Thursday, July 15, 2010

What’s In A Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

With this one verse Shakespeare was able to summarize the central struggle and aching tragedy between two young lovers, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. When in the Park, one can’t help but ask the same question. With signs displaying trail names like Fatcrobat, Heart of Darkness and Angry Pirate posted throughout the place, one must ask, “What’s in a name?”Let’s find out shall we?

Angry Pirate – when one of the trail builders knocked over a wasp’s nest during construction of this trail he was rewarded with a nasty sting below his eye. As you can imagine, the eye swelled up and one of the remedies was to wear a patch. The patch prevented further irritation to the eye and allowed the builder to return to work, albeit in a grumpy state and bearing a striking resemblance to a buccaneer.[1]

B-Line – named after the type of detonating cord that was used to remove some tenacious tree stumps during construction of the trail. Fire in the hole!

A-Line – after B-Line was built and named, it just didn’t seem right to not have an “A-Line”.

Crank It Up – the crew was going to call this trail C-Line but thought they’d better break the pattern. Good decision.

Crack Addict[2] – if Flavor Flav were to ever watch someone ride this trail he’d be compelled to ask, “Yo Chuck, they must be on the pipe, right?” Well in this case you can believe the hype … this is one scary ride!

Downhill mountain biking ... just as addictive and twice as expensive!

Ho Chi Min – before a redesign this trail went straight down the middle of Olympic Run where it was channeled through an extended section of swampy ground. The moist dirt allowed for the surrounding grasses to grow to a height of over six feet and created legendary humidity in the middle of summer. It didn’t take long for a “tour of duty” through this microclimate to draw comparisons to the trail of the same name in Southeast Asia![3]

Heart of Darkness – staying with the Vietnam theme, this trail was named after the movie of the same title[4]. As you may already know, Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse is a documentary that examines the production of Apocalypse Now and the struggles that director Francis Ford Coppola had to overcome before bringing his ambitious project to completion. The following quote from Coppola probably summarizes the content of the film, “We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane.”

Devil’s Club – the namesake of this trail is the broad-leaved plant that flanks the woodwork in the forest. Devil’s Club, or Oplopanax horridus, as your annoying friend with the botany degree calls it, has a woody stem covered in stinging spines. There is no need to have sympathy for this devil!

Old School – a nod to the hallowed North Shore, one of the inspirations for the Park and the genesis of ultra-technical and consequential riding.

Fatcrobat – named after a chubby trail builder with the capability of defying gravity with his amazing balance and uncanny knack for athletic stunts, thus proving once and for all that you can afford to weigh three spins as long as you have the skills!

Longhorn – legend has it that in a bygone season the trail crew was offered an awesome deal on refreshments at one of the local bars. As you can imagine, the crew got into the habit of frequenting this place after work. As it turned out, however, the bar had a couple of accountants with overly sharp pencils who started taking notice of the affect that this sort of bro-deal had on the bottom line. Well, the low rates got rescinded for the next season and the team started hanging out at The Longhorn in response. In order to give their new pub some pub, they planted a flag in the Park!

A thirsty rider!

No Joke – a reference to the fact that underestimating this trail would be no laughing matter. Kind of like listening to Kathy Griffin or Whoopi Goldberg do standup … there’s nothing funny about it!

Original Sin – this was the first trail cut in the virgin forest of the Garbanzo Zone. Just like Adam found out in the Garden of Eden, once the forbidden fruit gets picked, all bets are off!

That’s it for now everyone but next week we’ll continue the name game and give you the lowdown on the likes of Dirt Merchant, Samurai Pizza Cat, Monkey Hands and other fine trails. Until then, enjoy the flow!
[1] Good news, scientists are rapidly closing in on the degenerative gene that compels certain people to exclaim the word “Aaarrrrgh” after each and every reference to the name Angry Pirate. It is believed to be the same gene that makes people say “D’oh” after each mistake. If this is you, stop now before it’s too late!

[2] Crack Addict was built in 1997 by Dave Kelly. At the time, Dave was a one-man band; forming both the patrol and trail crew! Since things were pretty quiet in the Park back then, he built C.A. as a secret trail that he could reserve for personal enjoyment. Eventually it got discovered by a bunch of pesky locals and the trail found its way onto the map.

[3] History lesson time boys and girls; The Ho Chi Minh Trail ran through The Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Laos and Cambodia. It was one of the main arteries that provided supplies and manpower to the resistance forces during the Vietnam War (1959 – 1975). The “trail” was actually a complex network of hiking routes, crude roads and bike paths as opposed to a singular, well-defined trail.

[4] Heart of Darkness has gone through several route changes over the years. Next time you ride up the gondola, look for a tiny singletrack and a bridge over a small creek. This is the original H.O.D. bridge built by Dave Kelly 13 years ago!

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