Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow Ride! Take It Easy...

I awoke Sunday morning with intentions of doing a 40 mile loop on the rural roads of Gadsden County. A quick look at the weather slowed my roll, though. 35F and winds gusting in the 20's, did not sound like fun, no matter how much I think I like to get my Belgian on!

Luckily, Big Jim Slade came through with a mountain bike plan, so I went into scurry and panic mode, to make it to the prescribed meeting time and place. After Saturday's rains, Munson was sure to be in prime condition. As I was loading my bike, I saw flecks floating down into the bed of the truck. My first thoughts were of snow, but nah! This is Florida, so someone must be burning trash piles this morning. It sure is early to be burning, I pondered, but then again, at least the fire would feel warm. And I continued getting dressed and loading my gear. 20 minutes later, Ms. Worm gives me a call, to tell me it's snowing on her in traffic. She's so excited, it's becoming infectious.

It was spotty at best, and certainly was not accumulating, but the fact that we got snow this far south made for a unique occasion. As I sat through various red lights, I watched the small flakes drift and skitter across the hood and windshield, eventually melting where they came to rest.

We rode probably 2 and a half laps of Munson, as I begged off from the Twilight Loop. Forgive me, but to me, that loop is good for packing on miles, but it just gets boring. Munson still feels like a mountain bike trail, and the constant twists and turns keep me entertained. Twilight was a blast, when I had 35hp in my throttle hand, and 12+" of suspension travel to eat the whoops, but at bicycle speeds. it leaves something to be desired. I had fears of riding Twilight this windy, damp morning, and having nothing to occupy my attention, except "turn the pedals", and "Damn I'm cold".

The guys entertained my desires, and I tried to keep things from getting monotonous by mixing up the directions and randomly throwing in the short cut trails. The pace, for me, stayed medium to high, for most of the ride. I'd heard of the knock down drag out battle these two had at their last Munson ride, and quite honestly, I just didn't want to get dropped. They let me lead, so I tried to keep it at a pace that kept me from getting passed. Besides, the best way to defeat the cold days like this, is to refer back to Rule #5, ride hard, and the reap the warmth that comes with the effort. The wind was blowing so hard in some sections, you'd round a bend in the trail, and instantly be 2 gears to high.(Except for BJS, who only brought one gear, anyway.)

Unfortunately, the snow was scarce until the very end of the ride. As we rode the Paper Cup trail back to the parking lot, I was just noticing the flakes in the air, and the dampness as it landed on my face, when Big Jim asked if it was snowing again, or was it just my tires throwing sand in his face?

I know it's minuscule to the folks who ride at other latitudes, but for Florida guys, it was cool to be able to say we got a snow ride.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Juniors

Revolutions, and later Bikechain, has raised quite a few juniors over the past 15+ years. I suppose the first two were Carl and Armie(sp?). I was living in Daytona, for school, when the boys opened Revolutions. But we always got together to ride whenever I came home. That's how I met Carl. He and Armie were the original shop rats. I kept hearing Armie's name, but never met him until some years later. Carl however, I rode with on these visits. He was a freshman or sophomore in high school, and built like a fire hydrant. At 12, the boy had calves bigger around than other kids' thighs. He was fearless, and talented, and was usually the first to try whatever dumb idea was brought up. When we began racing as a crew, Carl would just destroy the junior fields. That's how it is with juniors, the kids who develop the fastest, typically ride the fastest. I can remember more trash talking coming from the Joe's Bike Shop team juniors, as they tried to figure out how to beat Carl.

Carl has grown up now, but like most of us, is still a big kid at heart. His talent has grown along with him, and if you ever do a campus ride with him, he'll scare the shit out of you, dropping huge ledges and skying over staircases. He's living in Orlando, turning wrenches for a big shop down there. Most of his racing involves skinny tires these days. I've even heard rumors that he's married now, but like any kid, he's damned hard to get hold of, once he left the T-town nest. If anyone talks to him, tell I said to call me up, or else!

Another of the juniors, that luckily got a little less direct influence from us, as I think his Dad had better sense than to turn him loose with us, is now commonly referred to as Little Ball. I'm pretty sure that Little Ball was racing around his Mom's womb as a zygote. That's him on the right. He rode the smallest frame that Kona made, and he weighed less than his pedals, until he was about 19. Thanks to mountain bikes, Little Ball has been to the Olympic Training Center several times, and rode in Mexico representing the US of A at the Pan American Games. Now a days, he's typically found trying give Big Jim Slade a heart attack.

I guess the 2nd generation of Revolutions juniors came in the form of a 4 pack.  Joel, Jacob, Jarond and Phil were all friends who somehow got sucked into mountain bikes together. Joel was the most talented at the time, and regularly did well in the junior races. He seemed to be the leader of the little group, and more often than not, it seemed like it was the 3 J's versus Phil. The boys would come by after school, and when they got too rowdy in the shop, Red Dragon usually gave them a choice between menial labor tasks, or getting out. Phil would watch the J boys as they bitched and moaned there way out the door and headed off, as he picked up a broom or rag, and did Dragon's bidding. The boy was tenacious, and wanted to be in that shop. The J boys all found their way into various sorts of trouble, and have long since given up bikes. But Phil, well he's a whole story all his own, and there is a book now being published to tell his tale. On the brief side, he kept racing with us until he discovered the darkside, road bikes. He showed even more promise in FL criteriums, where fearlessness will take you a long way. I can't tell you how many times I've seen him put his 20" handlebar through 15" gaps, all in the middle of full gallop, no holds barred, 30+ mph road sprints. He did a 12 hour solo mtb race, back when folks just didn't do that around here, just to prove he could. To top it all off, Phil is Type 1 diabetic. He nearly died at 6 months of age, when he was diagnosed. He never let it stop him, and after meeting a fellow diabetic cyclist in college, they started Team Type 1. TT1 has blown up, and for 2011, the team is now fielding a pro squad on the European race circuit.

Generation 3 was brought around by Little Ball. You guys know him, too, as our own lovable but grumpy, Ice Berg. I remember when Ice Berg first came around. Double D told me, "Great! I guess we're raising yet another junior to kick our asses!". Ice Berg has definitely lived up to his billing, and as long as he doesn't crash or break something, is still a threat at most any race, be it road, mountain, cross, of mx. This boy's story is still developing, so stay tuned.

