(Last) Weekly Roundup: Not Our Kind, Dear Edition

We meet then, appropriately, via an interruption. My son and I were standing in the line to register for a day at Windrock Bike Park, a hardscrabble collection of steep descents and unpleasant terrain just west of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was our first visit to the place and we had no idea what we’d be seeing or riding. All we knew was that there was a no-entry-fee race being held in the afternoon, and that there was some sort of youth division.

“Should I race?” John asked, leaning close to me so I could hear him over the conversational madness of the queue. This was also the line for Windrock’s ATV and SxS trails, so we were very close to a lot of very loud people. They were also very fat. I can say that because I, too, am overweight — but I was between fifty to a hundred pounds short of the average off-roader in our vicinity, regardless of gender.

“Well, John,” I said, loud enough for him to hear me but no louder, “we have no idea what the race course will be. It might be a lot of really steep and rocky stuff, which you don’t like riding. Or it might be ten big jumps in a row, and you’ll be the only kid to clear them.”

“HE AIN’T GONNA BE THE ONLY ONE, BUDDY.”

I swiveled my head and eventually located the source of the noise: a whipcord-muscled fellow, with a sunken face and massive mustache, about five foot eight, dressed in a bunch of brightly-logoed motocross apparel. Two young boys flitted around behind him, maybe eleven and thirteen years old. “THESE BOYS CAN HIT EVERY JUMP IN THIS FUCKIN’ PARK.”

“Alright then,” I replied, and turned back to my son.

“YA’LL NEW HERE? WHERE YOU COME FROM? WE DRIVE SIX HOURS FROM GEORGIA AND MY BOYS CAN JUMP EVERYTHING HERE.”

“Yes,” I said, “you’ve told me.” Unfortunately for me, the line was moving at rural pace and so both my son and I had to listen to him for the better part of twenty minutes. He was full of advice, most of it completely useless. He had a lot to tell me about himself and his two boys. How great they were. How easy mountain biking was for them. How we could learn a lot by watching them. When said children stopped running around long enough to interact with us, they were wild-eyed, feral. “GIT!” he yelled at the younger one, swatting him away from some candy on display.

An hour later, we ran into them at the top of the mountain. It became obvious that the fellow was having his kids chase John down the mountain segment by segment, yelling unwanted advice and generally being as obnoxious as possible. After a thousand vertical feet of this, I rode up past everyone and pulled John over. The kids and dad behind us stopped on cue.

“Why don’t you keep riding,” I suggested. “This isn’t helpful for us.”

“JEST TRYIN’ TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE RACE!” the father snapped, but under my consistent gaze he called out to his kids in sled-dog fashion and got them going again. John looked at me and his face was clouded.

“I want to go home,” he said. “I don’t like this place and I don’t want to race those kids. They’ll beat me and then they won’t shut up about it.”

“It wouldn’t be the worst thing,” I suggested in response, “to learn something in the course of losing to more experienced riders.” After three runs down the mountain, however, he wasn’t feeling much more optimistic — so when it was time to line up for the 14-and-under race I let him return to the truck and have a snack. I was conflicted about doing so; while I expected he would do well in the race, I was also worried he would hurt himself on relatively unknown terrain while doing so. Then we returned to the mountaintop and John spent two hours working on his front-brake balance during long descents. Even the “blue” intermediate trails at Windrock featured some steep, rocky sections; the experienced MTB racer we brought with us as part of our rider group for the weekend found himself walking a few particularly unpleasant features while prepping for his own race.

Sunday morning found us working on Windrock’s “freeride” section, a series of five jumps in a row. Somehow these same two kids ended up taking a shuttle ride to that area with us, absent their father. They were unable to get their bikes on or off the shuttle trailer, so I did that for them while they attempted to engage John in conversation.

“HEY KID,” the older one blared in uncanny parental imitation, “YOU GOT THE MOST EXPENSIVE KID BIKE EVER. ARE YOU RICH? WHY DIDN’T YOU RACE YOUR RICH-KID BIKE?” John attempted to answer but his voice was too quiet for the children to hear over their own spontaneous yelling. The father showed up with the next shuttle.

