CHALLENGES GALORE (And I Can’t Seem to Ignore a Single One of Them)

HOLIDAY CHALLENGE: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

I only learned of this particular holiday this morning when I woke up and saw Suzanne’s inspirational post. Sounds great! I like holiday bike rides.

Other than The Feeshko, I can’t think of any very famous women from MY Town, so I didn’t quite know how to approach this holiday. From past experience though, I’ve learned that when I start riding and thinking (if that’s what you want to call what goes on in my head) some ideas will generally bubble up. It happened again today.

THE MAYOR’S HOUSE. SHE’S A WOMAN, SHE’S KIND OF FAMOUS LOCALLY, AND SHE’S PRACTICALLY MY NEIGHBOR. HER DOG AND MY DOG ARE GOOD FRIENDS TOO, JUDGING BY HOW THEY SNIFF EACH OTHER.

The only other famous woman I came across on today’s ride was St. Elizabeth Anne Seton. The Catholic church in Hastings is named after her and I think that’s pretty cool.

THERE SHE IS NOW–THE ONE WITH THE BIRD ON HER SHOULDER.
PEOPLE ARE INSIDE WORSHIPING IN THEIR OWN WAY ON THIS SUNDAY MORNING, AND I AM HONORING A GREAT WOMAN AND SAINT IN MY OWN WAY.

I tried to think of some other ways to honor women. Once again, my thought turned to music–specifically, WOMEN of music. That seems like a pretty good way to segue into the next challenge.

THE MARCH SONG CHALLENGE

I truly like the female voice. It can achieve things no male voice can. While riding, I thought about famous female musicians–and not just vocalists. Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Grace Slick, Tina Weymouth, (thanks for the reminder yesterday, Old Grumbleface) Georgia Heubley, and Kim Gordon came quickly to mind. There are many, many more, of course.

I wanted to feature a female-themed song here. “Girl From the North Country” seemed appropriate at first. It’s a really nice song by a Minnesotan, but it’s a Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash duet. They’re MEN.

My thoughts turned to featuring a song by a Minnesota woman. There have been a few, from Judy Garland to Mary Jane Alm to Lizzo, and beyond. But how about a band formed in Minneapolis, comprised entirely of women? A band dating back to the 1980s who were performing angry, aggressive rock music before it became cool?

TOO aggressive? Try the next one by my favorite Duluth, MN band, Low. Mimi Parker, drummer and vocalist and new mom, beautifully expresses her protective instincts.

THE CYCLE LIFE LOCAL PURCHASE CHALLENGE

I did make a local purchase while on my bike ride. It’s not an impressive purchase, but I feel the need to get as many of the seven posts in as quickly as possible so that I can beat Mr. Scooter to eternal glory. As you might remember, that guy pulled two rides out of nowhere last year–on the same day–just to defeat me. It ain’t gonna happen this year unless he can do six or seven rides in a single day to pass me up.

MY 2ND OFFICIAL PURCHASE: THE SUNDAY PAPER. $1.99 AT A LOCAL CONVENIENCE STORE.

THE INSPIRATIONAL BOOK CHALLENGE

This one isn’t really an official challenge, as far as I can tell, but it relates again to Suzanne’s last post. She revealed some books that inspired her to seek her own adventures, and she asked her readers for book titles that may have done the same for us. That was easy for me. I immediately thought of a book I read about 15 years ago.

NO, NOT THIS ONE . . .
. . .THIS ONE.

Goran Kropp’s story is what I still consider the most amazing athletic achievement of all time. I bought the book because I was interested in mountain climbing at the time, but it turned out to be the book that inspired me to turn my lifelong interest in bicycling into my newfound interest in bike TOURING.

Kropp was a Swedish dude who loaded 250 pounds of gear onto his bicycle and trailer in Stockholm, rode 7,200 miles to Nepal, then loaded most of that weight onto his back and carried it to the Mount Everest Base Camp. Then he climbed Everest by himself with no Sherpa support and no supplemental oxygen. Then he climbed back down the mountain, retrieved his bike, and pedaled back to Sweden.

If going from sea level to 29,000 feet and back to sea level, all under his own power and totally, stubbornly, self-supported isn’t amazing enough for you, there were a couple of other details that made the journey even more incredible . . . but you’ll have to read that for yourselves. All I can say is that it inspired the hell out of me.

I think the only other cycling-related book I ever read was this one:

A FINE BOOK BY ONE FUNNY AND ADVENTUROUS WORLD TRAVELLER.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

4 response to "CHALLENGES GALORE (And I Can’t Seem to Ignore a Single One of Them)"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: March 9, 2020

    I’ve always appreciated Babes in Toyland, but I don’t tend to like very many female voices. It is interesting to see what difference in age does for the artists that quickly come to mind. For me, it was: Ani Difranco, Sinead O’Connor, Melissa Etheridge, Emmy Lou Harris, KD Lang, Hole, Alannis Morrisette, Mazzy Star. I’ve never routinely listened to any but the first two. And I don’t so much like Ani’s voice, but I love the lyrics to her songs. Here’s one from a recent performance, and I think it will be very evident why I like her! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry8b2v-hl_U

    Interesting about the summiting of Everest – as I thought you had to be part of some sort of guiding to get a permit, I had no idea you could bypass all of that to do it on your own!

    • By: gregblood Posted: March 9, 2020

      I can’t believe I didn’t mention a few of the women you mentioned. That’s a pretty good list. As for Babes In Toyland, I don’t actually care for them too much, but I sure respect their contribution to, and their influence on, the Twin Cities’ musical culture.

      Yes, there is a complicated (and expensive) permit system in place for Mt. Everest climbers. Kropp dealt with that in the book and, as I recall, he had to pull some sneaky shenanigans to get his permit.

  2. By: Suzanne Posted: March 9, 2020

    Thanks for the book recommendation, Greg! I had read about Goran Kropp but not hisbook. I think I can get a hold of it second hand. I read that he died in a mountain climbing accident in 2002, and apparently due to no fault of his own.

  3. By: gregblood Posted: March 9, 2020

    I think he was just doing a routine climb when a boulder came tumbling down and hit him on the head. It was somewhere here in the U.S.

    The thing that led me to Kropp’s book was Jon Krakauer’s famous “Into Thin Air.” Kropp was on the mountain when the tragic events described in that book occurred and he summited just a few days later. Krakauer gave his amazing accomplishment about two paragraphs, but it was enough to get me to find out more about this guy.

    I should warn you that the book isn’t particularly well-written, and Kropp often comes off as being very arrogant, but what a story! And, for a guy who did what he did, I’m willing to cut him a little slack for the arrogance.

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