Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This is me around September 2nd. I'm the one on the right. The woman on my left is my pharmacist. I was at home watching Wife Swap and scribbling cryptic notes in a febrile panic Flannigan/Logan a repetition of Crevecour, de Tocqueville? WRITE OBAMA! I would take an occasional break from my studies to pick up a Bleu Monday and an unsweet tea. Events other than these were regarded with exasperation, despair, and contempt. I let go of the rope and watched it drift in with the tide as I slowly spiraled out to the Gulf Stream buoyed by a PFD of synthetic opiates.

Then, in the middle of the night, I heard the keening Horn of Gondor calling me back.

This is a picture of me now-

Pools of angry butter clot the battlefield. What did I do? Everything. I changed up the dynamicity of this whole operation.



Now is not laurel resting time. Just because I could use my once broken shoulder to pat myself on the back doesn't mean it is time for back-patting. Nobody celebrates a job half-done. America did not win the race halfway to the moon, we went all the way. My regime is still dictating my regimen and I will need the complement of my full regiment to do it.

I made my Florida loop this past weekend and checked in with my family and dropped in at Wellness Camp for the weekend for a booster shot of stay humble.

Now it is time to get back to work.

Once again, I'm phoning it in-


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nothing New Under the Sun

I think I'm going to Santos for Thanksgiving tomorrow morning. I can't think of a better way to give thanks than a visit to Florida's single track Mecca. I enjoyed a robust solo ride on the north side yesterday. There were new trails with signs and everything. I guess it had been a while since I toured the northern grounds.

I won't keep you, as I don't have anything very interesting to say this morning.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yoga is not a Cult

- but it should be. If you don't do yoga then you must hate your body. There is really no other reasonable justification. I just need to get that off my chest.

Man oh man, what a spectacular weekend we are enjoying here in the Big Bend area of Florida. I was out there. I want to be counted among the ones who were out there. High 70's and a light freshness to the breeze. Know that I have been places and seen people. Places I have not been to in some time and people I have not seen in quite a while either.

I visited with almost the entire BikeChain Borg down at the Cyclocross races. That cyclocross stuff is confusing. It looked like people queuing up at COSTCO, or maybe a bunch of bike commuters late for work. I just don't get it. All that plastic tape is so displeasing to the eye.

Big grey fox squirrels, Dogboy with a cut the size of a coin slot in his chin his blood is green, a prehistoric palm grove far from town, and my own knees pumping those pedals all weekend long.

That's what I saw this weekend.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Bee-stung lips

This is not a picture of me, but of another hapless schlub who couldn't keep his photo off the internet with a big swollen, bee-stung lip. When you hear this expression it is usually a compliment, referring to Angelina Jolie's perpetual pout. On a man though, not so sexy. The incident occurred at Tom Brown Park while I was handily handling Mystery's occasional attacks on the trail. As we were swooping down the flow track basin- POW! Right in the kisser. I caught the yellow-jacket in the corner of my mouth and trapped it beneath a bicuspid. Mystery stopped due to the gargling,choking sounds which were different from my normal gargling and choking sounds and with some urgency I spat the Dolichovespula into my gloved hand and crushed it.

I had no choice but to ride on, as we were not well-placed for a bail out from this point. As we rode I could feel my face getting heavier and the intolerable stinging sensation subsided into a deep throb. I took a sip from my water bottle and somehow poured water all down the V of my jersey.

When we stopped riding 15 minutes or so later I asked Mystery to tell me if my lip looked swollen. His response? Instantaneous whooping and laughter. He tried to take a picture with his phone, but lucky for me he is so technically unsavvy he did not realize he was actually holding a patch kit, thereby sparing me the humiliation.

By the time I got home my lip had grown to the size of a boiled hot dog and I had something new to whine about.

It's still a little puffy right now (that's what she said!)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Serious Road Trip

The Serious Road Trip

This humanitarian aide group was one of my early inspirations to pursue a life of service to people in crisis. You might think I sit around on the Internet all day, and you would almost be correct, but someone needs to cover the Internet. We can't all drive the trucks. Some of my friends worked with this group and I had the opportunity to work with members of this crew in Bosnia and back here in Tallahassee, but that's a different story. The story I'm telling is about these young folks from all over the planet, who came together to act against murder, terror, starvation, and fear.

