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.