Monday, January 23, 2017

Hey Heisenberg!

I took my grandmother (Mamaw) and my 9 (soon to be 10) year old daughter and a friend of the daughter to a bluegrass concert this past weekend because Lily wanted to go for her birthday.
 
We had a great time.  Once the concert was over we left, took the friend home on a dark country road, then headed back toward town.  As I drove along at a reasonable clip a pickup truck came from out of nowhere and started tailgating me with its lights on bright.  I do not negotiate with tailgaters; I slowed down.
 
When we reached the intersection with the main road I curbed the urge to roll down my window and yell: "do you have a problem?"  If two of the most important people in my life hadn't been in the car I most assuredly would have.
 
I looked both ways three times before pulling out and continued toward town, with the intention to get on the parkway so the jerk in the truck could pass at his leisure.  Except there was a passing lane before the intersection with the ramp.  He pulled alongside and matched my speed.
 
I looked over, expecting to see his middle finger or him cursing.  Nope.  He's pointing a gun at me.  And Mamaw Lacy.  And Lily.
 
I let off the gas and he sped away.  Not before I got his plate number and dialed 911.
 
We continued home.  We're safe.  But it took all of my self-control not to go back to town after I dropped them off and look for him.  ALL of my self-control.
***

Originally, I had assumed this incident was part of the Trump Effect.  I posted the preceding portion with an ending that lambasted Trump and his supporters, and reminding the world that I had predicted this sort of thing would happen in a Trump/Tannen reality.  I posted it up at 5:00 am this past Sunday morning (the dogs had woke me up to go out and bark at the coyotes that live up the way). A Facebook friend replied and said they didn’t think it was the Trump Effect but instead an effect of the local drug problem and cited some examples.  I thought about it, being a little more awake after I let the traitor dogs back in, and took the post down.

The more I think about it the more I’m fairly certain our felonius friend was involved less in local politics and more in the local drug scene. Then my thoughts turned to the current situation in my own neighborhood.  Drugs haven’t creeped in; they came strolling up with the mail wearing familiar faces.

We’ve had people come to the door looking for the dealers asking for them by names we know all too well.  Recently a guy came to the door and tried to sell us some scratched up DVDs.  When we said we weren’t interested he tried to get us to buy the whole case for twenty bucks.  So he could walk across the road and buy meth? Heroin? Pills?

We’ve started locking not only all of our house doors but our car doors at night as well.  I worry about the garbage that gets burned at the drug house.  We’ve had to educate the kids about what to do if they come across needles.  We’ve had to tell them not to talk to anyone along the road (that goes to their great grandmother’s house) or answer the door to anyone they don’t know...well.

This is our house.  This is where we live.  Our home.

I know I’m not the first father to worry about these things and I know what we’re dealing with isn’t a fraction of what a lot of people have to deal with.  I understand and I’m not trying to cry victim or garner pity.  I’m pissed.

I’m tired of watching the Breaking Bad Amateur Hour.  How long before a deal goes bad and bullets fly?  Or the house catches on fire?  Or someone inadvertently or advertently harms my kids?

I don’t know if the road rage incident was the Trump Effect.  Frankly, I don’t care if it was Trump or drugs.  We’re living in a Biff Tannen fever dream all the same.  There is a bigger problem in Powell County.  We don’t have enough law enforcement.  We have too many criminals that know that.  Drugs in Eastern Kentucky are running rampant. 

This is not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in.  I thought by getting out of the big city (Denver) and moving back to rural Eastern Kentucky life would be more relaxed and satisfying.  I was terribly wrong.  The most galling things about the situation at home is that its family that has brought drugs to the neighborhood.  Its family that has attracted the criminal element. 

The genius that pointed the gun at us though…

 
When I was a full time bike commuter I used to confront reckless drivers.  Sure, go ahead and cut me off to get to the red light.  I'll just pull up to your window five seconds later and we can "chat" about how you almost hit me.  Mandy used to tell me that one day I was going to get in a fight or get shot.  The other night when I told her I almost rolled down my window and yelled: "do you have a problem?" she said that should be a lesson to me; that I probably would have gotten shot.
 
Would it have been wrong for me to demand an answer for the tailgater's behavior?  And if he shot me—while no real consolation to me or my loved ones—it would have been him morally accountable; not me.
 
