Monday, October 30, 2006
I've been scrubbing and scrubbing, but this whippin' just won't wash away. After spending 7 days in a downtown Atlanta "Manquarium" breathing the recycled fumes of a thousand people and fueling my body with stale mini-cinnamon buns and bad coffee, I anticipated yesterday's ride like an unwrapped present.
Just me and my buddies, Mystery and Hambone, dear old true blue brothers in arms. What a ride we would have! What a team we would be! Stumbling forward into oblivion, that was me.
My comments regarding my devastating performance a couple of weeks ago, in which I stated that I sent all riders home with bloody noses and notes pinned to their shirts, was old news to me, faded glory- a robust joke among friends. How naiive. How utterly simple-minded of me.
Realizing they could never achieve vengeance alone, they employed Al Swearingen to weaken me the night before. Dazzled by pretty ladies and free bourbon, I lingered at a costume party late into the evening on Friday. Swearingen, who some may know as "Chuck" was always nearby with a proposed toast. Yes, absolutely, let's drink to trees, "To trees!" And so it went.
Saturday morning the trap was sprung.
4 hours of abuse and punishment as my "reunion" ride became "the ride of ultimate atonement".
New routing, relentless miles on road and trail, I realized I was alone in my honor and respect for my brothers, and they intended to kill me, or my spirit in the least.
I hung my head.
After 3 hours of rabid attacks we called a truce at a Circle K in- I think- a completely different city than where we started the ride. I made a whispered offer to the clerk, a $100 if he would give me a ride home and punch Mystery in the face. One look at Mystery's steaming red eyes and the clerk gave me my change with callous indifference, happy to sacrifice my carcass to save his own. Children today are spineless I tell you, spineless.
After 40 accumulated miles the Live Oak Connector was to be the scene of the final blow. I limped from the woods and raised my flag. Not today boys, not today.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
In the meantime you can take the time to go back in the archives and begin reading the Bigringcircus from day one until the present. That's right, go read every single one!
It is a fascinating tale of honor and intrigue.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Run your mouth just a little bit, and the Universe can't wait to smack you down. Like the goody two-shoes girl in the front of the class holding her wildly waving hand, correct answer spilling out behind her "Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!" call on me pleas to the teacher, the Universe won't let me have any fun.
A little 20 mile roll through the Northside last night leaves me whimpering this morning. I will be having lactic acid for breakfast, lunch, and dinner apparently. It isn't that the pace was so high, it was a fun ride with as great group of gentlemen. Every one of them a fine candidate for the French Foreign Legion if you ask me.
I could go on about my lack of calories early in the day, but who really cares? When you get your ass handed to you, it is best to simply say thank you, place it in a bag and carry it home.
At least they let me keep it.
Ground round is on sale today,
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Can't get a date for the Prom?
Wondering why the sky is blue and the grass is green?
Was Dennis Hopper really on drugs in Apocalyopse Now?
Want to know what kinesium is?
Thinking about a 29'er, single speed, or fixed gear purchase?
Want to know the secret to stylish, technical riding?
Does he love you?
Does she love you not?
Ask Big Worm!
Submit your queries large and small to the comments section, or to preserve your anonymity forward questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a Bigringcircus public service announcement.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Saturday night we celebrated Joe's 50th birthday, and while he may be in shock, I think it is best to just put the number out there so we can all get used to it. He's fit. He's lean. He's the best friend and bike shop anyone could want. The get-together was a classic Tallahassee yard party with delicious food and a cheery fire, bright young children playing sweetly and toasting marshmallows, CSNY playing throughout the house. Just good people living well. ~
Mel (not his real name) has foresaken his "back to Africa" plan to return to Tally and has instead moved to the Westchester area of NY and purchased a Titus Racer X. Congratulations on the new life!~
Film Crew needed- Seriously, if I have to watch Pete do anymore world class stunts for an audience of 2 or 3 I am going to lose it. I don't know how to explain what was going on out there yesterday, but as the saying goes, "Dude- you should have been there."
