Friday, November 21, 2008
It just occurred to me that I gave the impression I was off my game, or slumping in my ride motivation. When I say I have a lot to lose, I mean the investment of the last 7 months of spartan sacrifice. Darts un-thrown, pong un-pinged, pints un-gulped. The stool only has two legs, but they are both Oak-strong from the hopping.
The only thing I am likely to lose at San Felasco is you.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Arch. These people will not stop their yammering about the Arch. It is 19 degrees outside and the famous Arch of St. Louis and all it represents (which is...?) is not something I can bring myself to visit.
Like my anti-hero Mr. Blaine, I am a hunger artist, able to perform feats of stamina and deprivation which are wholly unimpressive to the static observer.
I have not breathed outside air since Tuesday night. This hotel, and the mall in which it is housed, is the sum extent of my universe.
The only arch that interests me goes up in the air and comes down in Tallahassee.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
By my calculations we got ourselves about 55 days until that godforsaken excuse for a bike ride, the San Felasco 50. Depending on where you stand at the moment that is either more than enough time to get in shape for it, or more than enough time to fall down the well and lose all of your summer base miles and pick up 15 lbs.
Now, if I was Sasquatch, I would get my fingers out of the ranch dressing and go ride some trails between now and then, but I ain't him and there is no telling what kind of plan he is cooking up(probably some sort of cheese-based plan.)
I on the other hand, have a lot to lose between now and then. Months and months of unrelenting sobriety and tedium could all be wasted in the coming days of conference breakfast buffets and family holidays. If things went really bad there is even time to smoke about 1100 cigarettes between now and then. If there is one rule that is unbending it is this: Rust Never Sleeps.
The temperature is dropping. The pies are in the ovens. The days are shorter and shorter. The sweet warmth of the family bosom brooks no lone wolf antics.
"Come, sit with us, we can play a board game and eat some cinnamon rolls." says the bosom.
How to stay motivated?
How to keep the engines of self-deprivation and hate firing through a time of loving plenty?
I need about 55 reasons to stay hungry.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
"Let's do something different" he said, while the three of us stared at him like he had been rolling in shit. No, actually it wasn't Cupcake, it was Tommy (not his real name), for the record.
"Okay, great!" I said. "Let's ride up Blairstone and take the old Albertson's trail!" Now I am the one who rolled in shit.
So we wandered. We found an abandoned building from the olden times. We went 40 mph down Mahan drive jumping curbs on the sidewalk. We rode Tom Brown Park backwards. Yes, we are quite radical.
We saw the bikechain crew. They were pushing their bikes up the Cadillac trail because they said it was too bumpy.
We saw someone else out riding with his special lady friend acting like he never got the text this morning. Mmmmm-hmm. Yep, yep.
Then we pulled out our cuchillos and went to cutting and slashing on each other all the way out the secret beach and back to town. It was ugly, muy feo. The Trails ran with our blood.
That Cupcake, he is wily.
Enough suspense. I'm calling it. Best ride of the year.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
His, or more accurately its animate eyes scanned the forest. The attention to detail is remarkable. Small,idiosyncratic humanoid gestures fired off in a convincingly random pattern. A scratch of the nose, a tic of the eye. Amazing.
It had to be a product of the modern Mechanist movement if for nothing more than the seamless integration with a late 20th Century mountain bike. The Shaper/ Performance Enhancement Rebellion had peaked when prototype Lance Armstrong was finally proved to be the recipient of mitochondrial cloning technology without his knowledge (some say!)
This model was identified by a clever tattoo imprinted just below the helmet line on the back of the neck. It read: Dedicated Gear-Based Yonderer, or as it is known on the trails and in the bike shops around town- The Dogboy model.
I heard rumors that a new off-road edition was to debut soon on the trails in Tallahassee, FL. This location chosen in an anachronistic nod to the High Magnetic Field Laboratory which paved the way for the D.G.B.Y 2008 magnetic propulsion system. I didn't expect to encounter it on the first solo forest deployment, but there it was- pedaling in front of me and mimicking human mountain bike rider behavior.