The most recent batch of juniors looks to consist of Lil' Wrecking Ball, Mingo Jr, and Rupe, Stormin' Norman's offspring. This is the first generation of juniors, in which the Dad's are crew members. Luckily, these boy's Dad's are present and accounted for on most rides, so they don't get the full B/C dose, that some of the others got.

Now, to clear up a myth. Many of you have asked about a junior who has been seen riding with us on occasion, lately, and typically joins us in Felasco. Contrary to popular belief, this guy is crew, and not a junior.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I straight stole the image above, from Dave Hall's site. Thievery, I know, but we have enough old school locals lurking around here, that they should definitely recognize one or two players from the game above.

Lately, we've been seeing an influx of new folks in the crew. As life goes on, the core group is still around, but busier than they used to be, and their appearances on the rides are fewer and further between. They are not gone, in the way that Romeo, Vee, or even Big Tony have moved on. They are still in town, just caught up with ball games, diapers, teething, or in the case of Spanish Mackerel, butterfly watching.The new guys who have either just discovered riding at an obsessive level, or guys who have had that all along, but only just discovered the ego and image destroying, dysfunctional family, that is the BC crew, keep our group rides numbers up.

One of the new guys recently suggested that those of  us who have been around around since the beginning should share the history of the crew. This is a great idea, but I have 20 years of crew stories. You guys are gonna have to get these in installments. Hopefully my brothers in arms, at Bikechain and Dirtysouth, will jump in from time to time, with their own stories. If I have to tell them all, they're getting bent to my liking!

Tonight, I tripped over the picture up above, and the memories came flooding back. The purple Joe's Bike Shop jersey worn by Kingsnake, our Revolutions Cyclery jerseys, worn by Double D, and the old Scwinn kit of Zack then Murfree, now Finn.I was there that day, and have a plaque hanging on the wall to prove it, though not from that elite class above.

One of the guys I surfed and skated with, Tom Hellman, unknowingly changed the course of my life one afternoon. I went to pick him up to go skate some ditch, or some other spot we'd heard about, and sitting in the corner of his living room was this crazy looking bike. It looked like a bmx bike on steroids. I couldn't help but be drawn to those huge knobby tires. "What the hell is this?" I asked. "It's a mountain bike.", he replies. "My brother is living in Japan, and he's been riding one all over the mountains. He said I should give it a try, so I bought one at Sears." That was it. Innocuous as it sounds, the damage was done. It wasn't 2 weeks before Ms Worm, my then girlfriend, and I had been to Sears and picked out 2 ultra cheap, but crazy expensive to us, mountain bikes. Grade F department store Huffys, but more than enough to set the hook so deep, that 2 broken collar bones in my first 6 months, were not enough to shake me of my new found, 2 wheeled habit.

The first real bike I bought was a Specialized Rockhopper Comp, purchased from the first serious bike rider/racer I had somewhat befriended, Dave Baton. Dave introduced me to Jason Snow, and later to Nathan King. Kingsnake was still a 16 year old junior back then. He drove this old van, and rode a red Dakar with the shifters and brake levers all drilled out, 70's style. First flat I got was on a campus ride with those 3 guys, and my buddy Tom. I tried to bunnyhop a curb, not at all understanding the physics of it, and promptly dinged a rim and pinched the tube. I was so new that having a spare tube had never even occurred to me. Kingsnake throws me his tube and pedals off to fly off some huge loading dock, while I fiddle with the foreign valve stem, that clearly had had all of the rubber stripped from the outside. Yep, first presta valve stem, too. Completely embarrassed, but too stubborn to give up, I just kept trying to figure it out. Nathan finally comes back, looks at me like I'm an idiot, takes the whole thing away from, fixes it for me, and then promptly drops the hammer so that I get spit out the back. Tough love from a kid still in high school! But when it came to bikes, he was far and away my senior. Bikes will do that. Age goes out the window in the respect hierarchy, and I liked that. Master Baton, Kingsnake, and Snowman taught me a lot, and not all of it in the nicest terms, but I absorbed all I could. Those were the guys I looked up to in this new world I'd discovered, and hell. I was the same age or older than most of 'em.

By the time that pic was snapped, I'd been riding and racing for about 6-7 years. I had been working in a bike shop, for 3-4. Kingsnake still awed me with his natural ability, and still does today, when I get to see him ride, but it's not the same as it was that first year. By then, I was in it deep. Everything revolved around bikes. That bike shop I was working in, was Revolutions Cyclery. Double D is wearing the old jersey in the center of that pic. Revolutions was where the crew started. That melting pot of 20 something year old guys sent us down a path that continues to this day. I have been to more weddings from that crowd than I can count. I was best man in 2. I have adopted nieces and nephews; the offspring of crew members. I have many, many friends that came of that shop, and somehow the numbers just keep growing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dirty Ron

Not sure that that image is relevant, but it came up in a Google image search for "Dirty Ron". Exceptionally dirty, I might add. I find myself a little concerned for folks who consistently eat Mickey D's.

The ride's namesake does not have long red hair, nor does he eat human body parts. If he had hair, he'd  look a little more like this...

Or, if he had hair, a tan, and pharmaceutically enhanced  muscles, he'e look like this...

But in reality, he looks more like this...

Anyway, he missed the Dirty Spaghetti, something about an expired green card. So, in order to make it up to him, we have come up with our own, unsupported version of the Dirty Spaghetti, affectionately dubbed, the Dirty Ron, and it's scheduled for 12/11/2010.

I've been working out the route, with Silk's assistance. And what I mean by that is, I work up the route. Then Silk tells me how I did it all wrong, and reroutes the whole thing. At least I got to pick the starting and ending location.We're rolling from downtown Monticello that morning, at about 9am. We could roll earlier, and that may be changed, but stay tuned around here to find out. I figure 9am gives the sun a chance to thaw the sleeping dogs before we roll by. Boston, GA falls at about the halfway point, where food will be consumed, if you brought it with you. As I said, this is unsupported. If you forgot to bring your Grey Poupon, or just forgot your sandwich entirely, Silk knows how to guide us to a sweet restaurant, or at least a roadside boiled peanut vendor.

