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30Dec/20

Stringduster Travis Book Reflects on the Bluegrass, Beer, and Bikes Tour

first_imgIn October of last year, I was driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, headed for a trailhead, windows down, bike on the roof. The leaves were starting to change; there was no one on the road and there would be no one else on the trail—a perfect day. I started thinking about the Parkway, how it tied the Blue Ridge together, and it occurred to me that it would be really amazing if I could take that perfect day and share it. I thought, “I like bikes, and beer, and playing music, and nice drives in the mountains…maybe other people would join me for this sort of thing.” A few days later I was playing music in Charlottesville, and I got to talking with some friends from Blue Ridge Outdoors about this plan I was hatching: 4 days, 4 breweries, 4 great small towns with world class single track.Fast forward to late March: the breweries committed, bike clubs engaged, sponsors acquired, and itinerary set. We were ready to roll on the inaugural Bluegrass, Beer & Bikes Tour—four straight days, moving from Brevard to Boone to back home in Nelson County and concluding in Roanoke. I would lead a group ride each day and play a solo show at a local brewery each night.11027481_10206345367692403_8964661415612178615_nDay 1I enlisted the help of fellow cyclist, logistical genius, and tour manager of my band The Infamous Stringdusters Katrina to come along and keep the train on the tracks. We left Nelson County on a warmWednesday night, arriving in Brevard around midnight. It had been raining, and I had doubts about the group ride the next day but the morning dawned with sunny skies and temps in the low 60’s. Spring had sprung and we were the beneficiaries as about 15 of us rolled out of Oskar Blues Brewery, onto the greenway and into the legendary Pisgah National Forest.We started making friends immediately, common experience is the ultimate bonding opportunity, and we were in it, stomping the pedals up steady climbs, whooping as we banked down newly tuned trails. After a couple hours we retreated to the brewery, dumped some water over our heads (turns out you can have a shower with just a quart of water) and got down to business. Reps from Keen and Farm to Feet socks were on hand, as well as a contingency from the Asheville Blue Ridge Outdoors offices. I played for about 3 hours; we raffled off some great prize packages; I grabbed a growler to go and headed for the hotel.Day 2The morning dawned cold and we knew it was only going to get colder as we drove north, into the mountains to Boone. There were only six hardy souls out for a mid-day, post-snow group ride at Rocky Knob Bike Park, but what we lacked in numbers we more than made up for in enthusiasm. We shot a bunch of footage for a video, lapped a section of kickers/table tops, then retreated to the warmth and safety of the car before catching a quick shower and heading to Appalachian Mountain Brewery. AMB’s business model is built around giving back to the community through fundraising, profit sharing, collaborations, and just good times. Our Yakima rep arrived after a non-stop drive from Texas and he jumped right in, pitching the raffle, talking shop and, most importantly, helping to drink a few beers.Day 3At 7 a.m. I opened the hotel window, two inches of snow on the car and piling up. Rapidly. We had to get to Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Nelson County by noon, so escaping the North Carolina High Country weather made for an early morning race to the gig! Upon arrival in Virginia, temps were in the low 40s, but the sun was shining so we stuck to the plan and threw the party outside. I needed hand warmers in my pockets to keep the fingers moving, but the crowd needed no help in raising almost $2,000 for CAMBC (Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club). They sold CAMBC branded Klean Kanteen pints that included beer, and needless to say it was a successful plan.After the music, about 20 of us got out on the trails around the brewery for a couple laps. Over the last three years, I’ve lived on the property at Devils Backbone (soon to