Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Due to a strange wrinkle in the time/space conundrum Fat Lad and his dear wife Sarah will be landing in Tallahassee for five days and four nights just as I myself leave for Louisville, Kentucky for likely that exact time frame. As has been noted, this is a horrifying development that only underscores how my life on the road leaves many other aspects of my life in a state of suspended animation- songs half-learned on guitar, under-invested relationships, interrupted diet and riding patterns.
I don't mind the occasional shitty meal at an Applebee's in Laurel, Mississippi or overly stained linens at the Red Roof Inn in Overland Park, FL but this one stings-badly.
Within hours of fumbling onto the Google and setting up a blogsite I discovered the Lad, or he discovered me? In his writing and photography I found a brother in yarns. A rider across the ocean who appreciated a cold, muddy beatdown with friends followed by indulgent rewards like cake and pints. Over the next couple of years, there were more miles than cake and one couldn't help but notice the title to his site didn't make as much sense as it might have.
Next thing you know he is standing in green fields in a kilt with his bride-Sarah.
Visiting Al's site is like watching Rudy, or Remember the Titans because here is a man one can root for wildly and with abandon. Free of my nasty bent towards sarcasm and ridicule, the Lad presents his struggles straight up the middle. His victories are the sweeter for his honesty, and his setbacks equally crushing for the lack of excuses and blame. If one thing is clear it is that riding with the Bad Brains MTB "Pootle Crew" is all about good, dirty fun. By reading our network of lies and occasional blog combat, they must view this visit as a kind of war tourism.
Aucillasinks has been Julie McCoy so far for their visit, trying to coordinate rides, beers, and such. If you have missed the conversation please reference the comments section in the last few posts here.
Take them riding, make (him) suffer a little bit on something delightful like the Live Oak Connector, and buy these sweet kids a beer or five. I hope to be back before they leave, but I am also shopping for tickets to Yorkshire, UK.
If these elections go the wrong way, I may be looking to stay for a very long time.
Thanks everyone for showing them some Southern hospitality and our Seven Hills way of life.
Have fun without me.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Please reference the post below to read my pollyanna treatise on wounds, injuries, and the inherently soulful qualities of riding through pain.
When it comes to gaping puncture wounds I feel differently.
How do I feel about these sorts of wounds? Dizzy to mildly nauseated, especially while irrigating it with a syringe.
This occurred while sliding out on the freshly laid pine needles on that favorite trail of mine, the Twilight Zone. I'm not sure how the lawsuit works- do I sue Fat of the Land and then they sue the Forest Service or is it the other way around?
Maybe 70lbs of pressure is too much for those conditions. Who knows?
Aside from that, we had a grueling ride. The sun, the sand, the tectonic pace. I tell you what, if I wanted to hire someone to guide old, retired people who have neve ridden mountain bikes in the woods before I would hire my friend Mystery, the children's birthday party pony. He would be perfect.
Good thing he doesn't know about the internet.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I feel like I'm starting every game with a fourth quarter body.
The over the bars incident I had with Bigworm weeks ago has scabbed and healed on the outside, but leaves me with an eery numbness in my left knee. I can burn it with a lit cigarette, and feel the slightest pinch. No matter, the pedals go up and down same as before.
The solo crash I had at the Troy State College trail in Dothan, I ratcheted my left ankle up in my cursedly plush Ergon bar-ends. The cut has healed (Go Vitamin K!) but although no bruise is present, it is achingly tender to the touch two weeks after the incident. It doesn't matter though, I use the pang to count cadence every time it comes around at the seven o'clock crank position.
My legs burn from morning to next morning. It doesn't matter if I'm fresh and rested, or all tapped out 20 miles from home. I stretch, but my legs and I, we both know it is a joke. Here is a picture of me in the backyard. You can plainly see that when it comes to stretching, I get by on social promotion- I just show up and try.
None of these conditions may ever go away. If they do I will miss them. I do not have any tattoos on my body (sorry for breaking the magic) but I think I understand the appeal. The ink is OK, but I bet it is the pain that you are purchasing.
