An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Supposedly Fun Thing : Chequamegon report, tribute to DFW, and a lower GI tract issue, Part 5


I want to take a moment to consider the clunker toss, a very much underappreciated event on Sunday Funday at the FTF, and this year that was a criminally under-attended thing, the whole day I mean, so including the clunker toss, the “hammer jammer” hill climb – which inexplicably this year was turned into an uphill MTB time trial instead of the traditional, more absolute competition to see who could make it the furthest up an impossibly steep former ski hill, so steep in fact that even if you put the nose of your seat at the uncomfortable threshold of your anus, and really get your center of gravity low and forward, you still could end upside down even if you did have the slow-twitch muscle fibers, the raw sort of Russian weight-lifter power to keep forward progress—the log pull, the “Cable Crit,” really an insanely short short-track event that tends to be dominated by the showoffs who finished top 20 or so in the FT40, each heat taking roughly just 2 or 3 minutes. The whole thing has a heavy cloud of sadness to it, an anti-climactic, morning-after feeling like we’re all desperately clinging to another few hours of “fat tire fun,” the smoke from the hamburger grills wafting around, the guys at the beer truck looking sort of abandoned, me with a bottle of beer that I don’t feel self-conscious about uncapping at about 11 AM, and weirdly about half the porta-potties gone from the site, as if (1) there was some desperate collective GI-tract event going on somewhere else that required immediate relocation of half the biffs, and (2) sadly acknowledging, maybe even contractually between the festival and the biff providers, that just not that many people are interested in hanging around for the Sunday events. But I for one am and do, because my seven-year-old boy plans a lot of his long long long year, cognitively speaking, around how/when he will completely dominate the kids’ bike rodeo events, such as the very short XC event (like about not even 1000 meters of grassy racing around a copse of balsam firs next to a weedy old Telemark parking old, put down I suppose way before the original chalet burnt down in like '78), the kid’s log pull, which I think it would be safe to describe as more of a yule log pull; a “slow race,” which would normally be called a track-stand competition, except even the most talented kids seem to require a tiny measurable forward progress to stay up, like a lot of their dads do; and some other sundry events like usually a weird relay or shuttle-run type of thing involving piles of discarded dress shirts or rolled up newspapers. Next year, I swear, I’m going to get the boy into some real bike races, and maybe forego the kid’s events at Sunday Funday unless or until they are a little less infantile. I mean infantile is fine, if you’re an infant, but the boy has been dominating this stuff for like three years now, and he’s clearly a cut above a lot of the other kids who are wearing street clothes and riding one-speed Magnas (Magnae? Magni?) and like 10 year olds with baskets and training wheels. One year, there was an awesomely passionate girl about his age, and she even had a little kid-sized CamelBak on, and grip shifters, and I think her name was “Reese,” which was a name the boy had never heard before, and he thought it was “Grease,” and this girl was pretty good and gave him a run for his money in most of the events, most notably the lame XC race. Though he won, I persisted for the following three years (and counting) in badgering him about how he needed to “figure out a way to beat Grease this year,” and that was one of those little Tourettic cruelties I allow myself because he’d naturally get a little pissed that I was either too addled to remember that he’d actually won the race, or that her name was actually “Reese,” and/or more likely both at the same time, his goofball pops just fucking with him, though not in those words of course. So but the clunker toss. How do you throw a very heavy bike, with a goal of maximizing the distance between yourself and the very heavy bike? Would you pick it up by the wheels and spin around and throw it like a track & field hammer? So the FTF has had the same yellow Schwinn Varsity for this event for years, and I've never attempted it, have no desire to attempt it -- it has a slipped disk written all over it -- but I am slightly obsessed with this whol idea of the best, most efficient way to throw a bike the longest possible distance, and I am quite certain that the majority of people are choosing the wrong angle of attack when they pick the clunker up by the wheels, that is with one wheel in each hand, and it would be a different story if the bearings were seized or the brakes were permanently engaged, but with free-rolling wheels, I am convinced that you don't want to throw the clunker by the wheels, but maybe get a hold of the seat and really get cooking in a tight circle like a whirling Dervish, and then a perfectly timed release to send that Schwinn Varsity, I don't know, 25 or 30 feet. So but my point is ultimately this: I know there are reasons to have the FT40 on Saturday. Having it on Sunday would be a little like a Jewish wedding -- no one can really hang around and drink and really sorta go off the rails on a Sunday, with work on Monday. So but: Why not have the kids races and all those other events either on Saturday afternoon, or maybe even Friday?

4 comments:

JayG said...

Pluralizing Magna...brilliant! I believe Magni to be the proper nomenclature.

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