Sunday, August 30, 1998

Princess Diana: A Tribute

Well, its been a year now. Time enough for all those cyber-tributes and all. But one more poem needed to be written. So the Muse wafted over Mr Trail Safety, and these lines were thusly channelled.

Diana: A Tribute

How did I Come,
Into the Light?
The car veered left,
But I went right.

I'd made the scene,
All dressed to nines,
Then got all worked up,
over old land mines.

Looking down,
From my celestial state,
Gee I look good!
As dolls and plates!

When once I lived,
They said I sinned,
Now I'm just a candle,
In the Wind.

Bone Regardez, Mr Trail Safety

Tuesday, August 25, 1998

Tara And Ethyl Cop Altitude: Part III

Tara And Ethyl Cop Altitude [Part III: The Final Struggle]

The following is the Oleaginous Intro by a Patronizing EuroAmerican. He is seated in an overstuffed wingchair on a set decorated to look like an Auld Englishe Country House. He of course drives a Country Squatter Towne & Country [specific town and country available on request] provided by the sponsor.

His hands are steepled, and he smirks slightly as he faces the audience. He puts away his racing form as the red light comes on. Take my word for it, because this is radio.

"When we last left Tara and Ethyl, they had completed Parts I & II of Copping Altitude. Let's now join our hapless duo as they undertake Part III: The Final Struggle..." The parts of Byron and "Giftshop Turquoise" were faithfully portrayed by Byron and Ms Leslie, in that order.

DAY 1, MILEAGE MINORA: "The 38-Special"

Ethyl, Tara and Byron are driving the warp-speed-capable Chevy Oxnard. It has two hamsters under the hood. One is a crack addict, and the other has an eating disorder. The car is climbing up to Big Mtn. Suddenly Tara sees a moose with it's calf. Tara waves and smiles at the moose. The moose has a bumpersticker on it's butt that says "I BRAKE FOR HALLUCINATIONS"

"Gosh! That moose is something! Hey Ethyl, perhaps you wanna step outside and play with it...I'll take your picture!"

"Thanks Tara, but if I did I'd have to tell the calf that you partied with it's momma a while back!"'

The idea evaporates and the Rental Car That Could plows on. Ethyl was trying to sew the button eyes back on his Eyore slippers. In another five minutes they'd be at the start, and his fingers were sewn onto the slippers.

Fifteen miles later they are at Lamb's Cyn. Byron greets them with his patented blend of reserve and effusion. They make plans to come back there tomorrow, and decide to leave the keys in the Dead Sheep Hide-A-Key. I guess these are common in Utah, they fall off trucks all the time on the Interstates. Beats having a Dog-Doo Hide-A-Key like everyone else in your subdevelopment.

Up and over BearAss Pass they go. Pretty soon it's gonna be UpperBigWater, then Brighton. Gosh! After 38 miles the day's not even 7/8 shot! More fun tomorrow!!!

DAY 2, MILEAGE MAJORA: "The Hummer of 42"

Now they are four. After Friday's fandango, they went out to the airport and put on clerical collars and panhandled $54.40 in change while waiting for "Giftshop Turquoise", the lone femme of The Few, We Happy Few. As she drove our previously mentioned two-plus-one, the term "CF Bonanza" came up. It was a phrase that was to have Special Resonance, a haunting refrain, a Lite-Motif of Our Times.

Today they drove back to Lamb's Cyn. The goal was Cascade Springs, 42 miles hence. The course was level and paved, excepting the inconveniently intruding sections that were unpaved and horizontally challenged. It was put to an "up-or-down" vote. Observers saw evidence of ballot tampering, but mainly everyone tried not to be the first to put the Dead Sheep Hide-A-Key on top of the car.

Tara was gone from Ethyl within an hour, a brilliant symphony of frilly-sox and sartorial enthusiasm. Ethyl also knew that Tara coveted the sheep, but was powerless to restrain selfishness and cupidity. Ethyl pondered the mysteries of CarboPlex.

