Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Three Day Weekend-Great American Invention

So here it comes, the annual celebration of the U.S.A's first Secretary of State, John Labor.

This is typically the least understood holiday in our roster. Often confused as an occasion to celebrate worker's rights, it is actually a time to recognize former Secretary John Labor, inventor of the three day weekend. An extraordinary man, Mr. Labor was known to scroll 4 words per minute, an unspeakably efficient notetaker for his era. It is also said that Mr. Labor brewed a delicious cup of coffee.

After a particularly rough weekend of swilling with Senator Samuel Adams and other friends, Mr. George Washington (first president of the United States) said, "Holy Crap John, you will have to cover for me in the office tomorrow, I am going to feel awful!" Mr. Labor, quite drunk himself, suggested, "Mr. President sir, it is well within your powers as executive officer of the nation to declare tomorrow a holiday. Then perhaps, Sam could refill our pewter mugs and we could leisurely enjoy this afternoon without your nattering on about work tomorrow."

The rest is history. Mr. Washington declared September 4th a national holiday and named it in honor of his loyal secretary- the quick thinking John Labor.

So who has some good plans they would like to share?

Mr. Labor, cue the crickets if you please...


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bells and Whistles

Is your bike an expression of your individuality?
Baseball card in the spokes-because you rock with personality?

Is your bike an extension of your attitude and verve?
Do people step back, say "Check that out!" when you come around the curve?

Is your bike just a thing, like a mower in the garage?
Or is your bike so smooth people think it's a mirage?

Look at all that water, no wait- I don't think so-
It's someone on a bicycle-damn look at them go.

Is your bike an expression of your individuality?
When you step over do you say, "Sweet ride you complete me"?

Streamers, chrome, slick tires or knobbies,
checking your reflection rolling by hotel lobbies.

Is your bike an expression of your individuality?
Is your bike an expression of your individuality?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Juancho's New Purse, I mean Road Bike!

And there you have it folks, the prophecy is fulfilled. I said not one month ago I would accept a road/touring bike into my stable under the following conditions.

1. It has to be steel.
2. It has to be circa 1985-1995
3. It has to be under $100
4. It has to function, no major surgery required

I though that I was safe. I didn't think it could ever happen. To be honest, I have awful luck. Never won a scratch-off ticket, a flip of a coin, or gotten out of a traffic ticket. At the horsetrack I would be better off feeding my money to a horse, rather than throwing it away at the betting window, and yet- fate mocks me.

Sleeping beneath a tarp at Bighorn and Libbyllama's house in San Diego was a 1986? Fuji Del Rey, previously abandoned at a construction site. I gave it a once over. I sniffed and sneered.

Then I put that bitch in a box and checked it as luggage. Total cost- $0.oo

Now I need to go shopping for some matching pumps.

gorging at the crow buffet

Friday, August 25, 2006

Donde esta Dixie?

I'm blogging blind here, so forgive me if I missed something. The site wouldn't load for me.

I'll be home tomorrow night so tell the carnies to sober up and sweep out the big top.

I am hoping for thunderstorms sometime after I land. It never rains here, just relentless sunshine, sunshine, sunshine. These poor folks, someone should start a fund for them or something.

Thunderstorms yes, and steamy, creamy grits. And bacon, not that they don't have bacon here, but still- bacon.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Time Capsule

In the cinema tour de force "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" the boys travel across the country in search of revenge, but along the way they try out various convenience stores, hoping to find one as comfortable as the one that started it all for them in "Clerks". They posture, they pose, they attempt to kick it, but they are perpetually disappointed.

I knew the feeling until yesterday.

I have visited a number of bike shops in the San Diego area looking for a home away from Joe's, and it has been hugely disappointing. Soulless retail "Bikemarts" full of spiffy, appropriately tattooed sales reps and racks of merchandise are abundant, and- just not for me.

Yesterday though, I found a home away from home. The Bikesmith, located on Grant Avenue, or is it Grand? Anyway, the shop is owned and operated by a guy named Bob who simply loves bikes. His shop is a cluttered mess of buried treasure. Schooled in the high-end road and mtb developments of the last 30 years, Bob has accumulated some of the choicest rides ever. hanging from the ceiling are: Schwinn Collegiates, Varsities, & a Scrambler, A Bridgestone MB-4, a Bianchi (like the one Larry uses to kick everyone's ass at Dirt Track) Raleigh ten-speeds from when they were made in England, Haro's you will never see again, Motobecanes, and some seriously vintage cruisers like the Phantom, which are not for sale.

