Home is where the heart is.

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I’ve finally returned to my post after days away and here we have a few matters that don’t matter as well as the PNW’s conclusion’s conclusion for your consideration.

While I do appreciate traveling and the adventure of not being entirely sure where I will sleep until I fall into it, the security of being at home with a drawer full of clean t-shirts is right up there in my top sixteen and a half favorite things.

And speaking of t-shirts, I have a brand new one on deck which sums up nearly all of my parts;
UpperEchelon
As I’ve said elsewhere, the only thing I’m really good at is not being very good at anything.

The way I see it though, is if it weren’t for people coming in second, the people coming in first wouldn’t look so good.

So it is to the winners in life, that I say you’re welcome.

If you’d like to get into the queue for these, alls you gotta do is go here.

To folks who have orders for the last two shirts in, I’ll be picking the ‘Live Each Day‘ shirts up this week, and the ‘Too Tough‘ shirt order was just submitted upon my return home, so that’ll be a little bit. When you order from the upper echelon of mediocrity, you’ll always get what you wanted, eventually.

In other odds and ends I’ve had sitting at the ready for publishing on this here website are two items, both of which touch different parts of my heart. The first being a trailer for an upcoming film about an artist whose work I’ve made pilgrimages to see in both New York, as well as his hometown of Tulln, Austria, and has inspired me wholly for nearly thirty years.

The artist in question of course being one and only Egon Schiele;

Depending on where you work the visuals might not be safe, but assuming no one near you speaks Austrian, I assume the dialog might be.

I will keep my ear to the ground for the release with subtitles, because though the whole clip, the only words I recognized were ‘art’ ‘pornography’, and ‘Gerti’. Otherwise, it was lost on me.

Another bit of news, though that of a far more disheartening sort came from long time friend and supporter of AHTBM, and all around talent of both board and bike, Devin, who hit me with news of a tremendous loss;

Stevil-

With a Very Sad Heart our family says good bye to a Brilliant Shining Soul. My Nephew Trempealeau Hagios Morninglight left this world to early and the scar is one that will take forever to heal. He was a kind sweet young man who had the whole world in the palm of his hands.. His ability to defeat gravity was one that kept moving no mater what the season. Sending his bike down Angle Fire’s steepest and most difficult terrain or traveling and competing in big mountain skiing all over the Rockies launching off any and every rock face he could find;
BikeTrempealeau Hagios Morninglight (1)
SkiTrempealeau Hagios Morninglight (1)
Photos courtesy of Brendan Curran Photography.

He is going to be missed but never forgotten…

May the sun always shine on your face and the wind always be at your back. May your wheels run fast and free, and may everyday bring bottomless fresh turns and may your memories live on forever.

A fund has been set up to help his family get through this tough time.

If you use that picture and say anything, I just want our cycling family to remember how rad… fast… and young he was.

Again thanks for being you..

D

I’m gutted for Devin and his family’s loss, and I hope that for them every day becomes a little easier with the knowledge that Trempealeau’s impact was indeed a great one.

I find it hard to move on to other, more light-hearted and seemingly insignificant matters, but I will conclude with this-

If you might recall on Friday I’d just finished wrecking myself Canadian style, and after a series of adventures on various forms of transport, eventually wound up back in Bellingham where the whole fiasco started.

On my final full day in town I gave my old friend Opie a call to see if he’d like to go find a mountainbikecycle ride with me. He said he was gonna rally his neighbor Craig and that they’d meet me at the Kona bike shop.

Upon my arrival I asked shop manager Matt if he might possibly have a bike I could ride. With no hesitation whatsoever he said he did and promptly pulled out his own personal Process 111, which the attentive among us will note was the bike I’d requested to ride at this year’s launch to begin with.

So off into the woods the three of us meandered, my crappy camera in tow;
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Of the dozens of photos I took in the dozens of settings, I wound up with about two marginally usable ones, so that’s pretty sweet;
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And really, the mountain bikers in Bellingham, as well as land managers, trails councils, and whoever else that is involved in the creation and maintenance of their network deserves a huge debt of thanks, because they have created an absolute jewel;
Galbraith
To answer a reader’s question from a few weeks ago, and the one that set my whole hunt for the 111 off to begin with, I didn’t initially purchase one of these (instead of my beloved Hei Hei) simply because I was less familiar with it. While I was in Squamish I cited the reader’s query to one of the bike’s designers, and he understood the comparison. Very simply, and to condense the entire conversation into a soundbite, he noted that the 111 could be considered by some to be a Hei Hei on steroids;
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The trails on which I generally ride, and to the capacity on which I ride them, the 111 might be overkill. I am more than plenty happy with my decision, as it acts as a very suitable brake on me writing checks that my ability aboard a bike cannot cash.

