Sunday, June 29, 2008
I am seeing clearer than I have in many months so permit me a moment of your time to introduce some truth to this collection of canards and prevarications, this pack of lies.
Big Jim Slade did not write the hit song, "Cum on Feel the Noise," by Quiet Riot.
Aside from that, everything else you know is true.
I have hinted that a new age of riding has begun, but my fingers have been locked on handlebars rather than keypad and mouse, so reports are just now dribbling in off the slobbering chin of history.
Oak Mountain, AL- 6/23/08 17 miles
Some two mile climbs, screaming singletrack, and a section called "Blood Rock" make this an epic destination for any rider. This trail is especially epic for a surging Juancho on a random Monday at 2:00 P:M. Temp on departure- 147 degrees.
Jackson, MS Butt's Trail( I shit you not!)6/26
Expecting a cedar chip covered multi-trail, I found a trail with a robust Razorback flavor with a slight bouquet of 49th Avenue trails-canal diggings edition. 4 laps at 5.5 miles = 22 miles.
One lap with a local fella in cut-offs and a Chik-Fil-A t-shirt.
He whipped my ass. Badly. Temp on departure- 165 degrees.
Appalachicola National Forest 6/28
Ran the loops with 'Tops and Bushy, S'quatch missed out because he showed up with a completely cracked top tube. Sometimes those completely broken frames are hard to notice before a ride. Stay tuned for more on that story. 'Tops disappeared, Bushy and I finished. 22 miles. Relative humidity 113 percent.
Appalachicola National Forest 6/29
I am still recovering. After the ride I tried to read the paper, but I couldn't hold it up. I tried to watch t.v. but the remote was too heavy. I gave up and laid in a dark room for three hours, no sleeping, no thinking, just me and the dark room.
I am still there actually. Wrecking Ball trapped me between himself and Big Jim while Bigworm delivered the punishment, or as the others undoubtedly will remember events, he set the pace.
See www.wreckingballblog.blogspot.com for more information. Temp on departure- 112, Relative Humidity a gazillion percent.
So you see, Longbow season is here. Pack your lunches.
When I am not riding right now I get antsy. I am supposed to be out there.
I ride to hear the voices, to peek around God's curtain and steal cookies from heaven. I ride because I don't know what else to do.
I ride because the wagon tracks are so narrow.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I think my love of the South is well documented. I have forsaken Las Ramblas of Barcelona, the Rocky Mountains, the urbane and tasteful moodiness of Portland, and wine-guzzling summers on Lake Ontario in favor of a year-round devotion to fire ants, Slash pines, sand spurs, and tea so sweet it makes your fillings sing.
Northeast Mississippi could change all that. The isolation. The heat. The poverty. We like to characterize all small towns as charming, but some of them are small because nobody wants to live there.
I just rolled into Jackson, and the diminutive skyline of DAYS INN, OUTBACK, and MARBLEDY SLAB CREAM CONERY, has the breathtaking appeal of Paris at night.
I am a road warrior, and therefore not inclined to whine and simper about the injustices of the road, although perhaps all of my time spent upon its gritty shimmering surface explains why I reel at the mention of riding bicycles on highways. Why don't we just go play scrabble at your office?
Didn't think so.
The road is for work, not play.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
On Saturday, five riders set out to ride a long, long way- like fifty miles.
1 rider got some cramps, which left 4 riders as the temperature increased.
1 rider was "on-call" for the heart surgery team, and he is expecting a baby any minute, so away he went as the miles unrolled.
1 rider missed some turns and ended up home, as the water ran out.
1 rider got a flat, watched another rider change it, then watched that tube
(ole Patchy) go flat again, then called for back-up, which left;
1 rider to finish it off the way it began, and creep slowly up the street to his house 5 hours later.
That rider was me.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Go ahead, call it a comeback.
48 days into my new regimen, oops I mean regiment-damn-it! I mean regime which began with 15 days of whooping cough and then converted into 33 days of ennui that rivals listening to Frank Zappa pretend to play the guitar or watching David Blaine continue to not do whatever he may not be doing at the time; I am defiantly getting faster.
Out in the 2:00 P:M heat yesterday (92)I blistered the Redbug and surrounding Northside trails in a solo celebration of mountain bike wizardry.
No cursing, no wheezing, no getting off to push. Just the rattle and chatter of my 3.5 cylinder engine chitty chitty bang banging through the woods.
I might celebrate and buy some new grips.
I have three days until I lock myself in the Mississippi delivery vehicle and begin a daring performance of kool-aid pickle evasion, thunderstorm navigation, and cheap hotel bed hibernation.
Who is riding where?
click the title and vote!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Just a few things I would like to clear up:
When people write, "First and foremost" followed by what they want to be "first and foremost" that is redundant. The same applies for "I would like to thank..." If you would like to thank someone just go ahead and do it. Nobody is trying to stop you.
Yesterday I saw a fox while golfing. If you are one of those folks who wonders why anyone would play golf, the answer is; to occasionally see foxes.