“WHERE WAS YOU AT THE RACE YESTERDAY? MY BOYS PRETTY MUCH WON THAT RACE. WOULDA BEEN NICE TO HAVE SOME COMPETITION.” I looked around and John was gone, having retreated to the corner of the roll-in for the freeride section. “YOUR BOY DON’T TALK, DO HE?”

“I’m not sure he has anything to say. Why don’t you enjoy your ride?”

“YA’LL STAY AROUND AND SEE WHAT WE CAN DO HERE. MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING.” I noticed that John had put his bike down and had wandered over to a place where he could see the kids ride. The younger one went down the trail. His rear wheel never left the ground. He looked like what he was: a small child trying to get his bicycle up and over features designed for skilled men. “THAT WARN’T BAD!” the father screamed. “WATCH YOUR BROTHER.” The brother did slightly better, but at no point was he in danger of leaving the ground for more than a half-second. “YOU JUST ABOUT GOT THAT SECOND ONE, BUT YOUR FIRST ONE AIN’T RIGHT YET!” was Dad’s feedback. The father rode it last, bumbling down the trail and nearly stalling on the ramp up to the largest jump before dropping his feet off the pedals and shoving himself over by main force.

John’s eyes were unreadable behind his Oakleys but I could read something in the dust-raising way he shoved his bike back up to the trail entrance. “Let me ride it first,” I implored him, knowing that the father and kids would be waiting at the end.

“I don’t care,” he replied, “if you do or don’t.” So I took a few pedals and headed down for a low-key line that saw me tapping my back wheel for stability’s sake at the end of each jump. Sure enough, the father was deliberately in my way as I exited the trail.

“YOU AIN’T BAD,” he said. “MY BOY HERE IS JUST ABOUT JUMPING SOME OF THIS STUFF.” Then we turned to see John heading down the line. He didn’t just clear each jump — he overcleared them, landing five or ten feet on the back of each step-up like Evel Knievel showboating his way into an extra thirty seconds of television exposure. When he got to us he didn’t stop and didn’t speak, turning right to return up the hill for another run.

“HOLY. FUCKIN. SHIT.” was the father’s response, delivered mostly to the air. The boys behind him pawed the ground with worn shoes; their body language suggested they expected to shortly be on the receiving end of a lecture, a beating, or both. “CAN HE DO THAT EVERY TIME?”

“Hard to say,” I replied, “it was only the second time he’s ever tried the section. I’m sure he’d love to teach your boys how to ride that,” I continued, putting my helmet back on and preparing for the walk back up the hill, “but he speaks very quietly, so maybe they won’t hear.” At the trailhead John had his helmet off and his eyes looked watery.

“Those kids suck!” he snapped. “If I’d known how bad they were I’d have raced! I would never talk like that if I couldn’t ride!”

“One of the problems with being generally truthful, John, is that you assume truthfulness in others. That crazy dad is a liar and his kids are loudmouths. You were scared of them—” and I raised my hand before he could protest the contrary, “—but all you needed to do was to focus on your own riding and it wouldn’t have been a problem. Not everyone,” I suggested, “is worth respecting, or even acknowledging.”

“I’m going to take the long run back down,” he told me by way of response, pedaling away as he did so, “and this time you won’t catch me.” He was right.

* * *

For Hagerty, I complained about terms and did a little local-yokel intimidation of my own via an M8 Comp track review.

56 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: Not Our Kind, Dear Edition”

  1. AvatarEverybodyhatesscott

    As a fairly truthful person, It took me till a lot older than johns age to figure out some people are full of shit. Good lesson to learn young

    Reply
  2. AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

    On another note;

    I’m guessing your son has stepped away from gasoline powered sports, motorcycles and go carts?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      We took the year off from karting at his request. Likely we will come back to 206cc a year from March, with perhaps a Margay spec series race or two in between.

      Reply
    • AvatarNewbie Jeff

      “‘Not everyone,’ I suggested, ‘is worth respecting, or even acknowledging.’

      NEVER a truer word!”