be known as Devils Backbone Basecamp and Meadows) and in that time I’ve (almost) single handedly plotted, cleared, cut and maintained the three miles of beginner-friendly but fun-for-everyone singletrack. Initially commissioned by the brewery to be used as a 5K XC running course, I designed every section with mountain bikes in mind and it’s resulted in a fun and fast trail with some whoops and jumps, twists and turns that leads you on a complete tour of the property. It made me so happy to see so many riders out on the trails. Post ride we convened in the brewery for beers and dinner. It’s rare that a brewery has trails onsite that dump you out at the brewery so we took advantage.Day 4Early to bed, early to rise, and straight south to Roanoke, our final stop. I had a hunch that Sunday at Soaring Ridge Craft Brewery would be the biggest day of the tour and I was right. We had at least 30 riders join us at noon for our group ride, which consisted of a complete tour of Mill Mountain, accessible from downtown. When I planned the tour I’d assumed we’d ride at Carvins Cove, a legendary riding spot west of town, but I also inquired about riding from the brewery. Craig from RIMBA (Roanoke chapter of IMBA) had literally pointed out the window of the brewery toward the giant M and said, “We’re building trails on Mill Mountain as we speak. Let’s earmark the funding for that project and do a tour of those trails.” Perfect.I’d come to realize that one of the major obstacles or barriers to entry that mountain biking faces is accessibility. When I was growing up, before I had a car, I had a bike and I rode it. Everywhere. 15 miles roundtrip to school then straight out my backdoor into the Pike National Forest. If I had to put a bike in a car and get a ride to and from the trailhead, mountain biking wouldn’t have played the pivotal role in my youth that it did. For mountain biking to continue to grow and reach new participants, it needs trails near population centers, like Mill Mountain. It needs trails near landmarks and in multi-use parks like Devils Backbone. It needs parks specifically built and maintained to bring new mountain bikers into the sport and challenge them as they progress, like at Rocky Knob, and it needs entire communities committed to increasing access to the woods and cultivating a cycling culture, like in Brevard.The ride in Roanoke ended late. The expert group I was in couldn’t get enough, so I had about 30 minutes to dump some water over my head, eat a grilled cheese, and get to making music. Soaring Ridge has a beautiful tasting room with tall ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass, and plenty of room. We wedged at least 200 people in there Sunday afternoon and raised nearly $500, entirely donations, for the ongoing work RIMBA is doing in the community. By 7 p.m. there was nothing left to do but finish my last pint, pack up the banners and the sound system, toss them in the completely disorganized rear half of the 4Runner and head for home. As Katrina and I drove north, with the sun setting on our whirlwind tour, content, happy, and reflective, we both agreed, next year cannot come fast enough.Huge thanks to Blue Ridge Outdoors. Without your enthusiasm and support, this tour wouldn’t have reached a critical mass. Thanks also to the breweries: Oskar Blues in Brevard, Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers in Roanoke, and Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland. They provided the location and context and put up a substantial part of the sponsorship that made this tour possible. We had 5 great sponsors on board who made product available, sent representatives, and helped spread the word. Yakima, Keen, Klean Kanteen, Farm to Feet, and Ride Solutions were all fantastic partners. Special thanks to Jonny at Yakima who joined us for three dates, took two rides, and stayed at my house one night. Finally, everyone who came out to ride, came out to listen, or just helped spread the word about this tour, without you, it’s all meaningless.In 2016, we’re putting the bikes first; Bikes, Bluegrass & Beer. Website coming soon!Check out this Travis Book original preformed for Gondala Sessions in Aspen, CO.last_img read more

