Thursday, April 24, 2008

Astrology is for kooks....I think.....

I've never given much credence to the zodiac, or the whole astrology gig, but this month has me wondering. The number of April birthdays for people in my circle, or at least indirectly involved in my circle, is certainly noteworthy.

Flash is, of course, an April Fool's baby. Mrs. Worm falls on the 4th, with me 10 days later. I even had a girlfriend in high school who celebrated her's 4 days after mine. My ex-stepfather's was the 16th. Now I find out that the infamous Juancho has the diamond for a birthstone. I've avoided Big Johnny's site,, of late(He spilled the beans on who won Paris - Roubaix before it aired on Versus!!), but when I went back, I saw he had just passed his 38th milestone as well. And most recently, Derwood and Marcus' wife, Cortney, shared the same birthday, the 22nd!
Now like I said, I never cared if you were a Leo with a rising Rat sign, pulled to the lower case by a full moon tide, but I am at least a little curious who else out there has an April birthday.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Man, I'm Beat!!

I need a weekend to recover from my weekend! The "Bikechain!, another Revolution About Bikes" grand opening ceremony went off despite threatening weather. The rainy morning did foul up our ride plans. Except for Flash, I saw him roll off in the rain solo, twice! The rest of us kept getting distracted by ping pong and foosball table setups. Those things need to be thoroughly tested before opening them to the guests. So test them we did!

The rain cleared and the day turned out beautifully, albeit a little muggy. A good sign that Florida summertime humidity is right around the corner. My lunch rides will soon need to roll from Maclay, so I can jump in the lake afterwards, before returning to work.

I was supposed to attend the Ceilidh that night, so I could see Wrecking Ball's brother's singing performance. But too many stressful hours of heated table tennis, foosball, and swing bike riding had me wiped out!! I got a text saying the venue sucked, and I should stay home. I'm pretty bummed about missing Davey, but staying home with my feet up and the AC cranking was quite the welcome end to a long day.

It was very cool to see so many people I hadn't seen in years. There were so many people from the old Revolutions crowd. If it had just been cold, and Kingsnake had been around to do naked laps around the shop, you could've mistaken it for one of the Revolutions Christmas parties. Check the pic up top. Somewhere in there, you'll find a Wrecking Ball, Ice Berg, Big Jim Slade, yours truly, Pauly, Big Ball, Micro, Master Baton, the better parts of Wrecking Ball's family, Tim Shanks, little brother(who rode my bus in the 6th grade, and I was completely terrified of!), and visiting Atomic dignitaries, Jimbo and Kristen. With Jim and Kristen being so involved in the current Tallahassee race scene, and Jack Shank and Master Baton being around for the late 80's early 90's race scene, we had a very thorough mix of old school and new school.

Sunday, I didn't want to wake up. But we finally got organized, and Big Jim Slade, Marcus, Wrecking Ball, and myself did about a 2.5 hour road ride up north. We were sick of the same ole same ole, so Marcus planned a new route. Poor B.J.S., was on some new tires, and he was less than stoked when he got dragged through several miles of dirt roads. What can you say? Paris-Roubaix was on Versus yesterday, so it was perfectly fitting in my eyes. After way too many yellow sign sprints, the weekends activities rolled to an end. We hit Sonny's for lunch, and I spent most of the remainder of Sunday on the couch watching racing. Not too bad.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mini Roadtrip

The crew has been scheduling a daytrip over to the Suwanee River for about 2 months. As with any good trip involving more than one person, scheduling conflicts were the rule, rather than the exception. We finally settled on this past Sunday, and with the exception of Derwood(who chose to go race his skinny tire bike instead), everyone managed to get their ducks in a row.

Choose your Universal Higher Being, be it God, Yahwe, Buddha, or Fat Albert. He, She, It, did it's best to take me out of the mix. I spent the majority of Saturday either helping my Mom deal with a rotten meat filled freezer(no power for 2 weeks!), or hanging at her house as part of mine and my wife's birthday celebrations. On the way home from Quincy that night, my alternator died. We barely limped home, the last mile or so in the dark, as there was no longer enough juice in the battery to keep the lights running. I barely kept the engine running! My truck was supposed to be part of the next day's transport systems. So much for that. After calling my Dad to postpone the next afternoon's birthday festivities at his house, this would leave me time to fix the truck when I returned from the roadtrip, I conned my poor wife into dropping me off with rest of the crewers at 7:30 the next morning. For those who know me, this caused way more stress than I would have liked, but the trip was still on, I was still in the mix.