By UpperBigWater [again] the VeloBarnies and -Betties were suiting up and getting ready to Do A Big Ride. Maybe about 12 miles or so, which takes a lot of Gu, PowerBars [in their log-like state], and fancy clothing. Gosh, throw in about $3000 worth of bike and accessories, and it prices out to about $1.65 a mile. But that's if you don't take Big Air and rearrange your teeth. Ethyl was grateful for the bulk-loading, Melrose Place house dresses, and Eyore slippers.

Over the top to Brighton, a short and frisky 23 miles Into It All. It was a Total VeloWeenie Fest. Goshamighty, they looked tired! Must not be enough cayenne in their diets. Tara was now a distant pillar of fire. Ethyl was Feeling Mighty Real. He found their car in the Brighton lot. After swapping out bottles, he hid the key back under the sheep and was off ike a prom-dress over Catherine Pass.

Later, at Cascade Springs, the afternoon looked like a heroic saga written small by a dwarf with writer's cramp. Ethyl drew himself up to his full post-run height of 3'11", which is alarming given that his quads were 36" in diameter. Our lads were Looking Forward To Tomorrow.

DAY 3: Cluster-Fuck Bonanza at the Ponderosa: "Climb Any Mountain"

Murphy The Lawgiver was waiting for our duo this morning. In the interests of brevity and bandwidth, suffice it to say that at 5 miles, where Beaver Pond Meets Willow Thrash our boyz took a wrong turn. They contoured up a vertical sheep trail. They knew this wasn't right and they came back down.

"Jeepers, Tara...these damn willows are a brick wall"
"You bet Ethyl, and this rock looks real familiar, I'm sure we went this way!"

The magic door remained closed, locked from the Other Side. So they ascended. Out on knob, they surveyed the drainages extending to the east. This was a Murphy-style knobber. After some forelock-tugging and butt-scratching, our Dynamic Duo elected to ascend through gerbil-sized holes in the shrub. It was a real Hollywood-style step workout. When they made the notch, Tara's immaculate white skating costume was slashed with charcoal smudges. Ethyl's Eyore Slippers eyes were torn off, the ears chewed up, fur completely gone.

But they were Victorious Over What Was Left of Themselves. They had turned a 21-mile run into a 6-mile scramble. Murphy and the judges held up their score cards, and it was perfect 6.0s throughout.

They ran down a jeep road to the car, where Byron waited and "Giftshop Turquoise" had gone backwards on the trail to look for them. And thusly, in the shortness of time Ethyl and Tara saw "Giftshop Turquoise" coming up from the pits, where she exclaimed "You guys must have gotten seriously lost".

That they did, but having gone back to the point where the Magic Door was locked, they realized that both of them had won a fine set of donkey ears that day. And that ended the Wasatch Fugue In 3 Parts that had commenced a month earlier. Now all that was left is race day, three weeks hence.

Tara And Ethyl Cop Altitude: Parts I & II

Tara And Ethyl, somewhere between Cascade and Brighton.

A Wasatch Fugue In 3 Parts. [In which this being Parts I & II]

PART THE FIRST: Getting There Is Most Of The Fun.

Ethyl's Gomermobile pulled up to Tara's work. Ethyl was feeling pretty good. The airport was close, everything was styling. Tara is a-bustle and now's set to go.

"So Ethyl...when's the flight?" he asked brightly.
"Gee Tara, lemme look!"

"Happy Faces" turned to "OhShit" real quick, when our two Nimrods discovered that the plane took off in 10 minutes and they were still in the People's Republic of Santa Monica. Exit to the smell of burning rubber.

Somewhat later, it's dark outside the plane. And it stays dark until dawn, when Gawd Turns On The Lights. Morning has broken, and it's time for 29 fun miles. One after the other. And so our two hapless runners play CMFM up over Scott's Peak to Brighton. In Brighton they each have a Pepsi, just like on TV. Then its 14-1/2 fun-miles back to the car. Damn fine, those fun-miles.

"Gosh, Tara, that was fun! Whaddya wanna do tomorrow?"
"Hell, Ethyl...I think we ought to run backwards on the course for 19 miles, then turn around and head back to the car".

Gosh, wish I'd thought of that, but perhaps it would be better to run backwards forwards. It turned out to be a good idea. Right after that Ethyl took a "Come-To-Jesus-Fall" on the trail. Huh, don't recall my thumb looking like that when I got on the plane, either. Ethyl's Eyore slippers were scuffed but still smiling. It was turning out to be a big day.