Why do the bullies get to win?  I know, I know, I should turn the other cheek.  When they go low, I should go high.  But where is that line between letting it go and taking a stand to protect my family and myself?  The other night I was able to let off the gas and the problem sped away.  What if he had decided menacing us wasn't enough?  He'd already committed a felony by pointing the gun at me. What if he'd ran us off the road?  What if he'd followed me home to prove some idiotic point? 

That wasn’t the first time I’ve been threatened in recent months.

One night a few months ago about 11:00 we hear a Gator shaped object revving up on the hill.  We look out the bedroom window and the neighbor has driven a hundred feet from the house to a flat spot just off the property I call "the dump."  Old tires and stuff.  He starts screwing around in front of the GSO on the ground for ten minutes or so, then drives it back to the house, parks it and goes inside.  The next day when I got home from work I parked up the road and kind of sneaked through the woods to see if I could see what he had been up to.  There amongst the normal junk was a truck toolbox sitting upright on the ground.  I figure that's where he was stashing stuff.

A few days later he comes by when I'm outside and wants to chat.  We never chat.  He asks if we've lost any chickens.  Says he saw a bobcat on his game cam a few nights back.  Tells me his boss bought him a gun and they've been sitting up in the woods waiting for it.  I'm a dim light bulb.  It doesn't register right away.  It’s such a bizarre non-sequitur I ponder it for a few days before I realize: I'm the bobcat.

Whose boss buys them a gun?  I kept wondering that.  Make absolutely no sense.  Unless your boss is a drug dealer.

This weekend has been that movie moment for me when Marty McFly finds his father’s tombstone in the Hill Valley Cemetery.  The dark dystopian reality has come home.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ramming Speed Friday: Time Enough Edition


It’s hard to top my last post.  I’m not saying that to toot my own horn, but instead to expound on the fact that my ride that day is still haunting my daydreams.  It was just a good time out in the woods and the blog post is there to remind me of just how enjoyable that day was.

This past week has been full to overflowing with race planning.  The Red River Gorge MTB 100 is off and running!  My lovely and amazing wife put together a budget.  We’re shuffling paperwork all around the state trying to get things in order.  We have a venue lined up for the start/finish/awards and to act as a base of operations.  We have entertainment lined up.  And I finally nailed down the route.

I won’t be sharing the route too soon.  Instead I’ll be sharing training rides.  There is a good reason for this.  I’m not ready to explain at this time.  But it’s the best route the area can yield.  I’m certain of it.  I hope over time we’ll be able to improve upon it and make the race even better.
 
 

That’s what I’m focusing on right now: putting on the best race I possibly can.

So we’re moving ahead at ramming speed.  While it seems like we have plenty of time it’s really only eight and a half months away.

And then one day you’ll find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Ten years.  Our youngest turns ten in a few days.  She’s excited about the double digits.  She feels like she’s hit the big time.  That’s kind of exciting.  I’m not the type of parent that mourns the passing of my offspring’s childhood.  We’ve not squandered our time with the kids as kids.  We’ve not spent too much time focused on the “important things” while leaving them to the care of others.  While I say that I will also emphasize that I could spend more time with my kids.  And lately it seems I’ve had more opportunities to have conversations with the thirteen (nearly fourteen) year old.  He’s really not a kid anymore.  He’s smarter than most adults I know and has a grasp of things that absolutely blows me away.  I mean, he’s likely to burn the house down trying to heat up a burrito before he graduates high school, but he’s really got a depth of knowledge about the physical world and of history that most full grown people I know don’t.  He’s like Einstein with his shoelaces.

What scares me is that I absolutely failed to find the direct route to opportunity myself.  I’m not sure I have a clue how to guide my children to a smoother path in life than I have trod.  I don’t want my kids to have all of the things I never had a child.  I want them to have a better experience transitioning into adulthood than I had.  Except…I have no experience doing it well, and of course I can’t go back and practice.  All I can say is “learn from my mistakes.”

The hardest thing for me is to decide what were true mistakes and what were things society would regard as mistakes.  I’m not one to abide by conventional thinking for its own sake.  I like to question things and make my own decisions.  Some people would view that approach as a mistake in and of itself.  I would like to tell them to do something sexually difficult to themselves.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned the inauguration.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Misty Mountain Bike Hop


I finally figured out what my problem is.  Well, one of them.  Take this with a grain of salt; it's going to sound like I'm bragging.  But this is a serious neurological analysis.

It's been hard for me to motivate myself to get out and hike, or ride, and even get back into climbing.  Inspiration lurks in the shadows; elusive and tantalizing.