If you know of anything I must see or do in Northeastern Mississippi the time to tell me is now.
Paying the Gym and attending the Gym have as much in common as space exploration and looking for a sock under the bed.
People who write clever lists on the internet do not buy stocks online.
If pain is weakness leaving the body, then what is pleasure?
The best time to play hooky and go for a ride is right this very minute.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Remember standing on a hot driveway barefooted and poised like a little blue heron?
I do. Feet slow-burning while you squint up the street for the ice-cream truck, or a friend shimmering through the waves on a BMX bike. First you raise a foot, scrape the melting asphalt and gravel on the inside of your other leg, then shift, scrape, back and forth.
Now I keep the house as cold as the Seven-Eleven, and the curtains drawn to unending darkness, but I’m through complaining about any heat. If this planet is warming up we will just have to make the best of it and soldier on now won’t we?
I grew up in Central Florida, with undisputed moisture and heat of the most vigorous recipes, and relied on ceiling fans and pine trees. I do love a crisp dry bed sheet nowadays. I can admit that.
The hottest I can ever remember being in my life was in this town, riding from SoMo to Railroad Square every day and littering this town from stem to spokes with fliers for the Tallahassee Rock Gym, SIDNEY, and whatever humanitarian fundraising scheme we were promoting at the time: burned churches, FPIRG Cultists, lost Bosnians, the Stray Dog Education Society, Dunces Without Borders and whatnot.
500 hot pink fliers bleeding through my backpack and t-shirt would turn my skin the color of a briny red jar of pickled eggs.
Sweat was my calling card, and I called frequently.
Just squint and ride on.
King and Kong look tired this morning
Maintaining a cycling blog while not cycling is one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my young life. Without the luxury of bike rides to fill the pages, I have pushed my ability- and my readers' credibility- by exploring the existential and the metaphysical.
I strive for the literary equivalent of that trick my grandpa taught me where he takes his thumb off.
I realize now there may be no cyclists visiting this site.
Judging from the referrals and keywords that bring traffic to this informational cul de sac, my average reader prefers to feed ice cream to their cat while watching Bigfootville on the Travel Channel; and I am glad to have you.
Prepare for discomfort and change, because the ride is on. Back to back mornings to the sweet East side trails. I don' know if I am keeping up or everyone else is slowing down, but I like what I am seeing- my fellow riders in sight the whole time, and sometimes behind me.
Wagoneering has its privileges and I am not talking about the Popsicle buffet.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
A question asked in the moment before a head-on collision, used to demonstrate the clarity of mind and purpose exhibited by men who have made their peace and live only to execute the plan.
Tyler Durden: Guys, what would you wish you'd done before you died?
Steph: Paint a self-portrait.
The Mechanic: Build a house.
-from the movie Fight Club.
I can relate. I woke up in a strange place Saturday morning. It was my own bed. Recognizing an opportunity to do other than serve humankind I put on my swimming trunks before I made coffee.
I drank it on the way to the Wakulla river. My friend, colleague, and house guest was with me and five minutes after slipping kayaks into the river he says, "Check it out Diggity, fat dolphins!"
He may or may not have said that, but he was right. The fat dolphins were out and playing. One, covered with scars, looked at with his woeful gaze and I thought, "Don't give me that woeful gaze, you don't know the kind of month I'm having." A few lashes to swim in the river all day and eat? Doesn't sound so bad to me.
When you have little or no time available, priorities become clear like spring water. It doesn't have to be a pending car crash, it could be the price of keeping your word and earning a living that steals your time.
The next morning I did it again. I woke up and rode off to the park to ride bombing great singletrack with Mystery (that crazy un-tameable stallion). The Cadillac trail was a real pleasure- if pleasure was a lot like a kick in the 'nads. All the same the bike felt great and I felt pretty good myself due to my extended wagon ride.
I seem to have a similar brief window this evening and look, I'm spending some it with you people. I have to shine my head and iron my guayaberas before I go to Miami tomorrow.
What would you wish you'd done before you died?
Saturday, June 07, 2008
For years I carried a tin can, sort of like an Altoids can but not- full of powdery sand from the well in the chapel at Chimayo (click title.) I didn't necessarily believe it had magical properties, but I did not disbelieve either. Magic is rare in this life and I felt like a handful of dust was as likely as anything to contain it.
Now I can't find it anywhere, and I could really use it right now. a little dust from the desert of New Mexico, out of the saddlebag of my personal history.
All throughout my twenties I worked the themes of LOVE, SPACE, MAGIC, and FREEDOM in journal after journal trying to distill some life theory that would see me through. I assigned values to things and placed them on this scale. A dead of night campus ride was magic. A 25 hour work week was freedom. Passing a bottle around a campfire with friends was love. A curtain of hot spring water was space. I would bargain for and measure success by compromising the presence of two as maintaining, the presence of three as achieving, the presence of all four at any given time, that was known as arriving.
Right now I would settle for that little bit of magic. I am certain it would help me conjure up the others.
Just passing through,