Monday, July 31, 2006

Simple Mathematics

Hours of sleep prior to ride: 9
Liters (or litres if you prefer) of liquid consumed during ride: 10
Snotpacks consumed: 4
Miles pedaled: 40ish?
Miles enjoyed: 40ish? (Unbelievable right?)

It is hard to say what the definitive difference maker was yesterday, but it was my "Stage 17" day for certain. The bonk never came. I didn't yell at anyone. I enjoyed it all, even the heat.

Of course I didn't enjoy the heat, but...

I'm in such a positive mood about the ride in general that it would be a shame to take anything away from it. I have said before that it takes me a couple hours to build up a proper head of steam and start turning the cranks for real, and most of our rides end at about 2 hours so, you know, that theory works out well for me most of the time. Yesterday it was actually true. 3.5 hours into it, blinded by sweat, numbed from the sun, I found my wings.

Delirious in my misery, I babbled about the big naked Judge in Blood Meridian and eating baby birds as protein supplements. Despite the heat, I began to feel really good. I bent to the task of winching up the dry, broiling grasslands of the Miccosukee Greenway and by the time I looked up I had ridden the thing behind me. It was a five hour saddle time day and those are my favorite. S'quatch, H'tops, and Mystery the Untameable Stallion, acquitted themselves in fine form as well.

Swimming in S'quatch's pool afterward (in a thunderstorm- don't tell my mom) the relief was so complete that I got all excited to ride some more. Reapplying my soggy, nasty clothes, I pedaled home in the rain, bunny hopping every curb along the way.

# of Edy's lemon popsicles consumed before bedtime: 4

When you add it all up I think it equals a pretty damn good life.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Run Dog Run

Bike Church- A group of sadists who hate: riding on solid ground, riding on marked trails, people keeping up with them. Notorious for Sunday morning rides that end sometime on Tuesday. The ride is highlighted by vomiting, mild trespassing, curses sent up to the maker, and 29'ers. Conversation is strictly prohibited. Max rider weight: 121 lbs.

I might be paranoid, or maybe it is the heat, but it seems like every time I leave the house on my bike these days, the wolves are lurking by my door. Wednesday, my normal routine ride is stalked by a bike church rider. Yesterday, I'm sneaking out of the house with Hambone for a nice civilized ride, just a couple hound dogs out for a run, and here comes another wolf riding up to my front door as we walk out. Nervous laughter, a tug on the too tight collar, and off we roll. Luckily he turned off to go to the fish slap (time trial/ dirt crit) and left us alone for our evening sniff around.

I'm thinking that the last time I rode with these dudes in the forest, and lambasted the lot of them for riding like a bunch of OCD sadists, they may actually have developed a strategy to be rid of me. Perhaps I let my mouth write a check my legs can't cash?

So allow me to clear the air.

When I said the forest and its incessantly sandy trails would look good on fire, I meant in a natural, renourishing way, not by any intention or design. Remember, prescribed fires mean healthy forests! Right?

Also, when I said I would love to ride those trails again- on my new four-wheeler, I was joking! The thought of buying a 250 cc quad and burying it to the axles time and time again on your trail was just a passing notion, not a "plan" per se. Similarly, I do not intend to actually donate time or money to the Offroad Motorcycle Association in order to ban mountain bikes from that part of the forest, just another silly joke guys! Ha-ha I gotcha! Right?

When I said if anyone fell in front of me I would ride over their rear deraileur, and then their knee, I was out of my mind from the heat, (if you scramble the letters in heat it spells hate). I doubt I could have reached any of you before you got up in the first place. Not that I wouldn't have tried.

I wouldn't really have filled the salamander traps at the ecological test site with rattlesnakes. I'm scared of rattlesnakes!

I won't call the police to report crack cocaine sales at the Fish Slap anymore.

I'll stop saying you ride the forest because you can't handle "real" trails.

I will fire my team of investigators working to prove you are all on the juice.

I will hock the AK-47.

