Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

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I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Haiku 2010


Like fallen pinecones
Dreams lay buried under snow
Hopefull new season 



Friday, December 3, 2010

Hell

On a regularly scheduled break from thoughtful, artistic pursuits...I bring you a gripe about your eternal salvation.....Hell.  I've always considered the images of those wonderfully crafted advertisements by Park City Ski Co to be the very image of hell.  They're marketed to folks in Dallas, Oklahoma City, Little Rock and....what the hell....anything east of the front range.  It looks inviting, much like liquid cheese does on a ballpark dog....but we all know different....it's hell.



This image has been stuck in my mind since my late teens.....an existence that gives you a tease of excitement, then leaves you with an eternity spent on a plateau, seperated from the rest of existence and experience.  Forced to have the path in front of you smoothed to perfection, you might as well be in a dental office, Novocaine'd up, listening to KennyG while having a tooth drilled....firmly aware that it hurts...but you're comfortably detached....for the moment.  Well......I just saw something that promoted this place from hell to the river Styx.....I give you, my new hell.....Ski Dubai:


The pathetic thought I first had was, "my God man....can't they at least afford a high speed quad to eternal damnation?"!  Ladies and Gentlemen....I implore you....get out and vote with your soul.  Seek the spaces beyond, where you dare not go.  Feel a little afraid, be a little dangerous....and keep pushing for your dreams.  Just don't move to Dubai.....or D.C.............

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Long way

When the first bead of sweat cascaded down the amber lenses of my sunglasses, I smiled.  Despite the crisp November air washing over me as I floated over the damp landscape of morning, the effort to do so still warmed me considerably.  After an hour of pedaling, my legs were finally getting into a rhythm with my heart and lungs; they pumped blood and oxygen to produce an easy movement through space and time.  When it gets like this after the first hour, I know I’m going the Long way.

Legs previously stiff and dead on the cold start were now warmed and ready.  A two day rest after a hard effort this weekend, made harder by poor hydration choices left me disappointed in my results.  This was not to be a punitive ride since it would do nothing to prepare me for my next one.  Quiet contemplation over ones mistakes, followed by determined acceptance of the need to change, is the only path towards improvement.  This ride was merely a return to the saddle, but it was already turning into something much different; something I talk about with reverence because of its rarity.

The Long way is something I seek, yet is never found by me.  The Long way tends to elude my every desire and attempt to find it.  Rather, the Long way is the thing that finds me.  It’s most common towards the end of a planned ride where I previously assigned myself a finite increment of time.  It presents itself as I look at my odometer and realize that what I’d chosen to do is almost over and yet, my acceptance of this fact is incomplete.  The feelings I have in my body of power and rejuvenation are greater than some arbitrary number on my cycle computer.  The desires of my mind outweigh the need to conform to a formula I’d committed to prior to even clipping into my pedals.  In this manner, the Long way finds me. 





Letting go, I reach the intersection where I would turn home…and choose any way but home, which commits me to more.  I don’t want it to stop; the immense feeling of freedom around me takes every weight off of my body.  The worries and bad visions of night that consume me beyond the present are no longer, my mind is clear in an uncertain path.  It’s when my reality catches up to my path that I realize that my path is certain, and in the short term; this path is not good.  The Long way takes me beyond the certainty of the short term and places me into the uncertainty of the far future…in this I find peace. 

Stopping at a wash cut into a rock band, I dismount amid the silence of the desert; sun streaming down warmth from above.  Gravel beneath my feet crunch pleasantly against the brass of my cleats as I sit down in the soft sand, back against the red rock, absorbing the heat from its mass.  Looking around, the squeak-cluck alarm of Gambel’s quail scurrying around to my right draw my eyes to the ironwood tree on the other side of the arroyo.  Before I can find the noisy birds, I notice quick, irregular movement on the edge of the bank of sand across from me; a black lizard moving to and fro on a boulder, ostensibly looking for something to eat.



As I play with my camelback, sipping in the cool water; I play with the tan and silver flecked granite pebbles around me, tossing some here and others there.  As I close my eyes, the sun above me casts a warm red glow in my eyelids as I absorb the symphony of calm of the Sonoran desert.  Above me, I hear the sound a Saguaro makes in the wind as the air passes through its spines. Clinging to the arroyo’s fractured mass with outstretched roots bound in granite, the Saguaro conducts the performance.  Gentle squeaks are heard, coming from the Palo Verde tree off to my left whose limbs rub against each other in the breeze; leaving their verdant namesake skin rubbed raw.  The sharp report of a Gila Woodpecker is heard far in the distance, too far to locate yet close enough to contribute.

