Sep 28, 2012

Blogospheric Pressure

Awwww hell, the word blogospheric already exists. Technically speaking, if you have an original, seemingly isolated thought have you invented something? I thought so too. But I Googled my shiny new word only to find that it had already been invented and am now questioning my policy on inventions. Wiktionary classifies it as "rare". It sure felt like I invented a word and it was deflating to find out that I merely produced a rarity. Or, is it possible that there are more than one inventor of any one thing? Say I come up with a word previously unknown to me. Am I the inventor? The term inventor gives credit to the first person to document an invention regardless of who may have thought of invention first.
   A week into blogging and have only started to put my head around blogs, blogging, the blogosphere, etc. Only now do I realize, or am thinking about, the word blogosphere. Stratosphere, atmosphere, troposphere - all etherial things that by nature you cannot touch, you cannot smell, you cannot see and yet you know that they exist. Or at least you know the effects of each exist. Much like the blogosphere. And much like another topic I will not dare to touch here. My personal blogosphere is expanding and my thoughts are sparks. Some are fanned into flames, some don't have the energy to ignite in a soggy, bloggy world.
   Blogospheric Pressure is the force per unit area exerted into a blogger by the weight of blogs above that surface in the atmosphere of Earth (yes, I made that up based on the definition of atmospheric pressure). Or, simply put, the pressure I feel to post fresh content or original thoughts within the confines I have set - "all things upfull and right, the goodness of life". Fanning sparks of thoughts into flames is the goodness I'm getting from blogging, bloggerizing, and blogiculating.... There, I've done it! As painful to use as it is, I have invented a new word, used it in a sentence and have documented it in the blogosphere.

Sep 25, 2012

My Own Private Belgium

I know, I know... more cycling. But of the things in my life that top off my tank, riding is the fuel that keeps me going. Exercise, adventure, escape, meditation, camaraderie, and marvelous machines in a single serving. Of course, there is riding and then there is soul-riding. Riding is the prep work for the soul-rides, it is what you do to develop the strength and endurance required of the soul-ride. A soul-ride was once described as "glory through suffering" and is the unforgettable, indescribable epic that challenges you to dig deep and touch your soul. These are the most rewarding, most uplifting rides. Funny how being so empty can be so filling.
Belgium has an interesting appeal to cyclists. It's the mother land to some of histories greatest cyclists and is a cycling-centric symbol of hardcore riding and general badassery. My latest ride East of Little Rock is was what I imagine a typical ride is like in Belgium. We started in a little fog with ominous skies overhead. In the end there was no rain, but the roads were wet with the evidence of the two previous days of rain. A few puddles spanned the road and the asphalt was just wet enough to lift the fine silt of the road and coat the legs and bike with the sandy water mix that destroys components. The water doesn't taste bad, but has a gritty texture to it so no real joy sitting on someone's wheel. The only thing missing from my make believe Belgium was a steady wind. It must sound awful to a non-cyclist, but these are the rides to be remembered and the reason Belgium holds a place in a cyclist's heart.

The Lion of Flanders is the iconic black lion the Belgian nation flag. If you follow the Tour you have seen the Belgian fans waving enormous yellow flags emblazoned with their mighty lion. No doubt they are fueled by a Belgian beer or three. The exuberance of national pride is clear - beer, chocolate, frites and hard-as-nails cyclists seem to be Belgium's national products - who wouldn't be proud? In our make believe Belgium there are no frites or beer, but we do have chicken on a stick. A delicious chunk of protein from poultry, chicken on a stick is low on carbs, low "GI" and plenty of essential oils cleverly mounted on a convenient handle. Note: don't carry leftovers is your jersey pockets, the grease stain may not come out. We also have our own iconic lion that watches over passing riders, paw raised honoring those who have braved the heat, wind, rain and rugged roads on that day. Or at least that is what I believe about the Lion of Scott.

Sep 16, 2012

The Group Ride

Haven't met Peter Wilborn, but want to thank him for describing what I feel is a dying art, the art of the group ride. I'm trying to get back there, trying to relive the days of riding with my dad and his buddies out on the road. I grew up around road riders from a previous generation, let's call them old school. This was a time before any printing was even allowed on riding shorts - and I say shorts because bibs weren't around yet, riders wore wool shorts with a leather chamois and used thin suspenders to keep them up. Shoes were black, socks were white. There was a strong aesthetic, due in part to a lack of options, and this aesthetic was part of a code. This code was what I imagine Bushido to be - honor the machine, respect fellow riders and ride as though you are creating art. Fitness came through time on the bike, but the group riding skills were skills passed down to younger riders from more experienced riders.  If you have experience a proper group ride you understand the dynamic, the bond and the art. Peter Wilborn gets it. Thank you Peter.

Lost Art of the Group Ride

Sep 15, 2012

Tom Ritchey, The Godfather of Mountain Biking

Enjoy mountain biking? I miss it. I haven't ridden a mountain bike in years and think about it all the time. In the shop I'm surrounded by them. Great machines that offer adventure and escape. So what happened? Kids. No idea what I did with my free time before kids. Maybe I was bored more often, I did get out on some great off road rides and adventures. Some glorious, some disastrous. All were fantastic. I realized that mountain biking required more time than I had available. Knowing that I couldn't recapture the time away from my kids I couldn't justify the loading up, driving to trails, riding and returning to clean up and maintain my bike. Oh, there was the occasional crash that would bang me up too. Road riding became a way to ride, escape and enjoy bicycles with a smaller time commitment. Just step out the door and ride. Fewer crashes, no driving and less maintenance. The last time I was on a mountain bike I was out West in Zion National Park celebrating my 40th birthday. Some good friends and some of the best trails I have ever ridden. What a way to go out. Gotta get that back.

So what about mountain biking? Have you ever wondered? I'm not old and I have seen the entire history unfold in my lifetime. My first mountain bike was a Ross (circa 1980?), gold rims and all it was one of the first mountain bikes in Minneapolis. One of several bikes I should have never sold. A few bikes later and I had a Ritchey Timberwolf which was two wheeled badness. I worked in a shop and managed to break my ankle weeks before it was to be delivered. "Bear trap" pedals integrated well with the rubber peg on my cast so I was off riding. Bermuda shorts, a skate t-shirt, Chuck Taylor on one foot and a cast on the other. No problem. That bike was pivotal in my life and the connection to cycling that I enjoy to this day. When I stumbled upon this video about Tom Ritchey I sat back with my cup of coffee, all quiet in the house, and paid respect to the man behind the bikes, the history, the parts and pieces that made the sport - Tom Ritchey, The Godfather of Mountain Biking.

Sep 14, 2012

So cycling, so film, so very well done. "It's about the connection between the life of an everyday cyclist and a dream." Go ahead, spend six minutes dreaming of Paris Roubaix.


This is it. Time to giddy-up. I've thought about this for awhile and now is the time for action. I'm interested in all sorts of things, but mostly positive, enriching, soul-stiring goodness. Cue UPFULL. This is my offering - a digital portrait of the way I think and what I think about.