Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An Open letter to the FOTL

As this group proceeds down the road of legitimacy and solvency, I ask you to consider the experiences that for you, render a ride as epic or extraordinary. Everyone will answer this question loyal to their own heart and gut, but for me- an epic ride consists of all or some of the following qualities.

Magic-In our superhero outfits nobody cares who makes how much money performing what tasks. Bicycles have the power to reorganize the mainstream social order. A legend on the trail can be anyone in their "away from the bike" life. Local legends aren't just strong riders, they make our lives more interesting and our community unique.

Black panthers, jaguarundi, ivory-billed woodpeckers, skunk apes, foxes, deer, coyotes, eastern diamondback rattlers, alligators, manatees, grey fox squirrels, black squirrels, albino squirrels,and many other creatures have been spotted by mountain bikers on rides. This is further evidence of magic and not to be questioned by the layman, the rationalist, or the critical thinker. Magic is only understood by those who experience it.

Like Woody Guthrie's guitar, our machines kill fascists.

Skills are magic. If you could see Pete jump the creek on the Live Oak Connector you would know this. For the rest of us, the most subtle flexing of our bikehandling abilities is still the nonchalant doodling of great forces acting through us.

Space- Epic rides can occur in any setting. Beneath a cathedral of Oak trees or slogging across the mall parking lot, it is the change of perspective of our physical surroundings that nourishes the soul.

Sometimes a riding partner needs mental and physical space. Sometimes the presence of a friend says all that is needed.

No matter what trails are developed or closed, nobody can ever stop you from riding all day, pretty much wherever you want when you get down to it. So let's color inside the lines, make a pretty picture, but give no quarter to talk of "organize or die". The goal is to enhance the experience. The sky is not falling, nor will it ever fall.

Love- I have been on rides that were epic not for the pedaling, but for the communion. I have left the house on my bike to learn of births, deaths, engagements, promotions, demotions, heartbreak, inspiration, and disappointment. I have shared many of these life milestones on rides myself. That's what I am there for, nobody pays me to ride my bike fast or for a particular distance.

Freedom- No matter how many miles I ride, my body will never catch up to the distance my mind travels when in the saddle. No signs, no obvious rule of law, no responsbilities beyond having a good time and getting home safe. In this sense, every time you leave the pavement it is epic. Act silly, go big, take break, take a nap do whatever you want, its a bike ride- not a board room.

So here's to Fat of the Land, and everyone who has supported the cause-- let's make it an epic ride.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Just stopping by...

It must have been my turn for a bye week, because I haven't touched a bike in 5 days. I scoured the Big Top corner to corner as an excuse to hide out for the weekend. I'm out of here again in the morning, headed south, south, south, deep into road bike territory so you never know, maybe the Fuji Del Rey will get tapped for the starting slot this week.

Bigworm- I'm waiting over here for your definitive mtb-road bike mileage conversion ruling. I stand firmly on 2 road miles = 1 off-road mile, given similar wind speed and elevation changes.

Fat of the Land, the local mtb advocacy group officially kicks off its efforts with a celebration at the San Marcos apartment complex next to munson. Insert "sleeping with the enemy" jokes here, but they offered use of the clubhouse and pool, probably to buy our silent acquiesence to having 350 people move in next to the grand dame of local trails. We will see how that works out. Check out the cool-ass website roboboy made in between hammering everyone into dust.


I know, this is a tad boring this morning. As I like to say, try living it!


Friday, September 22, 2006

Second Wind

A good horse knows when it is headed to the barn, and so do I. That extra something-grit maybe- washes through the blood and pushes you ahead. You know that every effort, every straining pull brings you closer to home, and therefore you dig deeper.

I re-learned a couple of things this week.

  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs only works in order, and you always start at the bottom.
  • The only way to really know what a person wants is to ask them, and even then it's hard.

The bike came out of the trunk of the Monte Carlo for one short dash around Fort Yargo, as reported, and though it may be sacrilege to confess it here-the bike floats somewhere around the middle of Maslow's list. Nonetheless, I had to find a second wind. True to my nature, whatever is put between me and the barn doesn't stand a chance.

I always find a little more to get me home.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Miles to Go

Pulling out of Fort Yargo State Park last night

the highway going west was exploding with incredible sunset light.

Enthralled, I turned that way instead of east towards my hotel.

Rolling towards the crest of the hill, I was awash with anticipation for what may lay beyond.

And there was- a whole lot more road.

And isn't that just the way it always is?


Monday, September 18, 2006

Bill's Army

Bill's Robot Army is everywhere. The man can't find a moment's peace. He tried to slip away for a pleasant 10th Ave gang ride experience only to be stalked and caught by one of the Bike Church Killer Robot Disciples- model one-Zattack. Once the robot found his leader, it was straight to the front for some killer robot pacemaking. Must destroy Juancho. Must destroy Juancho. Must de-you get the idea.

Science is not a toy Bill. There are consequences for interfering with nature.