This is not a museum, and he is not a meticulous dork about it, these are just his bikes, and he can tell you what he loves about each of them and how one emerged from the innovations of another. The place is so cluttered that moving through it is like playing Tetris. Bob has a 70's style bowl cut and although he must be in his late 40's, the smile and style of a totally stoked 12 year old shines through his eyes. A native San Diegan, he shared pictures of the shop from the eighties, when it was wallowing in the boom of the bike/skate/scooter craze fueled by a grommet named Tony Hawk and a silly concept known as "Music Television" whatever that means.

Bob hasn't been left behind, Bob has paid attention.

He produced a hand-drawn map of San Diego and showed from the boardwalk to the bay, the playground of his youth and lamented that kids just don't run wild like they used to. Maybe Bob needs to shake the dust off and have a look around, because I do see the kids at the beach, weaving in and out of the grown-ups on rollerblades, but I know what he means. The kids are so culturally aware and savvy, it is easy to mistake them for 20 somethings at a distance (must be the cigarettes dangling from their lips?)

Whenever I asked about the price of this or that, he said, "I don't know-make me an offer if you really want it". I am as broke as poor Jennifer Anniston's alleged heart, but I think I have to make Bob an offer on something today. It would take some work to find a place to sit, but this would definitely be my shop if I lived here. Sorry, Bob ain't got no website.

Did I mention nothing rusts out here?

live from San Diego, CA

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

La Frontera

Driving into Mexico is a breeze- the wait is momentary, and I'm certain I could have smuggled livestock, a bank vault, a bale of marijuana, and a couple of penguins wearing tophats without any problem.

Coming back into the states is another story. The border crossing at Tecate is two lanes and sleepy compared to Tijuana, Otay, and others. Still, it took us 3 hours to travel one mile. Read it again: 3 hours = 1 mile, not 3 miles per hour. It was like following S'quatch down the Live Oak Connector trail.

I usually stay away from politics at the circus, but I have to ask myself, now that we are truly prisoners in our own guilded cage, are we happy? The mexican citizens don't seem nearly as fretful as we do. Sure they have cartels, bad water, and a corrupt government, but nobody wants to murder them for their foreign policy decisions either. So, while the U.S. Border Patrol is peering into the backseat to see if we are smuggling pinatas and oranges, terrorists and smugglers are cruising beneath us at 60 mph.

I say open the border, I think our neighbors to the south can re-introduce us to some basic human values.

Adios, Juancho

Monday, August 21, 2006

buenos dias...

Technical issues are preventing me from posting the next compelling segment of the Big Ring Circus. Don't worry, I have two more detectives working on the case!


Friday, August 18, 2006


I have heard that prior to jumping, skydivers often nod off in the plane. Something about the focus, or the nervousness just puts them to sleep. Watching a man step off of this cliff and float over the Pacific Ocean had the same effect on me. Torrey Pines, famous for golf, also hosts a nearby "Glider Port" for hanggliders, paragliders, and model planes. The model gliders were graceful and made cool air-ripping sounds as they banked and whirled above us, but it was watching a person float over the edge in slow motion that put me in a trance. Cyclists make a lot of comparisons to flight- but after watching someone fly- I'm afraid we might have it all wrong.


On location in San Diego, CA.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

West Coast Cycles

Well, I've been pestering these California folks to take me to a dirt track so I can ride, and it looks like today is the day. The bikes are weird though, and the riders dress pretty much like roadies with their flashy tights and riding crops. I didn't bring my cleats so I'm not sure how I'm supposed to ride the damn thing, but I'll catch on and deliver some east coast style beat-downs I'm sure. Apparently there is quite a bit of gambling associated with the races and Juancho is going off at 15:1. Those fools, they don't even know. Trust me folks, this is easy money.

Upon arriving in San Diego, I began eating raw fish (yellowtail) straight from the Pacific Ocean. A neighbor fella caught it and I swear the meat was still quivering on the plate-awesome.

The Neville Brothers were in town as well so we dropped in at the Belly Up Bar to catch some Southeastern Funk and they did not disappoint. The Booze Fast was officially broken at 8:00 P:M PST on Tuesday August 15 with a glass of wine with dinner (Rodney Strong) followed by a shot of Milagro Mango Tequila. By those choices it is apparent that I became a woman this summer. Well, lucky for me I was born so pretty. A couple FAT TIRE ALE's at the show rounded things out, and now the fast is back on. Consider this day 2.

