Not an Ironman

Wednesday night’s ride covered some of the ground of Sunday’s Ironman Wisconsin. We periodically saw orange route arrows taped onto the roads. We climbed 100 feet/mile, which doesn’t sound like a lot but is about the same rate of climbing as the Horribly Hilly Hundreds or the Death Ride. We rode 30 miles instead of over 100, but then, we did it after work. When Ironman participants ride these roads, they will do it after swimming 2.4 miles in open water. After riding 112 miles on these roads, they’ll run a marathon.

On the way to work the next morning, I saw green arrows marking the run route for Ironman. When I take a different route to work, I see swimmers (accompanied by kayaks) practicing on the swim route.

Will the Ironpeople have time to watch the sunset over these soybean fields?
I saw this sign on last Sunday’s ride. It captures the half-fast cycling ethos, even when we’re training for a century.

Sunday’s ride was a reminder of where the white people who settled this area came from. We met in Verona and rode through Frenchtown, Belleville, Monticello, and New Glarus. Of course, before them were the Ho-Chunk and their ancestors, the Mound Builders. The meet-up point was inaccessible due to road closures for Ironman, so I wandered a bit before finding a place to start. A few miles in, I joined the planned route. Twenty miles in, I saw the ride leader. Forty miles in, I stopped at a christian classic car show and saw a few more riders I recognized, but mostly I rode alone. You might wonder what christianity has to do with classic cars. I do. Old cars were parked at an angle around a one-block park. Very few people were looking at the cars. Most of them were in folding chairs listening to a preacher. I found the deep purple 1957 Chevy much more interesting.

I never tire of looking at contour farming.

ADude I follow wrote about riding alone and riding in groups, wondering which we prefer. My answer is “yes”. Riding in a group has the advantage that someone else can plan the route and you can follow a cue sheet. Riding alone has the advantage that you can go where your heart takes you and follow no plan; or have the fun of planning a route. A group lets you talk to people. Alone lets you be with your thoughts. A group give you the opportunity to draft behind someone and save energy. Alone means you can watch the scenery and not pay attention to the person in front of you. You can ride at your own pace. A quick pause here to run outside. The laundry is in the back yard but:

The laundry is hanging in the basement or in the dryer (and the rain has stopped), so back to riding. Somewhere in between those two is riding with a friend or two. I’ve been riding with this guy for about 45 years. This picture is from the 80s, when I was visiting back home from California and riding a borrowed bike. So ride alone, ride with a friend, ride with 100 friends. I don’t care. Just ride.

Half-fast in the mid 80s.
Can you spot them here, 25 years later?

Future archeology

Turtle Island 06053023

We have long known of the mound building civilization that existed some 2000 years ago in the center of the Turtle Island land mass. Recent discoveries have unearthed another mound-building society some 1000 years later in the same region.

We have had difficulty understanding this latter society, as they had abandoned prior forms of record-keeping for primitive electronic storage using systems that changed every few years and which were irreconcilable with each other. We have unearthed a plethora of different and incongruent storage devices and a myriad of incompatible operating systems. This society apparently thought they were creating long term storage solutions, but creating new ones constantly. We found mounds of discarded computing devices, each with infinitesimal differences, but enough to make them discordant. As a result, it has taken us years to decipher their history.

Only recently have we been able to uncover the history of these strange people. They subjugated the peoples of Turtle Island with a rapidly expanding imperial society based on the premise (that would be quaint were it not barbaric) that only humans with light-colored skins were actually humans. After the genocide of the native peoples, they “imported” darker skinned people as slaves. Once they ended abject slavery, they continued the process of subjugation of normal-toned people until the collapse of their civilization during the realm of King Trump III. They called themselves “white” and considered white to be associated with purity. Everything with color was considered inferior. Since very little of the natural world was white, the entire planet was considered inferior and ripe for subjugation.

The society was built on the exploitation of Gaia’s resources, discarding goods as rapidly as they made them, only to replace them with new goods. They apparently worshiped their discards. We recently uncovered a vast temple in the western portion of Turtle Island. The temple was built on a mountain of trash and is estimated to have held upwards of 10,000 people for their religious fests. The ground was said to burst into flame with the intensity of their rites, or perhaps from the release of methane from the decaying filth. Our translation of records reveals they referred to it as “Shoreline Amphitheatre”.

We have found smaller mounds on individual homesteads. Archeologists first thought these were burial mounds in emulation of the previous society of mound builders. They were almost exclusively long, narrow mounds, rectangular in shape, located near their dwellings. They contained vent pipes to the surface. At first, scientists hypothesized that this was how they buried their dead, and that the vents were placed in the belief that the souls of the dead were still alive and needed air to breathe. When we analyzed the contents of these vaults, we found them to be almost exclusively decayed fecal matter and a primitive paper. Current thinking is that these people literally worshiped their own shit.

Euro-American burial mound. Note white vent pipe at right.

The society collapsed during the reign of King Trump III. While they generally worshiped whiteness, images of the Trumps depict them as a bizarre orange-hued people. Perhaps this is why they were worshiped. During the Trump reign, all of the excesses of the “white people” came to a head. Extraction of minerals from Gaia came at breakneck pace. Huge pipelines were constructed to transport their primitive and filthy fuels. The trash piles grew more rapidly than ever before. The waste from their extraction of minerals piled higher and higher. The planet’s waters were defiled at a record pace. While they no longer enslaved their darker-skinned peers, they now locked them in huge warehouses, whose purpose has not yet been definitively discovered.

Gaia’s wealth was held by a tiny oligarchy. The majority of the populace seems to have had no purpose beyond consumption of the goods produced. As the goods were produced primarily by robots, the people could not afford them, lacking jobs and income. Greater numbers continued to be warehoused in an apparent effort to stave off rebellion. Finally the system could not sustain itself and the society, as it were, collapsed. Rivers were fouled in some regions, dried up completely in others, and overran their banks in still others, inundating the cities. The climate varied wildly, with droughts and floods simultaneously in different regions. The irreplaceable minerals, the very flesh of Gaia’s body, ran out.

In a last-ditch effort to save themselves, they attempted to colonize other planets. Their transport systems were so slow, and carried so few people, that most of the would-be colonists died en route. The rest apparently killed each other soon after arrival.

A society based on consumption had consumed all it could see, all it knew how to use. The planet was gashed, horribly disfigured. This ushered in the dark age, as Gaia healed its wounds. Only recently have humans once again come to recognize that we are part of the web of life. While this seems blatantly obvious to any five year old, the Trumpians (as we’ve come to know the dominant society of this entire era of mass exploitation and consumption) held themselves above Gaia and separate from the web of life; their inferiority complex manifested in a false aura of superiority, which nearly destroyed our home.