Thursday, June 30, 2005

Racers, Placers, and Chasers

I returned to Santos the next day with Pa Ingalls, ready to face the "big boys". Orlando Dave (HFAC from the day before) was nowhere to be found, the scoundrel. I had been set up. By 6:30 P:M the parking lot was swarming with riders, all of them on FS rigs, helmet-mounted lights, and such.
Finally another rider showed up on a hardtail, and it was the new fastest guy in Tallahassee from my previous post! Man, it was great to see a friendly face. I always prefer to get my ass whipped by someone I know. Everyone was very cool to us, and I couldn't help feeling like I was shaking hands with my own firing squad. The plan was to ride from the main lot to the I-75 Land bridge and back, 25 miles more or less I think. Lightless, Pa and I accepted the good advice to roll with them to the last bench at the 8 mile mark and turn around. Sounded pretty good to me. Once we were underway, the chatter began. The theme seemed to be - "When was your last race?" , "How did you do in it?", "Are you going to race Expert this year?" and so on. From what I gathered, everyone there raced, except me. Tucked in the middle of a pack of 16 riders, inches from one another at times, we snaked through the trees. As far as I was concerned, this was the race. Some gaps opened up, one in front of me surprisingly! A little discouraged, I focused on keeping the dudes behind me, well, behind me. I could see the lead group a hundred yards ahead through the trees and I chased them like they stole my lunch money. My mouth tasted metallic, my left eye was twitching, my numb hands clutched the bar like lobster boy. I was prepared to die to keep up. Horse flies intermittently landed on our asses, causing the appropriate but bizarre image of men literally whipping their own asses like a jockey with a quirt. You can't outrun those evil bastards and it feels like you've been plugged with a staple gun.

I knew we weren't going far, so I focused on blowing out all I had. Juancho Longbow is not built for such antics, but we do what we must.

The bench came into view, Pa Ingalls and our Alpha host were waiting. I geared down and pulled in. As soons as I had a breath (not so soon actually) I wheezed out "It's a damn good thing you stopped, I was just about to open up on your asses". Alpha raised an eyebrow to that one. They both looked over my shoulder, to see two riders pull up in a miserable state.

I wasn't last, and it felt like first to me.

Alpha clipped in, and in a parting shot told me- "You almost had us Juancho, I was just about to blow up."

With that he was gone.

Thanks to the Santos gang. They are true gentleman and stone cold fast.

To the guys who were behind me, I hope you get over that flu soon.

Homesick Juancho Out!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Second Childhood

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a thousand words you will get. I finally got my ride in, and Santos delivered—in a pouring rain. The thunderheads were sitting on the ground, the sky as black and blue as my hip right now. Those limestone roads are slick as ice when wet.
I left work and rolled to the trailhead, lazily, as it was raining like the last time it would ever. My mind relaxed. Lyrics Born, Calling Out, is plugged in the stereo and broken off. It’s just that good.

