Thursday, June 25
That is all.
For now please keep reading my rambling bloggitude over at The Chainring Report.
Monday, April 14
(Hopefully) one last time I will be splitting my bloggular attentions. From the Pavement’s Edge isn’t going away, it is just moving from Blogger to Wordpress with a new look and a more focused content.
For my continued daily ramblings you’ll want to follow my new blogger site: The Chainring Report. TCR will have a looser format and will focus more on trip reports, monotribes, pinings, dreaming, and basically just less cyclo-centric value-added content.
The NEW AND IMPROVED From the Pavement’s Edge site will focus more on local, state, and national cycling issues as well as an increase in attention on pedestrian issues and on the dysfunction of our car-centric culture.
GO >>>HERE<<< FOR THE (new) PAVEMENT’S EDGE BLOG
I hope you see this as a continuation and not a complete 180. My intent is less about changing content and more about focusing my energies into the proper categories. I really just want to separate out my personal views from material that I could share more professionally or more seriously to a broader audience. I think I’m better defining my potential audiences.
I’m not making an ideological shift. I’m not changing my online persona. I simply want to provide a clearer message. I feel I need to make this change now as it seems I’m on the cusp of breaking through into a wider audience anyway. This might be the nudge I need.
Let it be known: this hyere post is the last to be published at the URL:
Please update your bookmarks, dartboards, and billboards with the new URL:
Friday, April 11
Just about to lose my mind
I was goin' on to East Bernstadt, maybe on to Livingston
Where the people like them bikes just fine
My baby said I was crazy, don’t gun for Tussey lazy
I was goin' to show 'em all this time
'Cause you know I ain't no fool an' I don't need no more schoolin'
I was born to just climb that climb
Livin' on Tussey time
Livin' on Tussey time
Well you know I've been through it
When I set my mind onto it
Livin' on Tussey time
Well there I was in ridin’ in the woods wishin' I was doin' good
Talkin' on the cellphone line
Guess I’m just wastin’ time
Well then I got to thinkin', man I'm really sinkin'
And I really felt a bonk this time
I had no business draftin' and my body would be collapsin'
If I went on back to Tussey time
Livin' on Tussey time
Livin' on Tussey time
Gonna set my watch back to it
I-I've set my mind onto it
Livin' on Tussey time
Truth be told I have nothing to fear from Tussey Hill. Lately I've been tackling my local hills, and in the last two weeks I've even climbed two of the hardest on my longtail cargo bike. I think Tussey will be fine. And while I'm not worried, I am looking forward to Tussey. I consider myself a connoisseur of fine Cumberland Plateau cycling climbs.
After cresting Pottershop Hill during the OKHT last fall a volunteer eagerly asked what I thought about the climb. I said it was no big deal. They thought I was joking when I said my home hills were bigger. I had a similar exchange with an organizer for another Bluegrass region century ride.
No really...Furnace, State Rock, Sky Bridge, High Rock, Cobhill, Patsey...all way tougher. And those are just the paved roads. Remember, the most insane hill I've ever ridden (pushing my bike up Columbine and Powerline don't count) is a gravel waterfall about two miles from my house. It's hard to get up and down in a car. And I lived in Colorado for five years where the climbs are miles and miles long with steady average grades even if they don't have extremely steep sections.
It takes a big hill to impress me. But I can enjoy any good hill, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Tussey's all about.
Thursday, April 10
This has been going on for two days. I've changed my daily SOP to exclude afternoon snacking or any kind of junk/fast food shenanigans. I'm serious about dropping weight for the Loudonville 100. I'm serious about losing the equivalent of a small child (or medium-sized dog) from my frame.
The other night Li'l Bean had an appointment with the gymnastics people, and I was going to haul her over the hill to town on the X. In my thin-blooded haze I couldn't motivate her to find her helmet or locate it myself. Then we ran out of time to make the ride. Then when I announced we'd just drive (against my own wishes) she melted like a chocolate chip on the sun-broiled linoleum of the kitchen floor.
I wanted to give up. I wanted to begin chewing my own leg off. I wanted to take down a wildebeest and eat it raw...with BBQ sauce. I just wanted the afternoon to pass without so much friction.
The whole ragged affair was the result of poor nutritional planning on my part, and the return to lunchtime cycling activity. For breakfast I had two packets of oatmeal and black coffee. For lunch I had a pb&j on whole wheat and a can of Ale-8. Then...then I took off on a 13+ mile ride over to UK's campus, then into the heart of downtown Lexington, and finally I returned to the neighborhood where I work via the long straight bike lanes on Richmond Road.
