Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Where we was" um, what?

I have never paid as much attention to language, both spoken and written as I do now. I am by no means a linguist. I often miss use and miss spell words. My point being is that no matter the mistake, I am using real words, they exist in our beautiful language. I am not making words up, nor are my sentences pragmatic. When I speak to another, they don't look at me wondering what it is I might be trying to say. Well that's not always true, unfortunately there are a lot ( yes that is two separate words) dumb people out there but our tolerance allows this so who is to blame? I have been witness as of late to a number of brutal, massacres of our language, committed by both adults and adolescents.

For example, last night we meandered our way through the isles of the local
Bulk Barn. Whilst walking, a mother called out to her son " where are you?" . The child who appeared to be about ten, responded, " I'm in the isle where was we started". What the fuck? " where we was started?" I realize our government has made substantial cut backs to education but have they done so to the point where it has become acceptable to piece sentences together at random? I wonder if our current education system coupled with our lazy society is resulting in a new breed of human. The "super dumb". It is as though we have relapsed into a prehistoric period, at a point when we just began to comprehend language for communication. If you doubt this just look at the number of people who no longer write using full words, even in e-mails where there is no limit on the number of words. All the abbreviations drive me mad, the brb, lol, 8's, cu's. In only a few short years I presume we will be right back to grunting and pointing. I continue to lose faith in our educators, specifically those who teach elementary and high school. I recall the teachers who were entering the profession as I was leaving high school, they seemed more interested in being the "cool" teacher as portrayed on FOX after school specials then actual educators. That was over ten years ago, what are they like now? I am not putting the entire blame on our educators, parents it's time you get your shit together. Apparently it isn't alarming enough that the current generation has a shorter life expectancy then their parents. This is a first in history by the way. Child obesity is through the roof. But hey who gives a fuck right. If their going to be fat and live short lives who cares if they can read, write or communicate? In any case the end of the world is approaching, Mayan calender ending in 2012. For a moment however let's consider if it doesn't. The world continues, do we want it to be led by these poorly educated, video game addicted, live at home until your 35 or your parents die types? Why don't I have kids, for the above reasons, the world is a scary dumb place. Heather and I would have glorious, magnificent kids but I fear stupidity is contagious so our best attempts at raising brilliant beings would be a lost cause. But hey, these are just ramblings, induced by wine, in the end what do I really know.

Everything, is the answer. If you don't believe me just try to spell check lol.

Peace and love and please get your children to read books, real, tangible books, filled with words.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Satan's Village

Peering out the window I am forced to take note of all the snow. It covers everything. To prevent myself from slipping into a self induced hibernation I will share with you one of the last rides I had this season. Appropriately on a trail system known as "Santa's Village."

The name results because these trails are adjacent to Santa's Village in Brace Bridge. More often then not, they are referred to as Satan's Village do to the carnage of bodies and bikes which often result from riding these North Shore inspired trails.

As I am a fan both of riding and of Satan, who often gets a bad rap, I was all aboard when the opportunity arose to ride these famed trails. We met in the parking lot and readied ourselves. A variety of bikes formed our Calvary, everything from burly DH rigs to long travel trail bikes. I of course was riding SS. There was of course some skepticism as to whether or not a single speed would hold it's own on these trails. Needless to say, all doubt was quickly removed and my claim that " I have yet to find a place I can't ride single speed" remains true.

I can best describe these trails as O natural. Rocky, rootie with a sprinkling of North Shore style ladder bridges and skinnies scattered throughout. Mixed in are some white knuckle descents and some lung buster, make you want to vomit climbs. Add in the fallen leaves and some wet roots and you have your self something epic and fun. The trails feature more then a few of Mother natures own wonders, including several steep, get your ass back, way back, descents on open rock faces and a wicked three step drop.

When it comes to Satan's village, believe the hype. This place lives up to it's reputation. If you manage to finish the ride, and by finish I mean with an in tact bike and body then you more then certainly earned yourself a beer or two.

Happy trails, cold beer and sweet sweet single track.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Entry 2, The Forgotten Ones

Regardless of spiritual beliefs or hang ups relating to inanimate objects possessing souls, I feel that we can all agree that there is something indescribably spiritual about being outside, the ground beneath us and the canopy of leaves above. If we can agree on this point then we can agree when I say trails abandoned, left to overgrow and slowly erased from existence is a tragedy which should be mourned.

This past season we loaded the bikes and the dogs into the car and headed to Calabogie. For those of you who are scratching your heads as to the geographical location of this strangely named local, it is roughly an hour outside of Ottawa, which for the the youth of today is the capital of Canada. We did so based under false pretense. Word was that Calabogie was home to some amazingly technical trails and some equally technical down hill. Calabogie Peaks, the ski hill which was home to these foretold gems, website boasted of such things. In the past Calabogie has hosted both O-Cup XC and DH events as well as one of the few, if not only, X-Terra races in Ontario. Expectations were high and the itch to let it all hang out needed to be scratched.

We arrived late on Friday night, beers consumed and talk of what adventures would be had. The following morning we arrived at the base of the hill. Strangely there were no other bikes, anywhere. No trail signs, maps or for that matter any sign of trail. We sought the expertise of an employee. The words they uttered were a shot at the very soul of cycling. " The trails are closed, the down hill was shut down last year and you can't ride on the hill." Imagine if you will the heart break, the disappoint and more so the audacity to tell me I can't ride on the hill. I immediately disobeyed this mandate. Soul Mate having competed in both the 0-Cup and the X-Terra became the guide in our search for the forbidden trails, which turned out to be the forgotten trails.

In five hours of riding we uncovered only a small portion of what was a trail system. This portion was a testimate to the lore. It was technical, steep and required more then just the ability to pedal. This brief glimpse into the past revealed that this trail system was incredible and a loss for all those, including myself, who missed riding it during it's hay day. A few artifacts were happened upon. Two signs, both black diamond foretelling of what use to be. These signs left to be consumed by the forest, which had already reclaimed the majority of the trail system could not be left. I took these signs, stealing a piece of the past.

Searching revealed that these trails closed some time in 2009 if not in late 2008, a combination of Insurance issues and land owners. The closure of these trails put an end to mountain biking in the area, unless of course you enjoy riding ATV trails of which there is no shortage.

Exploring what once was, I left Calabogie feeling as though I had missed out on something special. How can we, as riders, just let a trail system parish? I reached this conclusion. We often take for granted our local trails, expecting that they will always be. Never wondering how they came into existence or picking up a shovel or a rake to help maintain them. We ride, blissfully unaware that like all living things they too may one day leave us. Having had this experience I now more then ever appreciate the struggles that IMBA faces in keeping trails open and turning illegal trails into legal ones.

This is a mournful report. Calabogie's trails are CLOSED. Let this be a lesson to not take our local trails, any trails for granted. I have spent many hours this season, after this experience, maintaining and building new trail. In doing so my riding is enriched knowing that as long as I pitch in these trails will not see their death. I encourage every single rider to get out there and help keep our trails alive, because where else are you going to ride?

Peace and love and happy trails.