Friday, October 11, 2013

Self Selection

Sunday dirt surfer
Self-selection is what happens when you take a diverse population (people, fruit flies, white mice, whatever) and select all the individuals that share a common trait. You might breed them to accentuate the trait or maybe just lock them in a cage together to see what happens.

I lived in that cage for two incredible weekends this fall. First in Vermont, then again two weeks later in central Pennsylvania. Each time we took a group of 10 to 17 individuals (people, not fruit flies) with diverse backgrounds, temperaments, abilities, genders, tastes, walking abilities, and sleeping habits and forced them into close proximity for 72-96 hours. The result was pure magic, food for the soul, memories for a lifetime, a respectable amount of dirty laundry, and enough empty microbrew bottles to fill a couple construction dumpsters.

Eviscerated X-Kings
I suppose there are other selection criteria you could use, like astrological sign or political party or favorite football team but I bet they'd be boring groups by comparison. Too much or too little in common. I've been dabbling in this mountain biking culture thing for a few years now and I have found it to be the best self-selection criteria for a guaranteed good time, bar none.

I saw it all weekend long, but it really clarified for me Saturday night with seventeen souls relaxing around the campfire enjoying a bottle of root. The easy conversation, a couple of guys truing a taco'd front rim by firelight. Those will be enduring memories for me.

Next-to-last slice of
blueberry pie at Boxxer's
Now I've included Mike's 11-point summary of the weekend in this post because it's less sappy than my drivel above and only a mountain biker would understand half the points which just proves my theory anyway:
  1. Arrive early at Boxer's so you can get their blueberry pie before it's gone.
  2. Stegmaier Pumpkin Ale is the most bestest pumpkin ale ever.  Word.
  3. Don't skip meals and stand around the chalet for hours in bike clothes insisting you haven't had much to drink, or you'll end up like Jason.
  4. "Flatch" is aptly named and remains the King of all things flatulent... despite honorable attempts by others to dethrone him.  Uh, not me of course.
  5. Who says spare tires are dead weight?
  6. Coffee with a funky name in a 20 oz. French press is like effing race fuel.
  7. If you think a monster truck is chasing you down the Dark Hollow trail, do not panic.  It's only Bryan on his Moonlander.
  8. Martin's fires are not conducive to jumping.
  9. Mrs. Smith of pie fame doesn't hold a candle to Todd's Mrs. Smith.
  10. Stanimals are real.
  11. Never trust a burp.

"It's only a stinger. Walk it off."
     -- Todd (if he says this, then you might want to consider calling 911)

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