Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When Honor is lost....

Memorandum Part II…re.: Duluth to Ely Official Trip Report

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From: Winston Churchill; DBD Historian

To: Public

Basic facts—

Team: Eric Peterson & CPFarrow

Departure from Duluth: Farrow residence Saturday, 2/25/2012, 9:27 a.m.

Arrival in Ely: Softball/baseball complex, 2/26/2012, 6:42 a.m.

Special Gear/Equipment notes: Peterson was on top of a custom steel frame take he himself crafted. Farrow brought along a newly acquired 1913 Webley Mk IV revolver. This pistol represents the standard issue DBD pistol-type. This particular model is a 9mm calibre weapon and has proved to be immensely reliable (and consequently popular) in use for the northern latitudes by generations of DBD members. For some odd reason, Mr. Farrow's previous revolver seemed to routinely misfire, so he was issued a new one.

As stated below in Part I, a mechanical had forced these men-of-action to go their separate ways. Peterson perhaps bearing the heavier psychological load for his new assignment was multi-faceted and complicated. Farrow had only to push his way northward and to battle the demons of self-doubt that await every man that ventures alone into the darkness. The trail became softer and thus harder to negotiate. The old man grew weary and his mind began to wander. He recalled happier dayz when as the undisputed leader of the local chapter of the DBD, he enjoyed the full loyalty of his men and the Club was at its pinnacle in terms of global status and influence among the adventure communities. In those dayz the DBD Adventure Society enjoyed no rivals and entry into itz exclusive membership was the goal of every aspiring adventurist.

The sun’s rays continued to transform the snow into energy sucking mash potatoes. He was forced to once again stop to let more air out of the tires. He soldiered onward, only a couple miles out from the Northshore parking lot north of Two Harbors…the extra work acting as a negative force on his fragile psyche—he began to obsess about the sad state of affairs regarding the current DBD’s living membership; Sir Eki’s mind gone from the ravages of Job-like sores upon his backside, Sir Buffington gallivanting with skinny runner-types, Praman’s mind still sharp, yet physically broken from his effort in Alaska two years hence, the youthful Kershaw passing up the acquisition of a snowbike in favor of a camera, and his own pathetic effort in the recent Arrowhead 135 where he curled up like a little school girl on the trail and slept for eight hours…Oh the shame of it all was hard for him to fathom. Suddenly the realization that his front tire was completely flat jolted him back to reality.

A quick review showed that he had forgotten to tighten down the valve which had in turn caused the tube to leak out. As he began pumping up the tire, a pack of snowmobilers arrived onto the scene. As luck would have it he knew one of the sled-necks and so any potential for a showdown involving fisticuffs was quickly averted. Once Farrow was clearly established as the Alpha, engaging in friendly conversations, the snowmobilers let it be known that they were en route to a “wild-game feed” at the bar in Brimson and that our man would be welcome. The draw of a cold beer is a powerful aphrodisiac for our kind and the old man was low on fluids, so he inquired as to the route and length to the bar. The information he received, combined with a perusal of the map, lead him to conclude that to ride to the bar via the Brimson trail was clearly an option. The other option was to stay on route and get water from the Gooseberry River. The Gooseberry option was obviously the most expeditious, but it meant that he would have to forgo a hot meal as the stove and fuel were with the lad. After a couple miles or so, the Brimson trail heads essentially in a western path off the Yukon Trail and from the map it looked to be about an eight mile detour. Without really weighing out the implications, he took off up the Yukon Trail with the intention to make the detour to the Brimson bar for a beer and a warm meal.

The idea being that with his stocks full, he would be all set to make the final big push to Ely, which he surmised to be about fifty to sixty miles away. It was still light out, yet the sun had lost itz power, and thus the trail was setting up. He rode for perhaps forty minutes when he decided to add air to the tires. He pulled over and to his utter dismay— realized that he had left his pump back at the parking lot! He was crushed! His first thought was to leave it and hope for the best, but as he rode on he began to consider that if he got a flat or broke a chain he would be stranded (extra links are stored in a small compartment in the pump). So he turned and made the trip back to retrieve the pump. Finally well after dark he pulled into the bar in Brimson. A spot that is well known by many of our people.

As implied above, the bar was hosting a fund-raising party for a poor fellow that was stricken with some kind of vile cancer. The old man was welcomed in and with a purchase of a five dollar raffle ticket to show solidarity, he hoisted his tired bulk onto the bar stool and relished a couple of Leinies combined with some kind of roast beast on a bun with chips to round off the entrée.

It is at this juncture that our man’s honor comes into serious question for the first time since embarking. Rather than backtracking on the Brimson, as had been his original plan (and the right thing to do), he now hastily decides to instead head up Highway 1, which ultimately connects with Highway 2 and then intersects with the Yukon/Tomahawk Trail. This deviation of course would negate Farrow’s claim to a first ascent of the full trail complex from Duluth to Ely. He reasons that given his time constraint he must get to the trail as soon as possible so as to not miss Peterson who will be heading south down the trail. I will leave this issue to be debated in the near future by our panel of ethicists, but there can be no doubt that as soon as his bike started up that asphalt his efforts were tainted and will come under an Honor Board Review.

