Yes, it’s another edition of Radio Free Dogpatch!
Archive for the ‘Bibleburg’ Category
Herself and I were briefly patrons of the arts this week.
We had rented the House Back East™ to a gent name of Colm Ó Ciosóig, who was coming to town for an international film festival. Herself wondered how his name was pronounced — and so did I, being fluent only in American, Filth and Drunkard — so I looked it up.
Turns out Colm — a very pleasant fellow indeed — is the drummer for and one of the founding members of the band My Bloody Valentine, which recently concluded a yearlong world tour in support of its latest album, m b v.
Colm is also a film aficionado who shoots many of the backgrounds for the band’s shows, and he wangled a freebie to attend the TIE-Alternative Measures festival by agreeing to DJ at the closing soirée.
But it seems the festival endured a few hiccups and finally ended badly — some class of a dispute pitted the artists against the organizer — and come Sunday evening Colm popped round to inquire whether he might host a gathering of filmmakers next door. We were invited to join them.
We said sure, and before long there were a couple dozen artists, musicians and filmmakers from around the globe crowding the tiny house, merrily chattering away over barley pops. They were all quite delightful, and included us in their conversations, asking about the States and Bibleburg and complimenting the House Back East®. Marv’, the old saloon musician, would have had a wonderful time.
It was amusing to note that a thirst for Pabst Blue Ribbon is apparently not just a proletarian pose adopted by Yankee hipsters, because nearly everyone in attendance brought a suitcase of the stuff (we contributed a bottle of Bushmills). But perhaps the altitude affected consumption, because there was more than quite a bit left over after the party ended — about three and a half suitcases worth. A gaggle of journalists would have gargled the lot and eaten the cans.
So Monday afternoon, after Colm and the others had departed, I decided to support another class of artist — I hauled two suitcases down to Old Town Bike Shop as a gift to its long-suffering mechanics, who are always giving me freebies on annoying bits of work when by rights they should be charging me double.
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. A guy can’t expect to go rolling around Colorado in shorts and short sleeves all the doo-dah day. Not in November, anyway.
Looks like it’s either poop or a chance of poop for the foreseeable future, with plenty of wind to keep things interesting. The ol’ crystal ball shows a trainer ride in my future, along with the spirited use of various synonyms for “poop.”
New bicycles are like strange dogs. Most are friendly, but occasionally you meet one that wants to bite you in the ass. Or worse.
While planning a minor expedition to inspect the flood-damaged southern end of the Pikes Peak Greenway, as a prelude to logging what the Adventure Cycling Association folks call a “bike overnight” before the snow flies, I put the Bootleg Hobo into the workstand for a quick chain-lube yesterday morning.
Imagine my surprise when I found a link ready to pop. I could’ve broken the chain right there in the stand using the ol’ opposable thumbs and a finger or two, no chain tool required.
I thought I’d heard an occasional clicking sound while riding the Hobo the day before, when I snapped this photo. But the thing was a demo bike that arrived with shifting issues, and I’d been dicking around with the barrel adjuster in hopes of shutting it the fuck up, so I figured it was probably a tight link somewhere. Thus the workstand, and the chain lube.
So, yeah, duh. Good thing I didn’t pop that bad boy while standing to climb a hill, as I had been doing. I rarely carry a chain tool on rides, and almost never pack an extra set of testicles.
Long story short, back in the garage went the Hobo and out came the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, which doesn’t have a chain to break. And the ride was swell, though the trail was in pretty poor repair in spots, as you can see in the other photo.
But my nuts are just fine. Thanks for asking.
One of the nice parts about the season winding down is that I generally find a minute or two for playtime.
Well, nice for me. Maybe not so nice for other people. You, for example.
See, I got this idea that maybe I should play around with audio a little more. Mike Creed and I were talking about podcasting the other day — he has a fine one going on — and Mike was surprised to learn that I’d been fiddling with the medium back in 2005.
I explained that I always felt slightly ridiculous talking into a microphone (though I don’t seem to have any problems holding extended conversations with the voices in my head) and just sort of wandered away from audio, thinking maybe it wasn’t for me.
But shucks. I have all this stuff lying idle around the joint — microphones, headphones, computers, software — and it seems silly to let it go to waste. Having done a few video reviews for the Adventure Cycling people, I feel a little less self-conscious about addressing an invisible audience. And sometimes it’s just fun to do something different.
