Let's get ready to Rumble!

Guest Article: “The Journey Is The Thing”- Homer

Guest Article: “The Journey Is The Thing”- Homer

by / / 75 posts

Yvon Chounard may not be Homer but he is a worthy modern day wise man, he admonished, don’t be a sports nazi. His meaning was, don’t do one sport to the exclusion of all others. It’s tempting not to pursue other sports when cycling demands so much time and leaves one with a body that is barely useful for anything else, but that would be too easy.

VLVV, Gianni

Admittedly, the concept of worshipping multiple deities has lost its popular following in the last few millennia. But we must reconcile theological doctrine with reality and bury the schisms that have caused sectarian strife for so long. The month of October is the perfect time to revisit the sacred teachings.

At first glance, you might call me an infidel upon learning that today, instead of devoting my whole day to worshipping The Bike, I plan to make equally sacred offerings to The Mountain. Indeed, the pile of bespoke cycling gear designated for today’s ride now has to share the same trunk space with ropes, cams, carabiners, and other studly accoutrements of the climbing craft. Upon learning this, many of you likely will condemn me a Rule #4 violator and ban me from La Vie Velominatus for life. But I beg you to hear my case before casting judgment.

In ancient Athens, for example, the good citizens understood that it was prudent to worship many gods; though the gods were fickle and jealous, they could bestow upon you great benefits. What really mattered was religious experience, spirituality, and sacrifice.

I assure you – all of these elements will be present in today’s outing and, as such, I am not heretic, but a true believer. Take for example, sacrifice. What greater sacrifice can there be than braving the desolate country roads of rural Virginia, with nary an espresso in sight, facing a near-rabid canine darting at me as I exhaustedly summit a roller?  In the same vein, the path to our climbing routes planned for the afternoon takes us between Scylla and Charybdis – the dreaded “Poison Ivy Gully” descent or a rappel off manky tree anchors that could, at any moment, be messed with by meth tweakers frequenting the trail. I shall not even speak of the fact that we have to arrive at our destinations in a minivan, for no other mode of transport can accommodate the Hydra masking as our multi-sport gear collection.

The religious experience will be all worth it. There is little that compares to the hum of my overpriced drivetrain on a crisp October day or the cloud of climbing chalk following me like a halo as I flail like a stuck pig on a sandbag Great Falls eliminate. I thusly urge you to consider the wisdom of the ancients and erase differences between the gods. As far back as Homer, great thinkers recognized a unity in the multiplicity of the divine. Skiing season, here I come!

// Guest Article

  1. @Marko

    @DCR

    @Chris

    @ChrisO

    More power to you as how boring it would be without individual opinion, but I have to say, these are the kinds of elitist comments and attitudes that trolls love and make people think of roadies as twats. I like to think that rather than elitist twats this community represents an egalitarian view of cycling. We want to include, not exclude as we strive for a higher state of mind and exaltation. The Rules can get us on that path but as Jim has recently pointed out so well, that path can be found elsewhere. It’s what Csikszentmihalyi called flow. The Velominati and the Rules can create the conditions for Flow but do not hold a patent on them. Ever drop a knee down a 30% glade in 2 feet of powder and snorkel through the white room? How about execute a perfect back-ferry around a class III bend in a loaded canoe with a partner. What about surf a 17 foot long/22″³ wide sea kayak on the glass of Skookumchuk? If not, you’re missing out on some of what life has to offer. Perhaps a little meditation on Rule #6 is needed here.

    Elite

    noun

    • 1a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society

    Isn’t that the whole point of Velominati, we strive to do things properly, to do things better than the masses? The rules and the gear set us apart.

    That’s not to say that we aren’t inclusive, there’s an open invitation to be a part of that elite but it requires acknowledgement of the rules, the history and ethos of the sport.

    Kayaking and rock climbing are great, they’re not sports that I do (time and geography are against me there), so maybe I was a bit out of line there and I don’t really want to piss in @spankles’ pool but that was no less toungue in cheek than the abuse that runners or swimmers get here. The depth and breadth of the people on here amaze me and make the place what it is but the point still stands, there’s been a downwards trend recently, Gianni and Brett’s manbaggery, Franks erectile stem dysfunction. 

    Anyway, that chap Csikszentmihalyi has a dodgy beard. Is he a surfer?

  2. @Marko BTW, what is snorkeling through the white room, is that a snowboarding term? I googled it and the only thing I cam up with was a video from Jackson Hole.

  3. maybe I’ll write an article about playing disc golf at night and getting drunk at the same time. I do it almost every Friday with friends. or maybe not.

  4. @Chris

    @Marko BTW, what is snorkeling through the white room, is that a snowboarding term? I googled it and the only thing I cam up with was a video from Jackson Hole.

    I know you addressed that to Marko, but a video from Jackson Hole sounds right.

  5. @ChrisO

    First it was less aesthetic pursuits like Cross

    In today’s race I was cheered by a grandmotherly woman in a shaggy faux fur coat and a knit cap with bunny ears. She was operating four cowbells of various sizes. For a full hour.

    And you say ‘cross has no aesthetic?