I reached a critical state of "too much" yesterday whereby to commit to any single responsibility was an open declaration that other responsibilities would not be accomplished. Rather than bear the burden of choosing which priority to not do- I locked up the office and went for a bike ride at 12:30 P:M on a Wednesday.
I know, big deal, if you search the archives you would find that such behavior was once de rigour around here, but things? Things have changed.
I planned to ride out to this Orchard Pond road dealio so I cranked out Old Bainbridge road- one of our gorgeous canopy roads that distinguish Tallahassee from places like Detroit, MI or Panama City Beach, FL. The absence of bike lane or shoulder meant I had to roll over or through possum carcass and armadillo carapace, but the cool early Fall weather kept the stench suppressed.
Not having looked at a proper map I assumed I would find this road no problem. Instead there was a problem, so without too much fretting I pushed West until I encountered a river- The Ochlocknee maybe, at the end of Tower road. Making a note to come back with the kayak for further exploration I turned it home a little dejected that I wouldn't get my big loop accomplished.
Too pretty to go home, the day propelled me to Tommy's. Like a legendary Minuteman he was suited and ready to ride immediately and off we rode to Tom Brown Park.
One fast lap of that degenerate slag heap and a wandering tour home added up to a 36 mile day in the middle of the week. That's a nice set-up for the weekend, and another go at a big Northwest loop.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I intend to tour it as fast as possible.
This year's Tour will be held on January 10, 2009. Deadline for registration will be November 15, or when we reach our rider limit of 400.
The brochure can be found at www.sanfelasco.net. It will be available on the morning of October 1. Last year we were full in around a week, so don't delay in printing your registration and mailing it in with your check!
Direct link to the registration form is: http://www.sanfelasco.net/docs/tour2009reg.pdf
New this year will be the availability of pre-ordering short sleeve t-shirts, as well as our usual hoodies. A long sleeve T will be included in your registration. As always we'll have our great lunch, and plenty of sag stops, including lots of dark chocolate at the last sag to get you through those last grueling miles!
When you are downloading your registration, don't forget to take a look at last year's Tour pics to see how much fun everyone had!
If you have any questions immediately, please email me. After registration begins, please direct all your questions to email@example.com.
See you on January 10!
Leslie and Doug
Monday, September 22, 2008
It is hard to keep up. The two-legged stool keeps me hopping. I wrote the last post before I went for a ride yesterday evening. By the time most folks read it this morning the mileage total was buried around 85 or 90 for the weekend. Tommy and I rode North last night, and it was quiet out there with some peculiar exceptions. This guy was cruising over the powerline hill as we were topping it from the other direction. We paused to chat and he mentioned that he had read some BRC that morning. He sat casually draped over the bars of what looked like a road bike to me, but I am sure others would split the cyclocross hair if I pushed the issue. "It's got cantilver brakes and gusseted stays dude!"
I pointed out to Tommy that if you run into P-Mac on a ride, you are doing something right. We usually don't see his kind when we're out with the weekend warrior set. He said he was coming back from some dirt road I never heard of, Orchard Park?
Even money says it's somewhere in Georgia.
After that we saw a gang of wild turkeys at Lake Overstreet and they reminded me of all my buddies who used to ride with me. It must have been the majestic bobbing and wobbling of their skinny necks.
After some testy exchanges expressed through pedals we both aborted diplomacy and begain openly shooting goo packs in front of one another, and that ain't code! Out to Lake Jackson and all through Redbug we shellacked one another with baseball bats scarred up with protruding nails, garbage can lids, pots of boiling coffee- you name it. Despite the big day prior, I felt like I was watching it all happen from the first class section of a very fast plane.
Sure Tommy has a new baby at home, but he is a notorious competitor and strong man so I'm just saying, it was a good ride-
-although he might disagree.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The hard part of the ride is walking out the door. Picture me tired, with the corners of my mouth still crusty sweet from Johnny Ray's lemon pie, experiencing total radio silence from the robot army- but the weather!
The weather is perfectly cool, the air is what I describe as "soft."
The moment before I click into my pedals the world looks bleak.
