Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bruce and I rounded the bases and made it back to home base safe and somewhat sound. Wow, what a trip it's been. Two months and 13 thousand miles later I sit here at the Crow's Nest typing on my ole desktop. I made it without breaking any bones or being arrested and that says a lot.The trip back home was quite an event in itself after wearing myself out day after day for two months. After taking two relaxing days hanging out in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Forest, we power drove from Cheyenne Wyoming to Nashville TN then proceeded to hook up with Ivory at the High Noon Hollow for some much needed R & R. Instead pf getting any rest we rallied one more time and partied with the M'boro crew till 4 am after getting an hour and a half of sleep the night before. We woke up, went caving then proceeded to make the drive to Pisgah for one more night of camping and a day of riding. We pulled into Pisgah at 1 am and setup camp for the last time. Woke up had a little target practice then proceeded to hit the home trails. I can't describe the feeling of having the tires back on some Pisgah Singletrack but I will say that this place is home.

Bittersweet is the best way to describe the feeling I have today. It is great to be back home with friends, my dog, a bed and other conveniences but after a good night sleep I am already missing the feeling of wondering what is around the next corner. Fortunately I live in a beautiful place with enough good people and good trails to satisfy that craving each day. The trip back was a perfect winding down type of experience with a few more wild ones thrown in for good measure and to make sure I got my fill. So it will be nice to relax and make plans for the next one. I have plenty of good ideas to keep me busy here for a little while and it's my favorite time of year to hanging in the mountains of NC. With new sponsors Pisgah Brewing Company and Ecohouse look for more quality events to be coming from ole Jut Rut and crew. The Enduro De Ocho was just the beginning to what will be some kick ass events coming out of the Asheville area and with this trip under my belt I have a few new tricks up my sleeve.
As for the journey I just had, there is no real end in sight. Life just keeps on coming for all of us and it is up to you to keep your eyes open and see it as an adventure or as a daily grind. Well, I'm not going back to the grind any time soon. I don't see enough happening to keep me very busy in the Real Estate sector so it is the perfect time to sharpen a few more skills that I have been letting slide during the past 8 years of easy money. So, it's art projects and bike event promotion while the fallout occurs from the bomb that has just gone off in the financial and real estate markets. Yes, life is good and once again the timing has come together for ole jut rut. And with a clear head and an open heart I feel like I am just getting started in a new town. The cobwebs are gone and I can't wait to see where the next few months take me. More later, I need a nap.

Keep the fire buring.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Montana, oh how I love thee…

Better have the intervention ready when I hit home boys I am about done. Since my last update or check in with the real world I have wrapped up the Seattle portion of the trip in style with Stobin showing us around town and the I-5 urban freeride park then rounding out the night in some kick ass bars and Mexican food in downtown Seattle. Great city, great host, and a righteous last night playing Skeeball and hanging with friends. I had almost become anti-city but Seattle gave me hope in many ways. I know most cities are basically screwed up but Seattle is on to something and felt as progressive as it gets when it came to many aspects I consider important, quality of life, being the main one. We said our good byes to Stobin, “bye Dad” and our Seattle HeadHeadquarters then rolled out at 5 o’clock making it to Idaho by midnight. We pulled the snooze and cruise near Corcour de’ lene and upon waking up and chating with some locals we realized we needed some heavier artillery going into bear country in Montana. We stopped into Black Sheep Sporting Goods and hooked up with one bad ass bb gun (The Rattler), 5,000 bbs, a sling shot and bear bells. We are now Black Sheep V.I.P.’s and ready for what ever kind of trouble that may come our way. After a little target practice behind the building we headed East again. We pulled into Missoula Montana around 3, stopped into Missoula Bicycle Works, chatted with Buck at the shop who gave us two juicy nuggets that would change the way the next 36 hours would transpire. He point us to Rattlesnake Wilderness for a ride and when asked where to go post ride he mentioned the Kettle House for a pint of goodness. Where it went from there words could not describe. All I can say is that I know I have a second home called Missoula and the people, trails, scene, rivers, mountains, and did I mention people are some of the best around. It would take me hours to describe the good times that occurred there over the past 72 hours but the memories will last forever and the pictures will remind me when I am old and can’t even remember my name. It was great to meet so many cool, friendly people that felt like friends I have known forever in such high concentration. And just to sweeten the pot they throw down with the best of them. In many ways it was a little utopia that fit well with the dream world I have been living in for the past two months. I know I tend to get lucky but I scored on this one big time meeting some quality folks that took us under there wing and checked out of the real world with us for a few days. As we were trying to leave we ran into Max from the ss worlds and Fred's Well who is currently riding his bike to Brokyland from Seattle, small fucking world. Good times, we rocked it at the bars, rode the trails for two days, floated the river, ate good, drank good, shot guns, drank tequila, broke hearts and had our’s broken. Yes, life was good in Missoula and to the Missoula crew, know that your are all part of the band and we send you our love. Don’t worry, we will be back.

We narrowly escaped the grip Missoula had on us and headed to Bozeman for Montana Round Two. We had instructions to hook up with another friend of a friend and supporter of the cause who was ready to get in on the action and show us some new trail and good times in another good town. We rallied once again and shut the town down after stopping by a friend’s party and woke up and rode some amazing trail today. As I sit here at 1:45 a.m. I am officially whipped after a great day of riding and stop by another kick ass brewery. More on the Bozeman experience later I am out.