After lunch, we will continue our route through scenic Dixie, GA, and then head south, to return to Monticello. The roads are a mix of pavement, chip seal, and clay, but mostly clay. You can ride your road bike if you wish, but if any of these roads get sandy, you're in for a fair amount of walking. Most of us will run cx bikes, but there will be a few mountain bikes, too. Just mount up a fairly unknobby tire, if you have one. If not, don't feel bad. I'm sure Mingo will be there on something akin to this.

The ride begins in downtown Monticello, so I can get my Tupelo's Bakery and Cafe fix. I dig their homemade breakfast goods, and the lady that owns the place has always been so nice, that I decided I'd drag a few more customers her way. After the ride, we shall take a short drive north to the Mingo family farm. Mingo claims that showers for cleaning, and a fridge for beer cooling are available on site. At some point a fire will be started, and meat seared for consumption. Cold oat sodas will be drunk. Lies will be told, and feelings will be hurt, but only by those closest to you.

Friday, November 19, 2010


 Lately, there has been an abundance of beatdowns, and I seem to be on the receiving end of most of them. Spanish Mackerel, Big Jim Slade, and myself, did a recon ride for parts of the Dirty Ron, last Saturday. I casually bumped the pace, to be sure I got the 1st yellow sign. I'm very glad I took that dirty shot, as I would have been shut out otherwise. Mackerel handed BJS a heads up loss on the next sign, and there were 2 more close behind, so he rolled on through those as well. Now BJS is aggravated, that he's rolling a goose egg, to my dirty 1, and Mackerel's straight up 3. The monster was now sufficiently awake, and Big Jim proceeded to smear his amazingness all over Mackerel and I. It took 2 showers to get the residue off. I thought I could win at least a couple, but hell no! Every single time, BJS stomped his dominance all over the road. I hate to say it, but that bruised my ego a little. I've always sucked at sprinting, but damn! Final score had BJS around 15, Mackerel 3 or 4, Bigworm..........1, and a dirty 1 at that.

Tuesday night, we rode Munson. We got some much needed rain Monday night and Tuesday morning. Quite honestly, we expected to be rained out entirely, but a few of us held out hope, and scored Munson in good condition. We even had a special guest showing, in the form of Longshanks. Longshanks has been tearing up the local road scene, but decided to race his mountain bike again, this fall. Apparently his luck has not been so good. He mumbled something about the top 2 expert women catching him on the last lap of his last race, and that he just wasn't tough enough to race off road anymore. What I should have heard at that moment was, "...and you boys aren't either!". After a reasonable warm up, Longshanks takes us up to "fast but manageable" speed. After a little of that, he went into "are you freaking kidding me we're gonna die on the backside of Twilight" speed. We hit one of the small rises out there, and I could feel the damp, but still soft, sand sucking the resolve from my legs. The newer guys closed back on to my back wheel, and I hated to get us all dropped, so I gave it everything I had, to keep the gap down to 20-30 feet at the top. I so wanted to ease up, but I needed to bridge the gap. Slowly but surely, I reattached our cars to the train, and just as we closed it down, Big Jim Slade mercifully threw himself at a log and the ground in grand fashion, earning us a brief respite. I took the opportunity, between gasping deep breaths, to profess my true love for Longshanks. I told him I loved him so much, that I would like to arrange a mating with him and a syphilitic moose! In typical nice guy fashion, he starts apologizing, and explains that he had even gone easy up that last hill, so everyone would get to rest. Are you kidding me?!!!! My very soul was on fire as I tried to hang on up that hill. Perhaps I can find a dead, rotting, syphilitic moose for Longshanks' gift. He continues to apologize, and I just told him to refer to Rule #5, and administer the beatings like a man. It's my own fault for not being faster, and he's got no reason to apologize.

Last night, everybody and their brother found reasons not to ride. BJS and I were the only takers. Secretly, I hoped that the mass inclusion of the Forbidden Forest, would swing the beating stick back in my favor, but no such luck. I never really felt like I had my game on, as I bounced from root to root. I still kept the pressure on myself, to a least not hold BJS up. By the end, I was gassed. we had a 2:10 roll time, and a huge chunk of that was technical singletrack, in the dark. My neck, back, arms, legs, shoulder, face, chest, and neck areas, all hurt.

This weekend, I intend to do a little slow rolling. Hopefully, my legs will loosen, and my ankle will stop aching. In the meantime, lest Big Jim Slade forget, especially given his latest blog entry, I included the little reminder at the top of the page.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This kid's talent is an absolute gift. Right out of the gate, my head was spinning.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I'm gonna get preachy for just a second, and I almost apologized for it, but never mind that. I saw a comment from Wrecking Ball the other day, on Big Jim Slade's site. He mentions not understanding those who can ride, but don't. Then this morning, I saw this video. It's long Marcus, and you'll have to read, Lil Ronnie, but watch it anyway. 10 minutes out of your life is not that big of a deal. I promise you, in a day, hell, an hour, you won't miss that 10 minutes.

I'm not one of those straight, white guys who feels guilty for not being one of the persecuted minorities, but sometimes I do feel guilty for taking what I have for granted. I charge all 3 of you folks who read this little blip on the web radar with a task for this weekend. Do something because you can, and others can't. Ignore excuses like "I gotta water my yard." or "My left pinky nail hurts.", and ride your bike. Wear a short skirt, kiss your girl in public, eat meat or drink a beer, because you don't have to worry about some authority figure's interpretation of a religious doctrine. Read any book you want, because it's not on a banned list. Eat your favorite food, because it's available. Sleep well tonight, because your neighborhood is not being shelled hourly. More than anything else, take a deep breath, and be thankful for what you have. No matter how much you think your life sucks right now, someone, somewhere, would give anything to be in your shoes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Man What A Week!

Between piecing together my continuing education, piecing together New Steve's new Niner, and piecing together a ride for a visiting old friend, this week felt like it may never end! All in all, it's been a good week.

