Friday, December 31, 2010

This has been a great break for me, and it ain't over yet.

I rode some new terrain at Robinson Preserve in Manatee County, and Alafia River State Park (full review to come). I ate Stone Crab Claws and swapped books with my momma, and stared out to sea for an hour at my favorite windy beach where the cold winter water shines like a polished suit of armor. I attended a yoga class where I was related to every single person in the room. I enjoyed a chicken salad at grandma's swank retirement community and admired her fancy manicure. I caught up with the left fullback from my first soccer team (The Blue Sharks, we went 0-10). It wasn't the left fullback's fault, she always did a good job. I walked the old 5k course at Highland's Hammock- the scene of my victory in the 1980 10 and under category. I laid down in commune with armadillae. I left a few more lbs of butter on the trail. I lobbed a pitching wedge shot that plopped 2 feet from the cup and it made the sound the pros make when they plop lobs. My brother did the same from 200 yards further away, but this is my blog so we aren't talking about that anymore. I spent last night with one of my oldest friends and some favorite relatives playing remember when and as often as not I did not remember when or pretended to have no knowledge of the incidents for which I was being impugned (lots of references to parachute pants.) Now I am loading up and rolling north in my mobile toy box, the GMC Safari- which carried my mother 40,000 international miles before it carried me. I could be riding at Santos by noon, and throwing wood on the fire at Bard Owl Plantation tonight, or I could be home in my own bed by 8:00 P:M. I could be riding San Felasco tomorrow morning or climbing my first tree using non-injurious passive anchor techniques. I could be anywhere, doing anything, as long as it is a tank of gas away.

For 2011 all I ask is more of the same, and maybe a little more.

Happy Hew Year Y'all! Don't take no for an answer.


Monday, December 27, 2010

A Date with Density

Will tomorrow be the day I finally rendevous with Alafia River State Park? Many times I have driven within 50 miles of it to east or west. Something always happens, unless something doesn't happen. Either way I end up with a fresh justification, rationalization, or excuse. Here I am a Florida native, a mountain biker, and a professional traveler who has found and ridden Butt Park outside Jackson, MS and I have yet to ride what many would rate the #2 trail system in Florida. I can find the time to dally out to the likes of Hannah Park in unrelenting stop and go traffic. I have ridden the 4.5 mile single track behind Troy State University in Dothan, AL. Two summers ago I stopped in Macon, GA and rode the Orphanage trail in 103 degree heat. It is probably 3 miles long and not close to the interstate at all.

Yet Alafia eludes me. Tomorrow might be the day. The weather is ideal. I have to go within 15 miles of the trails to get to a scheduled appointment. I have plenty of time to get there and ride everything I am able to ride. I am fit. I am motivated.

It could be the day.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hold Steady

2010 knocked the wind out of me so indulge me if I need a few days to pass it through my psycho-alimentary canal. This, the Year of the Snuggie in Subsidized Time (2010 b.s.) still has a few days left to continue the re-education it has provided for so many of us. I, for one, have learned my lessons well.


Thursday, December 23, 2010


All right, tell it like it is-- what was the best and what was the worst of 2010? Movies, music,books, meals, events personal and public, what needs to be celebrated or derided before the clock runs out on 2010?


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pontius Maximus

This is a picture of me as a child standing next to my blue ribbon winning turkey I raised for an FFA project. I named him Pontius Maximus and I used the money I earned from selling him to pay off the mortgage on my grandparents' old farmhouse that the bank was trying to steal. That is all beside the point. I pulled this picture out of the family album because I needed a good representation of what 35 lbs looks like, because 3 days ahead of schedule I got my Christmas wish and clocked in 35 lbs lighter than I was on October 2nd. Good old Pontius Maximus. I hope he had a nice life with the Turkey Circus that bought him at auction.

Now it is over 60 degrees and the sun is shining. After I hit send on this post I am out the door and headed to the trails. There's no time to waste today if I'm going to ride, make my tee time, and still get to yoga by 5:30 P:M.

The holiday schedule can get so hectic!


