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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

Michigan State guard Joshua Langford to miss rest of season with ankle injury

first_img“We hate this for Josh and our team, as he was one of our leading scorers, one of our top 3-point shooters and one of our two best defensive guards,” Izzo said. “But our commitment to Josh and his long-term health is paramount.”Izzo said he has never “felt worse for a player.” Joshua Langford will not be returning to the court this season.The Michigan State guard will miss the rest of 2018-19 with an ankle injury, the school announced Wednesday. He has not played since Dec. 29. Dewan Hernandez leaving Miami, turning pro after NCAA ruling “Throughout the process, Josh has done everything asked of him, while maintaining an amazing attitude and doing whatever he could to help his teammates,” Izzo said. “His selfless attitude is the reason there were tears throughout the meeting room when we shared the news with his team.”The Spartans enter play Wednesday in a tie for first place in the Big Ten with a 9-1 conference record. They’ll enter their matchup Saturday against Indiana at 18-3 overall.center_img “Josh has a stress injury that we caught fairly early and we had hoped that, with treatment and rest, he would recover,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “He has not, and will likely need surgery to prevent problems in the future.”The junior guard averaged 15 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13 games for the Spartans before suffering the injury. He shot 44.3 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from 3-point range. Related News What we learned from No. 11 Kansas’ loss to Texaslast_img read more

12Jan/20

GRA’s release of tax info unethical – Ram

first_img… as Education Minister given preview of recordsChartered accountant and prominent lawyer, Christopher Ram has noted with concern the announcement by Government that its Finance Ministry has records of private schools’ tax information and has since called for clarity.Ram raised the issue when he made a contribution to the consultation between Government and stakeholders on the removal of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on private education.The accountant highlighted that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is the only body in Guyana that should have tax records of taxpayers and that any such information must be confidential.Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, in defending the need to charge an education tax on private schools, said records in the Finance Ministry show that many of the institutions have been slipping on their tax requirements.“The records from the Ministry of Finance demonstrate that the schools are able to absorb the VAT. Of the private schools that are operating in Guyana, 57 per cent of them are currently registered with the GRA,” the Minister said as he began disclosing some statistics regarding the status private institutions in the country with respects to paying taxes.But, Ram challenged the Minister’s presentation and contended that neither he nor any Government official should be privy to tax records of taxpayers.“I’m not aware that the Ministry of Finance is in anyway a regulator of schools in Guyana and the situation was compounded when he said the Government has information on the schools that are not paying taxes. That’s a very serious statement to make, only the GRA has that information and the GRA and its officers are under a statutory duty of secrecy and confidentiality when it comes to information on any taxpayer,” he stated.Ram further told <<>> on Saturday during a telephone interview that he finds the statement “disturbing” and that it would be best for the Minister to clarify what he meant.“I think it’s in the interest of the integrity of the GRA that that statement be clarified because the GRA has a rule that it ought not to be giving out information on taxpayers,” he posited.The Education Minister had also disclosed that 10 per cent of private institutions are registered at non-profit organisations, and 14 per cent as profit-making entities.He also revealed that most private schools make approximately over $300,000 in tuition fees per year per person, depending on the level of studies.Dr Roopnaraine said the revenues generated by the top private schools exceed $2 billion annually.He noted that the estimate does not include extra charges by the institutions for additional services.He further announced that there is a high level of noncompliance of the timely submission of the required income, property and corporation returns and the payment of taxes.He said in some cases, teachers are treated as contract employees and employers are not deducting the appropriate NIS and PAYE from their salaries.The Minister also announced that there are incidents of under declaration and inflated expenditure so as to avoid paying taxes. “Payments are made to individuals other than institutions to facilitate these under declarations,” he noted.In this regard, the Minister had argued that “it is clear” that private institutions can absorb VAT without passing it on to the students.Finance Minister Winston Jordan had previously disclosed to the media some information regarding the tax status of private schools in the country.last_img read more

29Dec/19

Leicester blow! Napoli win race to sign in-demand Italian goalscorer

first_img1 Napoli have beaten Juventus and Leicester City to the signing of Gianluca Lapadula, according to reports in Italy.The Pescara striker was top scorer in Serie B last season and he finished the campaign with a hefty 27 goals.That sparked interest from Juventus and Leicester, with both teams eager to bolster their attacking options.However, according to Tuttosport, it is Napoli who have pipped the pair to the signing of Lapadula and they will announce his arrival on Tuesday.The Serie A side will shell out around £9million to land the 26-year-old and he will sign a long-term contract.Earlier this week it had look as though a move to Napoli had stalled, but the club’s decision to increase Lapadula’s salary has got the deal over the line. Gianluca Lapadula impressed with 27 goals for Serie B side Pescara last season last_img read more

25Dec/19

BONKERS! ANGLERS PACKED INTO BOAT LIKE SARDINES AND NOT WEARING LIFE JACKETS

first_imgAnglers all at sea found by Killybegs Coast GuardCOAST GUARD officers have described as “madness” after going to the rescue of anglers off County Donegal.And officers from Killybegs only came across the vessel – because they were taking part in a Search & Rescue course.“The madness continues,” said a Killybegs Coast Guard spokesman, following a number of incidents in recent weeks involving anglers in inappropriate vessels – including a €50 supermarket dinghy. “We were out today taking part in a SAR course and came across four more big men like sardines in a wee boat with no life jackets and no space to move in.”The men had travelled from Bundoran.The spokesman expressed frustration that the four anglers were actually breaking the law.“It is law that on vessels under 7m all passengers must have life jackets actually on,” he said. “Children must have them on when out on any size of boat.” BONKERS! ANGLERS PACKED INTO BOAT LIKE SARDINES AND NOT WEARING LIFE JACKETS was last modified: June 22nd, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:anglersbundorancoast guarddonegalKillybegslife jacketsrescueSARlast_img read more