Wednesday, May 4, 2016

This and That

I am usually pretty good about keeping this blog up to date. But I have been pretty bad lately about posting. So today's post is going to be a "throw it at the wall and see if it sticks approach" Last time I posted was around Good Friday. Did Jesus punish me for my sacrilege? Probably. The whole Jesus just loves us and is the Happy Jesus is probably inaccurate I mean just look at the world right? Shit Joan of Arc heard God's call and saved France. How did that work out for her? This totally random analogy will make sense later. I promise. So let's get this party started. I am damn lucky. I have said that on many an occasion. I have some of the best friends a person could have. The Zank crew are special. Never really had a crew like this before. Which is saying something considering all the cool friends I have had in my rich life. We don't get to see each other enough. #dadlife, work, etc gets in the way. But Zank had a get out of jail free card and we weren't going to waste it!

We assembled the Justice League and headed to Sutton. The trails out there are some of my favorites. Technical but with a great flow to it. Makes you a better rider. Michele (adopted Zank team rider for the day), Utah, MRR (celebrity guest), Rosey, Myette and Zank met up at a secret Zank location and headed into the woods. Sadly Suzie could not join us. Its not easy being a trail dog. Sometimes you end up on the IR. The assembled Zank mtn bikes would have made a damn fine handbuilt show I will say that. Two SS, one 27.5 and one 29er.

Myette led the way and set a sick route. It was probably the hardest 15 mile ride of my life. But so perfect. Afterwards we sat down and ate pancakes. Exchanged hugs and said our goodbyes. Friends like this are what make life amazing. I honestly don't know any other "hobby" that brings people together like this. We are damn lucky to live the biker life.

On to our next hashtag.  #dadcation was just a concept at first. Myette asked me if I wanted to take a road trip on the kids school vacation. Like all things #CBL I was all "hell yeah" But like most things in the #CBL unless fire alarms are going off or kids are puking it is sometimes hard to pin me down to commit to something. We exchanged a bunch of emails and texts. DC. Portland, ME. All kinds of ideas. After about the 10th email Myette took the bull by the horns and found a sick Air BNB in Quebec. When he sent me the link I was like no way is this place for real. I have seen a lot of Chevy Chase movies. I have seen both European Vacation and EuroTrip. I did not want to end up in the Vandersexxx Erotic Club with the wrong safe word.

But reading the AIR BNB page it looked legit. Yes, alarm bells were going off in my head but how bad could it be. The beauty of a #dadcation is you have two dads. Shit goes bad dads can figure it out. Oh, what is a #dadcation? It is possible a few of my readers are unfamiliar with this term. Its when two dads ( I guess there could be more than two) take their kids on vacation without the wives. This is probably terrifying to most dads. Dads nowadays are way more involved with the kids and day to day kid care. A generation ago kids would die, go missing, dads would be arrested or all of the above if two dads attempted to take their kids on vacation without the wives. How would the kids eat? Who would clean? How would I get "me time?"

All these options were still on the table of course. But I have known Myette for a long time. His kids are awesome. My two kids have spent a fair amount of time with them. But they haven't spent 4 days in another country together. Or 14 hours in a van together. I honestly wasn't worried. Which probably is just my nature. We packed the #manvan up to the gils and headed to Quebec. Have I mentioned I have never been to Canada? Luckily Myette and Zoe both speak good French. I was an exchange student in Paris when I was 16 so I was pretty confident I could dust off the old Francais and be able to communicate.

The first thing I asked Myette as we left. Ok second. First was do you (and I) have the passports. Second was do we need notes from our wives to take our kids out of the country? I was actually not kidding. I think he thought I was joking. We basically stopped at every Dunkins on the drive through NH. I think the kids were worried about withdrawal. We stopped in Newport, VT for our last breathe of American air before leaping into the Abyss. Could two dads handle 4 kids in another country for 4 days without losing the kids? The checkpoint was super easy. The second I hit the boarder I started channeling Super Endurance Guy. Super. Became get the idea. Having never been in Canada and being an ugly American I assumed that once we popped into Canada it would just be an extension of VT. Mountains, green etc. No. Not all all you ugly american pig dog. Imagine the Badlands. Or Watsonville, CA. Throw in Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome. It was hilarious. The first truck stop we stopped at was bizarre. It looked like a 7-11 was taken over by some type of Texas Chainsaw Massacre family. Full on taxidermy everywhere. Wolf pelts. Bears. The kids went crazy. And bought so many Kinder Surprise eggs I was sure they would be puking within 5 miles from the station.

