Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Since when do ten year old boys not like getting dirty and playing in the mud? I must be missing something. So once a week I volunteer coach with the Sprockidz, a mountain bike skills and knowledge camp. It's a fun way to get some extra miles in and maybe help some kids get into the sport. And it lets my own kids receive some coaching on technique from someone other than me, someone they'll actually listen to. Last night's session was going well until it started to rain. At first it wasn't anything too bothersome, a nice sporadic sprinkling of large droplets. We decided to finish the night be riding a bit of single track to get the kids used to the idea and to practice some of the skills we'd be teaching. By the time we got onto the trail, it had started raining harder and the dirt, a nice rich glacial dirt, had turned to mud. Fun riding for that brief time when the base is still firm, but you have a nice thin layer of mud on top. Yet there were three of the six kids in our group who, as soon as they realized that they were getting muddy, began a raucous and continuous complaining about being wet, being cold, having mud in their mouths, and mud on their clothes. Really? When I was that age if I had an adult actively encouraging me to play in the mud...I'd be all over it. I guess I am really becoming a crotchety old man and the times they are a changin'. The funny thing is that the lone girl in our group was the only one who really embraced the experience, getting filthy and wanting to go back out on the trail for more.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Two Turn Tables and a Microphone

Riding's been slow lately. Nothing much doing. Just the standard fare. Well, apart from the bridge collapse, but even that wasn't too exciting as I wasn't there when it happened. It did give me a reason to do some urban beach riding though - wanted to ride a bit without going too far as I didn't know how to get to where I needed to be and didn't want to miss getting on my bus.

Photo dump. Enjoy.


Well loved:

This is what I imaging pure honeycomb tastes like : acid bitter covered in clover
sweet with the grit of windblown silt and
the grass of a million miles of prairie swept
bare of all life by the winds that blow Conestoga wagons off
course on their way to the promised land.

This is what I fear death will be like: nothing. This is
what I fear death will be like: 8mm silent films running in slow
motion to the point where the bulb heats the
film stock to a pungent vapor in the air redolent of petrochemicals
and August sunshine burning through your childhood bedroom
window - rubber and sand, bleach and uncured paint.
Mildew. Every embarrassment replayed for infinity on a white bed
sheet tacked to the wall of heaven or hell, whichever it may be
where consciousness goes when the body decomposes.

These are the words I'm afraid to say: no, yes, I need you, none of this is true,
I can't continue like this, sex, love, sex, I need you more
than you need me.

I've spread myself out, flayed and open or cloistered and closed,
 it doesn't really matter anymore. I am a beast of burden, like Mick said,
 but it's well beyond that discussion, so many years now, our
habits calcified, mummified, set in our ways.
Two old people doing old people things. Yes, this is the fate of everyone.
Those moments of recapture, when 20 feels possible
again, are fleeting taunts just to remind us of how old we really are.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

65 Doesn't Understand You

I should say something. It's been a while. Been busy. Been doing lots of stuff. Been thinking about dipnetting. Right now I'm watching it rain and wondering just how soaked I'll get between here and the bus. Not complaining, as we certainly need the water to help knock the dust down and reduce the fire hazard, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Or like riding in it, anyway. Doesn't help that I don't have my full rain gear today. So I know I'll be cold and wet by the time I get to the bus and even colder once I get to the valley. The price we pay, I guess. Untitled

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spelt Berries, Thick Rolled Oats, Rain, and Good Times

Just yesterday, after looking at the weather report, I remarked to my wife how much I prefered riding in snow and seventeen below zero temps to riding in the rain. We need the rain, but it takes something that is so amazingly simple and perfect - a bike ride - and makes it a bit hard to love.

In the snow and cold it is possible to dress such that by the time the ride is fairly begun, you are warm and cozy and, provided you vent properly, can remain warm and cozy for the entire ride.

In the summer sun you can remove layers until the sun is on your skin and the wind chills your sweat.

In the rain it seems like you just can't win. No matter what you'll end up soaked. Either you opt for the insulating wool to stay warm even when wet or you choose to go for the rain gear and stay dry from the outside, but if you put in too much effort get wet from the inside as your perspiration condenses on the inside of the gear. I've tried a lot of rain gear and, maybe it is just me, but haven't found a one that can wick and vent fast enough to keep me from steaming in my own juices. (Ewww)

But maybe difficulty is what makes the ride so much sweeter. Maybe it is adversity that makes it so that when I'm heading south along the coastal trail and I look out over the inlet and I see the scrim of clouds form a ceiling well above the tops of the mountains and the sunlight reflecting off of the snow on Iliamna and Redoubt it touches something in my soul. It's a scene I've seen hundreds of times before, but in the rain and the cool air it was special in a way that it normally isn't.

And that is one of the big reasons that I commute by bike. Each day I get the chance to see the world in a new way, a way affected by weather, by time, by my mood. I get to experience the city in my own unique way. The scents and the sounds and the sights.

It is amazing.