I passed the turn for the trail and headed for the Santos Bike Shop hoping for a little trail beta and some gear ogling. They carry some heavy artillery in that joint. Two young guys and a couple Dads were mulling the options as well. 3 of the 4 drove up from Orlando and were loathe to give up the ride, weather be damned.
At issue was the logistics of transporting all of the bikes to the trailhead or riding in the rain. They lacked cargo space and didn’t want the kids riding along 441 in a driving rain at 5:00 P:M. Next thing I knew I was offering my truck and loading bikes into it. The only non-riding father jumped in with me. His son was visiting from Puerto Rico, and his dad was doing whatever he could to show him a good time. We pulled up at a side entrance of the trail, and while I was changing, they basically ditched me. I callously locked the truck and silently wished them a pleasant slog back up the highway. I can have my own damn ride anyway. As I cruised through the jungle wonder of the trail, I came across a rider. The sudden appearance of him caused me to lock the brakes and slap to the ground, in the big ring, of course. It was a blonde-headed kid from the shop. He broke off from the group to find me. I was sincerely touched and chastened for my spiteful thoughts at the truck.
This rider turned out to be a messenger for me, sent with knowledge and wisdom. I’ll just call him “Local”. Local is in the grip of a 13 year old in love. He is in love with his bike, with riding, with the notion of what it means to go hammer and tongs in any conditions, against any man, woman, or child. What I learned today is that a good ride, and a good partner is an ageless thing. Once under way, it became clear that he saw me as an opportunity, and quickly I saw him the same way. Under the care of other dads, he was essentially solo, and local, and not so inclined to ride under the structured cadence of the others. I pulled in close and gave it to him just like I would any friend or foe on the trail. “I want everything you got, if you feel the call.” He didn’t say a word. He just stood up and started building a brick shithouse of momentum. I felt it. He felt it. It was time to ride. Off we went.
After a sloppy stretch of mud, deep water, down branches, and sideways rain, we came to a stopping place to wait for the others. I raised a dirty, bleeding fist and we pounded knuckles of respect. He commented on my Presta valves, my clipless pedals. The youth clearly had the early symptoms of upgrade sickness, a lovely disease.
Flat pedals, no clips of any kind, and Schrader valves be damned, Local could go. I redirected his attention to his disc brakes, his Easton bar, his aggressive Specialized Hard Rock frame and told him, “Shit boy, your ride is nice, and you’re only friggin thirteen, you have to have something to look forward too…. Oops I mean shoot.” He rolled his eyes at my paternal efforts, “Whatever, I’m used to it. I don’t care.” After a quick regroup and a sputtering chastisement from the HFAC (head fucking adult in charge) we were off on Twister, a rolling trail of sweeps, berms, and mild drop-offs made treacherous by the rain.

I won’t lie. Chasing a boy on a bike through a pouring rain over slick rock and roots made me feel like a boy myself. We were separated by nothing but a few thousand cold beers, some heartache, and a few hard knocks, but nothing more. Fuck it man, we were bros.

Another regroup and the HFAC called it done. Local rolled his eyes at me and me at him. Oh well, no use in fighting it, we got what we came for after all.

250 words to come (more or less)...check back for "Racers, Placers, and Chasers" a synopsis of Juancho's run with the big boys of Santos.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Extra white space and new fonts provided due to the lack of photograph or other visual images. It's a designing homerun. Forgive me, I'm posting from 1963, or Marion County, FL.

OK-- So the Tour de France doesn't start until next, or this, Saturday.

July 2nd anyway.

I knew that. I just didn't know what day it was.

At least I'm rarely late. I can't believe nobody caught that. A mistake so blatantly posted to the internet is ideal chum for the sharks. I guess I can tell you people anything.

For example, I am actually Magnus Backstedt. Yes, it's true.

I learned English and started this thing you call a blog in order to boost my reputation in the "over 30, delusional, southeastern United States, mountain biking fanatic demographic."

My newly acquired sponsors, SHINGLES FRIED CHICKEN HOUSE, and KING'S BBQ recommended the P.R. blitz. Long-time sponsor JOE's BIKE SHOP said what they always say, "What the fuck do you want now?" and "Where's my fucking sandwich?" It's good to have such longstanding support systems going into the 2005 Tour de France, which starts this coming Saturday.

Go Big Me!

The colossal Apostle, Magnus Backstedt.

Friday, June 24, 2005


mb Posted by Hello

The Tour de France starts Saturday, by the way, and OLN will again be providing saturation coverage. Magnus Backstedt, the "Collosal Apostle" will be out to crush smaller, weaker men.
I will probably miss the start, which is a shame. Feel free to weigh in concerning all things TOUR related. Until July 24, Roadies will be respected here at the BRC.

No promises after that.