The story as they tell it is a hilarious account of heavy drinking, large vehicles, remarkable courage, and incomparable stupidity. At the peak of their influence Rolling Stone magazine dubbed them the "most rock-n-roll aide humanitarian aide agency in the world." I'm not sure if there were any competitors for the title, but SRT was more than enough.

You can read about them at the link above if you want. If you are pondering a move towards a change in your life that requires audacity and courage I think you may find their story inspiring.

Alas, nothing gold can stay and SRT fell victim to their own success, but not until after they had given evil a black eye in some of the most hopeless and dangerous places in the world: Bosnia, Romania, the Palestinian Territories, and Sudan to name a few. Their legacy lives on and when something absolutely must be done, because to not act is unconscionable, we can all reach for our clown noses and our car keys and make something happen.

I didn't drive a Bedford over Mt. Igman, but I was lucky enough to learn a bit of the SRT way and I have the t-shirt to prove it.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big Rain

I ran outside in my underwear at 3:00 in the morning to make sure my windows were rolled up on the Safari. They were. I jumped back under the covers still damp and shivered until I fell back to sleep and dreamt I was an R&B singer at the end of his career. I still had the pipes but I was jaded on the scene.

I'm up now and it is still pouring. This is good for my new hedge I planted. Camellias and Box Heather so I get two flower shows during the year. I didn't think to ask if they will overlap in one spectacular show at any point. I can hardly stand the suspense of not knowing.

Sometime during the camping trip last weekend I left the Clydesdale club. I'm still no waterbug so let's not get too excited. I think I know when it happened. We were climbing miles of forest road and one particular grade almost had my number. I wanted to get off and walk, but I didn't. I just looked straight down and turned the pedals. I think that is when I burned block of butter 28 and possibly 29. The singletrack at Unicoi State Park is like riding up and down a saw blade. We screwed up the route, but Dave P. stripped down and got in the creek at a very public crossing so that kind of evened things out.

Last night I ate an entire bunch of raw mustard greens and a small bowl of brown rice. It was a delicious dinner.

A little bit of work today and then a lot of Munson later-


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


When I was eleven or twelve I tried earnestly to change my name to Jake. I'm not sure what I was reading at the time, but the idea got in my head somehow that "Jake" was a cooler, tougher, and more dashing derivative of Juancho than "Johnny" as I was widely known. I tried assertive measures like:

Coach "Butch" Downing: "Johnny get over there with Levi and Joe, you're on skins team."

Jake: "It's Jake Coach, just call me Jake."


(Jake runs a lap.)

I also tried subtle techniques like signing my homework "Jake Doe". My History Teacher, Ms. Betty Phillips would read off the names while passing our work back to us and when I saw her well-traveled face scrunch up like she sucked on a lemon I knew she was holding Jake's homework.

Ms. Betty Phillips: "JAKE? WHO IN THE TAR IS JAKE?"

(Jake raises his hand.)

Ms. Betty Phillips: (Shakes head and spits in the trash can) "JAKE?"

(Jake slinks up the aisle to retrieve highest grade in class homework.)

It's true. Jake killed World History.

In time my dreams of becoming Jake passed. I put Jake's denim British touring cap in the back of his underwear drawer and settled into a placid adolescence as Juancho, as you know me now- you're humble(except for the 104 Average in World History) blogger.

Since then, the nicknames have been few and far between.

How about y'all? Got any good nicknames? Lived down any bad ones?

Come on Booger, don't be shy.


-out 'til Sunday.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cheaha 2010

Look what has sneaked right up on us, the Cheaha 2010 camping trip! Thursday morning we roll out for the Helen, GA area for a long weekend of chopping wood. A few weeks ago I was a straight up zero, but somehow I pulled it together and I'm rolling out a hero. That's right, I'm ready to ride.