I ate nothing else the rest of the afternoon. Hangriness kicked in just as I got back into town. I stopped at Kroger, a veritable hornets' nest of vehicular activity, and then the gas station. By the time I was speeding up my home road I was ready to kill and eat.
Thankfully there was no junk food at home. I would have eaten it all.
|NOM! NOM! NOM!|
Wednesday, April 9
Then Mandy decided (when she saw the 2014 jersey) she wanted to do the Kentucky Century Challenge. I was only going to do the Redbud with her, but then the Preservation Pedal is going to be one county over from us, and the Hub City tour is all new to the Challenge. Might as well just kick in for the whole thing...
Jeffro talked me into doing the Mohican again this year. And that darned Joe Bowen has organized a trail half marathon in the Red River Gorge. Sigh...
At least the 4 Good Trail Run and the Sheltowee Challenge are donate-what-you-can-afford events.
What's different about this year is my lovely wife is going to be doing it. So if nothing else I get to ride 300 (or 400) miles with my best friend this year. We're kind of on the fence over the Horsey Hundred. I'd be fine if I never rode it again, but I think she would enjoy it.
I'm looking forward to doing another century together. Three more, actually...at least. And it'll be cool to have the matching jersies. Plus, it's no fun to go do these things by myself, or to go do them with other people while she stays at home. I never enjoy them as much as I do when she's with me.
Speaking of KOMs (yesterday's post), I raced home and tried to do some segment maintenance. Considering that I hold the KOM on Cobhill and my cargo bike ascent was still faster than the other three Stravathletes who have tracked it I decided I need to get on the ball with my local segments. I did my Clark Kent-in-a-phone-booth thing and raced away toward Furnace Mountain at a gutbusting pace.
I can't get anywhere in the world from my house without dealing with a hill. There are four ways out and three of them require at least a moderate climb out. The fourth way is out the mouth of the creek I live on to the main (read: busiest) road in the county. To return home I have to climb unless I'm coming off Furnace Mountain and drop down Hart's Orchard.
So I climbed over Granny (Gears) Moppet which dumped me at the base of Furnace. I didn't slack off and charged skyward. At the top of the first crux I was beginning to breathe heavy. I kept attacking the pedals through the reprieve around the second turn. I stood on the pedals up the second--and longer--crux for a few yards and then dropped back to the saddle and slowed. But I went into the upper rest on my feet again, with chest heaving from the effort. I slowed. I slowed. But then I kicked up a couple of gears through the last reprieve. Then I clawed to the top as my momentum failed. Eighteen minutes flat from the mouth of the Bike Cave to the "summit" of Furnace Mountain.
I hoped it was enough to secure the KOM. I fought to control my breathing and get my foggy brain back under control for the terminal velocity descent. In review, I would manage only my second fastest ascent (by 20 seconds).
I took in the postcard view, turned my wheel back toward home, and used my girth for something constructive. Every time I start down the "downhill b4 town" segment I vow I won't touch the brakes. And every time I grab the levers of wussitude and slow myself on three of the sub-standard curves with awkward horizontal alignments.
I try to make up for my PW by cranking hard between curves. It's hard when you're doing 40+ and edging a blind curve you know some meth-head will be short-cutting on the way up. I try to stay out of the paint in the middle.
I fired through the last curve before the bottom and opened the throttle.
Looking back, I probably should have eaten something--anything--a half hour or so before I set out to claim my localest KOM. I didn't. It really was an impromptu jaunt. I went light and with a nearly empty tank hoping I could leverage the minimalist approach into faster speeds. What I really need to do is leverage about 30 pounds off of myself and become a physical minimalist.
I slammed harder on the pedals looking out far beyond the curve at the bottom, scanning for oncoming traffic. If only I could take it a little wider, I might be able to wring a few more mph out of my effort. In the end I grabbed the levers of Strava mediocrity and slowed.
I eased back on the reins when the road flattened out and sat up, catching my breath, and preparing for the last obstacle before home: the short stout face of Granny Moppet.
In retrospect I realized one reason I might be falling short of a KOM on the descent: I always ease off at the bottom, but the segment goes on for another couple tenths of a mile.
