Thursday, February 28, 2008


Last night's ride may have been one of the coldest this year. Either that, or the recent warm trend had already begun to soften me up. I found out later, from Marcus, that it was about 46 when we passed through his neighborhood. The group was small. Just myself, Ice Berg, Wrecking Ball, and Big Jim Slade showed up for the freeze fest. Berg had his sissy hat on, but with a little badgering, he hung in for 95% of the ride.

All in all, it was a good time, despite the cold. Every time I tried to go a little harder, my legs felt like frozen walrus, and my lungs burned from the cold air. Back in the parking lot, my toes ached to no end. My heater is on the blink, so no love until I got in the shower. The way I see it, we better embrace these cold rides now. We'll miss them dearly during the 100 degree, summer swelter rides in July and August.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Remember.

I rode with an old friend today. There were none of the usual smartass comments or jokes that usually define all of our rides, though, I'm not entirely convinced that he did not find humor at my expense. Today I rode with my old buddy, Jaysun. Now, my current crew cringes a little when I say this. And I guess I understand. You see, Jaysun passed away in a freak accident about 5 1/2 years ago. They say a person is never really gone, as long as you keep their memory alive. Jaysun's widow, Kellie, was good enough to send me one of his old bikes. So, from time to time, I take it for a ride, and I remember.

Today it was raining and muddy. That must have been the catalyst, because I remembered staying at Jaysun's Mom's house in Brooksville, for a mountain bike race, back in 1997. Jay and I were both chasing points in the state series, so we traveled together quite a bit. It rained so hard that whole week, and was still raining when we prerode the course on Saturday. Within 100 yards of the start, I had to stop and disconnect the straddle cable on my brakes. There was so much mud caked in my wheels, they wouldn't roll with the brakes connected! I suffered through that day to get my points. My lap times were, 50 min., 77 min., and 80 min.. Do the math. That's a damn long time to play in the mud. Jaysun pulled off 3 laps under the 50 min. mark, for 4th in the sport class. I never really understood how that goofy, gangly kid went so fast. I think he did it just to aggravate Bikechain.

Jay was always turning me on to new music. He was the first to show me Blink 182, or The Presidents of the United States of America. I still remember him showing up at TB Park, and making me climb in the passenger seat of that old blue Volvo, so I could hear another song that had caught his ear. Looking back, it still gives me the chills to remember hearing Gone Away, by The Offspring, for the first time. So I suppose it was only fitting when, as I prepped the bike for the ride, and tried to remember if I had any Offspring on my ipod, Gone Away started playing on the radio station. A big smile crept onto my face, and I knew I was on the right track.

The ride was a comedy of errors, as the bike did its best to self destruct beneath me. First the seat collar QR broke off in my hand when I adjusted the seat height. Oh well. It seemed tight enough, so I rolled out. Halfway out the Cadillac Trail, I notice my handlebar has rolled back a little. No tools with me, so I keep going, not too worried about it. I should've worried. By the dike, the bar was rattling around in the stem. I limped back, either with no hands, or holding onto the stem. I rode the damn Cliff Bar holding the stem in my left hand, while my right hovered over the bar, just in case. I'm supposed to be a seasoned, veteran bike mechanic. You'd never know it if you saw me out there, riding around on my rattle trap! It's like his bike has his sense of humor. If you're one those who believes in an afterlife, where our loved ones look down upon us as we carry on, I can promise you, Jay laughed his ass off at me today!

So today I remembered. It made me laugh and it made me hurt. Loss is tough, but I'm doing my part on the memory front. So, for those of you who knew Jay, here's to our boy. Goofy and gawky, and forever remembered! For the rest of you, love your mother, hug your brother, call those who mean the most to you, and remember those you can call no longer.

Stop now if you are in no place for a sad story. As part of keeping the memory alive, I've included the last few pages of Jaysun's life story, as told by their local paper, the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

There would be no skid marks on the road to Paradise that day.
It was a shirt-sleeve kind of morning a year ago -- unseasonably warm for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Jason and Kellie Cosner had spent the night before tucked into a woodsy cabin just beyond the "Gateway to Paradise" highway sign that heralds the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park.

The Bellevue couple were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Jason, lively and funny, had burned steaks on the grill, making Kellie laugh, and the pair had spent the rest of the evening piecing together a jigsaw puzzle of Florida, their home state.