Sure enough it was. A special day with fuzzy rainclouds, enough mist for everybody. Uphills are steep in this part of the world. Tara was scampering from mudslide to washout. Ethyl was feeling every one of those special moments. His drool bib was getting a workout. His Kool 100 drooped in the mist. He wondered what Cindy Crawford was doing right then.

On the way back they got to look at all the places they'd gone off route. Gee, that crest is steep, huh? And these sheep turds look bigger up close. Makes you wonder where's Uncle Baz when you need him. But all the fun couldn't happen on Saturday, they still had Sunday to look forward to.

Sunday morning, coming up saw Ethyl pumping French Roast through a 3mil drip-feeder directly into his brain. The Eyore slippers were missing some eyes and teeth. The fur was missing in patches. It was time to whipsaw over BearAssPass and go up to Dog Lake, maybe farther. Something about 24 miles. "Maybe in your dreams, buckaroo" thought Ethyl. He felt like Gawd had drop-kicked his tiney hiney through the Goalposts of Life, but the clock had run out for this doggie at 20 miles. Ethyl was freeeeeee, free-falling...falling yeah.

After he cratered, Tara molded Ethyl into the car-seat using the 99-cent HappyMeal pooper-scooper. His white outfit was still unwrinkled. Ethyl rearranged his face and was glad this weekend was over.


Two weeks later, Tara couldn't come to Utah and play. Ethyl went without him. In this incarnation he was accompanied by the bewitching "Giftshop Turquoise", but she wasn't showing up until Friday evening.

That meant on Friday, brain-dead zombie that he was, Ethyl ran by himself. He had to laugh at his own jokes. He had to smell his own farts. Which was worse? He staggered a short and merciful 28 miles. Back at the motel, Monica's problems put him right to sleep; refreshed to pick up "Giftshop Turquoise" at the airport.

Saturday found Ethyl heading up the Upper Big Water Trail...Last stop, the finish line [woo-woo!]. It was sunny. No rain. No come-to-jesus falls. He was a legend in his own mind. The aroma of mystery and intrigue hung over Ethyl as he steamed over the Last Big Hill and rolled into Midway, Where The Finish Is. A Mexican wedding paid no attention as he showered in the parking lot of the Post Office. Life was Good, So far.

Sunday found Ethyl on the jeep road, starting from 20 miles. Life is full of Surprises, and today was going to be spent wasting an hour looking for an Obvious Junction. Fun. It wasn't too hot, so all his brains didn't vaporize out there. When he got to mile 36, he told the patiently waiting "Giftshop Turquoise" that the Fun Was Over For That Day. No sense in getting lost again on the next 14 miles and missing the Big Bird back to the Great Satan, now was there?

Next: PART THE THIRD: the Final Struggle.

Friday, August 14, 1998

Unlikely Origins of Mr Trail Safety

This is a story that is shrouded in the mists of time.

It goes back to the daze when UltraRunning As We Know It Today®™ was a bold, virile, and three-legged golem, which upon several Lucky Stars Mr Happy barked with a mighty one-eyed roar. This Golem had hair on the palms, was shaggy in the butt, broke wind whilst running unto the four corners of the world, and it saw that it was good. And it paused not in its pursuits for Gu nor PowerBars, shaped as they were into funny little animals

That was before the Standardizers, the Leg-Lifters, The Steatopygic Savages bearing Ski Poles sought to cast nets and lassoes, snares and traps, satchels and paiges over this flared-nostrilled, freedom-loving snaggle-toothed Wild Mustang that it was. The Givers Of Bad Advice, the Low-Mileage Pundits, The Bladder-Blatherers and the Salt Co-Religionists were gathering and making flapping noises. It seemed like only day before yesterday.

Into this roiling pond of mediocrity strides a figure that would sooner Hold A Candle to His Own Wind than Be Serious About Squirrel Runs. Awed and cowed, the previously mentioned unwashed fell back, gibbering and chattering in fear before the lash of Penetrating Logic and Cheez-Kutting Wit ®™.

This was the Advent of Mr Trail Safety.

