Friday, May 29, 2009

Always be Ready

Have you heard of Anvil?

It is the story of a thrash metal band in obscura waiting for their moment to happen- and it does. 30 years of steady rocking until they became a curio on the mantle of rock, and thereby worthy of becoming the subject of a human interest documentary. Now they are rocking faces off all over the world, including Rocklahoma.

I relate to you this story not because I am a fan of thrash metal like my brother, but because I understand the concept of waiting 30 years for the smile of justice to turn your way. Luck is for those who earn it, and Anvil never stopped rocking.

That's what I was thinking of out at Munson yesterday, time trialing at 3:00 P:M in the afternoon, in a suffocating humid haze so cloying I kept reaching to unzip my jersey only to realize it was open and flapping like a soggy beach towel.

I carried a soaking wet Camelbak full of gear that weighed 26.5 pounds. I cranked the Tupac up. I don't need a cool, breezy day or a challenge from anyone. I rock like Anvil, for rock's sake alone.

Forty-one minutes and forty-two seconds, give or take a minute that I spent moving a Gopher tortoise out of the trail (we have to stick together!) I celebrated with 45 minutes at the gym, emptying the tank.

So whatever, that is pretty slow.

Like the boys of Anvil, when my moment comes I will be ready to rock.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sameness

Is it a rut or a routine?

Another lap in the forest, this time with Magnum hisself. I assured him I would be writing about watching him slowly teeter over at the trailhead, locked in his clipless pedals. He augered into the dirt with a pillowy, "OOF!" just as the runner we passed turned the corner and headed for home. We laughed, because that is a joke that never gets old.

Unlike my rut-ine. Although I work from home, often in my underwear, the work carries a lot of stress, as does your work I'm sure. To be away from my station for any length of time is to picture my corner of the internet crumbling, and my hard-earned influence passing into irrelevance. To be unavailable in a crisis is to be unnecessary.

I have long identified my work with the following passage from A Catcher in the Rye, a book about a disturbed young man who thinks of everything too much, and usually in the wrong way (at least if happiness is involved in your future goals.)

"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be."

I need to sort out a vacation and let some of those kids run off the cliff. Who knows? There might be something great down at the bottom and I'm just keeping them from it.

Maybe Honduras in August? When the weather is nice and the revolutionaries are restless?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Faking it

Racers have it easy. Always something to work towards, an event on the horizon keeping their feet to the coals. Waking up with nightsweats at the thought of pushing their bikes up the technical climbs while stronger riders swarm around on both sides jeering and cursing their lack of preparation. Yessir, racers have it easy.

I didn't go to the Prom, or my college graduation. I avoid theme parks, stadiums, and dinner parties with more than six in atttendance (although four is always preferable.) It is for these same experiential biases that I cannot attend a bicycle racing event. Finishing last is not my concern, as that is so much more than likely. I would probably have a heart attack long before the finish line just from the stress.

I still need goals though, Yo. I am not a robot.

Lately, thanks to rain as predictable as my order at San Miguel (#17 Mole Pollo Enchiladas) I have been attending near daily therapy sessions with Dr. Munson.

This is good,but what's the next adventure?


Friday, May 22, 2009

Bored of Distractors

Periodic waves of boredom are overtaking me. I walk around the house with my head lolled back like a Pez dispenser, my knees rising high like a FAMU Drum Major then stomping down in protest. It may be pouring rain outside, but what I want is a hurricane, a plague of locusts, a troupe of Rainbow Gatherers camped in the lawn- some predicament requiring immediate action.

It is Folk Festival weekend, and the outlook is swampy. Squatch and his dear, sweet daughter are planning to camp on a sandbar along the Suwanee river. I envy the excitement they will have as they scramble higher up the bank in the middle of the night fighting for their lives as the fire ants swarm up their limbs also seeking higher ground. How come they get to have all the fun?

I need a little rock, maybe some roll.