  6. @scaler911

    @Chris

    @Marko BTW, what is snorkeling through the white room, is that a snowboarding term? I googled it and the only thing I cam up with was a video from Jackson Hole.

    I know you addressed that to Marko, but a video from Jackson Hole sounds right.

    Snorkellling through the white room describes ski-ing or boarding powder snow so deep you need a snorkel to breathe.  “Face shots” describes getting hit in the face by white stuff as you make your turns.  Its the ski-ing equivalent of cArving your mates up on the inside on a rad descent .

    I’ve not skied JH, but I would of thought it would apply more to Colorado, Utah or Japan, famous for their champagne powder.  JH is known for its black run ski-ing, but compared to Canada, the US grading system is very soft, so I don’t know how it really compares to the big mountains of BC.

    My wife and I have made teh annual pilgrimage to Whistler and Vail for the last ten years, for the good reason that there are few things as sublime, spiritual and uplifting  as time on a mountain in the winter. Add in the thrill of downhill ski-ing, especially once you get off-piste in the steeps or powder and you have something to truly envy.   Cycling and ski-ing go together like bacon and eggs in the soul of an outdoorsman.   There is no place for discrimination or snobbery against skiers/boarders.

  7. @Ken Ho

    @scaler911

    @Chris

    @Marko BTW, what is snorkeling through the white room, is that a snowboarding term? I googled it and the only thing I cam up with was a video from Jackson Hole.

    I know you addressed that to Marko, but a video from Jackson Hole sounds right.

    Snorkellling through the white room describes ski-ing or boarding powder snow so deep you need a snorkel to breathe. “Face shots” describes getting hit in the face by white stuff as you make your turns. Its the ski-ing equivalent of cArving your mates up on the inside on a rad descent .

    I’ve not skied JH, but I would of thought it would apply more to Colorado, Utah or Japan, famous for their champagne powder. JH is known for its black run ski-ing, but compared to Canada, the US grading system is very soft, so I don’t know how it really compares to the big mountains of BC.

    My wife and I have made teh annual pilgrimage to Whistler and Vail for the last ten years, for the good reason that there are few things as sublime, spiritual and uplifting as time on a mountain in the winter. Add in the thrill of downhill ski-ing, especially once you get off-piste in the steeps or powder and you have something to truly envy. Cycling and ski-ing go together like bacon and eggs in the soul of an outdoorsman. There is no place for discrimination or snobbery against skiers/boarders.

    Thanks. (I started skiing 42 years ago).

  8. @Ken Ho

    I guess I should have been a bit more clear in my response to @chris. It makes sense that if you type “snorkeling thru the white room” that videos from Jackson Hole would pop up. Shit gets deep in the Tetons. Grandparents had a cabin in Jackson that we’d go to every year. Grand T is decent too, but for my money, anywhere in Utah or Colorado (with maybe Montana) gets top marks for snow. Though if you wanna go ‘big’ (air, cliffs, steeps), it’s Tahoe (where I grew up skiing…local….). Cheers!

  9. @Chris

    … Isn’t that the whole point of Velominati, we strive to do things properly, to do things better than the masses? The rules and the gear set us apart.
    That’s not to say that we aren’t inclusive, there’s an open invitation to be a part of that elite but it requires acknowledgement of the rules, the history and ethos of the sport….

    A-Merckx to that!

    @Chris

    Anyway, that chap Csikszentmihalyi has a dodgy beard. Is he a surfer?

    I believe he’s a rapper.  The beard is just an affect.  And that’s a stage name.  He regularly tours with 50Centmihalyi.

  10. @scaler911

    @Ken Ho

    I guess I should have been a bit more clear in my response to @chris. It makes sense that if you type “snorkeling thru the white room” that videos from Jackson Hole would pop up. Shit gets deep in the Tetons. Grandparents had a cabin in Jackson that we’d go to every year. Grand T is decent too, but for my money, anywhere in Utah or Colorado (with maybe Montana) gets top marks for snow. Though if you wanna go ‘big’ (air, cliffs, steeps), it’s Tahoe (where I grew up skiing…local….). Cheers!

    Yeah, I’ve not skied Tahoe, but I have heard it is steep, and it’s coastal, so teh snow sticks to pitches that won’t hold snow in the powder belts.

    Red Mountain and Kicking Horse are pretty rad too, not that I’ve made it yet. It’s a long schlepp from sunny Queensland.

    We try and go elsewhere, but always wind up back at Whistler Blackcombe.   I would love to do a summer trip the for the MTB.

  11. I am more intrigued by the CX bike in the back ground of the title picture.

  12. Deer season in full swing down here in the sunny south. Mountain bikers and gravel grinders travel at their own peril. Duck season still a month or so away…

  13. @RedRanger

    I am more intrigued by the CX bike in the back ground of the title picture.

    Indeed, a Super X Hi Mod? More please.

  14. @Chris

    Elite

    noun

    • 1a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society

    Isn’t that the whole point of Velominati, we strive to do things properly, to do things better than the masses? The rules and the gear set us apart.