For me, anyway.
So here we go — it’s a brand-new edition of Radio Free Dogpatch, back from the grave for no defensible reason.
And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Innertubez, too.
Bibleburg has never been a hotbed of cyclo-cross. Oh, sure, nationals was held here once, back in 1980, and shortly after I returned to town from New Mexico in 1991 we got a small local scene rolling, mostly because driving to the Denver-Boulder clusterplex was something of a pain in the ass come wintertime. Or any other time, come to think of it.
Also, the U.S. Cycling Federation required a racing club to promote at least one event per annum, and back in the day there was nothing easier to run than a ’cross. Find yourself a venue, mark it casually with some red and blue flags, install a few homemade wooden barriers to force the roadies off their bikes, and by golly you had yourself a race course.
So we put on a couple races per year, in Palmer Park or Monument Valley Park — host to that long-ago national championships — until some turd in the city government who lived nearby took an infarction about people racing bicycles in “his” park. That we were donating the proceeds from our events to park maintenance was immaterial. Sorry ’bout that, said the parks people, but we have to deal with this asshole all the time; you we only have to see a couple times a year.
Thus we shifted operations to the county parks system, putting on races in Bear Creek Regional Park — where, as a precaution, Team Mad Dog Media-Dogs At Large Velo formally adopted the section of trail that included our course — and in Black Forest Regional Park.
Ours were fast, simple courses, suited to beginners and roadies in need of an early season refresher, in part because the county was not interested in our veering off established trail, and in part because we were not exactly the most vigorous of race promoters.
In fact, we were about as lazy a crop of bastards as ever marked a course. Our northern counterparts, among them Chris Grealish, Lee Waldman and John Vickers, were more imaginative when it came to locating new venues, negotiating with their overseers, and designing interesting circuits.
At our peak, we were getting just over 200 riders per event, which wasn’t bad for being outside the Boulder-Denver velo-ghetto, whose more sensitive communards either feared getting born-agained or libertarded if they dared cross the Palmer Divide or didn’t like driving south any better than we liked driving north. We also were working with our northern cousins on a statewide series that included events from Pueblo to Fort Collins.
Eventually, inevitably, we Dogs flamed out. I peaked as a ’cross racer in 1999, and shortly thereafter started dialing it back; by then, Herself and I were living on a rocky hillside outside Weirdcliffe, and Bibleburg was a 90-minute drive in good weather. The last Mad Dog ’cross at Bear Creek may have been in 2000, though I still raced occasionally until 2004, when I finally gave it up for good.
Another club picked up where we left off, drawing OK numbers and getting progressively more creative with its courses, including one last year up near the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs that I heard good things about. Alas, they, too, seem to have flamed out for now — for one reason or another, there seems to be nary a cyclo-cross in Bibleburg this season.
It’s a pity, really. ’Cross has been the biggest thing in bike racing for quite a while now, and last weekend’s Cyclo X-Xilinx in Longmont drew more than 650 racers, a number unheard of in my day. Surely we could get half that down here despite the Lambornagains and various other socio-political impediments. Tap a medical marijuana company for sponsorship, donate the proceeds to the Society for the Preservation of Steel Bicycles and Cantilever Brakes.
I may not race anymore, but I’d still like to watch now than then.
If you ever wonder why so many Americans have so much trouble making their government function, just watch them making a shambles of another shared space — the infinitely simpler bike path.
I nearly got crashed twice yesterday — first by a pair of knucklehead roadies in team kit who cut across my bow in Goose Gossage Park, exiting the bike path for the street without bothering to check for oncoming traffic, and a few minutes later by some helmetless dipshit on a beater road bike careening down the wrong side of a sketchy slope coated with sand and pea gravel.
Mind you, these incidents constituted the cherries atop a turd-cake that included the usual ingredients — oblivious strollers three abreast, untrained dogs sans leash, and fleawits wandering across the path without checking to see whether they might be about to violate the laws of physics by trying to occupy the same space at the same time as a 180-pound Irish-American on a 30-pound touring bike traveling at 15 mph.
The offenders invariably wear the blank, bovine gaze of a feedlot cow doomed to wear a soggy bun, a slice of pickle and some processed cheese “food” in the afterlife. And yet some of us we marvel at the popularity of Rupert Murdoch’s various entertainment outlets, which shove a similarly toxic product at the feeble-minded through the flat-panel windows in their living rooms.