In any event, he felt revived and made the trail proper in good time, perhaps spending two hours on the tarmac. To his disappointment the trail was very bumpy, erratic, and it had begun to snow. The good news was that the trail had set up in most places. The Tomahawk is exceedingly hilly (as is the entire course) and he was at this point walking every incline. At this segment of the route, the evergreen forest is tight along the narrow trail and one is treated to a real sense of myopic remoteness that is both exhilarating and taunting. Yet with about thirty miles to go we must remember that he had been on the bike now for something like fourteen hours. He was greatly fatigued and constantly looking for the lad to show up. Suddenly he felt a rumbling deep within his aged bowels. To his chagrin he realized that he was going to have to relieve himself sans proper tools for the job. Snow would be his only option.

His tottering legs were simply too fried to allow him to squat down and do his business. Instead he quickly set about building a crude structure out of sticks and the like, a kind of “lean-to” that would allow him to have a bit of support as he took the semi-squatting position that is required for such endeavors. In other words, a semi-leaning affair that would allow one to relieve ones self and also afford a clear pathway or fall-line, free from obstructions...With the structure complete and a few pre-made snowball at the ready, he dropped both trousers and bike shorts, exposing his private area to the elements. Perhaps half way through the exercise, the structure gave way to the man’s weighty bulk and the whole enterprise fell into the snow.

He lay there momentarily, his exposed manhood soiled and full of snow. Minuscule tears formed in his blood-shot eyes and then silently made little rivulets down his rugged face. He questioned the existence of a higher power. His next thought was to simply resign his post and thus close his eyes and fall asleep, but he then conjured the images of his body retrieval in such a state and this compelled him to move on.

By the time he had cleaned himself up and swapped out some clothing and socks, he was intellectually at the level of mature mollusk. He contemplated doing his duty, but his pistol once again jammed and he was too frazzled to make a second attempt, plus he reasoned that his corpse would make more work for the lad. For all the while, he knew that he was on the right trail and he never once questioned the youth’s loyalty or the lad’s abilities. He simply knew that sooner or later the kid would show up. And sure enough about twenty-three miles out from Ely the two were reunited.

The two arrived in Ely just as the sun was raising with little fanfare…it had taken a little over 21 hours.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Selected photos including a recent foray to Ely...

Memorandum re.: Duluth to Ely Official Trip Report
Date: Monday, February 27, 2012
From: Winston Churchill; DBD Historian
To: Public
Basic facts—
Team: Eric Peterson & CPFarrow
Departure from Duluth: Farrow residence Saturday, 2/25/2012, 9:27 a.m.
Arrival in Ely: Softball/baseball complex, 2/26/2012, 6:42 a.m.
Special Gear/Equipment notes: Peterson was on top of a custom steel frame that he, himself crafted. Farrow brought along a newly acquired 1913 Webley Mk IV revolver. This pistol represents the standard issue DBD pistol-type. This particular model is a 9mm calibre weapon and has proved to be immensely reliable (and consequently popular) in use for the northern latitudes by generations of DBD members. For some odd reason, Mr. Farrow's previous revolver seemed to routinely misfire, so he was issued a new one.

The brave duo congregated in East Duluth @ the humble abode of the mature Farrow. Little last minute packing in mid-morning, allowed for a quick exit; they left with little fanfare apart from a teary-eyed man-dog, named Loki. They ascended the Tischer Creek trail. From the trail they accessed Jean-Duluth road and headed out for the Jean-Duluth/Zimmerman Intersection. It was at this intersection that they started their brave effort upon the Northshore Trail.

Both Farrow’s detractors and armchair purists will be quick to point out that to start at this point is to forgo a significant 5.9 mile section of the Northshore trail. This is a valid point and should a race one day occur the proper starting point should be either the Lester Park Pavilion or the Heck of the North start line (just off Martin Road). Our man decided to pass up this challenging, hilling section for two reasons: 1.) he has crossed it many times in the past and time was of the essence; and 2.) as the primary purpose of this trip was the acquisition of knowledge in preparation for using this route as a race course— going over this known terrain was deemed to be redundant.

Our intrepid men immediately encountered less than ideal conditions and as the sun did itz work during the gloriously bright day the going became quite slow and arduous. Yet the company was good, the conversation engaging, and so the men went about their labors with resolute merriment following a beautiful trail. Even when during an early break it was discovered that the ever-absentminded old one had somehow failed to recognize that one of his heavily loaded rear pannier had fallen off his bike, the valiant pair good naturedly turned from the north and set back to find the missing pack. The mishap costs them perhaps only thirty to forty minutes.

The elder was impressed with the lad’s propensity to cheerfully suffer without complaint whilst both were continually impressed with the lay of the land which is exceedingly hilly and picturesque. The going was slow but deliberate and all was going well until a few miles out from the Fox Farm intersection. Then, the enthusiastic youth felt an abnormality in his pedal stroke. A quick check revealed that his pedal was on the verge of compete malfunction. Itz funny how quickly the tide can change. Minutes before the fearless men were confident of a hard won victory, now the whole enterprise looked to be bankrupt.