    That’s not to say that we aren’t inclusive, there’s an open invitation to be a part of that elite but it requires acknowledgement of the rules, the history and ethos of the sport.

    Kayaking and rock climbing are great, they’re not sports that I do (time and geography are against me there), so maybe I was a bit out of line there and I don’t really want to piss in @spankles’ pool but that was no less toungue in cheek than the abuse that runners or swimmers get here. The depth and breadth of the people on here amaze me and make the place what it is but the point still stands, there’s been a downwards trend recently, Gianni and Brett’s manbaggery, Franks erectile stem dysfunction.

    This.

    We are all here because we have seen some sort of light and wish to rise above the state of the YJA-clad masses. We call ourselves disciples precisely because we try to bring a bit of that light to the rest of the cycling world.

    We cannot disregard The Rules every time we see a shiny boulder, and must not sully our sacred space here with anything less than attempts to further our commitment to bring the V to the world.

    See: Rule #1, Rule #2, Rule #4.

  15. @V-olcano

    Yeah, the rules don’t really kick in for me until Rule V. I’m know I’m not a true Velominatus.

    I’m more of a Velomi-not-us.  I just happen to ride a bike.

    Also, each time I read the header to this page, I keep mentally seeing “Simpson” after “Homer”.   Irrelevamt, I know.

  16. @meursault

    It matters not what you do, but how you do it.

    Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

    Thich Nhat Hanh

    Very nice.

    Reminds me of the Dickens quote:  “He did each single thing as if he did nothing else.”

    I love climbing, esp Alpine with ice but also long, multi-pitch trad routes.  I gym climb b/c I cannot get outside as quickly and easily.  Blasphemy for sure but Big Wall/Mounatin climbing is the stuff of legends to me.  When you still have the guys hanging from hemp ropes on the Nordwand of the Eiger 20+ years after they died b/c no one can get to them to cut them down, that is otherwordly.  “The White Spider” and Herzog’s “Annapurna” are Bibles to me.

    The only thing comparable to the hum of the tubular wheels on a beautifully paved road is being completely within a world that only exists two feet to the right and left of me and one foot above and below me while being 1,000 feet up on a cliff face.  Purest form of Zen that I have ever experienced is moving on a cliff face.

  17. @Ken Ho

    Cycling and ski-ing go together like bacon and eggs in the soul of an outdoorsman. 

    The more I race the CX bike the more it feels like skiing.  The fine muscle work required to navigate an off camber turn successfully seems to recruit those same muscle memories as does making tight mogul turns.  At least it does when I do it right, when I do it wrong, it feels like mud up my nose.

  18. A sport we missed. Correct number, correct color. Further proof from the Universe that it wants us all to HTFU.

  19. @razmaspaz

    @Ken Ho

    Cycling and ski-ing go together like bacon and eggs in the soul of an outdoorsman.

    The more I race the CX bike the more it feels like skiing. The fine muscle work required to navigate an off camber turn successfully seems to recruit those same muscle memories as does making tight mogul turns. At least it does when I do it right, when I do it wrong, it feels like mud up my nose.

    I know exactly what you mean. Downhill MTB is like off-piste ski-ing too.  Looking at a pitch ad working out how you are going to get down, whee the turns wil be, what will happen when you bomb it etc….

    Thiat really struck me when I did a ride with a track builder one day. I think a lot of people just follow the trail, but he was looking at Un-tracked hills covered in scrub, working out where the track would go. He had a 100acre block he was developing into an MTB park.

  20. @scaler911@Ken Ho Thanks guys. It’s a long time since I skied much and that was in Scotland where ice,  rocks and heather were considered to be as equally important components of a good piste as snow. I can only remember coming across powder once – all of a sudden I couldn’t see my boots tried to turn as I usually would and my ski’s just stopped. It took a while to find both skis and get going again. never saw the stuff again so I can’t really see what all the excitement is about.

    Swimming through the blue room on the other hand…

  21. @Chris

    You will have to clarify “swimming through the blue room”.   I’m thinking maybe caving or crevassing or summat.   The blue room here is surfing.

  22. @Ken Ho Swimming in big surf is what I had in mind. I can’t surf for shit but that needn’t stop you going out in it.

    Caving, fuck no. I remember watching some old movie that had a monster preying on cavers. It was about the same time that all the kids where I lived in Hong Kong started exploring crumbly old Japanese war time caves. There are some things that you’ll do for peer pressure but wouldn’t dream of doing for leisure.

  23. I forgot about this conversation for a while but apparently you guys still think that my bouldering will give me too much muscle mass.  I challenge any of you to an shirts-off muscle comparison and I’m willing to bet I win (or lose depending on which way you view the challenge).

  24. @michael

    I forgot about this conversation for a while but apparently you guys still think that my bouldering will give me too much muscle mass. I challenge any of you to an shirts-off muscle comparison and I’m willing to bet I win (or lose depending on which way you view the challenge).

    This is mostly based on body type. I don’t lift weights or “hit the gym” but with bouldering came a sizable increase to my muscle mass. Although with cycling I maintained the exact same weight I have always been.

Leave a Reply