Friday, August 28, 2015

Quotes About Mountain Biking - Collected by Bill Strickland

Cavorting after Rockhopper South Mountain Bike Race, Big Bear Lakes, California, 1987

“As a kid I had a dream—I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe in the world. I lived for that bike. Most of the kids left their bikes in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it by my bed. Funny, although it was important to me then, I can’t remember what finally happened to it.”
-John Lennon

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street.”
-William Blake

“The spirit of mountain biking is cool. I hope racing never dominates it.”
-Susan DeMattei

“You’re moving through a wonderful natural environment and working on balance, timing, depth perception, judgment…It forms kind of a ballet.”
-Charlie Cunningham

“From the age of four, when I got my first bike, riding was the main focus for me. Almost every day I was on the thing, and I just loved riding. It becomes a part of your body, and all the movements just become one hundred percent natural. When you get to that point on a mountain bike, then you’re a good rider.”
-John Tomac

“The thing about picking a good line is that you’re already feeling great about just being on a bike, just rolling along, and then something starts to feel special, something you can’t put your fingers on, but your just realize that you’re not overbraking, not oversteering, that the tires are carving like skates, that you come out of corners with momentum, and that it almost feels like that trail is controlling the bike and you’re just along for the ride. I haven’t a clue how to achieve it, but I know that I live for that: the perfect line.”
-Steve Casimiro

“You know right away in mountain biking if you’re on or not.”
-Alison Sydor

“Riding in snow is like learning to ski. There’s a definite learning curve, and an appreciation of freaked-out recoveries that comes with time. Sooner or later, you’ll gain a whole new admiration for funky moves.’
-Tom Winter

“Snow riding is a little crazy and, thus, good for the spirit. Your tires produce a musical crunch and artistic tread patterns. Anyone who says that mountain bikes are always occupied with speed and precision doesn’t have a clue.”
-Tim Blumenthal

“Riding trails with your dog restores a bond lost in some evolutionary belch. You travel at the same speed, over the same terrain, neither of you slowing to compensate for the other. You’re equal playmates with mud in your teeth.”
-Allison Glock

“Mountain biking helps people become environmentalists. A mountain bike is a vehicle to appreciate the backcountry.”
- Ned Overend

“To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain. Sure the sport is fun with its seamless pacelines and secret singletrack, its post-ride pig-outs and soft muscles grown wonderfully hard. But at cycling’s core lies pain, hard and bitter as the pit inside a juicy peach. It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting for an Olympic gold medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you’re missing the essence of the sport.”
-Scott Martin

“We all possess a predilection for lostness, some of us more than others. But lostness, like all talents, must be nurtured, developed and practiced in order to enjoy its benefits. Many of my friends know where they have been, where they are and where they are headed. How sad.”
-Marla Streb

*Quotes provided by "The Quotable Cyclist" - Great moments of Bicycling Wisdom, Inspiration, and Humor - by Bill Strickland*

Friday, August 21, 2015

Desert Canyon - A Poem and Photograph by Patty Mooney

When I get home
and peel
my clothes off
I see how the desert loved me:
random scratches, ocatillo kisses,
yucca piercings, my skin
dotted in angry reds,
no-see-'em bites.
On my thigh
in the shape
of a mirthful sun,
a bruise
inches from the palm-fringed
canyon, where my legs part
in the searing heat.

* As published in Red Cedar Review

Friday, August 14, 2015

His Spirit of Choice - A Poem by Patty Mooney

His spirit
of choice
is gin.
at letting
no one
in, "I
given it
any thought,"
he replies
to all queries,
to his den
where no
others enter
and the television
achieves its

As published in the Acorn Review

Friday, August 7, 2015

Those Were The Days, My Friends - by Patty Mooney

As many of you may remember, mountain biking is one of my great passions. I have been riding a bicycle avidly since the age of seven, and switched to mountain biking in 1986. What I have always appreciated about it is that it takes you out into the lap and thighs of Mother Nature, which is my way of practicing spirituality. The mountain bicycle is a tool to get me into areas where I can smell the scents of lavender, sage, and even grape soda lupine (in the Spring time). I can hear the conversations of birds, the flow of water over rock, the faint buzz of bees, the moaning of frogs. I can be who I am without a second thought.

Back in the late 80's, in addition to riding 15 miles a day to work and back on a mountain bike modified for street riding, I would also participate in large group rides on Wednesday afternoons, and then all day Saturdays. I even used to race and had some good success in the downhill category. One time while downhill racing in Big Bear, California, where the terrain is comprised of volcanic dust, I was wearing contact lenses, and one of them happened to pop out. I screeched to a stop, and then, with one hand over the blurry eye, so I could see, I walked back to where I thought the lens had jumped. After a few moments, as a few other racers blared on by, I actually found it! I know, it seems unbelievable. I rinsed it with the water in my water bottle, placed it back in my eye, blinked a few times, jumped back on my bike, and ended up winning the race.