Tuesday night found us back in territory of questionable legality and moral turpitude. Civil disobedience has never been quite so fun! Luckily for me, it was Big Jim Slade's turn on the crash rotation, and he took his turn to the hilt. I kept mine rubber side down, and enjoyed every minute of it. 2 hours of primarily singletrack riding, and room to grow. With any luck, I'll have over 2 hours of pure singletrack worked out by the end of the winter.

Thursday brought a blast from the past. Yet Another Steve was in town, and he predates even Big Jim, and I believe he wandered into the pack before Lil Ronnie found us, too. Yet Another Steve was visiting from Charlotte. Imagine that, leaving NC, to ride with folks in T-town! Not really, he was here for foolsball, but did bring his bike this time. What a blast! 2 minutes into the ride, The Red Dragon jumped on the crash merry-go-round, and by the end of the ride, he'd pulled his full 8 seconds. Steve came in mumbling about having not been riding much, but I believe there may have been some fallacy in those sentiments. We've seen this pattern before, back in early 2008. Sound familiar?

"Now, on to another subject. Liars. For the record, Big Jim Slade is a liar. Not a liar in the evil sense, but a liar in the classic mountain biker sense."Oh, I'm too slow to ride with you guys.", he croons. "Are you sure you don't mind waiting for me?" he whines. "BIG FAT LIAR", I say! Up the first hill of the night, Ice Berg is trying to teach the Newbie a lesson. I'm sitting on, just a little more out of breath than I'd like, when I hear BIG FAT LIAR, back in the back talking to Marcus as if it's nothing. He's back there reciting the Lincoln Address, extoling the virtues of Evangelical Christianity, and pontificating on the whereabouts, both physically and metaphysically, of Osama Bin Laden. We've all experienced it. "I'm gonna take it easy today." LIAR. "This is my off week." LIAR. "I have not ridden with you guys in years, so I know there is no way I can keep up." LIAR. But damn, this guy has been out of the loop for years! I never saw it coming! Anyway, its good to have him back. And I assume the multiple emails I received regarding a new light system, means he feels like he's back, too. Welcome back, liar."

That was just after Big Jim's return to the fold. It was really cool to see Steve, and I look forward to visiting him up in NC.

This weekend, I need to spend some quality time with the Dirty Ron course. I guess I'll head to Monticello, and ride some of the new roads I selected, to be sure they are the proper mix of prime and misery. I feel Tupelo's Bakery and Cafe in my near future. I also need to finish New Steve's new Niner. Between visitations and continuing  ed, I have had minimal time for wrench turning. Somehow I need to get caught up, as I have a blown rear shock on my Titus, Ice Berg is clamoring for a headset swap, and there is a box of parts sitting on my couch, which will soon grow into Lil Ronnie's new CX wheelset. Anybody find that day stretcher I had lying around? I sure could use a few extra hours here and there!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Post Spaghetti Balancing Act

Not sure what happened, but after the spaghetti, my motivation waned quicker than a geriatric man without Viagra. It's just frustrating. My ankle has been giving me grief, so that's slowing me down a little, but that's not the whole story. Silk calls it looming event motivation. I need some of that. I suppose the Dirty Ron will have to suffice for my looming event.

I need to get to work on some recon of the route, but responsibility is thwarting my every attempt. My semi-annual continuing education is coming due, and as usual, I procrastinated like a champ. For now, it looks like the Dirty Ron will go down on the 2nd weekend in December. Pencil it in for now, and I'll keep bringing the updates here. Mingo has graciously offered the use of the family sheep farm, for pre and post ride festivities. Right now, I still plan to start and finish in downtown Monticello, but since the farm has showers, sheep and space, the crew will likely roll the 4 miles up the road, pop some tops and kick off the grill. Sheeps beware!

I also booked myself tight with labor and delivery. Not that kind of labor and delivery. I still enjoy turning wrenches, so I still do work for friends. Newest Steve came to me with 42 boxes of shiny new bike bits, and soon he'll take delivery of a built and tweeked Niner dually. Aside from the ridiculous stack of cardboard and plastic that needs to be recycled, it's nice to build with all new parts. Usually folks bring me 2 or 3 old throwback whips, and a new gizmo, and ask me to meld and mingle the mismatched souls until everything sings like the angels. The challenge fuels me, but these clean parts, built to coexist, could spoil a brotha'!

Night rides with actual lights, kicked off  last week. I had a blast, and as a bonus, managed to entertain the new guys with my over the bars antics. I knew the section was there, and was mentally gearing up to execute the string of motions that send you flowing seamlessly across the knotted root ball. I guess that since I hadn't ridden there since last year, the root ball had other ideas. It invited me to stop and visit, in fact, just lie down right here. Don't even worry about the usual rituals, like stopping and putting a foot down first. Just keep cruising, and we'll lay you out right where we want you. The last visual I had was looking beneath my armpit, through my feet, past my pedals, at Jason, who looked quite concerned that he was going to be expected to repeat this maneuver in order to clear this section. He seemed thankful that I came up laughing and limping, and no repeat was necessary.

The weather is beautiful, and with the time change, night rides are basically mandatory. Hopefully the Flying Wallenda show is not...unless of course, someone else wishes to perform.

Monday, November 1, 2010

After Dinner Report

Dirty Spaghetti is in the bag, and there's nothing left except the greasy stains where the sauce seeped through.

Saturday morning was text book Tallahassee fall weather. 40's in the morning, followed by a mid-70's finish. After a quick debate regarding the political correctness of signing out, or just rolling out, we rolled. This greatly chafed against Big Jim Slade's incessant desire to follow all things rule-like, lest we descend into anarchy and chaos. Mingo quietly asked BJS if he intended to bitch if he got lost. If so, he better go sign in. Otherwise, get quiet and get in line.

There was much shivering and chattering of teeth, as we coasted the paved downhills that open this ride. Our first stop came quickly, as BJS lost his map sheet from his pocket. The rest of us gathered in the sun, as he retrieved his cargo. This delay could not have been any more opportune. The sun was just cresting the treeline, and its rays brought much needed warmth, and the chance to score the shot above.