The problem is I’ve been kicking around this piece of ground that’s my hometown and the region TOO MUCH.  And it's not even that I've simply visited all the trails in the area, ridden all the roads, explored all of the nooks and crannies...I've visited them repeatedly in most cases...not really EVERY lost and forgotten place, but maybe they're just all starting to look the same.

Sooooo boring!

It seems like there's little out there to pique my interest.  A lot of my adventures are going through the motions.  I have to go further, be out longer, get deeper into the bush while getting whacked, and then I'm still just around the corner from the farthest point I had been before.

The novelty has expired.  I have to wrack my brain so much harder to dazzle myself.  I have made every exciting thing mundane.

This realization began to coalesce a few months ago.  I started seeing that most Instagram posts from average folks (I count myself as one) are of adventures much like mine, but maybe with more vigor and heft.  I could also see that a lot of those adventuring shots were novel to the subjects, shooters, and the peanut galleries.  What was the fundamental difference? I asked myself.  

The shine has worn off for me.  My outings are reruns and reenactments of my glory days.  Or they're hopeful rehearsals for bigger future expeditions. I think the solution to my conundrum is to recalibrate.  This is a mental fuse blown is all.

One mistake I've made over the past handful of years is keeping a driven pace.  I want to see more and I want to get in better shape for some nebulous athletic performance.  That, combined with my inattentive neurology, has kept me running and running to catch up with the sunning.

This past Saturday factors combined to make for a truly enjoyable experience.  More to support my theory the first half of my planned ride was a new place for me.  There was a little intrigue involved.  I also decided to practice my hand at velosexual pretentiousness.  I took my camp stove, coffee cup, and plans to sit on some dreamy overlook sipping local roasted, freshly ground, fair trade coffee.  I opted to leave the hammock at home.  The forecast was for rain.



I’m not going to go into fine detail about the beginning of my day. Let’s suffice it to say I rode past a number of “Authorized Personnel Only” and “No Trespassing” signs.  Once the legal gauntlet had been run I was rolling along a misty ridge through National Forest.  Straight up and down shadows blurred by as I cranked out the old road.  Winter bone trees were wrapped in mist and the black and white tunnel walls obscured the far vistas I knew were not far off.

The Pine Mountain rolled over everything.  Wet logs, thick leaves, hints of views that might be.  Despite lots of recent rain and soggy trees all around the road was solid.  Gravel under a few autumns leaves made for a solid but cush surface.  My GPS showed almost three miles when I finally came to the end.



The end of "trail" was a small clearing bounded by stunted pines.  I hiked down to an overlook that’s obvious few people visit in a given year.  I set up the backpacking stove on bare, damp rock and did a quick pour over.  As I waited for the water to heat up I watched mist flow slowly u the valley like a hundred year flood.  After a while a big fog wave piled up and over the ridge and visibility went to zilch.  Was it raining or just fogging?

Despite the damp and the chill I was comfortable in my layers as I sat on the rock.  I sipped coffee and enjoyed to quiet and the solitude.  So what if I was living the hipster dream?  It was comforting and restorative to hang on that rock for a bit.  

Legit

On the ride out I dreaded getting caught on the backside of the warning signs.  But I was able to get back to the car no problem.  I drove a short distance down the road and parked at a legal and legit forest road.  The second leg of my adventure involved riding out two user created singletrack trails on parallel ridges.  The two together equaled six miles of out and back bringing my daily mileage to eleven.  I’ve ridden these ridges infrequently for years.  They suffer from regular deadfall as the prevailing winds whip across the flat ridges and uproot large hardwoods rooted in shallow soil.  But even still, there were few mandatory off bike moments and I had a great ride in the continuing fog.


Coming and going on Tarr Ridge

Eventually I returned home and sat relaxing with some warm food and hot chocolate. While my body was home in the recliner my mind lingered in the mist out on that ridge. For a brief moment I experienced a satisfaction I rarely get to enjoy.  I was content and I tried to hold onto that warm feeling for as long as I could.  Even as I write this the memory of Saturday gives me an abiding sense of fulfillment. 

And so, what I learned from all of this is that I need to be a little more intentional and creative.  I need to be willing to stop and take in the set pieces of my ongoing adventures and always remember to enjoy the ride without being so hyper focused on the finish line.  I know there are plenty of inspirational everyday adventures waiting out there for me.  I know I can find them and capitalize on the amazing landscape I have in my backyard. 


