Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ice Road Suckers

Double Down
By the time we hit the first corner on the downhill, it was too late. Curse words and nervous laughter were the fodder of the moment.
We both ended up skeleton luging down the road, at the same time.
Laughter ensues. The hard earned head-wind battered climb to the summit would be rewarded by nerve fraying survival mode bobsledable downhills that more often than not would have to be walked out.

Backing up the bus a bit -
Coach and I decided to go on a little adventure. He's been jonesing for some backcountry ski adventures but that ain't in the cards due to this Liberal Agenda Winter, much different than the Totalitarian Stalin Siberian Wonder Winter of last year. I've been riding almost daily as the singletrack that I couldn't touch till April last year is high and dry, and bird season is over.

So we ended up becoming Ice Road Suckers.

First off, I de-sissified the Fargo -

Put the 29er tires back on, stripped it of all it's gleaming asphalt atonements from the Escape to Mexico tour.  No more bells and skinny tires and fenders and other city shit. 

In other words -

*Life lesson - There's always Slapshot if you need inspiration for awesome.

Secondly, Coach rocked the singlespeed 26er. 
Coach took Slammer of the Year -  about six separate times. I thought I was going to have to drag him out (thankfully it would be easy on the ice, body bag that mofo) but he's tougher than Mickey from Snatch. Kid's made of coffin nails. 
He did rock this sweet tyvek jerk-et he found in the free pile at the Reno Bike Project. It was swiss cheese by the time we got home.

Lots o' slip 'n slide.

The only dry part of the downhill.
Clown baby.

Some places the snow was soft, and you could dip your pedals into it. Looks like a well hung bear walked through here.

It was a good 47 miles.
Well earned.

Can't wait to get myself a Pugsley...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Parting Shot

Hope you had a great bird season. Here's to the next one.
I have this near my desk to keep my mind in the right place.

From Guns and Ammo, December 1970
Gene Hills "Parting Shot" column.

Sing me the old songs.

Tell me the stories of times gone by.

I want to spend an evening or so with you to 
hear about your dogs.
I want to see your guns.
I want to read your favorite books.
I want to warm my hands in front of your 
fire and try your pipe tobacco and taste
your whisky.

I want to see the old brown pictures you've 
always saved.
The pictures of the stern-faced men wearing
hip boots and brown overalls with rusty
wool caps pulled down over their eyes.
The pictures of men who wore neckties and
soft flannel shirts and breeches and leggings
standing by braces of stiff-necked,
rib-sprung pointers with the quail wagons
behind them.

I want to see yourself in a blue work shirt
buttoned at the neck, with your kitchen
haircut and your .22 and that big-eyed pup.

Do you remember all the names?
Tell me them.
Talk to me about the horses.
Talk to me about the dogs.
And the L.C. Smith, the Parker, the Baker,
the Lefever and the Ansley H. Fox.

Tell me about the cold and the wind and the
sea and the river and the kettle pond.
Fill my mind with pictures of your prairies,
your swamps, your sedge fields, your
mountains and your endless plains.

Tell me too, about the times you didn't shoot
for some sweet secret reason of your own.

I want to hear the stories about Charley and
Jimmy and Ed.
Could they build a fire?
Did they get lost?
Could they track?

Make me laugh with the stories about the day
Irv never got a shot and old Belle brought 
him a quail, still warm, she'd found and
put in his hand.

Let me hold the puppy on my lap.
Let me scratch the old dogs belly while she
warms her backside by the fire.
Fill my glass again and pass me the wooden
bowl with the apples in it.

Talk to me about the bee tree cutting.
Tell me how deep the ice pond was.
Show me how you call ducks.
Tell me how you make a rabbit stew.

Who was the best shot you ever saw?
Who always got his buck?

What's your favorite excuse of all the ones
you've heard?

Why is it, do you suppose, that men have
stopped telling lies the way they used to do?

Take me with you to the places with the names 
I like.

Take me to the Superstition Mountains
where the white wing and mourning doves
come in flights like feathered clouds.

Take me along the gentle curvings of the
Show me the big horn sheep that feed above the
Prophet River.
And the elk along the bank of the Yellowstone.
And the Badlands bear picking berries.
And the woodcock flighting to the Merrimack.
And the wild turkey in the Dismal Swamp.

Time does not exist where these things never change.

Listen... don't you hear the same quail call 
and the mallard stutters as the men in the
faded brown pictures?

Sing me the old songs.

Tell me the stories of times gone by.