Old Bone Machine

Life Cycle

Glasshouse

To be unbridled and to have the will to follow a path. To realise a shared vision. To make a beautiful and simple thing. A place to watch the changing light and landscape. A box camera.

Nick Olsen & Lilah Horwitz

Watch Nick Olsen and Lilah Horwitz build their Glasshouse in West Virginia.

The video was discovered at the superlative site half cut Tea. It was made with some care by Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long.

Yurt

Yep, Mike Foote is Missoula’s self-proclaimed, fastest, yurt-dwelling ultra-runner.

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What’s the best part of the yurt lifestyle? The quiet at night. The warmth of the wood fire stove on a fall evening. Sharing the space with friends for a dinner party. Putting on my running shoes and going for a 35-mile run from the front door without seeing a soul, or a stretch of asphalt. Although it can be inconvenient and cumbersome, there is something cathartic about chopping wood and hauling water. The best part about the yurt lifestyle is all of these things, which is to say, the lifestyle.

The trail racing community is rather close-knit with competitors becoming friends to the point of family and runners pacing and crewing for perceived rivals. How do you explain the bonds? There’s a saying along the lines of “great relationships are forged in battle,” and that is true in trail running. We have a shared suffering that exists on a whole other level, and it perpetuates the community-oriented sense we all feel. We check up on one another, crew, pace, cheer and then there’s the time spent together on the trail. It fosters something a little different.

Watch a short documentary by Joel Wolpert on Mike Foote, yurt dwelling and running through the winter season. Yep, be inspired.

Image snatched from a Mike Foote tweet. Interview quotes from National Geographic Adventure Blog and Competitor Running.

I like when on a forest trail you exchange a hello with a stranger.

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I took a new path through the forest. A 12-kilometre loop with 3 hills. A route ascending over 500 metres.

On the Saturday the hills all conspired against me. I was without focus and I couldn’t run within a rhythm. Before I was able to argue my case I had stopped midway up the first climb, defeated. I walked and ran, walked and ran until I reached the top. On the long downward track I then somehow convinced myself I had recovered. I almost felt light (light-headed perhaps). Yet with the next two hills I again stopped and walked bent over.

I recalled the following quote.

The successful running spirit is sometimes, of necessity, a mendacious one. Self-deception lies at the heart of endurance.

Mark Rowlands from Running with the Pack.

On the Sunday, the next day, I repeated the loop. More determined and focused, I ran the entire route. Not with any ease but at least with some aplomb. Each hill climb completed giving me the inner strength to run the next. Perhaps knowing the route, preparing the mind, helped. So much of what we do when we run, it seems, happens in the mind.

On the two runs I saw an echidna, its spikes a mexican wave as it moved. A swamp wallaby. And a dead cicada, shiny like green plastic, surrounded by a craze of ants. Gulliver surrounded by the Lilliputians.

Wherever you go, there you are

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Image from Emelie Forsberg.

Climb every mountain

To climb every mountain may be Anton Krupicka’s personal mantra. He is an ultra-runner that measures his training in altitude rather than distance.

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Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. – John Muir

Image from Joe Grant.

Life Cycle

Some thoughts regarding the Cycle Life.

A few weeks ago I rode Amy’s Gran Fondo. And I suffered. Did I start too fast? Is French toast a poor pre-ride breakfast option? Was my drippy nose the beginnings of a cold?

I eventually crossed the finish a wounded man. Twenty minutes or so slower than last year. Although disappointed, my memories of the ride are already mostly positive and I am keen to return again next year. To at least redeem myself.

Even when we have physical hardships, we can be very happy – Dalai Lama

IMG_1490I bought a stainless steel bidon. For me the bidon recalls the riders of the 1940s and 1950s. Black and white images of Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. No more dirty plastic. I want to use something that is true and good. Plastic is not so fantastic.

Coppi & BartaliThe world has shifted and a long morning shadow and a longer evening shadow accompany me now on my daily commute.

I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow – Sylvia Plath 

I’m loving the Life Cycle.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop

So said the American artist, Andy Warhol.

On his first day without trainer wheels, a proud Andy is helped along by a young friend.

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Andy locks his steed next to a parking meter. I hope your bike is still there when you return Andy.

Images by the photographer Robert Levin.

Karate Kid

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A favourite moment of the 2013 Vuelta.

Chris Horner reclaims the leaders jersey after winning stage 10 atop of Alto Hazallanas in Granada, Spain.

The 41-year-old Karate Kid crosses the finish in crane position.

Horner went on to win overall, becoming the oldest rider to win a Grand Tour.

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Bikes I Like

Walking onto a balcony made of glass, there is at first a sense of unease. That something is missing. Yet the design is pure and perfect you realise, the view unhindered.

The Vanhulsteijn bike in black has wooden rims and handlebars.

The same frame in metallic silver and grey but with a distinct personality.

The frame is also available in old english cream or racing red.

All images from Vanhulsteijn.

The bike weighs 9.5 kg as a singlespeed.

Hard Rain

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Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son ?
And where have you been my darling young one ?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

(A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan)

This must be the place

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Behind the fence in the field on a tractor, the old farmer sat and stared out. In a place like this you can watch the shadow of a cloud move across the land.

I saw the farmer as I rode over the hill and immediately I wanted to stop and photograph him on his worn, red tractor. Instead I rode on, as silent as the shadow of a cloud, and left the farmer in his contemplation.

The road has a will

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The road has a will, a sometimes stubborn will, that challenges the rider. The will of other roads then is to confide in the rider, to show a way and to perhaps retell a story.

The road was narrow, white, old, hard and scarred with shadow. It ran away westwards in the mist of the early morning, running cunningly through the little hills and going to some trouble to visit tiny towns which were not, strictly speaking, on its way. It was possibly one of the oldest roads in the world. I found it hard to think of a time when there was no road there because the trees and the tall hills and the fine views of bogland had been arranged by wise hands for the pleasing picture they made when looked at from the road. Without a road to have them looked at from they would have a somewhat aimless if not a futile aspect.

(from The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien)

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Images sourced from Rapha.

Odometer

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The great Irish poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, died this week. I read some tributes to him in the newspapers and the following quote spoke to me.

Is there life before death? That’s chalked up
In Ballymurphy. Competence with pain,
Coherent miseries, a bite and a sup,
We hug our little destiny again.

“Whatever You Say, Say Nothing”, line 57, from North (1975).

In a response of sorts, I rode for 130 kilometres on country roads and forest trails. And the early spring sun delighted me.

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September and the odometer reads 7,699 kilometres. My goal for the year is to ride (and run) 12,000 kilometres.

Run Rory Run

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The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc course is almost 168 kilometres in length with 9600 metres of positive altitude change. The trail starts in Chamonix, France and then traverses Italy and Switzerland and returns to Chamonix for the finish.

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The first woman across the line was the American ultra runner Rory Bosio. She completed the course in 22:37:26, a new course record for women and was placed 7th overall. It was the first time in the event’s history that a woman finished within the top ten.

And she appeared to smile all the way.

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Nest

Go for a run or a walk in Sherbrooke Forest (Kallista) and see a giant nest. We also saw a wombat and an eagle.

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The nest reminds me of the British artist Andy Goldsworthy and his works in nature.

The rush of the waterfall

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I remember.

The rider at rest

The American rider, Tejay van Garderen, at rest after winning the individual time trial stage of the Pro Challenge in Colorado.

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The embers in his eyes still burning.

Tejay went on to win the Pro Challenge, his home town race.

I felt like it was a long time coming because I’ve been so close both the other times. It’s amazing to get it. Other years, I maybe wanted it too bad.