Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Salt of the Earth

I used to read about him. A lot. Studied photos in Surfing Magazine. Dreamed about duck diving... wave riding. Only rode them starry ondas a handful of times, if that, but loved it just the same. You shall be celebrated and remembered, laughed with and thought of, you who have returned to the salt of the Earth.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Right now I am sitting on a wooden bench that swings, along a river that runs, runs straight through the towering Sierra Buttes of Downieville. It is effing amazing, to say the least, and there will be a full story to follow once I return from this earthy gem of a place. Be well, all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Slow and Steady

While down in Ashland for the first time (Spring Thaw XC) a few weeks back, I ended up working/riding (pulling and drafting, actually... although these verbs infer 'roadie' written all over them, I assure you this, indeed, was a 'mountain bike race,' complete with a 12 mile stretch of false flat fire road proceeding an hour long fire road climb. You see, drafting and pulling was of the utmost necessity). That aside, I ended up working back and forth with a gentleman whom I later found out was the organizer of Oregon's very own Test of Endurance 50 mile mountain bike race. Crossing the finish line we got to talking; throw in an exchange of words, a few pinches of laughter, and a solid handshake and I had been invited to The Test of Endurance at half price entry fee, a sort of 'welcome to Oregon, I like your style of riding' gift from Mudslinger Events coordinator, Mike Ripley. Needless to say, I was stoked.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am just as stoked at having been able to make the drive out to Blodgett for the TOE 50 miler, race it, and have a darn good time suffering up and down its blatant offering of 8,000 feet of climbing. Flashbacks of the Shenandoah 100 pulsed the pupil of my mind's eye and I was quickly reminded of the importance of mantras, of which mine became 'slow and steady wins the race.'

Apparently the mantra works; although I was far from 'winning' the race, I was able to maintain, suffer, enjoy, laugh, cry, squeal, and make it through in 5 hours 39 minutes and 52 seconds. Thanks to a verbal commitment I had made with a friend prior to the race (that every time I felt tired I would click up a few gears, get out of the saddle, and grind it out... something which I adhered to 8 times out of 10) and an NPR radio lab about so-called 'limits" shown to me by another friend, things worked out slightly better than projected. A few rabbits which had darted off in the beginning, taunting me to chase and tire, were reeled in and passed with about 45 minutes to go. Sure my legs were on fire and I wanted to puke, but so did everyone else, so I smiled, stood up, and rocked out a climbing pass. Sure I was torn and whimpering inside, but so was everyone else, and mind games, inevitably, work advantageous wonders given the appropriate scenario (racing, not relationships. that shit's just not cool). Let them look at you and wonder why and how you have fresh legs. I've looked at others and wondered the very same thing; but, it is in these instances when we realize exactly how powerful the mind is.

Thanks for the sketchy singletrack mud and endless fire road climbs laid over miles of pine and creeping mist; thanks for the opportunity... couldn't have been any better. Props to Lizzy for crashing (around the same precarious water bar section I also crashed on), flatting, and still whooping me. Props to Pia on her first 50 mile mountain bike race... her and Nuby are gems. Also, thanks to Lizzy and Adam for the clothing, chocolate, water, and laughs; those kids sure know how to handle a natural disaster.

Pia and me post-race. Borrowed clothing has a different kind of comfort to it, especially when it is clean and you are cold and dirty.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Supah Dee

Ashland, where this past weekend's 12 mile super-d was held, once again (we were there to race the Spring Thaw XC a few weeks prior) fell nothing short of Arcadia. Emigrant Lake Campground, where we camped out for three star-strewn nights, had us perched, evidently, above Emigrant Lake. At dusk we consumed fire and tinfoil meals, with the extending gold and purple valley as our guest of honor; come darkness, we found ourselves in sleep by losing our thoughts in the murmur of frogs; and at dawn, we awoke to the sun caught in the lake where muted frogs now scavenged for food. One more day, and we swore we would have awoken to unicorns and fair maidens prancing around the tent.

Despite having gone off course for a few seconds (which is A LOT of time considering the race weighs in at a sub-45 minute duration), I otherwise turned myself inside out and was satisfied with my riding... that's not to say I don't already have a list of points to improve on, one of them which falls under the category of fire road descents at warp speed. Yeah, I need to find my comfort with such gravely situations; oh, and stay on course. All in all, it was an honor to race with the big kids... check out the results posted below (due to a huge scramble with start times, they have my name posted twice. I assure you my time was sub-45 and NOT sub-3h). Woot, woot, ladies.

A few shots from an epic weekend chock full of sweet riding, good folks, and beautiful terrain.

Rainbows en route to Ashland. Can you say... magic?

Wookie eating the magic.

Mornin' view at the campsite.

Despite their ability to poop air frequently, wookies make excellent race mechanics and killer breakfasts.

The opening fire road descent. Yes, there is still snow, and yes, we were FLYING.

First "climb", which took about 5 minutes, but still fulfilled its duty in making you feel as though you were going to ralph.

Pre-riding in the land of pine. Woot. Woot.

Anthem (yeah Ayn Rand, I feel ya), which rode superbly, watches a sun go to sleep across the valley.

Raw Rev kept me fed ALL WEEKEND LONG... much appreciated.

Wookie, some racers, and a fuzzy Mount Shasta in the background. Yes, that is California.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Props to the New Kids on the Block

While the team kit is still in preparation mode, I wanted to give mad props to a few of my new sponsors for XC season 2010. Raw Revolution, who also sponsors Jane Pearson (ya'll know that funny Brit who rides really fast from back east), just sent me boxes upon boxes of delicious and nutritious bars... I am psyched. SoyuRide, another east coast company specializing in all natural, soy-based chamois butter (also a supporter of JORBA), is in the process of sending me a case of tins for my coolie... sweet. As well, the main scrilla sponsor for the season is a brewing company based out of Eugene, Oregon called Ninkasi, which means free quality local brews for all parties interested... plus, the guys at Ninkasi seem pretty darn cool; needless to say, I am looking forward to partnering with them.

More props to sponsors later, though. Tonight we leave for Ashland and Saturday we will be rallying downhill as fast as we can for the Ashland 12 Mile Super-D... fortunately the shop I work at two days a week, Hutch's, was kind enough to lend me an Giant Anthem X2, a full suspension el sicko whip for the race! Woot. Woot. No matter the weather, should be a grand ol' time.