The Hit and Run Video and My Opinion

Cycling has been in the news alot this week, and not for a good reason.  The hit and run on the Natchez Trace that went viral and ended up in just about everyone’s facebook feed has demonstrated the real danger that cyclist face, and the real ironic thing: The danger on a road that is primarily there for cycling and sightseeing.  The Natchez trace is a national parkway, and has special rules for cyclists, such as the fact that they are legally allowed to take up their entire lane and ride two abreast.

I’m not going to post the video, I’m sure you’ve seen it.  I’m at a loss for words after watching it and I just can’t understand, but after watching it something I believe has been reinforced, people do things behind the wheel that they probably wouldn’t do if they weren’t driving, and that society is changing.

The following is just an opinion, it could be wrong but it’s what I think.  I think the cyclist Tyler Noe in that video was stuck on purpose.  I believe that the driver, Marshall Grant Neely, had been held up for a period of time behind two cyclists who were taking up the lane.  I believe the driver probably drove this road on a regular basis and had developed a deep hatred of cyclists, especially those who ride two abreast.

I believe the driver had probably decided that he needed to take action against the cyclists who were, in his mind, ruining his life and the lives of others, by holding him up behind them.  I believe the driver decided he would “bump” the cyclist perhaps knock him down.  The driver then developed a story claiming how the cyclist threw his bike at him, it would be his word against thier word.  Instead he is now on TV.

Now here’s where I’m going to get weird, so bare with me.

I believe that our current society has more or less abandoned the idea of truth and objective morality.  Instead it has devolved into a tribal form of subjective morality.  I believe that society will separate into two camps on almost any issue and construct their own truth about any given situation.  An objective person can see this happening in our politics, society forms two tribes that each completely ignore the flaws of their candidate and develop their own reality of any given situation.

Donald Trump understood this better than anyone, he is a master of manipulating reality.  His obsession with polling and ratings is a dead giveaway.  He understands that truth is only what his tribe will believe.   He realized that to his followers what he said was reality, as long as it sounded even remotely truthful.  He also realized that in our society today consequences for behavior are as subjective as reality has become.

Marshall Grant Neely will face consequences for his behavior, but likely not serious life altering consequences, he will not serve time.  And why should he?  In fact to many he is a a hero, in fact I would estimate if a poll was taken the cyclist would be the one to blame.  In fact a poll was taken, look at the comments in the video, the comments that blame the cyclist are far outvoted then the comments supporting the cyclist.

Here’s a good example.

“clearly this asshole on the bike is riding next to his other asshole buddy just so these piece of shit fag boys can talk. I’m tired of these fucks ruling the roads that built for cars not bikes. Best of luck to the guy in the car, I stand with you. Yes, I am very angry about this. I live near the beach and see this too often. These fucks don’t stop at the stop signs and get away with it just so they don’t have to stop and have to start up again. Fuuuuuu-Q!!!!”

This particular comment was the most highly upvoted comment on that particular video.  In the past I would just write it off as internet trolls, but that is no longer an option.  The internet trolls are now running the country.

So… as cyclists we must understand that we are the minority, and that there are people, a small but likely growing number, who will hit us with their vehicles if we are riding in such a way as they feel is incorrect.

This is my advice.  Treat all cars as if they are driven by poorly designed robots that will run you over if you get in their way.  Do not ride in the robot car’s path, as many robots are lacking empathy programming.  If you are riding two abreast and a car is approaching line up on the edge of the road as fast as possible.

Do not trust that ridiculous 3 feet laws will protect you.  They do not really exist.

Maybe I’m way off, maybe Marshal Grant Neely really didn’t the cyclist, really didn’t notice he’d hit one, and really thought a cyclist threw their bike at his car.

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Happy Birthday from Lance and Willie

Even though I’ve got an awesome photo printer I usually just buy dollar greeting cards, but no more.  My Dad’s birthday was yesterday and I made him a custom card.  I guess I’ve been watching Lance’s STAGES podcast so I’ve got Lance on the brain.  I also included another folk hero, Willie Nelson.