After we'd ridden awhile, and seen absolutely nobody on the roads, we realized that we had jumped the gun, and rolled out about 10 minutes early. We finally rolled up on some folks who had jumped the gun even more than us. They tagged along, and as our groups' paces ebbed and flowed, so did our togetherness. For the most part, it was like any other crew ride. Just us and the route.

We hit Boston, GA for the lunch stop, right on schedule. The 85 Mile Worlds competitors showed within minutes of our arrival. I downed a turkey sandwich and mixed 2 more bottles of go-go juice, and started looking for our gang to roll out again. Lunch was getting crowded, and I didn't want to stand around too long. Silk was on the same page, so we hit the road. All the 85 mile folks were keying off of him, so we soon had about 30 people rolling out the small town roads, headed for the return leg of our journeys. It was nice to sit in the big group and chatter with some other folks, but when we hit the dirt again, and Silk decided to "see if anybody was paying attention", the pace ramped beyond what I wanted. Soon, it was back to just our gang, again.

Early in the ride, in fact at the very first opportunity, I kicked off the yellow sign game in Wrecking Ball's honor. He may not be there in person, but we carried his spirit. Derwood took to this damn game with an enthusiasm that I was sure he'd pay for dearly, later in the ride. No such luck! He contested every sprint imaginable. Best I can tell, he got both county lines, and about 52 yellow signs, yellow reflectors, and he may have even sprinted for a kid wearing a yellow hat. Most of us got at least 1 or 2, so we didn't get shut out. I even managed to get the Boston city limit sign, just before lunch.

Our band of 6 held tight until the last 10 miles. And honestly, probably would have held tight longer if I hadn't decided it was time to take Derwood to task for all of those yellow sign sprints. I turned up the juice, and soon it was just Derwood, BJS, and myself. At this point, those 2 took turns kicking me in the taint, taking my lunch money, and laughing out loud as I limped and whimpered along behind them. In the rides leading up to this, Derwood had lost a little of his usual expertness. Apparently he found it.

When we finished, it was nothing but crickets around the community center. Apparently, aside from Ms. Kristine Freier, we were about the only other folks to have finished the longer dirt routes. We returned to the trucks to change from our monkey suits, eat cookies and drink beer, before descending on the Spaghetti free for all, that is the ride's namesake. The 85 milers showed up a little later, albeit whittled down to smaller groups. We swapped stories, filled our gullets, and talked of the upcoming, Dirty Ron. This day was truly a good time, and it's even cooler to know that there is another one, of our own making, on the horizon.

Stay tuned around here if you want in on the Dirty Ron. The current rough draft is about 69 miles, starting and ending in Monticello. There will likely be some fine tuning, but regardless, it should be a good time. At the very least, it will be fodder for story telling in the future.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dirty Spaghetti

Silk's been singing their praises for years, but I just kept changing the channel. I'm a dumbass! This is the first year I've taken Silk up on his tours of old plantation roads. Been riding in this town for 20 years, had this in my lap the whole time, and blew it. Oh well, time to make up for lost miles.

Spaghetti 100 is a long time century put on by the local road club. Some of the dirt folks within the ranks began tinkering with a dirt version, a few years ago. Participation grew each time it was offered. This year, they actually have 3 versions. A 42 mile out and back to Thomasville, GA. We rode that a month or so ago, when Lil' Ronnie was in town. Pretty roads, and worth the trip. The big dog is the version you see above. 85 miles and primarily dirt roads. Silk wants to leave nothing on the table, in his run at the 85. That has been translated into, he's racing the 85. He'll be the first to tell you, 85 miles of clay roads will reach up and bite you on the ass, if you don't pay attention. The incessant buzz in the saddle and bar are hardly noticeable when you're fresh, camouflaged by the newness of the scenery, and the idea that you're running skinny tires on dirt. But as the miles and hours pile on, so does fatigue. It's all on roads, but clay road is not like that seamless black ribbon, that glides the miles away. These miles take their toll, whether you realize it or not. To hear Silk say it's no joke, I'm paying attention.

I opted for the middle version. This version is 60-65 miles, and shares roads with the 85. I think I could finish the big one, but would be miserable. This is to be a social event for me. No big mind games or death struggles, just a beautiful day, enjoying what I've ignored for all of these years. Beautiful southeastern canopy clay roads, and a big group of fiends.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Dirty Spaghetti is looming near, and finally the weather has blessed us. We bitched and moaned for months, about the hated steam bath that is a Tallahassee summertime. But then the sky cleared, and the dirt turned to silt. The clay roads of North Florida and South Georgia have been soft and dusty, leaving drive-trains dry and crusty.

It's nice to look out the window and see life giving moisture streaming down the windows, this cloudy afternoon. The local trails need it bad. It's gonna put one more nail in the coffin for the Joe's Rides for this year, but that's alright. Tonight is an easy evening of rest. Tomorrow, stretch the legs on a lunchtime spin, and then Dirty Spaghetti on Saturday.

I'm excited; little kid at Christmas excited! We have a big crew rolling together, and hopefully I'll see some of those folks who only pop up on my radar at special events; icing on the cake.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Those of you who know me, know that I rage at the end of every summer. I protest, barter, and just plain deny, the need for lights. Even when the fight's over, I'll still be the last to ignite my torch. Maybe there's Riddick in my blood. Maybe I have more in common with my favorite of all birds, the owls. Either way, I see better in twilight, without man made lumens.

Despite all of that, I broke out my light systems, and began my ritual recharge and burn down tests, to be sure my lights would not let me down in the inky blackness of the trails. Despite my love for natural light, I found myself excited about the coming season. By the end, I'll be so sick of keeping lights charged. My neck will be sore from the extra weight on my helmet. But right now, like the first bite of an apple, I'm excited about the first forays into the darkness. The eerie, foggy loops of Munson and Twilight, the spotlight technicality of trails of questionable legality, the subway tunnels of speed runs along Upper Caddilac, all wait to be played out, hopefully to the degree that my memories preserve new snapshots to recharge my own night riding batteries, for the seasons to follow.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Rules

I've been quoting a few of The Rules lately, to those in violation of a few of my favorites. Like any good enforcer, I pick and choose my enforcement. After all, I'm in violation of about 10, myself, most notably, #7! For Marcus and Big Mark, I'd like to refer you to #42. To Big Jim Slade, due to his fear of people violating #59, I offer #64 and #5. B.J.S., you may also want to make Ms. B.J.S. aware of #33.

