A view from the barrel’s bottom.

Are you ready for the best thing ever?

Of course you are.
Secondly, you probably wouldn’t believe how long it took me to make that chart. I mean, it’s a really nice chart, except all I did was make the little circles and the captions.
Technologically speaking, it could be argued that I am my own worst enemy.
In news of general introspection, I count myself as a very lucky person to have become aligned with some really great groups of people. The Amigos, The Minneapolis Mafia, San Francisco’s dfL, EVIL Cycling and so fourth. I suppose that with the exception of Loudass, The Bear, and Skotty Pawz, it’s no coincidence that they all happen to be fairly good looking individuals as well. That being said, the more time that passes since the initial inception of my relationship with Lanolin from Ritte, the more I find to like.
I freely acknowledge that the act of taking me under his proverbial wing was not a lot unlike un-ironically asking the retarded girl to go to prom, and I always appreciate the time. I suspect that there is vast amounts of information for me to learn from him. Why, I’ve even come across a photo recently displaying just what astounding taste he has in headwear;
That being said however, I’m afraid I have to take exception with his particular choice in shoes. I’m not now, nor have I ever been a big fan of the flip flops, and I hope that this won’t ultimately be a wedge that is driven between us.
It is this personal fashion faux pas that allowed me to find such humor in Roger Lootine’s newest creation for Urban Velo;
In news not relating in anyway to footwear of any kind, one of the masterminds behind San Francisco’s increasingly popular Soil Saloon outlaw series contacted me upon my request with an overview of the event thus far;
“Words from Mr. Saloon – Organizer and Founder of Races for the Competitive and UnCompetitive Alike.
Man… What can I tell you? Forgive this missive should it turn towards nostalgia, for this last Sunday’s Soil Saloon was our 26th event, and my last for some time, as studies of earth, trail and tree take me to Utah come August.
What a success. Over 2 years, 26 events, Soil Saloon has ridden victoriously on. Often when people interrogate me about the phenomenon that is the Saloon, the common question is “why?” Why do you do this? Why do you organize this, risk lawsuits, SFRPD fines, sobriety and thin layers of flesh on your elbows and forearms?”

All I ever need to do to answer that question is go to a Soil Saloon. Every single person in attendance is happy to be there. That’s more than I can say for just about every other bike race, movie screening, art opening, or other brouhaha I’ve ever been to. Sure, Pilarcitos, are fun and Sea Otter is Ridiculous, – but someone is far too focused on their finishing time than the fine company of their fellows, and the sheer enjoyment of racing a bicycle with friends.
I never did it for the fame, though it was pretty bad ass to be recognized in the bike lane: “hey, you’re that soil saloon guy, aren’t you!?” I never did it for the riches, though I did appropriate a pair of knog lights for personal use once. I did do it for the drinks, as my hangover after the final Raptor’s Revenge will attest.
But like anything of beauty brought about in this world, I never worked alone. Without Frenchie, there wouldn’t have been this many races, the courses wouldn’t have been as well thought out or marked, and we would have had a much harder time getting the big bottles and bigger kegs of beer we’re known for. Without Spaceman, we wouldn’t have had the dinosaur or the cowboy. Without Warpath, we wouldn’t have had our iconic numberplates. Without Brokeneck Jon, we wouldn’t have had our regular meetingplace or official support vehicle of the Raptor’s Revenge. Without all who atteneded, raced, crashed, smiled, and laughed together, we wouldn’t have had the saloons.
Photos courtesy of Will
Long Live Bike Races.
Long Live Fiesta
Long Live Laughter.
Down With Put downs
Down With Aggression
Down With Excessive Competition
I feel I’m yammering on too much here, Stevil. The series isn’t over. It’s just begun. There will be more. I plan to come back in 5 years and race in the latest, greatest trails used by the saloon. If I’m really lucky, we’ll be able to have a 4-cross competition at the McLaren Bike Park.
I’ll miss my little race series when I depart for the mountains of Utah. But I’ve learned that it doesn’t take much, and adds a lot to life to take some time to plan out a celebration of all that you love in life. Viva la Saloon.
My favorite detail of the final race? The police showed up, parked near us. Watched as racers came and went past the start/finish line, picking up their playing cards. Then the five-oh just left. Because they know, like we know, that the Soil Saloon is good for everybody.
Yours in virtual dirt,

These events are reminiscent of the old California Crusty Cruiser Cups- a series I grew all too familiar with, but one that a majority of Soil Saloon’s participants as well as the organizers have maybe never even heard of, let alone attended..
My point being that the singular mind set behind events such as these span generations. It is singular, and non-exclusive to any region, clique or scene. This is something anyone is capable of organizing, and as the big regional races become too much to bear, I suspect more and more of these home grown events will begin to sprout legs and walk.
At the end of the day, from my perspective, this is the future of competitive mountain biking.
Alrighty then folks. There is much more where this all came from but I’m back from two days in the woods falling off of rocks into creeks and I mostly just feel like lying down again. Just on account of because I have it, here is a photo of JMac illustrating what a bulk of the weekend provided for us;
I could use more of that, but it’s Monday, which of course is Latin for “Get back to work, lazy slob”.
It’s time to do what the Latins say.

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Leave a Reply

10 Responses to “A view from the barrel’s bottom.”

  1. Sean Hurl July 26, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    I guess I wont be wearing my flip flops to the wedding.

  2. fomenter July 26, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    summer without flip flops? inconceivable.

  3. irishpunk59 July 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    flip flops? you been talking to my my sister in law in Crooklyn?

  4. dc July 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Wha? Hate on flip flops? Wow. Talk about uptight. Yes they are stupid for riding bicycles. Yes they are fantastic for going to the lake.

  5. Stevil July 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    Because I don’t prefer flip flops, this means I’m uptight?

  6. Tee July 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    I love the pie chart stuff, I want to see more of it. I just dont want to see your god damb flip flops and socks combo crap. I am probly uptight or just straight.

  7. Lanolin July 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    It makes me happy to see there are flip-flop appreciators out there. I fucking love my flip flops: I got fired from a job for refusing not to work in them; I ride my Speedplay equipped bike to the liquor store in them (though that once resulted in a cracked coccyx). I do lose them occasionally, but that’s because my dog hides it. I hate wearing shoes, the feeling reminds me of offices and weddings. As for you, Stevil, that Danzig logo and Fred Durst chinstrap don’t fool me, I know about your Jimmy Choo collection.

  8. rik van hooydork July 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    stevil wears crocs… ture…i’ve seen it

  9. Crank July 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    A Pin(insert inyo)ata? We use bags o’ poo. Oops, I think I may have just released an as of yet unregistered patent. The concept is of course reversed, you dont try to hit it as you ride by, but a frustrated motorist attempts to hit you.

  10. FunkyLaneO July 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Huhuhuh… he said Coccyx.