Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

My photo
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.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


I could not take any more....so I popped smoke and called for an evac out of the festering neon distraction. I had become combat ineffective, a shell of the person I'd spent so many miles building up. It's amazing to me that after a year of laying off the distance, the fire to go long never went out.  It ate at me, clawing my insides until I wanted to scream from the angst of holding it in. So I ran, packed the only things that matter to me, and went south to better trails; leaving behind everything else not required to bike, ski or take care of my dog. Nothing else would be required, because nothing else, IS required. I had compromised myself based on a faulty premise....so I fixed it. Every time I make a move, my footprint gets smaller, more refined, more efficient and reflective of the core that is me.  I am left now with everything I truly need....and it all fits in a truck and a trailer.

She draws from me a level of energy every time, the serpentine track of tan underlying a sea of grass. The sound of my freshly lubed Chris King Hub rings into my ear along with the staccato crunch-snap of quartz and feldspar sand beneath my tires.....

The intent in my latest move was to be closer to the siren that calls me toward the rocks.  I can't escape her, so I might as well join her....a fatal dance that I accept.  I'm a big believer of training like you fight, and fighting like you train. If I intend to ride 300, I will dance with her, every day, until I can read her every curve in my mind, anticipate her temperamental moods and lead with authority.

The climb up here was proper, out of the lower Sonoran Desert and into the Sonoran Highlands....her smooth curves cutting in and out of the ridgeline, traversing cliffbands and cutting across vertical curved reefs of Shindaggers....

As my mind wandered along with my bike, I find myself in that long state that I often seek.  A place where the time disappears and the shadows move around me as the sun arcs low against the winter sky.  It's a state of consciousness which is defined by nothingness....no worries, no thoughts and no pain.  Just breath.....heartbeat.....and pedal stroke.  How I long to live like this!

My lunch break is taken in a copse of Juniper which act as a windbreak to the cutting western blow, chilling me to the bone once I stop. I position myself between two granite boulders in the sun, absorbing the thermal radiation flowing from the mass, and chew on my lunch....working fast and hard to gulp it down so that I may get moving once again.....time spent stopped is time spent cold.

Turning for home, I cycle across the savanna, framed by massifs which hold the early winters snow just below an infinite sky blue.  A blue which drives the wind against me, slowing my return.....the succubus extracts her final cut for the day.  How I long to be back, paying from my body, her personal toll.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The abyss of time

The wind up here echos slow. It ebbs and flows like crashing waves upon the shore.  To be here is acquiescence....sweat dripping down to the powdered dust at my feet and tire. I count the drops as they fall from my head....an impact that makes a juicy thud in between the next wave.

I look up at the peak above me, squinting at the sight of it.  Grasses come into focus, the jojoba bushes holding fast to blackened masses of rock and cliff.  Climbing higher, my gaze finds ocotillo framing the ridgeline, cast against the blue of infinity. The sounds of birds hopping from bush to cactus on the slope in front of me across the canyon  fill my ears....they delight with whimsy....I, with strife.

To climb up here means pain......doubt....denial of comfort. I double over in the hike-a-bike, passing my saddle over into the worn cave of my right palm, gloved in leather, soaked in effort, and salted from the miles.  My calves strain as I tip-toe up the pitch, much steeper here than in most hike-a-bikes...I push this mass of technology higher.

My memory of all of this is much brighter in my imagination, much brighter than it will ever be.....I do not like this.  I want to take in the magic of the wind.  I want to hear the flute like sound a ridge makes in a pulsating wind.....low and earthy, she still speaks to me....yet I was in a hurry.

All I got out of my ride yesterday was a beat down....and I do not like this.  I spent the next day brooding, feeling tired.  I am unrewarded.....the schism is deafening.

I dream of the desert, yet can't have it on my terms.....I must have it on the open expanse of eternity...eternity....a word that does not truly exist for us short timers.  We live but for a fraction of a moment, and suffer for it's randomness. I must accept it within the terms of wind and storm, heat and still, dry and death....not deadline and commitment or plans and expectations.  I can't expect to find myself happy with a clock running, when eternity created the beauty in our souls....waiting to be unlocked, at the paring of a perfect moment, out there.

I was too obtuse to wait for it......

