Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chomping at the Bit

Information is King in this new age. The new moral imperative compels me to just put it out there and let the people decide. There is the potential for scandal here. What if the release of these sensitive documents starts a war between the practitioners of the Electric Slide and the followers of the original variation commonly known as the Bus-Stop? We have all done things that seemed perfectly reasonable in one context, only to find out that certain events do not translate well from one culture to another. Besides, how can a man who only knows another man by the color of his tights possibly proffer some sort of opinion about what that man chose to wear 16 years ago? Ridiculous right?

So I should just delete these pictures and erase my hard drive and pretend that I never came into possession of such a responsibility.

I wish I had taken the blue pill instead.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Register to win

I would enjoy telling someone else's story for a change. If you think you have an adventure story worth telling, nominate your story with a two word title in the comment section. Heck, we will tell them all. Pertinent details will be researched by me for veracity, although general embellishments are welcome and encouraged. It will work like this. You tell me the story, I tell them the story. All submissions will get editorial consideration until it is time to push play on this boombox.

Drop a nickel in and I will make sure you get your money's worth.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The world is a scarier place for Water-bugs. I never realized the price they pay for speed. As a Rhinoceros Beetle I could stagger and sway through a crowd shoulder checking all and sundry. At my girthiest I could raise significantly more pounds than I weighed and put that weight wherever I liked. I had the option of the two step slam this is when you take two steps and apply all force to a person or object and that is sufficient to rapidly relocate the person or object. Sometimes the two step slam could be communicated in a determined glare whereby a person moved voluntarily the distance they would have been relocated.

Now I could take as many steps as I like and I could only call it dancing. I have to live by my wits and quick reflexes. I am lightly tethered to the earth now and this requires constant evaluating to make certain I am not drifting away. I am not small enough to evoke pity or a nurturing instinct in my potential adversaries. I am just an average sized guy of medium build, which means totally fair game for a beating, especially an average sized guy of medium build with a Clydesdale mouth.

I'm not looking for trouble. I am not a trouble seeker, but it is the thought here that counts. The two step slam glare got me through a lot of airports and Wal-marts.


On Tour

People keep stealing my thunder.

Scotty B rode some decrepit single speed road bike from Tallahassee to Miami. It took him a long time- like two days at least. He rode right through my hometown, taking pictures of MY lake and MY citrus stand. It galls me to no end. One of these days I'm going to lube my chain, fill my pockets with cheese and toilet paper and hit the road. Don't expect a lot of blog fanfare and blog warning. For this ride I will be stealth. When the time comes to cut loose the moorings and truly go adrift on the surface of the earth, I will slip away with the tide in the night.

Nice ride bubba.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The sharp end

Here is a picture of the Tallahassee Rock Gym, brainchild of our good friend Tommy Whatsizface. When the demands of managing an indoor rock climbing empire grew out of control, he sold the thriving business to some other poor bastard. Said poor bastard still owns it today. In fact, he was so excited to own the place that he agreed to a deal which included lifetime free climbing for the original staff and ownership.

I, Juancho Del Medio, was one of those original staff members. My people skills, refined in the cannibalistic world of food service got me the edge, but my prowess as a recently returned from the Rockies below average climber made it a done deal. Also, we were friends. I needed money, and he sort of needed but really didn't much need at all somebody to sit at his empty rock gym. I did that sitting.

Yesterday I came out of rock climbing retirement and enjoyed a little on belay with Mystery- my only friend who persists in talking about and practicing rock climbing. Why can't he just let it go?

I rode 50+ miles of trail this weekend, and from that I feel no pain. I climbed exactly 90 feet in three efforts for a total time "on rock" of about 7 minutes.

From this 7 minutes I ache all over. Someone please assure me that the rock gym is not the new skateboard?


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Other Side

Last weekend a terrible thing happened that resonates deeply with me. Two young guys, students at the University of Florida, died in Ellison's Cave up on Pigeon Mountain, the scene of quite a few of our annual Cheaha trips. The manner of their death so unexpected and benign, it makes me think of the many fumbles and bad-calls I and most of you have stumbled out of, discounting the razor close eventuality of a different ending. It went like this.