How hard can it be to walk, run and ride to the right, pass left, and keep your fucking eyes open?
Those first few cold days sure get a fella’s attention, and not just due to shrinkage, either.
A spate of subfreezing temps pretty much wrote finis to our fall foliage display, carpeting the sidewalk with defunct leaves, reminding me of a Tom Waits song, and inspiring Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) to take up winter quarters in a subordinate’s lap. Miss Mia Sopaipilla likewise reopened her seasonal penthouse atop the fridge.
Unlike the cats, Mister Boo adores chilly weather. It makes a peppy puppy of the little one-eyed stinkbug, who in the heat of summertime is about as frisky as a union ditch-digger being paid by the hour.
Me, I stand firmly with the cats. I got my fill of cold-weather cycling during 10 years of racing cyclo-cross, and once I abandoned that foolishness I usually did without the pedaling on damp, cold days but kept the running bits. Turns out they’re easier without a bike. Who knew?
Alas, since my knees began grousing, the running is out, so it’s either ride the trainer (barf), go back to swimming (puke) or ride the damn’ bike regardless of the temperature. It’s what you call your basic “First World problem,” for sure.
And y’know what? It’s not so bad, riding on a cold day, a lesson I relearn every fall.
Yesterday I chose medium-heavy kit — wool socks, leg warmers, long-sleeved jersey and henley, long-fingered gloves and tuque — and spent a pleasant 90 minutes riding the Voodoo Nakisi in Palmer Park, inspecting a few trails I haven’t visited since monsoon season began. Some are in pretty poor repair, though the city and volunteers have been doing what they can to put them back in order.
Last night’s light rain probably helped make them a bit more rideable — it left a crust of ice on our deck but likely tamped down the loose sand that blankets the trails after every heavy storm.
I might just have to get back in there today. The best thing about a brisk fall Monday is that most of the other sluggardly fat bastards are either at work or sleeping off a 24-hour case of Bronco fever.
There was a thin coat of snow on the Tomb of Chairman Meow when I arose this morning. I blame Obama.
It’s a bit early for this sort of thing, frankly. For starters, the leaves are still on the trees. And a casual check of the Innertoobz indicates that the first snow in these parts generally holds off until a week before Halloween.
Naturally, Herself is out of town on business, so I had to make my own coffee, police up the litter box, and dab the dew from Mister Boo’s delicate little feetsies after his morning constitutional. Oh, the humanity.
The weatherperson says we’re supposed to be back up into the 50s and 60s over the next few days. But what has s/he done for me lately?
Never, that’s how often. Unless you happened to be in the audience last night as the “This American Life” host chatted amiably with a packed house at the Pikes Peak Center in Bibleburg.
Glass was recounting a back-in-the-day mishap at NPR that let the C-word through and onto the air, an oh-shit moment good for an FCC fine of a quarter-mil’ per station. Seems a board jockey who was a little slow on the trigger missed the target, instead bleeping a subsequent word, which caused an authority figure to ring up to inquire acidly what word did get bleeped, since “cocksucker” seemed to have become acceptable on-air usage.
The late, lamented George Carlin would have been proud, as Glass also deployed “fuck” (which apparently slipped into our local airwaves during a chat with someone at Radio Colorado College; “dick,” which the lawyers got all hard over while TAL was preparing to air a story in which an interviewee used it as a synonym for “jerk”; and “turd,” which actually appeared in an early David Sedaris bit, but could never make it on-air today thanks to a tightened federal leash, courtesy of Janet Jackson’s loosened bodice.
Sedaris reworked the piece as a poem, claiming that would make it art and thus inviolable, but the feds disagreed, so Glass played it for us from the stage. I ’bout shit myself laughing.
If you’ve never seen Ira Glass in person, I urge you to do so at your very next opportunity. The man has a gift for gab that any Irishman would envy.
He said his parents were “the only Jews who didn’t like public radio,” and had hoped their son would become a doctor, “because … well, we’re Jews.”
When TAL was in its larval stage, Glass said, the idea was to “take the whiff of broccoli” out of the standard NPR news model.
And all these years later, he said, the staff is still focused on those stories that hit them like a bolt of lightning, which doesn’t always happen; a lot of seemingly great ideas never make it to the air.
But that’s part of the job, because to get hit by lightning, Glass explained, “you have to spend a lot of time walking around in the rain.”