Thanks for the feedback on my Dream ride list- Stay tuned as I knock them off one by one over the next 10 years. Frankly I am surprised that there were not more hare-brained schemes lurking out there, but whatever, good judgement isn't a bad thing.
Sasquatch-For your negativity I nominate you "Torreya Ride Liason", now go make it happen.
Yesterday's ride- I shrugged them off one by one- like Dwayne Wade through the backcourt. I ground them into dust. I sent them all home with bloody noses and notes pinned to their shirts. I was last man standing.
What? You got something to say?
The ever incorrigible,
Friday, October 13, 2006
So consider this post a dream repository, a safety deposit box for good intent, a place of reckoning destined to haunt you as you walk the path of the winter listlessness.
- Pinhook River Ride- A flat, straight run into the Wildlife Refuge. You could probably do it on a roadbike. Guaranteed to see BIG wildlife. Gators over 10', Wild Boar, Deer, and a bazillion bird species. Perfect time for it because the bugs are dying and the reptiles are sluggish. 50+ easy, breezy miles?
- 10th Ave to Pole Barn Invitational- If you haven't caught on about the Pole Barn down in Reddick, and the tribal link to BRC Headquarters, this ride is the equivalent of a Sioux war party traveling to rendevous with the sacred lands. A road tour of north Florida charm (means it will be scary!). 170 miles. I'm thinking motels and restaurants, shuttle the mt. bikes, travel light, get a ride home.
- Torreya State Park- With our new mountain bike advocacy organization FAT OF THE LAND, we ought to be able to negotiate a once a year eco-tour of this beautiful forest along the Appalachicola River. Tulip Poplars, The Yew tree (like in the Bible!) and the endangered Torreya pine make this area unique. Full of Civil War history and significance as well. More ghosts than you can shake a powerbar at. (More dangling prepositions than you can...fill in the blank) 20 + miles of taboo wilderness.
- The Monster Loop- A linking of all the major singletrack in town. Yes, I know Bike Church does this practically every Sunday, and proud we are of all of them!
- Tallahassee-Sebring-Anna Maria Island- A 400 mile journey from my home to my homelands. Round trip would be 750 miles or so. I would be cool with catching a ride back. I have thought about this one since 1988.
That is it. Aside from a huge swing in the global zeitgeist towards positive regard for human life and tolerance of differences, the chance to rock out on electric guitar in front of screaming hordes, and the publication of a few major essays, there isn't much else I want to do.
What about you?
Non-cycling related dreams or adventures are enthusiastically supported as well.
Sasquatch? Cue the crickets please...
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Last night Hambone and I made the "Hissing Possum" ride with Bigworm and the Human Wrecking Ball. This entourage of punishment delivered all we needed for a "Technical Tuesday" ride. It was a bit of a crusher at times, but the impeccable group manners made it all OK. It was constantly, "Are you comfortable Juancho? Might I adjust the pace to your liking a bit?" "Are you hungry Juancho? My wife made these fabulous sandwiches for you." "Can I ride along beside you and compliment you on your excellent form Juancho?"
All of the idol worship got a little embarassing, I mean, I'm just a regular guy underneath all the glitz and glamour you see here. This stuff? It's just show business. So we crunched out 18-20 maddening miles and got home after dark to a steaming pot roast on the stove. I love it when I get it all right.
The day before (Monday?) I asserted my inner grasshopper and checked out completely. Cupcake/Mystery the Untameable Stallion/ Powder and I drove west in Gadsden/ Liberty County and checked the Lines Tract trail off the list for the year. Winding along the shores of Lake Talquin it is a tranquil, bucolic scene. The riding is rough and rugged. No groomed lines. No packed earth. It is work, work, work, and now it is done. It must be ridden, as all trails deserve a little bit of love I believe.