Check them out, and cite violators as needed or wanted.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Good Food, Good Times

Damn it! This is all Silk's fault. Knowing full well that I have a sweet tooth bigger than my head, he shows me a pic of that tasty grub above. Not that one specifically, that was my breakfast this morning, but a pic of the prototype. I think the original text that came with the prototype was, "750 calories of nom nom nom!" That's tech speak for "damn good"!

Following the food trend, I'm sooo glad that Lil' Ronnie has returned home to his native North Cuba. While in town, he and I set out on a mission to eat all of the cows in Knotts Dairy Farm. After a rousing success, there will now be a shortage of milk and cheese in your local grocery stores, and for that, I apologize. I ate more cheeseburgers and various other beef products in the past weekend, than I did all last month....and every last bite was absolutely delicious! I actually gained about 6 pounds over the weekend, thanks to his beer drinking, beef eating bad influence.

The weather was amazing for Ron's visit, and remains so, even now. I managed to get in on 3 good rides with the crew over the weekend. Fern/Tom Brown/Caddy, Overstreet, Rootbug, and the clay roads of North Florida/South Georgia, all fell beneath our wheels. I had more fun riding this past weekend, than I have in quite awhile. Fall does this to me. I'm bouncing around on my bike like Joe's old dog, Hannah, now that weather is turning more crisp. While the cotton and peanut farmers are hating this dry weather, I'm selfishly enjoying not being rained on every ride, and not having to constantly clean mud wracked drivetrains. The trails are a little dusty, and the dry leaves that are starting to fall keep traction to a minimum. I constantly wonder if my tire and suspension pressures are somehow out of whack, as I slip slide through the turns. But so far, it's just been Mother Nature's way of keeping me on my toes, or on my head when judgment is miscalculated.

Spring and Fall are Tallahassee's crown jewels, so get out and enjoy the time while it's here. If you see a wandering cow, keep it to yourself. I'm shifting gears to chicken and turkey, until milk supplies return to normal.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Love The Interwebs!

Just when you think the people who wind up in the news are entertaining enough, the bright young minds of the web world turn it up a notch.

Hope this lightens your hump-day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Game for Friday

My bug doesn't look like a wevil, but it def looks might evil. My bug warns its prey with a rust colored display that says HEY. My bug doesnt sing but man can he sting. My bug prefer not walk hints the name tarantula hawk. The end

1:48am, and this is what I get?! I can't decide if there was alcohol involved, as the time stamp would likely indicate, or simply a sleepless author who was engrossed in an insect.

This is exactly how it came to me, spelling errors, punctuation errors, and all. Is this some sort of damn the man, I ain't gotta pay no tension to your rules writing style? Or just some drunken, fat fingered, textual slurring?

I like the line, "My bug prefer not walk hints the name tarantula hawk." At first glance, I thought our entertainer misspelled hence and left out a comma, but then I realized that his way works, too. True genius, or what my favorite photography instructor called a "happy accident"?

Either way, take your enjoyment where you can find it. Life's short, and if you can find a smile in an aggravating, sleep interrupting text, then so be it.

I hope everyone has a great Friday, leading into an even better weekend.

There's a bike race in town this weekend, out at Tom Brown. Come see the monkeys in their funny clothing. Your's truly will likely don his Apebike team gear and do a few laps.

Tell you what, let me know who you think authored this piece of texting brilliance, and the 1st few to get it right, come find me with the Bikechain boys at the race on Sunday. I'll hook you up with a sausage dog off the grill, and if you're of legal age, I'll throw in a Fat Tire Ale.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Man what a week. White out rain conditions trying to thwart all of our ride plans at every step. I go down like a ton o' bricks at Root Bug, and turn my knee the cutest shade of green(Yep, you missed it again, Silk). Bikechain guys actually showed up at the Joe's Ride! And, I'm hitting a restaurant Grand Opening tonight. Lah Tee Dah! That's a first for me. Like I said, what a week.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired of this El Rain Yo weather pattern we've been hanging with for awhile. More gullies have been whomped this summer, than I care to remember. The trails are a wet, steamy, mass of drag you down, jungle muck. However, I have been seen venturing out with knobbies again, though I swore them off about a month ago. And I've had fun. Well, right up until I did that gainer over the bars, into a Red Bug root tangle. Oh well, It entertained Stormingnormin, as he had front row seats to the air show. Check the weather pattern for next week. After Monday, it looks like our rain chances drop below 20% for the rest of the week, and the temperature plummets to the low 90's! I'll see ya out there!

Now, on a little heavier note. After Wrecking Ball found yet another way to get out of the Tom Brown race, I've fielded a million questions about WB's health. He keeps apologizing to me, as if having to answer these things stresses me out. Quite the contrary, my friend, quite the contrary. I'm actually glad to be part of this process, almost honored. You see, I expected the boys to to look out for our boy, but I was a little surprised at how many other people came to me. People I didn't even realize knew WB. All night on the Joe's Ride, "How's WB?", "When's he coming back?", "What's his next step?", "Is he alright?". This gives me faith in my fellow man, and I'm thankful to have had the chance to witness it firsthand. There's a whole lot of good people in this community, and I'm proud to be part of it. Big ups to the folks at Subaru, ground zero for Wrecking Ball's vascular brain check. Good looking out! Thanks to all the folks who asked about his health. Our boy is all choked up by the show of support.

Now, let's lighten this a little. It seems that Wrecking Ball's brother has opened another restaurant here in T-town, in the old Club Park Avenue space. The whole clan, of the Clan Wrecking Ball, is here, so I just can't miss an opportunity to see WB in his family element. He's the youngest of about a million siblings, so this should be good. Besides, I get to eat good food, observe WB in the wild, and imagine a day gone by, where Red Cotton Candy Dragon strutted his stuff, with no shirt, his pants pulled down, his thumbs tucked in his bikini brief waistline, while all the lights come on, the music stops, and the pa system calls for security to the dance floor. Good times!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys...

