Sunday, December 28, 2008

Klick Jr.

Rode what I call the Klick Jr. yesterday (Jones Valley up to the lake /trail to the boat launch parking lot and back to J.V.) with my brother. Just a nice little hour of spinnin'and a grinnin'. I put on my big old 2.1 vertical blackwall knobbies and it feels like a pair of sturdy hiking boots compared to the old thread bare 1.75 folding tires that were on .

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Walk in the park!

Well, I went out to Turtle Bay for some re-con with Noel for next weekend's CX. He promises to to give us all a break from the punishing run-up sections that he seems to love to throw at us. Here is a photo of the proposed start/finish area, Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In the town where I was born...


I am haunted by the memory of my grandfather Charles (my mom's dad) playing a banjo and singing a song called "The Laughing Cowboy!" The shear volume of the man and his banjo was frightening enough, but as the song reached it's chorus (wherein he launched into maniacal, rhythmic, howling laughter) the thing turned terrifying! Especially the night he sang it and from out of his honking yapper leapt his dentures, which landed at my four year old feet! I distinctly remember thinking, OH my God, my grandfather is going to die! Well, thankfully he didn't and in-fact, he stayed around long enough to colour my life with his talents well into my young adult life. He bestowed a love of string instruments upon me in the form of a 12 string guitar when I was twelve years old. He taught me how to tune a piano when I was fourteen. He made many tape recordings of music and playing lessons for me until I moved to Redding to go to Shasta College.
When he died my mom and dad brought a very unique little instrument home from his collection called a Tipple. I took it to a local music shop for new strings and a tune-up. There I learned about this strange little 10 stringed instrument.The fingering was just like a ukulele but instead of 4 strings it had a double, triple, triple, double layout. It was manufactured by the Martin instrument company around 1950. Before I took it home from the shop the owner of the business picked it up and and gave it a little test run. It had the voice of an angel, something like an old mechanical music box when he played it softly but it rang like a bell when he strummed it hard. I took it home and played the strings off it, never tiring of the beautiful tone of it.
It was around this time that my love of bicycles began. I bought a white Schwinn 10 speed from a guy for $15. It needed some work so I took it to a bike shop where for a whopping 35 dollars, I got a rear wheel, 2 new tires and tubes, a new chain and cables. I felt like the king of the world on my $50 machine! One day I decided to ride it from my place in Central Valley up to the dam via the scenic route. I remember thinking that my ride to the top of that mighty mountain pass had to be on par with any of the mountain stages of the great European bike races. When my conquest was completed and I was rolling back home, I felt triumphant. I decided to stop in at a little tavern called the Oar House for a quick cold one. As I sat there at the bar, I told the bartender of my outlandish, "marathon ride." He then told the small crowd of people who were gathered there of my exploits and they started buying me rounds. Two hours later, it was getting drunk out... I mean dark out! I decided that it was time to ride home and get cleaned up and then return to the tavern in my car to continue the party with my new found friends. As I was walking out the door someone yelled out that they were having a jam session tonight so if I played an instrument, to bring it!
An hour later I returned with my grandfather's Tipple. A couple of guys were already pickin' and a-grinin' with guitars and then a guy with a mandolin joined in. I was sitting at the bar pounding beers, trying to get up the courage to join in. I got up and took the Tipple out to the parking lot where I quietly tuned it to the other instruments, then I walked in with it, playing a melodic harmony line to the one they were playing. I proceeded to blow their minds with the beautiful angel voice tone. When we stopped playing , the mandolin player said, Son, I don't know what you've got there, but it is completely out toning my $1500 Aria mandolin! I told him it was a tipple and he said, A What?! I said it was a Martin T-15 tipple! he just shook his head and said, Martin... I should have known! We played and drank and laughed until the wee hours.
We all went our separate ways that night. I returned the following Saturday night only to find the place locked up and dark.The owner had passed away that week and for 6 months after that the tavern remained closed. By the time it reopened, I had moved to Redding. Shortly after that a motorcycle group of the outlaw variety made The Oar House, their new home. Pickin' and a-grinnin' wasn't their music of choice! So I never went back. In the meanwhile the gal I was living with in Redding was in a blue grass band. I used to delight her band members with the tipple and my perfect-pitch, human-tuning-fork talents. Unfortunately, my love for (and wild reactions to) beer, wine and other things made my candidacy as a public musician highly risky! So I just sat and jumped and hopped around at their gigs occasionally being asked to leave. I would simply stagger on down to the liquor store, get a little half-pint of something and a six-pack of beer, then walk home and have a jam session of my own!