On to other topics- I'm out of here for a tour de Georgia this week. I doubt if I will be able to update very often, but I have a lot to share with you so I'll try.

When I'm not working, look for me at: Fort Yargo State Park, Dauset, Oconee Heritage Trail, and other Athens, GA area highlights such as dining at The Grit, or making the scene at the 40 Watt Club where I'm practically two handshakes away from being a VIP, so there.

I hit the ground yesterday. THUMP! And today I feel a little creaky and sore. Everything works, but I think a day in the car is about all I can manage as it is. Just me and the following support soundtrack: American Idiot (still #1 with a bullet) Dead Prez (a rap group, not a vocation) Atmosphere (Minnesota rap- Yo Minneapolis!) Bad Religion 80-85, and perhaps some Iron and Wine if the sky is grey and I want to get moody. I mean moodier of course.

I still have not followed the 1,2,3 directions for posting links so here are some my regular stops that you might enjoy, or not.

www.sarajevocalling.blogspot.com Novice blogger, politico, seljak ranting.
www.firstlastalways.blogspot.com Everyone here knows Sascha I believe.
www.bigalsplace.co.uk Fat Lad-the happiest man in Yorkshire. Muppets!
www.jasonmulgrew.com If you find him offensive, don't blame me. I think he's hilarious.
www.arcticglass.blogspot.com Jill in Alaska, rides to hell and back, but not lately.
www.oldbag.blogspot.com probably the wrong url, but maybe she will show up and correct me, sorry OB.
www.foxnews.com for honest reporting on world events. PSYCHE!
www.juanchoistotallyawesome!.com (Stll in development).

All right, enough of this. Get to work, wish me luck on the road and have a nice week everyone.

And my Mom wins the first orignial BRC artwork contest, which is moot since there is no original BRC art, but I guess I'll get on that now. I'm thinking popsicle stick and yarn "God's Eyes".

Flustered, achin', and out of here-


Thursday, September 14, 2006


Vidalia onion, garlic, and a fat red bell pepper were diced and sizzling in a dab of olive oil and a pat of butter when I realized what I was doing. The lentils were simmering at a nice tempo in chicken stock, red curry, and a can of diced stewed tomatoes. Wafers of sweet potato occasionally billowed to the top of the pot. A handful of chopped parsley, some plain yogurt (or yoghurt?) and a loaf of ciabatta (It's the new black!) sat close to hand.

Even though it was 80 degrees still at 8:00 P:M, my body knew it was soup season.

It was a long summer. Hell, it's still a long summer.

Aside from soup season, what other instincts propel us forward? Maybe soup is not your thing?

These lentils put me on notice. There is still work to be done before winter comes.

Good thing I have lots of recipes.



There will always be an "Outdoors". The polar ice-caps may melt. The ozone might deplete. Temperatures may rise, or drop. Who knows? One thing is for sure, there will always be an "outdoors". Humankind is capable of a lot of things, but not even we can make an entire planet "indoors". Even if the outside is inhospitable and dangerous, especially if the outside is inhospitable and dangerous, a certain personality type, with enough free time, will yearn to engage that world. The gear will change. The sports will change, but people will go there.

When I am outdoors, that's how I think of it- out of the doors. It isn't the environment, an ecological system, or a biosphere- I'm just outdoors, doing my outdoors thing. It keeps it all very clear and simple for me.

Go ahead, cover it with garbage. I'll go garbageering.

As long as there are no walls or roofs, we can gear up and have an adventure.

It's about the wandering really. I mean no slight to beauty, or nature. I have many friends who work to catalogue species, advocate for sustainable development, and in some cases take extreme action to defend Tierra Madre (Che!) but for me, it will always be simple.

I want to go play outside.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Do you remember the time Mystery and I...

And that ole S'quatch, he sure is crazy!

And those trails, boy, they sure are something aren't they?

It is that bad. I have nothing nice to say, so I kind of need your help.

What topics would you like to see get the BigRingCircus treatment?

If we use your idea, you will receive an orignial hand-drawn piece of BRC artwork, sure to be a collector's item.

Now out with the brilliance!


Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later

Today I bring you ice cream and a kitten.

Why ice cream and a kitten?

Because I have a nearly perfect record of avoiding politics at the big ring circus.

So today, it's ice cream and a kitten.

Cute isn't it?


Friday, September 08, 2006

The Truth about Road Biking

Iggy the cat woke me up at 6:00 this morning. Of course, he is getting his balls removed at the moment so we all have our burdens to bear don't we?

I figured as long as I was awake I might as well make S'quatch's new 7:00 A:Mish ride he's been telling me about. Suited up, rolling with red blinky, it was still midnight dark outside and everyone was heading to work. Everyone but me anyway.

Feeling conspicuously invisible, I appreciated the woman who rolled down her window to tell me the red blinky was really helpful, because she worries about running over "guys like me". I want to tell her I'm not a "guy like me" that I'm just playing around this morning, in traffic, because I woke up so early, but there is not time to explain.

I catch S'quatch and a new friend just as they are heading out the driveway. Nice.