And let me talk about that for a second- In recent months I’ve experienced an almost palpable metal state that exists since my year of injury, and that is one of pause and fear. Previous to the two crashes in questions (in which I tore nearly everything in my knee that could be torn, and then just after recovery, landed on a culvert girder, opening my right calf up in a fairly gruesome fashion), I had little hesitation on a bike. I would throw myself into situations I probably shouldn’t have, and with almost no exception emerged unscathed.

Since getting hurt however, I can’t seem to get over this periodic paralyzing fear where before there existed nothing but focus and flow. It is absolutely maddening, and a component that while I understand it serves to protect me, when it happens to rear its head in the middle of some technical feature or another, will do far more harm than good.

My question to folks who experienced similar maladies, is will it ever go away?

Because if it doesn’t, I might as well stick to the bike paths with the other recumbent riders.

Anyway, with the exception of one fairly substantial blown out, overhead drop-off, for the most part, Bellingham and the 111 allowed me to redeem myself, but that nagging fear was never very far away, and at the conclusion of the ride repeatedly wondered under which floorboards I could bury it.

Though unlike Poe’s saga, if I’m lucky, my curse would be there to stay.
newlittleskull

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16 Responses to “Home is where the heart is.”

  1. Diamond Dick Dave August 1, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    Re the Knee: It was at least a year before my brain was ready to trust my knee’s stability again – even though I was fully functional months before. My PT and doc said that’s typical. My guess is that our brains are hardwired to give our bodies the time they’d need to recover before there all these advances in modern medicine. Proof that we are still neanderthals, at least mentally (your results may vary).

  2. TheSterling August 1, 2016 at 7:56 am #

    From experience one big gnarly crash will wreck you psychologicaly for a long while. 6 years ago (around my 30th b-day) I took a bad line and ended up cracking 2 ribs, subluxating my hip, and spraining a knee. I’m just now starting to feel comfortable doing more than a creditcard air and gaps still make me freeze up but I’m feeling I’ll get there as every time I ride and take a little more I’m less terrified.

  3. Devin Curran August 1, 2016 at 8:01 am #

    Thank You:(

  4. RB August 1, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    Differnet context but I was in a bad car wreck where the other guy ran a stop sign. It took the better part of a year before I quit hesitating at every intersection wondering if the other driver would stop or not. Annoying and nearly got me rearended a couple of times, about as bad as losing your nerve in the mddle of a tricky spot on the trail. Good news is that if your recovery follows mine by the time 2017 rolls around you should have your biking mojo back.

  5. hellbelly August 1, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    I have had numerous crashes over the years. Way back with many rad-getting (silly?) efforts on skateboards and then tons on bike-cycles too. There has always been a period of going easy before going nuts again which varies depending on the severity of the crash. I have mostly never said never again, but instead reevaluate what happened, what I was doing, what the bike was doing, etc. Two of the biggest factors that have more often than not kept me out of trouble not to mention rapidly regaining my confidence was A. checking my bike set-up and B. wearing protective gear. Regarding bike set up and I know you know this, but little differences/adjustments can make a huge difference. At the most basic level tire pressure, handlebar position, stem length, brake lever position, etc. adjustments can keep you not only safer, but let you ride more aggressively without hitting terra firma. Beyond that, frame geo is huge. That 111 may have similar amounts of travel as the Hei Hei, but it is a far more aggressive (safer) bike when the terrain, your speed or both get crazy. Finally protective gear…yeah not cool. Do I give rat’s tuchus? Nope. Every ride I do, I don knee armor (Dakine Slayer of late), full finger gloves, Triple-8 wrist guardshttp://triple8.com/product/wristsaver/, and obviously a decent helmet (Giro Montaro). The most obvious weird thing in that pile are the wrist guards, however as a dentist my hands are my career and having worn those for more than fifteen years, I have had zero hand/wrist problems. Believe me, I’ve crashed plenty and still do and yes, they may seem/look strange, but the $20 per set has been worth it a zillion times over. I tend to go through 3-4 sets a year…still far less expensive than surgery, time outta work, etc. I like to tell myself they make me look like the Terminator, but whatever. Good luck.

  6. East Bay Ed August 1, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    It works best of you smash your head really good and your memory gets deleted.

  7. Bluenoser August 1, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Imagine not being fearless to start with like me and then crashing and messing your body up. Then trying it again?… But I am.

  8. Boise Dingo August 1, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    After a year of PT and 6 months of riding in constant fear, I managed to overcome my own brain and the screws in my femur. I don’t know what clicked but, I was also told to stop beating myself up about my lack of confidence. You had a couple of really bad scrapes, give it time and enjoy yourself.