Interrupting this movement of sound, the hollow man made echo of jet engines throttling down upon approach to PHX tear me away from the sanctity of the arroyo.  A thought creeps into the space beyond my eyes; my mind begins to churn on it…and I feel the Long way slipping away; my eyes open.  I immediately stand up, startling the lizard who shared the arroyo with me; it taking cover beneath some limber bush.

I turn around and stare up at the Saguaro, appreciating the glowing white spines which offer a stark texture to the featureless blue sky above.  As I walk over to my bike up stream; I find the Palo Verde tree with the rubbing limbs.  I feel the limbs verdant smooth skin as I reach up above my head to observe the raw limb, tattered and dry.  The quail start to cluck again with my movement, scurrying among the brittle brush ever farther upstream.



Mounting my bike reluctantly, I’m both saddened and happy to resume… As quickly as the Long way can come to me, it too can escape.  I hope that the Long way will return before I reach the next intersection.  Failure to escape the short term has recently translated into my inability to find peace.  Even sleep, a time reserved for rejuvenation, has become another stressful component to my life, failing to offer up the respite of the past.  I’m consumed by fears, darkness and doom.  Failing to escape it, I am bound to its existence.

As I ride out of the wash on steep loose singletrack, my legs stamp out a strained rhythm, seeking a more effortless tempo that once was.  I turn again at an intersection towards a route that takes me farther; still annoyed at the thoughts roiling the waters of my mind.  Focusing on the loose and winding climb in front of me, thoughts disappear as I lift my front wheel over a rock, shove my handlebars and body forward while standing to crank my rear wheel over.  This motion repeats itself several times on the climb, taking only a second, yet leaving my heart pounding within my head.  Each lift move bringing me closer to the top of my climb, where before me; the ridgeline opens up an expansive skyline; river below, mountains 60 miles distant, almost close enough to touch.

Descending once again, the feelings of flow surprise me as a sense of wonderment returns.  The Long way is back, driving me onwards and down.  I continue on like this for hours:  riding, stoping, listening, looking, thinking, climbing & descending.  Only when my water is nearly gone am I forced to make the decision to return.  Taking the final turn towards home at the last intersection; I leave the Long way behind and ride back to the present.  The Long way still remains out there, elusively existing as a sound too faint to hear, a sight unseen and a feeling too weak to touch.  I am assuaged only through graceful acceptance that it will find me once again, somewhere Out There.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Shadows and Glow

Early rays of November made their mark on Cholla and I on our weekly SoMo morning ride.  Blessed with cool temps in the lower 50's, I took advantage of the cool air and warm light to play on the camera and trail.  Waiting for Cholla to pad up, I spied interesting shadows on rock and rubber alike.



Peering at the glow of morning on the texture of blue anodization was intoxicating...even after almost three years, this bike still makes me smile.....


Leaning forward, I noticed the way the carbon fiber absorbed the warm light, and reflected it back on the dust accumulating on the Ritchey headset cap.....



Climbing into the ride....clear skies were welcomed as our lungs took in their share to fuel our legs......


Stopping to session an up, Cholla shows how it's done.....it looks tame from above....


....but from the side, the angle of attack presents itself.....


Topping out on another climb........we moved from the cool desert shadows.....


...into the warm dry light..........

Enveloped in the damp shade of the upper waterfall drainage, more front wheel ups were attacked before turning around at Buena Vista for our withdrawal from the mountain; our return to the day opened up before us, a descent towards the sun.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Tree


Deep in the forest there is a tree.  I ride by it from time to time and stop beneath its branches which reach out across the forest and grow towards the light of the sun.  Nestled deep within the center of the tree is a hole where a limb once fell off.  This hole is now occupied by a hive of bees which buzz away, night and day.  Bringing pollen from the beauty upon the fields, the bees produce honey and stash it away for safe keeping within the tree.



The bees work tirelessly all day long, contributing their efforts to the honey within the hive.  The tree knows this as it feels the pulse and hum of the hive, warming their home in the night and cooling it during the day.  It could be said that the hive and the tree work together as one.

