Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Room for Everyone

Last Sunday out in the forest we came across a hunter-person on the Twilight Zone, which at least contributed some legitimacy to the name of the trail. Four dogs with shock collars and a guy in an orange vest with a shotgun strolling along through our newly acquisitioned specific use designated land parcel. Was he allowed to be there? Were we allowed to be there?

What if everyone just did whatever they wanted out there and we all just dealt with it? Horses and motorcycles and birdwatchers and salamander collectors and mountain bike riders and white goods disposal persons and homeless folk trying to get away from it all, wouldn't that be cool? Plenty of room for everyone out there I say. Just leave your brown mohair jersey at home and get a bell.

Ding ding!

On other fronts, The Human Wrecking Ball has branched out. In a spin off on par with Joanie Loves Chachie, he can now be found at (pretend I hyperlinked it). Go say hi, he has to be lonely over there.

Sasquatch keeps bragging about his incredible diet program, which I have staunchly avoided since it involves something called Ubo oil or Ouzo oil, but the other day he walked in with a bag of Chik-fil-A so I'm thinking it might not be such a bad program after all.

Mel (Not his real name) is a domestic juggernaut. He is hunkered down in snowy Westchester county and he keeps sending me pictures of cappuccino art, emphasis on the microfoam, and loaves of homemade bread. He has a regular laboratory of comfort going on up there. If you are a single woman, or looking to stray in the New York area, and you have an attraction-or at least no aversion- to cranky Asians, then you should definitely look him up.

What else? I couldn't really say. Oh yeah, thank God our delegates don't count in Florida. Yeah, I went there, so what?


Monday, January 28, 2008


Dramatic tension is what drives the reader, as well as the writer, further into a story. Dramatic tension keeps them coming back. Without an inherent struggle between good and evil, east coast and west coast, Sneetches with stars and Sneetches without, a blog is just another vanity license plate that reads something like 2KUL4U.

Don't get me wrong, many of you out there can serve as a nemesis in a pinch. I even hung up on S'quatch yesterday while he was talking. He was trying to sap my motivation to ride on the most beautiful day of the year. If that's not evil, well, that's definitely evil.

I could wage bike blog jihad on Bigworm over at Apebike, but he carries the goodwill of the people and any move against him would be sure to backfire.

I also want to be challenged as a writer, so that leaves out the obvious choices like W, Karl Rove, hippies, Wal-Mart, the Taliban, people who can't drive and talk on cell phones, and Yankees, not the baseball team, but people who live in the North.

A real challenge would be to take the fight to someone like the Buddhist Monks (lazy beggars!) or to declare kittens eating ice cream to be the antithesis of everything the Big Ring Circus stands for (when in fact they are its essence).

I don't know who, but someone's going to get it-


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crank up the Base

Simple, steady miles, that's what is called for. The last two days of riding in the morning solves all kinds of problems. Increased mental acuity and motivation for work post-ride, earlier dinner, earlier bedtime. I feel like a hundred bucks!

The weekend of April 18 I will be headed to the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia for the annual Spring Rendevous. There has been talk of Bigworm and Company joining us in some sort of global merger, so consider this an invitation. Any of the rest of you from Yorkshire to Timbuctoo, from San Diego to Kalamazoo, from Leesburg to Pittsburg, you can come too. Details to follow, but I can pretty much spell it out like this- Camp on the Davison River near Brevard, ride Pisgah, Dupont, relocate to Tsali for a night and come home.

Don't expect me to be sniveling in the back with a note pinned to my shirt by then either. Punks.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kid Brother

After being treated like a punk kid brother on Sunday I took the only recourse available to me and I rode with my actual younger brother (more punk than kid now) yesterday. His Jamis Durango has been collecting dust for about 8 months so it wasn't hard for me to feel like I could drop him at any time. That's good for the ego. Mine anyway, not so much his. If he ever wakes up we're going out for more this morning. We'll see about all that.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Twilight Zone

Before you go over to Bigworm's place and read his "shiny happy people" version of the ride yesterday, you owe it to yourselves to stick with the BRC version, otherwise known as the truth.

It was a cold and lonely day in the forest yesterday, as I struggled along just out of reach of the warmth of brotherhood and camaraderie. I was the kid brother tagging along, dodging pine cones and rocks as the big kids shouted, "JUST GO BACK HOME JUANCHO OR WE'RE TELLING MOM!"

It was the coldest ride of the year, and not cold enough to impress upon some of you the ache and challenge this presented to us thin-blooded Southern folk, but cold all the same. It is a matter of perspective and acclimatization. The coldest ride is the coldest ride no?

I was wearing 4 or 5 layers and carrying more just in case I had to spend the night out there (Mystery the Untameable Stallion was involved). Towards the end I was wishing I had thought to bring fuel instead and didn't relish the thought of slurping on a corner of my polypro longjohns to obtain a few nutrients.