Just call off the wolves, and I promise I will straighten up.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


A bowl of pasta, a strong cup of black coffee, and I lit the fuse. Right from Mystery's driveway I began to press the tempo. I chatted and yukked it up maintaining an air of indifferent nonchalance as King and Kong ( my thighs- duh)began dropping the twin turbo trip hammers of pain.

The rain blew in fast. The air alive with the burnt ozone smell of electricity, the fuse in my body sizzled towards destiny. "Come on", I said, "It's not raining that hard, and Squatch will be at the trailhead". This was one ride I intended to finish. Darkness, rain, high voltage- whatever.

The first fifty yards of the trail told the story- wet, grabby, fast. Sssssssss! burned the fuse.
He jumped, I was right on his wheel. Squatch, mistaking this for a ride with friends, disappeared momentarily off the back.

I had it. He was done. He couldn't shake me.

I was going to eat him alive, I just had to pick a salad dressing.

Curling around the backside of Munson, most awesome of all forest trails, I finally yawned it into the big ring to start the slaughter. Squatch disappeared again, Mystery began the feeble kicks of a dying animal.

Bleu Cheese sounds nice, yes a little crumbled on the side would be great.

"What's this?" "A little sand covered in a paste of rain?" "Concrete encasing my wheels?"

The fity pounds of air in my tires had proven a dicey but genius move early in the ride, but now, well- it was too late to do anything but press on. King tired! Kong getting hungry!

Ka BOOM! The bright colors were in my eyes, the fizzling sound of ripping paper- my gasping breath. The wall, the redline, the crack - call it what you want it all goes to the same place.

The end of the line.

For a while it sure was pretty though.

to be continued...


Monday, July 24, 2006


This is Fanning Springs, a tiny state park that sits off U.S. 19 on the Suwanee River. For years and years I have stopped here for a little road relief on the way to and from my homelands south of Tallahassee. The water is chilly cold in the summer and mild in the winter thanks to the constant temperature of the spring. Whatever the weather, I take it as a point of pride to jump in no matter the time of year.

I rarely spend more than five minutes here, as I am usually in a hurry to get wherever I'm going. There used to be no gate or ranger station, and I have great memories of sliding into the parking lot after dark and taking a dive with the place to myself. Those days are gone, but I'm not complaining, it is still a classic Florida treasure. It is usually full of people. A particular Dixie County crowd reminiscent of a Flea Market, or a Wal-mart grand opening roams the property. Certain characters are always represented.

The 17 year old with the bad tattoo and the southern accent that sounds like air being squeezed from a balloon- he can always do back flips, gainers, one and a halfs off the platform. These are skills for which I would gladly trade my Master's degree. The performance is always the same: last check to see that the girls are watching, flick of cigarette butt, then- olympic style dive.
The punks.

Out of place tourists dog paddling in fear of alligators and the screaming, Dorito eating locals.

Cluster of local black kids having a fabulous time in an unmarked, but particular corner of the spring. Integration happening politely, but solely at the diving platform.

Suspicious looking guy with the beard and the Bassmaster 3000 sunglasses, lurking in the water by himself. Hey! That's me!

Reading back through last summer's entries I was insane from the heat and unable to do anything but obsess about how awful summer was. It's still hot, but the hate just isn't in me this time. I must have the hate laser focused elsewhere right now. It is a single targeting contempt guided system, and the heat is getting a pass.

I am home on the Avenue (10th avenue Yo!) and the rain is coming down in a thick fine mist, if you can believe that. I'm going to hamster around and appreciate what I've got for the rest of the morning.

I suggest you do the same.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

(Billie Joe) Armstrong

I know, on a cycling blog in the middle of the Tour de France you might expect a nomination of the man who dominated the race for seven years, but nope, you should know by now that the path to the Clydesdale Hall of Fame is far more byzantine than that. The more I hear from Lance Armstrong, the more certain I am that he is not such an easy guy to be around. He is kind of a whiny celebrity these days, and very stingy with praise or humility for anyone or anything. He's letting the "Texas" show I'm afraid. Like road riding, He is primarily annoying.

