Some people would say that the Crown Jewel is located far up forest roads 1910/1912 and is formally known by the name Alpine. While this would in fact be correct…I have another thought of what the term Crown Jewel is. I feel that the actions of the Disciples of Dirt in partnership with GOATS, USFC, and CCP has shown character in the face of certain adversities and that warrants in my mind the status of a “Crown Jewel” bike club.
Leading up to the annual 100 mile CCP race for instance, several teams of volunteers readied the course and made preparations for this event. Even when some disgruntled local “CAVE” people attempted to sabotage the event, the quick thinking of Chris and Scott made safe this event by notifying law enforcement instead of taking into their own hands this situation. The July 1 event was held in almost perfect race day conditions…however the trail was very muddy and some of the sections, even though properly prepared, were subjected to severe wear and in need of some serious help.
Almost immediately following the event, members from the conservation group Oregon Wild made a trip up to “survey the damage” done by the mountain bikers prior to their scheduled wild flower hike. Through an email OW reported, "I have to say I am pretty impressed it did not look worse after all the use and all the June rain. A testament to the maintenance work that goes into the place." While OW was satisfied with the trail conditions, we were not and so a work party was formed.
Through techniques learned at a recent IMBA training held at Whypass, we flagged a heavily damaged fall line section of Alpine for repair. The two local IMBA chapters, DOD & GOATS, along with CCP, USFC, and Oregon Adventures spent a weekend hauling rock, digging drainages, and closing off sections permanently to avoid further wear. Kevin and Benjamin brought up a Ditch Witch and two powered haulers and Randy hauled rock from the quarry to the trail head. Many of us cut trees, pealed bark, and created a permanent sustainable solution to this extremely problematic section of trail just below Windy Pass.
While all this work was going on, a large group of Oregon Wild hikers on their way to Tire Mountain stopped and gave thanks for all the hard work that was being performed by the mountain bike community. Following posts left on FB and the DOD website by those that have ridden Alpine in the weeks following this project, nothing but happy thoughts and experiences have been reported.
Hats off to all the hard work of dozens of people and to the sponsors that provide the needed tools. This trail and many more are still open today and in fantastic condition because of the dedication and hard work volunteers continue to put into them…so keep up the great work!!!
Now it's time to Let us Ride!!!
I'm light on new music.
I listen to most anything...mostly. Anyone have a lead on some good tunes? Keep your Yanni or Celine Deon albums ya nut job.
Slow and reflective. Aggresive and angry. Bouncy and...errr, scratch bouncy I think.
Am I right or am I right or am I right...right?
I've had a few folks get butt-hurt in my vicinity lately. Not that there's anything new with that...I'm pretty much an expert at making people realize they are capable of anger, contempt...feelings of inadequacy, you know...not so happy feelings. What's been the theme though: Rights...they have a right to do something. They have a right to say, do...not do...
Sure, sure you do. You *do* have a right to remain silent, just sayin'. Saying you have a right to do something because you've done it a long time is ignorant. If I'm controlling access to a private party at your "friend's" house and they don't want you there 'cuz you're an ignorant, whiny, self-absorbed douche, well...you don't have a right to be there. Even if you cry...especially if you cry. Look inward for your rights...not externally. You have a right to live to your fullest, to be a kind, selfLESS person, you have a right to consider others, you have a right to be an honorable person...you have a right to do what you say and say what you do.
In this vein, don't hide behind "I have freedom of speech. I can say anything I want." Sure, sure you do. Mao isn't running things, sure...but just because we can't come take your left arm and hang it from a bamboo stick for saying margarine is better than butter doesn't mean you can say stupid, hurtful, dishonest things and be free from what comes to you for those words. It means you can *say* those words and *live* with what comes...ya friggin' ignorant dolt. It's freedom of...not freedom from.
Oh, and there's: there...their...and they're. Know them, love them. Finish 4th grade maybe.
I hear I'm arrogant and stubborn though so maybe your problems are my fault.
