The Jeep

I’m pretty sure I’ve commented elsewhere here on my acquisition of this Surly Disc Trucker frame and fork from my buddy Matt some years ago – and how initially I didn’t really dig it. Then tried to sell it. But didn’t, and since have been grateful to the bike gods for putting the kibosh on that.

Now that I have it uniquely appointed for how I want to ride and use it, it has become indispensable. My buddy Cam, the mechanic at my LBS, dubbed it ‘The Picnic Bike’ due to my penchant for taking it on #CoffeeOutside trips and snack runs and presumably also because of the basket. It’s become the go-to for those kinds of rides and grocery/errand runs in any and every kind of weather.

The Porcelain Rocket Microwave Mini-Panniers are perfect for the camp chair and hammock I keep in them at all times and the dry bags stow easily in the PR basket bag until needed. The RandiJo Fabrications Bartender and Jeff and Joan’s Bags keep all kinds of stuff handy on the bars.

Awhile back the Maxxis Aspen semi-slick MTB tires I’d put on it initially were worn thin and needed replacing. I didn’t want to sink a bunch of money into tires and I had these old IRC TrailBears that had been hanging in my shop for literally years – brand new – I’d purchased them for a 26″ mtb that I no longer own. I wasn’t sure they’d fit on this bike and clear the fenders, but lo-and-behold, here they are.

With the super-aggressive tread of these tires, the bike took on even more of a Jeep stance. It’s already green and like a Jeep will tackle most kinds of terrain – it’s pretty easy to find yourself underbiking on this thing. Like a Jeep it will go down most any road or trail you can find – just don’t expect to go fast. Like a Jeep it will smooth out some of the bumps, but not all of them, and as a consequence anything not lashed securely in place will rattle, bounce and clank around making a considerable racket on the way. On the plus side, that lets the bears know you’re coming. It weighs a ton and isn’t exactly ‘nimble’, but conversely it’s steady and predictable, and you can pack a shit-tonne of stuff in/on it.

At this point it keeps getting better with age/patina and is almost perfect. Additional upgrades I’d like to make eventually are a leather saddle, a bottle cage that will hold a 1L Nalgene and a dyno front hub and lights to make it even more versatile.

Loving The Jeep. Not for sale.

On Falling Down

When we’re kids we fall all the time. Sometimes even on purpose. I stacked it more times that I can count riding bikes, skateboarding, falling out of trees and other various shenanigans in the neighborhood.

Yesterday, running downhill on a trail, I caught my right toe on something and fully laid myself out at speed. My left shoulder took the most of it, then the left knee. Rocks. Roots. It happened instantly, without warning – yet paradoxically – I have the distinct memory of that time in the air thinking, “oh, shit.” That part seemed to take a long time. Or at least long enough for me to process it.

The first few moments after a fall like that are existential. Think about the last time you fell, hard. That’s the Universe in a single moment right there. That’s Enlightenment. There’s nothing else but that moment. I guarantee you are not thinking about anything else. You could sit a 1,000 hours of meditation and not get quite the same feeling as the instant when you collide with the ground unexpectedly and emphatically. It’s Gensa stubbing his toe x 100.

“But after a period of studying with Seppo, Gensa figured it was time to go meet some other teachers so that he could get a more well-rounded education. He packed his bags and started walking toward the temple gate.

Just then he stubbed his toe on a big rock. There was blood all over the place, and his toe hurt like nobody’s business. Gensa thought, “Some say the physical body doesn’t exist, so where, then, is this pain coming from?” He returned to the temple.

Seppo, his teacher, saw him and asked, “What’s up, Mr. Hard Practice?”

Gensa said, “My trouble is I can’t be fooled.”

Seppo said, “Who doesn’t know this deep down? But who else besides you can say it out loud?”

– Brad Warner, Don’t Be a Jerk: And other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master

The subsequent moments after hitting the ground were almost euphoric. “I didn’t die.” I made it. Elation. In a weird way it almost felt good to fall. For one, it told me where the limit was, but also it brought me immediately back to the present. All the thoughts that had been ruminating in my head prior to that moment as I careened out of control down a hill – thoughts that had nothing to do with what I was doing or where I was (part of the problem) – seemed suddenly foolish. Irrelevant.

SMACK. RIGHT HERE IS WHERE YOU ARE.

The Universe was telling me to slow the fuck down. “We’re gonna give you a pass on this one ‘cause we dig what you’re doing – but don’t be an idiot about it.” Noted.

It’s been awhile since I smacked the earth that hard. Is that the problem? Is it because as we get older we do it less therefore it’s a bigger deal when we do? Should we be falling more? Seems that’s a double-edged sword.

Sage Internet Philosopher of our times, Stevil, is perhaps onto something:

It would seem more accurately, we’re never too old to do anything – except fall down – that’s the part that becomes problematic. Please pass the ibuprofen.

In the final Universal twist of irony, Coach has me running same trail today on the training plan. Back on the horse as they say.

50@50

Was out running the other day and had a brainstorm – or a brain fart depending on how you look at it. Decided since I’ll be 50 this year I’d try to run 50k on my birthday in November. So here we go.

Started ‘training’ last week and Coach made me get on the Strava again to see my numbers, so if you’re so inclined you can follow along there.

Coach’s new website sure is fancy. [wink]

Morning Stretch

Yesterday morning I thought of my friend Movement Amy as I was outside watering plants around my yard and stretching down and pulling 100’ of hose and balancing on rocks and off camber surfaces and stooping and swaying my arms and I thought ‘geez how many million things are firing right now in my body to make all these things happen without me thinking about that until just now and how good it feels to use it and revel in it as I move.

I noticed she’s opened a new chapter in her book of whatever it is we’re all doing on this planet:

If you’re local, you should check her out. She’s the goods. If you’re not local, she’ll also make you your own special videos and send them to you with internet magic. I got 3. Game changers.