Billie Joe Armstrong, and Green Day, however, are giants among men. Although the album American Idiot is far from new, I have only recently gotten my hands on it. This album is big. Without necessarily saying anything specific, this record says everything about disappointment, loss, and rage in the modern world. It is the album to define the decade, no shit. That is why Billie Joe Armstrong and those other dudes are hereby inducted into the Clydesdale Hall of Fame.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Ask Big Worm

A reader wrote in last week with this compelling question-

What's the etiquette on dropping/being droppedwhen one of the group is riding unfamiliar terrain? Is the group vindicated by the laggard being too damned slow, or does the dropee have a legitimate gripe? Merely hypothetically speaking.

Big Worm says...

Ooooooo, touchy subject!

I'm pretty sure that just such a situation is what started the crusades. Never mind that whole Holy Lands reason, I think Pope Urban II was pissed when he got dropped on a group ride with the Turks. This argument has played out as long as one friend was faster/slower than the other.

I know back in the Revolutions Cyclery days, we started a big sunday ride, that was designed to allow various abilities to ride together. Another certain ride, that has long been an institution in Tallahassee, seemed to want to make a point of dropping new guys in a locale where the newbie was unfamiliar. This mentality pissed off our crew, the newbies, so we started our own gig. It actually was funny for awhile, as our ride began to attract as many as 20 riders for off road rides every sunday. Our numbers surpassed the institution. That was fine until some of the core group rediscovered bike racing. Then it became a problem of some guys wanting to train at a higher level, but others not being able to answer the faster pace. Now the logical answer, from the outside, is tell the hammerheads to get lost, and do their own thing. Problem there is that this crew has now been riding together every sunday for years. We all know that cycling is a social activity, as well as a physical activity, and it's tough to have to split up from people that you may only see on that sunday ride.

So now what? Cycling has long had a tradition of flagellating the weak. We've all been on the ride where you wait for the slow guy at some key point, and as soon as he or she shows up, drool hanging off their chin and a glassy faraway look in their eyes, you haul ass to the next waiting spot. This Darwinian tradition will have one of two results. Either the weak one gets stronger, as they never get to rest, and then happily passes on the tradition the next poor schlub who joins the group. Power is intoxicating, isn't it!

Or, this rider moves to Columbine, buys a trench coat, and adds all of your names to their people to kill list, scrawled on the wall in lipstick.

Personally, I've been on both sides of the problem, So I certainly can't claim any moral high ground on this one. If you're on familiar ground, and the laggee does not appear to be making a real effort to hang on, or is just too hungover from the previous nights indulgences, a little tough love may be in order. More than once we dragged one of the owners of Revolutions around, still drunk from 3-4 hours earlier. Unfamiliar territory kind of changes the rules.

My crew will usually take turns chilling with the laggee on the way to each regroup, allowing everyone to get a chance to beat their heads against the oak thighs of Flash.

I suppose my conscience still makes it tough to leave someone where they are completely lost. Either that, or I hate the way my name looks in lipstick!

Why? 'Cause BIGWORM says!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Alienation's for the Rich

I have touched down at 10th Ave for the weekend, and it is about time. I'm heading out again on Monday? Tuesday maybe? Either way it is good to be home.

It isn't so easy to live half of your life away from the place that you love, feel the best, know people, and can leave the dishes in the sink if you want to (I don't happen to want that, but if I did...)

The system only works if I can ride, catch foreign sunsets, enjoy my work, and find sushi/ thai food in unlikeyl places. the knee has 48 hours to make a decision before it gets taped and I start munching Ibuprofen like M&M's and ride anyway.

Flaoting along I look down at Mother Earth and wonder... Where is Fat Lad riding today? Is Sascha pissed off at someone this morning? Has Jill gone native and grown a beard? Lucky for me I have the internet and can go find out. You can too.

