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Wednesday, March 29

Saying goodbye.

FWIW: I removed all the comments from yesterday's post, mostly because there were many personal attacks on another person in there.  I've said it before.  Want to do that shit?  Take it elsewhere. 

Make fun of me all you want.  Fine.  Have a personal problem with someone you've probably never met and make comments you'd probably never say to their face?  Not here. 

And if you can explain to me how a company taking a poke at a group of potential consumers is good for business and promoting inclusiveness in cycling, tell me the next time you see me out IRL.

I've got way bigger shit on my plate right now.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Sizemore.

This is the little guy who came into our lives three and a half years ago.

He was the victim of a very sad hoarding situation.  When they walked into the place, there were dogs in all states of poor health and some dead. Sizemore was stuck to the couch in his own excrement. They peeled him off the cushion and considered putting him down as he was only nine pounds and too weak to even stand up.

Instead, the called The Pie RN.  No one thought he'd live a day.  He did... and then some.

She nursed him back to life.  Lifting his head to let him drink. Carrying him out to the yard and holding him up to let him do his outside business.  Hand feeding him... something she almost had to do almost daily until the very end, as his horrible experience left him with some strange mental baggage.


Three and a half years.  It was never supposed to be that long.  Teeth extractions.  Tumor removal.  One eye taken out.  Then the other.

He just kept living.

I really loved that dog.  Daddy Baby.

I'll just end with what The Pie put out on social media and leave it at that.  She's better at this anyways.

"Please consider making a donation to the Humane Society of Charlotte in Sizemore's memory so that his legacy can live on in the form of care for other animals.

DONATE HERE

Being able to care for you for the last 3.5 years of your life was an absolute privilege. Watching you relearn to walk after what seemed like insurmountable odds was truly inspirational. Your softhearted kindness toward tiny foster kittens and bottle feeding foster puppies was an example of love in its purest form. Thank you for relearning to trust humans after your extreme abuse and neglect. I have no regrets in opening my heart and home to you- even if the sadness now is painful.The Dillen Family will continue to foster animals in need in your honor. We will look for ways to help the most senior, sickly and seemingly unadoptable cases in your memory.

Because you have taught us life isn't measured by how long you last but by the quality you bring to what time you have....."

Tuesday, March 28

Shame(ful) Game

This meme was posted on the Instagram by Wolftooth and then quickly reposted by the keen-eyed Anna Schwinn faster than a cheetah with something to prove:

Well, shit.  As someone that owns more than a few products from this company... feelings are stirred.

This post and the backlash went down over the weekend, which brings to mind the whole Small LBS David VS Specialized Goliath that ended with this awkward hug:

Let's face it.  As much as everyone wants to hate on Specialized, it's very easy to believe that an intellectual property attorney on retainer got heavy-handed doing his job on a Friday, and the next thing you know, Mike Sinyard's phone is blowing up like a supernova... on a Saturday.  Damage control on your day off has to be an unpleasant task.

So anyways, the original post goes up, the "I'd hit that" bros appreciate it, and the two (three?  four?) parties offended strike back (rightly so) on the social medias.  The image is taken down... time passes... an apology of sorts

Some are okay with that, some want more, some like me are confused about having feelings so this is strange.

A long time ago (in the Internet world it would be considered so), a buddy of mine was asked to be the "social media manager" for a company that was trying to basically revive its brand image by aligning with outdoor enthusiasts.  I think it's safe to say he wasn't an overwhelming fan boi of their products (which used to be proudly made in the US, but moved manufacturing facilities China in 2002), but it was a paying gig.  He had the keys to their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook... and to top this all off, he was hired through a marketing company and not the actual company he was promoting.

So it's safe to say the company was "removed" from him to a degree but still letting him take the wheel anyways?  Not a whole lot to the vetting process IMHOMO.

Eventually, the company didn't feel like he was representing them in the manner which they wanted (I thought he was doing a great job), and he was relieved of his duties.  I'm sure he misses the extra money, but his conscience is probably breathing a lot better.

