Bagel and a cup of fair trade Ethiopian coffee.

Swazey: This is Patrick with Velocity Bicycle Couriers your 24/7, 365 day a year International Courier Logistics Service, how may I help you?

Yurgen: Swazey, Swazey, it's me Yurgen from your summer work exchange program last year!!
Swazey: Jurgen, for God's sake how are you man? Good? Good. I am sorry for not initiating your rescue after you delivered that package last year, I figured that you had been eaten by a T-Rex or stepped on by a Brontosaurus or something. Where the heck yeah are you Yurgen?
Yurgen: I'm still on Jurassic Park Island surrounded by thousands of real life dinosaurs and a huge electric fence that seems to cover the entire island, I cannot find the place I slipped through on the way in.
Swazey: Never mind all the specifics Yurgen, how is that T-Shirt I gave you to wear? I have been sending you text messages every week since you went missing hoping that you were on the cosmic wave some where near Polynesia and could Fed-Ex the Velocity T-Shirt back to me, its rightful and lawful owner. Yurgen, I keep a tight inventory on company supplies you know, can I get my shirt back or do I have to charge you with petty petite theft?
Yurgen: Uhhhhhh, I have been wearing that shirt every day since I took off for Charlestoon, 11 months and 3 weeks ago. Did you not hear me, I am stuck on an island that does not even exist. This place is a T-Total Crack Out and you are telling me about your missing T-Shirt? This Velocity Courier cotton T-Shirt made in nowhere is the only clothing on my back and I am very thankful that the temperature has not dropped below 62F since I have been here.
Swazey: Look Yurgen, do you think I give a rat's ass about the climate and conditions you have been surviving in? I don't, I just want my T-Shirt back and I expect it to be clean.
Yurgen: Whatever Swazey, I will be buried in this shirt.
Swazey: Well, I have enough money to take you to court since that $143,879 check cleared as payment for the delivery you made.
Yurgen: Go ahead, I would relish seeing you in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse and.....(BOOM loud interruption)

At that second a bolt of lightening struck 10 meters from where Yurgen stood and his line goes dead.

Swazey: Yurgen, Yurgen, I heard an explosion, is my T-Shirt Okay? Hello? Are you there Yurgen?

The lightening knocked out power to the fence giving Yurgen a chance to run for the beach which he did at full sprint. Once he broke clear of the electric fencing he realized that he had no where to go but the island's desolate beach. So he climbed back up to the beach side of the fence and when the power came back on he belled me up to explain the situation and see if I could help with an extraction plan. I called Captain Seamus, an old Marine buddy of mine who flies Harrier Jets and as syncro would have it he was aboard the USS Saipan LHA-2. The 24 MEU was running ice cores from Antarctica to Stanford University in Palo Alto on a super secret Global Unwarming project initiated by the Obama administration for Change. His ship was within a 2 hour flight from the north end of Jurassic Park Island where Yurgen would be standing waving the valuable Velocity T-Shirt to signal the LZ for Spartan. As you read this Yurgen has made the relative safety of the USS Saipan where he was greeted to a heroes welcome. By this time next week Yurgen will be in San Fransisco where he plans to settle down and start his memoir on what it was like to deliver the most extraordinary package in the history of Bicycle Couriering.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NC Outer Banks

Bodie Island Light House at sunset the night before last. If you look down low you will see Ms. Arcen drawn to the odd shaped building that was built in 1871 to signal ships long before the whole GPS and Satcom thing. Here we are yesterday on a nature/hiking trail that started on the inlet side of Jockey's Ridge. Mary's head is in the bottom of the picture as she stares out into a little marsh from the foot bridge we were standing on.
Ms. Arcen took this picture of me trying to get into the surf yesterday morning just after a cloud covered sunrise. This desolate spot of beach meets ocean was 120 meters over hummocky sand dunes from where we slept connected to the landscape in my tent.
I will not have much for you this morning. I am sort of 'out of it' after over 800miles in the car plus all kinds of physical transfer since Sunday morning at 0400hrs when Ms. Arcen, Mary and I started our adventure to North Carolina's other treasure, the Outer Banks. I was trying to come up with a way to let you know that these Outer Banks have nothing to do with the ones that you put your money in even though the commerce is close by to the North and South. But for one stretch, 17 miles to be accurate there was a pristine shore line that we found sanctuary on a point called Oregon Inlet.
I do have quite a bit more to show and talk to you about but there is no way I can put it together right now. When we returned last night I went to work for 3 hours and well into darkness with my chain saw and 4(or so) tasty IPA's. While we were gone a roughly 85-90 year old oak tree in the forested public right away just behind my property line fell towards my good neighbor's property and into their back yard. As this tree came down with an explosion that must have sounded like thunder it took out at least four other mature hard woods with it. The debris field and some of the main branches from the original tree took out a portion of my back fence line and a bigger section of the side fence behind my food production and waste compost box. I felt the need even though I wanted to get to work on the B-Log to start the clean up and immediate mending of the obliterated fence which keeps the hounds in. Hey, I spent 3hours after a travel last night mending fences in the dark, how about that.
These half assed night images will only give you the idea. Here is the base of the tree that first came down across the far back fence line. It is hard to judge the scale from the picture but this thing is huge.
The corner and side fence running to the left that was destroyed by the tree fall.
So, come back tomorrow if you have the time and I will share more with you of our little bonding experience and all the little transfers that we went through to see honestly into our relationship with each other. Plus you may find the images from this part of the earth quite telling.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Video B-Log Post

Yes, all I have for you toonday is a video post. This video is however custom made for you by me in an effort to give you a laugh on this fine Friday. Yesterday in the early afternoon a rain shower came through the Uptoon that caused the streets to be in near prefect condition to play around on the ole work bike. Take the 2minutes needed to watch the following documentary of what it is like to have too much time on your hands while at work. What else would you be doing with that 2 minutes anyway?