Through the years the little tipple showed up at numerous backyard bonfire parties and get-togethers. It never ceased to blow the minds of the people who heard it. I really didn't take very good care of it and it is semi-miraculous that no one ever smashed it over my head or underfoot during some of my late night shenanigans! One morning I woke up and discovered that it was missing. I tried desperately to retrace my steps from the night before. Finally I found it in some tall grass in the back yard of a friend who told me in no uncertain terms that I was a Madman and should seek professional help. But I was on a mission to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of human existence and to be a sort of latter day, Zen lunatic. Fueled by numerous substances and a high eclectic library, I was out of reality, living in a separate dimension with an effect filter placed over the lens of my camera. It was around this time in my life that numerous unexplained events occurred, especially the regular disappearence of my car keys when I needed them most.
Unfortunately, many of those associated with me during that time of my life are all either dead, institutionalized or have moved away and changed their identities making verification of specific events and occurrences difficult if not impossible. But, Lest matters of import are brushed aside like so many crumbs from a midnight pantry raid and swept away into the waste basket of time, I will, to the best of my ability attempt to explain things. Also regrettably, is the fact that while discussing this time of my life, particularly an event I like to call, "The Event", I notice that it often results in eye rolling, clearing of throats and a tendency for those with whom I speak to of it, to begin looking at their watches and jingling keys in their pockets. My story entitled, The Continental Divide, is a work in progress about an event that took place on (of all places!) Mt. Shasta during a climb to it's summit in 1983. The jury is still out as to exactly what happened on that day but I feel certain that I either suffered a cerebral vascular accident, I was engulfed by a very rare natural phenomenon called Ball Lightening, or as I steadfastly maintain, I encountered a Lemurian at the base of the red banks, was taken inside the mountain and in a matter of speaking, was given the "Keys" to the castle. My mission statement here is problematic and manifold. Absolutes, short of certain mathematical equations, are generally so relative that "for instances" are usually, at best, controversial. Suffice it to say that upon publication of my manuscript (sometime next year?) I hope to at least present the story in it's entirety so that the reader may decide whatever in the world happened up there.
Even today I frequently cannot find my own rear end, even with both hands placed firmly upon it. I would like to start with (some kind of) a foundation upon which to launch the next chapter of my story but any building from this point will require an environmental impact study to determine how it may effect the psychological well-being of one J. Fox Seely. A fun little guy, born to a fun loving set of parents, during a great time to be alive in the U.S.A. Again, I run a risk of perhaps alienating or infuriating my audience with this seemingly endless qualification, punch-list disclaimer-fest, but I digress. When I was a young man I delved deep into murky waters, the subconscious realm of existence. A conflict of interest occurred one day, when back on the surface, a biologist (associated with the impact study) discovered abnormally high concentrations of certain psychotropic chemicals in the water table. He also determined that due to the unstable nature of soil samples from the primary (proposed) building site, that we would not be able to build here.
Thus we behold an eternal Nomad. Wandering aimlessly through gargantuan landscapes, here a tumbleweed bounces by, there a yawning chasm opens. After a period of time that seemed to span decades, the weary traveler fell to the ground. Sobbing, he clutched the burning sands in his hands then watched them run out like those from an hourglass. He begins to think about running off the edge of the abyss, letting gravity sort things out for him. But the next day finds him tilling the earth with his sword and then he sows seeds for a barley crop. He teaches himself to malt the precious grains, then he learns to brew beer. One day our man finds a nest of eggs and he sees that they are hatching. The only thing that he is able to determine for sure is that the tiny animals being brought forth before his very eyes are birds. He decides to retreat and then wait and watch from a safe distance to see who the parents are. But as he backs away he steps off the edge of a 300 foot cliff and falls to his death.
All the while there were enormous clock works running through centuries of time, the gears of which were cast from solid iron. Some of the clock's mechanisms were chain driven. Through time, the teeth of the gears had worn down and the links of the chains had stretched. One day the chains jumped a tooth on the primary sprocket and the timing of all the functions of the clock went askew. The people of the village never noticed that the clock was shortening the length of a day by one minute. Soon mealtimes seemed to arrive even before the tooth sucking of the previous meal was complete. But like obedient pigeons in an aviary, the seed corn was dutifully pecked clean. One fine spring day a young man with golden hair and a certain little twinkle in his eye happened into the village. He stopped at the well and dropped his canteen down into it for a drink. He could hear the sound of a frog croaking far below in the depths of the aquifer's dark belly. Suddenly the sound of flies filled the air and with a rush of wind my brother appeared out of nowhere. He slapped the boy sharply to the back of the head with a resounding clap and screamed out, "sic semper tyrannis!" Death to tyrants!
With a start I awake, only to realize that the sound of that head slap was in fact just my own gaping yapper snapping shut like a turtle's beak on a minnow. Yes my friends the laughing cowboy is still alive and well, living in the shallow layers of the mind of a boy they called Foxy in a land of separate reality. I can answer a good phone and I am never late. My demeanor is candid, my machines are all well oiled. The bottom line is this. You buy the ticket, You take the ride. One need not go to Disneyland to kick it with Walt!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't blame these guys!

