Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This used to be a nice place to visit

You know, I have to say I was wrong. Munson is not destroyed, ravaged a good bit, but not destroyed. The access trail, paper cup trail, and good portions of the never got a chance Twilight Zone trail are gone, but hey, Munson-strictly speaking- still exists.

Whoopee. My buddy T put it nostalgically like this, "Fuck it, it was a sand pit anyway. We can go find a new sand pit if you need one so bad".

And that my friends, settles that. Maybe change is good, maybe change is bad, all I know is that the current transitional reality is about as lame as the president these days, which brings me to a brief story.

The Roadie War Monger, or Weird Harold visits the trail head.

I woke up exhausted from a 12 hour nap this morning and knew instantly I had unfinished business out at the forest. I sipped a cup of strong, black coffee like I do every morning. I make it in a Melita filter with a huge scoop of fresh ground 8 O'clock Bean. It sat on my shaky stomach better than anything over the last two days when I was fighting off some Botulism, or perhaps a dose of the Salmonella.

I blasted the first Weezer album as I rumbled down South Monroe in my gas hog Ford, patting myself on the back for splurging on a decent stereo and some speakers last Summer. I don't care what you say, that blue Weezer album is a stone cold classic and it always takes me back to simpler times.

In spite of my mission to record the destruction of a local landmark trail, and the presence of actual logging trucks mowing down swaths of the forest, I found myself responding to the same forest cues that draw me out year after year. Specifically, the wonderful piny smell and the cinnamon sugar trail base. My vitriolic mission had become what I needed most, a good ride.

I spent an hour and a half exploring all sections of the trail and trying to picture what it will look like after a rather severe haircut. I forgot about all that. I thought about Thailand. I thought about old flames. I thought about my work and who it has made me. You know, good bike ride stuff.

Then, as I was resting back at the truck a guy approached me. On a road bike ( A Giant). Mid-fifties, appropriately geared up, he kept swooping past and throwing out overtures. Unfortunately I don't speak road bike.

Eventually he pulled up and started going on about plans to expand the paved St. Marks trail, then he segued quite naturally into why we really can't trust Muslims, and how "the war" is between ancient religions and make no mistake- you better choose your side. I tried to cut him off, but he was not to be stopped. "You can talk to Iran if you want to, but I wouldn't take war off the table!" he was shouting this as I cranked up the Weezer to 10 and lurched into reverse (to brush him off the plate as he was hanging in my window by now). "Terrorists are coming over the border from Mexico, the media lies!"

I don't want to act like that guy.

And this is a Muslim-friendly site.

But I think I made a mistake when I started giving roadies a pass.

See you later,


Those Woodpeckers better like it.

Monday, February 26, 2007


A drizzling zamboni-like rain fell yesterday, polishing Munson Hills into perfectly sticky race track conditions. After 2 weeks of travel, I was finally home. Finally suiting up for a run at the Grand Old Lady of local trails.

I was a little disappointed to see that in my absence she was roughed up, knocked around, out-right abused. The place is trashed. 400 square miles of National forest containing exactly (1) 7.5 mile mountain bike trail and the Forest Service sold off the anemic, measly timber from that sector, or quadrant, or whatever language is used to signal the arrival of progress.

Call me a conspiracy-theory whacko, but the Forest Service efforts to see the local community develop a mountain bike advocacy group coinciding with the destruction of a Tallahassee landmark trail seems highly suspect. The Forest Service had some bad medicine to deliver and they needed some noses to pinch and some throats to rub.

So, I will put on my investigative vest with the many pockets and seek clues.

Was the cut announced in the papers, and if so, when?

Did my local bicycle advocacy group understand fully the level of decimation (to reduce by 10's) the Forest Service had in store for the area?

Since they cut in new Forest roads doesn't that imply that they have moved in permanently like our troops in Baghdad?

How did the discussion go from "miles of new forest trails" to "preserving what is left of our one actual trail?"

For all of you living beyond the borders of Leon county I apologize, but I hope this is a cautionary trail. The thing you think will never happen is probably lying on someone's desk awaiting approval right this moment.

I saw one of our local fast-boys, Mr. Slayer, out there and he was lost and disoriented like a seagull covered in an oil slick. I washed him off and sent him flapping away.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Can We Rebuild Him?

I think I will ride in a town called "Tallahassee" this weekend if it is all the same to you people. I won't bore you with work details, just know that I am terribly important and therefore sacrifice myself for the good of humankind. It's nothing, anyone else would do the same thing in the same situation. I wouldn't call myself a hero, but you know- if the shoe fits right?

My sweet bike has been locked in the trunk of a rental car that attracts politically conservative senior citizens like a NRA Pancake Breakfast, or a Swiftboat Veteran Reunion. At this point it has given up hope of ever touching sweet North Florida dirt again. Peering out the keyhole trying to attract attention on the highway. "Ha, ha, ha!" I say, "Nobody hears your screams!"

Anyway, I suppose I will be out there this weekend, somewhere along the Lake Lafayette circuit, doing my homework and earning it back the old-fashioned way.

At least all of the big, organized rides are over. Maybe this trip was more convenient that I realized?


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Welcome to "the 'Ham" a tour in pictures

It can be hard to choose which type of animal you want to smother in tangy sauce and eat, but I went with chicken.

Mac and Cheese is available everywhere, It is as common as a glass of water.