I laughed as I vocalized this to my SAG bunny at the kitchen table. It's likely I'm pretty fast on the hill, but I'm not carrying the effort through the segment.
While I didn't clean up my local segments I did tick one thing off my cycling bucket list. I hit 50 mph on the Furnace descent. That's something I've been trying to do for a year. I've only managed it a couple of other times on the Mount Vernon Canyon descent along US 40 west of Golden. It's so much harder on the short steep hills in Kentucky where off-standard curves guard everything.
Tuesday, April 8
Yesterday morning I found a strange thing: a multi-rider leaderboard for Cobhill. What?!?!
There were two riders that did it on Saturday…the same day I did. Jefe also rode sort of the same loop that day. He continued past Watson Ridge and traversed the Patsey gorge and then dropped into South Fork, swung out and came up the Cat Creek side of High Rock to return home. I cut back to Furnace over Watson Ridge and surfed the rollers back to town on 213 before running an errand in town. Dual purpose cargo bike: ascend sick steep Cumberland Plateau climbs and carry shopping fare home.
As I was text/telling Jefero about the weird “encounter” a third Stravathlete appeared in the leaderboard. THREE! That meant a total of five cyclists rode Furnace, the Tipton Ridge Descent, Cobhill, and Wet Puppy Ridge! FIVE! That’s a tie for the previous most cyclo-congested day on Cobhill when Mandy, Casey, Jeff, Mark and I all rode Cobhill back in the summer. INSANE!!!
|But HERE is the mind-boggling proof!!!|
Jeff said my cousin Parnell told him he saw the peloton of three cyclists descending Cat Creek. Parnell is a sometimes cyclist himself, most notable for having ridden with Joe Bowen some on his second 14,000 mile cross-country bike ride and being mentioned in Joe’s book Real Winners Don’t Quit.
Jeff and I both agree it is crazy that we didn’t somehow see those guys ourselves. We only rode together for the first couple of miles from Stanton, and then Jeff went on while I sailed the Xtracycle out and about over ridges and deep into chasms in the earth. I lingered at the top and bottom of Cobhill for a total of 15-20 minutes.
I looked a little deeper into the matter. The other three cyclists are from Michigan and Illinois. They did about half of the same loop I did, and three-quarters or better of the loop Jeff did and opposite Jeff’s direction for a few miles as well!
He was freaked out because he had never ridden that exact loop before and they chose the same day to do basically the same loop.
I was freaked out because they must have been on cargo bikes too, because I still retain KOM on Cobhill and some of the ridgetop segments between Furnace and Cobhill. At my cargo-bike pace!
|Green was my first clean ascent|
Red was on the Xtracycle
It was a busy cycling weekend on my section of the Cumberland Plateau. The CTL bikepacked out to Hatton Ridge on Saturday to meet with some friends for a little bouldering. Then he traversed the epic Powder Mill Trail and continued to Tunnel Ridge Road to camp Saturday night. He said “hello, city limits” Sunday and had clocked about 50 miles on the bike and 15 hiking.
Jeff and I rode along-with-but-separate-from the three out-of-town visitors for a total of 220 or so combined miles on Saturday. Mandy and Casey rode Sunday for a combined century. And while they were riding I went hiking/photographing and saw a touring cyclist on the back roads of Powell County while the ladies saw another touring cyclist in the Gorge proper.
|A Powell County motorist showing you how it's done|
That doesn’t sound like a lot, but all that cycling activity was centered in a county of about 12,000 souls. And that’s just the cycling activity we know about!
It’s going to be a busy week for me, and the Redbud is coming up fast. If I don’t post daily please accept my apologies and be aware that I’m going to turn the Pavement’s Edge world upside down beginning the Monday after the Redbud.
After sending one of the visiting cyclists a message via Strava he responded and said they started from Stanton around 1:00 pm which is when I was cruising back into town. I still don't know how I didn't see them.
Monday, April 7
In preparation I brewed coffee and sealed it up in my insulated Klean Kanteen. I tucked as many calories as I estimated I'd need to carry me to and fro into the cargo sacks. To all that I added crampons, an alpenstock, and a natural fiber rope. Then I overdressed.
Once I was sufficiently laden with expedition gear I headed off for Cobhill, 16 or so rolling miles distant. I had to stop at the top of Furnace to shed layers. As an avid armchair mountaineer I'm used to the notion that the temperature should drop as you ascend higher, but in this particular case just the opposite seemed to be true.