My point being this.  Social media has gotten way too important for a company's image, and once something's out there, it's out there forever.  Every Tweet, every Gram, and every FB wall post... and all your comments.  The internet does not forget.

So when you're handing out the keys to the party barge, don't just give them to anyone.

Everyone wants to drive the boat, but that doesn't mean they should.

I'm willing to bet an amount of money that I can afford to lose that the person in charge of all the ducks being in rows at Wolftooth wasn't wasting his time Gramming images of cogs and marketing social media fluff.

He trust(ed) a person to push out content just as he trusts some other person to make sure that the toilet paper is stocked in the employee bathroom without having to check for himself every hour or so.  This guy who Grammed the meme dropped the ball and left his fellow employees with virtual shitty assholes.  Now the whole office smells like mud-butt, and nobody's happy just because one employee didn't do their job very well.

What really sucks is that I'm pretty sure that a 25yr old me would have thought it was funny.  I probably would have shared it as well.  What can I say?  I'd barely been exposed to the world.  Hell, I used to put cutup bologna on my iceberg lettuce salads... and I thought that was fancy.  I was the definition of myopia.  It took years for me to shed most of that small mindedness.  Exposure to different people and ideas.  I've had to grow, and hopefully I will continue to do so.
But to expect that we're all on the same page?  Dunno.

I'm just glad I didn't have any real access to the internet until I was in my late twenties (I think).  Even so, I've done plenty of dumb shit since then that I'm sure if you looked hard enough, it would come out if I ran for president.  It might make me look bad, but that's apparently not important if you just want to be the leader of the free (to treat people like shit) world. 

Times like these, Internet justice is swift and quite harsh.  I hope I never cross the line too far and find myself at the pointy end of it.

Because I still make mistakes aplenty.

I mean I did post this image once (or twice... or three times):

A still from a promotional video produced by a professional mountain bike team and featuring one of their pro riders that left me wondering just when does one cross the line of using sex to sell or am I admiring the beauty of the human form of an athlete or am I just a pervert for noticing a nipple and I need therapy?

That might be all I have to say... or not.

Follow up;

Posted on Wolftooth social media around 2:00PM



Monday, March 27

Busy boy.

Saturday.  Strangeness.  Nick "Dip 'n Spray" Barlow has a hankering for a different kinda mountain bike.  I have the similar feels.  What he wants, I might has.  If he wants what I has, then mebbe I get what I think I want... which I still don't really know what it is exactly.

We go for a ride together.  Him on my By:Stickel Meatplow V.6, me on the Vertigo Meatplow V.7.

 He likes history, but deep down he knows he is the future.

Farted around at Anne Springs Close Greenway's trails at a pace that was pretty talkable... when we weren't coasting.  Two Industry Nine hubs make for difficult conversation.

Don't know what Nick ended up thinking about the bike, but if he doesn't buy it, I'm much less motivated to buy something and doing nothing is always easier than doing something.

Later that evening, somehow Nick and I found ourselves in the company of others looking at Sue Haywood while she talked.

My only question was whether or not I got in her way at the 2006 24 Solo World Championship, and if she even remembered the piece of shit guy wearing a wife beater riding on the 26" rigid single speed with pink wheels.

Meh.  Went looking for an image from the race.  Got distracted.  Here's me trying to crawl inside my 2007 BC Bike Race duffel bag.  Welcome.

I remember asking.  I don't remember her answer.  Stupid beer.

Sunday, I woke up a little foggy.  It's only our second (or third?) night back in our bedroom.  It's a bit disorienting.  Needed to get up and get out for trail work at the Backyard Trails.  Reconnecting the old Tech Loop that was eviscerated by the new greenway.

 Same shit. Different day.

 Satan wieners.

I don't know what these people were doing.  They look pretty good doing it tho.