  9. Morgan August 1, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Having broken myself two summers ago, in a spectacular and stupid fashion (broken femoral neck, AKA broken hip, in a parking lot of all places) and also on the continuum of decrepitude that being 48 (Friday) brings, I am also somewhere between Grape Ape and Mr. Magoo. I still have the instincts toward flow and aggression, and certainly can turn them on when I’m feeling good. But if something triggers my fear instinct, it chokes me and makes me a shitty rider. I can think of two recent rides; sunny, epic day riding Mt. Elwell down to Graeagle last Monday, where I just Let Her Rip and had a fantastic time, and a night ride two or three weeks ago, riding a super steep, sketchy descent that gets steeper toward the bottom, with just enough sketchy sidehill obstacles and barely-makeable technical moves, with a better rider behind me, where I choked and stumbled and walked stuff that might have been ridable. The difference? Fear and confidence. I think it’s sort of like coming off a bad relationship, or getting over PTSD; you want to build back up, and not let fear run your life. And then there’s Hunter S. Thompson’s advice: “Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death”

  10. Morgan August 1, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    One more thing; take some skills training, from a good teacher. (Harlan Price, Kat Sweet, Ben Tufford, Dylan Renn, etc.) I *know* you know how to ride a bike. I do, too. But putting aside your ego and your preconceptions and your instincts and letting someone else bring you back to basics, then move you through the motions and ideas to where you are, or maybe even past that point is a great mental exercise. Hellbelly talks about protective gear; going back to skills basics is a form of mental armor. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Puts you in the right mental state. I took the skills training for an ostensibly other reason, but I’m glad I’ve done it. Worth your time. I think Kat is back down here in the fall, and Dylan teaches locally. Humility and an open mind are really the way. Self-examination will unlock the fear. Trusting another to help you takes the responsibility for improvement temporarily out of your hands. All good.

  11. Mike Moore August 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    Re: Fear…

    Yep, got ya. I’m a 50 year old man that has been on the roller boards since I was a 10 year old boy…wait…let’s honest this up…I’ve been on a 2 year hiatus. Why? I suffered a soul crushing slam. Nothing was broke, but the stoke…no fractures, a few contusions, nothing dislocated, or anything causing a “co-pay”. What happened? Not 100% on it, but I was skating a ditch by my lonesome. I was cruising somewhere near the velocity of ludicrous speed, when everything stopped, but me. In way less time than it takes to say “Holy F*ck!”, I went from the top of the wall to the flat as hard and fast as 200 lbs is allowed to go on this planet. It knocked all the “go for it” out of me. I’ve got a nice quiver of skates that taunt me every time I walk through my garage. I’ve rolled around a little since then, but I feel like I remember my grandpa looking when he tried to skate my clay wheeled Roller Derby board in 1976. It sucks, and that is a drastic understatement. I try to justify it by saying I’m a husband, father, business owner, yada yada yada…but all I hear is “P*ssy”. I’m not scared to go fast, and ride hard on my bike, but the maple brings the sphincter clinches. I keep telling myself I’m gonna get past it, but keep conveniently finding ways not to.

    Good luck. Ride hard. Live large.

    Have Fun!

  12. NeverCoast August 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    Gravity is just a MFer.
    Fear is learned.
    How to unlearn it?
    Great stuff in the comments above.

  13. pilder August 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

    please put up that picture of the cockeyed girl with the doll again and keep on keeping on. it never gets old

  14. D August 2, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    I forgot you existed and then I found you again; years later, and for this I am more happy than I should have been. I still miss my fatness but the pinner me is coming to terms with still not yet owning a bicycle with floaty wheels.

  15. Tom Purvis August 2, 2016 at 9:22 am #

    As a clumsy man who enjoys activities requiring physical grace, I can relate to your hesitations. I’m 52 and have been obsessed with riding mountain bikes since 1988. Through all those years, I broke bones, had a very serious concussion, dislocated a shoulder, separated a shoulder, stitches, bone bruise… you get the picture.

    I went through the reluctant/hesitant/downright scared phases and back into taking stupid chances several times. I was probably at my best as a tech rider 10 years ago. But in the last 3 years I had a series of injuries, including a real showstopper from crashing my moto that broke 6 ribs, two in two places and fractured my tibial plateau. I was out of commission for the whole summer.

    I have concluded that my clumsiness has grown and my gracefulness has waned. I understand what’s going on in my brain with being slow and hesitant. I know that if I worked at it I could get the nervous voice out of my head and start going fast again. But I’m not doing it. I’m riding for different reasons now. I like to get out there and be in nature on a bike. I like not going anywhere near an emergency room. For me the 10% more quickly I could move through nature by letting go of the brakes and bashing through all the tech is no longer worth it. Maybe one day I’ll decide to focus on getting fast again, but for now I’m enjoying my health.

    Good luck in your quest. Don’t push yourself too hard, if your inner child wants to go fast again he will bug you until you either smack him or give in and go fast.

  16. Jocko Suskevich August 2, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    Sounds like you need a crash that you walk away from. Might I suggest a harmless little low side to break the ice?