The Showdown

lvc Posted by Hello

It's time to go back down to Lamesville and Slowcala to show those boys a thing or two about showing people a thing or two. Razorback is in terrible condition (I never knew it had a good condition) so the showdown will be at Santos, Sunday morning. This favors my leopard-like loping style. Pa Ingalls wants to do some recon for his future "Men and Mules" cross Florida expedition. The last time we did this it involved a lot of chiggers, sand, and I-75. Hopefully we choose a little wiser this time around.

S'quatch called last night and said he would be posting a few entries from Boise, ID. So you've got that going for you.

I went out with Powder and Paco last night, and predictably we got separated. Paco missed a turn, then we spent the next hour looking for each other. He is one tough customer. No whining out of him. When I apologized back at the house all he said was, "I should be faster". Please note the use of a self-reflective should is perfectly acceptable in this situation. Most guys, including myself, would be bitching and moaning about being dropped on a friendly ride.

I can't believe it's time to pack up again, this summer is getting crazy like that. Oh well, it sure cuts down on the power bill.

I'll catch up with y'all somewhere down the trail, these little doggies aren't goin' to drive themselves to El Paso are they?

Giddy up!


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tallahassee just got faster.

bad ass breeding ground Posted by Hello

Lord knows I did not want to get out there yesterday. The nap was good, the sun was hot, and my legs are tired. Taco didn't want to hear any of that though, to his credit. A young man on a Specialized hard tail rolled up just as we were clipping in at TBP. He was sporting a SANTOS Bike Shop jersey and he didn't look like he bought it retail. Unfamiliar with the local trails, he was hoping for some beta on the area. Happy to oblige, we rolled out. After learning he was a veteran of the Razorback 12 hour(4th overall solo), Tsali 12 hour( 5th overall solo), and a national collegiate downhill slalom competitor, I decided to keep King and Kong on a short leash. We connected with a couple other fellas and had a pretty quick out and back to the lakes. Dude is moving to Tallahassee for school this fall. Most excellent news. I'm sure he will be assimilated into the Higher Ground borg and rightfully so. Those guys are fast, and they deal Specialized, and they are the racer types around here. All the same, I hope to catch him for a few long visionary rides with my crew.

I'm out of here tomorrow for G-ville/ Red dick/ Ocala and I'll be down that way until after the 4th. I'm trying to recruit my neighbor "Riverboat" as a guest host. Content would swerve dramatically away from bikes towards gambling, sports, porn, and liquor, but whatever, you would probably enjoy that, wouldn't you?

If that doesn't sound like your thing, feel free to contact me if you think you can run the circus for a week. Pretty funny, asking my imaginary audience to do something. Yo bitches! Make me a sandwich. See, no sandwich.

S'quatch is deep into it at this point. Hopefully full vacation mindset has been achieved. I have to admit, I miss his influence around here. The rides are all little. With S'quatch around you are destined to end up on a lonely road, or trail, riding beneath the blazing sun with boredom the only balm for your pain, and pain the only balm for your boredom. Despite all of that, S'quatch is in it for the adventure, prepared to make bad decision after bad decision, as long as all roads lead far away. All the same, the blue chip recruits are doing an excellent job of keeping me on the bike and pedaling.

Blah, blah, blah,

Juancho se fuera

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Singletrack Snack

lunch Posted by Hello

My boy T stopped by yesterday morning, all done with work by the crack of 11:30 A:M. He cracked the sole Miller lit in the fridge and I fired up a Parliament Light, um...yummy.
We got to shootin' the shit about personality and preference, and the different ways people approach problems. Somehow I got on one of my favorite rants about the word "Should". As in, you should go check out this movie, or you should quit smoking, or you should go to hell, or whatever. The problem with "should" is it masquerades as concern and usurps the higher ground (Not the shop, the metaphor). When someone says "You should check out that movie, The Princess Diaries, or whatever, what they really mean to say is: "I like the movie The Princess Diaries and I wish other people would like it too". Maybe they see some connection, and truly have your best interest at heart, but "Should" is the lazy way out. Explain your reasoning Goddamnit! So anyway, I really dislike "should" and I encourage caution with its usage. it's just so presumptive and sanctimonious. It's also passive-aggressive, and nobody likes that. I much prefer, "Why do you smoke dumbass?" or something to that effect.