Sometimes a black bear wanders around from time to time clawing at the tree, leaving its bark torn and tattered; but for the most part the bear just rubs against it leaving its hair matted along the scratched surface of the tree.  The bear knows the hive is there and sometimes it takes from the hive.  The bear has to climb high up and loiter as it takes the honey, but pays a price written in the stingers which dot the bear’s nose, still pulsing from the bees that gave their lives protecting the hive.  However, the bear accepts this lapse in comfort for the gain of honey; for the most part, the bees forget it as well and resume like always, building the hive.

As the bees rebuild and restock, so does the tree.  The claw marks the bear leaves in the bark, heal with each passing season.  A living thing, its bark grows over the scars throughout the day; breathing in the light of the sun and air, contributing back a new wealth of oxygen for the bees and every other creature that loves the tree within the forest, even the bear.

That tree still stands there, with the bees inside its heart; pulsing and buzzing away like always; yet the tree is beginning to lean.  Some of its arms are no longer filled with leaves.  Some of its branches are bony and naked; no longer contributing its gifts to the forest.  And as the tree provides less to the forest, the forest no longer provides as much to the tree.  The tree begins to lean ever more as its strong roots lose purchase on the rocky soil, slowly dying.  As more roots lose hold on the earth, more branches fall to the ground and break. 

Eventually, the tree topples over such that the heart of the tree that held the bees is now at ground level.  The bear comes and takes from the hive every day now since it’s much easier for the bear to take a little honey and run away.  Each day, the hive gets smaller and smaller.  The bees for sure try to keep the hive alive in the heart of the tree, but after many raids on the hive by the bear, their honey depleted; the bees take flight to find another tree to begin the cycle again.

On my ride through the woods, I still stop to imagine this tree; its towering majesty softening the glow of sunshine upon me as I rest where it once stood.  Peering up through the hole left in the forest canopy, my eyes narrow to the shaft of harsh bright light issued from the world beyond the forest.  I recall the light of the world, filtered in green; a pleasant reminder of the life giving properties of the tree in balance.  From the sun and the air came the tree, and in return; the tree gave all back.  The hum of the bees in its heart was the sound of life contributing to others.



I still ride to this place and cast my eyes in dispassionate remembrance of the tree that used to be.  It’s now shattered where it fell.  Its roots, no longer deep in the ground, have been torn from the earth.  The tree and roots now lie exposed, bathed in unfiltered white light from the space in the forest canopy above.  The hole within the tree is still there, yet the bees are gone and so is the bear.  The only reminders left are the last scars the bear made in the bark as it grabbed the last of the honey shortly before the bees flew away.

The bees left to find another tree to populate and the bears in kind have moved on.  I get back on my bike and pedal away to find the bees, yet I’m haunted by the tree that used to be.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why?


I’m not sure.  I’m unsure of being sure.  Of this, I’m sure.  Yesterday while riding my bike because it’s what I did yesterday, and the day before; I started wondering, why?  Why me?  Why this or why that?

I’m not pondering why the sky is blue….which everyone knows is because Santa wants it that way….and I’m not pondering why I’m here, which I’ve always assumed has something to do with college football.  Rather, I’m wondering why I have so much fun in the face of so much…..crap.

Why do I set out to ride when sometimes I don’t really "feel it"?  In my laziness, I’ll put off riding only to begrudgingly haul myself outside in my gear, ride away only to return a few hours later with an ear to ear grin.

Why?  Why can I take something that causes occasional pain, financial hardship, injury and sometimes stress….and turn it into something beautiful?  Why is it so much fun?  Why?  As I pedaled along asking these pointed questions of myself, a large staghorn cholla ball passed un-noticed below my front wheel only to be picked up by my rear tire and flung at incredible speed into my left calf.


I’ve been hit by cholla untold times, always stinging from the encounter.  This time, it felt like a vice was clamped onto my muscle….and upon stopping, it became apparent why.  Aside from many smaller points of attachment onto my skin…one barb in particular, a very mature and robust barb was not only attached to my epidermis; but had pierced deep into my muscle just below the surface.  For the first time, I witnessed my skin dimpling from the force and depth of the barb now attached to me.

As I pulled and pulled, I struggled to remove this barb from my leg.  Quite a bit of force was required for me to remove this attachment from my leg.  After 5 minutes of struggling, I was able to twist it enough to open up a channel and remove the spine.  No doubt, the twisting turned the barbs within enough to tear open a bore-shaft within my calf….the blood running freely was proof of this.