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Tour de Corn / Laserjet 4 / Snorkeling

It’s raining…

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Today’s post is an update about what I’ve been up to so far this week.  Lets start with the cycling.

CORN!!!!!

Last Saturday I went with Luke and Jo-L to Tour de Corn, one of my favorite rides of the year.  Luke asked me when the ride started and I replied 8AM completely sure of myself.  We arrived at Eat Prairie MO at 7:40.  I immediately wondered where everyone was at, maybe the ride stars at 8:30 I thought.  Then it hit me, this ride starts at 7:30.  What an idiot.

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So Luke and Jo-L went to sign up.  I was suppose to be doing the 100 mile with Luke but was having second thoughts, while they were signing up I went to hit the restroom at the nearby store, they thought I’d already left and went looking for me.  At 8:15 I realized they were already gone so I just started riding, as soon as I turned North I encountered a huge headwind I put my head down, laid my forearms on the tops and I just ground, I ground and I ground. I stopped once for about 20 seconds to grab two cookies.  I never refilled my bottles and I rarely got out of the drops.  I felt like the 60 mile ride was all that I needed.

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For the next 3 hours I worked my way from 45 minutes behind the start of the ride to close to the front.  It was interesting to me.  Despite the big headwind almost everyone was riding in groups of two or three and spread out across the lane.  I eventually got caught by a Wood and Wave group after blowing by the Charleston stop.  I couldn’t outpace the three of them alone though I had no problem lounging in their draft.

PRINTER!!!!

I get attached to things I guess, when I was a kid I nearly cried when we traded in our old reliable TV for a new fancy one with remote control.  I hate to throw things away and I suffer for it sometimes.  Like, take this drawer, its full of cables, power adaptors, network cables and a 8 port switch.  Unless I plan on setting up a computer lab or hosting LAN parties I probably don’t need this crap.

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So I’ve been needing to print some things and I have this great ancient Laserjet 4 Plus printer that was made in 1994.  It has a page count of 379,000 pages.  This is a hardcore printer, like it cost 1500+ dollars when it was new.   I mean this is a beast, in fact just think about how crazy this thing is, it’s 23 years old and it works natively with Windows 10.

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Well I was just about to toss it the other day.  It was printing horribly and jamming alot.  Before chucking it to the curb I decided to try and fix it.  I bought some new exit assembly rollers, and I took it apart cleaning it out.  I took the laser assembly apart and cleaned all the toner and dust off the mirrors.  I came to the realization that the toner cartridge wasn’t working right even though it was almost brand new.   I cleaned the Transfer roller, but still had spotty printing.  New toner cartridges can be purchased for 20 bucks so I tried that.  After all my hard work I’m glad to say it’s printing like brand new.

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Oh and I cleaned out my drawer.

SNORKEL!!!!

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And finally I’ve picked out a new hobby, I bought a Snorkeling set.  Well I bought this ancient snorkeling set from the Salvation Army Store.  The rubber disentegrated in about 15 minutes but, wow, what a great 15 minutes.  I spent about 4 hours researching snorkeling and bought a Snorkeling set from Amazon for 35 bucks.  Wow, what amazing fun.  I’ve always hated swimming, it’s so slow and I usually feel like I’m going to drown.  With these finds and a snorkel I feel like I can swim all day and if I get tired I just lay there in the water and catch my breath.  I’m like AQUAMAN, minus the green tights.

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We’ve been going to Pounds Hollow and I’ve been swimming around the lake.  The other day when we went the beach was full of people, Shauna said many of them were amazed when I passed the roped off area and went across the lake.  “Can he do that,” one person asked.  “Isn’t he going to drown?” another person said.  “That’s where the snakes are,” a kid said.

I’m really looking forward to going snorkeling somewhere where I can see further then 12 inches.

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Mysterious Weakness Strikes Again

I have systematically removed all weakness from my body, so it is rather shocking when I’m struck by a debilitating case of massive weakness.  I rode in the 6th Little Egypt Time Trail last night.  It was a partial gravel ride, starting at Blue Sky and going up the horrible Buffalo Gap road.  While climbing the short mild hill to get to the start line I nearly turned around and went home.  I couldn’t catch my breath, my shoulders were sagging and I had a great deal of tightness in my left arm.  I looked down to see my heart rate was all of 145 beats.