Although I recently acquired part ownership in a multi-billion dollar insurance company and a number of investment banks I can find no joy in surpassing the expectations of my 10th grade World History teacher who wrote in my Senior yearbook
"Has potential if he chooses to apply himself."
So, aside from my ascendance as a Captain of Industry--
I have a working front brake, a new saddle best described as a comfortable suppository, and an entirely empty Saturday to paint a masterpiece of a day.
I feel listless and underwhelmed with this life.
I roll out of the driveway being careful to not ride over my bottom lip.
Turning onto 10th Avenue I check the gauge on my legs and realize the tank is full. The tank is full and there are extra jerry cans of turpentine lashed to King and Kong. I am prepared to lay siege to the trails.
Fern, Cadillac, Heritage, Pedrick Greenway, Tom Brown Park, and it is not even noon yet. Crushing up through the old Albertson's trail, which is cleaner than you would think, I pull into Mystery's place demanding everything a Viking needs for sustained battle. Careful to never look me in the eye, he and his dear wife provide me a BLT and a vat of hummus. Mystery maintains a steady patter of excuses for not riding, as if I could not see his smiling bride for myself!
I leave them to the rest of their lives and pound to the St. Marks Trailhead in time to run down S'quatch and his new riding gang. Local writer, Bucky McMahon, is training for a 125 mile ride in Tuscany next week as an assignment for a prominent national magazine that would be considered the opposite of a magazine about being indoors.
This crew bobbed along the trail like a drunken float trip, content to let the slightest momentum push them along towards the coast, a cold beer, and a night at the Sweet Magnolia Bed & Breakfast.
We give Bucky the cheered back-slapping and encouragement you give a man who has already made a terrible decision with no option for retreat. The recently enlisted soldier, the girl on the mechanical bull, the volunteer from the studio audience.
At the front of this pack rides Sasquatch, a dominant rider among his peers who coast along on shed-kept mountain bikes from the early nineties. They are all having fun, and they would most likely be startled to hear this outing described as exercise.
I feel like just another clown in the parade, but a clown with a 60 mile day.
San Whatsco? When is that again?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
It finally happened. S'quatch and I crossed paths like two normal Tallahassee residents in a random parking lot. Me, I was picking up sushi which I will masticate and convert into speed, endurance, and power tomorrow at the formidable Oak Mountain trail south of Birmingham, Alabama.
He? He was picking up his son from work. I can't be certain, but I think I smelled some Rally's.
Now he is like other friends in town who I am happy to run into in the course of my day, the ones I look at and think:
an hour ago I was out in the woods, slobbering and suffering, covered in ticks and smilac cuts lost in a viking fantasy- clubbing a path to victory through mayhem!
I think that, but I smile and tell them I hope I see them again real soon. They would never understand who I really am.
Here's a thought locals.
How about we get Pete Shins set up in my garage sometime this weekend with his tools and let him get our bikes running correct? I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm running out of "Duck" tape. We can hang out, have some beers, procrastinate, and watch him fix our bikes-just like the shop without the Procol Harum. Joe can even build a couple of those Raleigh Ventures so he doesn't lose his touch.
Rates will be configured as always:
What did you need?
What did you bring?
How big of a pain in the ass are you?
S'pose I ought to check with Pete too.
Check back tomorrow night for an Oak Mountain Redux report.
I sit all day and night on this two-legged stool.
I work, I ride, or I am in transition between the two and even that feels precious small.
There is nothing to talk about besides the tasks at hand.
Tomorrow morning I will be on my way back to Oak Mountain, which I will ride before I go to work. See, the two-legged stool.
It is stable as long as you are hopping.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Cliff Leonard, of Hook, Line, & Sinker Designs- you did a good thing on Saturday morning. The Dirty Time Trial was good, dirty fun. If you have a surplus of shirts I think we should sell some here at the BRC, give me a call.
With the combined effort of a respectable lap time and a number of unwitting sponsors, I was able to purchase second place. One rider came determined to bring home victory and his wad of Abe Lincoln's procured it for him.
Congratulations to Mike McCue for winning the first ever dirty time trial!
I believe J.B. Ritter took third. Way to go J.B.