Once we sorted that little problem out, we decided to strap up and roll. Middle of the day, hot, everybody in the free world is working, yet this lull of 2 hours presented itself to us and we took it. Back to the Northside for bomber downhills and grinding climbs. T has been showing up on the scene again, resurfacing now that his daughter is 3 and can take care of herself. At about the 10 mile mark, he lit it up. I mean he LIT IT UP. I just tucked in behind him on the long trudge around the dry lake bed and enjoyed the ride. We were halfway up the 1.5 mile climb when he finally pulled up in the shade to regroup. Nice work dude, nice work indeed.

You should keep riding as much as possible.

Juancho out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Big Sky Country

Ansel Adams Posted by Hello

I woke up thinking about the Tetons this morning. They were the first place I lived outside of Florida. Talk about setting a high water mark. While not everything went smoothly that summer--10 hour days, six days a week, love quadrangle in the kitchen-- I remember snow falling on the 4th of July, bears sneaking around the ranch, a sandstone cave high on a bluff overlooking the Gros Ventre range. In that semi-lucid state just before waking, I squinted my eyes against the glare of the sun on the Snake river. I felt the thrill of being up high and far away. Fields of lupine, indian paintbrush, and sagebrush. Pints of Guiness at Dornan's.

I hope Sasquatch shows up with a post from there today, and hits on a few things I might have forgotten about. Maybe I need to get back to the big sky country myself, just to have a look around. It makes me kind of sad to think of all the places I've been that I may not make it back to for a visit. On the other hand, maybe I'll spend another 12 years seeing them all over again, with some new stuff in between. Hell, there's plenty of time for everything right?


Monday, June 20, 2005

A body in motion, a body at rest-

all gone Posted by Hello

Whoa- I'm knackered, spent, whipped, done, tapped out. From my stomach to my soul I feel empty. I don't think it was the ride yesterday, although it was definitely surface of the sun hot out there. As I review the last month of entries to the circus, I realize I have been a very busy man. I re-entered the local scene this past weekend with plenty of riding, rum, and reckless behavior. My living room looks like a luggage bomb exploded in it. The overalls left over from the folk festival weekend are getting to know the nattier threads of the work trip last week. I think I see some sparks between them.

The camp box appears to have vomited its contents onto the floor, and it seeps into the laundry pile accumulating in the kitchen. The coffee table is buried in mail unopened, and the floor beside it is littered like Myrtle Beach with the carcasses of the opened stuff. The T.V. still stands in the front of the room like a struck-dumb idiot who doesn't realize his microphone is turned off and it is time to abandon the stage.

The rebuilt Dakar of Wacissa fame is locked to the bed of my truck, ravaged by Taco in our frantic effort to fix his deraileur, which came to naught. *(Shins hooked him up yesterday in an 11th hour save.) I haven't the energy to bring it to the porch. I stare at it like a wounded buddy, and I'm helpless to aid him.

The Dragon, god bless it-- has a bent hanger, a dry chain, a coat of dust and mud, but stands ready to deliver punishment like a Navy Seal. It rolls its eyes at my sloth.

I got to bed at 11:30, and up at 8:30 this morning. Then I got back to bed at 10:15 and rolled out at 1:30. In between dreams and waking, I read a few chapters from Deliverance.

I'm re-morning-ing right now, with a second round of coffee and aspirations of going to the gym, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, fixing "Old Red", burning some tunes, filing the files, feng shui-ing the living room, and cooking some black beans.

Or I could turn the air down, the fan up, the lights off, the covers back, and get back on the river with James Dickey and the boys.