Five miles down the road, Rainier begins its gradual ascent out of the ground, a mountain big enough to make its own weather. As the Cosners' green Ford Explorer headed toward the snow-draped peak, they had no way of knowing that National Weather Service spotters would later estimate winds gusting up to 70 mph near the Longmire Ranger Station.
Jason was eager to experience the mountain. An avid biker, he loved adventure. As a kid, he used to tease his mother by rappelling off a balcony over the living room. Kellie, too, wanted to see the emblem of the state where they'd made their first married home. They were both 26.

Like a riptide of wind, a mass of air churned through White Pass -- from a high-pressure field east of the mountain to low pressure on the other side. The swirling gusts weren't out of the ordinary for a fall windstorm.
But wind is a capricious master. Wind shear can drop a plane from the sky. And on that day, a wedge of wind knifed through the canopy of old Western hemlock that clings to the flanks of the mountain. It sledgehammered a massive tree, snapping it off 70 feet above the ground. The Explorer was coming out of a curve on Longmire Paradise Road, the pavement slick from scattered showers, when the severed top of the tree -- three stories tall, with a trunk thicker than a telephone pole -- hurtled earthward. It crushed the roof of the SUV like a wrecking ball. Jason, who was driving, died almost instantly. Kellie's course, like the wind, took a sudden change of direction.

At 1:15 p.m., Nov. 24, 2001, park rangers got the first report that two trees were blocking the road. Two nurses -- Jody Walker and her friend, Megan Bauer -- were driving a few cars behind Kellie and Jason when the trees came crashing down within a hundred yards of each other. It was eerie, witnesses recalled, that a gust would hit with such precision that it would knock down just two trees in such a densely wooded area. The road blocked, Walker and Bauer got out to investigate. At first they couldn't even see the mangled vehicle buried in the branches. The Explorer was smashed so severely the belly of its transmission had slashed gouges more than a foot long in the asphalt. Up closer, they realized people were trapped. "There was no way we could get it off them," Walker recalled. She grabbed for Kellie's hand. Bauer picked her way through the back of the SUV to hold her neck. Kellie was moaning. They couldn't feel Jason's pulse. The tree had fallen at a slight angle, 4 inches further back on the driver's side than on the passenger's. A tiny shift with a huge consequence. Like their timing on the road that day. "I just held her hand and kept telling her it would be OK, that people were coming, that we were there with her," Walker said. The labor and delivery nurse was used to helping life come into the world, not leave. Kellie was bleeding from the nose and mouth; Walker could hear gurgling in her lungs. "We knew she had internal injuries," she said. "We knew it was bad." In a strange twist, two off-duty EMTs and a former policeman happened to be passing by. And in one more lucky coincidence, the local fire department was training nearby. By the time they arrived with chainsaws, minutes later, the others were already doing what they could to rescue Kellie. One of the EMTs happened to be wearing a neck brace. She took it off and passed it to the nurse in the Explorer. Charles Bennett, the former cop, commandeered a chainsaw and worked the accident like a crime scene. "There were angels coming out of the woods that day," Kellie's father, Ed Hobin, would say later. "Without them, she wouldn't have made it." The 10 rescue workers and half-dozen good Samaritans worked frantically for more than 30 minutes, shouting over the high whine of metal on wood as they struggled to pry Kellie from the tangle of branches and twisted metal. None of them knew it, but this would be the first of many teams of people who would help Kellie piece her life back together over the next year.

At 1:56 p.m., they cleared the tree and, using the "Jaws of Life" -- a rescue device powerful enough to split a car apart -- they freed her. She was shock white. An ambulance was waiting to take her to a landing zone behind a grocery store just outside the park entrance, where she could be airlifted to Seattle. A few minutes later, paramedics pulled Jason from the car. The roof had collapsed over his chest. His unscratched face registered no surprise. His hands, still at the steering wheel, were relaxed. They were unable to revive him. No one knew either victim's name. Rangers wouldn't find Jason's wallet until the next day. It was wedged so deep into the console, they had to use a crowbar to pry it out. Kellie, barely conscious, held onto Bennett's coat while on the gurney. Her hand started to slip.
"Don't you leave me," he said. And she clung so hard they almost couldn't load her into the ambulance.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


All this talk of a Robot Army, and the some street thug, surf punk, ne'er-do-well gang, called the Bastards. I guess it may be time to circle the wagons. That's right! You got it, 'Worm's Militia!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bikechain's Big Day

We have not done a group ride since last Saturday. A full week without the crew. We typically ride together 4 days a week, and I ride with singular crew members at least 2 other days. Not this week. The powers that be dealt me the solo card that Wrecking Ball's been mumbling about. It actually wasn't all bad. No arguing about direction, pace, or meeting times. No feeling responsible for everyone else's happiness. Just me and the trees.