By the end of it all, we got the remaining work that needed to be done completed.  I'm super stoked, as this is the closest real trail to my house.  Enough mileage and features to make it worth getting out of bed in the morning. 

Looking forward to being less productive and more racer boi next weekend.

Friday, March 24

The Tour duh Charlotte '17 Aftermath: Day Dos

Monday.  Ouch.  I feel the effects of everything.  I had forgotten to eat Saturday when we got back to the mill, and when I got home on Sunday, I was hitting the scales at 126.8lbs... which was way too light.  My body was behind and Sunday's efforts to re-hydrate and put some good food into my stomach were derailed by available beers and the sorrow of Watts's stolen bike that needed to be drowned.

I was holistically worse off on Monday than I was the previous day.  That, and I started really feeling the effects of all the actual running I did on Saturday.  Which was a lot.  Running.  Who does that?

Sunday's efforts at least produced a clean bike, a semi-organized bike room, updated decals on my NOX Composite rims, a blog post written and the discovery of a malfunctioning XTR brake lever that would need fixed pretty much ASAP.

I know, a little low key for me... but... burrito.

Then comes Monday.

On my ride to work, I'm looking at every nook and cranny I can see where a bike could fit.  I know it's pointless.  I even go out of my way to cruise past the bus station where the bike parking is.  Nothing.  Maybe on my half hour lunch break, I'll ride out to the mill and poke my nose into the woods along the greenway.

I post up a $200 reward to anyone that can get their hands on Watts's bike on my Facebook wall.  I figure I've got some friends out there that have the spare time and would take up the hunt if properly motivated.  I don't know if it will help, but it's really the only thing I can think to do.

Sometime around 11:00AM, I see my phone going off from across the room. I don't recognize the number.  I don't normally answer strange numbers.  I feel like I need to tho.

It's a friend of a friend, someone I rode with once or twice.  I'll keep his name out of this for sake of his privacy.  Anyways, he says he's at a pawn shop, and he's looking at the bike right now.

Uhhhhhh...

My cell reception is terrible in the building.  He's cutting out.  He wants to know if I can get there ASAP.  Can Watts get here ASAP.  I tell my boss I might have to cut out and explain the situation.

From there, without spoiling the story which belongs to Watts, more phone calls and texts and cries for help and cops and the hero of the day ends up going home with the bike.

I scoop it up after work and somehow all is right in the world again.  I should mention that our hero would not accept any reward.  He even turned down my offer of a long, awkward hug as well.  He did take my non-Trumpy handshake tho.  Twice.

As much as some of us loathe a lot of what we see going on with social media nowadays, this is a case where we used it as a community and made the world a better place.  Thanks for all the caring and sharing.  I'm so happy for my little friend who went from "meh" on Friday to stoked on Saturday to crushed and defeated on Sunday to triumphant on Monday.

It's all relative tho.

Watts stopped by last night to take his baby back home.

Balance restored.

And if you're not on the social medias with me, you missed all the fun I had with his bike while it was in my tiny hands (you get zero captions too).






Thursday, March 23

The Tour duh Charlotte '17 Aftermath: Day Uno

I wake up in the shipping container to the sound of birds chirping.  My bibs are at my feet in my sleeping bag.  At least I didn't sleep in my clammy chamois.

Unzip my bag and crawl out onto the concrete.  Stand up.  Check my pockets.

I have the keys to everything at the mill.  My car keys are in the other pocket.  Good boy.

I also have a blinky in my jersey pocket.  My knee warmers are still in place.  I check my car, and my bike is locked to the rack, my phone in the glove box... near dead but still functional.

I'm the only one awake, so I head over to the mill and start the cleanup.  I drag shit to the edge of the loading dock, and the noise I'm making is enough to roust Zac and Kate from their slumber.  Watts crawls out of his car, rubs his eyes, takes a leak.

"Where's my bike?"

Dammit.  I guess since my bike was locked to my car, Watts's bike became the proxy victim to the game Hide Dicky's Bike.  I help him look for it... everywhere.  In the dark as fuck mill, behind things, in the bushes, in the other shipping container, in the port-a-potties... likes I said, everywhere.