I dropped my sodden jacket into the trunk and pushed on. It felt like it was going to be a long slog into
|It's definitely spring on Furnace Mountain|
I noticed this morning that Chris Warren and Wesley Thelen, both of Michigan, did almost the same loop I did ON THE SAME DAY! That's insane! And Jeffro Mozhican did it that day too! Ironically that's the second biggest cycling day we know of on Cobhill. The first saw both the Chainring and Mozhican couples and the CTL for a total of 5 bicycle ADT. Nuts!
Friday, April 4
It doesn’t have to remain misunderstood. I know what it means for me. But what does “wilderness” mean to our society? What should it mean?
Our National Forests shouldn’t be seen as a repository for money making potential. They shouldn’t be seen as large tree farms to wealthify a few. At the very least they should be seen for what they truly do function as: huge carbon sinks that scrub the air we need for survival of all life on the planet. And not just for our survival but for our quality of life. We need to preserve our forests to fulfil their design.
They also harbor so much non-human (and human) life. They provide shelter and sustenance for all kinds of wildlife that are crucial in their roles in the ecosystems we depend on for quality of life and survival. Forests act as some of the best stormwater mitigation facilities. They help regulate local climates and weather. They store water and nutrients. They buffer us from each other. They add value to the Earth.
|Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado|
Designated wilderness areas are important because they have the potential to be the most unspoiled of our forests if we care for them properly.
These are the primary reasons we should preserve as much of our natural—or close to natural—forests as we can. I’m not saying we should never cut down a tree. But I am saying we shouldn’t rampantly and indiscriminately clear cut them because it would make someone rich or because we think we need the convenience of paper plates, single side printed documents, or store-bought landscaping mulch. The waste that is involved in our forest management philosophies is criminal. Sinful.
And what about desert wilderness? Tundra? Other biomes? They all have their role in our greater Terran ecosystem. We can’t afford to destroy any of them; or to develop them for human uses indiscriminately. Our reshaping of the natural world needs to be tempered with a healthy respect—one we’ve obviously lost—for the environment, for our heirs, and ultimately for ourselves.
I think we’ve lost this respect because we’ve been conditioned to believe that everything has a dollar value. This is simply not true. While we can exchange anything and everything for agreed upon rates of currency, we cannot replace some of the things we buy and sell easily or in some cases at all.
The effects of the colonization of our small communities by big box stores may well be impossible to reverse. Those small businesses that have gone will be hard to bring back under our current paradigm. And we desperately need them to recover our resilience.
Much like our natural systems, we need to restore our “natural” social systems as well. We need to restructure our communities around…community. Most definitely we need to move away from a globalized philosophy of life. Resilience comes from localized strengths and mini-regions of support. We don’t need to think too far beyond our own watersheds to find all the wealth we truly need and can enjoy in life. All of us.
And if we need to delve into the unknown, the vast unknown places of the earth, the expanses of nature where adventure is ripe…then we should be able to enter into our local wildernesses and find ourselves lost on a path to being found. We should be able to get away, find peace, seek truth, and enjoy something bigger than ourselves without having to create a vast retail empire that gobbles up resources, extracts the gold, and spits out the toxic waste for others to deal with.
Eastern Kentuckians shouldn’t have to depend on exploitive coal, oil, or natural gas operations for our livelihoods. We should be able to live adequately, and even richly—on a human scale—off the land where we choose to live. Dark hollers, cold streams, high ridges, and thick forests…this is the landscape of Eastern Kentucky. Not flattened mountains of raw-scraped earth exposed to the sky and weeping tears of poison into their streams. Not a landscape that lurks about seeking revenge on those that would allow their homes to be destroyed for a few dollars. Not a landscape that is alternately diminished and lauded for the sake of material wealth as the liars that scurry about like the rats they are propagandize to the rest of the world.
Clear cutting—also—has no place in a culture that values the land and the bounty it provides. People who have identified with the shady hollows and sunbaked crests of stone cannot readily adopt the identity of the naked muddy slopes of scoured hillsides and the hypercoagulability of their streams without also adopting the lie of greed.
Wilderness is an escape for me. While I understand that little true wilderness still exists in my part of the world, I see that nature has a way of taking back the land and reconditioning it as wilderness before mankind can do much about it. And before someone can cash in on the wealth that nature provides again in cycles, I find a window of opportunity to escape into the transitional forests and—if only for a moment—imagine I’m in a true wilderness, unspoiled, untrammeled, un-abused by the empires of Man.
