From OYB: "A Dirt Road Rider's Trek Epic" by Victor Vincente of America
June 29, 2011
[$10 postpaid] Published by OYB, here's a rare, classic, mt-bike & backroads culture book. $10 ONLINE SPECIAL! 33% OFF list price of $15! PLUS FREE SHIPPING!
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What's So Special About This Bike Book?
If you're a bike buff, you know how rare enduring bike literature is. Well, here's a classic chunk of pure bike-ride story-telling for inspiration that's been handed around in the underground for years now, written by VVA, a bike cult guru hero. Offroad riding holds more literary story material than you might think. And our author has gotten as close to it as you can. This isn't about dizzy-headed extreme adrenaline 'dudes' and 'shredding.' It's real writing, art and one-of-a-kind insights into the backroad experience.
At 65 years young, VVA is a founding father of mt-biking, as well as the modern era of road racing in America. He inspired many with his unsponsored, half-starved European, Olympic and early-RAAM racing victories and exploits. He was the first American to win in Europe in the modern era--inspiring Lemond, among others. He won the first USCF National Championships in 1961. He's still the youngest racer to win a World Cup event (19). He set the first modern trans-US nonstop record, which inspired RAAM. He hosted legendary offroad events. He designed coins, jewelry, apparel and artwork. His notorious newsletter from Southern California was the first home of this amazing prose-poem. He's a one-of-a-kind champ, all right.
The original DRRTE is showcased here along with many new episodes as well as an amazing section of media-reprints from VVA's heyday and dirt road scene.
HEY! Here are a few episodes excerpted---they've been stashed elsewhere at OYB for years... www.outyourbackdoor.com/OYB8/bikes/trekepic.htm
Fully illustrated, with artful glimpses of his other projects, including coin art, t-shirts, posters, and stamps.
Book Details: Regular list price $15. 8.5"x11", paperback, black&white, 100 pages. ISBN 1892590506.
A Few Excerpts...
Climbing now towards the ridgeline overlooking Sylmar,
stopping at viewpoint, trying to pick out in the checkerboard
far below the building wherein at 4:05
a cup of hot chocolate-coffee was consumed
in preparation for this Fishday adventure.
No pacesetter companion today, no riding partner. Instead,
memories of fragments of conversations heard earlier:
"What is that you are. . ."
". . , saying to me?"
"Kelvin Siu, extension 333, please. Kelvin Siu, twee twee twee."
And "Don't forget my armies!"
This road is below flight path.
Airliners arriving from the north descend, cruising easy
into the valley. Afternoon sunlight glints.
Reward for reaching the summit: sunstruck blue-gold mist
filling Santa Clarita valley. A setting for ardent sun.
A jewel-laden bed, scattered glimmerings of sunlight on water.
See to learning something today.
In the steep scary downhill; rocky, sandy turns;
outside pedal down, then just 1/8 turn backwards
and the front wheel accepts more easily the curve,
turns into it as though unbidden.
Turnaround point by washout on unmaintained fork of road.
Stop for a bite to eat and a bowlful
by Monkey Trumpet growing right out of rock, and thistle,
and small five-petalled lavender blossoms of name unknown.
Under a large rock, a small scorpion, rare and willing to sting,
awaits cooling-down of evening.
Arthropod scuttling, alien thought patterns. . .
*** FINAL System message from root @ freebird ***
System going down IMMEDIATELY
System shutdown time has arrived
syncing disks . . . done
Hang glider takes a couple of steps off the steep hillside,
then is supported on wings of nylon and aluminum
held together with steel cabling.
Circling above, singing to the crows.
Diving, swooping, the harnessed gymnast freed,
through technology, like the red-tailed hawk.
Below, on technology more akin to the mountain lion, we lope
along trails and old roads where wild cucumber "de vine" sprouts
through November green carpet.
Descending from the ridge, through winding switchbacks,
under powerline towers;
it's so hard to use tactics when everyone has left you behind.
"Hey, wait for me; I dropped my water bottle!"
Descending like crazy, dicing with soul-mate,
continually on the outer edge of control;
laying life on the line, witholding nothing,
neither skill nor recklessness.
"Hey, it's dangerous up ahead. Slow down!"
Scramble across washout that strains agility to the limit.
