Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just don't see the humor in the wolf "harvest"

Just goofin’ around…I’ve been trying to write up something funny or amusing about the wolf “harvest” thatz going down right now in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Itz been a long, long, time since hunters have been afforded their God given right to kill wolves…I’m not sure on the last time a patriot got to kill a wolf cuz the liberals have been in charge for so long, but it could be that the brave wolf hunter has not been able to rid us of these dangerous beasts since these great United States of America still segregated kids into separate but “equal” schools based on race?   Or since Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother was brutally murdered, or since the great Job Creators of the early 1900s cut all the old growth trees down….Thank the Minnesota DNR for getting us our rights back. 

In any event, I was thinking on a short piece describing the great courage and ardor it takes for modern man (atop his modern transports) to shoot (or better yet, to trap) an unsuspecting wolf.  I thought it would be funny to highlight the great technological advances available to the modern hunter of wolves including cameras, night vision, etc., etc., etc., to emphasize the wonderful advances we, as a people, have made as a progressive civilization.  And yet at the same time comment on how we have not given up on our Just War with the wolf (and his kind). I'd add a little sentence like, "It is, and will continue to be, a tough and long conflict, but we can win this war because our cause is righteous…"

But no matter how I craft the essay…it just don’t seem funny to me that a bunch of malcontents are out in the woods trying to kill the coolest animal in the Northwoods for no reason other than to….? Can’t seem to finish this thought…Notes to ponder: Maybe a guy wants to kill a wolf so he can make up for his smallish _______?  Maybe a wolf tail would look cool affixed to the outside of his truck…hanging off his old antenna?  Or a wolf pelt would be just the thing to cover up that big hole in the side of his trailer (caused by his shotgun accidentally going off when he’d had a few too many Bud-lights)?  

I’ll keep trying to come up with something funny or amusing about the wanton killing wolves in this day and age…but itz a hard assignment.  I'll keep trying...

Friday, November 2, 2012

A quick sortie into the wilderness with the youth of America

A revived Farrow with Hondo, the Man-puppy
Press release (Reuters): A revived, youthful-looking Farrow (pictured above w/ Hondo, the Man-puppy), during a recent effort on his part to test a group of young potential stalwarts from his school, by acting as their supreme leader on an overnight trek into the northern wilderness....

Under his tutelage, the strong, motivated group progressed southerly, along Mallory's Brook (formerly known as Gooseberry River) using the famed Sir Mallory Hiking Trail (aka Lake Superior Hiking Trail) as their main thoroughfare. 

Postscript (source: The Guardian)Upon the groups' return; While Farrow was hailed by the mainstream media as both a visionary and a skilled, tireless leader of young men and women, his detractors were just as quick to point out that his hegemonic claims of DBD geographical dominion and subsequent renaming of many of the local points-of-interest after Sir George Mallory (i.e. changing the name Gooseberry River to Mallory's Brook) was inappropriate and represents yet one more example of the DBD’s propensity for power-grabs with little consideration for local traditions, customs, and/or laws.  Also the use of a pretentious white Cadillac Limo (on loan from his friend, Mitt Romney), to transport his young people to and from the trail-heads, had the effect of stirring his critics to call him a 'plutocrat" and even raised some eye-brows amongst the pro-DBD community, including the Queen...

Whilst Farrow was decidedly unapologetic, siting a  kind of "mandate from heaven" argument in which he claims that the DBD is essentially entrusted by Providence to make such changes with the goal being to civilize and educate the local populace by following God's will as dictated to various Republicans (especially congressmen representing Indiana and Missouri) and like-minded groups by "the Big Guy Upstairs..."

...Under growing pressure, the DBD Honor Board has assured the local magistrates that the reclusive, yet highly influential adventure society would review these allegations and take any and all necessary actions to ensure that any nefarious deeds would not go unpunished. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dear Pugsley, I'll always consider you my friend....

“Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too
And I'm getting older too...”
Fleetwood Mac

Dearest Pugsley:

This is a very difficult letter to write.  My mind is reeling, my heart is aching, I can’t think too good, but I need to give it to you straight, you deserve the truth. I have found someone new...Someone that I am very excited about and this someone can give to me the kinds of things that you were never ever able to give to me...But itz not your fault...This does not mean that we still cannot be friends.  I’ll still respect you, I’ll always respect you.  As a single speed on loose terrain, you’re the greatest...but we both know that you are not that good with gears and that your wheels are too narrow, too heavy, and too old for long rides on snow. 

