Pretending to pretend things are normal.


Are we coming or going? I get that it’s a matter of perspective, but man, I’m getting tired.

I had a few good days there for a minute, and then the smoke set in, and I’m totally out of gas.

For those who exist outside of the Bay Area, outside life is currently resembling a toxic wasteland. Wildfires are burning from San Diego, to the Canadian boarder, and through Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. Essentially, the western half of the United States;

My anxiety has anxiety.

And just as a quick by the by, going on a bike ride to relieve stress isn’t the answer right now. In fact, I noted recently that while folks are hunkering down to avoid the smoke, some friends of mine have been taking the opportunity to poach an assortment of illegal trails.

On one hand, I appreciate their dedication to riding bikes, no matter what calamities are thrown at them, but here’s some lay-person’s fun facts about breathing smoke. Inside of your lungs are millions of tiny little hairs called cilia, which actively work to keep impurities out of them, and ultimately, your blood stream/liver/brain. Overwhelming them with smoke during periods of cardiovascular exercise can not only damage them, but destroy them, leaving you particularly venerable to long term illnesses, and cellular damage. With this in mind, this smoke isn’t just burning wood, or grasses, which is bad enough, but solvents, shingles, creosote, cars, computers, and so on. After riding to work one day during the Paradise fire two years ago, I wound up with a chronic cough and asthmatic symptoms for weeks. Poaching illegal trails, and getting to enjoy the especially empty open spaces is nice, but at what cost?

I’ve already read these friends the riot act, but I’m nobody’s mom but my own, and not even a good one at that.

In news not relating to existing or imminent chaos, I’d like to direct your attention to a care package I recently got from the good people at Doma Coffee Rosters out there in Post falls, Idaho;

On the left of course is a pound of the Doma/AHTBM blend which is real delicious, and can be found for mass consumption here, but the goods on the right is their new instant coffee which is far and gone from your parent’s instant.

It’s damn tasty, and as an alternative to humping around a pound of beans/grounds, makes an excellent addition to anyone’s bike camping/backpacking/etc. kit.

Ifin this sounds interesting, and ifin (unlike me, currently) you can actually get outside, why not pick yourself up a sampling, go to the woods, and try some on for size?

Let’s see… What else do I have to offer as a distraction? Ah, here’s a thing- And before I continuer, let me say that there’s a photo just a couple down from these words which might bum out the squeamish. Having said that, let’s continue.

So, for those who weren’t paying attention, or perhaps weren’t coming to the AHTBM web project, back in 2015 I had just rebuilt my beloved Hunter mountain bike, and went out for a quick local rip, when I stopped to take this photo;

Not fifteen minutes later I got pitched off the side of a trail, landing with all of my weight on my right leg, resulting in a spectacular lateral hyperextension.

The ACL, MCL, and meniscus were all destroyed, and while I was still one LCL away from a full separation, it was more damage than I’d ever done to myself in one swing, and that’s not nothing.

Then, after ten months of rehab, and recovery, Marty from Squid Bikes sauntered through town, and we did a little celebratory cross ride, which again resulted in a minor spill, with unprecedented major consequences;

Crossing a little piece of exposed culvert at the crown of a short technical ascent, I once again pitched my bike, and landed in some soft ivy, which unfortunately was hiding some very jagged pieces of metal.

Thankful that I didn’t tear open literally any other part of my body, I headed to the hospital to get stitched up.

Two days later I came down with a pretty raging case of cellulitis, (a blood infection which can sometimes occur when your inside parts get exposed to the outside). This put me back into the hospital, and on an eight hour antibiotic drip.

A couple of months later while attending that years NAHBS show in Sacramento, California, due to the year of physical stress, I ended up with shingles.

Needless to say that 2015 sucked all the balls, but one thing I promised myself was that if I emerged from that year in some semblance of one piece, I would treat myself to a fancy new mountain bike, which I did;

After five years, a few upgrades, and relentless abuse, I decided to finally take it to the local LBS, and have them do to it what they do best. I figured since I don’t have any of the tools I need for suspension overhauls, and only a sliver of necessary know-how anyway, passing it off, and paying to have some smarty-pants wrench get their hands dirty seemed like the best possible option. Now, after trading the shop all of my monies, they gave it back to me and it seems like it’s gonna work real cool like;

One of these days when I can not only breathe the air inside, but I can breathe the air outside, I might actually get out there and use it like Dog intended.

Finally, I will leave you with some very bright news.

In this site’s history, (with the exception of Demonika, Joe Fish, and Chlöie the disembodied head);

-For an overwhelming majority of my product shorts for this site, unfortunately for the audience, I’ve consistently been my own worst model.

Thankfully, my fancy friend Kait (who I met last summer over margaritas in Kansas City) recently sent me with a photo of her scumbagging it in her truck whilst wearing one of them newest offerings;

Would you like one of these shirts? As long as you don’t want a size large, I got you covered.

And at the risk of repeating myself, (after 11 years at this nonsense, that’s all I do), I will once again say that 100% of the proceeds from this shirt go to The National Coalition Of 100 Black Women.

In a world that more and more regularly looks like an overturned applecart, it’s the little gestures what give me hope that we can make things even a little bit better. Better for us, maybe. Better for the next generation, I hope.

We may be walking an unrelenting loop of hopelessness, (circling the drain perhaps?), but at least while we’re here, we can try and use what resources we have to somehow make things better.

I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective.

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4 Responses to “Pretending to pretend things are normal.”

  1. Sergio September 15, 2020 at 6:15 am #

    Air is getting better now. I think it would be ok to take a slow ride out! Git Some

  2. zharris September 15, 2020 at 4:47 pm #

    The police are imposing the death penalty without trial and openly in the streets. Millions of acres of the US are on fire. It was 96 degrees in Denver last Sunday then it snowed 6” a day later. There is rioting in the streets in hundreds of cities. Unidentified storm troopers are snatching people off the streets without charge or arrest. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from a deadly virus. We can’t visit our dying family members or celebrate their lives for fear of spreading the disease. The heroes fighting this pandemic 24/7 for nine months don’t have the basic protection, supplies, resources or leadership to save lives including their own. Many of the artisans, chefs, waiters, curators, shop owners, carpenters, laborers, and service workers that make everything work and make life bearable for the rank and file have lost their livelihood’s and businesses. Our leader is endorsing voter fraud and laying plans to ignore election results. White supremacists are openly advising our government on policy. Human beings trying to come to our country seeking basic human dignity and safety are having their kids ripped away from them and put into cages without food, water, clothes, blankets, or basic hygiene with the expectation they will simply die. If the apocalypse has started, would we even recognize it?

    I feel bad dumping this into your space Stevil but what the actual FUCK?

  3. spokejunky September 18, 2020 at 5:42 am #

    Thank dogness Canada has that invisible fire border that prevents them there forest fires. Think I’ll go get some of that coffee.

  4. morgan September 18, 2020 at 11:35 am #

    Skys are blue! Hope you’re out there riding, hope to see you out there riding.

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