Mar 2, 2009

Attacked by Animals: Returned to Earth

I like to travel. Usually its a chance to step outside myself, be a fly and watch the world do it's own buzzing. Now that I've given myself sufficient distance from the month of February I think history is ready to reveal the success that the month was for me. Like the former president I like to think that time will be the true judge of a life traveled in haste.
Being that it was bitterly cold in the northeast with sub double digits temperatures and I had a growing intolerance for my beard, layers and frozen dish sponges, it was time to go south. I decided to make the trip serve multiple duties. One: do the second Snake Creek Gap race on Feb 7th. Two: Have a mini training camp in Asheville with IFers. Three: Visit all the family members that I have been pissing off by not stopping by and saying hi during hurried trips through their areas. Four: Race the 12 hours of Santos in Florida. Five: Get some tan lines that you could use as a straight edge. Six: Gather up my Lady friend and have a romantic drive up the East coast back to the big chill.

It's a BUI warning sign in NC.

Asheville NC was my first stop on Friday night to meet up with Sam Koerber to join forces in driving to the Snake creek gap race. After much committing and recommitting to going tonight, then in the morning, then no tonight, actually in the morning. We slept for a good 4 or five hours before waking up in time to make the drive and catch a shuttle to the race start. It was still cold but I went with shorts and short sleeves to psyche out all the comp. I had high hopes for a sub 2:50 time, since master trash talker, Bruce Dickman, had challenge me with a stay at the Mulberry Gap lodge as incentive.
Well Sam and Thomas decided to leave me to my musings in the first 30 min and I found myself wishing I was skipping stones on cripple creek. With three people in front of me I was thinking I was the biggest turd for thinking I could break 2:50, much less get top three. Then I was tweeking the bean thinking about the fact that it's only Feb. "Why am I going this hard?!!"

I barely caught Tim Carson before the final 6 miles and was a little happy to at least be sitting in 3rd place, but that guy is persistant like a street lamp shining at your eyeballs through the window while couch surfing at someones house.

Well with that race out of the way and me 2 min shy of my one goal in life, I decided to head back to Asheville with Sam and start getting to know some of the new IF team members. I went directly to Kylie Krauss's house and rendezvoused with Kylie and Kyle and got ready to come eyeball to eyeball with my first one-eyed cat.

He's not really a pegleg.
Chedder's care taker, Kylie

Asheville was a visit, where I finally got a chance to feel like the traveling fly I want to be.
Staying on Kylie's couch with Kyle, we got to be in attendence of a deep frying marathon birthday party, a couple steller mountain rides, some dumpster diving, scotch drinking,
race strategerizing and my newest favorite hobby; cast iron cooking.

Kylie's house mates had the cast iron cooking down to a "T" (as in the golden love that is southern sweet tea.) I knew my cosmic energies were lining up when, a few days later, my visit to one particularly neglected Aunt resulted in a found dutch oven on her property as we were doing a walk around. She lovingly took it back inside, scrubbed out the rust and reseasoned it for me. A symbol of our familial tie reseasoning.
I got ahead of myself here. Directly after Asheville I drove to my Granmothers outside of Fort Walton Beach Florida. After a long drive, my Gandmother was still up with a glass of Scotch in one hand and food wating for me in the kitchen.

A full nights sleep and a full gut, fueled me up for my ride to an Aunts house in Alabama about 90 miles away. A headwind of about 10mph fought me on the ride there, as well as the horror that riding highway 98 for 40 miles through Pensacola can be. Heavy traffic, navy fighter planes screaming by over head and the accelerated heartbeat thump of low flying military helicopters, make for a sensory overload. Strange that my city life hasn't desensitized me to these external anxiety machines. Fortunately the last 40ish miles were in Alabama.
I never thought I'd think to myself "thank god I'm in Alabama". The roads there were clear, calm, rolling and bereft of white noise. Each car that came by actually possessed a moment in time, standing out as a significant event.

It's travels and such.