Please don’t take this personally...We have had a long, beautiful, rich history together and I’ll never forget the good times. We made a great team back in the day.  The early Arrowhead 135 races, when there were only your cousins to compete with, and I was young and able—we were contenders; the epic solo summer ride along the Northshore Trail to Grand Marais; last March’s classic winter trek to Ely, and even this summer’s single-speed effort at the 24 Hours @ Red Wing.  We were good together....

But there were tough times as well, like the debacle at last year’s Tuscobia 150, where the other bikes floated light-heartedly across the snow, while we continuously plowed our way through, causing great consternation and resentment on my part.  I know itz wrong, but I’ve never forgiven you for that day.  Itz me, not wasn’t your fault...itz me, I’m the one that has the problem...

I knew we were in serious trouble last week, when I spent hours trying to rig-up a hodgepodge set-up so that I could use gears on you and no matter how much I tried to adjust the old cables and yard on the bent derailleur hanger I could not get you to shift to more than a couple gears.  I know that itz true, Eki and Buff and all the other guyz blame me for your pathetic state and their right to blame me; trying to get you to rightly shift using an old chain and an even older cassette, combined with a super old back-ass derailleur and rusty cables, but  I still blame you. I’m a’ll be better off without me...  You deserve deserve someone that will fix you up right, someone that will put new shiny components on you.  Your still young, you can still do something...You need someone that will meet you half-way...Someone that will giveback and not just take and take....

I guess the final straw came yesterday when your chain broke for the umpteenth time while I was riding on the Northshore trail with my buddies.  There I was, once again on my knees, getting soaked, getting my hands full of grease and oil trying to cobble together an old chain while Eki and Buffington, atop beautiful modern, efficient snowbikes, mocked us...You deserve better... I’m a jerk.  You need a guy that will routinely take you to a bike shop and have expert mechanics go over you and build you up. Build up your self-esteem...All I do is tear you down. 

But it wasn’t always so bad...I remember when you first came into my life...It was something like seven years ago.  I was still treating the new concept snowbikes from Surly with ridicule and derision...I called them “clown bikes” and preached the gospel that the Pugsely was an abomination, a sacrilege, an unnatural instrument of the devil...whose concerted aim was to destroy the very core of the winter cyclist—the standard 26 inch mountain bike (Pramann still holds the Arrowhead record on such a bike).   Just as I now vow to never, ever buy a carbon frame or even worse, an electronic shifter, I vowed then to never own a Pugsley.  Then a generous, non-cycling woman that I work with at my school won a Pugsley frame at the Arrowhead 135 drawing and graciously gave the frame to me in repayment for a few minor niceties that I had done for her in the previous years.    I figured that since you were “free” I’d be okay with putting some used stuff on you...Maybe thatz why we never really clicked?  Maybe itz because I never truly appreciated you...You were the bike that alwayz got stuck with the used gear or the gear that I picked up at races.  For that I am sorry.  You deserved better. 

You may think that I am doing this cuz your not made of some fancy pants material like carbon or titanium or aluminum, but that ain’t the truth.  I love steel and I never minded that you were always a little bit heavier than the other snowbikes.  I know that you think that I blame you for your short fork-steerer tube, but I don’t...I know it was someone else that cut it too short, itz not your fault...but still, it drives me crazy! I hate being all hunched over...i don't blame you...itz me...I need counseling. 

Itz just that I need to move on...I need space to grow.  I’m going to Alaska in February and I need to really focus on that...You say you want to go with me, but you know as well as I do that your wheels are too small, your tires are too bald, your components are too old and brittle...I gotta think about myself, my own needs....

Please forgive me...but I be gettin' me a MOONLANDER :)

This will be for the best in the long run....


Friday, October 19, 2012

Just checking in..........

Just a quick random and unorganized update as not much as been going on for me up here in the Northland that is worthy of sharing. 