My phone dies using it as a flashlight and we still have no bike.  We come to the final conclusion.  It's stolen.

Gawdammit.  A first for the Tour duh Charlotte.  Four years was a good run tho.

Watts considers his options.  The rest of us continue to clean up.  Dragging.  Sorting.  Piling.  Watts waves down a passing cop.  The officer tells him that he'll keep an eye out, but Watts still needs to file a report.  I try to console Watts with what I know about homeowners insurance.  It doesn't really help.  He decides to just drive around... looking.  I would do the same, but I know it's pointless.  It's just part of the grieving process.

He comes back empty handed.  With nothing left to do, he says goodbye and leaves.

I'm super bummed.  I knew Watts has been feeling "meh" lately, and I invited him down here for good times.  To show him all the happy people and bikes and beers and foods and funs.  He wakes up to a van that won't start and ends up leaving without his one and only mountain bike.  Fuck.

The three of us continue to clean up until we have everything piled on the loading dock... but where is... anybody else?

We have the keys and the desire to go home, and I have a dead phone.  Zac makes some phone calls.  Doesn't connect with a whole lotta others.  I don't wanna be trapped here.  My phone has been plugged into my car for an hour, and it still won't turn on.  This could be a problem since I use it for work related activity.

We take everything we stacked up and stick it all in the lockable shipping container.  At least we can lock everything down and get the keys to... someone?  Later?

As soon as we get everything loaded up, the cavalry starts to roll in.  Relieved of duty, I make my way home in the Fit of Rage.  I heat my phone in front of the air vents while charging, and I hear the noise that indicates it's not perma-dead.  My disaster sorts itself out.

Get home, unload my car, stare at the mess I'm going to spend the rest of the day sorting out.  Realize I'm still wearing the clothes I put on at 5:30AM the day before.

Clean myself and all the things and think about my little friend and his stolen bike the rest of the day.  Told myself I'd stay away from beer for awhile after last night and then just don't.

Stay tuned for the happy ending.

Wednesday, March 22

The Tour duh Charlotte '17: Part три

Same preface as the past two days.  Putting on the Tour duh Charlotte is a big team effort.  I am but a cog in the Faster Mustache machine.  My tale is the only one I can tell tho, as I only spent the entire day with myself.

After making sure I still had all the things I would not want to lose, I head over to the spectator area of the Backyard Trails stage.  Lots of happy faces under a now clear sky watching the racers finish the very last bit of competition.

photo cred: Zac Avant
Once we got everyone in, it was time for the long eight mile slog back to the Savona Mill where our day originally began.  A shitty climb up the now busy Tyvola Road and we get to the bike lane/path/good times.  I'm riding with Watts now and he quickly realizes we're on the same route as the infamous Watts Fappening.

"I want to stop at a brewery." ~ Watts

A conversation ensues about which of the seven or eight breweries that we're about to ride by is the least douchey, most convenient, has the best beer selection, and wouldn't be (terribly) crowded.  We decide on Unknown, and as we approach, we pull out of the peloton and park our bikes.  I run in, make the purchase, we see Nathan and Bill Nye riding by, snag them, and now we are four.  Finish our beers... roll in together.  Not in time for me to get in the team photo tho.

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
The scene upon arrival is amazing.  So many people.  The line for food is stretched around as far as I can see.  I've only had a slice of pizza and my handful of bacon since my breakfast at 4:30AM.  Meh, I guess beer is food too.

The rest of the evening... things got hazy.

photo cred: Erik Minman
There was that.

And some of this:

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
More people than normal stuck around until it got pretty late (late for a 47 year old).

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
Joey using the bullhorn to educate the people on all things celestial...

photo cred: Weldon Weaver

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
while I used the bullhorn to de-educate them.

