Wednesday, January 31, 2007

That's it!

It is time to get back to basics around here. I will be issuing pink slips at Lake Overstreet & Red Bug tomorrow at 4:00 P:M. Come on out and receive your notice.

Performance= Unsatisfactory.

Mystery, the Untameable Stallion, is back from Shangri-la.
S'quatch's gangrene is subsiding.
Days are gettin' longer.
The temperature is back over 50
(but just barely, so bring an extra layer, brrr!)

The "Off-Season" is officially over.

It's time to go back to school.


Kittens & Ice Cream

There is nothing better to recapture the court of public opinion than kittens eating ice cream. Aren't they cute?

Bring on the Home Depot, the new hospital, the sprawl clear to Woodville.

I can always move to Reddick.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good morning, Dave

The following excerpt from another blogger represents one man's dream for a more organized, developed mountain bike culture- in Serbia. He also claims the term "freebiking" as an original Serbian word, and perhaps it is.

Cycling in the West has reached cult proportions. There are
lodgings for cyclists, marked tracks leading through picturesque areas, hundreds of kilometres long in some cases, tourist packages for cyclists, printed brochures… Not to mention the availability of equipment. Here, for now, there is nothing. But let’s make it happen.“

Although he currently lacks suspension, titanium, goo, and marked trails I would caution him to be careful of what he wishes for. Serbian freebiking, and the pioneer status it now holds, will likely be as good as it gets. Every ride an adventure. Every repair a mechanical triumph.

Over here "in the West" on the other end of the spectrum where we have such things as printed brochures and availability of equipment- the squeeze is on. The adventure must be redefined by ever greater epic cross country casseroles that blend the urban, the rural highway, the singletrack and the exploration of forgotten spaces of ambiguous ownership.

I readily admit a hypocritical conflict. If new trails emerge from organizational efforts I will be among the first to ride and enjoy them, but the price is higher than you may think. The truth stings. The "woods" are not yours, or rather ours. They belong to the king, and you enjoy them at the king's leisure. Learning too much about "recreational user groups" and "establishing a previous history of access", and equine/motorcycle/cyclist/runner interface common denominators is similar to running unheeded into the playground fence. This is no wild place. There are no "woods" anymore, there is only the "Forest".

Ask the skateboarders. Once your town got a skate park, were you expected to only ride at the park? Did law enforcement increase at the Winn Dixie parking lot and the middle school? Were you expected to be grateful?

Uncontained, unquantifed recreation does not seem to jibe with our current civil society's strategic planning process.

Come in from the cold or else seems to be the current mandate. Maybe I am just being contrary, but I am not afraid of their "or else". I'll join the Serbian freebike movement.

Click on the title of this post to learn more about the SFM.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Riding Is Fundamental

Attention Locals: Fat of the Land Meeting tonight.

This may or may not come as a surprise, but there has been a lot more talk of riding than actual riding this weekend, but not like you're thinking. I'm talking about advocacy, or advocan'tcy, depending on the discussion.

Is it Erosion or Evolution?

Free- for-all or Institution?

By the book or off-the-hook?

Are we logging trees or logging miles?

Take your crew to Coney Island tonight (1/29) at 7:00 P:M and get your voc' on. I think the meeting is at the San Marcos apartments by the trailhead.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Not Evil, Misunderstood.

The Angry Monk is thinking about rolling out to the St. Marks Refuge this weekend in search of the mythic Pinhook River, the Picklesimer Fields of the Big Bend. Consider this post a survey of interested parties, but please understand that any interest is by no means a contractual agreement. It's the weekend, and I hate to commit to anything prematurely. I'm thinking 20 miles against a blasting headwind in an entirely straight line on a double track shell road, then turn around and sail back. The cool air will make the reptiles dim-witted dullards crawling groggily into the sunshine.

Perfect for taunting.

We could just go to the rattlesnake roundup in Whigam, GA and eat funnel cakes instead.

Don't tread on me,


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cross Training

Scoop came to town and sparked a disc golf revival this week. A frisbee, a walk in the park, the clang of the chains. Lots of good fun I'm telling you. We played a little real golf as well yesterday, but that was about as brutal as a time trial on the Live Oak Connector riding your little sister's bike.

I talk a lot about the joy of riding, but when you get down to it, what goes on out there is not necessarily a "joy-based" event. You can't discuss real cycling without the word "suffering" quickly entering into the conversation. I wouldn't have it any other way. The fun comes in moments when gravity is cooperating with you, or when it is cooperating less with your ride partners-that's joyful. The fun comes when the trail is groomed like a show poodle and your bike makes no ominous sounds. I'm not saying that riding bikes isn't a lot of fun, but there is that element of competition, violence even, that propels my interest equally.