What is a Kinder Surprise egg? You can't handle Kinder Surprise eggs! Ok imagine a cadbury creme egg without the creme. In the hollow creme area is a plastic container that houses a toy. Yes, I get it. Oh my god the children. They will all swallow the toy and DIE!!! No one. And I mean no one could swallow this yellow toy holder. America is stupid. We deserve Kinder Surprise eggs. Actually never mind. In light of the current political climate it is a good thing Kinder Surprise eggs aren't in American cause so many kids would die.

But I digress. Quebec was incredible. My new favorite city in the world. I want to move there and open a Cat Cafe. The beer is amazing. The history and euro flavor are incredible. It is WALKABLE! We parked the car for four days and never used it. We walked 10-14 miles a day. Ok the first climb up the murder stairs almost killed Syd. Pretty ironic considering she is the "athlete" in the family. The kids loved it. Such good food. They got to shoot guns. Ok AirSoft guns but guns. It was probably the most surreal moment of the trip. Four kids ages 15, 14 and two 11 year olds who have never touched a gun in their life. The each get a gun. Air propelled plastic bb but legit replicas. None of them need any instruction. Safeties off, full auto shooters stance. Pop, pop, pop. America is safe from the Zombie Apocalypse my friends. Thank you first person shooter games.

Ok on to the next topic. #RailTrail or save the trails or what have you. Trails, woods, Rail Trails are all dear to my grinchy heart. I haven't been on an actual road ride in about 4 years. Other than the annual VT trip with Pam to the Equinox in which we ride road bikes I always take the CX bike and do park to park rides. I am lucky in that there are so many good parks, woods and paths near my house. I can do a 40 mile loop on a CX bike that is about 80% trail. Needham just began a rail trail project that will open things up even more for me. A small section is done and it is fantastic. Cuts out two busy roads for me. Since it has been finished there are so many people on it. Not swarms but way more people are on bikes and in the woods than before. The concept was to take the trail from Newton Lower Falls to Medfield. It would be incredible. Dover is sandwiched in between Needham and Midfield and have always been against this idea. But I started seeing Rail Trail signs pop all over Dover. And at first the signs were only Vote Yes! I was blown away. 

I paid close attention to it. The Vote No signs started popping up. But were definitely in the minority. On May 2 the town voted and it passed! So psyched. Dover deserves a high five! Please, please thank the Town of Dover and its residents for approving this. Be nice. Be good ambassadors. This is one step in what will be a really great thing for the area. It will get so many people out on bikes and outside. 

 On the topic of trails. Cutler as you know is being impacted by a major highway project. Basically the highway is being widened and a highway exchange is being added to Kendrick Street in Needham. I am all for progress. And it helps Needham to have corporations moving to town. But It has worried me. It makes me nervous as far as how cyclists egress and ingress to Needham and Dover on the road will be impacted and it makes me nervous how the trails will be impacted. Some of the trails have already been graded over. It is a bummer. But there are some really great people working to ensure Cutler is preserved and improved. I spoke with the Chairman of the Needham Town Council last week. He had some really great news and is pro-Cutler. It was so great to hear his thoughts and bounce ideas off of him. In the coming months and year we will be working with DCR, Needham, NEMBA and local people and organizations to make Cutler even better than before.

We took a quick recon ride last Saturday and talked about ways we could improve it and make it better. If you have any ideas or want to help please reach out.

Singlespeed-a-Palooza is coming fast. Fairly frightened. I am in about the worst shape of my life right now. Bizarre winter and bronchitis have just set me back. I am just accepting it and trying to ride and at least be healthy and fresh for it. The Zank is back in SS stealth mode. My first ride on it after about a year on a SS Mtb was with Thom P. It was hilarious. Much hijinx. It is a blast. But DAMN ITS HARD! SSCX is one thing. But a Mtb? On technical east coast trails? Holy shit I forgot how hard it is. Sooooo much torque! Second ride was with Utah who was on his new 27.5+ bike packing rig. We were a motley crew I will say that. I could tell he wished he was on his Zank....Ok we are pretty much caught up. A ton cooking. I will try and be better about posting. Keep the plastic side up and the rubber side down til next time...

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