We rode the godforsaken Twilight Zone trail, crown jewel of the new trail initiative. With the clearcuts, the shotgun shells, the sand pits, and the whoop de doo's short on whoop or do, it was a less than lovely tromp thorugh the forest, the sound of wheezing occasionally disrupted by a fusillade from the firing range nearby ( I hope it was a firing range, I tell myself it was a firing range).

After extended periods of solitude I would abruptly ride up on the rest of the group feeling like Tom Hanks at the reception party in Castaway. The awkwardness of socialization quickly passed as the group wasted no time once again disappearing up the trail.

I guess the good news is, they kept saying, "You're right behind us man, you're practically riding with the group."

Frozen tears don't fall,


Friday, January 18, 2008

New Logo

I made it myself.

Sub-30 and Sunny Sunday

Whew-eeee! Tomorrow looks to be cold and wet, much like the last two days were, which means conditions will be good for toughening up, and bad for enjoying your ride. Sunday however, with a forecast of a low of 29 and dry sunny skies, might be a good call for a special outing, in full bundle gear. Maybe the Line Tract is up on the dance card? Maybe, what do they call that Brigadoon, that Xanadu? Ah yes, The Pinhook River.

Or perhaps I will simply phone in a quick lap of the Cadillac and hurry back to the couch, there's really no telling, but smart money has to take the couch.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Where's Juancho?

Is this a photograph of-

The first night, last hour, of Driving School?
Kim Jong Il's elite Special Forces team?
The remaining fans of the Florida State University football team?

No sillies! It is the resurrection of Fat of the Land/SORBA, our local mountain bike trail advocacy and cheap car insurance provider organization.

Word on the trail is that major and minor improvements are in store for most of the trails in the area. Under the Al Quaida cell structure of new director, Roboboy,and with the substantial support of the Cobra Kai cycling organization each trail will have its own steward and work with the landowner on a management plan. Our own Aucilla Sinks will be providing oversight as Grand Wizard of Singletrack.

Bridges at Cadillac, a haircut for the imaginary Twilight Zone trail, and a 12 hour race at Tom Brown Park are but a few of the rumors on the table.

I don't recognize many of these people so I have to wonder, are they really riding their bikes, or is the real question, am I really riding mine?

Let's take a moment to thank Scot B. for his early efforts to organize and motivate the riding community, every step begins with a single journey. Best of luck to him as he opens his new bio diesel station/Alpaca farm in Lamont, FL.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spring Training

Now that San Felasco has passed most of the riders I know will let their guard down, enjoying a few weeks of relative downtime after accomplishing their winter goal. S'quatch's hand will find its way into the cookie jar, others will follow his example with unprecedented stretches of laziness and ennui.

While they exchange high fives at the bike shop reliving their best "50" moments, I will crack out of my carbonite casing and begin spring training.

Today it is cold and wet, and not just Florida cold, but cold like a soggy winter day in Portland- the perfect day to get the drop on the pack. It will be miserable and slippery, hands will be numb and toes will be numb, but if I can just talk myself onto the bike, there is a chance I can pull it together in time for a trip to Tsali in April.

The old he-coon walks just before the light of day-


Tuesday, January 15, 2008


In light of recent poor decision-making I have taken up chess again to clear my musty brain. So far I have lost three and tied one, not a very good record, but possible proof that the correlation between strategic decsion-making in game theory is a fair measure of one's ability to choose effective life decisions.

Lately I have been trapped in zugzwang, a moment known to chess in which one is compelled to move, and yet every possible course leaves one's position weaker.

To sit and do nothing would be preferable, but the rules of the game do not allow one to "take a pass".

It is the move you make before the zugzwang that means everything.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Circus Performers Report In...

So, let's hear it- San Felasco...what happened? Who bonked? Who crushed it? Remember, it was not a race, it was an eco-tour!


Friday, January 11, 2008

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

Sir Edmund Hillary
(Pictured on left with Tenzing Norgay)

I just saw that Sir Edmund Hillary passed away last night at 88. Coincidentally I am reading "Three Cups of Tea", a book about a guy who was inspired to build schools and hospitals in Pakistan for the people who live and work under the shadow of K2, in the spirit of the work Hillary did for the Sherpa people.

Damn, first Evel- now this. The world is getting awfully short on heroes these days.

At least we still have Bigworm.

On other fronts, many of you are on your way to knock that bastard, San Felasco, off this weekend. I do wish you the best and regret that I will not be joining you. If I can sort out the technical details I will post a promotional video featuring the best riders of our area, which I received from BW.

After all my talk of travel angels, I may have fallen a little short yesterday with a couple of people, unless you look at it in an avenging archangel Gabriel kind of way.