Things started to thin out, and eventually it was just Zac, Kate, Watts and myself.  We had planned on sleeping... somewhere on property to kinda keep an eye on all our team stuff until cleanup the next day.  Watts, who was unable to live the  #vanlife because his van had given up on the "life" part that morning, slept in the back of his Honda Fit.  Kate, Zac, and I huddled into the open-sided shipping container and melted into a beautiful slumber.

Yes, there is more to the story coming.

Tuesday, March 21

The Tour duh Charlotte '17: Part Deux

Same preface as yesterday.  Putting on the Tour duh Charlotte is a big team effort.  I am but a cog in the Faster Mustache machine.  My tale is the only one I can tell tho, as I only spent the entire day with myself.

The stage I'm in charge of making a working thing seems much bueno.  I'm delighted to see people ride up a decades-old, rock-strewn line nobody even looks at anymore... more delighted to see them fail tho.  I get a chance to finally relax (a little).

photo cred: Scott Pagan
Jeebus.  I stress too much to be cut out to do this.  Worried about things like having enough beer to hand to spectators, lap counting, tape pulling, sagging to the next stage...

I can't wait to be removed from any and all responsibility.

The stage ends and everyone is unscathed... well, at least moving and not ded.  My two impromptu volunteers help me scoop all the tape, and we head to Stage 3.

A mostly uneventful ride over with a small amount of saying "you're sagged and I'm sorry," and we roll into our one stage that's not exactly a real mountain bike trail.  We regroup with everyone waiting to hear if the stage is ready to go.

Colin is in charge and had been out marking the course before we got there.  He and I are the most "intimate" with the area.  He says that it's so impassable that they haven't even been able to make their way around the entire course to tape it yet.  We're going to have to cancel the stage.

Colin's bike.

Well...

Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck. Fuck.

Fuck.

What to do?

I scratch my head.  Think.  Ummmmm.

I thought I was done thinking?

Realize that no matter what we have to get from shitty point A to shitty point B and as shitty as things are, just getting from one place to the other will be hard.  Fuck it.  Get the party pace as far as they need to go and have the racers battle it out in the mud from here to there.  No laps on the planned loop.  Straight point-to-point.  It won't be fun, but it will be hard. I grab all the Faster Mustache teammates I can get my hands on so I can deposit them along the way as human course tape... because this is going to work?

photo cred: Ben Ullman
Jeebus Crackers.  The way we have to go to get to where we need to be... it's normally the best conditions of the entire place.  Tires are freezing up and clogged with mud.  People are at the side of the "trail", pulling and scraping mud off in an effort to get rolling again.  It was pretty surreal.  Lee gets the Party Pacers all in place, and we get the human tape where it needs to be, and the racers fight their way through 1.5-2 miles of pure shit.  It was... amazing.

And then we move on to lunch.

photo cred: Greg Cole
Which was still sorta a slog but not so bad?

A few miles later and we ended up at Noelle's house under blue skies which went dark and then wet and the bright flashes and rumbles of thunder and what the fuck?

photo cred: Greg Cole
Noelle kicking at everyone in sight and demanding grass seed.  Okay, not really, but the team owes her something big time.

With 250 or so people, we quickly realized we needed a four man team on two taps to keep the beer flowing as fast as possible.  Two guys pouring and two guys moving poured beers to the table, pumping the kegs and getting more cups desleeved (I'm a born natural at desleeving).  All tasks being performed one-handed, of course.

photo cred: Erik Minman

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
But two if need be.

And just as fast as we had been deluged with some strange rain at the most convenient part of the day, the skies cleared and we were able to move on.  Somehow, I was once again pressed into service, although I had been consuming at a rate that did not incorporate the possibility of more responsibility.  Easy job tho.  Just get the racers from point A to point B with almost zero logistical thinking.  Okay.

I get the racers where they need to be and lose my phone for the fourth time, but for the first time, I just lost it in my backpack and not on the ground or in a puddle.  Phone, keys, money... move on.

Part three of the saga... soon?