Smiting the Pharisees of Blisters, The Cyber-Idolators, Worshippers of Rubbery Calves, and Dork Covens of UltraPosers with vigor and rectumtude; for this is what they have craved but have been unable to enunciate in all of their inchoate postings.

But they are unable to contain themselves, and so bring down a virtual reality of Comedic Suffering about their heads. Their japeries are like unto Cowpies of the Mind, and they wonder "where do flies come from?"

And Mr Trail Safety announces himself not, nor does he abide at a fixed address with regular hours. He cums and goes at moments of his own choosing, but leaves TimeBombs of Comedy, set to go off hours after his departure, so that Points Will Be Made, and A Good Laff Is Had By All.

Thus Sprach Mr Trail Safety.

Tuesday, July 28, 1998

Long Trail Speed Record Governing Body

Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 10:32:55 -0700

Recently questions have been asked about governing bodies regarding "Long trail speed records" The point of contention is Courtney Campbell's attempt on Sam Swisher-mcClure's record on the Appalachian Trail.

Mr Trail Safety has decided to clarify matters before the next blister pops. Here are his comments:

Yes, there is a governing body that concerns itself with Long Trail Speed Records. This board [the LTSRGB] is headquartered in the same anonymous converted 1920s powerhouse near Lincoln, NE that houses the Board Of Standards For Peripatetic Velocity. Nimble readers will recall that this Board governs Running Streaks.


  • 1] All attempts are recorded by passive infrarometers at terminal trailheads.
  • 2] The LTSRGB governs all attempts at all trails on the North American continent,
  • with exception to treaty zones covered by the Braunoutte-Pinchloaffe Accords of 1922.
  • 3] Attempt verification is handled by the LTSRGB Joint Committees in the following manner:

Runners submitting their attempts to the Board are held up to a strict scrutiny. A team of auditors arrives in the runner's hometown and assays the claim. The results are then heliographed back to the Board.

In the fullness of time, the results are signalled by a puff of smoke from the chimney atop the building. If the puff is white, then the record is deemed worthy. If the puff is black, it is rejected. Veteran "Board-watchers" have been known to use 20 x 80 spotting glasses to monitor the process.

The Board's decisions have always been rendered without comment or explanation; via the same 1919 Underwood typewritten onion-skin, folded neatly into thirds. Over the years, the Board has been prescient in anticipating trends in ultrarunning. Their judgements are measured, solomonic and final. There is no appeal.


  • 1] Turbans, pointy-toed shoes and bowling balls are considered de rigeur.
  • 2] Aid is determined by the runner, and can be rhythmic and syncopated if need be.
  • 3] White linen tablecloths are essential.
    Start from the smallest utensils on the outside and work your way in.
  • 4] I before E except after C.


  1. The clock used is continuously running, and of one make only. The movements are brass, machined in Berne in 1867. It is the famed "Imperator Regulator", and was a beloved landmark in the Gare du Nord train station in Paris. France.
  2. When the big hand and the little hand are on the 12 the cuckoo comes out.


  1. The runner is presumed to be able to handle scrutiny and criticism. If not, it is assumed he/she is a "two-bagger" or perhaps a "deviant element counter-revolutionary" and will have to participate in a "struggle-session" as to see the error of his/her ways.

This will take the form of:

  1. a] hill repeats
  2. b] track repeats
  3. c] Hansen or Spice Girl repeats


  • 1] Upon completion of the desired Long Trail Speed Record Attempt [LTSRA], the LTSRGB is empowered to award plaques, medallions, certificates; which are available at the LTSRGB Gifte Shoppe. Commemorative journals and vidoes also available. Add $99 if additional imaging requirements are needed.
The Official Mascot and Spokes-Entity for the LTSRGB is Chuckie, the Cheez-Kutting Cougar®™. The names "Chuckie", "Cheez-Kutting", "Kougar", "Cheez-Kutting Cougar", "Chuckie, the Cheez-Kutting Cougar" are all protected by legal statute and use. Likewise representations of the aforementioned, in addition to the Vanilla Drumstick with the Spanish Olive are also protected by statute and murals.

Legal counsel for the LTSRGB is:
Bucky Kibble III,
Chief Counsel for Pogey, Baitte & Maroon LLP/Admiralty Law In Extremis, Hellmouth CA.

end quote.