In the meantime, saddle up.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pot Roast in May

"All I want from you is a pot roast." said Pain Cave Tommy yesterday. In honor of his birthday, the man just wanted some red meat and a chance to get drunk on the Sopchoppy in the care of his good buddy Cupcake.

Fall-like temperatures continue in the area, confusing me in both body and soul. The pace of life and the seasons are supposed to correspond and reflect a steady wax and wane of mojo and focus. The steamy summer temps and the suffocating humidity left me dangling from the wagon- a boot heel caught in the gate latch. Now, I am riding like San Felasco is a month away.

Every day brings a new riding partner. Shins on Sunday. PC Tommy on Monday. A wheezy, sluggish Sasquatch on Tuesday (barely did he make it.) Cupcake Today. I did this last year too.

I used the same excuse with every rider. "Where were you yesterday when I was kicking _________'s ass huh?" Diabolical? Or just genius?


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Juancho and the Notable Mavens

Despite stepping out on the town last night, I hit the deck this morning with new found motivation. Glum Gus was not fitting the bill for the summer program so I tumbled happily from the wagon and reveled with some notable mavens. Mysterious beers were served in tulips and flutes. I was surrounded by the chatter of the optimistic and the hopeful. Although we were all drinking at the moment and not doing, the talk was all about the do and the soon to be done.

What my party chose to accomplish was to retreat to my porch for sanguine debate concerning the proper order of verses for The Joker; as sung by the Steve Miller Band. The good Mr. Carbrera picked that and so much more on the guitar until the next thing you know, it's 2:00 A:M and the morning ride is fast approaching.

By submitting to the appetites I broke through a wearied, exhausted feeling I believed to be illness, but more likely was the bland tasting life of the unbalanced, the grim-- the lack of the gosh dang joi de vivre!

Riding through a belching steamer of a morning, I watched Shins Burchell launch all things great and small and then we stared at the lily pads.

This may be the slippery slope to a summer of bachanalia, or maybe it is learning to appreciate all things, and the company of notable mavens.


Friday, May 15, 2009


Reflecting on the diminishing sun I shook my head, amazed that it could be happening again. All of the essential elements were there, and clearly. I staggered up from a nap, groggy and exhausted after consecutive weeks of travel. I just wanted to escape the work scene and explore a little singletrack on Jake Mountain before dinner.

The thought of backtracking was enough to summon the little tickle of fear that comes when you know you have done something dumb and a price must now be paid. To backtrack was a guaranteed dark finish. Not to mention my fellow social work colleagues would mount a rescue bigger than the search for Eric Rudolph.

My rational mind wasn't worried about death or injury, just inconvenience and frustration. I wasn't feeling so great to begin with and now I was facing a mighty trudge through steep hills of sticky clay in the dark with little water and no food.

Been there done that. (note use of common cliche!)

Once again, the map and the ground did not match up. I needed Forest Service Road 28,but it just wasn't there. I saw a tree stand and decided to think it over from an elevated perspective (and maybe see the road?)

I considered what was needed in the circumstance. To turn back would require resolve- resolve to climb the rutted out downhills of wet clay I had descended to the bottom of the cut, where the sun seemed so far away. To turn back was a guaranteed hour or more, and definitely some darkness.

To continue in what felt to be the right direction, despite the conflicting information on the map required courage- courage to succeed or face the consequences.

My weary bones compelled me to gamble on courage. Thirty more minutes of deep woods slogging and I breached the road! I was five miles past the intersection I anticipated, and about eight rolling miles from the van, maybe not epic, but when you are weak it all seems epic.

This riding, with no hope and no energy? This is my secret talent.

I own the ride of the hopeless. I am its patron fucking saint.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Eat Through the Pain

Some say dog-ass tired, but I say "whooped."

That's how I felt this morning. Ache to the bone, sand in the gears, eyes burning whooped. I might got a dose of the fybromyalgia, but I doubt it. The more likely clinical diagnosis would be: tired. Hard to say why, but I blame Life. I fell into bed at 11:00 A:M, three hours after wake up time. My morning coffee cup was still warm and I declared it nap time. I decided to listen to my body and hear what it was telling me.