      I grew up in the American South, and I knew many people like this… to borrow Jack’s term, “local-yokels”. They were outcasts as kids, outcasts in public schools… they are uneducated and have nothing, and thus continue to be outcasts their entire lives. “Local-yokels” are typically intensely patriotic, mostly because they have little else to be proud of. The “worn shoes” comment pretty much sums it up…

      What I find fascinating, in its incredible hypocrisy, is how even in the Age of Wokeness there exists an almost universal agreement that the American “local-yokel” is unworthy of respect or acknowledgment. We’ll readily take in the “local-yokels” of Central America or some war-torn failed state in Africa or the Middle East… they’ll be bestowed with every positive characterization – earned or not – the elitists can dream up. They’ll be expedited into American society… cities will offer them sanctuary, they’ll literally be handed a way of life, and shielded from any criticism from those of us who think this all might be just a BIT counterproductive…

      …but not the American “local-yokel”. They’ll be called “rednecks” or “white trash” or “mouth-breathing troglodytes”… In a society that’s infinitely butt-hurt over generalizations, the American “local-yokel” still receives the brunt of race- and class-based hatred from all sides, a rare bipartisan consensus to ensure they remain outcasts.

      One day, should you have to interact with such lowly vermin, you might be surprised at the result of showing just a little acceptance.

      Reply
      • Avatar-Nate

        Well Jeff;

        If they’re left out & sad it’s because they’re proud of being ignorant White Trash Red Necks .

        I lived that life until I realized I alone could change it and change I did as quickly as I could .

        I’m still uneducated but I’m very content and like jack here, I worked diligently to ensure my son knew that being obtuse leads only to poverty and un happiness .

        Not surprisingly he’s more successful than I ever was, makes 2 X the money , has a better house and so on .

        Some pay attention and learn, others just blather on and wonder why their life sucks .

        I’m always interested in seeing how John learns and advances in life, he’s load when it suits him , good on Jack for allowing John to quietly step aside instead of wasting time there .

        He missed one race yes but also learned a valuable life lesson .

        Not a whole lot of children are as perceptive as John is .

        -Nate

        Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        There’s a reason for that, and it’s the same reason that non-legacy American whites are being disappeared from the Ivy League by judicial fiat; you can’t achieve the dream of Brazil if you have to compete with your own genetically close proles.

        The local yokels from elsewhere are color and culture coded. You dont need to worry about them. If you put those two MTB kids into a good school right now they’d end up taking the admission spot of some Goldman Sachs managing directors cokehead son. Can’t have that.

        Reply
        • Avatardejal

          That’s unfortunately the thing. It is not genetic. It’s exposure and nurturing of the parents or guardians or lack there of. My grandparents came off “the boat”. My parents never finished high school. I’ve been in IT for 40 plus years and every year at work they ask “You going to retire?” I’m not ambitious,but I’m considered in the companies top 10% of key people out of 600 people. I only have as associates degree in computer programming. My sister has a master degree in business.

          My mom worked in mills. My dad worked the factory line for 30-40 years. I’m older than he was when he took a buy out. They worked tobacco as teenagers in Western Mass. In the summers every square inch of land in the Connecticut River valley from New Haven CT to Greenfield MA was square miles of tobacco shade tents/awnings. I asked if I could. They emphatically denied me that opportunity and told me I wasn’t going to be a laborer (nothing wrong with that occupation).

          I’m not stupid, and have a pretty decent IQ. My mom without a high school degree probably had an IQ in the 160s and could run circles around me.

          My parents lived by what used to be the standard thinking in the US of “I want my kids to do better than me”.

          Reply
  3. AvatarSean

    It’s amazing how “that guy” seems to be everywhere. Car shows, drag strip, rallyX, even the local gas station. There’s always one.

    Reply
    • Avatarrwb

      Sorry, this is too vague and it’s immediately obvious. The guy blurting all of this stupid shit and potentially doing terrible things to those who depend on him, what does he deserve? Is this normal, does this represent any average?

