Sunday, July 12, 2009

Yin & Yang

A Beautiful Ride and a Dark Ride

On Friday night Big O, SIR Vandy & I hit up our favorite local joint, The Flying Burrito, before the O and I departed for the Ouachitas. Both of us had rough weeks and the funk was heavy but we were determined to shake it off. We jammed out in the Prius and rolled up to Northfork Lake bout 10:30ish where the Blockman & Cookie Monster were waiting on us. The whole ride I kept flipping through songs trying to find the right one to match how I so desperately desired to feel. I finally found what I was looking for when we stopped the car on the side of the road and I stepped out to see the millions of stars above. In that moment I felt a peace that has evaded me recently. I really didn't want to get back in the car but friends were waiting. That night we hung out, philosophized, caught crawfish, and even did a lil dancin under the moon.

Sat morning started off with Kevin dipping his toothbrush in the lake right beside a dead chicken, a wonderful omen to begin the day.

I slept in till 9am and my hammock was perched right along the lake, it was beautiful as was the ride to follow. A Texas native pulled up to the Womble trailhead just as we were getting ready so we took him along for the Epic ride. The trail was superb and I felt great flying over the trail on a steel SS Pegasus. At 298 Chris & Big O peeled off to go get the vehicles and Ryan and I rolled on with Texas close behind. We railed the trails and besides running out of H2O with 7 miles till Fishing Village I felt great. We stopped along the lookout point at Reed MTN and looked out across the vast expanse that spread beneath us, down the bluff a pristine river weaved through rolling mtns of green. Wind came across the valley & mtns to fill our senses as well as our lungs with all pervading prana. It was truly a moment of bliss, the body felt pure & clean. Fishing Village was an oasis with cold H2O, then an epic jaunt up the Northern Womble to Hwy 88 with a quick stop at the infamous rope swing. 30 miles, beautiful ride.
The following day I met Dan Lysk of Ar Cy & Micah Patterson (fastest Beg MTN Biker in The Natural State) @ Camp Robinson for a preview of the CARPe diem XC race course. I rolled from the hizzy on the SS for 45 and was late as is my usual fashion. Not everyone rolls on "Indian Time" so I hit the singletrack in search of my friends. The beginning of the ride went well enough besides the insolubility of rigid SSs and rock gardens. While jamming down Advanced Trig ~15 mph my front tire caught a fat rock and decided to jump off the rim. Stan's goo proceeded to fly followed by myself over the handlebars. The collision was hard but minimal blood. After 10 min of fixing the tire with the dreaded mini handpump and being swarmed by mosquitos we were on the trail again. Within 5 min the tube was punctured and my ride & day had quickly spiraled down deeper into the hole of despair.
I sent my comrades on and began to hike out. After a few miles, I had an epiphany: "I spend so much energy trying to be the best at this or the best at that, always trying to control my environment and my actions. And for what, who cares if I was faster on a given day. Is my insatiable thirst for speed helping people to get into the sport, am I making a difference or am I feeding an addiction?" As I kneeled among the plants I watched the Sun set and the leaves dance in the wind. Everything took on a new beauty that was always there but I been too blind to see. It took a wreck and 2 blown tires to make me slow down enough to notice. So often do I lose myself, be it in med school or my passions. Leaning over to inhale the sweet aroma of the Earth a calm crept over me. How long had it been since I had slowed down long enough to remember how small I am in the great painting.
Kindness soon followed as Dan doubled back after discovering that I had no car at the trailhead. He waited patiently as a monk and was happy to give me a ride home. So often I pull away and isolate myself, it was great to remember what friends are for, to help each other out in times of need. Intellectual & philosophical converstations followed about Indigo Children and I came home with my optimism reinstilled that the evolution of humanity is occuring as we breathe. The paradigm shift is among us and my shift came to the conscious self as my Dark Ride became the truly Beautiful Ride.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Sat, July 4th
Intergalactic SS Championships

Sir Vandy and I showed up in true Intergalactic style; he in a stylish pair of overall jorts and myself in some Salvation Army swagger straight from the 70s. When we rolled up like pimps with psychosis the only thing Mayecheck could say was, "Dang maybe I'm taking this too seriously." My game plan was to sprint right from the gun and see who really came to race. I knew this was my best shot at pulling an upset over Mayday so I attacked hard for a count of 37 secs and looked back to see Mayecheck and an Oky on my wheel. We split off the rest of the field and took turns pulling and sizing each other up for the next few miles of fireroad. At the big mtn climb before the singletrack I attacked again with vigor and put some space on the fellow SSers. It wasn't long though before Mayday was on my wheel again on the trail. We pulled away and ran 1-2 along the sweeping and silky Womble Trail for several miles until I missed a sharp left and somersaulted off the trail & down the mtn. The AR Cy Guru kindly checked to make sure I was ok and then proceeded towards his Intergalactic SS Championship. Wound up finishing a strong 2nd just 95 secs behind the winner which I was very pleased with. The better rider won that day (congrats Richard), but I take much satisfaction in knowing that I gave him a run for his $. Had I not run off the trail who knows, but ultimately it was just an honor to mix it up and swap licks with such a great rider. Until next time sir...

Sun, July 5
Womble Classic AMBCS XC

Bell & Co MTN Biking goes crazy @ the Womble!!!
And I mean this statement literally, there was a smattering of Hi-Vis maniacs flying through the woods with reckless abandon, enough speedos to satisfy a European beach, and even the all too elusive pair of jorts (shorty short jean-shorts). I feel like our strategy of shock & awe worked very well, our competitors were hit with sensory overload to the eyes accompanied by a slight twinge of nausea to the stomach and a great mind trip too (they were demoralized following the exposed caboose of an unrelenting and unapologetic train that stopped for no mtn). I specifically remember seeing several jaws drop and many smiles and good humored laughs both on and off the course. Carol, Angie, Amanda, Jennifer, Deanna I'm so sorry yall missed out on this. We feel bad and to make it up to you: we have bright rainbow speedos for Greg, Wes, Todd, Robert, Brad & Jeff in the mail. They should arrive at your houses shortly; we expect pictures.

Well the race went almost as well as the costumes. We had a stacked field of 11 extremely talented racers with resumes ranging from professional mtn bikers, seasoned triathletes, collegiate cyclists, and even a Jr World Cup contender & future Olympian ("You said it man, noone messes with the Jesus"). The course was amazing, 26+ miles of silky smooth benchcut IMBA certified "Epic" WOMBLE TRAIL! We hit a flow and sailed down the trail like we were on skies. Early on it was myself with Ryan Cook, Frank Webber, & Noah Singer running in the 4-7th slots. The Northern Womble was ridiculously awesome and we belted out a few songs as the adrenaline and beta-endorphins soared. Frank, Ryan and I rolled up to the Fishing Village & Reed MTN together, then Ryan turned on the juice... Frank and I played cat & mouse games the rest of the race trying to stay on the other's wheel. When we crossed the finish line we both nearly collapsed on the finisher's table. We all definitely left some sweat, mud, blood and a little piece of our souls out there on the trail that day.