Nature Boy

As a DC Bike Messenger for 19 years running I see a lot of stuff.  I see a lot of strange stuff and some not so strange stuff.   Then there are things that look rote until they appear again and you realize they aren’t.

For instance the person I noticed walking one day.  In a suit.   Tired but somewhat composed.   The next day seen again.   In another part of town.  Same suit.  A little disheveled.  A little less composed.    Still walking, but blending in.  A part of the crowd.

This continues.   Each time more ragged.   More dirty but still a guy in a suit, walking.  I cover a wide area of the city.  So does this person.  I figure I may be the only one who is aware that he is basically on walkabout.  From somewhere, for some reason.  One day he just left something behind and started walking.  My vantage point is invisible but my scan is wide.  Blended in and part of the fabric.  Not stopping too long and not repeating too much.

There is another man who has been in his routine for as long as I have been in mine.  Between 9th Street and 14th Street NW bordered by L to the north and D to the south.   A small region but big enough to get lost in.   Mostly alleys and loading docks. He rarely comes out onto the main drags during business hours.

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More Crooked-Ness

Memory is an approximation colored and reshaped by distance.  It is a recall of details that are themselves just slivers of a wider version.  The whole thing is capped by emotions and projections.  Of the way stuff is and the way we want it to be.  Sometimes we are limited to the laid out boundaries and suggestions while other times we willfully forge our own expanded reality that crystallizes through our persistence.

That’s the kind of mind reel I had pushing the pedals up Crooked Run Road.   To bring it back to point it kicked in because I hadn’t done the east bound approach in a while and as the grade hit 15 plus and the gravel surface played its own samba, what I remembered and what was happening now, intersected in a jumpy way.  Some was accurate recall while other aspects were based more on an overall triumph rather than the multitude of specific pieces needed to achieve it.  All-in-all similar but different.  A process of attempting to sync up while also trying to read the changes.  You know, I remember this being hard but was it this hard or do I just need to buck up.

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Getting Crooked

Following a strange edition of  the Poolesville Road Race,  I set out to find some roads and chart some hills.

The event itself was great.  The area, the weather, the organization, the action and the competition.  Dudes throwing down and generally handling the dirt well.  NCVC had things on point – props to them.

Unfortunately there was some confusion and miscommunication (or no communication) in the 1/2/3 field between the officials and the riders.   The officials have the safety of the riders as a priority:  a tough job to manage and wrangle the group.

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Panhandle Pedalers

The Panhandle Pedalers, a touring bike club from Charlestown WV, took a turn on the mountain this weekend for some hills (and stops) Lost River style.

They are the first West Virginia group to come through (which had me on my toes).  There was also an added surprise bonus in that they brought a true Lost River native with them; Scott Bean, who was raised in the Mathias area and whose lineage traces back to the Bean Settlement just beyond Baker.

He grew up on these roads and has a wealth of history and stories.  Turns out his family are Beans and Funkhausers, which means he is on a long strand connecting back to the barn which was built by Grover Funkhauser in 1930 and was originally a cattle operation.

His family had the Lost River General Store in the early 1900’s.  At that time it was the only place for goods and supplies in the area, which was and still is primarily farming.   The town of Mathias was accented by a tannery operation near where the Summit Bank now is, and Route 259 connecting those places was of course an old dirt road.

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