To give a comparison, my average heart rate for a 3 hour ride at the Tour de Corn was a 152.  At no time in that entire ride did I feel as bad as I did climbing up to the start line last night. My average heart rate for the 40 minute TT was 141.

I found it nearly impossible to ride in the drops, my arms and shoulders felt like they were being squeezed.  At several times during the race I just shifted into an easy gear and spun, sitting up.  Seconds into the race I discovered a thirst that would not be quenched.

Several clues lead me to believe I had become massively dehydrate, my blood pressure was very low that entire evening.

 

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Hiking the Summit for the Milky Way

I hiked up the River to River trail from the Herod Hitching Post last night to the overlook.  I don’t think this overlook has an official name so I’ll call it the Summit Overlook.  My goal was to take photos of the Milky Way and perhaps some dramatic sunrise images.  It was a great trip and I got many good images.  I underestimated the cold though, it was mid 50s last night and my sleeping bag is weak.

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It was cloudy when I arrived, the was reported to clear overnight so I set the alarm on my phone for 3AM.  At 2:30 I peaked out from under my tarp and saw no stars.  Apparently my phone died overnight but I woke up myself at 4 AM.  the sky was totally clear and for the first time ever I had a clear view of the Milky Way overhead.  I took 30 second exposures like crazy for the next 30 minutes and by then there was  enough light to obscure the milky way.

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Got a few nice sunrise shots around 5:30 then hiked back.  The lack of sleep is catching up with me, but it was worth it.

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ON a side note.  I called Shauna at 9:30PM and after 4 hours of total silence I had a bit of hesitation before I could talk, like I was worried about disturbing the animals or something.

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Tour of the Ozarks Part 4

Day 4 Gasconade to Meremac Springs Park

This was only a 60 mile day but it felt like the hardest day of the tour to me.  The temperature and humidity were high and I felt very fatigued.  This day the route was actually very interesting, taking us away from the interstate on some very old stretches of route 66 by a place known as The Devil’s Elbow.  Later we did an extended stretch on route P which which was very forested and a really great road for riding.

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We arrived in the tiny town of Newburg in the hottest part of the day and our water was running low.  The only establishment open in this town was a bar, it was the classic laid back country bar with George Jones playing on the Jukebox and a group of older guys hanging out.  They gave us some water and we bought sodas.

I had done some research and found Meremac Springs Park, a privately owned trout spring and campground.  This was a far more pleasant place to camp as the trout fishers were far more relaxed than the river floaters.

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Day 5 Meremac Springs Park to Farmington

The 5th and final day made me think someone was watching out for us.  We had 77 miles to go, but the heat broke and the high today was 80, a strong easterly wind pushed us to Farmington and my car.  This would have been a very fun day if it hadn’t been for the nagging saddle sore that I had developed.  I found find a comfortable place on the saddle but it required a little work.

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This was the first day we went off the official route and took State Highway 8 nearly all the way back to Farmington.  I got a headstart on Ryan by at least half an hour.  I was on my bike and riding at 7:45, not really that early but it was the earliest that I set out on this trip.  Ryan still managed to catch me about 25 miles into ride proving how much faster he was moving than me.

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This road was perfect for cycling, traffic was light and the hills were far easier than they had been to the South.  Nothing really happened on this day until we passed through Park Hills and met another rider.  He passed us going the other way and then shortly turned and caught back up with me.  The guy had a fascinating jersey on about Area 51 and aliens.  He was eager to talk and asked questions about our tour.  Then he offered to show us the best way back to the Airport so we could avoid more hills and bad traffic.  I was happy for his help.  He explained he was training up for a century ride that would be the first since a heart attack.

I thanked him for his help and asked his name.

“They call me The Vamp,  short for Vampire,” he replied.  I may have looked at him a bit funny, “It a long story, I used to be a truck driver,” he said with a laugh.

