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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

16Dec/20

Freeport Stabbing Leaves Homeless Man Wounded

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A homeless man was stabbed in a wooded area of Freeport where three others died in the past six years, including another homeless man who was murdered, New York State police said.The victim, 44-year-old Narciso Cruz-Vazquez, was found suffering from stab wounds in a homeless encampment in woodlands just north of Sunrise Highway and just west of Meadowbrook State Parkway shortly after 4 p.m. Monday, police said. The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he is being treated for his injuries.“He was stabbed multiple times in the torso and is in stable condition,” State Trooper Frank Bandiero told the Press. “He has lived along the Meadowbrook Parkway for years.”The encampment is a short walk from a Freeport village day laborer hiring site, where undocumented immigrants gather to wait for temporary employment. Two homeless men were found dead in the same woods six months apart in 2012 and a third homeless man was convicted of killing one of them.Henry Martinez-Ramos was sentenced last year to 25 years to life in prison for stabbing to death 21-year-old Ermis Alonzo, with whom he had an ongoing dispute, in October 2012. Martinez-Ramos, who also lived in the same woods, hid the victim’s body under a pile of railroad ties next to the adjacent train tracks, authorities have said.That case came after 33-year-old Jose Garrido-Lobo was found dead in those woods in March 2012, but investigators did not suspect foul play, police said at the time.And in 2009, another homeless man, 65-year-old Miguel Angel Sanche, died when his shanty caught fire in an encampment less than a mile north of the latest incident in the same stretch of woods.last_img read more

16Sep/20

Jack Grealish is set to declare for Ireland.

first_imgThe 19 year old signed a new deal on Tuesday with Aston Villa.He is set to make his Irish senior debut in a friendly against the USA in November.The full back had also been tempted by England despite playing all his underage international football for Ireland.last_img

18Jan/20

Santiago admits: I thought Pons would win UAAP MVP

first_imgView comments Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Of course I am disappointed. We made it to the Final Four but our goal was to really make the finals and win the championship. But I still believe in my teammates that they will improve next season.” Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident LATEST STORIES Behind Pons, FEU returned to the UAAP Finals for the first time since Season 71.The 6-foot-5 Santiago also didn’t want to bask in the glory alone as she shared the MVP to her teammates.“The MVP is the entire NU. It’s a team effort. My teammates helped me get that award and I give the credit to them,” Santiago, who scored 23 points, said.READ: Jaja Santiago ends UAAP career on a high note with MVP plumSantiago led NU back to the Final Four, though, she would’ve wanted to end her UAAP career by towing her team to the finals.ADVERTISEMENT Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames Nzeusseu channels LeBron as he wills Jawbreakers to D-League crowncenter_img Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Despite her brilliance, Jaja Santiago admitted she didn’t expect to be named MVP in the UAAP Season 80.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ Santiago, the National University star, had a different bet in mind.“I really thought Pons would be this season’s MVP,” said Santiago in Filipino, referring to Bernadeth Pons of Far Eastern University.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“We saw how she carried her team all the way to the finals. She had a lot of contributions and effort for her team,” added Santiago, who helped the Foton Tornadoes bag third place in the 2018 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Tuesday.READ: Pascua: Pons deserves to win UAAP MVP  Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feastlast_img read more