Mr Trail Safety wishes one and all the best in their endeavors.

Friday, July 10, 1998

Improbable List Etiquette Redefined

OK kids, the ice has been broken. By this I mean that you can now ask the most improbable questions to people who loosely inhabit the same sport or 'spurt as you do, under the impression that they are all, sight unseen, your "friends".

We'll warm up with some hypothetical questions. Let's say, for instance, that...

1] I was going to run my first marathon before I:

a] have a late 4th trimester abortion
b] attend the funeral of a hypothetical relative after standing up on the plane and sticking my sore butt in people's faces
c] wrench all my toenails out with a pair of pliers.

2] I'm having trouble running downhill. Do I lean further forward and:

a] apply ButtLube to my tender bum
b] carry a gun
c] harbor resentments toward a person of the opposite gender you mistakenly spent the night with in a city not your own.

3] You are having trouble in your marriage. Should you...

a] seek counselling
b] put your fist thru the drywall behid a locked door while your spouse calls the police from the next room
c] run barefoot on broken glass across a parking lot while beating a tom-tom singing the "Tubthumping Song".

You get the drift. These are just warm-up questions, designed to get your brain warm and runny so you can Sweat The Big Shit. Incidentally, the correct answers for being an Elevated UltraList Idiot-Savant [pick one] were b, c, b.

Well, that's it for me, gotta go!
--Mr Trail Safety

Sunday, June 21, 1998

Psalm Like It Hot!

* The 23rd Psalm. Abridged and embroidered by Lady G, (with apologies to the King James Krewe)

The Forest Prince Is My Pacer,
I shall not Bonk.
He maketh me lie down in the Gu-spot,
And I complaineth not.
He maketh me do the wild thing,
And I shall not falter.
He anointeth my lips with SUCCEED!
And I DNF-eth not.
I scampereth naked down
the Trails of Life,
And I am not spanked
(well, maybe later).
I gather to my bosom the Jaybirds of the field,
And verily, the Forest Prince is pleased.
For he is the tall wood that crowneth the hill-top,
And of righteous girth is his timber.
And I shall dwell on this in rapture,
For this, and the Rest of my Posts.

ORN: Avoided the nettles today, maybe tomorrow.

Monday, May 04, 1998

The Greatest Show: A Poem for Spring

The Greatest Show: A Poem for Spring

For your edification and enjoyment, from the "Poetry Korner
Kompilation" Erasmus Binkster, editor, [Coprolyte Press, Hellmouth CA,
2000], p 9. This slender volume has long been out of print, and is
somewhat difficult to find.

The Greatest Show: A Poem for Spring

See the pinks, the blues, the yellows, the Reds,
Watch the flowers open their pretty heads!
For it starts the road to summer,
In a field of glory, getting a hummer!

The sun is warm, and it dries my face,
As my equatorial zone starts its race!
The grasses change from brown to green,
And ladies asses in see-through dresses are everywhere seen!

All the cute fuzzy animals are to a Purpose Aligned,
The deer, the bear, the squirrel: One Mind,
The Primal Fandango is truly hard-wired,
Why just waking with wood, makes this boy tired!

With birds in the air, the clouds multi-layered,
With a song on their lips, that's Carole Bayer-Sager'd!
Tom-tits, jaybirds, robins-no slackers!
'Cause all these guys have stiff little peckers!

The show can be seen on a trail near you,
It's there in plain sight, unless you're missing a screw.
You'd better hurry, it's there only briefly,
At the whim of Yours Truly, The Auld FP, chiefly.

The Auld Forest Prince

Monday, April 06, 1998

TitanicMania: Doomed Passages Re-Lived

As promised, a Brief Twice-telling as-told-by-an-idiot of the "Titanic" story, featuring Lady G and the Forest Prince, along with a host of ultra-personalities.

The FP is playing cards with a buncha guys. He has 5 aces. The squareheads are pissed, but they are only extras. Lady G arrives in a big floppy hat. She is wearing bike shorts. Nobody notices, because they are digitally produced, and chickens do not have lips. JayBird is writing an ode to Tassel-Headed Korn on EE deck.

