Asheville - After The Swank
The day after The Swank, I hung around Asheville, NC. It was a lazy day, starting off with coffee and breakfast at Greenlife and a stroll around town. The second I got downtown (I think it was downtown, but I did go up to get there) an old woman asked for directions. "You probably picked the one person around here who doesn't know where that is, I'm from Boston (Somerville, but hey, when away from home I don't split hairs) Massachusetts." "Oh, well you fit right in." That made me feel really good for a fleeting moment, I though about how I might like to fit in in Asheville sometime soon. Then I looked over at a small park across the way, it was full of crystal meth tweakers. Maybe she meant I fit right in with them.
The plan was to ride with my Shanna and Bruce and my Brody-Bro-Bros Adrian "Johnny" Fletcher and McQueen. Those guys insist that I call them my "Brody-Bro-Bros," I think it's a southern thing. The Brody-Bro-Bros rolled in to town too late for us to catch Shanna's Bent Creek ride, but undeterred we set out on our own, meeting up with Tal (Tal does not work for This American life, it's just the first thing that came up when I googled his name) when we got there.
Tal had described the Bent Creek ride as "not having a lot of climbing," which was true. When compared to The Swank. And there wasn't a lot of climbing down in The Experimental Forest area. Adrian hadn't been on the bike in months, he was dragging a little bit. I thought this was great because when riding through an experimental forest you never know when you might be attacked by EXPERIMENTAL ANIMALS like hybrids of monkeys and squirrels.
"I know I can't out-ride the Squirrel-Monkeys Adrian...
I just have to out-ride you."
I just have to out-ride you."
There was a pretty decent amount of climbing, check out McQueen above there, he's climbing. It was well worth the effort, the descent off the top was killer. All berms and little kickers the whole way down. Long enough to be exhausting. North-Easterners ain't used to that type of thing. "Woo! This is awesome...really awesome...really, really, really awesome...aaaand this is still awesome...all right my arms are tired and my teeth are falling out."
At the bottom we found ourselves waiting for Adrian. After a while he came walking up. He'd been nursing a slow leak in his front tire, we figured it had gone totally flat. No. Adrian was wearing prescription sunglasses, and it was getting dark...he couldn't see a damn thing. We were still a ways from the parking lot, a good ways.
We all walked together for a while, eventually coming to a consensus that we should try to roll out. Hey, if Bobby McMullin who is legally blind can do it, Adrian "Johnny" Fletcher can do it right? Uh-yuh. So we put Adrian in the middle of the four of us and proceeded to roll down the hill slower than we'd climbed it.
After a brief burial and memorial service for our friend Adrian "Squirrel-Monkey-Food" Fletcher, we stopped at Papas and Beer for way to much cheese and way too big beers. It was nice.
After Papas and Beer Tal and his wife Jess took us on the town. I'm not too good with names or places or... remembering much of anything really, so I can't tell you where we went but I can tell you what we did — we drank lots of very good beer. So much good beer that at the end of the night, while riding home, down a massive hill, I decided to "superman it" (place my abdomen on my saddle with my legs pointing straight back). I Super-manned right past the turn to Jess and Tal's house as everyone except for (an oddly-animated-for-a-guy-who's-been-eaten-by-squirrel-monkeys) Adrian.
As a grand finale I rode into a large pile of leaves on the side of the street, flipping over my handlebars and going flying as illustrated below. Then I said "Hey Adrian, take a picture of me doing that, here's my...camera? Oh crap." My camera had been in my sweatshirt pocket.
After several minutes of rifling through the immense pile of leaves, Tal came rolling up wondering what in the hell we were doing. He joined in the fun: kicking leaves this way and that; picking up and sifting through armfuls; finding nothing. After searching fruitlessly for at least twenty minutes we went back to the last bar we'd been at to make sure I hadn't left it there. Nope, not there, back to the leaf pile.
"The good news is, tomorrow it's going to rain" Tal told us. Great, it was now or never for the camera recovery. After another eon of searching, just at the point of bagging it, Tal said "We should probably give up, we're never gonna find — THIS," as he held my camera up triumphantly. Sweet!
The next day when we told Shanna the story she told us that dog owners like to let their dogs poop in the leaf piles so they don't have to clean it up. Glad we didn't find that out the hard way. The guys would have been much more pissed off at me than they already were. POOP! Thank you good night!