Thursday, August 26, 2010

H.N.T. and other shit - 2

I watched a biography on Bob Marley on the Biography channel the other night.

I was in my formative post-adolescence as Marley came into prominence, but didn't quite catch that wave, if you know what I mean.

No, that period of my pop-culture life was dominated by Led Zepplin and Aerosmith being forced down my throat - I still change the station when Zepp comes on, I'm more tolerant of Aerosmith. Reggae was something that wasn't fully appreciated, though lot's of dope smoking was.

I smoked a _lot_ of dope from the age of 16 to about 25 - when I got into bike racing. I didn't quit, just didn't smoke as much. Between paying for races and bike parts, and trying to become faster/healthier/more fit, smoking pot only served to get in the way.

Road Racers don't typically lend themselves to recreational drug use. Mountain bikers are a different story. In the '90s I rode with a lot of MTBrs that would smoke before rides - hell, they would smoke before _races_.

These guys were way stronger riders than I, they were semi-pro/experts that would regularly win local events and place well in the regional events - riding stoned. They tolerated me because I had the endurance to go on 4 hour rides and would smoke with them after riding. I tried riding stoned once. Not a good idea.

I'm a fun happy stoner, but wholly uncoordinated. While they would have the ability to focus and zone in on the ride, I would be easily distracted.

"oh, dude, check out that" (crash)

Still, I remember the smell of surreptitious bong hits wafting from the back of beat-up minivans at the various pedrosfest events I frequented 15-20 years ago. These guys epitomized what drew me to the MTB scene back then. These were the guys that would drop a multi-tool as they rode by in a race if they saw you with a broken chain - or pull off at a technical section to see if the guy behind them would clean it - or stop and make sure you didn't have any internal injuries if they saw you writhing on the side of the trail. The mello, friendly, everyone-is-here-to-have-fun attitude.

Those days are long gone. The loose carefree attitude of the 80's MTB racer was gradually replaced by the same corporate uptight structure of road racing, replaced by posers with $3000 dollar bikes, team kits, and the attitude of a wall street hedge fund manager.

I don't race MTB anymore for various reasons. Partially because the expense has gotten so high ($40 for an event that requires no police or road closures?) and the races are by-and-large 2+ hours away, and also because that party atmosphere is gone. At least in road racing you have actual teams and can actually practice teamwork. There is as much a point of having a team in mountain bike racing as there is in golf or tennis.

Mostly I don't race MTB anymore because locally the sport is dominated by the Eastern Fuck-Tards Association. Talk about your uptight corporate structure. They used to be the very antithesis the USAC (then NORBA). Now they're harder to deal with than USAC ever was. A classic case of 'us' becoming 'them'.

Maybe they should take a bong hit before their next meeting.



Anonymous said...

Ah, really! Ah the reggae man, he rolls with it. He had it rolling, more ways than one. Ganja smokin gals, hmmmm, well they got it rollin as well. And as for MTBers yeah we roll with it. It. The scene here with or without ganja is all-here-to-have-fun.....thats the way we roll. Maybe our hung parliament here needs so have some ganja....and un-hung. Huh!

Jonny Bold said...

Best post in a while Zen. I was quite the stoner as a Triathlete, and then kicked it when I saw a big performance jump. Before that though with strong lungs I could abuse the hell out of a bong. Good times, but I don't miss them. 1988 last time I toked.

You're right about the mountain biking scene. I did a lot of it for 2 years and it's been a huge relief to not waste my energy on it this year. Still I think every roadie should do at least one, just to appreciate the effort required, they'll look at their efforts in road racing differently I'm sure.

Mike Russell said...

Classic post. Thanks for the speed bumps too.

gewilli said...


maluhia said...

I lost my train of thought...
oh yeah. mtnbikers tokin' before a ride. hell, i used to ride with a group who would toke DURING the ride when i lived in Washington State. I never touched the stuff though.