A Note from Fatty: The Lance Armstrong Foundation is following up on the video I talked about yesterday by asking everyone to tell their “What would YOU say to cancer?” stories on video. Take a short 15-30 second video, upload to YouTube and tag it “LIVESTRONG + Cancer + Sucks.” They will mark their favorites and post them in the LiveStrong blog in the “Supporter Videos” section.
It feels like Spring is here, and just a little (very little, if you look at the date) early. Shorts and short sleeve weather is so wonderful after a long weather of riding on the rollers. It’s warm enough, in fact, that yesterday afternoon after work I headed over to Corner Canyon to get on the dirt and see how much of the trail is open.
Judging by the number of people on the trail, I was not the only one glad to get outside and on the dirt. And a lot of the folks were there for their first time — or at least the first time in a long time.
Luckily for them, I was out there, ready to lend my expert assistance to anyone who needed to know anything at all about the trail system.
Why? Because I love stopping and talking with cyclists and talking about the trail. For I am . . . Mister Helpful Directions Person!
The Unfortunate Anti-Superpower of Mister Helpful Directions Person
As an eager and friendly superhero, I — Mister Helpful Directions Person — actively seek out cyclists (and hikers, and even people who hail from Equestria) who are stopped on the trail, looking this way and that. “Aha!” I think to myself. “A cyclist (or hiker, or Citizen of Equestria) in probable need of information! I shall stop and see if I can lend assistance!”
As a careful and friendly superhero, however, I do not want to offend, nor to give out unwanted, unnecessary advice. So first, I stop and chat.
“Isn’t it great to get outside and ride after a long winter?” I ask. I am not surprised, of course, to find that most everyone agrees that it is in fact good to get out on one’s bike. Very few — okay, nobody — have replied with a rude comment like, “Actually I hate riding and am out here only because I have done evil and must be punished.”
“Isn’t this trail network incredible?” is my follow-up question. This, you see, is my clever way of letting the other person that I do, in fact, know this trail system like the back of my hand. How else would I be able to assess its incredibleness?
Some simply agree that it is, in fact, remarkable to have miles and miles of excellent singletrack tucked right into what is otherwise a residential area.
Others, to my delight, pick up on my subtle hint and ask, “So where does this trail lead to?”
And that is all the permission I need to explain:
“Well, follow this trail for…I don’t know, between half a mile and two miles. Then there will be a really hard climb, or at least it’s really hard if you’re on a singlespeed and out of shape. Umm, there’s a couple of stream crossings you should be aware of before you get to the next intersection, which you will go right through.
“Wait, hold on. I was thinking of a different trail there for a minute. There aren’t actually any stream crossings you have to worry about, and you do have to turn at that intersection, except there are a couple forks in the trail before that intersection where I think you follow the main trail.”
And that intersection’s actually a fork. I think there’s a fiberglass trail marker there, or at least there was two years ago. I think someone stole it last year. It doesn’t matter though, because you’re just going through that intersection. I mean you’re turning left.”
Even as I talk, I realize: I am giving terrible directions. The look on my hapless direction recipient’s face confirms this, big time. His eyes glass over. He nods, but it’s clear he’s stopped listening and is now just waiting for me to stop talking so he can go figure out the trail for himself.
The Real Mister Helpful Directions Person
I give terrible directions because when I’m riding — or doing anything else for that matter — I don’t think about stuff in such a way that lends itself to good directions. My thought process runs more along the lines of, “Hey, a stream! Look, there’s an interesting bug. I wonder what it’s called? This trail is fun. My legs hurt. I’m not doing a very good job of turning even circles. There’s an intersection, I wonder what would happen if I turned left instead of going right? Hey, a stream!”
You see my problem?
Dug, on the other hand, has an actual genuine superpower: His head has a GPS and a to-scale topographical map of the Intermountain West inside his head.
I believe this was caused by a freak accident involving Dug, a tourniquet, a broom closet, an electrical storm, a nearly-empty bottle of hand lotion, and a personal computer. There was also a cheese grater nearby, but I remain unconvinced of its relevance.
The fact remains: once Dug has been on a trail, he can give precise and perfect directions. Furthermore, he somehow knows how trails connect together, what the exact distances are from one point to the next, and recalls landmarks exactly.
You should hear him give directions to strangers encountered on the trail. “Go two hundred forty yards, during which time you will pass eighteen coniferous trees on the right side, not including saplings. Once you pass a boulder — it looks like a giant potato, has moss growing on the south side, and has a radius of fifty-four inches at its widest point, you can’t miss it — an intersection gives you the options of going to either of the following: Persimmon’s Doom on the left, Shimmy-Jimmy Doo-Whop on the right, or continue straight to intersect with Cashmere Nightmare in one-point-three miles.
Yes, we have oddly-named trails around here. But that’s not my point. My point is that when people get directions from Dug, they often abandon their previous route, asking if Dug will be their leader from that point forward.
Unfortunately, Dug is mean-spirited and spiteful, and hence as likely to answer with a chop to the solar plexus and spin-kick to the nose as a “sure, come ride with us.”
Which, of course, is why I always carry an extensive first-aid kit, which I waste no time in using.
Unfortunately, I am almost exactly as good at administering first aid as I am at giving directions.
PS: UPS has some really good news for me today: my Superfly Singlespeed — which I have been nonstop obsessing over since last August — has arrived at SLC Bicycle Co. LiveBlog of the unboxing and build begins tomorrow (Friday) at 10:30am MDT.
I’m so excited.