Friday, January 13, 2017

Ramming Speed Friday: Speeding for the Weekend


A few years ago I felt my metabolism crash.  Well, not literally—in a single moment—but you know what I mean.  Over the course of 2016 my physical activity dropped off to unpresidential (you read that right) levels.  While I didn’t put on a massive amount of weight last year I did go through a period of feeling completely and totally broken down, lethargic, and old of age.

I feel pretty good today.  My back is a lot better.  I still have some persistent tightness that I attribute to poor digital ergonomics.  I have energy the likes of which I had missed.  It’s not likely I feel as good as I did at twenty five, but I’m almost twenty years gone from those days so it really matters not.  I’d like to get back to feeling as good as I did at forty.  Pining for my younger days…

I ran too many days this week.  At least conventional wisdom would say you shouldn’t run four days in a row three or four miles a day without working up to it or at all.  But I felt pretty good on all four runs, my knees are holding up incredibly well, and I’m not pushing the pace at all.  Running is about all I want to do while the weather is so wet.  Wet.   Just wet.  Season of mud.  The air is damp, the ground is…saturated, and everything else is glistening with droplets of…wet.
 
 

I could ride, but I’m just sick of abusing my bikes.  I don’t ride them enough to justify the kind of abuse I put them through.  I need to start giving them some good quality miles.  So I abuse my running shoes instead. 

If I were a bit farther along in my new running regime I’d probably go trail running.  That don’t hurt nothing but your muscles.  And your cartilage.  And your noggin if you trip and fall.

Anyway, I’m just killin’ time tryin’ to get to the end of this post.  I like to hit 1,000 words for a normal post and somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 for a Ramming Speed Friday.  I’m currently at…360 and numbers don’t count.

So I sit here in a well-lit cubicle while the early morning drear wafts past the window here in the huge metropolis of LexingTON, Kentucky on a Friday morning in January.  I got the Tyler Childers and the Foodstamps performance on Mountain Stage playing in the headphones.  My eventual obituary should mention something about me being a hopeless Tyler Childers fan.  Paragraph or two tops.

But then despite the misty morning I’d rather be enjoying a misty mountain hop.  I like Tyler a lot—his voice is incredible—but I better love the music of the woods.  Nothing compares to the wind in the trees and the sound of falling water.  These harsh LED lights violate my brain worse than any beating the sun has given me.  I’d rather feel the cool of damp air on my skin, hinting at the edge of a chill, than the gentle unnatural breeze of the HVAC.  This is not my world.  These are not my people.  And again I say: twenty-two (almost three) year old me would punch forty-two (almost three) year old me right in the teeth.

I don’t live with regrets, but I do live with the heavy burden of being unsatisfied in life.  I don’t blame that on the conditions or wonderful people around me.  Good lord, my wife is a saint.  There’s a special place in heaven for her for putting up with my tangled neuroses.  Nothing seems to bring me contentment.  I get by.  I cope.  And for the most part I’m a happy person. I’m not complaining about life in general I guess.  There are things about the arrangements of my own life I would change if I could.  But then do we ever know the effects of small changes upon the greater landscape?  Not really, no. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Blah, Blah, Blahs of Winter

My original plan had been to ride on Saturday.  I knew it was supposed to be single digit temps.  I knew there was snow on the ground.  In fact, those were the very reasons I had decided to ride instead of build trail, run, hike, or think about home improvement projects.  Until Friday evening I was even prepared to ride.  I dug out my winter clothing.  I packed a backpacking stove for heating up a warm drink while out on the trail.  I even posted to Facebook asking if any other mountain bikers wanted to get out in the Gorge on trails for some fun pretend adventure.

By Saturday morning I had thought better of it.  While my long experience with cycling in frigid temps gave me plenty of confidence and the tools and techniques for a wintry ride that same experience also informed me as to the misery I would experience as my toes turned to solid blocks of ice while I would sweat under my torso layers.  I knew the ride would be a forced exercise in fun.

It didn’t take much mental acrobatics for me to conclude that I’d be better off hiking on Saturday than riding.  I decided to keep my destination the same but shortened my expectations somewhat.  After a breakfast of oatmeal, homemade biscuits and canned apple butter, and backyard eggs (don’t forget the wonderfully a pretentious freshly ground coffee pourover) I ambled around the house getting my things together.  I took a Klean Kanteen full of said coffee and a water bottle but little else.  I actually dressed somewhat light, but took some heavier layers just in case. It turns out I was pretty comfortable for the two and a half hours I tromped around on top of Tarr Ridge.

