During my time away I was sure my site would fix itself, and everything would be ok again.
This obviously is not the case.
So I’ll do what comes naturally and bang out a post which will most likely end up getting mysteriously deleted, sending me further down the rabbit hole that I’m existing within currently.
As I noted last Friday, I skipped town in order to go to Bakersfield and engage in a bike race they have there called The Rock Cobbler. This is not to be confused for The Cock Gobbler, which is an entirely different sort of event.
Anyone who knows me, and most folks who don’t, know that I hung up my bike racing hat years ago, so for me to pay however much the entry was, and drive however many miles it is to Bakersfield seems pretty out of character for me, right?
It totally is, like, a billion percent.
The short version, (and that which I think I’m at liberty to say), is back in November when I went to Shimano HQ, I was being inducted to a team.
We are a group of people from all across this country and Canada who have been chosen to race our hybrid bikecycles at various ‘gravel’ events for the next two years. When I was first approached about this in August, I said no. In fact, I said no a bunch of times. In fact, I even offered a list of no fewer than three people who would be better suited for their purposes than I am. I’m not good at commitment, I don’t race bikes, I’m socially awkward, I hate crowds, and I generally don’t care for bike racers.
Strangely, and despite my best efforts, Shimano wouldn’t take no for an answer. Finally, I agreed to it, but I said I was probably going to spend most of every event either napping near the start line, drunk, or very likely both.
I should take one moment out of this story to mention everything I just described is absolutely the truth.
So fast forward to this weekend, and there I am, standing on the starting line with like, 300 other people waiting for the starting shot.
“What the hell am I doing here?” I thought to myself, many several times.
Finally, we were underway, and with my Shimano goon squad compatriot, and all around super honch Erica by my side through the entirety of the ‘race’, I resigned myself to deciding whether or not I’d ride 60 miles, or 100 at the time when we got to the signs that offered us the choice. In the mean time, I would just simply be going on a bike ride and checking out the scenery, which if you haven’t been to Bakersfield before, I’ll say that there’s not much.
That said, once past the expanses of blight, sprawl, and oil pumps, the desert opens up, and offers a strange, other-worldly beauty, periodically punctuated with piles of dumped trash, or spent shotgun shells.
The photos from last year showed lush rolling grassy fields. This year however, there were none. Just the same, the trails were super fun, though the section of course running through someone’s backyard, past their swimming pool, and then through their house, was all time;
(By the time I came through, the home owner said I was the first and only person to that point who jumped in the pool. Like I said, bike racers are nerds.)
All in all, it was a fantastic event organized, and thrown by truly, some of the best people I’ve ever come across, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank both them and the volunteers for being so welcoming with this, the fifth annual Rock Cobbler.
Because words are boring, it’s without further ado, I will now commence with the photo whatnots;
Certainly a highlight of the weekend occurred post-race, when after over thirty years of looking at his work, I finally got to meet photographer, and skateboard icon, Miki Vuckovich;
It turns out, he too has a soft spot in his heart for endurance hybrid bikecycle racing, but as we chatted, topics covered just about anything and everything but.
Before we parted ways, he mentioned he had something for me. We walked out to his car, and he presented me with a print of the photo he took of GSD, which some folks might recognize from the zine I made which was just officially included in the Smithsonian collection;
Walking away from the race’s afterparty, to say I was floating would be an understatement.
Once the event wrapped up, then the next couple of days were spent monkey businessing;
Once the weekend was over and we all said our goodbyes to one another, I jumped in my truck and made my way to Gilroy, where I stayed the night at a buddy’s house. Upon waking up yesterday morning, I then did some more of this;
Which was then followed by this;
All in all, it was a perfectly perfect time away, for which I owe Shimano my most sincere thanks.