      Reply
        • Avatarrwb

          Simply, in my experience (and honestly, I hope either my experience or a misunderstanding is the crux here,) his behavior is neatly representative of an archetype that often seems to be exalted on this site as the rightful foundation of Western society, and thus the inevitable bellwether of its culture. Also, the blame for the hollowing of his class is placed squarely on “unelected mandarins” and “our betters” who have, we’re led to understand, deliberately imported their “replacements” with malice aforethought, or at best unforgivable ignorance.

          I see a conflict here, since many of these people live in a purgatory or worse that is largely self-made; their “replacements” from other cultures are sometimes willing and able to perform to an equivalent or superior standard, while not being rude, destructive people (so, when this is the case it’s hard to fault a business for making their choice, and I think we’re in agreement that there’s no shortage of people eager to come here and do whatever they can to give themselves a better standard of living); and I don’t think you can reasonably condemn his behavior while being an advocate for elevating, in general, him and those who behave the same way into a position of greater importance and influence.

          Again, I would be happy to learn that my beliefs here have been fomented just by bad luck, that encountering a loud parade of these people every time I operate outside of my intentional bubble of generally sharp, capable people isn’t normal, but it’s been too consistent a theme throughout my life for me to believe otherwise at this point.

          I want to be clear, there are a lot of things I’m *not* arguing against here that I know, given how things are read these days, one might assume I’m seeking to confront. For example your comparison to Brazil above, and the implied descent into unmanageable stratification and inequity, is a trend that is pretty undeniable, and definitely disgusting and indefensible, but I don’t think the answer is as simple as is claimed, or even that a good one must exist.

          Reply
          • Avatarrwb

            I need to clarify: You provided a good description of a person who appears to be inherently petty and unkind. I want to be absolutely sure that it’s understood I am not saying that everyone who doesn’t have a lot of money can be described this way, only that there are those who had access to a school, a library, and someplace to walk around and think, and have managed to use none of these things to their advantage.

            Unfortunately, a lot of the most important tasks are thankless and a saddening number of those doing them are inexplicably underpaid. I don’t want to think about how the number of people committed to these jobs who, again in my experience, are thoughtful people who decided to forego what they could have had, compares to the number who are just struggling to get their shit together and who would be willing to do something less than ethical if they could only do so competently, or those who just plug along in situations where the bar is showing up sober and staying all day.

          • AvatarCompaq Deskpro

            I don’t see the connection. An asshole is an asshole regardless of where he comes from or his economic status.

          • Avatarrwb

            So you see no correlation at all between social skills and an ability to become successful, given a starting point near the poverty line? In other words, an asshole with zero self control has the same chances in life as someone who can be tactful when they need to?

            I can’t say I agree.

  4. AvatarJohn C.

    On the M8. I am fascinated by the idea that it had an M1 button. Not for it’s function, but just in the idea inherent that if BMW could turn back the clock to 1980 for all of its challenges, they surely would.

    Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      You mean use the button to turn the M8 into a mid-engined car with no bluetooth connectivity or touchscreen, and equipped with 286 horsepower that offers a 0-60 time similar to a V-6 Camry, but is not emissions legal in the US?

      Reply
      • AvatarJohn C.

        Now you are talking! Built by Germans, for Germans. Just to imagine how they might do an Italian style car. With a big inline six, because Germans believe they are the best ever. For such a special project, all the new features can be added and displacement limits can be set aside. Wait till it is on the autobahn, no one will mistake it for a Camry. In a Germany where nobody cared about emissions.

        It sure beats building a five times the price Tbird SC, copy of a copy of a copy of an M6/ Corvair for an oligarch at Bursima. Every sensible person including this cars multinational design committee will hope he presses the M1 button so the car won’t save him from his adrenalin junkie dumkophery. Somebody wake Sleepy Joe, we have bad news about his son….

        Reply
  5. AvatarOneWhoKnows

    Oh h**l yes. I love Windrock. very technical and fun. and beautiful in the autumn!

    …..As you saw many of the folks that frequent that place are mouth-breathing troglodytes. Most of the 4wd folks out there are cut from the same cloth, just with larger wallets and bigger mouths.