The sky was blue and the sun shone brightly with a cold, white light.  It was enough to take the bite out of the air.  While the stark winter shadows were a cold steel blue there was little wind, and my skillful use of layers kept me warm but not overwarm as I hiked out two ridgetops for a double out-and-back hike. 



Of course as soon as I was in the woods crunching over an inch or two of snow I wished I’d brought the bike instead.  Or my running shoes.  I soldiered on, hiking through the winter-bare trees and catching glimpses of white-tinged valleys below.  The occasional distant sandstone cliffline accented the normally drab scenes with blazes of yellow and orange and an offwhite-ish gray stone shining in the peaceful midmorning sun.

I only saw one person on my hike.  For the most part it felt like I had the world to myself.  As I lingered at the end of Tarr Ridge on top of the towering Fortress Wall climbing area I felt more at peace than I had of late.  Life has been more hectic with the holidays, a return to cubicle life, and in my insane plan to put on a mountain bike race.  I’m having my first moments of doubt as I wish I could walk away.  And I want to find a way to stop caring about building new mountain bike trails in the area.  I think this all stems from normal winter blahs.  While Saturday was enjoyable in its frozenness the days leading up to it and for certain coming in the week ahead have been typical Season of Mud diurnal anomalies.  Meaning: I can’t really be building trails while everything is do damp and dreary, and I can’t do much planning for the race so early on when there are critical things that need to be sorted out.  It’s just bad timing for the obvious biochemical degradation that goes on at this time of year anyway.

These are the doldrums of each year—January, February and to some extend March…ugh.  While I love winter and cold weather the mundane day to day existence that is the Season of Mud is intolerable. 

I did good last week with running.  I put in two days with a 5k each day and felt good afterward.  I planned to get in my runs before the weather turned and that was a good thing.  And then I hiked six miles on Saturday.  Sunday was a wash but I kept waiting for the stomach bug to hit me that had afflicted the rest of the family.  I didn’t want to get too far from aid so I lounged in the recliner all day.  Ugh. 
 
Don’t get me wrong…I have wanted to take my big boned bike out for a bona fide winter ride on real (not fake made at a ski resort) snow.  I rode it a lot in mud around the holidays.  I put it through a lot of abuse for only having it such a short time.  I decided I needed to give it a break and let it recover from its abuses.  But soon.  And I need to start riding to town more often.  Instead of driving to the grocery or hardware stores or to pick up the bi- or tri-weekly pizza…I need to get on the bike!  Which reminds me, I have a cargo bike.  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Ramming Speed Friday: Using Mass Instead of Velocity


This week I have returned to running.  I ran Tuesday and Wednesday three miles each day.  I ran at the Stanton and Clay City parks respectively.  The Clay City Park’s new walking path was the allure for Wednesday’s run.  I wasn’t really feeling it, it was a bit cold, but in the end I decided it was worth going down and spinning a few laps around the park.  I was involved in the grant process for the trail though I wasn’t the grant writer.  Basically I made the made for the application and obtained the permits from Division of Water and the Army Corps of Engineers for the construction.

So it was nice to go out and run on the nice paved trail around the park.  It’s just shy of half a mile but close enough.  The section that runs along the river is nice.  And the river was flowing pretty high.  That will lead to the one downfall of the trail: when it floods it will need to be cleaned off.  Hopefully it will stand up to the rigors of a Red River flood.

Anyway, I felt good though neither run was fast.  But the fact that I can go do a 5k off the couch and not feel wrecked the next day makes me feel pretty good.  So what if I didn’t hit a PR?

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm! Those milk sandwiches are tasty!  We got a little snow beginning on Thursday.  The drive in this morning was winter-esque but not so bad.  Of course I drive a Jeep now too—for the first time in my life I have a 4WD—and there wasn’t a lot of traffic.  It’s still stressful to drive in snowy weather.  And making the forty-five mile commute even on a good day is tiresome.  A couple of days ago as I pulled into the parking lot at work I realized that the commute had taken quite a bit of mental energy.  I really just wanted to turn around and go home.  It’s akin to my Colorado bike commuting days when I said as I approached the building I just wanted to ride right on past and into the mountains for the day.  Back then I said “too much work; not enough commute.” Now maybe the motto is “too much work; too much commute.”

I’m not saying I don’t want to work. Really I’m not.  But the time commitment for working far from home is a drain on your life energy.  The stress of being in the car in traffic degrades your quality of life and the associated stress diminishes life expectancy.  It’s not the work itself that’s so stressful; it’s the associated absurdities of living in modern American.    