Judging by the podium, it might appear that trophies were handed out based on the number of hours our asses have logged sitting in front of the shop.
Conditions are turning toward favorable that all of our asses will soon be perched right back where they belong before Thanksgiving. That leaves us plenty of time for more FUNdraising. What next?
Storms are commonly used as a literary device to signify a lasting change or unalterable realignment in a character's psyche. In this instance, Tropical Storm Fay has redefined the loyalties of the BigRingCircus. How can I continue to pick on Cobra Kai when they sent an emissary to deliver an envelope and kiss Joe's ring? How can I lambast the staid and sober Capital City Cycling Crew when they sponsored the event with prizes and refreshments?
Who will now stand in the crosshairs?
I'm serious. I feel nothing but brotherly love for the roadies, the commuties, and the racies. I even have love for Bike Church, and those guys truly suck!
I guess it is back to picking on S'quatch.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
...please turn out the lights.
I could not get on the trail fast enough after one of the strangest work days I have had. Unfortunately, due to the confidential nature of my work I can't share the details of the episode. It probably wouldn't seem like a big deal to you anyway. It might sound like this:
You won't believe this, but after re-setting the flux capacitor in the number seven workbay I found the gol'darned ring cone from number eight work bay sitting right next to the turpentine tap! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha!
As I was saying, I was pretty excited to put on the man-o-tard and crank 'Pac to eleven.
I forgot water so I filled a water bottle with seven and a half ounces of flat Diet Pepsi and a couple swigs of hot Gatorade then up and over the mountain I went. The only way I know to ride Oak Mountain is straight up the fire road and straight down the Blood Rock section. I knew the park was closing at 7:00 and I thought I had plenty of time to get up and down.
I didn't realize the trail puts you down on the other side of the mountain, rather than the side with my rented Champagne Lincoln Town and Country mini-van.
Here's a tip for you. For summertime downhills, put up with the heat and zip your jersey. Getting stung is bad enough when it doesn't begin with a high-speed impact that drives the stingers straight to your rib bone. Happens to me all the time, you think I'd learn. Whatever, to be honest, I kind of like it.
So, when I finally hit Peavine road I was about nine rolling miles from the T&C and it was 7:33 P:M.
A GIGANTIC deer came snarling out of the trees at one time and sideswiped me at 29 mph more or less. Close call.
I followed a truck slowly out of the park. The driver waved me through right before he got out and locked the gate.
And Mystery wasn't even involved.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I got the wind knocked out of me a couple of times this year.
I have two avenues of thought on the matter.
Down the brightly-lit, Royal palm-lined Avenue A is the notion that the pain is a reflection of effort, and therefore evidence of growth and progress. Take your lumps and all that.
Meanwhile, I hear a low whistle coming from the shambly, Now & Later wrapper littered, single-wide trailer-rowed and graveled Avenue B that says I am just not paying attention. Crashes are the fruit of bad choices, crooked lines, and hesitating in that crease where things either go bad wrong or so right.
Either way I'm sick of the bruises.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Supporters of Joe’s
Hey folks, this is a reminder that the Joe’s Dirty Time Trail is this Saturday and if you can lend a hand while you are there that would be great. I’ll need a couple people on the course and a couple people to help keep things running at the start/finish.
An important detail that I forgot to mention is that riders can arrive at any time from 9:00 to noon and start their TT when they feel like it. I would also like to encourage riders to have a friend or enemy help time them so the responsibility of time keeping can be spread out and avoid waiting in line to ride.
Cytomax and and snacks will be provided by Capital City Cyclist.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Tomorrow night I will lay my head down at Oak Mountain, Alabama. Three days of working all day and riding all evening. I can hardly remember what singletrack is like.
I visited the Eastside trails finally. Things are far from normal out there, although if you work for it you can still put a ride together. Deep, sludgy, contaminated, mosquito-farm water is present at the entrance and along the lower sections closest to the railroad tracks. I saw not one riding soul out there on Saturday. Discouraging. This could be explained by the hours I rode, between 11:00 A:M and 2:00 P:M. It was hot and hazy.