Does anybody else hear that banjo?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

My town kicks your town's ass.

tally sunset Posted by Hello

9 hours after leaving Myrtle Beach, or "Dyrtle Beach" as I like to call it, I pulled into Tom Brown park to wait for the boys. I arrived a little early so I dropped the seat back, grabbed my pillow and snoozed. It was awesome. Just to be back on home soil was great. It might as well have been 10th ave. Powder and Taco showed up and away we went. All was right in the world.

Powder is in Jackson Hole this week. S'quatch and Co. are safely underway. I get another shot at Razorback this weekend, and a pretty girl said there might be a "blueberry pie" in my future.

Sounds like code to me.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Out of Pocket

off to work Posted by Hello

The clouds have parted and the malaise of yesterday is a bad and distant dream. I read to them all from the good book at Munson today, except most of them were too far back to listen and one of them was too far in front. It was hot as blazes, but that might have been the force of the Jamis Dragon bursting through the atmosphere. I will be absent from the circus for most of the week. I will try to post from the road, but you know how that goes. If you have a blog and try to post from the road anyway, than you know how that goes.

You know what happens when the ringmaster leaves the circus? The clowns run off and get drunk. The animals are released from their cages. The strong man lays down with the bearded lady, and the popcorn machine goes full tilt until the big top is ready to rupture. Since the beginning, all of 90 days ago, it hasn't mattered to me if folks want to pay the price of admission (5 minutes) to join the show, or if they just want to check in now and then and think to themselves, "That guy is a jackass, I can totally drop him and write better than him". Hell, that's what got me started. I appreciate every click and scoff you've thrown my way, but in my absence, it's going to get mighty boring around here. you might choose to play amongst yourselves. Either way I will be back Saturday and the world will be saved from certain destruction once again.

Some minutuae in your future...

  • S'quatch and family will hit the road soon for an old-fashioned motor tour of the great west. Overall I.Q. in the campgrounds of America is projected to spike by about 50 points with those two kids of theirs along. It's too bad they will use most of their untapped potential for bringing to their father's attention all of the unforeseen sufferings they will encounter along the way. Squawtch, his wife, will diplomatically alter between steadfast support and joining the mirthful abuse with the children. No matter how you slice it folks, it works out great for us.

  • The Tour de France will commence in July and the BIGRINGCIRCUS, (fuckin-A right that's all caps) will wholeheartedly throw allegiance to Magnus Backstedt, the largest rider in the Tour by a shitload. Duh, of course we'll cheer for Lance, we are not a communist circus after all. I still predict some rhinocerous beetle domination on the long, hot, flat sections by the "COLLOSAL APOSTLE" Mr. Magnus B.

Now is your chance to say, "But what about all the shit you talk about road bikers?" And my reply...What about it?

Have a great week amigos.

Juancho se fuera

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Hunker Down

bunker supplies Posted by Hello

I'm just not very good at this sort of thing. As soon as the sun disappears for more than 8 hours I fall to pieces. What do you people do to get through the gray days? I work on my bike, but it doesn't really need anything. I try to keep laundry mountain going, but that doesn't require a lot of supervision. Pretty much, I spend all morning circumventing the bottle of wine that follows me around the house with it's plum red eyes. Eventually I will fall to it's persistent, expectant stare and do what I do best- drink red wine on shitty gray days. Allow me to reminisce...

Portland, OR February 1995

The sun disappeared one day in January and by the end of February the newspaper headline read: 40 DAYS WITHOUT SUN! To the local "webfoots" this was some milestone of accomplishment, to me it was a license to drink red wine. All 6 of the major bridges over the Willamette river were equipped with crisis phones and placards describing S.A.D. (Seasonal Affect Disorder) or the urge to kill oneself after not seeing the sun for forty days.

I was a bike messenger for TRANSERV, ie the RED ARMY, so called because of the red Burly jackets and there were about 50 of us. It was the lowest paying of all the messenger services in town. The day would start like this.