This year’s class of Esko seniors is among the best I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with in my many years of teaching. I am always encouraged and hopeful for the future because of the fact that the vast majority of young people that I interact with on a daily basis are way more interesting and intelligent that I ever was in my youth; same can be said for my friends as well…Basically all my buddies and I cared about in high school and even in college was playing sports and drinking cheap beer.  In stark contrast this year’s group, especially, are extraordinarily well-rounded, thoughtful and generous. I have many seniors that are top-notch athletes, blooming academics, concerned humanitarians, empathetic mentors to struggling younger students, political moderates, consensus builders, good stewards to the environment, and the positives attributes go on and on…If you are stuck in a rut surrounded by others stuck in ruts…consider going into teaching; it’s a great gig!

The Heck of the North did not disappoint as it went off perfectly…there was a small unavoidable glitz involving a detour near the end of the race because of a car accident and a subsequent road closing by the cops, but even in that situation the leaders of the race acted with class and integrity.  Specifically, from what I could glean from a couple of the fastest riders (I finished way back), the situation involving the road closure necessitated a kind of real-life ethical dilemma in which the final outcome proved that there are still MEN that when tested will act with honor and grace.  Essentially here’s what happened: With less than ten miles to go—There was a group of three or four lead cyclists that had been able to establish a significant gap on a strong and motivated chase group of about ten or so guyz, a group mostly comprised of Duluth’s best in terms of endurance athletes.  The four leaders were heading down a long hill whose terminus is Superior Street.  Suddenly they encountered a bunch of cops and police cars.  Upon stopping they were informed that the road was being temporary closed because of a car hitting a telephone pole, etc.  They thus were forced to start back up the hill.  A few minutes later, they intercepted the chase group.  Now all headed back up together. Once to the top, the race officials (acting well under pressure) redirected the group to a detour route.  The comprehensive group thus headed off together following the detour until they came upon the final section of off-road, which was really only a few miles from the finish.  Then suddenly (and with out fanfare) the Men that had comprised the chase group suddenly stopped (as did the four original leaders). The chase group collectively and without any semblance of dissension, informed the leaders that they would wait for five minutes allowing the leaders to contest for the victory.  Such is the make-up Duluth’s best.  I wept when I heard the story. 

I did journey the following weekend after the Heck of the North to Levis Mounds for the last of the WEMS race.  This race, too, was a blast.  Unfortunately for me I got lost and/or distracted on my way down to the race so I did not get to start the race on time.  In fact I started the race about 78 minutes after the gun had gone off.  Yet I finished the 75 mile race, got to hang with Martin Rudnick, and even turned in a few relatively fast laps.  I love that course, felt pretty fit, and I am always impressed with the generous prizes available to the racers during the post-race party. 

The Heck of the North and the last WEMS race @ Levis are both great events. 

I am starting to get really pumped and even somewhat serious about training for the 350 mile Alaskan Iditarod race that Buffington and I are attempting at the end of February…I even considered giving up beer, but then I realized that would be the act of an insane person…

More to come…….

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Minnesota 24 did not disappoint...

Selected Minutes from a recently held meeting of the DBD Honor Board:
Note: The Board was unable to form a quorum as both Shackleton and Mallory were not in attendance. Shackleton is on a fact finding trip to Alaska, specifically trekking along the southern aspect of the Iditarod Trail in search of a Mr. Gauld’s nose and Mallory is pursuing a long held dream of his to bicycle to and then solo climb K2 without the aid of any equipment manufactured after 1920.

Proceedings included a brief summation of a recent endurance event:

…The inaugural Minnesota 24 Hour Race held at Memorial Park in Red Wing this last weekend did not disappoint. Both Buffington and Farrow attended representing the secretive and highly exclusive DBD Adventure Society.  While the course was short (one could easily turn a lap in under forty, even thirty—five minutes), it was quite exhilarating as it included many high speed, banked roller-coaster turns and fast descents. Regarding our people; while their efforts did not result in any noteworthy honor or glory for the Society, they did both conduct themselves as gentleman competitors committed to representing the Society in a manner that did not detract in any way from our principals of steadfast integrity or death.  
As many of you know in recent months Buffington’s name has become synonymous with lofty, manly, victorious, deeds winning many challenges and thus bestowing great honor upon the local Duluth Chapter of the DBD. But alas in Red Wing, he was hampered by a bout of melancholia exacerbated by recent exposures to the dreaded bordetella parapertussis bacteria.  Even so he still turned in an effort of which any normal man would be proud. Whilst attempting to revive himself using the recuperative powers of liquidified fermented barley and hops, upon each and every arrival of the elder Farrow to their pit-area, Buffington was always responsive to the old man’s needs, offering both physical and psychological support.  Look for Buffington to destroy the field at his next race venue for a man such as he, a champion, rarely accepts defeat more than once a season. 