At that point in time, I could drink all the beer I wanted because I was constantly riding it off. Now, at the age of 53, I don't imbibe nearly as many carbs because I don't put in those kinds of miles anymore. Mark and I still ride on Saturdays, and I jump on a stationary bike just to stay in shape. But the good old days of riding with a large group of buddies are over. There used to be several women in the group, but they got married, had kids, grew their fingernails, and disappeared. So did several of the guys, for that matter. Many times Mark and I can't rustle up anyone else to ride with us, so we'll go alone. It's still fun, but there is a feeling that an era has passed.

I just read an article about Hulk Hogan in Rolling Stone, and it feels something like that. The time of Hulk the Greatest Wrestler in the World is over. Now what you've got is a guy by the name of Terry Bollea with blonde hair extensions and a frail back, not to mention all those razor blade scars.

Even after two Total Knee Replacements, I can still go out there and ride my mountain bike, and at least I can still be present in the land of sage, cactus and quartz. But I am so much more cautious now, far less fearless about jamming unconcernedly down technical, rocky single-track trails. It takes far longer to heal broken bones than when I was a kid, and the aches and pains stay with you longer.

But don't worry, I am not ready to hang up my bike. Not just yet. I'm going to savor mountain biking as long as I possibly can alongside Mark. Maybe it's time to find a whole new "posse" to ride with since the ones our age seem to have gone into retirement. Even if it's just the two of us, we always have a great time, and we know how to make each other laugh.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Boys of Ambergris - Poem and Photo by Patty Mooney

The boys of Ambergris Caye are so horny
their eyes follow my slow undulations
like the waves that roll over
Shark and Ray Alley.
Those boys with greedy eyes primp
their Reggae dreads in my honor. Even
with a husband on my arm they want me, they
chase me into the Blue Hole,
drench me in rum and pineapple
so I don't remember.
When the wind dies,
the mosquitoes make their purchase
on my fragrant flesh. They dive in
and masticate until I'm one big pink itch.
They don't stop even when I slap
them into blood splats
until the winds whisk them away
like a heavy sigh.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Drunk - A Poem and Photograph by Patty Mooney

No one loved sugar more
than the drunk who
each morning took his post
at John's coffee stand.
Who knows where
the drunk slept,
his full head of Einstein
hair the envy of all
the balding strangers.
Every day
John granted the drunk
a bit of mercy -
a donut or a cinnamon bun
and a cup of sweet coffee.
And the rumpled drunk
would thank John
with a sweep of his hand
and a swagger
like Richard Burton,
homage of a free man
to indentured servants en route
to their towers, clutching lattes
and forcing their eyes down.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The King and Queen of Hearts - Story and Photograph by Patty Mooney

It was not pretty to watch my sister’s marriage collapse as her husband, Clay, failed to hold on to any job for very long, racked up a few debts, promised to be a better man and never did get around to it. After five years, it took a lot of courage for Jeanne to finally confront him with the news that she no longer loved him and wanted a divorce.

He spun away like a top out of control, leaving Jeanne with debts that dated back to before they’d even met. We later learned that Clay took up living with a single mom, whom he impregnated with twins, and then left. “Love ‘em and leave ‘em pregnant” was a pattern Clay had established twice before meeting Jeanne. Although it had always been Jeanne’s biggest dream to have a child, she was happy to have evaded Clay’s “downward spiral.”

Thank goodness for Theatre Sports, a local San Diego improvisational comedy troupe, to which Jeanne belonged. Being with her friends at practice and on-stage helped to alleviate the kind of anxieties a person experiences after the demise of a marriage, even a bad one. All the world knows that laughter is indeed the best medicine!

One of her Theatre Sports buddies, Andy, had a special fondness for Jeanne, and after the appropriate “grieving period” following Jeanne’s divorce, Andy began sending her flowers and love poems. It was already apparent that they shared similar interests. After a few bona fide dates, they learned that they had many things in common, including a love for children, art, the movies, good food and fine wine…

And then one day we family members received a wedding invitation on rolled parchment to announce that Jeanne and Andy were planning a Masquerade Wedding.

Family and friends all got into the masquerade spirit, some of whom attended in elaborate costumes. Even the minister, a long-time friend of Jeanne and Andy, wore a wizard hat and robe. Of course, the bride and groom were not to be outdone by anyone in attendance, and appeared in their royal attire as King and Queen of Hearts. Jeanne had hand-sewn dozens of sparkly hearts onto her gown, and looked happier than I’d ever seen her.

They say that when one door closes, you need only to look, to find another door that will lead you on the path of your desire. In this case, Jeanne stepped out of the gloom room and into a world of laughter where she is living happily ever after with her King of Hearts and their two little princes.