What to do? Given the fact that Peterson, an able bike mechanic, felt that the pedal was on the verge of complete failure, combined with the fact that Farrow has seen firsthand what happens when a man’s pedal goes bad, a decision was made that would at least allow for the continuation of the mission. Peterson would limp the bike back to Duluth via the Fox Farm road, then pick up his truck at the Farrow residence. He would then drive the truck back to his house, swap out the pedals, and then drive all the way to Ely. Once in Ely, the plan called for him to start heading south down the Tomahawk Trail with the goal being that the two would reunite somewhere along the trail. The dye was cast. Peterson went his way and Farrow continued on the trail…ALONE…
Stay tuned for Part II…………

Friday, February 24, 2012

News release...

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

In Duluth; starting tomorrow in the a.m. a youthful, promising cyclist and an aged worn-out DBD cyclist shall pursue HONOR in an attempt to push a new snow-bike route through to Ely. Specifically— following the Northshore Trail to Two Harbors, the duo will then head north; first on the Yukon Trail and then the Tomahawk Trail. Their effort will involve well over one hundred miles of unexplored territory. Should they succeed they shall be hailed as courageous visionaries. Should they succeed they shall dine with Kings! Should they fail; they will join the ranks of the vanquished and defeated. Should they fail they will become but a mere footnote in DBD lore….Godspeed!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why I think the end of the world as we know it... is upon us...

Tough Mudder: The world's TOUGHEST RACE EVER so sad. Who are these people? Plus the entry fees are only between $95 and $ itz a real bargain....but be aware that the course is between 10 and 12 miles long!!!! And from the video it seems like they only have light beer available at the finish line...still these guyz are tough!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The AH135 does NOT dissappoint...and I'll do better next year, when I'm lighter....

A precursor to a more detailed race report:
Random musings:
· Team Pramann put on a world class event. Every conceivable detail was handled in a first class manner…Simply top-notch from the check-in to the raffling of thousands of dollars worth of great gear to the sweet T-shirts to the treats that waited the finishers to the ride back to I-Falls.
· The field every year gets more competitive. The Alaskans are clearly at the top of the food chain in this genre. In their company I am always worried that I am going to soil myself.
· The guyz from Nordakota are alwayz super nice and funny…so is Josh Peterson (aka Deathrider)...

· Dittmer and Doom were right there... pushing it hard…pretty special! I know those guyz!!!!
· Dittmer, Doom, Tri, and McFadden all should be included amongst the favorites for next year. I know those guyz!!!!!
· If Buffington skis it next year, his name shall be forever linked to this race as itz greatest all-around participant. Hez a good friend of mine!!!!!
· Don Clark’s wife knows how to cook a “mean” pasta.
· The Canadians are about as agreeable and pleasant as any group of people on earth.
· I still love Jason Novak and Jeremy Kershaw may well be able to quit his day job in the near future...

· Here’s a bit of the defeatist rationale that I relied upon when I decided to pull over and bivy around 9:00 p.m. on Monday evening along the AH trail with ~35 to 40 miles to go to the finish , “ There’s reason why they want us to bring all this gear, it makes no sense not to use it…”
· I must be Okay cuz I am already thinking about how I can go faster next year…
· A full report next week…

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New stunning revelations from WikiLeaks

Wikileaks discovers two divergent, albeit secret “Arrowhead 135” cables from DBD Headquarters:

Dear Dr. Buffington:
In glorious honor of your amazing man-hauling achievement at this year’s Arrowhead 135 it is with great pleasure that we extend to you a knighthood, thus entitling you all the privileges and rewards associated with this esteemed status including the title of Sir Buffington of the DBD.

In the spirit of Mawson, Shackleton, Nanson, Crazy Horse, and the like, your ability to spurn adversity with good cheer and modesty is characteristic of all Great Leaders of MEN—To accomplish brave acts of endurance whilst all the time maintaining the highest level of amicability and geniality is truly a source of inspiration to all members of the DBD.

We are all better off when we have you in our company…
Well done, Sir Buffington, Well done!

With admiration,
Sir George Mallory

Mr. Farrow:
Sir Mallory would like to meet privately with you, promptly. Please have your personal paperwork in order and bring with you to the meeting any and all references, documentation, and equipment you may have in your possession that have any association to the DBD organization (including your club revolver and club-issued ammunition). It may behoove you to have a word or two with your loved ones as well. Loki, the Man-dog will be found a good and proper home.
E. Shackleton

He wants to be remembered as a celebrated Haikuist

Whilst the others rode, skied, and ran on to glory and honor—in squalor, he lay alone and broken in a shelter along the Arrowhead trail; he noted his long life of folly. He reflected on the absurdity of his existence, his despair was exacerbated by the sweat trenched clothing that clung to his ravaged, aged physique. He conjured a future that included continued decline and desolation. False teeth and a walker await him. Here's a haiku poem written by the author on his recent racing effort:

Defeated, alone.
Desperate for Casino.
Dishonored, forlorn, broken

more to come in the near future............