As a laugh the programmers saddled the cyborg on an antique Specialized hardtail to maximize intimidation on local riders.
I tried not to notice and just kept pedaling.
To be continued...maybe.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Today was to be the day of re-motivation, re-animation, re-engagement with the local trails. Now maybe not. Can you hear that thunder out there? Has anybody checked Joe's for high water yet?
I woke up in the night to the soothing rumble of a true thunder-boomer Florida storm. In November? Whatever- I will take it. If it clears this afternoon then of course I will see you at sweet mother Munson and that sorry dog trot of a trail, the Twilight Zone.
Sasquatch checked in from a Scientology meeting out in Los Angeles, California. He was headed to a dessert buffet and cross-sector mingling session with the intentions of making a few chocolate chip cookie and flan sandwiches. I am glad to know his San Felasco training is right on track.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Now I remember why San Felasco is so tough. This is the time of year when everything happens. Now that we have saved the free world from certain doom and destruction all I want to do is get back on the two-legged stool and start hopping. Work, ride, work, ride, work, ride- you ride sixty miles and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in lactic debt.
Instead of chaining myself to the bike and computer, instead there are holidays, weddings, conferences, and a steadily increasing selection of baked goods and candy. Why no Christmas candy corn? Tell me that. All of this communal participation! I just want to be the Ted Kaczinski of cycling.
No matter. I made it through the 18th annual Cheaha trip without crashing the wagon. There were some bumps, and I ran alongside for a while, but I managed to swing back into the buckboard like a rodeo star. Mr. Up Early and rarin' to go- that was me.
We climbed 10 miles of mountain road without nary a downhill on one ride, then the next we drove to the top in a pickup truck and froze our asses off before descending the Thunder Rock Express, which took about 4 minutes. Not the most epic of situations. Some rock climbing on Star Mountain and call it a camping trip.
Now- how to put the pain mask back on and wallow in a schedule of deprivation and suffering?
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Last night was the first time in weeks that I was able to sleep through the night. I feel like a different person, or rather, an old familiar person I haven't seen in a while. Somebody kick me in the balls so I know I'm awake.
Many of us are in final preparations for the 17th or 18th annual Cheaha Trip which will be hosted in Tennessee this year near someplace called Ducktown or Chilhowee. It is time to lay my sword of righteousness down and pick up my one true weapon- the fully automatic Titus Racer-X. This year in honor of sweet victory it will read "This machine kills fascists" along the top tube.
I really do not know what to expect from myself when I get a moment alone with my thoughts in the woods. Most likely the locals will be reporting an eerie and other-worldly cry of the North Florida Skunk Ape roaring in their hills.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
The buzzing sound in my head increased to the pitch of a circular saw by 10:00 A:M so I had to release some pressure. I went downtown and voted.
I walked through downtown Tallahassee past the capitol where I stood screaming my head off in 2000. I remember looking at the crowd at the Recount rally and noticing that we were not a bunch of citizens united, we were a variety of issue-advocacy groups. I felt separate and apart.
I don't feel like that now.
I walked out of the court house next to a guy who looked like Lil Wayne and we were both putting our stickers on our shirts. He looked at me and shrugged, " Well, I guess we find out tomorrow whatever happens." I pulled out my Obama/Biden button and shook it saying, "I hope to God this happens!" all the while foaming at the mouth with my eyes rolled back in my head.
He broke into a platinum grin and we terrorist-fist-bumped. He said he wished he had a button so of course I gave it to him and we parted. I saw him walking as I drove out of down town and he was sporting his button and his I voted sticker and striding like he was 10 feet tall and bulletproof-which he surely was.
A plane towed a picture of a 10 week old abortion through the skies encouraging you to vote for John McCain. Another plane towed an Obama/Biden banner without any pictures that I could see. Voting helped, but a bad case of the crazies was setting in again.
Now things have come down to what I always knew they would-screaming in the front yard for change in this country. Inkjet, whom you know by other names around here- supplied the drop cloth and I got the spray paint. My brother, code-named Tres joined the fun then we spent a couple hours on the corner with Lil Juan Wayne, pictured above.