I did get to ride with Ricky Silk, one of those days. Hoss was dead set on doing the 6 hour solo race down in Santos. He lobbied pretty hard to get Wrecking Ball and myself involved, but we both had our reasons for dodging that bullet. By now it's over, and I hope he did well. He should have good stories and pics up within a few days.

Today was the crew reunion, though. Stubbs is in town, and it was time to get the band back together. Micro, W.B., Marcus, the Pink Cotton Candy Dragon(Bikechain), Stubbs and myself all rolled east through TB Park, Cadillac, etc.

Now I've titled this Bikechain's Big Day for a reason. With Bikechain, he's always the center of the universe. If you don't believe me, just ask him. I could regale you for hours with tales of his one upmanship, but we'll save most of those for later.

Bikechain has been dying to show off the latest endeavor of he and cousin Marcus. So the ride met at the new warehouse/manpad/used bike parts emporium. Many of us who spent years pedalling bicycle wares to the recreational bicycle pedaller, miss it badly. As much as the actual job, there is the club like effect of likeminded souls gathering around the grease and rubber smelling bike shop meccas. While each shop may attract slightly different followers, the overall effect is the same. Every shop has its regulars who show for lunch, the rides, or just to hang out on a rainy day. These camp followers become a family, and often lifelong bonds are formed, even here in college transient laden T-town. While Bikechain does not miss trying to pay his mortgage as a bike shop owner, he does miss the gatherings at the shrine. So when his garage became overwhelmed with the paraphernalia of, he played on Marcus's memory of lunch time gatherings and foosball championships, and viola, the Bikechain storefront is born. Viva la Revolutions,.....again! The "Shop" will likely only be open on weekends, Yours truly will probably show up every other weekend to turn wrenches. The goal is not to bail on the day jobs, and takeover the T-town bikeshop scene. In actuality, it would be very cool to see it pay for itself, while allowing a place for people to unload some of that older gear, that just isn't being used any more, or pick up some preowned parts, at less than new prices. If nothing else, it should be a cool place to hang out with others who dig on bikes.

Bikechain's Big Day, chapter 2: Just in case you did not hear the monstrous boom, that was Bikechain's head exploding with sheer awarness of self greatness, Bikechain rode the drop at the end of Cadillac today. Well, he kind of rode at it in such a manner as to fall off of it without dying, but props are due where props are due. I wouldn't even try, and he definitely pulled the trigger today. His aching fork thanked him later for not pulling an encore performance.

Chapter 3 involved a crew dinner at La Fiesta. Now I missed the dinner, but I'm sure Bikechain carried his triumphant glee well into the evening. I know this because I've already received a rowdy phone call from the dinner party, reminding me that I better tell the tale of his exploits to my gentle readers. So there you go, Bikechain. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame, until these 3 readers go watch I Love Lucy reruns.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tension and Release

I have been enjoying the words brought to us by the Human Wrecking Ball over at his place. But lately, there seems to be some tension building around the W.B.. Don't get me wrong. There is always a degree of tension surrounding this character. Not bad tension, just tension. It's like he can't find enough to do in any given day to burn up all the energy inside him. So eventually that energy escapes into the world around him. He was titled the Wrecking Ball for a reason. That dude has killed more bike parts than he ever should have. He's not a big huckstar, flinging his bike off every precipice with reckless abandon. He's not a clumsy oaf, slamming ungraciously into every obstacle. But parts die beneath him. I think that energy of his simply gets absorbed into whatever he touches. He told me once he used to buy drumsticks 20 at a time. Why didn't that surprise me. His energy explodes into his passion, whether his passion can handle it or not.

Lately, he's enjoyed this blog world we're playing within. He reads the passages of our cycling brethren religiously, and pipes in with the same fervor. It's a good blow off valve for him; a good place to release whatever is bringing his internal tea kettle to the whistle point.

