Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Soulcrushing Demoralizing Sausagefest (SDS '12)

Here it is, Wednesday afternoon after the 10th annual Stokesville-Douthat-Stokesville weekend and I am still feeling the effects of the journey. Tough to rise in the morning, consuming coffee like its water, spending days in general haze before heading home after work and immediately passing out, fully dressed before struggling to rise 12 hours later. Today is a little better, but my knees both still burn across the front, where the ACL resides, on a gentle spin to work. Why I keep coming back, i am still not quite sure. Chris Scott of Shenandoah Mountain Touring has been putting on this ride for a decade, and each year the roster contains some of the East Coast's most elite riders. This year I showed up in hopes of capturing some images, but like I was saying, many of these folks are as elusive as Sasquatch himself. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to wear the big pack with numerous cameras on board, so if trying to keep pace with the group wasnt hard enough to begin with, my bright orange parachute pack kept me a dangling. Typically folks begin to show up at the campground around sunset. I typically roll out of town early to avoid the getting caught in the traffic of Hell itself: Northern Virginia. It was a half-assed attempt this year as I got caught in the front end of traffic which landed me in the 'burg too late to catch the shop ride and once again the first one at camp. I am always excited to see who SDS brings out on a given year. This year had a bunch of unfamiliar faces and I caught some of those looks I did the first year I showed up. "Who is this guy with flat pedals, cotton button up shirt, and cut off poly golf pants?" Whatevs, got to keep them wondering, always. Day 1 went pretty well. I was hanging out and rolling with the group on Hankey Mtn, down Dowell's Draft and over to the Southern Traverse. Yes, all of this before lunch. From lunch, it was party pace road riding over to Little Mare which was slummier than usual with a steady dick trickle of precipitation. I came across 3 fallen soldiers along the climb. My guess is Miguel Carpong lightened his load along the way and dumped the 3 Kings. 3 dayers, keep an eye ball peeled and enjoy. Into Douthat, we entered the burn zone, which began as a controlled burn, but came back to life and tortched a good bit forest. We rode straight though the belly of the surreal terrain. Only a few slummers took the road in while the rest of us climbed and did a bit more single. Back at the lodge, our wonderful support crew had hot lasagna, garlic bread, salad and brownies for us. I dont think there was one of us who didnt sleep sound that night. In the morning, things were wet, but at least it wasnt raining. Heavy fog set in the valley and the leaves were slick. For those of you not in the know, SDS contains some of the choicest cuts of Appalacian backcountry riding known to man. Along with the backcountry adventures come the back country hazzards. Ripping down to the Cowpasture river, a large stick rolled out in front of me as I followed another rider, lodging itself in my front wheel. I saw it all unfolding right in front of me. I kept my weight back to keep from going over the bars, but instead it went into a skid and fell off the edge of the trail. As I continued forward, my bike faded further off to the left until my knee was on the ground. I was ejected from the bike and sliding on my shoulder and head finally stopping some 30 feet from my bike. On this same section of trail, Chris Nystrom missed a critical right turn and found himself in no-mans-land. This was after he left the safety of the group and started riding an hour before us. At the bridge, rain began to fall again and just got heavier as the day wore on. Seeing as my good rain jacket was left behind at a friends apartment a month or two ago, which is a story all its own, I sported a leaky old unit and was wet before reaching the Mill Mtn re-route. With Nyse-guy still MIA I rolled with Poz and a couple hours to lunch in hopes of locating him. At lunch things got kinda weird, Chris rolled in 10 minutes or so after us and we all got super saturated riding the road back to camp. Another one in the books. Saturday at the top of Hankey Mtn...
Mike Boyes on the Southern Traverse...
Ominous skies bound for Little Mare...
Regroup at the top of Little Mare...
I scrambled to get this slummy pic then waited 10 minutes for others to roll through. No luck...
The bike and burn...
Climbing from the cabin...
Map checka one, two...
Remember kids...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Preoccupied

Amoungst the rolls I have been recently sorting through was a 35mm b&w roll from the Occupy DC days that I shot with my Blackbird Fly twin reflex. In the cover of darkness, occupiers began construction of a permanant structure in the park which sparked a stand-off.



This officer's expression really caught my eye. It was obvious he was just on the job and the day was wearing on him. I had forgotten it until I saw this image again, the empathy I felt.


I asked this fellow if I could take his picture. He said "No," but changed his mind once he saw my camera. It seemed to spark some memories for him and was happy to have his picture taken with a twin reflex.



Odd mobile camping unit...


People always need to bring religion into things...


Note the Jesus on soap-on-arope around the neck. This guy seemed a bit touched....


Not all were spoiled 20 somethings on the run...


But alas, some were...


"Murphy in the Park!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Random Rolls

Finally finished up some rolls of film and got them in to be developed. Wasnt sure what was there. First is a roll from the Diana Mini of trips in Virginia.

The climb up to the tower on Elliots...


Storming the tower...



Regroup on near Big Schloss...


There was a roll shot with a fisheye from Sedona...

Burner gettin' down on the Highline...


More Burner action...


Hangin' out on Hangover...


Pause and reflect...


High above the Bike and Bean...


More to come...