The most colourful of weeks saturate my mind’s eye like an aching belly over filled with home cooked mushroom risotto. Want more cant have more but there is more. Richmond is all I remember and then some, especially getting to unpack the city for Brad, sharing our observations and amusements.
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
Hardly set foot inside the Lindbloom residence last Monday before building the bikes, this is a city for bikes, and getting down for a sunset meander which included a sighting of the Richmond Street Art Festival graffiti works.
We shall in fact run right by these murals during our race next weekend. Really neat, turning old factory ruins into something pleasing and contributing. I experience Richmond as a very conscious community, one that feels and reasons and challenges me.
“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” – Mohamed
Richmond is famously inked, apparently the third most US city. It appears an offshoot of their freedom to express. As seen in the way the way they dress, what bikes they cruise the city streets on, how accepting of alternate facades they are. Even the Museum District in which we make our two week residence, there is a class spread unlike any neighbourhood I can think of back home. Affluence and broke young working intertwined like a good tapestry and positively as colourful too.
Much of Richmond’s downtown renaissance has been pioneered by the hipster mob. For all the justified teasing they are a good influence, supporting local, pursuing craft and artisan product, anti large corporation franchise. They too love commuting by bikes, which creates such a cool feature to town. Bikes on porches, bikes against the lamppost.
As travellers we’ve just been to Birmingham and Tennessee, and tiny pockets of those. But the contrasts we observe are not to stigmatise but to discover what we feel resonates with us. And the common ground a biker culture allows is such an attractive attribute to us. Both the two previous communities seemed very locked down, living inward and not out onto the street as is the custom here.
“Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves” – Euripides
We went to Friday Night Cheers on Brown’s Island, which is the same spot where our transition will be. This outdoor music fixture has been going strong for something like twenty years. Really great. The band I know a little, and loved seeing their stage act. During the final and best song, a train rolled by and pulled its horn during the chorus. Surreal and brilliant moment. The crowd went bat shit crazy. Trains and Richmond are synonymous, part of the proud heritage to a city that was the first Capital of the US. The track was Down in The Valley, by The Head And The Heart:
The video reflects their stage personality. High energy and very fun.
“Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways” seems written for me…
A good laugh, them hipsters. Considering I am sitting in an exposed brick coffee shop that fits the bill. All have beards here. All have MacBook’s. How bad. But let me not fall on my own sword.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
Brad and I have ticked through some really solid training, such that a celebratory glass of wine at a bar we’ve been running past was in order last night. Our bikes and runs have been stimulating to the senses. City living comes with the territory but there is so much to observe while out and about. Refreshing. On the down side, I cant just drop my trowsers for a slash as is the usual training custom. We found a brilliant pool as well, packed and shipped from Nebraska where it was used for the 2008 Olympic trials. So we lined up where Phelps and Lochte have, and did our level best not to sink. Class facility.
Went out towards Wintergreen and the mountains on Saturday, lined up for a little Short Track race. Was excellent for tight technical push, 45minutes plus one lap. Form is good. It was hosted by a Brewery, Devils Backbone, so naturally a tasting followed. I’ve been patiently waiting for my palate to profit from beer, but its been reluctant. One of their IPA offerings really has captivated my resistance though and owns my intrigue. Good fun exploring the genre of craft beer with our more experienced host Ethan.
Did win that Short track in my new favourite riding gear, some baggies by Specialized. Very fun. Seemed the right look for a Brewery festival with live music and all.
One more week here in RVA before migrating to Boulder for six days before I’ll head down to Brazil and the island of Ilhabelha where I raced back in 2006. That trip was with Dylan and he’ll be there with his wife for a reunion of sorts. Should be excellent. Then Stellenbosch and Knysna for a week each. The final long haul gets me back to Boulder mid July. So sadly no Europe as hoped this season, just couldnt get it all scheduled.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Mille
The week here will have two adorable little girls on centre stage. Claire and Alice. I’m not saying I want one, just saying I really enjoy watching their uninhibited worlds of joy…