At 7:30 we're all in the prescribed parking lot, on time and stoked! Except maybe my Ol' Lady, she wasn't quite as stoked, but she still got a kick out of a bunch of 30 and 40 somethings chattering and playing like 2nd grade school girls on their first field trip. We load all of our bikes and gear into Ken;s truck, and we're off. All along, Marcus and I are picturing the often talked about, White Springs trails on the Suwanee River. Ken produces maps, and we realize that the latest Ken-venture is already starting to unfold. We are getting off the Interstate way earlier than expected, and are riding trails on the opposite side of the river and much further north than the White Springs trails. Oh well, Ken-ventures in the past have been good, so I'm all in. We unload in a typical Ken-venture parking lot(usually a wide piece of ditch). Immediately we have to grab Wrecking Ball by the legs! Pterodactyl size mosquitoes are trying to carry him away! Marcus steps out and realizes we're parked in a carpet of poison ivy. Immediately his phobias kick into overdrive. We filled a small kiddie pool with DEET, and he proceeded to immerse himself. While he's doing laps, bikes are being unloaded, bike clothes are donned, gear double checked. Wait, maybe we should have done that last back at the start. It seems Wrecking Ball has left his front wheel about an hour west of our current location!

After some deliberation, and by deliberation I mean, after listening to a whole lot of Irish cursing, I tell him to call and sweet talk his wife into getting his wheel and meeting him halfway. In the meantime we'll choose a direction, ride for 30-45 minutes and return to regroup. Luckily for everybody involved, Mrs. Wrecking Ball agrees and the new plan is in motion. Typical Ken-venture, this time through no fault of Ken's, aside from who he chooses to associate with.

Wrecking Ball roars off in a cloud of dust, and the rest of us choose the southerly route first. The trail is rather wide, actually it started out as a major unpaved thoroughfare. We finally turned into the woods on something more akin to fairly hard packed firebreak trails. Within a reasonable amount of time, we'd lost all track of the trail blazes. Typical Ken-venture. Marcus voted against returning to find our mistake, in favor of simply finding the river. That boy has an infatuation with large bodies of water. I think he may have gone swimming had he not been afraid it would have washed away several layers of his bug protection! Once we found the river and chilled for a few minutes we began our return in hopes that H.W.B. was able to find our original parking spot. There was a little bit of concern there.

On the way back, we stopped at a small, family cemetery. Most of the Stones up front showed dates in the late 1800's. When we looked more closely, we realized they were mostly children, many less than a year, and some not even a month old. It really made me want to do some research to see if there was some sort of epidemic that spread through that area during that era. Perhaps children just didn't survive back then. Makes you thankful for modern medicine.

As soon as we rolled out from the cemetery, Wrecking Ball rounded the corner with his wheel. Well timed! We'd already ridden an hour and a half, so we all ate while W.B. put his bike and gear together.

The northern route started out as singletrack, which was much more promising. It also led us much more quickly to the river. It really is cool riding the high bluffs over that steady black water. The trails never got very technical or challenging, but the view was good. We continued north for another 1-1.5 hours, taking breaks at the better overlooks. Eventually we arrived at a park area with benches along another nice bluff. We sat around for awhile and watched the river make its way south. Conversation migrated around to food, and it was all over. We remounted and continued on our way, but the calling of food was too strong. We'd been riding for about 3 hours and everyone was feeling tired of Clif bars and Gu. When the trail popped out on Highway 90, a quick decision was made to take the road for a few miles back to the dirt road that parallelled the river, and led back to the truck. Luckily the plan played out well, and we shaved a good hour or more off of the ride back.

We decide to take 90 back home. The plan was to find a mom-n-pop style, BBQ joint. No love on the BBQ, but we did find a cool, all you can eat southern food buffet. The place was packed with Madison County residents, fresh from church. I thought we might look a little outlandish, until I saw some of the church outfits. We were good. Once I discovered the homemade chicken and dumplings, I considered moving to Madison. There is just no need for food to be that good!! We ate until we were bloated, and then went for the cobbler desserts! Wash it all down with true Southern sweet tea, and consider yourself truly satiated!

