Monday, May 13, 2013

Volcano Fever

The weekend began with festivities at Powell’s. The party really got going when Cappy showed up, grabbed a mike, and started beat-boxing with the band.  
24 hours after we left the bar, I was woken when B honked the Element’s horn. Groping in the darkness I found my breakfast – protein shakes, canned coffee and a Clif Bar. Within a few minutes we hefted our packs and started trudging through the darkness towards the mountain we had stared at all afternoon.
Sunrise on Mount Shasta.   
Such a massive chunk of earth has numerous climbing routes. There’s the harder side of the mountain and the easier side, and from each side, there are harder places to start and easier places to start, and from each trailhead there are harder routes and easier routes. It should come as no surprise that Trip Leader and Long Ski Producer B, chose to optimize decision making to select the most difficult climb. 

We left from our camp that was well below the Brewer Creek Trailhead, and ascended the Hotlum-Wintun ridge, and up the Hotlum headwall to the summit. 

And then back down.

When we arrived in camp, I collapsed into a heap and sobbed uncontrollably. 

Once this outburst passed, we packed our things and headed for Lassen National Park.  When Highway 89 through the park is closed due to snow, the Devastation Area parking lot becomes a bohemian ski camp. 

From conversations I overheard in the parking lot: “I don’t get to see my wife very often, because I have to ski at least three times a week.” And, “What do you do?” “I’m a Trustafarian.” We didn’t start anywhere near as early as the day before. And since this increased our risk of experiencing wet slides, we brought along a licensed Avalanche Search and Rescue dog. 

As I thrashed and struggled my way up the mountain, the snow got softer and softer. By the time we summited I was a little panicked by the rapidly deteriorating conditions. We shamelessly shoved our way through the crowd that had gathered over the chute that dropped from the top. Cutting a hard traverse across the face to a shoulder ridge, I kicked off a wet slide that carried a stream of slush down thousands of feet. Beyond that the skiing was excellent. 

We lingered in camp, while hordes of lady tourists were drawn to bare chested B, bent over his map for directions, and lavished affection on Booker.      

Shasta: Lassen:

 Oh, crap how did that snake get under my bike.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And Cycling For All....

"Poetry is like bread, it's for everyone".

I saw this photo on FB, and it made me think how, deep down, we are all poets at heart. From nursery rhymes to Hip Hop, we all just want to "rock a rhyme, rock a rhyme that's right on time". This isn't a craft reserved solely for eccentric, artistic types, nor scribes from 12th century Persia . From prince to pauper, we can all take up the pen, and hone our creative expression however we see fit. 

But this is a site about bicycles, so why do I ramble thus? Cycling is equally universal in it's following and folly. Despite leaps in technology and reach, the art of cycling is alive and well in anyone astride two wheels. Our friend, the late night Sly Park commuter, knows this at his very core. Whether he rides because he wants to, needs to, or has to, he pedals on, and remains true to the spirit of our craft. And, at the end of the day, who dares begrudge him the title of cyclist merely because he doesn't compete in sport, or don the latest apparel and accoutrement. We are ALL cyclists, equally entitled to our share of the road or single track, and like the ancient poets, beholden only to that authentic expression that comes when we put pen to pad (or rubber to dirt) and follow the flow. 

So, on this damp and cool night, join the fray and express yourself in whatever way defines you. Tis SSFT3, so a 'ring of one' is encouraged. Yet there is room for all shapes and sizes of cogs, and none shall be shunned. There will be talk-o table discussion around Kwalifiying, renewing your Long Ride License, or nutritionally themed long rides with narrowly defined dietary requirements (see B for elaboration). 

Lastly, I pen this missive with a heavy heart, as my new career is calling me to begin co-facilitating a weekly parent skills group for challenged youth. You guessed it, the meetings are held every Tuesday, from 6-9, for about 12 weeks. I may indeed join for the taco portion, but I will see the rest of you on weekends and alternative night rides. 

Fare thee well, men, and I pray your PreBRs are fresh, precisely chilled, and waiting for you upon arrival to the Knott. 

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