Not really, but I have always had a soft spot for Josey Wales and Barbarosa.

This past week, Little Ball and Ice Berg enjoyed a road trip to West Virginia and Pennsylvania. They rode as much as possible, but not quite as much as they'd have liked. Apparently they joined one of the big road groups, and participated in the destruction of said group. I never got the whole story, but it seems that ride dwindled down to Berg, Ball, and a couple on a tandem. It seems these tandem pilots were national champs. When Little Ball recounts this story, he mentions the captain's name is Gunnar. That set the gears a' turning. I asked if this particular tandem pilot had little round glasses. He hesitantly tells me yes, but you can tell he's wondering how the hell I may have this little piece of info. After a quick Google image search, it's confirmed that the boys were riding with none other than Gunnar Shogren.

Now Gunnar may not be the most obvious icon of early 90's mountain bike racing, but he was in the show. He wrote a column for Dirt Rag called, Wazzupwiddat? While he may not have been a top of the podium, media darling, he was making his living racing bikes, and I always looked forward to reading of his cross country travels in his old van, telling the tales of a fiendracer.

I faded away from Dirt Rag, and big name racing in general, and Gunnar sort of slipped off my radar. A couple of years ago, Silk talked me into joining him in Dahlonega for the Fools Gold 100. Hanging out in the N. GA mountains, I stumble across a blast from the past. It seems that Gunnar has not dried up and blown away, but is still frequenting the bike race scene. He's taken to longer distances, doing the 100 mile races instead of the 2 hour suffer-fests of the past. The dude has to be close to 50, by now. The next day we're watching the race from our bikes, riding parts of the course. Gunnar comes by in the top 5-6 of the 100 mile class, and he's riding a singlespeed!

That may not qualify for hero status on the level of say, NYFD or NYPD, but that's still impressive in my book. I hope I have that kind of spring in my step, when I hit 50.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Out of Control

I was gonna ease up on borrowing videos, but this just needs to be out there.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Death of the Easter Bunny

Imagine my surprise, when I perused the modern day flea market, commonly referred to as eBay, lookin' at the latest FM3's and cheap gold by the inch, when I tripped over this little gem.

And there it is. another let down in the long list of broken dreams and leaky water beds. The Red Cotton Candy Butcher Dragon is selling his latest bike. The bike that was turning the tide; brought him to the next level of P90X, is now on the chopping block in the name of air conditioning. I suppose the fresh breath of a cool breeze, blowing through his.....bald head, was not enough....air conditioning?!

I suppose it's his upbringing. The boy doesn't live anywhere near the Woodville Mall any longer, so he recreates it in his garage, and on his computer. Deep down, I think there is gypsy in that boy's blood!

Oh well, I suppose I'll go cry the cathartic lonely crying that accompanied the unveiling of the tooth fairy, and the death of the Easter Bunny.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

For Lil' Ronnie

To hell with hardcore. This is the soundtrack I hear when I ride my 'cross bike.

cyclocross ride from Jed Zilla on Vimeo.

If that was little too soft, maybe this will toughen things up.

surly and spooky cyclocross bikes on mount elden, flagstaff, az from Rocky Chrysler on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


A few nights back I awoke in a cold sweat. I'd had a nightmare that Juancho had kidnapped Big Jim Slade, Lil' Ronnie, and Cliffy, and forced them to join his boy band. My fears were allayed as I realized it was only a dream, and then I found this...

If I find out that Wrecking Ball is managing those guys, he may be stripped of his BC jersey!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Shralping from jake garrett on Vimeo.

Not sure what the hell schralping is, but best I can tell, it has something to do with a leprechaun, dressed as a fairy, chasing a lumber jack. Being that they are on bikes, though, I'm cool with that. Trail looks fun, but probably not passable for an old guy like me. Then again, that's probably why I'm clueless on schralping.

Palm trees! That's what they went with, palm trees?! Awhile back, I walked down memory lane, regarding an old Kmart, turned Albertson's, that was demolished to make way for a new Publix. They uprooted all of the oaks that had stood for years, and are repaving the lot to fit Publix standards. Today I roll up and see great big, giant palm trees. That's what they brought back?! What the hell? Are we to think of Publix as a relaxing island oasis, filled with cat litter, grape soda, and the latest in microwaveable, frozen, gourmet diet food? Or, did one more super brilliant VP of Parking Lots, over at Publix headquarters, decide that since we live in Florida, and since the entire state is a giant beach, and palm trees are the state bird, that clearly, palm trees will make the locals feel more at home? After all, isn't Publix just an extended member of the family?

Enough mockery, I'm moving the furniture around a little. Since WB had a mid-blog crisis, and erased all of the links I used on a 50 times daily basis, I had to add some more links up in here. Then I found that it was kinda nice seeing the titles, so I could tell who was talking, who was sleeping, and who was dead. Unfortunately, that's making things a little visually busy, and I'm not sure it will last. Whoever posted most recently will rise to the top, like sweet cream. The dead guys will sink to the bottom. Let me know what ya think. Or don't.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


So my girl gets home last night, and looks completely aggravated. I ask what was up, expecting the usual hassles we all see when dealing with people at work. Not tonight, she'd escaped the confines of the office with only minor battle wounds, only to be completely let down by the foolish actions of people at large.

As she drove home along Old Bainbridge Road, just south of Fred George Road, she notices a couple of baseball caps lying in the road. Shortly after that, a small boy pushing his bmx bike against traffic, a bag split open on his back, with its contents overflowing. Now, this is a sketchy piece of canopy road, even for an experienced cyclist! Minimal shoulder, no sidewalk, and no streetlights make for minimal options. She makes a u-turn, picks up his caps, and catches back up to him, and pulls over with her flashers on. She asks if he needs help or a ride.

"Yes ma'am."

"Where are you headed?"

"I have to go to my Auntie's."

"Can you show me how to get there from here?"

"Yes ma'am"

She loads the scared kid, looking like he's about to cry, and his bike, and drives him to his destination; the corner of High Road and Hartsfield Road. This is what, about 2 miles from where she picks him up? She pulls in the driveway indicated by the boy, and sees a woman and a man standing in the yard. They stare her down as she gets out and tells them that she has picked up the nephew on Old Bainbridge, because she was concerned for his safety. They continued to stare, said not a word to the boy or her, and eventually went back to talking with a neighbor.


