Monthly Archives: June 2005

Racers, Placers, and Chasers

I returned to Santos the next day with Pa Ingalls, ready to face the “big boys”. Orlando Dave (HFAC from the day before) was nowhere to be found, the scoundrel. I had been set up. By 6:30 P:M the parking lot was swarming with riders, all of them on FS rigs, helmet-mounted lights, and such.
Finally another rider showed up on a hardtail, and it was the new fastest guy in Tallahassee from my previous post! Man, it was great to see a friendly face. I always prefer to get my ass whipped by someone I know. Everyone was very cool to us, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was shaking hands with my own firing squad. The plan was to ride from the main lot to the I-75 Land bridge and back, 25 miles more or less I think. Lightless, Pa and I accepted the good advice to roll with them to the last bench at the 8 mile mark and turn around. Sounded pretty good to me. Once we were underway, the chatter began. The theme seemed to be – “When was your last race?” , “How did you do in it?”, “Are you going to race Expert this year?” and so on. From what I gathered, everyone there raced, except me. Tucked in the middle of a pack of 16 riders, inches from one another at times, we snaked through the trees. As far as I was concerned, this was the race. Some gaps opened up, one in front of me surprisingly! A little discouraged, I focused on keeping the dudes behind me, well, behind me. I could see the lead group a hundred yards ahead through the trees and I chased them like they stole my lunch money. My mouth tasted metallic, my left eye was twitching, my numb hands clutched the bar like lobster boy. I was prepared to die to keep up. Horse flies intermittently landed on our asses, causing the appropriate but bizarre image of men literally whipping their own asses like a jockey with a quirt. You can’t outrun those evil bastards and it feels like you’ve been plugged with a staple gun.

I knew we weren’t going far, so I focused on blowing out all I had. Juancho Longbow is not built for such antics, but we do what we must.

The bench came into view, Pa Ingalls and our Alpha host were waiting. I geared down and pulled in. As soons as I had a breath (not so soon actually) I wheezed out “It’s a damn good thing you stopped, I was just about to open up on your asses”. Alpha raised an eyebrow to that one. They both looked over my shoulder, to see two riders pull up in a miserable state.

I wasn’t last, and it felt like first to me.

Alpha clipped in, and in a parting shot told me- “You almost had us Juancho, I was just about to blow up.”

With that he was gone.

Thanks to the Santos gang. They are true gentleman and stone cold fast.

To the guys who were behind me, I hope you get over that flu soon.

Homesick Juancho Out!

Second Childhood

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a thousand words you will get. I finally got my ride in, and Santos delivered—in a pouring rain. The thunderheads were sitting on the ground, the sky as black and blue as my hip right now. Those limestone roads are slick as ice when wet.
I left work and rolled to the trailhead, lazily, as it was raining like the last time it would ever. My mind relaxed. Lyrics Born, Calling Out, is plugged in the stereo and broken off. It’s just that good.