It told me: You look good dog, you been working out or something? 'Ju get a haircut or what?

That meant the diagnosis was clear- I was starving to death.

Through the fog of exhaustion I piloted the Safari to Publix and hoisted a Ribeye into the shopping cart-so heavy I could barely push the thing!

I watched and waited while the meat sizzled on the grill, serious as a grave digger. I ate the whole thing in one silent, uninterrupted prayer for strength. I also ate a handful of asparagus, a sweet potato drizzled with molasses, a TCBY frozen yogurt cup, a 1000mg C vitamin and a B12 pallete cleanser(239% of the daily reccomended allowance!)

Thirty minutes later the lights came back on and I felt that man-strength returning.

I scanned for enemies to vanquish, but alas there were none.

A good night's rest and tomorrow I will face all comers.


A Slow Boil

Things are warming up out there. The energy I was counting on to produce torque on pedals and issue decreess of authoritative power to slavish strong legs got used up producing sweat, and converting water to make more sweat, and performing all the unheralded tasks in a system to prevent organ failure and blackout.

The heat makes me slow. Please reference the BRC hall of records if you need verification of this: official excuse #119/ RE: Heat Makes Slow.

It isn't even real summer yet. There is time to adjust.

The Hummingbird diet- a steady trickle charge of sugar water and 4 avocados per day might save me. Starting the ride before 1:00 P:M might help.

Who am I kidding? Nothing can help. The magma will slowly (I want so badly to say inexorably, but that word was retired in 1996!)ooze across our land until it singes the will of the strong and the weak alike.

Tomorrow, or maybe today, I flee north for the week- as if there is any escape.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I broke away from the machine that tells me what to do next and scheduled a little play date with an old sweetheart, the Cadillac trail. This was no workout. Nobody was trained-like a dog. Straight up funsies. This was flexing singletrack know-how and can-do.

That is not to say that rubber wasn't burned because the Espresso Love and the calcified righteous indignation of a Willie Loman bucking script; a man who has tired of politely excusing himself onto the ledgge-- this is the atmosphere for a play date.

I went to have tea with the Death-Eaters.

The trail playgrounds were full of activity, and a few people gave me the opportunity to reclaim my humanity by communicating with intent and purpose. All that non-manic talking felt a little dusty in my mouth after a week of eyes rolled back in my head madness. The Titus jumped like a Red Pony. The trail was dusty and loose, a tunnel of green and not yet summer!

Junior Cottonmouth got caught out in the middle of a wide sandy section of trail and he was high-tailing his ass as fast as he could when I rolled up on him. He was looking embarrassed and sure he was done for certain. I passed and spun around as quick as I could stop to catch another look.

I lost him in the leaves and realized he had regained the upper hand.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Emergency Response

North Georgia next week + paltry miles last week = No fun.

I had to call for back-up. The 1986 eversteady Fuji Del Rey, salvaged from my brother-in-law in San Diego has come out of cold storage. Some Simple Green and a shot of chain lube and there it stood, alert and ready for action. Some slow, heavy pavement miles are just the thing to snap some depth back into the legs in time for some brutal climbing up at Bull Mountain.

I may pick on road biking, but never on my personal road touring bike, the 1986 Fuji Del Rey. A simple search of its name in this blog will yield a rich and storied past between myself and that steel beauty.

I could talk about so much more, but what is there to say?

I fight on. War is hell.


Monday, May 04, 2009

A' Roving

Here, a picture of the author content, resplendant in taffeta robe and slippers, happy to be home.

Here, a picture of Santos, the trail that saved the author from madness and despair while on the road. The bike felt unknown to me. I was a happily oblivious wooden toy-creaking and clacking on wooden joints imitating the fleshed riders I saw streaming through the green.

And here is a picture of rain, which is brewing outside this morning in Tallahassee, FL- land of my gods and my monsters. S'quatch is away on cult-related business. Wrecking Ball is further wrecked. The realm is in tatters, and still we fight on.

Squire! My broom! My bucket! To war!