Wake up and put on soggy bike clothes from the day before.
Cook and eat 5-10 pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup.
Drink a pot of coffee.
Walk outside, get on bike, and ride into a soft rain, or a hard rain, or a drizzle, or a misting rain.
Stay soaked all day delivering packages to Bid'ness people.
Lurk with the freaks under the Burnside Bridge
Go home, drink red wine, or maybe a 12 pack of Hamm's lager.
Go to bed

On Saturdays and Sundays I would wake up and listen to depressing music like Spaceman 3 and the Velvet Underground, and start drinking red wine at 10:00 A:M. It didn't really matter, there were only two times of day, "Gray" or "Black".

After that winter I packed it up and came on home to Florida, the sunshine state.

Sackett's Harbor, NY June, 1998

Three years, 3 countries, and two states later I find myself in upstate New York, bartending and waiting tables at the Tin Pan Galley. this will prove to be a bad decision. It is the beginning of summer, yet the sky has been riveted shut with dark, steel-blue clouds. On my first day there I sit down to brunch at 10:30 A:M, have one mimosa with strawberry-ricotta stuffed french toast, then push my unfinished plate and drink aside and open a bottle of red wine. At 6:30 P:M I get up from the table, wade through the bottles at our feet, and go to bed. This becomes a gray day ritual for the summer. I finish my indentured servitude in September and leave "Scratch-it harder", NY to return to the sunshine state.

Tallahassee, FL June 2005

10 years later, far from the gloomy downtown of Portland, or the ink-black waters of Lake Ontario, the rain is falling hard and steady under a black sky. I know I wrote the other day that nothing would keep me from the trail, but you should be accustomed to my delusions, my hyperbole, my whole house of cards. I did ride down to the bar to get my truck this morning, if that counts for anything. It was raining, and my head hurt. My brother, who has chosen the moniker "Paco", dutifully saddled up and accompanied me down there.

Now the red wine clock is ticking. I think I'll go with a nice red zinfandel to get things started.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Fuck you Arlene!

it's time Posted by Hello

Rain for the whole weekend, that's the forecast. Just like last year sitting around waiting for Hurricane Frances to come to town and bore us to death. Well, this year I'm not just going to sit by and "get prepared" for hurricane season. No way, the batteries are already purchased, the canned goods remain canned. The coleman lantern and the propane grill "Old Sparky" are ready. It's time for action. Wet, 100% humidity action. I don't care if I have to shoot Munson in the kayak tomorrow, I'm laying down a 38 minute lap.

Last year we got pasted in Florida by Charley, Frances, Ivan, and then Jeanne (Ah, Jeanne was so cute wasn't she?) Now we're back to the top of the order again, unbelievable.

It's enough to make a man start drinking. (Well-harder stuff and earlier in the day anyway.)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Launch Aborted!

launch panel Posted by Hello

Due to inclement weather, mission control scrubbed the launch. Damn them, I was so ready for it. I won't let those geeks in the tower keep me away from my due glory forever, or as Taco put it, "Dude I don't think guys our age are supposed to be wanting to go down shit like that!"

Our age? What do you suppose he means by that? I'm only 35, or as I like to call it, second puberty. All the same, the crosstown run through traffic in the pouring rain was awesome. Everybody showed up despite the weather, and it's another notch in the Shammy for the Cadillac trail. Gotta love it. If I knew how much fun I could have, I would have retired years ago.

Mission Control

BRC HQ Posted by Hello

As you can see I have the entire BRC staff working out the details for today's launch. Pleased with the results of the Razorback pre-test, we have decided to move the launch schedule up. These dedicated men and women are the unsung heroes of the BRC. They are calculating wind resistance, estimated time of departure, wardrobe selection, tire pressure, time of engagement, speed of roll in, proper buzz adjustment, potential for injury vs. viable rescue window, and especially "sack content". That's right, I'm going back to the Cadillac "hazardous area" to check out the drop zone again.

It's all in the mind. There's nothing to be afraid of. Just point and go. No problem.

