Friday, June 17, 2016

The Lord Desireth Fine and Bountiful Sunshine Upon thy Pecker

It has been decided that from this moment on we will only speak of good weather. There will be no fretting about thunderstorms, no attachment of fenders, no internal debates about if you should ride the beater bike, no rationalizations about how you could just come for the cookout, no rummaging around for rain jackets, and so on.  We will still ride if it rains, of course, but we are not to think about it.

We will think only positive thoughts about global warming, ozone holes, SPF 60, skin cancer, heat exposure, and 3rd degree sunburn.
Hereby signed and decreed.
Mother Superior.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Acceptable Excuses for Missing the Peckerhead Invitational

No excuses from K-Spick. No sir-ee Bob.
As you may have guessed, there are always a few folks who cannot make the ride. There always seems to be some problem or another that confounds their best efforts to attend. Sometimes, these good citizens allude to the issue in their RSVP e-mails. Though they rarely admit to it, we see these regret letters for precisely what they are: cries for help

And so, we put our heads together (both of them) and present the following solutions to the obstacles outlined below.

Case One
"In the last two weeks, my schedule has gotten all f'cked up......while you are getting on your bikes at 7:30 a.m., I will be getting on a plane........heading way way west....sometimes I wonder if it is all worth it."
Here's a clue. It probably isn't. Free your mind and your ass will follow. See you Saturday.

Case Two
"Probably will not attend this year. Running the Canton marathon the next day and even the short route may zap too much at my age. Have a great time!"
A challenging problem, this one. Allow us to offer a solution. Run the Half-Pecker. The money you save on gas and entry fees will buy you a new pair of shoes and the feat alone will earn you a lifetime exemption and automatic entry into the hall of fame. See you Saturday.

Case Three
"Thanks again for the invite but I'll be doing a race in New York that weekend.  It totally looks like you guys will have a great time.  Please keep me on the invite list for the future." 
Here's the thing about races. We love us some races, we really do. In fact there are several races that absolutely justify missing the Peckerhead to go do. They all occur in Europe, however, and unless your name is Schleck or Sagan or Zabriskie, you are not doing any of those races. Balance restored, priorities renewed. See you Saturday.

Case Four
"I'm not gonna make it this year. Unfortunately, I haven't been riding much at all this season." 
Really? Did you know that a guy on a 1956 Humbert finished the Half-Pecker in 2011? Kids do that route. Dudes on three wheeled contraptions with fishing creels strapped to the front finish that route. Saddle up on the carbon vunderbike and get here by nine. And who said anything about riding. There's a pretty good cookout around noon and the old man could use a lieutenant at the grill. Problem solved. See you Saturday.

Case Five
"I wish I could join you, but I'll be running through the night that Saturday, pacing a friend during the nighttime portion of the North Face Mohican Trail 100 Mile Run."
If you are gonna be running through the woods in the middle of the night, you might as well be shitfaced and get naked besides. Hell, I'm up for that. See you Saturday.

Case Six
"Sorry Jay, I tore my achilles a couple months ago and I am still in therapy and recovering.  It is going well but the older I get the more I want to get going and I haven't quite balanced it out yet." 
Allow me to assist. Present your physicians excuse at the sign in table. See you Saturday.

Case Seven
"I’m not going to make it this year; I’m going to try to act “like a Dad” . . . . . and take the clan on a family vacation. . . ."
We here in management endorse the family vacation. In fact, you deserve one! And since it's Father's Day weekend, you deserve to leave any day you damn well please. So here's what you do. Ride on Saturday, Leave on Sunday. Problem solved.

We are grateful to have been given to opportunity to help solve these difficult and vexing conundrums. See you Saturday. Mgt.

Seriously, which arrows do we follow?

IMPORTANT!  Someone had the gall to adopt the distinctive Peckerhead directional arrow as their own and has placed some of these on our route.  The imposter arrows are white.

The arrows we are following are YELLOW. 

Most intersections are marked. However, if you come to one that is not marked, go straight through,

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A minivan, a screaming baby, and a perfect day

Newville Church at the corner of Possum Run and Swigart Road
Seventeen years ago right around today (we skipped a year way back when) I took the day off from work to mark a bike ride course for a bunch of my friends.

I was 29 years old - twenty-nine! - and the father of a four-month old baby girl. I had recently traded in my 3/4 ton Dodge Ram 4x4 for a truly spectacular 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan. I don't think I was rocking Dad-jeans at that point, but shit had changed and changed big for me and my now family.

Early in the morning I packed my baby daughter into the shining white family chariot. I brought along two or three bottles of milk for her, a few cans of spray paint, the Ohio Gazeteer, and likely a fifth of gin for me. Off we went, full-on Clark Griswold style.

Back then, there was only one route for the Peckerhead Invitational and it was intentionally horrific. 90+ miles of nothing but hills and suffering. No bailouts. No GPS or Google Maps. No Strava. Barely a cell phone.

I remember very little about the day to tell the truth. Except one moment, and that's this. Ellie and I stopped at the Newville Church at the corner of Swigart and Possum Run to soothe what would be later diagnosed as a lower gastrointestinal problem that would require surgery. Poor kid was was screaming her f*&%ing head off.

We sat under the open hatch of that god-awful minivan while I rocked her to sleep and fed her a bottle. Alone with our thoughts and the veal calves across the road. No Facebook updates. No blog to revise. Just me, the kid, and a tiny church in the middle of nodamnwhere. It was a perfect moment of early fatherhood.

I included that corner in the John Holmes this year. When you ride past the church and head up Swigart into the teeth of John Holmes, try to throw some love to me and Ellie and our minivan seventeen years ago. #PKR4EVR.

Quality Caffeine, Served Fresh

Show up early. Peckerhead sponsor Relax It's Just Coffee will be serving up iced coffee and espresso Saturday morning to make sure we're all jacked up before hitting the road. You could just take some bennies, but that's nowhere near as elegant.