Lady G feels the pull of gravity. She is holding onto a flag-pole, minus the barnacles. A Celine Dion song plays somewhere, and a white bouncing ball helps you out. The Old FP is smoking a cigar, lit from the flame shooting from his butt with a Zippo. He sees a periscope in the distance. Far below decks the Ark of The Covenant awaits the arrival of a velociraptor. n0rm is getting the busses warmed up for the Kamp n0rm.

The ship-board ice-machine breaks down. Lady G's Heartless Fiancee disparages her choice of artists, and opines that Keane would make a better long-term investment. Sensing danger, the audience rushes to buy more popcorn and huddles inside their coats. The FP has a crankspot above the knee. Leonardo diCaprio is getting carded, and has to make do with Tara Lipinski.

Lady G is being coached on the niceties of a back-seat romantic interlude. Both feet are in the air. TrailPatty is in hot pursuit. Her jog-bra is stuffed with rupiah notes. Meanwhile, in the radio room MattyBuoy is duking it out online with Dr Billy on "What Is An Ultra?" There is a late-nite ice delivery, starboard bow.

Lady G is on a raft. Her heartless, faceless fiancee has elbowed his way onto the "Low-Mileage Training" Thread. Suddenly she realizes..."Oh my, oh me, I think I've got to pee..."

Our Dear Forest Prince realizes that this movie is not short on water or ice. He's awaiting the arrival of the Stealth Boat, captained by Jonathan Pryce und Helmut, der Body-Buddy. Terry Hatcher has slipped aboard the StealthBoatand is reading "W" while lounging in a peignoir. Meanwhile, back on the Big Boat, Shelly WInters and Herve Villachaise get into it. Digital extras are dying by the hundreds; bouncing off of the cold iron hull, and the air is full of crystalizing pixels in the clear Mexican night. The graveyard shift is coming on.

The Finger Of God reaches down and taps out Q-W-E-R-T-Y in Morse code. JayBird senses a Moment, and heroically constructs a Lifeboat from raw bandwidth. "Closer to Your Kumbayah Than Mine" floats out across the water.

A 2000 year-old Lady G shakes her wattles at Bill Pullman and Heather Locklear. The FP lurks in the background, muttering as he tinkers with the rivets on the SS Deep-See MuffDiver. Lady G thinks she recognizes him, but can't be sure. It was so long, so long ago. Later she stands on the fan tail, and holds on to the flag pole. Her hand longs for the feel of barnacles. Somehow it was different then...she was always big, its just that the format got smaller.

She looked at the churning wake, and thought she heard Enya titty-punching Celine Dion, but it was only the thudding rhythms of the diesel. Leonardo diCaprio's Long-Lost Polaroids are claimed at the foto-processor. They reveal a Jung mandala in the sunset of his talents at the Rob Lowe Lost Weekend Resorts. She reaches into her pocket, and examines the SUCKSEED Energy-Wand. The Wild One. She smiles, and lets it slip from her hand into the boiling surf. He would always know that he was wrong, and she wouldn't play games.

The audience, huddled in their seats with their coats and blocks of ice, wiped away tears at this. Since it was raining, nobody could see their tears, which is as it should be.

Wednesday, April 01, 1998

Mountain Money And You

Once it was asked:
"Mountain money?" Do we have to bring special money when we run ultras in the mountains?

and Mr Trail Safety replies:

Aaah yes...Mountain Money. Nothing quite like it. In other times and places, enterprise and necesity dictated using many local alternatives. For in those far-off days, things are not as they are now, and nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

And what was considered legal tender? How about... smooth round stones the size of a fuzzy marmot head, warmed by the sun. Or perhaps a fragrant cluster of dried grasses, with the whiff of coyote whiz a tangy memory. In shady forests, cool moss or even a Douglas fir cone could be utilized, for that rigourous hygenic sensation. The effect was enobling to say the least.

In modern times references have been made to the whys and wherefores of shaggy sticks and oily trefoiled leaves, with the eternally predictable results. No doubt you too have heard some of this oral tradition here, in this very place, and are better for it, or not...whatever.

And then there' "Mountin' Money". But that's another story.

Yours Truly
mr "hey, my dick's not dragging [yet]" trail safety