Lay your dirty burden down

This is for you. And so the mud caked you and raked you, it stuck and it clung. It formed five-pound pie plates under each foot, and you squelched and stomped, left right, left right. It weighed you down worse than a mortgage, heavier than Thor’s hammer. A carefully constructed and grotesque glue prank—set by an antagonistic and oddball god—it rode up your heels like ants ascending a sugarcoated tree. This mud, this muck, this god-forsaken goo—it set its mind to crest the cuff of your shoe and infect your carefully chosen socks with pure Kansas gunk. You slogged and …

Hematoma Takes a Holiday

We don’t have time for this! No time. Tick tock. I’m not starved for attention, nor do I yearn for affection or the ear of a long-suffering confidant. But if I’ve absorbed anything from American summer camp movies it’s that you need a camp buddy if you’re gonna survive the short-sheeting and underpant wedgies. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I sought one out for Dirty Kanza training camp. It may come as some surprise, however, to discover that in order to find my camp buddy, I had to look no further than my own leg. That …

Tour de Tree: Groundhog Day Edition

The Tour de Tree. Five Days, 10 stages, mucho hurt. There is only one rule: All riders must complete a loop of the Mother Tree during a stage or risk disqualification. The following is an account of the thrid edition of this tour. Photos here

Rebecca’s Private Idaho: This Cowgirl’s Poem

There once was a Queen in Idaho With a penchant for pain, well dontcha know She put on a race With gravelly high pace And we all fell apart like weak so-and-sos. There’s poetry to riding a bicycle. A rhythm. A tempo. The percussion of the chain as it reverbs over terrain, the gear-shift melody, the rattling of a loosening bottle cage in a syncopated tick, which amplifies the verse as it flows through your mind. So. If there is poetry to riding a bicycle, then my style of riding could be classified as pure dirge. A ballad for the …

Common colds and carbonated beverages

Sick of it. Sick of riding my bike. Just sick of it. Probably not the best frame of mind to be in, a week out from The Death Ride. The Death Ride, aka The Tour of the California Alps, aka The 100% Surefire Way to Enrage a Saddle Sore Ride. Sick of it. Sick of riding my bike and the perceived detection of invisible expectation that I’ll always be found on a bike and the pressure I put on myself to Be Out There All the Time and Ride Long for No Reason at All. Except perhaps to find where …

Dirty Kanza 200: A Meditation on Self

You. You are a frivolous person. A frivolous person with frivolous thoughts that spin and cartwheel on the front lawn of your mind. Legs flinging, knees bent, your thoughts less perfect with each rotation. Less complete and full. This gravel is onto you. It’s not stupid. It sees your nerves as easily as if they were strung across this road at foot-tripping, shin height. That armadillo husk, cracked and desiccated, melon-ball empty like some hollowed-out canoe—it is onto you. It mocks you. You too, it says, shall be a hollowed out shell at the end. Consider this a warning. You. …