In contrast Farrow (whose decline of late has been well documented), to the relief of many Society members, was able to finally put together an effort that can survive the scrutiny of the high standards set by our guiding principles of potius mori quam foedare. He did well on a single speed Pugsley turning 26 laps.  He did faulter at 3:00 a.m. after seventeen hours of riding, taking a nap, yet the kindly Buffington rousted him up and had him back on track after a three hour respite. The both of them rode together on the last lap, a time together that meant a lot to the old man.  Crossing the finish line together was a wonderful thing...Note: Rumors of microscopic tears were apparent though both men adamantly deny any such display of public emotion. Of course any such public display of emotion are strictly forbidden by DBD protocol.

However, the fact of the matter is that the day belonged to Charles Parsons of the Angry Catfish Club, a group out of Minneapolis.  Parsons has always been a dedicated endurance athlete endowed with true grit (several times a finisher at the Trans-Iowa), but this season he has taken his performances to the next level.  He was mounted upon a single-speed and yet he won the overall solo title, turning an impressive 34 laps!  He won the event in impressive style all the while maintaining a humble and amicable relationship with all in his sphere.  Look for Parsons to be a factor at the upcoming Arrowhead 135.

The DBD Adventure Society formally issues him a heartfelt: “BRAVO Charles Parsons! Bravo!”

Also worthy of mention: Greg Leschisin of Colorado, Kaleb Himli of Spring Valley, Dean McCauley of Ely (52 years old), and Rob Herrman of Angry Catfish. The above all conducted themselves as gentlemen/athletes during the 24 hour event and the DBD is proud to call them “friends of the DBD” and thus bestow upon them the coveted title of “Persons of Interest to the DBD.” Note: Parsons also is now considered a Person of Interest to the DBD.
The DBD also wishes to publicly thank Muddy Paws Racing for putting on a very well organized and fun race…Bravo.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Minnesota 24 Hour Race...Words of wisdom

Minnesota 24…Here we come!

Buffington and I are in intense preparation for the inaugural Minnesota 24 (  Look for Buffington to impress in the single speed category.  Look for me to fall over frequently in the new Fatbike category. 

What follows is a definitive list of carefully composed random thoughts on the logic of attempting to race ones bike for twenty-four hours around a smallish loop in the woods adjacent to a reform school for juvenile delinquents.
The two best parts about racing a 24 hour event is that one is afforded the excuse to not train at all for the week leading up to the race (arrive with fresh legs) and to also, in the week leading up to the start, zestfully imbibe his or hers’ favorite fermented barley and hops beverages with reckless abandon.  The former is intuitive and thus requires no further explanation. The ladder is based on two important considerations that every 24-hour competitor must confront—1.) The benefits of Beer-Loading now enjoys the status of being acknowledged as well established scientific fact.  Unlike that of the unfounded claims by liberals that humans cause problems related to the environment and climate or that Hedge Fund Mangers act in self-interest or that smoking or coal mining causes health problems. According to a Dr. Mannie (PhD in Beerology from Oral Roberts University), who appears regularly on Fox News (that stalwart tower of non-biased journalism) there are a number of natural antioxidants and vitamins in beer that can help prevent heart disease and even rebuild muscle. It also has one of the highest energy contents of any food or drink. Dark beers (Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout) tend to have the most antioxidants, which help reverse cellular damage that occurs naturally in the body. A recent study published in the Journal of American Beers Drinkers Who Believe in the American Way has also found that dark beer has higher iron content compared to lighter beers. Remember, iron-ore from the Iron Range is an essential mineral that our bodies need. Iron-ore is a part of all cells and does many jobs including carrying oxygen from our lungs throughout the rest of our bodies. Note: Iron ore and other valuable stuff that is dug up in huge mega-pits right here in the Northland by dedicated workers hired temporarily by the nice "job creating" corporate people from Canada, Chile, India, and China.  2.) I forgot what the second reason was.  I am little foggy from my pre-race preparation…

Other random, well conceived thoughts: None are coming to me at this point.