Cross over canyon bottom at the boulders
permitting stream-hopping; up the embankment and into the clearing
where the old cabin still stands,
the ancient pay phone still buzzes its dial tone . . .
. . . Car wreck must be pulled out of the canyon,
but the tainted money father refused was spent on booze.
Now, reaching down into the pocket of poverty
and finding not a penny,
but a token, which allows for one local call;
hoping for some companionship.
But "Suzi's dead", so there's no running to Arizona this lifetime . . .
Up the moist sandstone roadway, climbing the opposite hillside.
Sprint 'til you pop~ Death is certain, life is not.
Practicing a non-interference policy toward death:
Let the diseased die. Let the suicidal die.
Let accident victims die.
Not afraid to die. Not afraid to live.
Not afraid to kill somebody.
Got to think about getting this life together.
After this ride, must get off cycling; say "No!" to hot tea
and a place beside the fire.
Just say "No" to cycling. Just say "No!" to life.
Glint of gold in the roadside berm, half-mile south of
the old stagecoach road. Thirty feet further down the road,
figure: might as well take a look,
though it's probably just some junk brass. U-turn,
go back plenty beyond, turn again to approach the same way,
so the sunlight will glint off it the same way.
There, the same glint of gold in the berm.
This time, stop straddled, bend down, touch the glint
with a fingertip. Move it, eyes scanning minutely,
brain analyzing every visible detail,
mind and belief system having a wild time, approaching overload.
. . . It is a gold coinl Take a close look
(glad the magnifying glass is in the pack).
. . . 3 dollars, 1891, CC. Well, this is serious!
Dismount, throw the bike, derailleur side down,
out of the way against the embankment.
So many questions: How long has this gold coin been here
in the bulldozed berm, how long had half of it been exposed
to the sunlight? Who lost a gold coin on this remote dirt road?
Kneeling now, carefully brushing the last of the dust from
the wreath of tobacco, wheat, corn and cotton.
This is in very fine condition.
Now, clutching the gold in the left hand,
beginning to wonder if this is a singular occurrence.
Raking at the sandy dirt with the right hand fingers,
mindful to move only enough dust with each scraping
to uncover just the surface.
Continuing this for some time,
a couple of feet up the road satisfied to turn up another
two gold coins, and then one more close by.
Comparing them all, all the same: 3 dollars, 1891, CC.
This means something. Looking around a bit, what is this?
Right hand curve in the road, sandstone outcrop
up the hillside on the right. Twenty miles from nowhere.
Carefully scramble up the embankment,
arriving at the top of the cut just above the gold.
Start searching in earnest, finding a couple near the edge,
a few more upside a large grass clump, others further up;
a veritable trail of gold leading up to the sandstone.
Up there, still stuck between two parts of a split boulder,
a leather pouch, rodent-chewed,
spilling out the last of its cache
onto the steep, eroding hillside.
Gold certainly not lost; more likely hidden there by the outlaw
who robbed the stage bringing payroll from Carson City.
Leading a life somewhat misshapen,
mistaken, misplaced, or unreal.
Rabbits dying, funeral pyre in the fireplace.
No sign of productivity from any
representative of the sisterhood of the egg.
Winged beans, supposed to fill the cornucopia of Africa
and the world, barely presenting three juvenile leaves
to the sun who brought them forth.
Bicycle suffering from need of new components
and the desire to ride it fading
as all of life fades during the dreary winter days.
Sky of grey, night of black
and cold that requires a steady fire, more energy
than burned by one's self during the dreary winter day's ride.
Does one deserve the warmth of fire?
Pure maple syrup?
Palestrina singing of holiness in Latin?
Warming ones self by the funeral pyre, gaining warmth
and life through the sacrifice of a small furry creature.
Memories of old thrashed Huret,
which through careful and precise hammering
had had most of its usefulness restored,
while gaining a well-used patina
achievable only on quality merchandise.
How many times, the Huret retrieved from the trash barrel?
Thrice-purged through ordeal of fire
and saved to die death upon death again.
There comes a time when one cries out for
permission to use that forbidden tool;
that one which has the power, but was not
designed for, not intended for, this task.
Crying out for permission, so that once again
the machinery might be restored to its functioning existence.
But final verdict: Beyond retrief.
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