A group of friends with mixed experience entered the cave. Someone dropped a pack into a pit with a trickling waterfall flowing over the side. One of the boys, confident and motivated, rappelled down to retrieve it. (Was it essential gear, or just someone's cigarettes and a tuna sandwich?) He became entangled in the rope. Was it his shirt getting wet and running into his rappel device? Another rope? Jammed beneath the cold, flowing water he waited, while his buddy rigged up to assist. Down went the second boy. Somehow, he too became stuck. What happened? There they were, in shorts and t-shirts, hanging together under that icy February in North Georgia stream. At first I'm sure they had to laugh at the ridiculous fix they were in, another present suffering for a future campfire story. Their friends waited above and they all were in communication for another half hour That's it? Can it happen that fast?! After that it was too late. They quit talking, people went for help, but it was all too damn late. They had failed to understand the threat.

It might seem easy to armchair quarterback this one, but speaking for myself- I can see making the decisions both of them made.

They deserved better luck. Understand the threat. Learn a sense of urgency.


Thursday, February 17, 2011


I don't know if it is a sunny spot on a grassy hill. It might be a black-bearded old fox squirrel. Could be an old-friend I haven't seen in a while or a full moon no light ride. I don't know what is out there for me this weekend, but I know there is some pirate booty and I aim to hunt it down.

(Begin ham-handed innuendos and inappropriate commenting at your will)

One of our Tallahassee boys from the Bikechain Nations is riding to town from the Tampa area I believe. Some of you must know more than me, so please clue us in. All of us here at the Big Ring Circus wish him well on his 285 mile one day solo ride. That's right. He is that particular kind of strong.

And now I am off to lay in stock for the voyage, wherever the wind may take us.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Please Hammer!

Oh My God do I ever want to ride my bike. I'm not sure if there are enough miles of trail in this county for what I feel like doing this weekend. The saddle is the only place that life is simple anymore. Lean into the pedals and go, that's all there is to it.


Monday, February 14, 2011

We seem to be made to suffer, it's our lot in life

I am deep inside the Death Star, an 8 minute walk to the Kingdom its own self, the Magic Kingdom. Not for pleasure I assure you, as nothing could be less pleasant for a born and raised central Florida kid who grew up in the shadow of the Empire.

Once you enter the tractor beam you are drawn ever forward, with red-lettered signs instructing NO STOPPING positioned every 50 feet for a dozen Mickey Miles. Emperor Iger lives in fear of unlicensed photographs of the grounds and signage within the realm. Only by employing my new Yogic skills can I maintain an even demeanor that permits me to walk among the backslappers and bootlickers adorned in ears. Breathe in- hold it, breathe out-hold it, and I step lightly into this Magical day.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What do you want from me? I'm working my ass off. Out of town, up before the sun and clocking out after dark. It happens to the best of us, and the worst of us. In the meantime, I'm holding my own. Not even a smidge of deviation from THE ROUTINE. I'm treating this whole trip as a chance to rest my legs.


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Dead Eye Dangerous

Tommy (needs no nickname) threw this playing card into this spaghetti squash demonstrating some hidden talent.

I think that speaks for itself.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tour de Florida

Tomorrow I leave for a 12 day tour of our great state. If you think that is an invitation to rob me I must warn you that my cat-sitter is a dangerous man, and the cat is pretty out of control too so bring it.

Rain is in the forecast, but I have learned not to think about that much when making plans. I am leaning towards San Felasco tomorrow morning, with Alafia nudging towards an upset. My route will take me south to Lee County and then north through Orange County. Anyplace on the Gulf coast is fair game, as is anyplace within shouting distance of the turnpike. There are plenty of lesser known trails to consider such as Crooms, the Suwanee river trails, and even some trail near Orlando. What do you think? Stick to the sure things or get off the beaten path? Any other must-see's along the way such as favorite springs, bookstores, folk art, or skunk ape lairs?

I have lived in Florida most of my life, but I'm always prepared to see it as a brand new place.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

For want of a nail the early worm was caught

I have been trying to shake a cold since the weekend and I had the damn thing cornered in my right ear. With a flanking attack I sent the Neti-pot in through the sinus cavity and the hydrogen peroxide down the Eustachian tubes. Pinned down, the bug just dug in deeper. My plan of resting and waiting was getting me nowhere so I suited up to go ride it out. I drove to the trail (justified by vague self-talk of going to work after riding) and to my chagrin I had forgotten my shoes.

Having nobody to complain to, I cranked the Safari and drove back home to verify that my cleats were on the kitchen table where I placed them. So that is what I get for driving to the trail. When you ride from the house you never forget your shoes.

The urge to ride then passed, and I was a little dizzy from the ear thing frankly. I decided to heed the signs that I was not quite in riding shape and opted for a tub bath and another 30 pages of The Instructions which is a revelation and a delight.

Wouldn't you know it, the steam popped my ear for me. Is there a moral to this story? Can you put it into words for me?