Monday, December 20, 2010


It is a relief to get back to the mindless logging of bike rides on this site. During the summer of 2010 (hereafter referred to only as the Darkness) I ventured into psycho-analysis, just plain psycho-ness, religion, politics, dental hygiene, viking revenge fantasies, role-playing scenarios, geopolitics, practical and theoretical lexicography, and H8ing on most anyone and anything that stepped into my jaundiced cross-hairs.

Now? Things are much better under my new regiment, I mean regime, no-regimen actually. Much better. So let's recap what is going on around here.

The 86 list

Sugar in all its evil forms
Flour/Wheat (occasional slice of Ezekiel 4:9 is the exception)
various and assorted non-supportive individuals
Processed meats
3 squares a day

And now let's take a look at the Wellness Team

Yoga- Started as a way to fill two nights with something other than wine, Yoga is now a cornerstone of my program. I do it in the car, on hotel floors, and standing in lines. I'm even doing it right now.

Brown rice
Greek Yogurt- who knew the Greeks made such good yogurt?
5-6 meals a day
Mint tea
Tomatoland Produce on Thomasville road. (Love ya TL!)
TKM (secret healing practice)
Vitamin D
Highlands County Wellness Camp
Holmes Beach Resort and Spa
Jake Gaither Municipal

Results after 90 days- I have lost enough butter to carve a butter sculpture (a turkey maybe?) I am enjoying reading Infinite Jest- a tome that intimidated me for years (turns out it is just a book)and I am riding stronger than I can remember since I began this blog 16 years ago. I haven't had the chance to take it to the extreme and log any huge mileage days, but for now- I'm pretty happy.

There is nothing easy about self-exile, but you can't argue with results. Me though? I'm going to stay humble, grateful even, that the Great Magnet has chosen me for this regeneration, and I see no need to stop now.

Namaste Y'all


Friday, December 17, 2010

My very own personal ray of sunshine

That's what I found yesterday in the middle of a cool, drizzly ride out to the landbridge and back. Just a single spot of blue sky and a ray of sun banking off the railroad berm. I admired the beauty of it for a moment as I rode on past, then I realized my mistake and returned. I hacked my way through the smilac and kudzu husk into the crepuscular glow. I tried to get into that empty mind place, el pizarro en blanco, and I kind of did, for a few seconds. Mainly though I thought about just what a miracle it was to be sweaty in a chill dusk air riding my bike at all.

We all have a sunbeam out there somewhere, just for us.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Body Count

Another friend suffered a near-catastrophic injury a couple of weeks ago. I refrained from writing about it until the pins and screws were placed in his wrist and his memory was partially restored. This time it was a 12 foot free-fall interrupted by some cold concrete. Lucky for him he hit some large beams and a table saw on the way down, which helped orient him into a non-neck breaking position. He was sleepwalking at the time so we have no clear forensics on the accident. The dogs licked up the blood leaving scant evidence. This fellow is notably more hale than your average 40+ office pogue and so with broken wrist and an open wound in his head he climbed back into the loft and tried to go back to sleep.

He found sleep to be elusive.

Now he is resting comfortably with some serious hardware and a new appreciation for ambulating un-somn-.

This brings the 2010 body count to an impressive level. I can't remember this much carnage since the summer of 1991, and most of that was the same person (Darin).

We still have a couple of weeks left in 2010 so it is not too late to take your lick and be counted. As far as I know, the stats look like this-

The Torso -broken shoulder (Acromion dislocation) I think + unspecified internal injuries. Cadillac Trail.

Myself- Well documented dislocated shoulder, broken humerus. Skateboard.

Sasquatch- multiple broken ribs- road bike/ recycling bin.

Wrecking Ball- just read about it here.

GM/Bird- aforementioned sleepwalker.

I think I am leaving someone out, but that is enough that if I had a point to make it would be made by now.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Take Five

I am so busy with work this week that I have not been confronted with the choice of going outside to ride my bike, walk, golf, disc golf or anything else. By the time I am free to act like an independent being, or at a minimum enjoy the ornate constructs of denial in which I have long invested, it is dark and cold. If not for my humble yoga mat I would be stalled out completely.

Oh well, if I were not so busy of course I would be out there, riding away, enjoying the brisk 17 degree air. By complete coincidence my schedule opens up tomorrow as the temperatures relent and rise to 70 degrees.