There was what appeared to be a perfectly functional, newer car in the driveway! Why would you send your middle school aged boy out on that route, at 6:30 in the evening, without the skills to navigate such passage. Why would you not at least ask questions when a stranger shows up on your doorstep, to deliver your nephew?

My first thought was to go back to the Auntie's house and slap somebody so hard that maybe the ringing in their ears would wake them from their fog! But the reality is, if I go up there and call them out, it will likely only make things worse for the boy. So what is the perfect answer? I'm still stewing over this. Do you call the law? Child Services? Or do you just leave it be? My heart goes out to this kid. He may be a royal pain in the ass, and have issues I can't fathom, but sending a kid into harm's way like that, definitely, is not the answer.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Local trails ala cx from Andy Wardman on Vimeo.

This made me smile. And with that, I'll likely be on the cross bike tomorrow. I may not have skills as polished as this guy, but then again why should I? After all, he has a video. I haven't been on tv since 1990 something, when I told people to bend there back legs. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about. If you weren't you don't need to know.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm Still Here

Been MIA for awhile. So what? Like you've never gone on hiatus or just got distracted by life or some pretty butterfly.

Speaking of butterflies, chatter about the 2010 Bump-n-Grind has popped up on the radar. Imagine my surprise to see that Spanish Mackerel is on the bubble in regards to attendance. No shiite! That boy spends half his life on the bubble. He's like a bubble on the bubble. One of those anomaly bubbles that comes out when your bubble blower is all jacked up or your bubble production fluid has some sort of stagnant flaw in its chemistry. No offense though. The Mackerel has much less self induced stress by remaining a bubble tumor, so be it.

When I'm not wracked by some form of lunger cough, I've found my bike again. Our trip to N. Georgia and North Carolina, via North Tallahassee and North Thomasville, North Macon, etc, was a blast until such time as the hack returned, cutting the trip short. I can't tell you how crappy I felt that my crew elected to return early, 'cause I was sick. I argued to get them to stay. After all, sick in a hotel bed, or sick in my bed, what's the difference? We're 8 hours from home! They need to be riding! Again, so be it. I enjoyed the rides I got, in any case.

After another week and a half off with the croup, I'm riding....again. As usual, the ability to lay heat, is only luke warm at best. Last night's ride had Little Ball heckling me every 30 seconds, about my glacial pace. I rose to the bait, and eventually blew myself sky high, ala The Buthcherous Red Boot Camp Butterfly Dragon. I realize the error in my ways. Next time the youngun gets all arrogant on me, 20 years of experience says he gets gut checked to the poison ivy seats, despite his apparent immunity to the devil weed!

My legs are stiff and spent, thanks to the crew's insistent beat downs on Saturday, and again last night. Regardless, it's good to be back.

(BTW, if you ever do travel with the crew, be wary of Big Jim Slade's sumo prowess. Wrecking Ball says it's a might stingy.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting,
the theory of evolution claims only the strong shall survive.

Maybe so,
maybe so.

But, the theory of competition says,
just because they are the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked.

That’s right.

See, what every long shot, come from behind, underdog will tell you is this;
the other guy may in fact be the favorite,
the odds may be stacked against you, fair enough.

But, what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test.
This is a completely different kind of test.
One where passion has a funny way of trumping logic.

So, before you step up to the starting line,
before the whistle blows and the clock starts ticking,
just remember out here,
the results don’t always add up.

No matter what the stats may say,
and the experts may think,
and the commentators may have predicted,
when the race is on all bets are off.
Don’t be surprised if somebody decides to flip the scrip,
and take a pass on yelling uncle.

And then suddenly,
as the old saying goes,
we got ourselves a game.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finally, I'm Back!

47 minutes to do one lap of Red Bug, but worth every second. The woods were beautiful, and it was a nice welcome back after 2 weeks of mucous oozing from my melon. ME, my bike, and my camera. Ahhhh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There, but for the Grace of God, Go I

Watching the twisting spiral of a falling star, he wonders where its trail may end.

The realization that his Father was merely mortal settles deeper.

The tell tale chinks in the armor were always there, just not visible from the height of a young child. As he grew older, the chinks came into view, but were always glossed over with a heavy dose of hero polish.

Now the blemishes are so deep and cancerous, no amount of polish will return the once brilliant gleam.

Age and addiction are evil bedfellows.

Pride was that with which he was taught to hold his head high. He once read that Pride goeth before a fall. Now, he understands that Pride will smother as completely as a plastic bag over the head, when left unchecked.

The downward spiral drops lower towards the horizon.

There, but for the Grace of God, Go I.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jack Frost is a Bad Bitch!!

It seems that recently I saw some interweb press regarding the future beatdown that was to be applied to Jack Frost.

Huh. It seems that Mr frost may be a bit more wily than originally considered. You may even say he was largely underestimated. While a fairy princess Jack Frost, sure to quake in his boots at the mere sight of our Chaingangedness, was expected. This is more like the Jack Frost we met.

This insidious climate villain had his own plans! First, he would divide and conquer. As we set off in search of the perfect warmth inducing pace, we soon realized that those paces would differ for most of us, and slowly but surely we would splinter. As we found ourselves alone, the fear and doubt crept closer.

As he slid his icy fingers around our hearts, and slowly squeezed all that is good with Felasco from our deepest depths, each rider had to dig still deeper to find motivation to continue. I rolled up behind Wrecking Ball after lunch, and our combined strength saved us from this evil fortune.

Derwood, haunted by images of what Mr. Frost may have had in mind for his beautiful bride back home, called it quits at the lunch stop.

Earlier this week, I scored an interview with the elusive author of the Jack Frost Callout, albeit via mobile to mobile text messaging. When asked how cold Jack Frost's hands were, when he was spanking that bare ass last Saturday, the reply was simple and to the point. "They were f#*king cold.....I hate you!!"

Big Love to those who wrestled free of the icy grip and completed the coldest Felasco in awhile, and Bigger Love to those who knew they shouldn't, but tried anyway!!