I will be in Mexico this weekend and I don't think they have "el internet" down there, but you never know. If I can post, expect it to be entirely in (very poor) Spanish- for authenticity.

Adios- Juancho

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Please take off your shoes, sir.

Time to check dignity at the door and enter the bizarre world air travel. By 4:00 EST I will be in Southern California enjoying the freedom to say "Dude" as much as I want...dude.

Although you can expect posting from the west coast, things will get predictably screwy so in the meantime, please consider the following.

Big Worm is here to help you, ask him questions. Let the meaty voice of reason soothe your aching ego.


Monday, August 14, 2006


I know this kind of talk is dangerous, but I just have to say it, I can't be cracked.

I'm totally bonk-proof. The summer program (no alcohol, tobacco, or firearms) has not made me lightning fast in 90 days or less, but I'm telling you- my well is deep.

Saturday was a 30+ mile day(mostly trails with commutes in between) in temperatures lurking a few degrees below 100 and while I cursed the heat, it never beat me down.

This is progress.

I cursed at no one, although I made a few jokes about public mayhem; but that's just humor, and a sign of a well-balanced personality. Those were idle threats believe me, they are all in good fun. I will channel that rage into political activism and riding, or just let it leak out little by little as sarcasm and satire.

Sunday morning Bushy and I were out at Munson, sweet-sweet Munson, most lovely of all forest trails, for a little bit of Earth Surfing. After 3 inches of rain, the trail was fast like the greens of Augusta (You know, the golf course?)

We spun an easy 45 minute lap. It felt like the bike and I were hovering as the world spun beneath us. So, so sweet.

Tomorrow I'm off to San Diego, Ensenada and other far away West Coast places. I will be kicking it with libbyllama and the Neville brothers out there (just one night with the Nevilles).

Why don't you people get organized and work up a roster to make sure Iggy gets fed while I'm gone?

I'm serious, not even dynamite can crack me.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Have a grouchy weekend everyone. Ride hard & ride safe. See you at anger management class!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Choose Your Own Adventure

The rides we do around Tallahassee generally follow one of three directions, North, East, or South of town. All can be done as "door to door" rides, no shuttle required, and each direction offers distinct pleasure to pain opportunities. Here, I'll sketch it out for you...

North- After some breakneck commuting maneuvers, you find yourself at the entrance to the Live Oak Connector, a rough and gnarly singletrack
that crosses a deep ravine. Numerous log-overs and some steeps make this 2 mile urban trail a challenge. A quick jog up to Timberlane Road and you are on your way to Lake Overstreet via the Computer Tutors trail. From here on out, it is fast red clay, with some of the most flowing singletrack in town. Lake Jackson (mostly dry now) offers more wandering miles, and the oft-ignored Redbug trail presents a rooty smackdown option late in the ride.

Round trip: 16-25 miles depending on your choice of linkage.

East- It all starts and ends on the Fern Trail going east. From my house it is about 5 miles to this grand dame of a trail that snakes through urban commercial district and some neighborhoods. Used mostly as a "getting somewhere" trail, it doesn't get it's due as a destination trail, but believe me it is fun. Also in the area is the Pine Beetle, or Albertson's trail. This path leads to Tom Brown Park, where most sanctioned mtb events take place. The terrain is steep and rugged by local comparisons and the line is difficult to follow. Numerous options and washed out areas guarantee group separation, but it all spills out in the same place. It is called the Magnolia Trail, but I have never, ever heard any rider use it's proper name.
From here there are great options, singletrack it on the Cadillac trail for tight, technical singletrack on hard pack dirt, or blast out the multi-use Lafayette Heritage Trail to get somewhere fast. On big ride days we take it across the tracks to the Pedrick Greenway trails (Coup de Ville trail) and cross a housing development to the Miccosukee Greenway trails. At this point mileage is moot so we usually go to the magical, peaceful Miccosukee Land Co-op for a tour of the enlightened.

Round Trip mileage: 35-50 depending on route selection.

South- Depart through Frenchtown, the historically black neighborhoods, and cross two major Universities (Go 'Noles, Strike 'em Rattlers!) and pick up the Rails to Trails project, the St. Marks Trail to teleport directly to the National Forest. Paper Cup trail and Granddaddy Munson await as well as some newly developed trails that are almost ready for public consumption. If you are angry with yourself and need to be punished, then you go deep into the sandy heart of the forest where cold water sinkholes are hiding, as well as some fairly ungroomed terrain, but that is another post.