I always have a shiv, or a shank if you prefer, tucked in my sock for the day I catch one of the boys off their game. Advertise your hangover and out it comes, jab! jab! jab!

I carry the scars of many a shiv'ing in the yard myself. I'm a vet of the old school cafeteria spoon fight out on the trail.

Disc golf though, was like Saturday morning cartoon fun. The bright colors, the parabolic curve, the delicious CLANG! of the chains. Sure we keep score. Sure we talk shit, but it doesn't mean anything. everyone takes their own marbles home. It's just for funsies after all.

I think having a few options other than pistols at dawn might be a healthy lifestyle choice. I know not everyone who drops by here rides, so what do you do for good times versus 'workouts"? What do you riders do to play out of the saddle?

Crickets- anytime y'all are ready.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mythical Creatures

I truly have the gift. What you see is none other than a recent picture of Uncle "brokenface" Todd Simmler ripping it at Moab. you may remember my mention of Todd and his supernatural abilities back in a previous post. I would link it for you but I got things to do so if you are interested in the research- google Todd Simmler and my post about him will be in the top 5 (boo-ya! Going worldwide Y'all)

Missing friends sucks. The realization that "One day we will all get a big piece of land and all live on it" is really just a more painless way to say goodbye is hard to accept.

Fuck it-let's all get a big piece of land somewhere and...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Thanks to the Wrecking Ball for the off the cuff pep-talk, which in its entirety said, "I read your website right when I get to work and hearing you whine about not finishing San Felasco, the dumb grey sky, and whatever- that all sucks."

And if The Wrecking Ball thinks it sucks, then it sucks, and it is all about satisfying the Marks here at the Big Ring Circus.

So, in the freak show category, I accomplished something today. After 5 days of languishing in respiro-illness I made it out on the bike today. With the exception of a miffed pastry chef and a couple other notable absentees, it was a beautiful morning and the pace was poppin' (in my opinion anyway).

When we finally stopped, I took the opportunity to hack out some delicious gooey protein (it is protein-based isn't it? Like a life form?)

I found myself in a rather extraordinary situation. The ropey filament splat onto the parking lot with the intention of signing a 30 year mortgage, and yet it was still renting a small flat in the lining of my left lung (How could it afford that!)

It was awkward really. If I made a move to tell someone, I risked breaking it. If I didn't tell someone, the moment would go unwitnessed.

I decided to keep it close to my heart (literally)...

And trust that my readers believe me (like the jaguarundi, any story that ends in me winning, the Green Flash, and my 4.5 ' vertical leap)

Chew your barbed wire carefully,


Friday, January 19, 2007

Reality Blogging

Forgive me, I forgot my manners. At Sasquatch's behest I would love to hear other remembrances from the Tour de Felasco. Crush your rivals? Feel good all day? Meet a new friend? See a jaguarundi (didn't think so). Tell us about it. We would love to know how it all went down for you.

What's that? You don't live around here or you don't ride bikes? That's Okay, please share whatever epic trials you are undergoing, from surviving the Michigan winter to wondering where your peanut butter pretzels are, if you reach deep inside- then it's epic.

So tell Juancho a story...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wet Cement Sky

My coffee tastes like soap.
And I'll never pay off my student loans.
And New Orleans is still a mess.
And that dumbass is still driving the National Bus.
And I have to do computer stuff today (which I hate)

Because I'm really a Viking
And a kilt-wearing warrior of the heather
and sometimes the best tool for the job is a club.
And making lattes wasn't such a bad way to earn a day's pay-
but ambition is a curse, and I don't even have that much of it- but it still feels like a curse when the urge to wander sets in, but you hunker down instead
underneath a shitty gray sky and think about the gray skies of the past that slowly drove you mad
until you did something about it
Like move.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Angry Monk

I have put myself back in the care of the angry monk. Illicit temptations will be met with ruthless irrationality and much shrieking. I will spend my days pounding rocks with my bare hands and eating sand. I will meditate on the weak wills of mine enemies and plot a coup against my greatest foe- relativism. I will wander naked into the wilderness of the mind and emerge clothed in the chamois of inner conviction.

I will ride my bikes.

namaste and other monkly greetings.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

San Felasco- A tiresome end to a tiresome saga

The weather was warm and lovely. The course was fast and fun for the most part. My bike was working. My legs were working. And yet...