Joe and I met at the park at sundown last night like sweet gay lovers and we walked the trail and I got caught up on the nightmare. Our very ownNicol sent a card with a picture of her bike and a Joe's t-shirt and an earnest letter of support as only a New Plains Re-Migrator could do.
Joe is a little embarrassed by all the love, but I told him it is his own fault for being overly decent. It is not many of us who get a glimpse of what our funeral will be like. He should not be disappointed. Anonymous envelopes with cash show up in his mailbox. He can't go to the grocery store without being stopped by a dozen people asking after his well-being and the future of the shop. He is not used to the attention, but it is important to people I tell him.
As Joe always has, he brings out a better side in us.
I, for one, seriously need the shop to re-open. I was working on my disc brakes last night with a spoon and a pipe cleaner. Now, they really squeak.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Please forward this to your crew.
Dirty Time Trial for Joe’s Bike Shop
September 13th 9:00-1:00 Tom Brown Park
In order to raise money for Joe’s Bike Shop a fundraiser / off-road time trail will be held at Tom Brown Park September 13th. Every penny raised will be given to Joe to help ensure Tallahassee’s landmark bike shop beats the flood.
This time trail will be as unique as Joe’s Bike Shop. Have you ever wished you could crush the competition in a time trial but lack the necessary legs and anaerobic threshold? For one day, time truly is money and you can win this race with your wallet. A $5 donation is the standard entry fee but you better be fast if you only bring 5 bucks. Every additional $5 bribe takes a minute off your time or if you are feeling especially dirty you can add a minute on to another riders time with 5 bucks. If you are tired of getting crushed by a bunch of skinny dudes in spandex I recommend you take up a collection at the office and come win this race.
Please set aside your Saturday morning to ride your bike,hang out with friends and help Joe’s get back up and running. Route and staging area will dictated by how much the trails dry up. Food, prizes and activities for kids will be announced in the coming week along with additional details.
A couple bike shops are offering their support for this event. If you would like to volunteer or donate prizes or food please contact Cliff Leonard: 443-5040 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nobody knows how he is doing it, this riding every day, leaving wagon tracks so far back in the distance they disappear into the pillows of dust he plows with those knobbie tires. He used to be an oddity, a curio on the trail, like a Maurice Cheeks throwback jersey on an Abercrombie and Fitch rack.
Now he rides every day, splits cans of tuna with the cat (getting a head start on that plan) and never speaks of scabs or cramps, or aching muscles or too hot or too early or too late or too short or too long, because he just doesn't care anymore. Munson 30 times? Why not 100 times? Why not on empty stomachs with flat tires? Why not during a thunderstorm, with sand in our water bottles?
He may not always ride with you, but never doubt he is riding.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Pick up a copy of MTB Action magazine on shelves today and flip to page 86. That's right, that is no poseur model boy being held up by wires and rope. That is the BigRingCircus sponsored rider Todd Simmler! Joe' Bike Shop is enjoying a longer run in the national press than Senator McCain's girlfriend and Todd is being exploited in national press as well. Things used to be so quiet around here.
The real shame is that MTB Action missed the opportunity to interview and ride with an underground monster on the mountain bike scene. Todd could have told them what riding means to the rest of us- then he would have whipped their asses down the hills.
Oh well, forget about it, be like water.
What you see next is the inside of a greeting card I mailed to Dogboy. The front showed Mickey Mouse sadly sitting in despair and dreaming in his word bubble "Miss You." I saw the D-boy last weekend and apparently this is not enough to call the kid out for a bike ride. A god-blessed engraved card signed by your own mountain bike and all the trails in town. This, my friends, is not enough. I am at a loss. I have no idea what else I can do. I am inclined to take it personal.
And lest we forget: Thanks to those of you who have offered to send Joe your well wishes and support to:
Flood of Support- Joe's Bike Shop
c/o The BRC
2209 Gibbs Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32303
If you would prefer to help in your own community, Joe would like that. Help a kid get a bike. Give away your beater to someone who really needs one to get around town. Buy them a lock, and consider Joe and Pete supported.
Come back and tell us about it. We won't think you are bragging. We really want to know. We will be proud of you.