I had a miserable return to cyclocross this weekend but it's not because I'm smoking these little beauties. My quads locked up like a flippin' folding saw and left me to spectate as the tiniest little girls finally went by. When I finally walked the cramping out, I realized that my front tire was flat. I finished in last Place!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

That cool, refreshing taste.

Had another lovely ride at Turtle Bay last night. We ran into this little gal who says she is looking forward to the race at Anderson---and her next cigarette.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bad Mutha...shut yo mouth!

There are rumors of a secret weapon I have in store for the upcoming cyclocross race at Anderson this coming weekend. Well friends, the secret is out. Behold and be afraid little ones! Be very afraid!

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Day for Road Bikes!

Okay! So I started out on a cold road bike ride on Sunday, made it two blocks, turned around, went back and grabbed my MTB. Up to Turtle Bay East and within 10 minutes was peelin' layers! I found a whole world of possibility out there for CX and really hope we can have a race there this season. It was BEAUTIFUL and FUN!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Only the Beginning!

Did anyone who attended last weekend's cyclocross races happen to see this chap lurking around in the the bushes? This may be the beginning of what the promoters were referring to as, "We'll throw in a barrier or some kind of obstacle!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something's just not Kosher.

The Pork industry is really ramping up for the holiday season! As an old friend of mine used to say, Pepperoni never had a face!

Monday, December 8, 2008

FASHION, turn to the left!

I am always amazed by the chance encounters I have at our local cyclocross races. Here are just a few of the people out at Boom Town yesterday. No wonder these darned races are getting so big! I'm thinking I might need to start dressing a little nicer at these events and maybe spruce up my cycling kit a bit too. Hmmm, maybe some tweed would look nice!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Many Questions.

I received several calls yesterday with regards to the preceding story, particularly from some of my Catholic brothers. They were wondering if I may have strayed away and ended up in some kind of Pagan cult. Well, I want to put their hearts at ease and explain some things. I am telling stories I learned from a 92 year old woman who I knew when I was 10 years old. That was in 1966. She was an Inuit Eskimo who married a British navel officer when she was 16 years old. He brought her to San Fransisco where she lived out the rest of her life. She died in 1972 at the age of 98. She was my Great-Grandmother.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday Theology

Gluskab and Malsumis
Tabaldak, the creator god, made humans and then Gluskab (several variants of whom were associated with different branches of the Abenaki, including Glooscap, Glooskap, Gluskabe Klooskomba) and Malsumis sprang from the dust on his hand. Gluskab and Malsumis both had the power to create a good world, but only Gluskab did so. Malsumis still seeks evil to this day.

Gluskab founded the Golden Age of the Earth by rendering the evil spirits of the Ancient Age smaller and safer, as well as teaching humanity how to hunt and fish, build shelter and all of the Abenaki's knowledge of art, invention and science. Gluskab's departure ended the Golden Age, though he is prophesied to return and renew it again.

Me-koom-wee-soo was Gluskab's assistant and wields an ivory bow. He has a fierce temper and gains weight as he gets more angry; eventually, it is said, he sinks into stone. Gluskab and Me-koom-wee-soo had an archery contest once; Me-koom-wee-soo fired an arrow into the top of Mt. Washington, creating a pond, while Gluskab's arrow created a hole in the sky that was then called msatawa (the Evening Star).

Gluskab realized the strain hunters can cause on an ecosystem. He asked a woodchuck spirit for help, and she gave him all the hairs off her belly, woven into a magical sac. This is why woodchucks have bald bellies. Gluskab then went to a mountain, where Tabaldak had placed a huge eagle (P-mol-a) that made bad weather by flapping its wings. After binding it, Gluskab realized some wind was necessary and loosened them slightly. Gluskab saved the world from a frog monster that swallowed all the planet's water. When Gluskab cut open the monster's belly, some animals jumped into the water and became fish. Some modern Wabanaki believe that Gluskab is angry at white people for not obeying his rules.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Riders Ready!

Here is a picture of "Them" getting ready for the up- coming Boomtown cyclocross. Hurts my hamstring just looking at it!