    I dearly would’ve loved to have been there to witness John’s domination of the terrain and the psyches of said troglodytes. Maybe another time…… Hope you and John continue to enjoy his childhood. He’ll be grown and gone before you blink. Best wishes from TN.

    Reply
  6. AvatarNewbie Jeff

    “Those kids suck!” he snapped. “If I’d known how bad they were I’d have raced!”

    Ok, I have to admit I’m confused, Jack. Didn’t you just write an article titled, “…the boy who will never be the best at anything”? Wasn’t the point that he would learn and always know a little humility? Bowing out of the race because he thinks he’s going to lose sounds contradictory to what I assumed you were trying to teach him… just like wanting to race only when he knows he’s going to win seems equally contradictory. Strive, do the best you can, and understand that you won’t always be the winner, right? Obviously I wasn’t there, but it seems like this situation was a good opportunity to teach that.

    Also, does your son really speak quietly? Other times you’ve said he yells “you got yeeted on!” or whatever to other riders on the trail…

    …I’m genuinely asking here, not picking a fight. I’m not a parent, so these are my detached observations and I’m curious what you’re thinking.

    Reply
    • Avatarrambo furum

      If the author doesn’t answer in another day or two, I’ll give my answer.

      Personally, I’m very tempted to pen this story from the other perspective. Besides being a tad uncouth to the relatively prissy Baruths, the “villains” here seem to be guilty of nothing but the same parental pride that is evident in this very piece. I see a man initiating conversation with the new guys, and trying to help them out.

      Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        You’re welcome to do that. I made it plain to the fellow that we didn’t need or want their involvement. Furthermore, he wasn’t qualified to give it. Not just for the fact that his kids were slower than mine, but for the fact that he is slower than my kid. He was wasting my time and upsetting my son. His obvious goal was to keep John out of the race.

        As for being prissy… that’s fair. If you ever find yourself brought up on felony assault charges multiple times you might wind up being a little prissy in your interactions. I’ve been to jail and to Savile Row; I can tell you to which one i’ll voluntarily return

        Reply
        • AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

          I’ve been to several different jails, even tried a couple a second time, and have yet to find one that I liked.

          Reply
          • Avatar-Nate

            “I’ve been to several different jails, even tried a couple a second time, and have yet to find one that I liked.”

            It’s nice to have come from a good home .

            Not everyone has that chance so they make mistakes in life .

            -Nate

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      He is known for being exceptionally quiet 95% of the time. I can’t hear him unless I lean over. Like all kids he can yell if necessary.

      As far as the race went, my concern was that he would hurt himself trying to set a time against the kids’ claimed activities rather than their actual abilities. To put it in perspective, my ten year old’s Strava times are competitive with 25 year old intermediate riders. He might have been literally killed trying to hit drops at speeds above his comfort level, trying to beat a couple of bullshitters who ride like kids.

      Reply
    • AvatarGuns and Coffee

      Seems to me John learned more about ignoring a braggart’s bluff and to have more faith in his own skills by sitting out this particular race than than he would have by letting Dad push him needlessly into the race when the braggart was already in John’s head (A quick review of the story revealed Jack already said this). Seems to me this world is short on the quiet winner in the corner, avoiding all the bombastic puffery of the crowd, rides up to the line and takes their money. John will eventually reach a point where he is halfway home before the egomaniacs ins this world even know what hit them. In this case, John bid his time and left them speechless (in this case, “Holy Shit!” was redneck for speechless) in his own high flying way. It was funny to read about John taking his anger out on Dad by beating him the long way down. I also picture a future time when all the “buckle bunnies” (sorry I’m sure there is a term for these types of girls at race tracks, but I do not know what it is.) are flocked around the loudmouth’s at the bar, but the one hot chick with higher than average intellectual curiosity will want to find out what the quiet guy in the corner is all about.

      Reply
  7. AvatarDaveL

    Great lesson here JB to demonstrate how outside distractions can prevent you from achieving your goals. It took most of us a long time to learn that lesson and your son is getting a head start.

    Reply
  8. Avatarhank chinaski

    Speaking of ‘how many sports cars can dance on the hood of a GT ponycar’, we haven’t heard about DG’s 30AE. Do tell.