I'm standing in pink Crocs in my garage, threading spokes, "....mother do you think they'll drop the bomb?" strolls out of the speakers and there's a perfectly good bike shop 15 minutes away with every size spoke I'd ever need. Hell, there's two perfectly capable cats who'd love to lace my hoops for me there...even have a good conversation with me while they do it. And here I am, in my garage...alone...cutting spokes, threading spokes...the girls are dreaming of games of tag, sandcastles to craft, boogers to eat...a toddlers' paradise...and here I am, doing things the hard way, again.
Not that doing things the hard way is new for the arthritic 265lb ex-offensive lineman who manages to chug his way up hills and pinball down the hills while giggling like his girls. OK, not too much giggling on the ups. The hard way...teaching myself simple trigonometry so I don't have to rely on online spoke calculators....like there's gonna be a wheel building emergency when the power is out. The hard way...living in 10 different towns before graduating high school. The hard way...being a preacher's kid. The hard way...more titanium in my body than a boutique frame builder's shop. The hard way...the white kid trying to impress the local gangsters.
The hard way...whatever. Like my life's been so hard, right. There *was* that one Festivus my GiJoe didn't have the kung fu grip though.
It's not the hard way. It's the way. It's what makes us: Time, tension and patience...it's what makes my wheels. Damn fine wheels...or they end up that way. With enough time...tension...and patience, maybe I'll end up damn fine too.
Half my life. That hasn't always sounded like a long time, but it does now.
A few weeks ago the Ol' Lady, daughters and I went on a celebratory camping trip to the coast. What were we celebrating? The Ol' Lady and I had been a couple for 20 years. Cinco de Mayo 1992 we went on our first date. "Good lord I'm old" went through the old rust bucket brain more than once on the drive over. Thoughts of being thankful for a loving, lovely, forgiving, patient, funny and wonderful partner went through my mind as well, but still: damn...I'm old.
When the excitement of the day was done, marshmallows toasted, stories read and kisses given I remained by the campfire and let the mind wander: damn it feels good to be a gangster...err, holy crap I'm old. Of course I reminisced about how lucky I am to be with the Ol' Lady, to have my daughters and feel their love every time I see them...except for maybe when she first walks in to an ER or recovery room after yet another joint surgery, crash, experiement gone awry or such. Those sorts of things come to mind often anyway, but as I was thinking of those ladies being the best...the best things to ever happen in my crazy ass life I was also thinking of mountain biking, crazy that *I* would be thinking of mountain biking huh?
The best trail I've ever ridden came to mind...damn, fun, challenging...and painful. The best riding partner I've ever had...what a patient, funny, scary fast prick they are. The best bike I've ever owned...and destroyed, mercilesly. The best "invention" for mountain bikes...love that they don't slip, can't steer if you can't hang on. Best post-apocolyptic ride meal...mmm, so spicy and tasty.
Best...funny word. Gets some curious and some scoffing.
It's been a trip. Long at times, strange a time or three (yes, yes I went there ya stinky bassturds)...but it's been a good one. Enjoy the ride...it's the best you'll ever have.
I've been to a lot of meetings this week, a lot. Not all DOD centric...but all necessary. And frankly, not too many of them were fun. However, without exception, they all had a more positive tone than I went in expecting. I hope they will also all result in more positive outcomes than I expected while going in. With these meetings I've done a lot of homework, prepping, resolving, exploring, reversing, drafting, starting over. Felt like an undergrad all over again.
I've had to hear some difficult things, share some unpopular opininions and face some tough criticism...as a mountain biker and person in general. After one of these meetings, I was carefully listening to some grumblings by a few, eavesdropping if you will, about how they were disatisfied with the tone, outcome, feedback, possibilities for the future. I recognized the folks as ones who had been talking amongst themselves during the meeting, making snide remarks, being critical...yet never once did they do so loud enough for anyone more than an arms length away to hear. They didn't stand to be counted, they didn't make themselves heard...not really.
As I smiled and stared at them after one particularly offensive and passive-aggressive comment towards a group other than themselves a man said: "Oh, you heard that?" "Yep. Pretty lame approach to problem solving." "What's your solution? I mean, since you have all the answers." "I tend to communicate with the one I have an issue with. Not with expectation of finality, winning, or being friends...but none of those things can happen when all I do is cry or preach to the choir."