This is a good post. Nothing controversial, takes advantage of time honored niceties, a couple of unnecessary nouns (constructs?) it really is everything one looks for in a blog post don't you think?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

The F word

I know it is considered rude to use it in polite company. There are so many other ways to say it, that to come right out and be blunt is just crude. No matter what your intention to let it utter from your lips is to put a target on your back. If I could think of any other way to say this, believe me I would gladly hide behind euphemism or innuendo.

I guess I will just have to take my chances.

I feel fast.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

One quick thing

If it is not a rocket, a marine vessel, or possibly vomit, then you don't launch it. That goes for Oprah's new network, your new Etsy website, or your bold new initiative to offer free AK-47's with the purchase of a pick-up truck.

I am here to tell you, if we just let such wanton hyperbole weasel its way into our vernacular, before long we won't have words to adequately describe such a prestigious and awe-inspiring event as the launching of an actual rocket. Oprah's new network isn't launching, it is "fixing to get started up" and your new Etsy website is "now available online" and your offer of a free AK-47 with the purchase of a pick-up is "getting going on Saturday."

We really need to be a bit more demure in our presentation. I think this is part of the America everyone else thinks needs to get over itself.

Launch this Internet!


Wednesday, December 08, 2010


By tomorrow night I will have completed a rigorous 6 days of labor in 3 cities and 2 states, and Friday is not looking like a gimme.

That is why I am thinking of a Saturday morning adventure that takes me into some frosted and crackling cold beautiful place. It could be a bike ride, as I am enjoying a pro-suffering stance these days. I would prefer a simple walk somewhere. Perhaps to visit the steaming sinkholes, which will look like hot springs at 72 degrees? The coast to get the full icy effect of the wind and take some deep cool breaths of abundantly fresh air?

I don't know, but somewhere.

What have you got?


Monday, December 06, 2010

LA (lower Alabama)

I am losing my road warrior edge. I sputtered into this motel in Dothan, Alabama rather than press on for two and a half more hours to get home. Forget it. I lucked out though, because I made it here in time to catch the American Country Awards.

The secret password that gets you onto the hand-cranked 28.8 bps internet is jakes which is obviously a sign. I think this is a good hideout for my alter-ego to write a little bit about his alter-ego (my third ego?)

I can't believe I stopped. I feel like a nine-fingered shop teacher.


Thursday, December 02, 2010


Somewhere in this town is a person who travels the same routes I travel. This person goes to the parks I frequent, takes the same shortcuts, and enjoys the same restaurants. Despite all that we have in common there is one small difference between us. Where I visit these locales and enjoy them without signifying my visits, this other person is compelled to write KUDZU on the surface of manhole covers, stop signs, buildings, and restaurant bathrooms. I understand that this person perceives herself to be an artist of some renown, or perhaps as a contributor of compelling commentary on the condition or ownership of parks, restaurant bathrooms, and stop signs. Perhaps I, in my dullard state, am failing to comprehend the important message that Kudzu imparts by writing KUDZU on everything.

I know that Kudzu is noble and self aware because Kudzu undoubtedly commutes by bicycle and the evolution from derivative cliche graffiti scribble to KUDZU in a more block letter fashion shows a stripping of pretense and a coalescing of purpose and identity.

If not for a likely difference in age and circumstance I might be riding with Kudzu and keeping the coast clear while another KUDZU is bestowed on Tallahassee in chalk or Sharpie marker. Time however, has placed us on opposite sides of the radical fence. It disappoints me, as I admire Kudzu. The tenacity and diligence to continue the practice into adulthood is exactly the attitude this country needs right now. The genius of choosing as a moniker a foreign and hostile plant that spreads unwelcome and unwanted, yet is heralded as a cultural icon impresses me. I wish I had thought of it first.

My problem with Kudzu and KUDZU is best explained by that most disgruntled adolescent of all, Holden Caufield.

"I was the only one left in the tomb then. It was sort of peaceful. I sort of liked it, in a way. It was so nice and peaceful. Then, all of a sudden, you'd never guess what I saw on the wall. Another 'Fuck you.' It was written with a red crayon or something, right under the glass part of the wall, under the stones.

"That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write 'Fuck you' right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say 'Holden Caulfield' on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it'll say 'Fuck you.' I'm positive, in fact."

Thanks Kudzu,