That simpering effete from North Dakota with the smart mouth had it coming.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

El Dignidad

As I begin the rewind today, back through Mexico City, Matamoros, Brownsville, Houston, Atlanta, and ultimately dear Tallahassee I will be trying my level best to not persecute the chickens I encounter along the way. Travel is always humbling, and often humiliating, and it is frequent that you see someone acting ugly and out of control in a moment of existential displacement. It is also commmon to see little acts of grace, as someone smiles and assures a young mother that their child is not being a bother, or a pack of crackers is shared with a neighbor.

We have all met travel angels, or at least I hope you have. I was given a ride once across the Austrian Border by an old man, his daughter, and her baby girl. It is a long story, but the crux of it is that I was sick, injured, had no I.D. and no money, yet this old man looked me in the eyes and nodded- get in the van.

Over the next two days when the opportunity presents itself, I hope I am able to welcome people into the van.

If you have a tale of travel grace or horror, please, grab the mic.

be home soon,


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Some things you may not know about Mexico-

Many people here drive nice new cars.

They have public services, like people cleaning the parks and directing traffic.

I have yet to see anyone shoeless unless they were on the beach.

The folks who go over the border looking for work are probably folks who need work.

Their bagboys at the grocery store are teenage punks with stupid hair, just like Albertson's, but not Publix (which frickin' dominates the grocery world.)

There are mariachi musicians strolling around in places where Gringos might go who want to see Mariachi musicians.

I have hardly eaten any cheese since I got here, and refried beans may actually be American food.

The curbs are significantly higher and if we grew up with curbs like that we could all jump our bikes even higher than we can now.

People talk on their cell phones while driving (scooters, cars, buses, donkey carts, bicycles) and it makes the streets pretty dangerous.

I have not seen chicken one, and that is a bit of a disappointment.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Mas Ciclos

Two more days until I start my hellish return journey, it is almost too much to bear. It will be like rewinding a movie through the scary scenes and watching bullets exit the body, returning to the barrel of the gun.

My action hero brother-in-law left at 5:00 this morning and already I can feel the pace of the entire state of Yucatan slow down a bit. So as you spend the next few days fine tuning your Felasco fitness routine and going about your american lives, I will stroll slowly, hands clasped behind my back, through the public square, greeting abuelas y obreros con el mismo gracious nod.

Nos vimos pronto,


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bikes, Tools or Toys?

It would be pretty awkward explaining to the owner of this machine the expense and obsession many of us apply to pedaling our lycra-wrapped asses all willy nilly about creation. We don't ride to deliver cargo or feed our families. Sure we ride for health, and joy, escape, and competition. All pretty lofty goals--

and symptoms of a leisure class.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

En serio, hoy yo escribo solamente en espanol, porque, pues, porque es lo que quiero hacer. Sabes? Bien.

Fuimos al centro anoche, my hermano en ley y Yo, para investigar la vida noche aqui en Merida. Nos perdimos nuestros mismos, tomemos chupitas y cervezas con una chica de Seattle se llama Beth. Beth hace ropa para mujeres y es una bartender tambien. Ella era muy agradable y tranquilo. Despues, manejando en los calles oscuro, sabimos que no sabimos a donde fuimos.

Tuve que pagar un taxi para guiarnos a casa. Que payasos somos!

Manana, buscare' para guayaberas, la camisa de gente que luchar el poder en todo el mundo. Hugo Chavez, Al Sharpton, Luciano Pavarotti, y Yo. Quiero una negra, una azul, y una blanca (tradicional) y de ahora hasta los ultimos dias nunca tengo preocupa de vestir en todos los situaciones.

El viaje aqui era muy dificil, camine' cruza la frontera y me coge' una visa turista y volar de Matamoros a la Ciudad de Mexico a Merida. la vista de La Ciudad de Mexico del aire, llenar mi corazon con miedo. Es un vision apocalyptico!

Se echo de menos my Titus, y un poco de mis amigos, pero mas o menos veo que puedo vivir cualquier, con casi todo el mundo.

En el fin, solo tienes tu mismo.

Buenos Noches,


No need to spell check this time!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

No puede pasar

I skipped New Year's Eve (the good part anyway) in order to drive to the Atlanta airport in time to make my flight to Merida. I woke up at 5:30 A:M to the sound of my brother teetering around the kitchen after enjoying the full measure of the night. Frustration quickly transformed to opportunity and I was on the road before the sun, with most of the revelers tucked away in bed, jail, or various ditches around the rural counties of Georgia.

By 11:30 A:M I was crying in shock as the airline informed me my passport was expired and I absolutely, no way in hell, was going to Mexico.

I crossed the border last night into Matamoros, a long way away from Merida, but it is definitely Mexico.

The water wasn't even cold.