I passed the turn for the trail and headed for the Santos Bike Shop hoping for a little trail beta and some gear ogling. They carry some heavy artillery in that joint. Two young guys and a couple Dads were mulling the options as well. 3 of the 4 drove up from Orlando and were loathe to give up the ride, weather be damned.
At issue was the logistics of transporting all of the bikes to the trailhead or riding in the rain. They lacked cargo space and didn’t want the kids riding along 441 in a driving rain at 5:00 P:M. Next thing I knew I was offering my truck and loading bikes into it. The only non-riding father jumped in with me. His son was visiting from Puerto Rico, and his dad was doing whatever he could to show him a good time. We pulled up at a side entrance of the trail, and while I was changing, they basically ditched me. I callously locked the truck and silently wished them a pleasant slog back up the highway. I can have my own damn ride anyway. As I cruised through the jungle wonder of the trail, I came across a rider. The sudden appearance of him caused me to lock the brakes and slap to the ground, in the big ring, of course. It was a blonde-headed kid from the shop. He broke off from the group to find me. I was sincerely touched and chastened for my spiteful thoughts at the truck.
This rider turned out to be a messenger for me, sent with knowledge and wisdom. I’ll just call him “Local”. Local is in the grip of a 13 year old in love. He is in love with his bike, with riding, with the notion of what it means to go hammer and tongs in any conditions, against any man, woman, or child. What I learned today is that a good ride, and a good partner is an ageless thing. Once under way, it became clear that he saw me as an opportunity, and quickly I saw him the same way. Under the care of other dads, he was essentially solo, and local, and not so inclined to ride under the structured cadence of the others. I pulled in close and gave it to him just like I would any friend or foe on the trail. “I want everything you got, if you feel the call.” He didn’t say a word. He just stood up and started building a brick shithouse of momentum. I felt it. He felt it. It was time to ride. Off we went.
After a sloppy stretch of mud, deep water, down branches, and sideways rain, we came to a stopping place to wait for the others. I raised a dirty, bleeding fist and we pounded knuckles of respect. He commented on my Presta valves, my clipless pedals. The youth clearly had the early symptoms of upgrade sickness, a lovely disease.
Flat pedals, no clips of any kind, and Schrader valves be damned, Local could go. I redirected his attention to his disc brakes, his Easton bar, his aggressive Specialized Hard Rock frame and told him, “Shit boy, your ride is nice, and you’re only friggin thirteen, you have to have something to look forward too…. Oops I mean shoot.” He rolled his eyes at my paternal efforts, “Whatever, I’m used to it. I don’t care.” After a quick regroup and a sputtering chastisement from the HFAC (head fucking adult in charge) we were off on Twister, a rolling trail of sweeps, berms, and mild drop-offs made treacherous by the rain.

I won’t lie. Chasing a boy on a bike through a pouring rain over slick rock and roots made me feel like a boy myself. We were separated by nothing but a few thousand cold beers, some heartache, and a few hard knocks, but nothing more. Fuck it man, we were bros.

Another regroup and the HFAC called it done. Local rolled his eyes at me and me at him. Oh well, no use in fighting it, we got what we came for after all.

250 words to come (more or less)…check back for “Racers, Placers, and Chasers” a synopsis of Juancho’s run with the big boys of Santos.


Extra white space and new fonts provided due to the lack of photograph or other visual images. It’s a designing homerun. Forgive me, I’m posting from 1963, or Marion County, FL.

OK– So the Tour de France doesn’t start until next, or this, Saturday.

July 2nd anyway.

I knew that. I just didn’t know what day it was.

At least I’m rarely late. I can’t believe nobody caught that. A mistake so blatantly posted to the internet is ideal chum for the sharks. I guess I can tell you people anything.

For example, I am actually Magnus Backstedt. Yes, it’s true.

I learned English and started this thing you call a blog in order to boost my reputation in the “over 30, delusional, southeastern United States, mountain biking fanatic demographic.”

My newly acquired sponsors, SHINGLES FRIED CHICKEN HOUSE, and KING’S BBQ recommended the P.R. blitz. Long-time sponsor JOE’s BIKE SHOP said what they always say, “What the fuck do you want now?” and “Where’s my fucking sandwich?” It’s good to have such longstanding support systems going into the 2005 Tour de France, which starts this coming Saturday.

Go Big Me!

The colossal Apostle, Magnus Backstedt.


mb Posted by Hello

The Tour de France starts Saturday, by the way, and OLN will again be providing saturation coverage. Magnus Backstedt, the “Collosal Apostle” will be out to crush smaller, weaker men.
I will probably miss the start, which is a shame. Feel free to weigh in concerning all things TOUR related. Until July 24, Roadies will be respected here at the BRC.

No promises after that.