I have complete trust in the team's calculations. If they give the green light, we launch today.

Thanks for the epic account S'quatch, your descriptions were so vivid I don't feel the need to replicate the journey, until sometime in the fall anyway.

Strap up boys, this trail might not go quietly.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Quivering in their Shammies-

bigtop Posted by Hello

Here's a picture of Me and S'quatch cold kicking it under the big top, just another day at the office for us. I don't want to distract you from the saga occurring in the comments section below, so that will be today's main course ( I know, leftovers!) but I will tell you quickly about last night's ride. My bro and another old buddy, Taco, joined us for a loop to Munson and back. We had a hard time getting started with forgotten shoes, minor mechanicals, and a general lack of coordination, which pretty much sets me off. I was impatient with S'quatch, he was impatient with me, his wife, Squawtch seemed pretty sick of the whole scene, it was great. Piss and vinegar, turpentine and barbed wire, that's what good rides are made of. Although it was just supposed to be an introductory ride for little brother and a re-introductory ride for Taco, S'quatch had to try and take me down. Not happenin' friends. After the drumming I took in Gainesville, it was nice to be the fast one for a change. I think I'll try and round up some seriously unfit people to ride with to further bolster my flagging self-esteem. So send me your crippled, your maimed, your fat and your lazy, I got a place for them all under the big top. Now back to our story...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


While I was down in Alachua and Reddick ripping out 8 mile time trial loops with the waterbug crew, Sasquatch was busy picking off a major ride in the life list, the Spaghetti 100K off-road loop. 70 miles of back country clay roads winding through the north Florida/ southern Georgia plantation land. It was a bellering cry of protest from the gentle giant. As Powder continues to coax me onto the singletrack, Sasquatch heeds the call for more miles. If this crew is ever going to pull back together, I need to get them both to Dr. Santos for a prescription of miles and miles, of singletrack. I have to get to work now, I can't be standing around the parking lot jacking jaws with you people. Maybe S'quatch will come out of hiding and tell us a little about his weekend ride. Be still everyone, he's a little skittish. Oh! Ssshhhhh! I think I hear him coming now...

Canopy road Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005


ichetucknee Posted by Hello

"Wait a second so I can roll up the window", he tells me. So I wait, then we promptly jump out of the car and lock the keys inside, including the spare key I gave him at the beginning of the trip when I said, "Take this key, in case I lock my keys in the car."

Why do these things always happen to us? It is an interesting question. When the Hardman and I are at-large in the world, something changes. The stakes go up. Common sense goes down, and then things start to get interesting.

It had been an epic weekend, where all expectations were met beyond my hopes. When does that happen? OK, so I got my ass shellacked at San Felasco, and Razorback damn near killed me, but oh man, what a way to go. Tired smiles tattooed to our faces, we roll up to the Springs to squeeze in just one more moment, one more feeling, one more good WOW! before coming home. Thunderstorms are brewing, the air is unsettled, swirling and charged. AAA is called. They will be here sometime around 2006. The ranger reminds me of myself in some strange way, like a version of yourself in a dream come to give you direction and guidance.
He told us he would leave the gate unlocked and we could let ourselves out. He saw our cold cans of Guinness, knew we had nowhere to be for a few hours, and chose to trust us with the keys to the palace. I think he even considered having one with us.

So there we are, alone in a place that sees thousands of visitors in the summer. I pitched the tent, just in case nobody was going to come. Under the new moon the world was black. A carpet of fireflies lay undulating through the trees and over the water, as far back as your eyes could penetrate into the surrounding swamp. Soft heat lightening and blinding strikes lit the sky intermittently, exposing the naked world like a polaroid snapshot.

We swam, we wandered, we waited.

