Sunday, September 25, 2011

White Stripes -- "Black Math" (2003)

Mathematically turning the page
Unequivocally showing my age
I'm practically center stage
Undeniably earning your wage

I've been tempting fate for years -- and getting away with it.  Until today, that is. 

I was nearing the end of a very satisfying ride when my mountain bike's rear tire blew.  Given that I can't remember the last time I've changed the tube on either of my tires -- it's been at least five years, maybe longer -- I can't really complain.  (Throw in the fact that I weigh 200 pounds and ride right over a lot of rocks and tree roots that more skilled cyclists would nimbly avoid, and my lack of flat tires is even more remarkable.)

Here's the culprit.  These big-ass thorns are all over the place.  Usually, all the damage they do is slash your legs if you make contact with them as you ride by.  But if one of these is lying across the trail as you ride by, your tires don't stand much of a chance.

I was only about a mile from my car when my tire went flat, so it wasn't that big of a deal.  A few minutes after I loaded the bike on to my car and started back, I passed a poor motorcyclist who had gotten tangled up with a car -- so I'm not complaining about a flat tire.

Before my tire went flat, I had been riding the "Trail of Tears" (West Barnstable, MA), which offers the most interesting mountain biking on Cape Cod.  The town finally posted some nice big maps of the area on signboards in several parking areas, and that enabled me to locate miles of trails I had never ridden.

I used my trusty Blackberry to photograph the map at the beginning of the trail.  I had to take a total of eight slightly overlapping photos to cover the relevant parts of the map -- I could have taken one photo that showed the entire map, but the lettering would have been illegible on my Blackberry screen.  It was a little clumsy to navigate this way, but at least I didn't get hopelessly lost (which was what used to happen to me when I rode here every summer).

A couple of days later, I was riding the Trail of Tears once more when a thunderstorm hit.  Naturally, I was far away from my car when the rains came -- there was nowhere to run . . . nowhere to hide.

The worst thing about getting caught in the rain while biking is that (1) eyeglasses don't come with windshield wipers, so you are quickly riding blind, and (2) the sweat from your forehead ends up getting washed down into your eyes, so you are not only riding blind because your glasses are blurry but also because your eyes are stinging like a son of a bitch.  The only way to make them sting any less is too close your eyes very, very tightly while you are riding, which is not recommended.

"Black Math" is from the Elephant album, which won the Grammy as the best alternative music album of 2004.  This is a song that takes no prisoners.  It is a perfect mountain biking song.

Here's "Black Math":

Here's a video of a live performance of "Black Math" from Under Great White Northern Lights, a 2009 film that documents the band's 2007 tour of Canada:

Here's a link you can use to buy the song from Amazon:

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