Vamp dropped us off at the regional airport and I wondered if the tiny terminal building was open, the chances I figured were quite slim as the place seemed deserted, but to my surprise the entire building was open.  I had the place to myself and was able to clean up in the bathroom and relax on the couch while Ryan dismantled his bags.

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I can’t say that I wasn’t very happy to be finished.  I needed a day off of riding and I needed a good night’s sleep.  My condition at the end of this ride made me really examine whether I would be able to ride across the country, that is if I even wanted to.  I told Ryan several times that what I was doing was unsustainable, every day I felt a little worse.  Luke assures me that by 7 days or days of it you just get used to it.

I can say one thing for certain, being on the Trans America trail in mid summer is like being a part of something.  Whether it be guys like little Ryan on their own adventures, racers like Evan out to push the boundaries of human accomplishment, or folks like Jim just enjoyning 50 miles a day and seeing the country, riding the TransAm, even the small part of it we did, is something I will never forget.

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Tour of the Ozarks Part 3

Day 3 Bendavis to Gasconade Resort

We left Homer’s friendly farm in good spirits on Friday morning and made haste toward Hartsville.  I realized that the mild soreness I had felt after the first day had developed into very sore legs.  Riding was fine as long as I didn’t push very hard, but I definitely felt fatigued.  Ryan seemed unphased.

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I should take a moment to mention Ryan’s bread.  He was carrying around 3 jars of peanut butter and a loaf of bread, which is funny because so far he had not opened any of these items, yet he had continually had to unpack and repack them to get to other items.

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We made a breakfast stop in Hartsville and were joined by Jim, one of the Adventure Cycling Group riders.  Jim was wearing a Harrisburg Cycling Club jersey so I struck up a conversation about how I was from Harrisburg IL. and he sat down to eat with us.  The thing that struck me about Jim is that he didn’t look like he was on a bike tour.  He looked as if he just left his house after a relaxing morning and a shower.  The guy was extremely well groomed and clean, where as I was not.  Jim was a great guy and he loaned me a Brooks tension wrench so I could tighten up my B17.

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Before we left Hartsville I floated around a shortcut, mentioning we could knock off alot of miles by going straight North instead of continuing West for another 30 miles but Ryan was not interested and really I agreed with him, I mean we were here to ride our bikes not take short cuts.  So we continued on to Marshfield where we transferred from the Trans America Trail to the Bicycle Route 66.

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OK anything that I have to say about the Bicycle Route 66 has to be taken with a grain of salt.  The route is 2500 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles and  we rode 100 miles of it, so I really can’t say much about the route, but I can comment about the route as it runs through much of Missouri.  It’s mostly bad.

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The route was mostly interstate frontage roads that were about 50 feet from the interstate, which really isn’t much different from riding on the interstate.  The constant noise and fumes of automobiles is not really how I want to enjoy my cross country cycling.  When the route entered towns it was like a tour of urban sprawl and tourist traps, again, not how I want to enjoy my cycling.

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Now it wasn’t all bad, some sections we rode were of the old historical route 66, highways that were totally deserted, in some cases large 4 lane highways that were so dead and empty that it was eerie.   Some of these sections featured the deteriorating landscape that would have been thriving back in 40s and early 50s.  These sections were very interesting.  BUT, through these historical sections the roadway surface was often very cracked and rough making for a less than comfortable ride.

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Friday would be our longest Day at 97 miles.  We passed through the large town of Lebannon around 6 PM and were more than ready to stop, but the only lodging opportunities were hotels and Ryan wasn’t interested in hotels so we continued on about couple hours to Gasconade Resort.  Eventually we came to a barricade in a road because of bridge that was closed, it had been damaged by the floods.  Luckily for us we were able to cross it on our bikes.

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In short order we arrived  the Gasconade Resort which is a campground for those wishing to float on the Gasconade river.  As you might expect the campers here were a bit rowdy.  The group near us stayed up until 11PM discussing all manner of things at high volume.  Eventually some announced they were going to bed and fired up their SUV to run the air conditioner so they could sleep comfortably.

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I was just about asleep when it began to pour.

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