His eyes glazed over and he drifted off to what I can only assume was his happy place of Natural Light beer, cheese doodles, muffin-tops, rebel yells and Skittles flowing forth from some unfortunate unicorn's rear.
I used to say...and fully believe...that the world is run by those that show up, period. Not true though, huh? You can't just show up. Sometimes you gotta tiptoe out on that limb, sing your song, run the flag up the pole and see what the hell happens.
Stand up, be counted.
I'm no Shi(t)mano whore...I'm more of a mutt, mixing S(c)ram and Shi(t)mano stuff depending on what's on sale...but Saint has always been rock solid stuff and it just got better. If you're a clyde or gravity junky, Check it!
So, I had this plan for yesterday. I'm not gonna call it a good idea since it involved road riding, brushcutters, a trailer full of trailwork gear and an early start to a Sunday...but it was a plan and those of you know me know that when I get an idea in the bucket...well...get out of the way.
I said to the Ol' Lady Saturday: "I'm gonna ride to trailwork tomorrow." Yes, you read that correctly. Why? Don't ask me.
So, I load the Burley D'lite with a brushcutter, gas, tools, coffee, food (read: chocolate chip cookies), work gear, a tire for someone, coffee, water, coffee, etc and get a good night's sleep-ish...good-ish.
It was a really pleasant (ish...pleasant-ish) ride from Rancho del Brocko to Bloomberg. Very little traffic, cool air and not a lot of hills. That trailer was a cruel mistress in the headwinds, just sayin'. Oh, and in crosswinds. The brushcutter hanging 4' out the back of the Burley was getting a few good looks as the few cars on the road passed or the early dog-walkers wondered what the hell the fat guy in the little jersey was doing. You get a lot of space when you tow a trailer with a three point bladed cutter hanging out the back...who knew?
The trip took about 20 minutes less than I anticipated so I had some time to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, early AM sun and a tour of Bloomberg's new singletrack. All in all, a good start.
We killed it once the work began. Lots of familiar faces and a few new ones, good times. A little drain work here, re-route there, berry abaitment everywhere, moving rocks, placing rocks, skinning a log for a log-ride, good times. Lots of smiles, sun and hardwork...good times. I got my sweat on and soon it was time to leave.
A quick change of clothes, say my goodbyes...and what do you know? A hole in the sidewall of my rear tire. Not good times. So, I had a plan...and I'm riding home. I boot the tire, replace the tube and rollout with a bud to grab a Coke before busting home for a nice dinner with family. Rear tire? Holding on, sort of: wobble, wobble, thump...wobble, wobble, thump... sidewall is tearing in three spots...wobble, wobble, thump...
We get a soda, I put the Ol' Lady's recovery service on hold, buddy and I say our goodbyes and I decide to chance it...head for home. 5 minutes later...BOOM! Bastard sidewall ruins my plan. On the good end: my feet still work for walking and I got to spend a few extra minutes with the Ol' Lady.
All in all, it wasn't the day I planned...but it was a damn fine day.
After getting my arse handed to me, again (it's not easy holding it...), on the ride last night, putting up with hail, road spray and chilly headwinds I wondered WTH. Why did I just do that? I'm *never* gonna lead any climbs, join a race, brag at how high my VO2 is. You'll NEVER hear me talk about how long I was able "redline it at 95%, bro!" It just aint gonna happen. But yet...there we were...grinding up Dillard in a hail downpour...there we were...on 99 riding through a lake and walls of semi-truck road spray. WTH? Then, after downing a couple Cadbury cream eggs on the way home and dreaming of some old-fashioned donuts I was greeted at the garage door by two little smiling faces, a "papa!' and "Why, why, why is your face all dirty?" I remembered why: so I could get those other two cream eggs in the cabinet behind the girls in the doorway!
Really...I'll always be super slow climber since my power to weight ratio will always be more like a John Deere than a Porsche, but maybe those days riding road in the hail will help me get a few more of those "papa"s and stories to read, cream eggs to eat.
Go ride a bike.