UPDATE: Red Truck found, then hidden. There are some lucky dudes in B.C.

I got an email from our BC brethren and although there are no back flips of trucks for the next few weeks our boy Daren is going to make it.

"Hey Justin, David just sent me your blog. NICE!! Here some more pics I took today. I would love to see them posted on your story page. before and after. You can add in your story that I'm OK but ended up with two compressed fractures in my back. I'll be down for 5 more weeks. Thanks for everything guys. I hope you went north over the Duffy Lake road like I told you and found that open pit copper mine...pretty kewel. Thanks again, you guys Rock!!" Darin

Well there you go, you heard it from the source. Darin lives to tale the tale! Here are a few pics to let you know just how lucky these guys are.

You B.C. boys keep the torches lit I will be back and next time we will jump bicycles not trucks. So glad to hear you made it, we have more good times to come...

I say Shit, God Damn, my life rules.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Weekend Bender...

We couldn't start going east just yet... We are back at our Seattle headquarters (Stobin's house) once again. Cleaning clothes, car, and bikes getting ready for a push to Montana tomorrow. The weekend in Bend, Oregon was just what I needed post BC insanity. The BC was experience was rather destructive (Subaru serpentine belt, one therma-rest, front and rear shocks blown on the maverick, lots of brain cells, red truck, Daren's back, and the list goes on) so I was ready for some laid back soul riding. Our Northwest tour guide Stobin had the balls to go out on the road with us one more time and took us to the single speed mecca called Bend, OR. We packed up the ss bikes on Friday afternoon and hit the road making it to Bend around 1 am and kicked it off to a good start by scoring an awesome free campsite a few hundred yards from the trails. Bruce and I partied under the full moon for awhile got some cool photos, built a race track and called it a night as we knew Stobin had some major riding planned for the next two days.

Day one took us all over the trail network closest to town on sweet single track with turns that begged to be railed, technical rock outcrops every so often and a trail that offered incredible berms and about 40 jumps of various sizes but most were good tabletops 15 ft long that were more predictable and cleanable that what we were hitting in BC (check out the video and image another 20 of these over the course of a mile.

Good times indeed, a good 30-35 miles and rode for 5.5 hours and we called it a day and hit town for a soak in the Turkish Bath House (5 bucks) in Bend and two of the biggest slices of pizza on record. A trip by Deschutes Brewery for their Green River Organic Pale Ale and it was back to the campsite for a raging campfire and smore fest. Beers and other items were consumed under the full moon, which lead to more photos and a no bike light full moon midnight ride.

We called it around 2 am and woke up to more beautiful clear skies, breakfast cooked over the campfire remains and a long climb ahead of us. He headed to the skyline trail head and planned on getting in a short 3 mile warm up before embarking on a sustained 14 mile climb up to the 8,000 ft high alpine meadow called Happy Valley. The climb is not as bad as what you might be imagining a 14 mile climb would be like on a single speed due to the 7 waterfalls you pass on the way up a network of smooth rolling terrain through tall cedars forest. Log rides broke up the climb as well giving us a chance to stop and mess around during the three hour climb. Feeling back on my game and in true Double Dare training Bruce and I turned screws on each other seeing who might be in the first to crack after a good long one the day before and no sleep. I backed off halfway up and let him go so I could refuel and finished the rest of the ride pinning every decent and climb for the rest of the day. To say these trails are good for a single speed is a major understatement. They had the flow that you look for when you only have one gear and maintaining speed is crucial. On the way day down the 10 mile decent we pushed each to our limits, leg out in the turns, launching root gaps, and riding several man made obstacles. We knocked out 27 miles in about 4.5 hours after lots of photo opts and just hanging out on a beautiful day in Bend. More giant pizza slices and we were back on the road to Seattle and we made it town in time for Stobin to get a few hours of sleep.

Now we are here in Seattle about to hit the local trails today before heading West on I-90 to hit Missoula MO tomorrow and get in a few rides in a new town.
Now I know this is a bike blog but I do think about a lot of other things and this one I just have to touch on...
A few thoughts on what is happening in America today. Seeing that I haven't really spent time near a tv for a month and a half I turned it on today and thought to myself "it's about damn time..." Our capitalistic economic system is collapsing and I am laughing and having another wonderful day here on earth. Well, I don't feel too bad for a lot of those folks as they knew better than anyone that money only works as long people believe in it. Also, making money on the markets is just gambling for people that have money in the first place. Greed and a need for excess has created the pain that many are experiencing today. I feel I made my own decision to live the simple life and liquidate my possession of houses, condos, and the crap that was keeping me tied to my job. I made the decesion because I to felt the stress that comes when you have too many balls in the air and are dependant on others feeding the system to keep it all a float. But when that change is forced on you it's a hard pill to swallow. Living simple has made all the difference in my life and letting go of those things has allowed me to accomplish so much with out the weight. I know it is going to be a painfull experience for a lot of people that are watching their McMansion go back to the bank or wealth that was created by calling their stock broker disappear. However, I have news flash for them, it was never yours. And when you put that much stake on possessions to make you happy or shape your self image / self worth then you are in need of the same kind of check that our markets are feeling today. Get real, get out there, rock on....