If my flakiness continues, these folks are BRC approved methadone. I'm sure they would love the circus freaks to come marauding through their comments pages, spewing 10th Avenisms along the way.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I got your Tour right here

It has it all- carnage, injury, and reaching deep inside.
Last Sunday we sailed around the Twilight Zone in a Bermuda Triangle of gunfire, quicksand, and red herrings. S'quatch arrived for the ride a maimed and bloody mess after road rashing hard on the way to the trail. We left HiTops in the middle of nowhere, with those of us caught in the middle of the pack having to choose between abandoning him or abandoning ourselves as well. Most unfortunate.

I went out later that day for a solo to the Lake Overstreet region, proudly logging five hours of saddle time for the day. Now my knee is swollen and painful. might have been the beefing in the forest? Overtraining? Poor saddle hight?

The Tour moved on to Reddick with a quick lap of Razorback, definitely my best showing on that particular chunk of mountain bike moonscape.

The knee really went off the chart following that ride.

It is a rest day for THE TOUR, or it was yesterday. I think I'll join them.

(How about Magnus Backstedt in the breakaway? Awesome!)

Today- 18 holes. In a cart. No beer girl necessary, as the wagon ride continues.

Wishing I was home- the wish comes true Thursday.

Hoping to ride San Felasco or Santos despite the sell-out knee.



Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm so pretty, (and you are too).

This culture of ours, this recreation equals achievement culture, would not exist but for wealth, narcissism, and the wanton misuse of free time.

Spending lots of money and time on bikes, boats, skis, and such is an incredibly self-indulgent act. Not much is said about it, but it is unavoidable to see- we are a selfish breed, nothing more than a leisure class. Your time splits in the 10K would not be so important if there was wood to chop, a cabin to defend, or an elk needed skinning.

There is a limit to the amount of energy you can expend in a lifetime, and a limited amount of time in which it can be expended.

This energy we use turning pedals, these hours we spend in the saddle, it serves nothing and nobody save for ourselves. Blasting out a four hour ride, campaigning to be mayor of Hammer City is the energy equivalent of spraying champagne in the air. The irony comes with the feeling of holiness that accompanies me on a 30 mile jaunt through the forest. Is it truly a service to appreciate and enjoy wilderness? Riding the two lane backcountry highways does what? For whom?

It's OK. There are many other gluttons out there besides the cyclists. Snowmobilers, people who love coffee shops too much, play Capoiera, take Pilates, hoard wine for purpose of discussion, or rave about the biting taste of Arugula. Whaaaaatever.

Cyclists have no need to feel more humble than anyone else who devotes a large amount of time and energy to a self-indulgent pasttime, like people who watch LOST.

Even the bicycle commuter, bhodisatva of our milieu, is not exempt. One Less Car you may be, but our lives are surrounded by products and services supported by fossil fuel and coal power. Riding your bike to work is more statement than effective mitigation. Besides, you get to ride your bike, which you like, not to mention the smug harrumphing to be done along the way.

No Sir, No Ma'am you ain't special and neither am I. We go to work, or not, and at some point in the day we change into our superhero clothes, just like children going out to play after school.

Into the realm of the imaginary we soar.


just another player

Le Tour

It's old news by now, but I'm catching up- dirty, dirty, dirty- pro cycling is dirtier than S'quatch's chamois. Everyone fast is on the juice, just like here in Tallahassee. All these supposed "A" riders? Juiced. Obviously. As hard as I work, no honest man should be able to beat me. Magnus Backstedt is finally going to have his day. I feel a stage victory in his future.

Our own Magnum put his scooter down last night and received 38 stitches in his face for his troubles. Gamely, he still made it to the pool party and managed to eat and drink whatever.

Big Worm must be back in town, but I have no proof. BW? Please report in at BRC headquarters, or call me at the Ringmaster's office. Things are falling apart around here, let's get this blog back on the road OK?

Send your questions about cycling, the Universe, an everything to to receive pithy heartfelt advice from a man who scares people in dark alleys.

OK then, I'll be back when I remember how this is supposed to work.