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I found the following piece of writing a few winters back, pasted to a coffee can within a snow cave that BGR had set up....fully stocked with booze, food and a radio that received the Navajo station quite well.....Black Flag followed by Hank Williams Sr followed by Parliament Funkadelic....it was quite the happening, with a full kitchen, sleeping berths and view of the dawn that never quit.  In any event, I've utterly failed at finding out who wrote this gem...if you know, please let me know so that I may give them due credit.  So in honor of the first snow of the season on the Kachina's, I give you Avalanche. The pictures, mine; the words for now, belong to the wind:

I dated an actor once
And asked her how to trust someone who made her living
At deception
She told me she was much less suave as a real woman
But the first time we had sex
The smile never left her face
The perfectly executed orgasm.
Photo - Troy Marino, Skier - maadJurguer

And yesterday in our town, an angel committed suicide
By swallowing the barrel of a shotgun.
She dressed in white and blessed us daily,
The preschool, the local potter's wheel,
The drunks in the bar where she sipped white wine.
After she died we read she wasn't an angel after all,
Just a mother of three from a small town in Arkansas.
Now we walk the streets looking over our shoulders
In case the blessings weren't for real either.
Photo - Troy Marino, Skier - maadJurguer

"What does it mean?" you asked.
When we passed the homeless man, again
Eight blocks, ten blocks, twelve blocks down
He was our oracle
With wild black hair and a Rolling Stones t-shirt
But I knew he was not an oracle, for he was John Kirby
Who carried a limp, blue backpack and kissed the hand of grace one night
But that was not right either
for Kirby froze in the cemetery
Last winter
Remembering beauty and talking to sparrows

During these long winters
The local avalanche forecaster tells us
We will see stability where we want to see it.
Tells us if we desperately want to make first tracks,
We will find safety where there is none,
With blessings, oracles, and second chances,
We step to the crest, turn our heads from the wind
And push forward
Ignoring the breaking snow at our backs

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The groundskeeper

the solitary solace i find in mind,
a noble fancy, the passage of time.
Windswept emotions cry foul before others,
mistaken in their magnitude they garner regret,
of the fun I have on wheels in spite of threat.

your sunrise comes blowing on whisper and glow,
scent of grass and pine, my pace slows.
but for a time when I breathe in the scene before me,
a calming of sorts, the quiet of morning, the still day transforming,
we'll never be the same, "this light is tremendous", i yell in mourning.

the earth exhales as the sun grows higher,
creating a symphony of light and sensation, my sweat starts flowing.
I stop for water, a drink of thought, a thought extreme
a notions fancy, a moonlight scream.

In your motion I see no other, a wisp of notion, a smell o'dream;
your scream for me now, to wander across body
is lightened by patience, an exercise extreme;
your mysteries unfold, a novels untold,
stories unknown, and action in bold.

a higher path is claimed asunder, a ride which transforms,
forged in thunder.
a thought that pierces beyond the mists,
a mind a'wandered
the deserts below the peaks uplifted', the canyons wont speak,
for you lie naked alone,

I am the groundskeeper, a seeker of truths, 
a bier of sorrows, you exist in mind, 
and alone you heed.
Yet in my mind a new truth exists,
the pedal that stops, the grounding in mist,
the dust that forms low, on my face and furrow,
is the last breath taken,
the show,
is over.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I skipped a month....or was it a week....or was it a year.....I'm sorry, I've forgotten what was it that mattered......was it the blogging about my radness....or was it, to paraphrase a buddy, "I got busy gettin' to know a gal, so I started going on rides that ended in drinkin' beer and makin' out"? Yeah....it's something like that. Somewhere along the line, I became Ahab...and yet Ahab still learns, still evolves and keeps seeking.

It's taken a fat year to learn that it stopped...it's taken a fat year to get fat...and it's taken a fat year to realize what I knew before the strife. When the fear run dry...I ride for no woman, no bottle of whiskey or no bill. I ride for the thrill.....I ride for me....I ride to F**k it up......and I F**k it up good......

Stopping off at Mustache Richards.......I find that his equally hard stance on equal opportunity employment is clearly posted......

.....and as I graded, I reviewed the stock.....glowing from the background light..........

 ......illuminating the tools of the trade, I hear a chord in my soul which clearly illuminates for me that Steel is Real............

Pedaling on into the Ponderosa......we stop to contemplate the spirit feeding animal within us all.  Now, I know that most of us are aware of a spirit animal within us all.....but how about the spirit feeding animal?  I, am a deer......Mustache Richard is a Wolf, and tRoy is a squirrel.  I am a deer because I will eat what ever is presented to me even though there are signs that state, "Do Not Feed The Deer".  Simply put,  I will get sick when I eat human food as I am used to my strict diet of bikepacker food...........tRoy is a squirrel in that he brings a sampling of everything with him but will hoard other offerings along the way.......and Mustache Richard will just gorge upon anything he finds........it is clear to us that on a bikepacking adventure......having a wolf in your company is not a good idea.......this thesis was presented to us by the wolf himself......caveat emptor........ignore the convincing grin and offering in hand.......