Around 700 people honked, cheered, and raised fists, peace signs, and # 1's while about 10 flipped us off exhibiting some of their fine classy ways.
One man hollered, "You people are out of your Goddamned minds!" to which I would respond, "Oh yes sir, we are most definitely that."
All are welcome to come by and holler tomorrow. It feels really, really, good.
Do it for the families lost in Hurricane Katrina, still lost and scattered like puzzle pieces across the nation.
Do it for the families who need their mothers and brothers home from Iraq.
Do it for the same sex families that carry their share of the load and get shit on for their efforts.
Do it for anyone who has a funny name who got picked on in school.
Do it for Evolution.
Do it for Choice.
Do it for the Age of Reason.
Do it for Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and using torture in our name.
Help Halliburton cash their final check of our money.
Do it to say fuck you to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and everything they stand for and the hobby horses they rode in on.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Unity, hope must conquer division, hate
By LEONARD PITTS JR.
The killers would have worn top hats. Having already murdered 102 African Americans, 14 by beheading, they would have driven at top speed toward Barack Obama, leaning from the windows of their vehicle, dressed in top hats and white tuxedoes, firing guns.
That was the plan, according to law enforcement officials who disrupted it a few days ago. Now the alleged conspirators -- white supremacists Paul Schlesselman, 18, and Daniel Cowart, 20 -- are in federal custody, an appropriately bizarre coda for the presidential campaign of 2008.
I mean, it's fitting, isn't it, that the campaign end with yet another appeal to fear, yet another portrayal of the Illinois senator as Not One of Us? It makes sense, after two years of viral e-mails, blog postings, talk radio rants and Fox News reports depicting Obama as a Communist socialist radical Christian secret Muslim black militant-marrying atheist-raised terrorist fist-bumping America-hating Manchurian candidate trained to subvert the United States from within.
Well, if that's what some folks think he is, let me tell you what I hope he is.
I will preface with a line from Gil Scott-Heron. The singer and poet used to say that people often asked him what he thought of the 1960s. His reply: I personally think the '60s are over.
Me, I'm not so sure. Indeed, when I consider the four presidential campaigns preceeding this one, it's hard not to regard them as an extended debate over that era. Those campaigns, after all, turned largely on questions of drug use, feminism, Vietnam, draft dodging, anti-war protests and other issues Richard Nixon or Hubert Humphrey would have found instantly recognizable.
I'm reminded how a young man told me a few years ago that he loathed Bill Clinton because the former president was -- and I quote -- ''a hippie.'' I was floored. Love Clinton or loathe him, that is, putting it mildly, an unlikely description of a man who spent the hippie era as a Rhodes Scholar and Yale University student of law.
But it makes sense if you buy the premise that we have been re-litigating the '60s here, seeking a balance of values between the freedom some of us won and the ''good old days'' others of us lost, between the whispered promise of change and the shouted, strident threat.
Indeed, if you buy the premise, then John McCain's recent attempts to conflate Obama with William Ayers are hardly surprising.
Whatever you think of the '60s, though, one thing is undeniable: They tore us apart, ripped American society to pieces and threw those pieces in the air so they rained down like confetti, falling into new configurations, nothing where it used to be. It was an angry time, those who found stability -- identity -- in the old configurations fighting those intoxicated by the possibilities of the new.
Which is why some regarded the presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy with such ineffable hope. His was a promise to reconcile the shredded pieces, to make them -- make us -- whole again. Then he walked through that hotel kitchen, and we lost everything that might have been.
Forty years later, we are still angry, still sifting through confetti pieces, trying to find a way to make them whole. And here comes Barack Obama wanting to be president.
He has an economic plan, sure. He has a healthcare plan, yes. He has a promise to end the war in Iraq, fine.
Those are important matters, certainly. But when I look at this guy and reflect on the hate I see in my country, the lack of purpose I see in my country, the division and fear I see in my country, those concerns feel distinctly secondary.
You know what I hope Barack Obama is? I hope he is reconciliation -- the end of the 1960s at long last. And the beginning of something new.
Leonard Pitts- Miami Herald