For finishing this post I reward you with the following valuable local trail information. So- it is valuable to some.
Live Oak Connector- This brute of a technical test piece is under grave duress. There are indications of re-routes and hard work by someone. If it is you please e-mail me at email@example.com if you would like help. Until further notice, the majority of the trail is not rideable. It would have been scary to be in those woods in the storm.
East Loop of Lake Overstreet is under water. North and West loops have scattered debris and a few re-routes due to falling tress, but otherwise ride-able. Take your licks, it will help clear the trail.
Monday, September 01, 2008
This post will be entirely free of sarcasm. This post will mock no person or human endeavour. If this post has a future it is as a Lifetime Movie event.
Saturday night was a late one. Not like the old days of pre-April 2008, but in the new model, which means I was riding my bike. Mystery the open book, Tommy, and myself spun out a night lap at the only trail left undamaged in the area, the venerable sweet grandma of trails, Munson Hills. I rode without an actual cornea-boring headlamp in favor of a tiny penlight the size of the head of a match. This meant I had to stay peppy and alert so I could anticipate turns and maneuver through the forest in bas-relief.
I didn't want to get out of bed Sunday morning is what I'm telling you. So when Joe called to meet him at the warehouse it was a fight to tie shoes and brush teeth but I slouched out of here with better late than never conviction.
We had to get ready for the Flood of Support benefit at Lake Ella for Joe and the other Lake Ella shops that were damaged. Joe is the face of this event not only because the entire world has seen him on major news outlets carrying a bike out of his flooded shop, but also because Joe is an anchor business for Lake Ella and he has been on the donating side of these events for 20 years.
At 10:30 A:M I was catching the last load of an ongoing affair. After loading a u-haul truck with bikes and non-damaged merchandise we set off for the Legion Hall at Lake Ella, host to the day's events.
This is where I began to pay attention. The bike shop was re-created inside alongside the inventory from other shops that were overwhelmed by water.
"Whoa!" I thought, "I'm going to need another cup of coffee."
Pete was there along with Scotty, Jackie, and this guy Aaron- who since the day of the flood seems to be everywhere Joe & Pete need him without complaint; driving the truck, carrying sloppy wet gear, whatever. Today he was bandaged heavily from a collision with a mini-van, the most recent victim of yet another serious bike-vehicle encounter in this town. Injuries aside, he was on the scene as usual, hanging out and being helpful.
There seemed to be more merchandise than there would usually be in the shop. One explanation is that a frequent target for ribbing on this very website, Sunshine Cycles, donated about 40 pairs of high-end road and mountain shoes to the cause- thereby purchasing themselves a pass from ridicule at the BRC-not that they care one way or the other I'm sure.
It speaks highly of their character, even if they are a bunch of roadie scum. If I was roadie scum, I would totally be shopping there and I encourage you to do so if you have visited this mountain biking site by mistake.
This post is now alarmingly long, and that is one problem with sincerity, it takes time. Half-truths and sarcasm come lightning fast.
The event wasn't scheduled to begin until 2:00 P:M but already the volunteers who helped make this day happen were going to their wallets and lining up to purchase.
I started to think this wasn't going to be a typically under-attended grassroots 3 band benefit. After all, this was Joe. If Joe hasn't helped you out in the last 20 years then you probably haven't needed much help. Just search this blog for his name and get a sampling of what public service looks like when you do it yourself.
By 3:00 P:M it was pouring outside, but nobody seemed to care. The Legion Hall was already packed shoulder to shoulder and the line ran down the block. You couldn't park anywhere near Lake Ella by now. People were handing over cash at the door for the privilege of spending more cash to liquidate the refugee inventory salvaged from the flood.
Wendy Halleck was talking to the news, coaching volunteers, and quarterbacking the whole operation. She should have been in charge after Hurricane Katrina.
I stepped outside to move someone's truck and when I turned to go back in, the path was blocked. Standing in the rain I stood on tiptoes to catch Joe's attention. I pointed to the throng ahead of me and shrugged my shoulders.
Joe was at the center of a mob holding a fistful of cash and he just smiled and shrugged back.