Monday, December 19, 2011

Long Overdue 'Shed and MORE

I haven't ridden with MORE in quite a while. I don't pay that much attention to what is going on over there, save for Patapsco-Rockburn projects. A lot of the same people are floating around from back in the day and many, of course, have moved on.

My buddy Denis was planning on leading a ride out there called 'Iceberg for Dummies'. I think the average person would look at that 'trail' and say that the name is redundant. Rock, rock and more rock with a layer of rock and snow throw in for good measure. I decided I would throw in and ride with Denis.

There were six or seven rides happening at the same time so the San Flats lot was packed. There were probably 70 people there. Denis lead me and 10 others out of the parking lot at the appointed time. I volunteered to sweep. He handed me a beer and we were off.

Now, for those of you who don't ride or who ride and haven't ridden iceberg, let me just say that it's a trail that was designed as a big middle finger. The 'easy' parts are harder than many people have ever seen. And it's high-consequence in many spots, meaning if you fall, you will land on large pointy rocks.

Despite Denis' cruel intentions, no one was seriously hurt. I think people fell down multiple times and many may not be walking today without major soreness, but we all rode out. No emergencies.

It was good to see a lot of friends. I didn't get up to the 'shed a lot this year and it's a nice way to cap off the riding season for 2011. Denis' mandatory post-ride chimay always hits the spot. If you don't like the French, you don't enjoy life.

Photo credit: Denis, our fearless leader.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Emma, the Actress

Emma has been acting in plays for a few years now. I should say, acting and singing. She was the lead in the Spring play, 'Honk', an adaptation of The Ugly Duckling. She was great. I mean, OF COURSE she was great! How else could she have been?

That's her and Jeremy's buddy Carter over her left shoulder.

Just last week was the Christmas adaptation of the Wizard of Oz. She had a smaller part in this one as 'Grouchy Grumble', which is the Wicked Witch of the West, basically. And yes, she got to melt. And send the flying monkeys. And do an
evil laugh. When she found out about her evil laugh, she started practicing. It seemed like the most important part of her performance. Needless to say, it didn't strike fear into the hearts of the audience. It was very cute. If she has any evil in her, it didn't come out in the laugh. It was beautiful...

Here's the melted Grouchy Grumble...

I can't remember all of the plays she's been in... One was Seussical and I'm sure I have video and pics from the others. She really seems to have a lot of fun. The kids rehearse for about six weeks. I love to hear her sing, watch her struggle
with her lines, help other kids remember their cues and generally pull off something that I never did.

After the play, we celebrated at Mi Casita, our local authentic Mexican joint. The food really is great. It reminds me a lot of the family-owned joints in San Diego. Matty was in town for the weekend and we had a 7am date for a ride at Patapsco. The grande margaritas left their mark.

This is obviously pre-melted Groucy Grumble. I guess she's looking for Dorothy and Toto.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pump Track

About a year ago, word reached my ear that there was a plan afoot. People were mobilizing to build a skills park at Rockburn Branch Park in HoCo. I dragged my kids to a few meetings, opened my big unhelpful mouth and committed to helping out.

After much hard work by some local riders, there now exists a completed phase one of the project: pump track.

I had ridden a pump track a few years back in the neighborhood of Asheville at the house of a local pro. It was difficult and fun. Skip forward a few years and there is RSP opening day, Oct 9. Needless to say, we attended.

Now I'm a big fan of learning. I love learning new stuff any time I can. I'm a geek. And I like bikes. I know that a lot of the fastest riders out there train on pump tracks and/or have them in their back yard. And riding a pump track is cool. Mr. Mark Weir has done a lot to promote pump tracks and they are popping up all over the US for almost a decade now. Riding pump track for multiple laps is quite a workout. I haven't tried to set a record or anything but my current record is 15 laps. I usually string together 3-5. It ain't easy.

I slapped the flat pedals on the old stump fsr and dropped the seat all the way down. Susan gave it a shot and seemed to really enjoy it as well. Needless to say, the kids were all over it. After a few weeks of pumptrackular fun, I realized the need for a purpose-built machine. Enter the dj bike.

One skill that is crucial to going fast on pump track is the manual. I can manual on the trail over various obstacles but a flat-ground manual is not something I have practiced. It was something I was driven to learn on pump track.

Now apparently my drive to learn has caught the attention of, well, everyone around me. Jokes have started about how much time I spend at pump track. Apparently, there will be a yurt for me soon. Everyone I know is completely hilarious...

The kids go with me a lot and they spend half the time riding and half playing on the huge dirt pile for phase two of RSP. It's a great place to learn and watch people rip it and to help others learn. Everyone is patient with each other and the plethora of kids who can ride endless laps.

If you have the time, you should check out Rockburn Skills Park. And if you have some cash money, please donate to help get the rest built. And if you have time in the spring, make arrangements to get out there and help us build the rest of the area. There will be much radness.

See you at pump track... Yes, you'll see me there.

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