Saturday, November 30, 2013

The TDRSYCHAPOP Tradition Continues!

Take a look at the map of the US.  If you're not one of the many people that have a college degree but are still as smart as a bin of Play Doh, and since you're reading a blog (the fact that you're reading at all) it is probably safe to assume you are not one of those people, find the area known as Four Corners.  No, not the intersection of roads south of Sundance, WY for you western SD and eastern WY people, but the actual place where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico all meet.  Now draw a line,  bisecting that mystical convergence of 4 states brought to you by lazy boundary makers, that runs east-west across the US.  If you live north of that line your chances of the weather being nice on Thanksgiving Day are sketchy at best.  This year we had a nice Thanksgiving.  Second year in a row.  Thanks Al Gore!

So, you're wondering what the hell does a map of the US and some weather talk have to do with a bike blog that is unreasonably intermittent?  Well, let me explain.  Get your Sherman and Mr. Peabody on and lets jump into the Way Back Machine and go back 16 years and 1 day...

It all started on November 27, 1997 which happened to be Thanksgiving Day.  It was the Princess,  Cleaver, Al and myself (and probably some other people that my foggy memory can't retrieve from the hard drive) doing a mountain bike ride on the now defunct Pigmore trail with a loop onto the Centennial for good measure (oh how I miss that trail).  Here we are 16+ years later and I still think about how much fun that ride was and little did we know at the time the Thanksgiving Day Ride So You Can Have Another Piece Of Pie was born and carried on with as much regularity as this blog.

Life drastically changed for me shortly thereafter, moving us to Colorado.  I tried to carry on the Thanksgiving Day ride tradition with as much success as can be expected living north of that line mentioned earlier, but no where near the amount of fun as that first ride, especially since many of them were solo affairs.  But let's not rehash the distant past, but let's talk about the recent past, like Thanksgiving 2013!

Scoping out the weather forecast last weekend, it looked like Thanksgiving was going to be a nice enough day to let the TDRSYCHAPOP tradition carry on.  Last year we rode HLMP and we could do that if necessary, but I thought Bulldog would be a nice halfway point for the Spearfish crew and anyone else from Rapid to converge, so I did a little recon on Monday afternoon.  Bulldog was in PRIME shape and ready for a Turkey Day ride!

After sending out the Rambler signal via e-mail and top secret message service, it was set for 8:28 am (a JT inspired start time) with everyone encouraged to bring an adult beverage to share and I'd bring some bacon to share on the trail.  RSVP's were flooding in and it was shaping up to be a grand ride!

Above the fog.
I awoke to a foggy and a bit cold (22 degrees) Thanksgiving morning.  Not quite the weather promised, but rideable none the less.  I headed out early to hit the trail and get a few bonus miles in before the rest of the crew assembled.  I hit the trail in patchy fog and finger numbing temperatures, hoping that the fog would burn off and as I warmed up my fingers would too.  I was right on both accounts!  I summited Bulldog and dropped back down to hook up with the group to ride back to the top.

When 17 riders converged at the summit, we basked in the sunshine, temperatures that were about 15 degrees warmer than the valley below (thank you air inversions) and the fog didn't matter as we were well above it.  Bacon was shared, some beers were cracked, a bottle of blackberry schnapps was passed around to those of us that were of age, bullshitting commenced with a smattering of high and low fives, fist bumps and bro-hugs thrown in for good measure.
Bacon and Beverages...

As we jumped on our bikes for the awesome descent back down Bulldog, I realized that two powerful cups of coffee and one piece of bacon was decidedly NOT enough to counteract the effects of two big gulps of blackberry schnapps!  Slightly buzzed, we bombed back down the mountain.  Maybe not my fastest descent of Bulldog ever, but it was still fun anyhow.

Back at the trailhead, more adult beverages were shared, this time courtesy of Cleaver doing his best Smokey and the Bandit rendition, dragging some super delicious Pennsylvania Troegs beer across 7 or so state lines the previous day.  Once again, bullshitting commenced with a delightful furor.  After a few beverages were consumed, and the lies started to wane, the party began to disperse, punctuated with many more bro-hugs.

So, the TDRSYCHAPOP was a rousing success this year, almost (but not quite) supplanting that first rendition all those years ago as the greatest one.  As long as Al Gore continues to perpetuate his global warming myth, those of us north of the sketchy weather line will continue to give thanks on two wheels, and just maybe have another piece of pie.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Once again it is time to give thanks.

I was told the other day, at one of our super fun FREE local CX races, that I have been slacking on my blog lately and basically I needed to get on it, so here I am, back in the saddle yet again.  (Thanks T-Man for the gentle round-house kick to the gut.)

A lot has transpired since my last post, with each event probably deserving of its own blog post, like the 2nd Black Hills Back 40 and how I had a WAY better race than last year, the 13th annual Dakota Five-O that was run backwards and I had way too many Crow Peak 5 Decade IPAs afterwards and was cut off by my lovely, our multiple times rescheduled Rambler Ride on the Mickelson that never went down, or winter storm Atlas that completely screwed up my yard, causing me to have to become some sort of Urban Lumberjack™ (I just trademarked that shit), hauling away 27 truckloads of trees in the process.  Yes, there are a lot of posts in just that, but since too much time has passed since then all you get of those is a long, rambling sentence.

No, the real reason for my post is it is that time of the year to give thanks.  You're seeing a lot of people doing the daily things they're thankful for on social media, but after a few days of I'm thankful for my spouse/kids/family, my house, my job, it starts slipping into the inane crap of I'm thankful for that cute barista that is 20 years younger than me that gives me my 1/2 caf, double foam latte everyday and is sweet to me and I if weren't married I'd ask her out.  (BTW, she's sweet to you 'cause she wants a tip, not because she thinks you're cute, you 40 year old perv.)
I can't wash the mud off as I think it is possibly holding stuff

So, I'll forgo the obvious stuff that I'm thankful for, like my family, job, etc. and get right to the one thing I'm truly thankful Northwave MTB shoes. My shoes that have sped past the end of their useful life much (like comet ISON hurtling toward the sun) and are begging me to put them out of their misery, and yet I'm still gonna use them for a bit longer.  I figure there is no point in buying a new pair of shoes just in time for the winter, spotty outdoor riding and indoor trainer torture sessions.
It's either ISON or my shoes
fleeing the scene...

Two years for any shoes seems like a long time, but when you add in the fact that they have a couple 100 mile mountain bike races, a couple of said Dakota Five-O's and a couple BH Back 40's, a number of trips down the Mickelson, two seasons of cyclocross races and daily commuting for the fair weather  months, coupled with the fact that I probably am pushing my bike uphill more than I should and walking in these shoes is not what they are intended for, well, you'll see that they have done more than their fair share.  Yes, decidedly more than their fair share.  I should have probably scrapped 'em a while back, like when I sewed them back together the second time, or maybe when I Shoe-Goo'ed the soles.

So, thank you Northwave for the shoes.  I'll probably get another pair of your shoes soon and hopefully they are up to the challenge of allowing me to abuse them like I've done with this pair, but I think this pair has just a few more rides in them.