26Aug/20

Justin Verlander dominates Dodgers as Astros win opener of World Series rematch

first_imgPreviousLos Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hits a solo home run in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, second from left, hits a solo home run as Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander, left, watches along with catcher Martin Maldonado, right, and home plate umpire Jim Wolf during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsHouston Astros’ George Springer (4) looks on as fans reach for Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson’s (not pictured) solo home run in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, center, celebrates after scoring on a solo home run as Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, right, kneels at the plate and home plate umpire Jim Wolf cleans the plate during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, center, receives high fives from teammates in the dugout in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson reacts after hitting a solo home run in the in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood throws to the plate against the Houston Astros in the second inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros’ Jake Marisnick (6) high fives a teammate after scoring on a double by George Springer (not pictured) in the second inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood in the third inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal throws out Houston Astros’ Martin Maldonado in the third inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros’ catcher Collin McHugh throws out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (not pictured) in the 6th inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood throws to the plate against the Houston Astros in the second inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers trainer speaks with starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) before he is pulled from the game against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts stands on the mound as pitcher Alex Wood (not pictured) leaves the game in the seventh inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander looks towards first base at Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor in the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson strikes out swinging in the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander is pulled from the game with two outs in the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (3) steals second base under the tag of Houston Astros second baseman Marwin Gonzalez (9) in the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado attempts to throw out Houston Astros’ Josh Reddick at second on a single by Yuli Gurriel during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Los Angeles. Reddick was safe. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers trainer speaks with starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) before he is pulled from the game against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros’ Josh Reddick breaks his bat as he pops out during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Houston Astros relief pitcher Hector Rondon throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger reacts as home plate umpire Jim Wolf calls strike three for the final out of the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers struck out 16 times. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros relief pitcher Hector Rondon celebrates after striking out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger to end the baseball game Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Astros won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers grounds crew prepares the field prior to a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw looks on during the National Anthem prior to a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)A kid runs on the field prior to a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander warms up in right field prior to a Major League Baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hits a solo home run in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 30Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hits a solo home run in the first inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Aug. 03, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)ExpandLOS ANGELES — In an alternate universe, maybe it is true.In that world, Justin Verlander became a Dodger – instead of  Yu Darvish. He helped the Dodgers win a championship – instead of the Houston Astros.Forget that the Dodgers cast their lot with Darvish a month before Verlander changed teams last season. Forget that he almost didn’t change teams at all, going down to the last minute before waiving his no-trade rights. Forget that taking on the $56 million the 35-year-old Verlander will earn this year and next would have blown up the Dodgers’ goal of getting under the luxury-tax threshold and avoiding the punitive penalties awaiting them.There is a faction of Dodger fandom that will always believe things could have – should have – been different. Friday night must have been difficult for them. Verlander, still wearing the Houston Astros uniform with a World Series ring locked away somewhere, held the Dodgers to four hits while striking out 14 in a 2-1 Astros victory as last year’s World Series teams replayed the matchup.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.The loss dropped the Dodgers back into a first-place tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.“I think he gets stronger as the game goes on, which is crazy,” Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger said of Verlander. “He was throwing 96, 97 (mph) in the seventh and eighth innings.“It’s hard to hit. Tip your cap.”Joc Pederson might keep his lid on. He got Verlander in the fifth inning of Game 2 last October and led off the bottom of the first Friday night with a solo home run, turning on a 96-mph fastball and lofting a fly ball just into the seats near the right-field foul pole. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Wood allowed just one more hit before leaving after six innings with cramping in his left hamstring – a problem that has plagued him most of the season.“I’ve been working on some things with getting my hand up (in his delivery),” Wood said. “I think it’s really helped with the quality of my stuff. I think my command has hurt a little bit from that. But the direction I’ve been heading in and the quality of my stuff I feel really good about.”Springer’s double held up as the difference as Verlander dominated the Dodgers hitters into the eighth inning.Taylor finally reached second base after Verlander left the game, stealing second. But he was stranded there and Hector Rondon retired the final four Dodgers in order (two more by strikeout).“At the end of the day, this is just another part of the 162,” Wood said of the World Series rematch this weekend. “We’re just trying to win another ballgame. Justin Verlander was pretty good tonight. We kept it tight the whole game, just missed that big hit.” Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start It was Pederson’s third home run in two games, two of which came in the first inning. He joins Carl Furillo (July 12-13, 1951) as the only Dodgers hitters to lead off consecutive games with home runs.Verlander settled in quickly after that, striking out six of the next eight Dodgers and 11 in the first five innings.Chris Taylor led off the third inning with a single. Cody Bellinger singled with two outs in the fourth. Justin Turner drew a two-out walk in the sixth.None of them advanced past first base. Verlander retired 23 of 27 batters after Pederson’s home run, 14 by strikeout. Verlander got through seven innings on 97 pitches.“Gosh, I didn’t see anything different than he’s done against us the last three times – in Detroit and in the World series twice,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.“It’s one of those things with a guy like him – you’re going to see it again on Sunday and probably tomorrow – where it’s guys with plus stuff. They throw strikes. It’s hard to run a count. You seem like if you’re passive, you’re going to be 0-1. So you’ve got to be aggressive and try to be on the fastball. Tonight, I thought we took some good swings on the fastball, just didn’t barrel it.”Alex Wood took longer to find his groove. Six of the first 11 Astros batters reached base – on three walks, two singles and a double.The double was most costly. With runners at first and second and two outs in the second inning, Wood was one strike away from getting through his troubles without any damage. But Springer lined a 1-and-2 changeup into the left-center field gap. Bellinger hustled over and cut the ball off but slid to his knees in the process and kicked the ball away.“Unfortunately, it popped out of my glove,” Bellinger said. “I was just trying to stop the ball from getting to the wall.”One run scored on Springer’s double, a second on the error charged to Bellinger.Related Articles Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco last_img read more