Why?  Why when this happened, was I listening to Nirvana…..pedaling ever faster and faster, heart beating out of my chest?  Why when this happened, did Kurt Cobain start yelling, “Won’t you believe it, just my luck”?  Why did I just then notice that there were two wild horses, 100 yards from me who no doubt stood there eating shrubs while keeping an eye & ear tuned to my very vocal efforts to remove a bit of cactus from my body?


Why did I get right back on my bike after removing the barb and ride away, all smiles? 

Why?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Worthy of a reprint - shameless self promotion

OK......life has been very busy.....I have no time to blog about my radness...since the only rad thing I've done is work out a strategic capture plan for KPAC....and no one likes powerpoint....so I'll spare you the play-by-play and give you the synopsis:  I'm gonna get them money.  In lieu of any worthwhile activity to shoot or write about, I present to you the only rad thing going on which just arrived in the mail today.....


If you want more....and you should......considering we're on the verge of yet another great winter....then check out Backcountry Magazine at your local news stand or online.

Happy turns and well wishes for everyone finding your spaces between.....I'm off to go burn some skis for Ullr.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

TUK FXS game day

Waking the next day, the briskie was rubbed with some coarse grained spices and then placed onto the smoker....26 hours later, it would be done.....



With an even mix of mesquite and hickory, the smoke begins to rise with the excitement of the day....the game is still a day away but the smell of the wood reminds me of my first OU game so very long ago....


Closing the lid on the meat....my only interaction with it other than to add wood to the smoke is seen through these two little guys....their remotes always within earshot to wake me in the middle of the night in case of temp spikes.....



As the meat slowly rose in temp....I prepped the other foods for the next day....here my TUK FXS coleslaw has taken shape.....


Fire roasting poblanos and Anaheims which are added into the polenta along with Gruy√®re cheese which is then formed into wedges and grilled fresh the next day....

With all the food prep done....I had nothing to do with the rest of the day before the game....but plot the internal temp profile of the briskie on it's march to completion.....


At 9 the next day.....The ribs went on.....here they're done with their first 2 hrs in the smoke and are now being wrapped in foil and juices for another 2 hrs.....the 2-2-1 method being employed....



With folks arriving and the game going well....halftime afforded me the opportunity to spread things out....


Prior to serving....I set aside the point on the brisket.....to be used as burnt ends later.  Happy with yet another successful gastronomic execution and a win this year by OU....the memories of friends who helped me celebrate over some of the best bark on a briskie ever will keep me fueled until next year....


Thursday, September 30, 2010

TUK FXS preparations

Simple words....simple food....complex logistics.....that's TUK FXS.  The 8th annual celebration has begun.....some pics from today's events.

16lb packer....cleaned and ready....as a point of reference.....that's a 12" blade folks......



 The Briskie is all rubbed up.......this is going into the cooler for a rest until tomorrow when it gets another dose of seasoning before its 24 hr sit in the smoke......


Rendering bacon for the original brisket sauce......Beer and Bacon......Dr. Sooner states "it can't get better than this".....it really can't......


The ribs have also been rubbed......16lbs of brisket....and 15lbs of ribs.......these guys sit until Saturday morning where they get the 2-2-1 treatment under mesquite smoke....


Having rendered a cup of bacon drippings.....the sauce takes hold with celery, tomato, onion, garlic, hickory chips and plenty of other good stuff......the sauce will be strained and the fibrous material along with the hickory chips will feed the smoke......

TO BE CONTINUED.......

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Vacation from my Vacation

Chollaball and I made bivy under a full moon and a sparkling Jupiter at the Phils World Trailhead outside of Cortez, CO.  As I drifted to sleep, I believe the last thought to cross my mind was...it won't rain tonight......"WAKE UP....IT'S RAINING!!"....these words jostled me from REM as we scrambled in the dark of the morning to cover with tarps....too late...the squall came down fast and windy.  Not wanting to soak my down bag on the 1st night...I crawled into the shaggin waggin and passed out once again.  Waking again to a torrential downpour in the grey light of dawn...we decided that there was no way we could ride in this...so we got breakfast, farted around in a bike shop in Cortez, sulked, drove to Durango, set up camp in the rain at Junction Creek....then releuctently ceded to the weather and headed into town to drink beer.  For two guys who are no strangers to beer drinking...the decision came hard.  We came to ride...and ride hard...and all we got was a steady rain and death mud all around us.

After 2 pints and 2 baskets of peanuts at Steamworks, we looked outside and noticed a weather window....so we saddled up with some cans of Ska and did some urban riding which was the best we could muster given the conditions.