After following them through an obstacle course of New Suburbanism shortcuts and byways we emerge in Southwood Plantation, the new "town in a box" that has risen up south of town.

I forgot to mention that S'quatch has gently tumbled off his bike once at this point, but it was nothing really. A little curb contact, a patch of grass, from the way he shrugged it off I think it happens all the time.

I enjoyed the smooth pedal turning. I won't lie to you. I enjoyed the morning air, the canopy roads, and the green hills of Tallahassee. It truly is a beautiful place.

Here's the truth about road biking though, and I don't mean to upset anyone, but the "Share the Road" idea? It's just an idea. To proceed like that is a given is foolhardy. Society doesn't endorse it, and it isn't all that practical. Even to the salt of the Earth good folks out there I'm afraid we just look like a leisure class playing in traffic while they try to get to work.

The bitter pill to swallow is that no matter what your argument, there is some truth in that.

Commuters are excused, unless they are trying to make a point, and then they ride at their own risk and I tip my hat to them for their martyrdom.

-All right, I put my cup in, bring it on.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

While I'm at it, let's go ahead and add Spike Lee to the Clydesdale Hall of Fame for his monumental documentary about the continued struggles of the people of New Orleans, When the Levees Broke. I knew I was still pissed off about something, and Mr. Lee helped me remember what it was. Although not an easy thing to watch (4 hours of institutional negligence and suffering) I feel like a better american for having done it. Whoever said if you aren't upset you aren't paying attention was right. Spike Lee is upset, and he is paying attention- for this he receives the prestigious honor of induction into the BRC Clydesdale Hall of Fame. I'm sure he is thrilled this morning.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

Because he would have believed that we saw a black panther and not some "jaguarundi". And because he made biology funny, Steve Irwin is hereby inducted into the Big Ring Circus' Clydesdale Hall of Fame, an intermittent feature honoring large people, or those that live so.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Cranktoy Rider

Taking a vacation from vacations, I spent the long weekend right here in paradise on 10th Avenue. Testing the theory(Is it a theory?) that you can pedal away your worries and woes, I moved into the saddle for a few days. Other than a few hours of sleep here and there, and a busy day of commerce at www.joesbikeshop.net on Saturday, I rode.

I am finding that the mountain bike and the road bike complement each other very well. One requires a great deal of thought, physical effort, and technical skill while the other is like sitting on the couch while moving your feet for hours on end. As long as my ass was asleep I knew I was in the right place.

On the mountain bike, I rode with Pete (Huck Shins) and a 21 y/o fresh off the boat kid from Maine with dreams of big air. After watching the air show Pete put on, he knows he has some homework to do. I'm pretty certain I witnessed a first descent on the Live Oak Connector. I won't bore you with the details, but if anyone else out there has ever "dropped the roller jump off the ridge and bunny-hopped the creek" please contact me, otherwise I'm declaring Pete's a first descent. Shortly after this I hit a tree going as fast as I can, so we all have our talents, right? Between Saturday and Sunday morning we rode: The Albertson's (Pine Beetle) trail, Fern trail (new and old), Magnolia trail at TBP, Cadillac, Heritage to the secret beach and back, Live Oak Connector, Computer Tutors, Powerlines, Overstreet (singletrack and the loop), the Lake Jackson loop, and everything huck-able on the way home through town. Big fun, absolutely terrific riding.

On the road bike, it was sweet, slick-tired fun down the boresville highway (The St. Marks trail) first withScot. B and a young lady prodigy he is coaching, then again yesterday for 35 miles of "turn your brain off" solo pedal cranking. Road biking is more interesting with partners, although I believe I may talk too much for some folks. If they road faster, maybe I'd be quiet, but I doubt it.

The Fuji Del Rey (My little Pony) rides so nice and looks so clean. Aside from the downtube shifters, the hairy legs, and the visor on my helmet- someone might mistake me for a real roadie-but I doubt it.

Enough about me though: Bushyhead rode the 6 hour solo at Santos this weekend and acquitted himself proudly. T-dog and Hambone worked his station and chatted up all the ladies like they are known to do.

To close out for today, I would like to ask Bigworm to render a verdict on the true conversion equation of off-road to road miles. I have my notions, but I will defer to your judgement.

Juancho-wind him up and watch him crank.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Scorpion and Monkey

August 31,2006

The contact, the thumps, the bumps. Pedaling faster. Smash! Bring the pain.
Keeps me focused, self-flagellation- when my mind is working double shifts at the anger factory.

Every log jump, tight corner, and rooty mess is a chance to give myself the beating I'm looking for on this ride. Come on, let's do this, let's hit something hard. Right now having the wind knocked out of me sounds real good, like a deep massage.

Instead, I flash it all. No bobbles, no hits, just a flying ace in his his Sopwith Camel, dodging enemy fire. All the way home I strafe and run, strafe and run, until my guns go click, click, click.

Riding for blood but settling, in the end, for good honest purifying sweat.

I can't tell if I'm scorpion or monkey.