And some fresh Turnip Greens keep Alabama bones strong for years to come.

Birmingham loves a Grapico brand grape soda!

The best lemon pie is not meringue here in the 'Ham, it's lemon cream pie. Ooooo-boy!

That ought to top off the tanks for Oak Mountain later today, you know, when I go for a big, muddy mountain bike ride after work.

Mmmm, and there is a Johnny Ray's BBQ right down the street from the park for the post-ride 'recovery' dinner.

Somebody say the blessing-

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

And now here's Squatch- with the weather...

Reduced to covering cycling events like just another attractive journalist, I scrambled to get the story during my brief return to homebase. S'quatch made it very clear that he dominated the field in the run to Tate's Hell, churning up the competition with his girthy thighs. He also said the food was delicious, a Carnival Cruise styled buffet of butter sculptures and chocolate fountains.

Actually he said it was vegan and therefore carried all of the opposite characteristics of say- a steaming pile of delicious biscuits and sausage gravy. Steaming pile, mmmmm.

Aside from the tasty snacks, and the 19 degree departure temp, the ride to Hell and Back sounded like an old home week of local characters, up and comers, and out of towners who made a bad decision.

Maybe next year Mystery and I will cater the damn thing.To get any more than that, we have to wait for our foreign correspondents to report in.

The 12 Hours of Razorback can be summed up by a single dispatch from Joey Bushyhead. Something about snapping off his rear deraileur in the dark and converting his rig to a single speed in order to maintain an overall team placement of sixth. Results can be verified at Look for Team "Tall Blondes" in the Mens over 125 category.

Tall Blondes is code for Miller High Life so don't go to that site for otherwise nefarious expecations to be fulfilled.

and on that note, Soledad will trundle into the Chrysler M3 (herringbone white) and go to Alabama, where they laugh at such things.



Monday, February 12, 2007

Options are for Losers

Most riders I know are psyching up and gearing down for one of these two events. The "To Hell and Back" catered slog through the swamp, or the annual dust and goo fest, the 12 Hours of Razorback. Which one am I doing? Well, you see, I will be elsewhere that weekend, reveling in family love, where I am quite likely the strongest cyclist in the pack. See, we all have our venues.

These two events fall on the same weekend, which would be a problem except I can't think of anyone who would choose to do both. Aren't you either a 12 hour goo-slurping racer or a 29'er stroking long range visionary? there might be a few double dippers in the crowd, but not many.

Me, I'm hitting the road today for Orlando, and if you want to read my opinion of that megalopolis of mediocrity, search "Orlando" within the site, I know I have roasted it a time or two.

There is a trail, (a poor beleaguered trail) in the area that I will be looking to ride, if you know anything about a 10 mile singletrack in the Orange County area, log in and give me some beta please, or just send it to and my secretary will get me the message. It's called Something Springs I think.

I will be home for one out of the next 15 days, and my travels will take me back up to Birmingham where Oak Mountain will hopefully rehabilitate and resuscitate my flagging enthusiasm. It is the kind of place that can do that for you. If that doesn't work I'm thinking I need to get a Tsali, Pisgah, NC trip on the Spring Calendar asap because nothing motivates like intimidation.

This is getting so "bloggy" I think I will go wash my hands now.


Friday, February 09, 2007

The Spark

I'm up at 6:00 A:M. It would be a good time to suit up and roll out, knock out 15-20 miles of trail before breakfast and all that, but I got no spark. No catalyst. No muse.

An exotic new love interest.
A friend demonstrating signs of cycling weakness.
A new bike.
New loathsome behavior in the White House.
Some new punk rock or hip hop.
A newly discovered line or trail.

Just something to get me psyched to ride.

If you need me I will be over at the Titus website.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Have you always been a rider? Like, since the first time you ever pedaled a two-wheeler by yourself have you had any long, dry, wheel-less spells? I've been thinking about that recently as my Jamis Dakar trail glider lies behind a wall of furniture and rubble. With the exception of a few off weeks, the current riding lifestyle has persevered since 2001 when I bought a Jamis Eureka to celebrate getting out of college for the second time.

Before that I went through a few years where the bike was not even a factor at all. That sounds pretty weird. Too weird to say out loud, that's for sure. There were just a few years in there between 1988 when I got serious about a bicycle as my weapon of choice, and today, the modern era, in which I command an online universe of cycling lore and slay trails as needed. Ah yes, there were dark times.

Upstate New York- Wine ruled the day for 5 months in Sackett's Harbor, or "Scratch it Harder" as the winter-weary locals liked to call it. I never once rode a bike. No wonder I hated it.

The first few months in Portland, OR when I was afraid to go out in the rain.

A few summers in Bozeman, MT where the bike was an afterthought to rock climbing, caving, back country ski-packing, and all that other big country stuff. The bike was there for the occasional woodland epic and for getting to and from the Molly Brown (bar) on icy, Guiness-soaked roads.

Yep, that's about it. Other than those few lapses I'm claiming 18 years of steady pedaling.

And I will be out there today (Northside)-


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The move continues, as does the bureaucratic maelstrom associated with it.

Be back soon..


(It ain't like I'm riding anyway).

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pack it Up and Move it Out!

Please excuse my absence while I pack up the circus and move on out of this dump of a house I've been squatting in for 5 years.

Juancho is movin' on up.

Wheezy! Get me my slippers!

El J