The weather window lasted long enough for a single lap along the Animas....


and two beers....each....



Stairs were tried........


Beautiful bridges were crossed.....



More steps were discovered....


 As I set up shots, I noticed the things around me.....


....and then the shot came....the sound of the tires accelerating formed staccato notes in a crescendo, both in pitch and volume.....


....peering back up the stairs, Cholla's rear tire marks were left at the edge of every step...also in staccato fashion...all 42 of them.

Heading back to camp....we got dumped on in the middle of the night with thunder, lightning, hail....we fell asleep with a sense of dread that the best riding of the trip was going to be behind us.  Waking to clearing skies, alternatives were discussed.  Our original plan to ride Molas Pass to Cascade creek was out for the day, but we considered riding Phils if the trails could dry out by afternoon.

To occupy our time, I suggested we drive to Molas to poke around and make a call on our last day....I wanted to see if Molas would even be possible given the snowline at 11,000ft....otherwise we'd ride the High-Mesa trails at Gallup with our tail between our legs.


What we saw was beautiful and promising...the trails were drying out....we decided we could do the ride on our last day.  The last time I looked at this view...there was a lot more snow....and a lot more adrenaline....



Heading to our southwest, we drove to Phils world and rode the loop....



Even though the loop was not all I had expected it to be, it was good to spin for a while.


The last day dawned with bluebird....so we broke camp and started on the Colorado Trail at Molas Pass



From there, the views got better.....


....as we climbed into the alpine from treeline....




 .....Views of Engineer Mountain off to our SW appeared.  We would be on the left flank of that mountain by afternoon.....


Red Stripe....made me wish I had one in my hand.....

Can you see the CTR contouring around the peaks in the distance?  We'll be on all of them in the coming hours.....

At 930....I felt a need for a mid-morning snack....


Small waterfalls appeared in every drainage, issuing water that had previously been snowflakes formed on the first day of fall......


Chugging up pitches above 11,500....we got familiar with our HRmax many times....it felt good to feel my ears pop as the capillaries pounded with every heart beat.....

Topping out into an alpine meadow to the SSE of Jura Knob, it was clear that the 2nd day of Fall meant nothing up here....this place was done with fall....winter was rapidly approaching....



Reaching the Engineer Mountain Trail intersection with the Colorado Trail....I conversed with Don Miguel whom I had carried up from Molas....and who would now carry me the rest of the day.......


I also admired the handiwork of the Pleistocene.




Descending down off the saddle from Jura Knob......


..... disappointment quickly returned to us.....irresponsible equestrians had thrashed this trail the previous day leaving 1-3 inch deep post holes on the Engineer Mountain trail turning the death mud into an impassible mess....we HAB'd along side of the trail for most of the 3 miles to where the horses had come up from Pass creek.


We still observed great beauty....but the thought that we had mostly hiked our bikes from the lowest saddle right of center on the skyline still stung.....


Nearing Engineer Mountain, the red siltstone of Jura Knob gave way to more limestone which allowed us to ride once again and appreciate the eastern skyline.


Engineer Mountain looming larger.....


Despite the beauty and stoke of the ride......the new snow turned my mind to the coming ski season....


As we neared Engineer Mountain, I could hear the constant sound of rockfall on the north face as the mountain continued to feed the rock glacier below.....


Topping out on the saddle of Engineer Mountain, our climb was over.

Views to the east afforded us a fall foliage tour that the Texans on Hwy-550 will never see.....



As we whooped, laughed, hollered and carved every switchback descending down to Cascade Creek, we were forced to stop sometimes despite every brain cell telling us to keep going....some views just forced our hands to squeeze the brake levers......


Switchback attack shots were set up......




Descents upon a sunbeam were cataloged.....


....and explosions of floating gold petals on the wind force us to stop once again.....


The afternoon sun angle was just perfect at moments to capture the best light of the day......


Staring up at the bluebird through filtered yellows, I was distracted by olfactory hues.....


....But yellow and bluebird clearly ruled the day.......






Ending our ride at Cascade Creek and Hwy 550.....Cholla turned himself out while I waited with the bikes.


We could have ridden our bikes up the hardball back to Molas....but after such a beautiful day....the thought of sucking on diesel fumes and potentially getting run off the road by gawking folks from Austin on a winding mountain road with no shoulder was not too appealing.....so I continued to shoot the transition of seasons....


While some things were in their final glory.......

....some things were already reloading for next season......