I'm doing this trip on the wagon, which to put it mildly, is not the norm. I have done it once before, but we're talking twenty years of camping here. I'm excited for it. I will be up with the dawn and exploring long before my cohorts stagger towards the ibuprofen bottle and coffee pot. I will go to bed hours earlier and miss the campfire debates on: Gun Control, Columbus Day, Fantasy Football, the politics of 2020, organic elitism, dietary hegemony, and the exact measured depth of a twelve foot well.

I have an inflatable mattress, a copy of Infinite Jest, and the will to lay on one and stare confusedly at the other for as long as it takes, or until Sunday.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Good Pirate Bad Pirate

I spent all weekend chasing my three year-old nephew around so I'm just taking a second to write this while the nurse changes my IV drip. I'm sure I will be up and around in a couple of days. We played pirates the entire visit like a non-stop LARP session of Dungeons and Dragons. There was only one good pirate and I was not that pirate.

No bikes, just pirates, alligators, manatees, art shows, play dates, and digging holes.

Treasure is an elusive thing-


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Pebbles in the Pond

I didn't listen to any of the squawking going on around the internet yesterday. I have decided to trade in politics for something productive- reading Infinite Jest
. My thought is that it will take at least two years and every brain cell left in my head just to have a chance at finishing at all. That's just the project I need.

My time spent on the yoga mat has been enlightening, just as people have been saying for 5,000 years- imagine that. I am so focused on my left foot's off-the-mat-ness in relation to my right foot's on-the-mat-ness that I don't have time to project days or years down the road, which is my previous state of being. In yoga I have learned breathing is something I can do, not just something that happens. Yes, I am all about my breathing-ness, my focus-ed-ness.

It has only been one month and already gravity is losing her grip on me as I bob upward like a soap bubble in the Juanchosphere*.


*homage to Chronic City, Jonathan Lethem.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I was driving up SOMO yesterday when I got this deep nasty whiff of Lysol. It wasn't coming from inside my van, but from across the street where the carnies were unpacking the North Florida Fair. A person can choose to be disgusted, reassured, or both, but it is a fact. Windows up, 45 mph, Lysol. I imagine that's what jail smells like.

I've always had mixed feelings about the fair. I suppose it started as a way to celebrate the harvest before winter and then slowly but inexorably-- like all social institutions-- it sank to the lowest common denominator. Why do the cattle ranchers get a booth, but not the chicken farmers and so on all the way down to the Sleestak who guesses your weight or sits in the dunk tank.

Poor people love the fair. They save for it. They make special arrangements to attend and to have enough cash to enjoy it. Check Craigslist right now and I bet you can find all sorts of marginally working power tools and Barcaloungers for sale, somewhat stained but not easy to see. I haven't been in many years, but I expect it is the same. The middle class may take a swing through the fair on a Friday evening in search of some romantic pastiche, but the real fair money comes from the outlying edges of the county, and the subsidized housing complexes. Poor people have it hard, they need a reason to celebrate and the fair is a reason.

I do like the lights, and that a field can be transformed overnight into a place with customs all its own and a culture unfamiliar. The carnies? That's where they live, it doesn't matter what town they are in. When you go to the fair you go to their town. Fairtown.

I never liked carnival rides. I can confidently say I have never, nor will I ever ride a roller coaster. More so, I can't imagine why anyone would,especially at the fair. Stinking, greasy rattletrap jalopy Ferris wheels and Yo-Yo's? I think not.

And yet, to walk the midway and win your girl a goldfish or a Def Leppard mirror is a sweet thing. I might not touch anything, but I still kind of want to go.



Last night capped off a three day ride bender. I joined up with the Munson Monday crew quite by accident, and I had two distinct rides rolled into one. I started off with the "rabbits" and we rabbits rolled along merrily, enjoying another gorgeous Munson sunset and taking turns at the front. Somewhere near the old trailhead we were caught by the chasing group- the foxes, who were all waterbug types like stick figures on bikes. I took off after them and hung in there for a minute before my legs started smoking and the button popped on my turkey.

Stuck between the rabbits and the foxes I could only conclude I was the dog.