Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Fat Flatlander Blues

Feeling cocky and full of ourselves, Keith and I decided to take on "The Red Tail Trail' in Conway, New Hampster on our mountain bikes. Hell, we knew what hill climbing was all about. Nothing they had could be that much more extreme than our rides in the hills of southern Maine.

I was full of piss and vinegar and over confident. We parked and rode. 5 1/2 miles of climbing later we secured the top of Black Cap Mountain. The piss and vinegar was gone and I was certainly not over confident anymore. My cockiness replaced with a bit of a gut knot at the thought of getting down from here.

Our friend who had ridden here before had turned around and returned from whence he came. A wimpy 2 hour outing. A brief discussion with some gnarly dude riding an Ellsworth turned us onto a trail back that would give us a true loop. We probably should have turned around and limped back. But Keith and I pressed on. Dumb and dumber.

Instead of down, or at least a trail approaching level, we climbed some more. Wondering if I would ever get out of Granny gear, the trail finally decided to head down. It did not screw around. It went from up to down like a see saw. Hold on to your jock and keep your big butt back bud, we were in for some serious downhill action. My legs and arms were frozen hard to the bike and a big grin plastered on my face. Or was it a silent scream not able to make it out of my mouth. Serious pucker factor anyway.

A couple of miles or so into this intense downstroke I decided to stop and take stock. My body was one big knotted muscle. Riding a hardtail on this stuff made me vow to build up that new Slayer dual suspension ASAP. Shut up Keith. Yeah, yeah. I ain't the tough guy I pretend to be.

Proving that I was more than one card shy of being coherent or having a clue, I decided to check out the heat index of my disc rotors. Because I had full finger DR gloves on, I touched the edge of the rear rotor to my wrist. A word of advice. Don't do this. I now sport a 3 inch blister on my arm. Like I said earlier. Dumb and dumber. If there was any question as which one of us was dumber, it was cleared up for sure now. I will say it looks kinda cool. My wife was not impressed though. And I thought chicks dug scars. Go figure.

I need to come up with some riding lie to cover up this one.

"Dude, I was slammin her hard for a couple of miles and catching air every 20 feet. All of sudden I stacked it. The bike and I swapped ends a few times. Ended up in the pucker after mowing down a pine or two. And all I got was this burn from the rear rotor when the bike ran over me."

That one might work. Yeah right.

So I sit here after a 4 1/2 hour body bashing mind blowing ride in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This Fat Flatlander from Maine has been put in his place. I can't wait to go back.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Phases of My Moon

Recently I have had the opportunity to watch the moon as it passed through several of it's phases. We have been blessed with some regularly spaced clear nights. I first noticed it as it presented itself as "the fingernail moon". A name I gave the crescent phase when I was a small fry. Then some days later I looked up one evening while walking with Stub on her late night constitutional and noticed it in 1/2 phase. Tonight it hung up there close but not quite in full phase. 3/4 I guess.

And tonight I also replayed the last 3 weeks and damn if I did not come up with a kind of correlation to my mood swings or bio-rhythms of the last few weeks. I tend to fall into funks. Some would call them depressions, but I have not been able to completely accept or admit to being saddled with that particular problem. I guess if some shrink were to assess my outlook and approach to Life, they would check off the box next to depressive tendencies. But I don't think so. I just get down more than some folks. Denial is such a wonderful tool to use to disown the obvious. I love it.

Anyway, I also considered the popular belief that people tend to get manic when the Moon is full. There are all sorts of references that pop up throughout our culture. I weighed the phases against my most recent energy flows and noticed that during the early birth of the new Moon I was somewhat ambivalent, go with the flow, put one foot in front of the other and not think too deeply about anything. And then just as the moon presented half a face, I fell into a funk and stayed there until yesterday. I did what I had to. I worked at my bike shop, I rode my bike. Null and Void, I went through the motions. My riding was below average. My attention span at the shop was detached at best and I felt like being a nasty tempered jerk. I resisted that urge and I think I came through without putting too many people off.

Today I hit the bike shop ready for another day of low expectations fueled by a lack of enthusiasm. But the day would not allow me this pleasure. I had not the time to work on that low self-esteem thing I get into on a regular basis. From the time I set foot into the shop until 9:30 PM, I was balls to the wall. I multitasked, holding hands, twisting wrenches, selling product and talking on the phone. There were not too many minutes when I was not attempting to cater to 3 or 4 consumers at one time. The day became a juggling act. Many balls in the air at one time. I became Manic Man. Pumped, stoked and energized.

When I got home and stepped out of the truck at 11:30, I looked up and there was the old man in the Moon hanging out and dialing in his full frontal exposure. I wonder if that myth or old wives tale about the full moon and people getting wacky might not have some merit. I should be wasted and ready to fall comatose in bed. Yet, I am here punching these keys wide eyed and bushy tailed. I am a tad concerned about how I will feel and act when the Moon goes full tilt boogie. It will be interesting to pay attention as we move towards the Full Moon. If the mania increases, I will have more respect for some of the old truisms passed down through the ages.

But then I could just be a manic depressive and the whole moon thing is coincidental. Naw. It has to be the Moon. Remember, denial needs supporting information and facts in order to work it's magic. And I need to find them wherever I can.