Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Early 2015 Happenings

Ryanne's been traveling a bunch for work, and I really can't decide how to spend any (or all) of my free time.

Here are a few of the things I've been wasting my time on.

1. Watching Heart and Irene Cara Flashdance videos on YouTube, semi-reminiscing of couple skates and dumping dollars on popcorn balls and dry-rotted skate rentals at Skate Castle.


2. Looking at the Summer Solstice in my fridge. Forgotten by Scott at 6 Hours of Brady's Run 2014. Claimed by me. Forgotten at my previous residence. Recently discovered and reclaimed.

Wait in line, cold one. For now, you'll remain a colorful reminder of a muddy and sufferably fun day.

3. Speaking of Brady's run...Another showing for 2015? Not sure. Other adventures may be calling.

And what else? Oh...

4. Listening to Bon Iver.

5. And speaking of Flashdance, I always thought if I were a grown adult female in the 80's, that'd be me on the bicycle around this time.

6. Or welding.

7. Instead of looking like a grown adult male in the 2010's, here.

Not as cool.

But, we can now brew 1/2 barrel of beer in one session. And I like that.

8. Seeing Midlake and Band of Horses was great. J Mascis, too. Makes me think of Roscoe.

9. I've been running 40-50 miles per week the last eight weeks. Impressive, I know. Too impressive. The Glory Meter is about to break. If I get too good, I'll lose my sponsorships. Don't worry, we all know I fall off quite quickly. Pick a random post in the blog archives, and you'll see. Highs and lows.

Very lows.

10. Hanging many old lights in the new house. And by new, I mean over a century old. I got shocked twice. Not too bad. I thought 110V would rock this body, but I'm actually kind of proud that I didn't fall completely to the floor.

11. The lights? My parents came over this weekend and said the hallway looks like Gimbels. And I'm all right with that. Duh.

12. Eating more sushi. More Mexican. Also duh.

13. Not drinking coffee.

But pretty much still drinking coffee.

14. Although having fun...

15. And obligatory post of gas-inducing root vegetables.

Next post: Updated pic of Scott's beer in Jan 2016.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Single Speed USA

Single Speed USA happened in August. My brain just started working again.


This year, Debauchery was hosted by Michigan, and more specifically, the trails at Copper Harbor in the Upper Peninsula. If you're not familiar with the Upper Peninsula, it's famous for two things:

1. The Edmund Fitzgerald
2. Being far away

When you do manage to get to the peninsula, you'll think you're close to Copper Harbor.

You're not.

It's like you just finished Chamber of Secrets, and you think Harry's got it all wrapped up. Wave a wand, dispel Voldemort and have a cold one with Hagrid. Right? No way. Sit back and relax for another eight hours. At least three more gas stops- two for fuel and one for shitting Skittles through your eyeballs. Taste the rainbow, then take advantage of that 12-passenger van and pick up the Prisoner of fucking Azkaban, because you're going to the outer edge. Then back. And a bit north.

And when you get there, it will be worth it.

But, backing up minute...

Five of us made the trip out in a 12-passenger van.

We didn't take the Prisoner of Azkaban, unfortunately.

But, we did bring Scott.

And the extra space in the van was pretty nice. We all shifted around, though Scott sat or slept in the back row most of the way up. He was like a teenager hiding in his bedroom. He's not in the photo above. He was likely hanging his Madonna poster on the ceiling above his seat.

We stopped in Flint and drank a whole lot of beer that tasted like Wikipedia's description of Flint.

We drove through the night and made it to the Upper Peninsula. Come morning, we were a few hours outside of Copper Harbor. We found some good trails and burnt a few hours navigating the super, super-tight singletrack.

Later in the day, we continued our bender on beer and parking lot sandwiches.

Once in the small town of Copper Harbor, we began pre-riding the 30ish mile course. The trails are really, really great. So swoopy, and fast on the downhills. The climbs- most are maybe 2-3 minutes long and punctuated with pitchy turns. A few come up on the backside of the mountain and are a bit more sustainable, where you could stay seated and get into somewhat of a groove.

They have cool names too. Like, Der We Went and Flying Squirrel.

And Woopidy-Doo!

Copper Harbor has a full-time ranger of sorts who works year-round and all he/she does is maintain the trails. Their sole responsibility. Pretty cool.

The day is nice, and we're about five miles in. We start a standing sprint up Stairway to Heaven. A steep rocky pitch ahead. Heart-rate up. Another turn on the next climb. Further up we go. A little bit of loose stuff ahead. I sit back a bit. "Good traction", I mutter to no one. Heart-rate up.

We start a long section of steep, wooden rails that are built above an overgrown ditch.

It continues up. Heart-rate pegged.

Still standing, our pedaling gets rhythmic. Grinding away, I look down. The gaps in the wood open up to the ground below. Damn. Can't see anything to distract myself. The climb continues. The woods around us are beautiful. The trees remind me of Pennsylvania. My friends and our suffering invoke thoughts of a fortunate life. Too out of breath to breathe, our wheels create a melodic hum on the dry wooden rails. That, and silence. Each gap crossed, we're one step closer to Heaven. The melody continues, surely covering the sound of our splitting souls leaving a fare to the deserving trail.

We get to the top, and the pain of sprinting up the Stairway ends.

And hours later, so does our pre-ride. Thoughts of descending Bullwinkle and The Flow stay with me for many nights. And to this night.

The long weekend continued through. All along with dramatically delayed dinners, drone flying and diving into Lake Superior as we represented Pennsylvania and attempted to bring SSUSA to the Commonwealth in 2015. We eliminated Oregon in the swim/drink beer event, but lost to Missouri in the bucket-kicking, gravel-wrestling event under the moonlight of a clear Michigan sky. And neon bar lights.

The common denominator of the whole trip was beer. And friends. And single speeds.

There was a race too. Which, is still a party.

I won the pre-derby derby. Then bit it pretty hard competing for the championship.

Looking back, it was a fast five days with four wonderful friends. And really- I've thought about the trip a lot since. I have been riding less and running more as of late, so maybe nostalgic thoughts of those days are just being triggered by my lack of time on my single speed. Although, part of me wants to believe it's my soul searching for the pieces it left behind on those trails so far away.