This is a problem I can’t continue to ignore in my life.  I need to find an acceptable solution to this conundrum.  Most people would say the solution is simple: move closer to work.  It’s not that simple though.  Because of decades of land use shenanigans in the name of our state’s showpiece mammals property is expensive in the counties neighboring Lexington.  I live two counties away in the shadow of Central Appalachia.  As a sensory defensive the thought of living IN Lexington makes me ill.  I honestly don’t know how I survived Denver for five years.  Heck, it’s too noisy on the creek I live on in the rural part of a rural county.  My only real means of escape is to retreat to the woods.

Anyway, winter is fully upon the land.  On one hand I’m happy because I love playing in the snow.  On the other I’m anxious for the shoddy weather ahead I’ll be forced to commute through.  Such is life.

We didn’t get quite enough to make it worth my while to drag the new Pine Mountain out into it with its plus-sized tires.  Well, it’s always worth getting the bike out. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Monday of All Tuesdays


I could start out the new year by waxing poetic about all the things I will do in the coming year.  Well, things I want to do in the coming year…  I could start out by spewing hope and change and give Donnie a chance.  I obviously won’t do that.  I’m sitting in my cubicle on the first work day of the year in the pre-coworkers dark of the office.  I want this year to be different.

Last year I changed the subtitle of this blog to “less gadgets, more game.”  I think this year I’m going to live by those words.  I have too much clutter in my life.  I look at too many screens.  I am too easily distracted by comfort and ease.  In short, I want to get off my ass and move.

I’ll have to admit, the thought of putting on a one hundred mile mountain bike race is daunting.  I have faith that we can pull it off, but I also know the road ahead is going to be rough and rocky at times.  I think in the end it’ll be worth it.  The thought of continuing to plug along building mountain bike trails with little help and moving at the speed of smell is a bit disheartening.  Though, to be fair, I think 2017 will be the year we hit critical mass and things take off.  I need that.  I need to get the rocket in orbit and then let someone else take the helm. 

Again and again I keep coming back to the thought: I don’t want to be the guy driving these things but I’m sick and tired of no one else doing anything about the situation.  And the situation is that there is so much opportunity it hurts but nothing is getting done.  I don’t want to build mountain bike trails—I want to ride mountain bike trails.  And I live in an area with soils and terrain that would allow for year round riding.  My area could be a winter destination for a lot of people.

Then I think: do I really want more people to come here?  I tend to prefer when less human traffic is moving about.  I was once a persistent advocate for bringing on the apocalypse post haste.  I don’t know—maybe I’m okay with bringing more mountain bikers and other human powered recreationalist to somewhat displace the internal combustion crowd.  Then I think about the hordes of rock climbers that come here.  It’s a ravening herd of idiocy that.  For the most part.  I’m still not sure why Natural Selection continues to turn a blind eye to the shenanigans that go on in the RRG most weekends.  And I’m not really talking about just rock climbers.  Pretty much every user group represented needs a little culling.  I jest. 
 
Except maybe hammockers
 
This winter looks like it’s going to be wet.  Winter in Kentucky is the Season of Mud.  This winter is likely going to be normal to above normal.  I think it’s time to get back on the road bike.  It’s time to run and hike more.  And when the weather is agreeable I think it’s time to get back to rock climbing.  Winter really is the best climbing season.  There are fewer people and there are no bugs, snakes, and the humidity doesn’t cause your pores to gush sweat.  All the pests are absent.

I plan on signing up for the Mohican this year.  I’ll only do the 100k, but I know I need a distance event to train for.  I’m hoping for a better showing at the Point Series races and 12 Hour of CVP this year.  But in the end I just want to be active and enjoy the activities. 

The other thing is that as a family we want to shift back to the lifestyle we were cultivating just before we moved back to Kentucky and were derailed.  I’m going to get the cargo bike fixed up again and start riding it for all of my short trips.  We live two miles from town.  There’s absolutely no reason to be driving as much.  Well, except for Steamshovel Hill.  Just that one reason…

Our values are still more green than greenbacks.  The derailment came in the midst of the stress and turmoil of moving twelve hundred miles unexpectedly and trying to reintegrate ourselves into a culture we never thought we’d be part of again.  Slowly but surely we’re regaining the ground we lost in the move.

Of course I fully expect that about the time we hit our mark Trump will bring about World War III.