    Dad picked up his trash talk from pro wrasslin’. He was clearly expecting you to hit him with a folding chair in response.

    Reply
  9. AvatarDaniel Sharpe

    I’m of the opinion that getting on some historical high horse about the English language is pointless. The language is about communication and if society call an object a thing that’s not *technically* correct, it doesn’t matter because everyone knows what it is and knows how to communicate what that thing is.

    As an engineer, I wouldn’t be able to talk to any non technical person if I corrected every misuse of a particular term or technology when 99 percent of the non technical people use the word or phrase incorrectly.

    Eventually meanings of words and phrases change with the common vernacular.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It’s all fun and games until buildings, bridges, and society collapse. For a glimpse of the future, you can take a look at Malaysia, where the local pidgin locks people into poverty while the economically mobile speak Chinese and English.

      Reply
  10. AvatarLynnG

    Jack,

    I thought a while about the shot story of your trip to Windrock Trail and the man and his two boys you met while riding with John. First and foremost, your son appears to be the dont talk do individual, and has obvious skills at riding a bike. Second, it is great how you make time to spend with him in his various pursuits which beyond commendable. But what I was really thinking about as I read your story was the other man and his sons. One thing that it really drove home was even with all his talk and brashness he was spending time with his sons. That even with his behavior that point should not be missed. With out knowing any facts of his situation, I would venture a guess that his was not an easy life and in his own way he was trying to spend time with his sons. I grew up around men like that. In our small Appalachian town there were any number of men that that would brag endlessly about the abilities of their children. They along wiht my father spend there long days working, and I mean manual labor in the mines or the saw mill. When they had a chance they would spend time with their children but most days they came back to the simple house and collapsed in an old easy chair and disappeared in a cloud of smoke from countless Winston’s or Camel’s. So yes it is 2019 and not 1969 but there are places in this county, not many but more then people would think, where fathers did nto have all the advantages of Goldman Sakes traders to give to their children and still some try to make time to engage with there kids, even if it is not the best roll model but at least they are there trying. Just my thoughts, thanks for such a though provoking article.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      This is why I leave the comments on… you’re absolutely right. And those boys are better for being ineptly parented than they would be if they had no father, or an absent one. But it was frustrating for me to see my son’s enjoyment dampened by their unwanted insertion of their personalities into our trip.

      Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      It’s unfortunate that our society has gotten to the point where we feel a need to praise what formerly was normative behavior.

      Reply
      • Avatarrambo furum

        I’m no historian or anything, but it’s my general understanding that, until some point after the women’s suffrage era, parenting was always seen as a full-time duty of the mother, and paternal parental non-involvement was more often the norm than not. This trope of children getting all heartbroken if daddy doesn’t see them in the school play or play some game seems to be Hollywood hooey. The ones that have really fallen are the mothers.

        Reply
    • AvatarJMcG

      Well said. We have to remember that not everyone is on the right side of the bell curve. There should be a place here for all of us.

      Reply
  11. AvatarKen

    I’m assuming you and your son’s bikes are geared for DL – but outta curiosity, do you run dropper posts on those rigs?

    I’m more all mountain, and on several occasions find myself downhill and that darn seat’s in the way!

    Reply
  12. AvatarPaul M.

    Funny how you want to pick on southern folks. Just because your little kid is scared of fighting. It says a lot about daddy. Just remember boy, those southern boys are those who save your bacon when you chicken out behind your girl fighting for this government.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      This sounds like an invitation to a game of “who’s tougher on the Internet”, a game which I no longer play. I’ve been to Atlanta plenty of times. Looks to me like the brothers do whatever they want there and the good ol’ boys hide behind locked doors in their diesel pickups twenty miles away.

      With that said, I love the South and hope ya’ll rise again.

      Reply
      • Avatarjc

        It’s spelled y’all because it’s a contraction of “you all”. The letters being left out are the o and u, thus the apostrophe is placed where the left-out letters aren’t.

        And a piece of possibly superfluous information: “y’all” is ALWAYS plural, no matter what Yankees may say.

        Reply

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