Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Longest Day...in Frog Hollow

It is quite something how popular 24-hour races have become over the last few years. But why should that matter to anybody other than extreme athletes? 

That was the challenge before me, as I camped in "Frogtown" and volunteered at the "longest 24 hour race in the world," so called because it goes from 10 am Saturday to 10 am Sunday, over the end of Daylight Savings Time. Thus it is 25 hours long in real time, and Frog-Time.

Some "typical" scenery, mountain biking in central Utah.

Practical benefit: I learned how some 29 inch mountain bikes will accommodate the 27.5 inch (aka, '650') wheels with 'plus' sized (wide) tires.  I was leaning to the 650 Plus bikes for my next mountain bike.

Additional benefit: having my nose rubbed in the obsolete-ness of my 26 inch mountain bike. Will I even be able to buy tires for it five years from now?

When roaming free range over a wide group of people, it is so easy to begin categorizing creatures. Otherwise the human mind drowns in minute and fractured details. Here is a list of my favorite categories, stepping down to least favorite:

1. Dogs. Surprisingly my favorite was an uncropped male Doberman pinscher. I praised the owner to his face for allowing his friendly pooch to remain au naturel. 

2. Cute little girls.

3. Pretty young mothers.

Then there is a huge gap in the likability ranking.

Negative infinity plus 2. Old crones who cackle.

Negative infinity plus 1. Young boy monsters. (These may be promoted one notch, depending on the upcoming election)

Negative infinity. Males 16--30, who speak half-intelligible English, composed of the latest slang; and who wear their testosterone-crazed egos on their shirt sleeve. My goodness, how did young women ever put up with us, back then?

The difficulty of riding all night cannot be fully appreciated until you remember how deeply a younger person sleeps. They are really affected by sleep patterns that are disturbed.

Although mountain biking at night sounds semi-suicidal, remember that all riders had two powerful headlights. These have become remarkably good the last couple years.

Perhaps this experience is like that of soldiers in combat. Visualizing it thusly, and trying to put yourself into the shoes of the participants, may be the trick to making the experience interesting for a non-extreme athlete, who would otherwise laugh off the race as useless. Perhaps William James himself would have appreciated races like this as the "moral equivalent of war."

7 comments:

  1. "The thing that is the most galling is the moral posturing by the PC crowd for "Toleration" and "Diversity." This never seems to extend to people like him and me. The hypocrisy is astonishing: the most ostentatiously PC couple, who accepts (notice the use of the singular verb) a gay couple into its social circle, will not see that its tolerance is based on the gay couple being a couple. Tolerance and broad-mindedness end at the moral stain of singlehood "

    Wonder if your ogling someone's wife or 'cute little girl' might contribute to your observation? 😉

    Ed.

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    1. My ogling days are over. But I do APPRECIATE women of various kinds.

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    2. I can appreciate the ranking here, your favorite to least favorite groupings. Of course, preceding the specifics of the rankings is the observation that the human mind is set up like this at all....to categorize and simultaneously rank.
      You ask how young women could put up with males 16-30 and I think the answer is that they, too, are just as driven by their hormones and evolution has molded young women to be attracted to aggressive pushy men who look like they can defend and protect them and bring home the bacon.
      Your list seems archetypal to me. If reincarnation proves to be a fact (heaven forbid) then I hope I come back as a dog. So free of judgments, so honest, and so willing to love.
      I think it's interesting that you said "young mothers" rather than "young women" as I agree with the implication.....the lack of selfishness in giving and nurturing our young is a beautiful quality. And little girls are different from little boys from the very beginning, both manifest the same qualities when young as when they are older.
      Old crones who cackle? What does that mean? Old women who have become disenchanted with life, who see their sacrifice and wonder why they bothered. Who have lovingly raised their little boys and little girls only to watch them grow up and enter some of the categories that are way down the list? And who can only hope that this too shall pass and hopefully they enter an age of greater wisdom when they grow old.
      Perhaps "old crones" are the same as grumpy old men? Don't think that's all bad.
      It is archetypes that shine through your categories.

      Ed, out of curiosity, I don't recognize the quote. Where does it come from? Thanks.

      George

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    3. I was referring to the cackling style of laughter that many women seem to fall into as they age. I would rather hear fingernails on a blackboard!

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  2. "Additional benefit: having my nose rubbed in the obsolete-ness of my 26 inch mountain bike. Will I even be able to buy tires for it five years from now?"
    Walmart sells millions of them every year, I think your fears are unfounded.

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    1. I suppose I could live with the 26" tires that they sell in Walmart, but they aren't great.

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  3. An afterthought....

    What makes people become old cronies and grumpy old men? I think we finally realize how Mother Nature has had her way with us for most of our lives. She finally releases us when she has no more need for us....i.e., she no longer looks to us for reproduction. Hormones wane. A 70 year old man has half the testosterone he did when younger.
    I think we see things more truthfully. We don't necessarily see the human race as so special and so wonderful. After all, just read the news. We're just another species who happened to grwo a larger frontal cortex (circumstances) which allowed us an edge on survival but seems like we're actually our own worst enemy and this "edge" is bringing us to our own rapid demise as well.

    So, old crone/grumpy old man...they can be pretty interesting to talk to.

    George (given the alternative, I'm happy to be just another old grump.)

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