Interview with me shot by me, film of me skidding shot by Dude and edit made complete by me.

Skid on Tryon from Billy Fehr on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

CMA Breaking/Braking News

Yesterday CMA ambassador Dude graced my comment line with his presence and a stolen lyric from a band that I recognized but cannot remember the name of. This was the first time Dude commented on my B-Log using his real identity however I think I can tag at least 17 other comments to him that he made using the ubiquitous cover Anon. Interestingly enough he wanted me to let you know that he, "Shoulda" put quotation marks around the words with a credit to the musician responsible but he was in such a rush that he forgot. To clear up any potential erroneous assumptions Dude's comment was not his own original thought, it was merely a song lyric that he had heard before and thought applied for whatever reason to my Toast Post. Dude, thanks for the clarification, now if I could only remember the name of that Hip Hop Band.

CMA Breaking/Braking News: Here Dude is describing what it was like to grab a handful of front/only brake and then have the 8" rotor split into 2 ineffective pieces while couriering on the metropolitan streets of Charlotte, North Carolina. Workers' Comp will prolly not cover the expense to replace this part even though the incident happened on the Job. Workers' Comp will however cover any injury that Dude may or may not receive while he tries to get through the rest of his work day without any mechanical brakes and a free wheel.
Those are Team Dicky's fingers that came free from his finger sponsor holding the rotor's sheared off outer ring for display. I suppose that one day one of you Team Dicky stalkers may google, 'who sponsors Team Dicky's fingers' and see this post. Ha ha to you. Dude, your track nuts look rusty and not maintained.
This parting shot shows the true separation of the rotor while at the same time it makes us aware that Dude's shoe laces match the bar tape on his road bike.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Toast to 2 that Ride Bikes

Annie took this Picture of Diego Garavito and I toasting over coffee and his rice crispy treat last week at the South End is near Cool & Cool. I met Diego a few years back while he was working in the under ground catacombs of Bicycle Sport. There Diego quietly stood at a bench building bikes under a flickering light in the dark damp dungeon while customers perused the racks of shiny new merchandise just above his head. Occasionally over the years Diego and I run into each other and have the chance to talk about the latest rides we have been on. Diego is a very strong rider from Colombia South America who rides for Team AeroCat(he is the one in the middle without a helmet). The other morning our paths crossed at the Cool & Cool and I asked him about the Presbitational Crytickulum that he had just raced in over the weekend. "It was good", he said. Seeing we both like bikes we decided to have a toast over coffee.

Raise your glass, ceramic mug or styro!

Here is to,

One the Pro Racer in black and green Kit
the other a messenger not quite as fit

Road Racers are always watching what they eat
for this toast Diego chose a Rice Crispy Treat

The Road Racer trains 600miles a week
while the messenger laments, "The Future looks Bleak"

Carbon Fiber end to end make the Racer's bike light
Old Steel and no sponsor the messenger's weighty plight

Good Looks in Road Racing is definitely required
the messenger's appearance is not that inspired

Cadence and Watts are always in the Racer's mind
a heart rate monitor on the messenger you will not find

For a mechanical the Racer has a Team Car
in the same situation the messenger walks to the bar

The Road Racer usually gets all the Ladies
no doubt because the messenger is stuck in the 80's

Sure those Road Racers are completely elite
but in the end we ride the same Streets

Here is to us and to you, those who like bikes!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday Evening Mallard/Clark's Creek Ride with the Kid

Yesterday after work I rode home, loaded up the ailing Montero with Ms. Arcen's riding gear and mine then I headed out to the farm where she was working in the back barn on manure detail. She kicked the horse poop off of her boots and then we drove out to the Mallard/Clark's Creek Greenway system that we had not yet experienced. We parked at Mallard Creek Elementary and then started with a 2.5mile out/back on the Clark's Creek section. Once back to the intersection we then rode a shorter 1.5 out/back on N. Mallard Creek and then lastly the longer 3 mile out/ back on the S. Mallard Creek all the way to the Kirk Farm Fields. Ms. Arcen had a good time of it on this late day roughly 14 mile ride. She ran over a bright green snake on the Clark's Creek section that had her scared at first but then smiling with the recognition that this adventure was really happening. This was our first time to the Mallard/Clark and this Greenway system was very interesting indeed. Mainly forested paved paths with plenty of crushed gravel sections, bridges and all sorts of side paths of which we mostly left for future discovery. For the time we were out there I felt like we were on Euro Transfer. We stopped twice for a few minutes break each. First nature called the kid and then later on out past the I-85 underpass(the trail goes under a very loud I-85) Ms. Arcen noticed the foundation wall of some sort of historical building out in the woods that we investigated. If anyone happens to be reading this blog who knows anything about that structure please pass that data on to me. We returned to the car in just under 2 hours and headed home for a diner, that's right diner of fresh peaches, garden fresh cherry tomatoes, green beans and home made pasta and cheese with some squash in the mix.

The look on Ms. Arcen's face shortly after accidentally riding over a vibrant green snake.
Approaching one of the many under passes on the S. Mallard Creek section.
My favorite image of the actual ride.
Crushed gravel, slight incline.
Break time with creek access.
When nature beckons her it really does and she always acts with awareness on that call.
This Butta Fly came close more than once.
Getting dirty on the way out of the creek.
Discovery of a walled foundation.
Up the side wall
for the peaked roof.
The view from the top.
We walked a bit down a single track looking for deer.
Approaching the very audible I-85 on the way back in from Kirk Farm Fields.
This was a very long bike under pass with a strange tangible sensation of car vipers travelling 65-80mph North and South just above our heads.