We saw sprinting deer. We heard owls hooting in the shadows. The wildflowers were blooming. It was a full on nature experience, and I always appreciate that. Off-road cycling is about more than humiliating your friends. It is about being humiliated by them, and seeing animals.
After the ride we visited our buddies who live in the 1800's on Nature Conservancy land. We pulled up at their cabin to see Ample churning butter. We spent a couple hours sitting in a tree-deck laughing and telling stories. I got dizzy on swings with my sweetest little friend I have and we turned over boards and watched bull ants go crazy.
On the way home we stopped to revere a sunset that I could only compare with the high plains magic shows of New Mexico.
It was a very nice Monday.
Monday, October 09, 2006
After a long, cold winter of miserly chewing on carefully stored goods a little ant emerged into the soft sun of a Spring morning and decided that he was flat out sick and tired of working and hoarding, working and hoarding. It was a beautiful morning and all of his ant friends were busying themselves with repairs to the anthill and the collecting of food for the next winter. "When does it ever end? What is the point of it all?" the little ant asked of himself.
And so he wandered off.
He passed a group of his ant friends dismembering a Rhinoceros Beetle and toting it in pieces back to the larder. He passed another group of ants collecting grains of sand to build a retaining wall, "Hey! Come give us some hands!" they yelled. Little Ant scurried off as though he didn't hear them.
Little Ant decided to go see if Grasshopper made it through the winter.
Little Ant found Grasshopper sitting in the sun, picking at his electric guitar.
"Hi Grasshopper, how was your winter?"
"Aw man" Grasshopper said, "My winter was groovy".
"Didn't you starve?" Asked Little Ant. "Didn't you freeze?"
"Well, I can't lie to you Little Ant, I got pretty hungry. I got pretty cold." Grasshopper said, as he picked some heavy Sabbath-style licks. "That was pretty harsh when you all turned me away empty-handed." He didn't look up at Little Ant. This made Little Ant feel bad. He had never felt bad before, not even when dismembering Rhinocerous Beetles.
"So what did you do all winter Grasshopper?"
"I got by", Grasshopper said. "I found some cool Dragonflies to kick it with. They gave me something to eat from time to time and I played my guitar and told stories and drank red wine."
"Wow" said Little Ant, "That sounds cool".
"Yeah man, it was cool." Said Grasshopper.
"So what about you Little Ant?" "How was your winter?"
"It sucked." Said Little Ant. "All we did was hoard food and talk about the repairs we needed to do to the pile". "I'm sick of eating Rhinocerous Beetle, that's for sure".
"Whoa!" Said Grasshopper, "As long as you don't get a taste for grasshoppers!"
Little Ant chuckled sheepishly.
Some clouds floated by and then the sunshine poured down onto Grasshopper and Little Ant. Grasshopper's eyes were closed and his head was turned into the sun. He was thumping out a Pixie's song absent-mindedly and smiling.
"You rock Grasshopper!" Said Little Ant.
"You're all right too Little Ant, you're all right too."
Thursday, October 05, 2006
One Taco to go please.
Team Pole Barn, in their quest to buy a championship, have drafted another of our A-listers. Along with my brother and Bird, Bushyhead will now be basing his operations out of the G'ville-Micanopy-Reddick "Redneck Triangle".
1oth Ave is now officially accepting applications.
Best of Luck Joey, say hi to Ma & Pa Ingalls for me.
10th Ave 6th Man
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The entire block of fraternity houses appeared to be engaged in civil strife, the area looked like a Union brawl was taking place down at the docks.
Then I heard the boys.
Prepared to drown my broken heart in keg beer and cover tunes, I entered the house unimpeded and witnessed a very ugly scene developing. the band was done, and they were arguing with a bunch of drunk frat-boys who were looking to fight, rather than pay for the soundtrack that had gotten them so wasted. There was a squaring off of forces. I joined my team for the ass-kicking we were likely to receive. It was a watershed moment for me.
I was with the band-man!