Round trip mileage: 18-25 depending on route selection.

West- West lies the forest again, the airport, and the Cascade lakes region. Plenty of riding can be found this way, but no "designated mtb trail" so I'm skipping it.

So, as training for the Monster Loop, I think it is time to start tackling two out of three of these options on occasion. South, then North. North, then East, it doesn't matter.

Choose your own adventure!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Open Season

I expected to hear dozens of bad jokes about Floyd Landis by now and instead I have yet to hear the first joke. I figured it is time to take matters into my own hands and get the ball rolling right here at the circus. Humor is good medicine, and not intended to imply guilt or wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Landis. So here goes...

After seven years of losing to a guy with one ball, of course it seemed like a high testosterone level."

Ba bump BUMP!

But seriously folks, "It's France, ANY testosterone would seem like a lot right?"

"They think Floyd's testosterone level was high? it's a good thing they don't test ME after every ride."

That's the idea, so what have you got for me?


On the jugo.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Central Florida 'Reminiscin'

Riding along the par 4 fifth hole of the Harder Hall golf course in Sebring, FL (My hometown) I bring to my cousin Billy's attention the majestic Sandhill Cranes standing regally along the cartpath.

"Check those out Bill, take a picture with your camera phone".

"What? Them old things? They ain't special, you know- they taste just like venison!"

With that he drives past the cranes like they are groupie spectators in our PGA gallery.

"Aren't those a protected species? Can't you get in a lot of trouble for shooting them?"

"Oh yeah, you bet! It's a $500 fine!"

I never asked him how he knew that.

Unfortunately we got rained out for the rest of the round, but like I've said before, there is nothing like family, especially mine.

Speaking of Golf, I'm going to start my Monday off right and sneak out for a quick 9 holes.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Everything in Moderation, except Extremism-

This Summer, moderation doesn't seem to be getting the job done for me.

It's extremism or nothing for me, all the way. From dropping cold beers to throwing tantrums, my motto is full speed ahead. In fact, I think the adage "Everything in Moderation" is an obsequious attempt to turn the volume down on your life.

Fuck it, let your freak flag fly. If anyone has a problem with it, believe me, they will let you know. How you respond is entirely up to you.

Irrational exuberance is the order of the day around here. High peaks and low valleys included. 100% pure life, uncut.

My contempt-guided missile system is locked on and we have elevated the alert status to DEFCON 2, so proceed with caution. Primary targets:

  • Those who abuse the word "should",
  • Those who assume their life is the gold standard of normal and approach the world as such.
Sanctimony is their flag. Piety is their badge.

Please catalog me with such extremists as: Nat Turner, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Carter, Stetson Kennedy, Tupac Shakur, Howard Finster, Greg Graffin, Rosa Parks, Woody Guthrie, that kid in Tianamen Square, those farmers in France who tore down a McDonalds, all those Ralph Nader voters whose hearts were in the right place even though they screwed us, the kid who will finally say "enough is enough" and quit wearing those stupid baggy jeans, Eli Wiesel, King Love (r.i.p), Moses, Moses Malone, Chuck D, GM, My Dad for beating cancer, Joe at the bike shop, and my Mom for doing it her way.

(Happy Birthday Mom!)

"Moderation is the key" but what does it unlock?

Sometimes you have to go eyes rolled back in the head crazy to get important things done.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rider Down

What can I say, now that the "I told you so" field is wide open, I can't treat my bro like that. The fact of the matter is this, the learning process comes with some consequences, and we all have to experience them. Road biking is no different.

S'quatch busted his arm flipping over the bars of his road bike. That's right- he wrecked on the pavement and sprained or maybe broke his wrist last night. Oh bitter fate! Oh cruel temptress speed!

The details are not important- a dog, a swerve, a crossed wheel, a familiar and sad story. The blame goes where? The dog? The swerve? I say this is an indictment of road biking itself!

My treatment reccomendation is two weeks off the bike completely, take up walking and treading water as cross training, and get some damn x-rays. S'quatch on the other hand (no pun intended) is hoping to put some kind of Wal-Mart brace on it, skip the x-rays, and ride on!

You have to admire the guy's spirit.

That's all for now. I'm headed for the golf course with Tommy Torso. Sorry Dr. D, wish you were joining us.

I ask you all, for the sake of your inner children...

If there is any possible way you can skip out early, call in sick, or quit your job altogether, I ask you- why not today? Why not right now?