As with all prior Ken-ventures, I made my way home sore, tired and stuffed! (No, not like that, Ronnie!!) Then I just had to find the energy to replace that alternator.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Big Weekend!

The Big Bend Cycling Festival went off, well not without a hitch, but she sure went off this weekend! About 1/2 of Saturday's crits were cancelled due to an inhospitable Mother Nature. She threw down with some heavy duty rain and even a tornado or two. Around 4pm the local Po-Po pulled the cord and shut her down. Oh well, I fully enjoyed spectating while it lasted. Ricky Silk did us proud with a 2nd in his race. He would have won it with a little more roadie experience. He had the guy beat hands down and eased up right at the line. No showy hands in the air or anything, but he backed off just enough for the other guy to slide by and literally beat him by .001 second. That stings a little, but the ever positive Silk just chalked it up to a learning experience.

Sunday was quite cloudy and I was sure the skies would unload at any minute, but the deluge never came. Being that wet roads spooked me less in a Cat 5 road race, as opposed to a wet Cat 5 crit, I decided to throw my hat in the ring. So throw it I did, and those punks preceded to stomp all over it! The course was VERY hilly. No love whatsoever for a 240lb mountain biker. I rode as smart as I could, and outlasted quite a few, but eventually, Bradley came by with a pretty serious attack, halfway up one of the big ones. That was it, I gave what I had, but it wasn't enough. Riders flew off the back all around me. Over the top, I got on with another straggler who was still willing to lay it on the line. I was down with that. Maybe we'd catch a break, and the group would ease up after that effort. I tried to pull through for my compatriot, but everytime I started around him, he'd go harder! Eventually I gave up and sat on his wheel. He got us pretty close to the group on the next hill, so I gave it an all or nothing effort to bridge across. I rolled the dice and came up snake eyes. After that, the stragglers I'd passed returned the favor. Oh well, I went ahead and stayed in the gas all the way to the end. I actually was able to go a lot harder than I thought I would. I have to say I'm definitely bummed on getting dropped, but I am stoked that I was able to go as hard as I did. Two months ago I had a hard time getting my heartrate over 165. I averaged 165 for that entire 1 hour race. I must be getting somewhere.

On the positive side, our boy, Ice Berg, pulled off the surprise move of the day, and brought home a win. I'm super stoked for him! He was freaking out the whole time I was in the group because people were riding so sketchy. I just kept telling him to relax and worry about his own ride. Sure enough, one of the sketchiest guys eventually took himself, and another guy, out. Luckily, all of our crew was in the clear, and Berg managed to do what he needed to when the time came.

All in all, it was good weekend for bike race fans.

Looking at that pic, does the kid really look all that fast? He'll surprise you, even with that junior restricted gearing.

Friday, April 4, 2008


The Joe's Ride had a bit of a resurgence last night. Maybe not quite as dramatic as the Phoenix rising above, but we had 15-16 people out there, even without the Atomic crew. Actually we did have two Atomics with us. Thanks for the support, Paul. Hopefully this will be a positive trend.

This is a big weekend for T-town cycling. The Big Bend Cycling Festival starts tonight with a blessing of the bikes and cycling film festival at Railroad Square. Tomorrow will be criterium racing at the downtown Park Ave. area. Crits are the most spectator friendly version of bike racing, so bring the family and friends out to watch the action. Sunday will see road racing in Quincy. These races are on a longer, 21 mile loop through Northern Gadsden County, with the start and finish in Downtown Quincy, about 30 minutes west of T-town. If you want to see people hurt, check out the race map on the Cycling Festival website and drive out on the course. There are about a half dozen MEAN hills out there. Perch on top and cheer the sufferers as they go by. Even in the 1 lap races there is plenty of time to go watch out on the course and be back in time for the finish. Saturday morning will also see the TOSRV ride roll out, as well as the Red Hills Triathlon at Maclay Gardens. I think Sunday is also the official Grand Opening of Juancho's favorite trail, the Twilight Zone. I heard he's holding a meet and greet after the group ride down there and may even sign your computer monitor if you bring it by!

If the weather holds, yours truly is strongly considering Saturday's crit at 11am, and Sunday's road race at 3pm. Neither the road course, nor the crit course, fit this Clydesdale and a quarter's strengths, but it's in town, so why not?