There were threats and some shoving, but we got out of there with a check, then we spent the night waiting to cash it in a parking lot somewhere, as far as I can remember.
The guys were truly compassionate about my failed mission with Jennifer, as I was to theirs. What kind of town spurns true love and disrespects rock-n-roll? We had to get out of there.
So we did.
18 years and a few bike rides later, Terry and I realized for the first time that we were in that car together, thumping along I-10. The Reign is long disbanded and Jennifer is probably a soccer mom in some charming coastal community.
Maybe I should look her up?
Monday, October 02, 2006
The truth. That is the only way to possibly get through the story.
I remember little to none of our conversations during the long ride to Baton Rouge and back. Aside from the review of events that have yet to transpire in this story, it is a distinct probability that much of the conversation was, if not over my head intellectually, most certainly over my head in the realm of life experience. I was a sophmore on my transcript, but I was a true freshman in the school of hard knocks. What might I have said at 19 years old about the world? I like Run D.M.C? College is cool? I just shaved my legs for my first triathlon? I don't eat cheese? Or did I do better than that? Did I take advantge of the chance to ask questions? Who knows? If not the three of us, then nobody will ever know again, and that's OK too.
Anyway, the details, or what I recollect...
Within one hour of THE REIGN dropping me off at the LSU campus I had reuinted with my first true love, endured an abrupt realization that although I was learning a valuable life lesson, I was most definitely not in love.
Neither was she.
I remember arguing about something desperately wise and political before storming off. I would have to consult the periodicals of the era to venture which indignity I was struggling against.
Was it Big Cheese? The Berlin Wall? The lack of a Berlin Wall? I do know for certain that I stopped in the lobby of her dorm and used a toilet underneath the stairs to emotionally, symbolically, and quite physically evacuate her from my system.
I was hopelessly lost and alone in Baton Rouge. The drinking age was 18 at the time.
I walked into my first ever bar and ordered my first ever Scotch, and I hung my head with the "you thought you were in true love, but now you know you have no idea" Louisiana blues.
I knew, somewhere near that campus, THE REIGN was rocking, and I had to find them.
Not a bad go at it I think,
I have a story so strange I am not sure how to tell it. It involves a quest to find my first true love, my first college road trip, and Terry the Human Wrecking Ball.
It is a story so odd that I find myself incapable of determining where it begins and where it ends. As the Wrecking Ball said, it feels like meeting yourself coming and going, or something like that.
The year was 1984 and I had a girlfriend, Jennifer. Her sequined, brace-covered teeth reflected the lights of the roller rink as we held hands and skated to Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart". It was our song. I had a girl, and we had a song, and those were the days.
By 1989 I was a freshman in college and Jennifer was gone, a shining and chaste memory slightly tarnished by a string of other girlfriends, other braces. My heart had like, totally eclipsed-until I received her letter.
Baton Rouge was great, she was a freshman too, she still thought of me. Did I still think about her? As the plastic hearts and spangles spilled across her words and the air filled with the scent of her perfume Le Jardin-spritzed across each page of a letter with the heft of a Sunday paper- "Yes! Yes I still think of you too", I told myself. We were in love were we not?
But how to get to Baton Rouge, Louisiana? I was already as far away from home as I had ever gotten myself. This was going to take some work, and I was a young man poorly connected, but my big sister- Libblyllama- she was a Senior and she knew a thing or two.
Within a few weeks I was rolling on I-10, deep into a part of the South I had never seen before, with people whom I had never met before, except for John K, my connection. I was rolling with THE REIGN and they had a gig in Baton Rouge. Swept up in the romance of my tale, they had agreed to carry me right to the doors of Jennifer's dorm, then they were off to play a gig at a frat house. The future looked bright for all of us.
And now I begin to lose the flavor of the journey, the essence of this story, which ended- or did it begin- just yesterday, 18 years down the trail.
Please be patient as I collect my thoughts, they are littered across the years.