Rolling up to the site of tRoy's first kill, we replayed the Elk-hunt-Bikepack.......the scout.....the bivy......the Elks last magnificent moments of life....the shot at 50m.....the flee of life.......the confrontation and exchange of life...witnessing the sharp sight of grasses through the eye socket of this animal after eating upon it's meat for the past few months, made me respect it more....how beautiful we all are, how frail........

....it was real......it felt real to hear the story.....to rub the teeth, to feel the ribs and to see the bones.  How blessed we all felt to be here....how blessed we felt to be with the one who took this life, who looked it in the eye as it died....and who took the body that we would eat from this night........

Riding on from the kill site, we descended on one of the carviest bits of singetrack through Aspen Forest to be had on the Coco...........here, tRoy leans into a hardscrable corner, notching himself into the halls of Valhalla.....

That night......perhaps it was our hubris or the spirit of the Wapiti.....or both....but we got hammered.  It was the worst storm any of us had ever experienced outside.....and we've all gotten to the point outside were we called to the heavens that we'd had enough......and yet, during that night, when the light flashed at the same time you were able to feel the shock wave in your gut.....you no longer were high on the stoke.  We all were making light of the situation with typical gallow humor when the flash would come......and a freezing motion would overtake us all, a feeling of humility on that naked ridge we were bivied upon.....as if our slow human reactions would protect us from the physics of the situation.  It was positively humbling.......it was exactly what I needed............we all fell asleep to the fading sound of thunder, sleeping in an inch of water, relieved that the storm had passed............

"What the Hell IS THAT??????"..........this is the first thing I hear and understand after the night before...a night of alarm, flash, thunder and alerts as to the flooding within our bivy........As I wake from the sleep of early morning dawn, I look over at tRoy to see him shooing an inch long insect away from him....into my sleeping bag.  I shoot up yelling, "MOFO, Don't put that THING IN MY BAG!!!!".......we awake in laughter.....as we play with the clumsy insect as it grapples with the slick nylon covering of my down bag.......

What the bug failed to do, the sun completed.  It woke us fully; a clear and awakening day of upright grass and yellowing skies pressing upwards past the canopy of verdant needles into an ink blue atmosphere laden with more rain that promised to press down upon us throughout the day..........

It was also a morning of reckoning with the heinous sidewall slash I'd experienced just before we camped the night before.  I'll never know if it was the event that precipitated our campspot, or if my partners ahead of me had decided before me.....it matters not.......here I was, with an inch-long gash, with a third branch opening in an Y-style incision......the boot I had to use was huge.....and I doubted its ability to hold me for another 40 miles......and yet I placed homage in it....it was the same boot that brought me through the Canelo Hills on the AZT......it would hold, I told myself......it will hold......

As I patched my tire....I watched tRoy make coffee with a Press-Bot, made by Canyon Coffee.....they also double as camera tripod's....check them out!


Before we packed up......tRoy cooked up some ground elk that he had processed recently from the kill we had observed..........the circle here was complete......and yet we had another day of riding to get home......which is fitting......the circle never ends......we now were entrusted to take what the Wapiti gave us and make it our own........

It sounds trite........but it's true..........the circle will never end, as long as your life is as glorious; a life worthy, a life which enriches your own........

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vicarious transformations

Through the eyes of the uninitiated, the ritual of summer can regain a luster since tarnished with the passing of time.  Sharing an experience with someone for the first time is akin to taking someone on their first ride on singletrack....we can all identify with the newer perspective, and appreciate the finer details of what it means to be transformed all over again.

The cycle that propels us around once more, moving us in an elliptical orbit, provides enough eccentricity to keep us focused on the changes within, however slow they may occur.....

Riding on the path of old takes on a new hue, when shared with someone who is visiting for the first time.  The same old fields of Rocky Mountain Iris on the Cabin Loop become new and enchanting once again....however, I'll always be partial to this sentinel of early summer....

Sitting in the coolness of a shady spot, my old friend, the spotted coral root orchid exists in a symbiosis....not with the sun through photosynthesis, but with the fungus within the soil....feeding from a different source to produce it's beauty.

As the water trickles out of the spring, draining from gently tilted beds of sandstone, we sit in enjoyment...gaining from the coolness of the spring, the sound of the water....the reflections that mirror the sky....a world beyond reach.