If you've ever ridden with W.B., you may have experienced what we call his light switch syndrome. If he's at the front, he's either on or off, like a lightswitch. There's no dimmer on that boy. When he tells his legs its ok to go, the only way to reign them in, is to shut them off completely. It could be that same pressure inside him, driving his efforts, and its too hard to control. Or, maybe he's secretly Steve Austin and has yet to learn to control his bionic parts. Either way, it seems like that same head of steam may be building up in his increasingly frequent calling out of his friends in blogworld. Now, with the responses adding up, I just hope everyone remembers this is all fun and games, and none of it should be taken too seriously, as I know the W.B. doesn't intend it that way.

Now, on to another subject. Liars. For the record, Big Jim Slade is a liar. Not a liar in the evil sense, but a liar in the classic mountain biker sense."Oh, I'm too slow to ride with you guys.", he croons. "Are you sure you don't mind waiting for me?" he whines. "BIG FAT LIAR", I say! Up the first hill of the night, Ice Berg is trying to teach the Newbie a lesson. I'm sitting on, just a little more out of breath than I'd like, when I hear BIG FAT LIAR, back in the back talking to Marcus as if it's nothing. He's back there reciting the Lincoln Address, extoling the virtues of Evangelical Christianity, and pontificating on the whereabouts, both physically and metaphysically, of Osama Bin Laden. We've all experienced it. "I'm gonna take it easy today." LIAR. "This is my off week." LIAR. "I have not ridden with you guys in years, so I know there is no way I can keep up." LIAR. But damn, this guy has been out of the loop for years! I never saw it coming! Anyway, its good to have him back. And I assume the multiple emails I received regarding a new light system, means he feels like he's back, too. Welcome back, liar.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

When you're a Jet,....

Wrecking Ball and I got up early this morning to join the trail workday out at Cadillac. We independently, but unanimously decided it was damn cold this morning, and stalled for an hour or so. Once the snow thawed from his neighbor's roof, we decide we better get to work so we could, hopefully, ride later.

For those out of the loop, the city hired a professional trail builder to rebuild, and add on to, the Cadillac Trail east of the Piney-Z Park. I have to say I'm a little skeptical at the moment. I just keep reminding myself of the Rubiks Cube theory. You have to trash the thing before you can solve it. We jumped in and moved dirt, cut stobs, etc. But apparently the tractors were goinng to make another pass after we were done, so there was no finished product when I left. It looks kind of wide, but I guess that's to be expected at first. Once it gets ridden in, I think that several pieces will resemble the fast section at the far west end of the trail. There are several new bridges being built over ravines on the slope, so those could be cool. I was listening to the trail pro explain that two of the bridges needed to be almost 5 feet wide. That really makes me wonder if everyone is on the same page. It's my understanding that Cadillac is to be one of our more technical trails. Nothing technical about a 5 foot wide bridge. W.B. could drive his little Mazda over that! And it's not like these two bridges were over massive chasms. We were actually noting that one of these gaps was only a foot deep and could be easily bunny hopped, but we understood the need for some sort of span to prevent erosion. Anyway, I'm no trail pro, so what do I know? I do know that the city is open to alternative technical lines, so we may just need to build those later. I just worry that the main trail gets too "mainstreamed", as Wrecking Ball put it. Think Good Charlotte as a punk band. Ya dig? I'm definitely not on the same page as those guys.

I guess now I have to train my weakness, patience. Lack of patience is why I bailed on the whole trail building scene anyway. Everything has to go through so many hoops, and appeals, and processes. I went to a bunch of after work and 7am pow wows about big plans for the bridge over the train tracks, a master plan for TB Park, etc, back in the day. It seems like 80% of what we talked about 10 years ago, has still not come to fruition. Some of it is still being talked about. Good God! What's left to say? Luckily for me and the rest of the offroad folks around here, we have guys like Aucilla Sinks and Chuck, who will stay the course, and plug away through all of the red tape it takes to make something happen. I'm just not wired that way. My buddy Marcus loves to make fun of my deliberating, perhaps over thought, decision making process, but this makes me look like Speedy Gonzales!

A cool byproduct of moving dirt today was the happenstance siting of Big Jim Slade. Big Jim was part of the old Revolutions crew about 10 years ago. We ran him off back then. But he sems to be sniffing around again. Perhaps he's a glutton for punishment, and is back for more. Running with this bunch can be harsh from time to time, but you'd definitely rather be with us than against us. Thin skins need not apply.

Ok, now that I'm starting to sound like a bad line from West Side Story, I'll sign off. (BTW, that's Wrecking Ball on the left.)