Cali (yeah, I know you Californians hate that moniker for your state).
|Two great women!|
Karen and I were introduced to this gentleman. He was a retired teacher, so of course there were common interests, which lead to a conversation about teaching...As this gentleman was talking about his illustrious teaching career, I saw his eyes tear up when he talked about some innovations he implemented. At first I thought he coughed due to water going into the bronchial tubes as opposed to the esophagus, but indeed he was getting a smidge lacrimose. As the trajectory of his soliloquy continued, it brought up the passing of his lovely wife of 52 years.
She just passed a month ago and obviously the wounds were still fresh and his remembrance of her truly painted a picture of a companionship worthy of the movies. Karen and I were in awe of his story, recounting milestones before and during their marriage. He was unabashed at this point of his water works and as a guy-ee, guy, I said something feigning manliness, "Dude, you need a hug." So my little, 5' 7" frame was hugging this Ursine Man, Gentle Man, Teacher Man, Loving and Devoted to wife Man, because we were both moved by his tale. As he was talking, I would steal glances at Karen where we would briefly lock eyes and she would smile. Ahh! Afterwards as Karen and I were talking about this, we both agreed, while it was a tender tribute about his life it was surreal! My Mom's geburtstag celebration with a lacrimosal tale spun by a tender giant-stranger in one room. Hmm! 'Twas bad enough that my mind's hyper aware from the red-eye air travel and it lead to stimulus overload. It was a combination of leaving a cold Denver, arriving in a picture postcard SoCal Saturday, people dressed up for this event, Karen looking thoroughly prepossessing in her lavender/blue dress (which kinda matched my blue shirt-yeah, I'm a crip-right!), walking around the neighborhood beach club hand in hand with Karen trying to identify water fowl paddling in the artificial but beautiful lake, hanging out with my brothers, eating Thanksgiving style, hanging out with Neil's in-laws, sun being super bright (duh!), all contributed to the buzz in my reptilian brainstem. Then, quicker than you can snap your finger, we were back in a picture postcard Sunday afternoon in Denver.
Nice times y'all. Extravagantly simple. Unwieldingly elegant. Straighforwardly convoluted. Ate me some cake too!! Sunday lead to Monday. Coincidentally Monday shares three out of four letters of one of my favorite places on Earth. Moab. Yes, Monday we go to Moab. We meaning Hez-chilly, not Karen (boo!); but, Karen did go to Moab the week before!
Moab (yeah, I know you Californians hate that moniker for your state).
We take a new guy. Sean. This means chilly-chill. First ride? Sovereign. Interestingly, this trip to Moab will be my first ever dually suspended ride on Delilah. My Airborne, DS, 29er, XC specific steed. Sean has skills but lacks the elusive cycling: iron buttocks and leg fitness. He has great potential though. He cleared obstacles during his logarithmical learning curve out on this trail that ranges from chill single track to technical rock formations/obstacles in obtuse spatial arrangements. He did well. While he was going slow, Billy and I were determined to clear any obstacle in our path. The deluxe time of going slow for Sean allowed us to work on our form and angle of attack, and the tweaking of our centers of gravity as we sussed out gnarly stuff to attempt to clean. Time got out of hand, the sustained winds were getting awful as two fronts were battling it out, so we called it. As we made our way South, we stopped at all potential lodging to inquire about prices. The best one was the Rodeway Inn. They had three, full sized beds in one room. Unheard of! The surreality of this was passing snow as we left Denver entering a sunny, sunscreen using Moab playground/pilgrimage. This was Monday.
To get to Captain Ahab you have to climb Amasa Back. Amasa Back is fairly tame, except when it isn't. It's a fairly technical climb. My Airborne is like my mid-phat skis: technology to equalize the terrain. I mean you still have to ski or pedal but once you hit the point of proficiency-I might be partially proficient-it makes the terrain less daunting but not less painful should you biff it. Also thankfully, the videos I saw of it were of people hucking their bikes off of ledges. I don't have that kind of skill; furthermore, my mantra is: there's no shame in walking. As Billy and I traded off leads I would see how the terrain unfolded and when he cleared nasty stuff, I would watch the angle off his butt using his saddle as the angle of reference whenever his tuckus was airborne (as opposed to my tuckus on my Airborne!) to see where my center of gravity needed to be along with the angle of incidence (imagining it off a horizontal plane), not to be confused with the angel of incidents.
|One of many drop-offs at Captain Ahab|
At the Pipedream trailhead it's getting colder and it begins to rain. It was chilly all day but sunny. Enough for me to keep my leg warmers on. Drew did this trail and he said it's a trail that Karen would absolutely hate. I see why. It's exposed, the singletrack's super skinny, where you have to thread the needle between large rocks, and the singletrack blindspot's usually over steep embankments, all the while the trail's cut in the higher elevations of the side of the mountains. Billy and I called it when the rocks were no longer polka-dotted with rain but when the whole rock changed color due to saturation. We had a prearranged spot to meet Sean at the Moab Brewery. Now the story gets even more interesting...
|the one and only H-ball!|
At the Moab Brewery I meet the one and only Greg Herbold, Downhill World Champion and holder of many National Titles in the same discipline. Had a beer with him while he told me of his Denver, Colorado upbringing and his R&D job at SRAM. What a great guy, and as a consolation gift, he gave me his autograph and his baseball cap. What a great guy!
Life Below Zero. Here's a quote from National Geographic's website, Life Below Zero follows six people as they battle for the most basic necessities in the state with the lowest population density in the United States. Living at the ends of the world's loneliest roads and subsisting off the rugged Alaskan bush, they battle whiteout snow storms, man-eating carnivores, questionable frozen terrain, and limited resources through a long and bitter winter. Some of them are lone wolves; others have their families beside them. All must overcome despairing odds to brave the wild and survive through to the spring. Talk about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I don't think they get past the third level it's so absurdly difficult. The scene would begin with a person's distance from the AC. For example: the narrator, in his best radio, DJ voice would begin the scene saying Noorvik, 13 miles north of Arctic Circle, John would have a 24 hour window to trap enough muskrat to make coats for their children to survive the Winter! while they would film him attempting this task. We were captivated watching this show like a moth to lunar light. Our attempt at a humorous spin to this was when Sean and I walked to the Rest Stop Area atop Vail Pass where it was snowing. In my best DJ voice, I said Twenty-seven hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle, Sean and Mike wear their flip flops in freezing weather to the Rest Stop and their toes get cold! Try it for yourself, it's funny....dammit! At the hotel in Moab, Billy said, 2700 miles of the Arctic Circle, Bill's remote control in the hotel room dies attempting to change channels!
|'Twas an AMAZING show!|