....but inside the pane of reflection, we find more transformation.  The stone caddis draws an arc in the sediment as it crawls around, feeding from the microscopic organisms within the pool....growing, until one day it will leave its protective rocky tube, formed from grains of sand, and float up to the pane of reflection where it will linger for a bit, only to fly away forever.......unencumbered by its protector of old, weighing it down at the bottom.....

Perhaps on its flight....it will stop to appreciate the colors of the coral root and their shared transformation....then again, it's just a caddis fly and it knows nothing of the symbiotic nature of things.....that's left to a few lucky mountain bikers who just stopped for a bite to eat.

Turning our attention to more novel thoughts....a mantle piece for my new cabin's fireplace comes into reality...the start of something new, rising from the old....

Along the way, we bridged over the reflections, the transformations and the epiphanies, and in spite of our complex selves......

.....we rode in simple enjoyment....bikes on singletrack in the pines of early summer.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Red Submission

What can I say.....I stared at you for hours in in the beautiful quiet of day....watching as the sun drew shadows across your face.

In spite of your sabotage of a friends ride, I still marveled at your beauty.......

The tears that streamed down your cheeks, leaving your mascara streaked, reminded me of how vulnerable we all are to the forces of time.

Sometimes you make me feel small when I'm swallowed up by your presence....but it's a powerful lesson to feel this way from time to time.  I can see so much more awaits me in the universe when I'm pulled from my solipsistic ways and forced to come to terms with my insignificance.

Your intransigence forces me to walk with you at your pace, obeying all that you lay out before me in submission....

I give myself to you completely......

Monday, April 1, 2013

When I stopped counting

The shift started slowly; a move away from the past with only one direction, something different. I've been riding for the past 3 months without a gps. In the run-up to Strava, Stravassholes and Strava lawsuits.....I dropped the electronic tracking for all my rides. I wanted to erase any sense of time holding my mind....a place polluted with Outlook color codes for meetings, flights and telecons.

I wanted to stop benchmarking my mileage....a place that meant training....a place where the training became more substantial than the event itself. I spent 4 months of my life training for a great event....and you know what I remember and choose to remember? It's the training rides that fueled my passion, my soul and my best memories. During the event...I was so numb, focused and dialed.....that I did not let a single emotion hatch, creep in or whisper into my conscious ..until it was prematurely over and I cried for 2 hours.

I wanted to stop holding numbers as the gauge for how I felt about my day, my week or my month. I suppose that quitting anything comes with withdrawal and this was no exception. I felt naked without my numerical and geographical reference points converted into two dimensions displayed on a 1 x 1.5 inch screen. Once I got over this, my emotions took a dive. I started feeling slower....I was no longer able to calculate split-times; justifying away a slower section because of a mechanical or some other happenstance,   I was depressed that my rides seemed less frequent and.....gulp....slower.

But then something strange happened. I went riding with folks. For the longest time...I was riding alone because I was so focused on improvement....the ugly side of training. Reluctantly, I went on a group ride, fearing I would hold up the group. Time and time again....folks gave me snarky comments on how I was now hammering.....really, I was not trying....I just feared those behind me....so I gave it my all.

Now....I'm not going to state that I am actually faster...I'm sure I'm slower....my gut's bigger, so there's no denying that an office job and constant airline travel has it's nasty side. But when I'm riding with people, sharing in experiences and only in experiences...I'm urged to be my best without devices of measurement.   When I think about this, it makes sense to me. When I was riding all the time...I would have slow rides, I would have medium pace rides and then I would have hammer rides. You need to do this when you're riding 6 days a week....you simply can't manage recovery if you're giving your physical all, all the time.

But now that I feel blessed if I'm able to ride 3 days a week.....I just hammer. At first, it was based out of guilt for not riding as much. Then it turned to anger at working more than riding. And now....well....I see it as the only way I want to ride...with no numerical checks on my emotions, my legs, my lungs or my heart.....I figure if I have 2 hours, I'm gonna give it my all.

And I can find some poetic justice in the fact that for years I was driven by my heart but unaware of the checks I had placed upon myself. Now, I'm driven not by my heart, but out of a base necessity to put in the miles because I only have 2 hours to myself....so I choose now to do it without limit, check or measurement....just the wind in my helmet, the sweat stinging my eyes and the beautiful sound of quartz and feldspar grains singing beneath the constant turn of my tires.

And it's in this moment... among the brittlebrush, wet creosote smell of a late spring storm and the scurrying quail of sunset, I find my heart again....unencumbered, unshackled and open.