Personally, my argument for wilderness is selfish. I want a place where I can go and not have to interact with civilization. I want to be away from roads, congestion, noise, societal demands, the pressure of responsibility, and the lie of greed. But I can see on a grander scale that my own selfish desires to preserve wilderness align with the reality of a wilderness/forest preserved as a functional part of our environment. It only needs to be preserved because we’ve nurtured our cultural greed into an insatiable monster.
So there you have it: my thoughts on wilderness. I could obviously delve deeper into this issue, and I feel the need to make all of this into a more cohesive and concise piece of writing. For now I will let it all fester here until I’m ready to rewrite and thrust it upon the world in some grander venue.
Thursday, April 3
It's all good though. I've been at this long enough that I have confidence in my ability and in the Cannonball's sure-footed hill climbing. There's no reason to doubt. Yesterday I took a test run and reaffirmed that my scheme to gain international notoriety astride my longtail cargo bike is valid. She climbs like a mountain goat.
|Top of Furnace Mountain circa 2003|
|Same bike 11 years later|
Wednesday, April 2
I’m going to ride the Xtracycle in the Redbud Ride. Mayhap I will even ride it for all three of the Kentucky Century Challenge rides in which I plan on participating. Cargo bike century! I’m sure some other woozy-headed cycle-freak has done it. I know I’ve come pretty close myself. But I want to make a statement with the bike. I want people to see that a cargo bike can—quite literally—go the distance.
|During a 26 mile RT bikesummit-bagging trip|
I figure…why not? I don’t get enough miles on the ole X as it is. And I can haul anything and everything we might want along the way. At the aid stations we can deck surf. I can ease back on the nose of the deck and ride “chopper-style.” And I can also bring along my good camera, a parka (because Spring is still Winter’s !@+¢h here in Kentucky), a picnic lunch, super-hero costumes to change into if the need should arise, and some sunscreen.
I could bring one or both of my spawn, but as I proved last Friday, it’s tough to haul a freshly shorn first-born pre-teen spawn up steep hills (hauled on a cargo bike #44). Man, he’s gotten big! Used to I could drag him all over the Denver Metro Area, but one short, steep paved section of the Pottsville Escarpment (I.D.ed as “Steamshovel Hill”) had both of us walking.
Truth be told, if I had been hauling him in a trailer we’d have probably made it. My legs, though encased in a sheath of tallow, are still pretty strong. But when I stood up to offset the intense effects of gravity upon our 300-ish pound train I couldn’t hold it all together. Atlas not only shrugged, but dabbed a foot down as if trying to stomp on a black widow spider. So we walked the last few yards to the top.
My eldest is therefore too old to haul more than short distances. He does have a swift new bike he obtained from a different fat man in a red suit. It has gears. It’s light-weight. He should be rarin’ to go with it.
The li’l one has a new bike too, but despite it’s smaller scale it weighs as much as a Sherman tank. It has gear too, but seeing as how she still needs a few weeks to grow into it, and it outweighs her by three times her own weight, I don’t think she’ll be pedaling her own self on any long rides soon.
|Self-contained SAG vehicle|
Non-petroleum consuming model
All that monotribe aside, I hope to get the minions out upon some world class trails ASAP. Like the Dawkins, the Creeper, the Miamuh, or some other MUT or MUP or bike path. Lettuce not forget the Legacy Trail nuther.
If the kids were a few years younger they would be earning their own KCC jersies on the back of my cargo-rocket. I’d haul ‘em to and fro. Course I was thinner when they were younger. And maybe a bit stupider. And maybe a bit more fit. Just sayin’.
I can’t wait for the Redbud. I was bummed I didn’t get to do it last year. Despite my admonitions against doing the KCC this year I was adamant I wanted to do the Redbud. Then we found out the Preservation Pedal would be in next-door Clark County this year, and the unridden E-town ride would take the place of the OKHT and it just made sense (in some strange universe) for me to do the KCC again this year. It’s a whole new annual animal. Except…it’s still just more organized road rides which I have professed to “hate.”
So to mix it up, novelize it (in a non-literary manner), and to further promote and proclaim my questionable sanity I will ride the entire 2014 Kentucky Century Challenge on the Cannonball X, my faithful longtail cargo bike.
With skinnier tires of course!