Unfortunately the locksmith came, like a bouncer at last call. When I close my eyes right now, I can still hear the rain in the trees and see the shadows of draping spanish moss enshrouding a wild, holy place.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Juancho the Martyr

Posted by Hello

I spent good money that I have yet to pay back to insure myself against this sort of thing-

I am out of the house and working as you read this. I know, yes, it is very noble of me. Yes, of course, lots of people do it. No, actually, I am not a housewife, a bum, on disability, or a Mary Kay representative. I won't tell you what I am, but I can guaran-damn-tee you that what I am don't get up in the middle of the night (7:30 A:M) and go to work.

Lots of good stuff brewing. The plan is to invade the Gainesville area, beginning with San Felasco tomorrow, then eating and drinking our way through town like a swarm of locusts, then riding Razorback in a self-loathing, fearsome, alcoholic sweat the next morning. Powder is coming along, as I will need a designated driver to get back home on Sunday.

I'll post up later, after I get back from the salt mines. No, stop it. It is very nice of you to offer to support me, but really I'm curious to see what people actually do at this hour.

If I miss you later, then have a great weekend, and I mean that.

-Juancho Out

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Droppin' Bombs

Posted by Hello

I thought I would ride right to the drop and send it over without hesitation, yet once again I found myself locking brakes as I approached the edge. This drop is so fresh there isn't a definitive line, and a humpback protrusion half-way down seems to guarantee separation from the Earth in a vertical position. "It's all in the mind" I tell myself, S'quatch, and Powder. So we stand there, at the brink, shaking our heads. It had been such a nice ride up 'til now. I felt fast, my aching left knee delivering sweet memories of my crash at Munson yesterday. I felt well, kind of hard core. Sleep deprived, hungry, with a belly full of turpentine, I thought today was the day.

Well, it wasn't.

I tell myself "you've done worse", "sit back, feather the rear brake and hold on", "the fall wouldn't be that bad". The problem is- the fall could possibly be that bad. Who am I kidding, it has been a long time since I dropped a big flight of stairs, and a couple of hits at Razorback left me speechless and puckered. Can my conviction to ride withstand a sustained recovery from injury? Do you people realize the extent of self-medication I would indulge in? I can see the cable man coming back up the street already, to plug me back into the fat suit.

Or is that just one of the more insidious voices of weakness?

Do I really want nothing but happy rides that end in Picklesimer fields before the sun goes down, or do I also need to spend a night on the cold, hard ground, shivering beneath the monolith of Cedar Rock, burning inner tubes and green rhododendron branches sipping on a few teaspoons of Red Bull tainted water?

I just don't know. I hope it doesn't take all summer to find out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


healing waters Posted by Hello

Memorial Day has come and gone, marking the true beginning of summer.
Steady rain under dark skies gives me a chance to slow down and breathe after a hectic Spring. Thousands of students are gone until August, and the rest of us are free to meander slowly about town in the heat.

Afternoon showers will roll in continuously over the next couple of months, signaling nap time, driving everyone under shelter to watch and listen to the staccato pelting on the cars, the roads, the roofs, leaving a blinking soggy crowd to wander back into their days.

It's good for me, this rain.

I will sit on the porch and watch lightening rend the sky, and water fall so hard you can't hear the person next to you, and we will remain speechless until the last distant rumble signifies the rinsing of another neighborhood, further down the road.

Helmet and shoes will be soggy until the Fall, and trails will soon be thick with green. We will ride through tunnels rather than on trails. The beauty of the south is intimate, not so impressive to the naked eye. No majestic peaks, no panoramic sunsets, but a beauty that you feel with your nose in the root beer scented jasmine and subtle tea olive. Riding under a curtain of banana spider webs, and the promise of a snake on every ride- that is the beauty of a summer down south. Around here we do not gaze upon, but from within, as if viewing a sunflower from the perspective of the seed.

The cable man just cut me off, and I will be permanently tuned to the channel outside.

It won't always be pretty, and it will never be comfortable, but somewhere in the mix of sand, sweat, snot, and good fresh rain, I hope to become a little bit more of the man I want to be this summer.

See you out there.