Minutes away from the lunch station I crossed paths with every single person that I knew in the event as they all departed lunch in happy little packs of three to six. No matter I thought to myself, a quick lunch, a second wind- then run them down like the dogs they are. I slurped down some soup and crammed three pb & j's in my face as I sat down to stretch out the hams. All around me spandex-wrapped honkies brayed and chortled at a variety of inside jokes. Snippets of heart monitor comparisons, something about a little Van Morrison in the I-pod. Was this me? Were these my people? In a horrifying realization I determined that yes, I did in fact belong here. I checked the time. 12:40 P:M. Plenty of time to turn it around and hump the last 24 miles out, and yet...

I found myself focusing with tunnel vision on a red arrow that said "bail". "BAIL, BAIL, BAIL, BAIL" echoed in my brain. I pictured myself napping in the sun. I followed the red signs.
Four miles later, in a trance of indifference, I loaded my truck and rolled out- a clean break from the 50 and all the harassment that accompanied its arrival. Over. Now there would be new harrassment. I think change is nice.

As I arrived back at the pole barn, Ma Ingalls was loading up to drive the covered wagon to Fort Ocala to do some trading and I found myself strolling the aisles of BED, BATH, & BEYOND shopping for bundles of cinnamon pinecones, plastic re-usable ice cubes, and "massaging implements".

There are so many excuses that there is really no challenge in using them. The too long ride the day before. The endless hours in the car, the plane, the restaurants, the bad hotel beds, important family commitments and amazing life events, you see? I could do this all day.

Bailing is easy, and I suppose that is why people do it. See you there next year!

Send in the harpies-


Friday, January 12, 2007

No More Excuses

So what is it going to be? Will Juancho survive the 50? Place your bets now. he is currently offering 3 to 1 against. I've been fiddling with my drivetrain trying to facilitate a "Miracle Mechanical" that will get me out of this predicament, but Pete is just too damn good a mechanic. Everything seems to be working just fine.

-Cross your fingers...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Green Flash

I decided it was time to reveal myself on this site so yes, that is me on the left. If you happen to recognize me in public please respect my right to privacy. If you must recognize me in some manner, buy me a beer or something. As you can see by the ecstatic smile on my face, we witnessed the elusive "green flash sunset" moments before this was taken. The Green Flash has eluded me for 36 years, and many of those years spent on the coast-staring at the sunset- hoping for a green flash. In my mind I always pictured it dancing in dazzled patterns across the water just before the sky went black, and that is most likely why I never saw one. It is the sun pulsing, an emerald orb- sustaining one last intense projection of color before slipping beneath the waves.
I was asked if I was thinking of anything in particular when it happened, as if there is some significance to the moment above and beyond the scientific. I don't remember that I was, and perhaps that is cause for concern. When magic happens, you have to be ready to use it.
I have seen the Northern Lights from the Wyoming Plains. (I thought I was hallucinating after emerging from a 10 hour underground caving expedition.) I have seen it snow in Florida. Waterspouts on the Gulf.
Thunderstorms rolling past below me, rather than above, from the Sacajawea peak in Montana. Tidal pools full of anemones and starfish on the coast near Tillamook, OR -lunar eclipses and meteor showers. Curtains of ice, water boiling straight up out of the ground, and hurricane winds blowing whitecaps on the puddles in the Publix parking lot.
It isn't like me to let magic slip by. I'll be ready for the next one.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Birth Announcement

Congratulations to "Anonymous" on the birth of his new Salsa Santos FS ride. He debuted it to me yesterday afternoon down at Munson Hills. It seems to have slowed him up a little bit so I consider this a wonderful improvement.

On other fronts- I hear someone is planning to convince me to bail at the lunch break at San Felasco (30 mile mark). I want that person to know we look upon such actions favorably here at the Big Ring Circus and they should probably go ahead and bring the proper refreshments as we will have a 2 hour wait for the rest of our parties. (Some sort of Schnapps and a hot soup entree?)

The Holiday season is over and I once again emerge a slower, sluggisher Juancho. I never met a camambert I didn't like, that's my motto. Be on the lookout for the Angry Monk over the next few weeks and beware his acrid tongue.

Fat Lad- Do not give up hope of peanut butter pretzels, just forward a mailing address and I will see what I can do for you. I know you will appreciate them more than most.

My "Veal Training Plan" is askew. I have ridden a total of 38 miles since I returned home and I am sure that the meat of my thighs is tough and stringy now as opposed to the buttery consistency I had hoped for, there is nothing to do but ride this damn eco-tour I suppose.

Oh, and my new year's resolution? To continue rocking y'allses ever-loving world practically daily with the same hard-hitting journalism you have come to expect here at the Big Ring Circus.