The Showdown

lvc Posted by Hello

It’s time to go back down to Lamesville and Slowcala to show those boys a thing or two about showing people a thing or two. Razorback is in terrible condition (I never knew it had a good condition) so the showdown will be at Santos, Sunday morning. This favors my leopard-like loping style. Pa Ingalls wants to do some recon for his future “Men and Mules” cross Florida expedition. The last time we did this it involved a lot of chiggers, sand, and I-75. Hopefully we choose a little wiser this time around.

S’quatch called last night and said he would be posting a few entries from Boise, ID. So you’ve got that going for you.

I went out with Powder and Paco last night, and predictably we got separated. Paco missed a turn, then we spent the next hour looking for each other. He is one tough customer. No whining out of him. When I apologized back at the house all he said was, “I should be faster”. Please note the use of a self-reflective should is perfectly acceptable in this situation. Most guys, including myself, would be bitching and moaning about being dropped on a friendly ride.

I can’t believe it’s time to pack up again, this summer is getting crazy like that. Oh well, it sure cuts down on the power bill.

I’ll catch up with y’all somewhere down the trail, these little doggies aren’t goin’ to drive themselves to El Paso are they?

Giddy up!


Tallahassee just got faster.

bad ass breeding ground Posted by Hello

Lord knows I did not want to get out there yesterday. The nap was good, the sun was hot, and my legs are tired. Taco didn’t want to hear any of that though, to his credit. A young man on a Specialized hard tail rolled up just as we were clipping in at TBP. He was sporting a SANTOS Bike Shop jersey and he didn’t look like he bought it retail. Unfamiliar with the local trails, he was hoping for some beta on the area. Happy to oblige, we rolled out. After learning he was a veteran of the Razorback 12 hour(4th overall solo), Tsali 12 hour( 5th overall solo), and a national collegiate downhill slalom competitor, I decided to keep King and Kong on a short leash. We connected with a couple other fellas and had a pretty quick out and back to the lakes. Dude is moving to Tallahassee for school this fall. Most excellent news. I’m sure he will be assimilated into the Higher Ground borg and rightfully so. Those guys are fast, and they deal Specialized, and they are the racer types around here. All the same, I hope to catch him for a few long visionary rides with my crew.

I’m out of here tomorrow for G-ville/ Red dick/ Ocala and I’ll be down that way until after the 4th. I’m trying to recruit my neighbor “Riverboat” as a guest host. Content would swerve dramatically away from bikes towards gambling, sports, porn, and liquor, but whatever, you would probably enjoy that, wouldn’t you?

If that doesn’t sound like your thing, feel free to contact me if you think you can run the circus for a week. Pretty funny, asking my imaginary audience to do something. Yo bitches! Make me a sandwich. See, no sandwich.

S’quatch is deep into it at this point. Hopefully full vacation mindset has been achieved. I have to admit, I miss his influence around here. The rides are all little. With S’quatch around you are destined to end up on a lonely road, or trail, riding beneath the blazing sun with boredom the only balm for your pain, and pain the only balm for your boredom. Despite all of that, S’quatch is in it for the adventure, prepared to make bad decision after bad decision, as long as all roads lead far away. All the same, the blue chip recruits are doing an excellent job of keeping me on the bike and pedaling.

Blah, blah, blah,

Juancho se fuera

Singletrack Snack

lunch Posted by Hello

My boy T stopped by yesterday morning, all done with work by the crack of 11:30 A:M. He cracked the sole Miller lit in the fridge and I fired up a Parliament Light, um…yummy.
We got to shootin’ the shit about personality and preference, and the different ways people approach problems. Somehow I got on one of my favorite rants about the word “Should”. As in, you should go check out this movie, or you should quit smoking, or you should go to hell, or whatever. The problem with “should” is it masquerades as concern and usurps the higher ground (Not the shop, the metaphor). When someone says “You should check out that movie, The Princess Diaries, or whatever, what they really mean to say is: “I like the movie The Princess Diaries and I wish other people would like it too”. Maybe they see some connection, and truly have your best interest at heart, but “Should” is the lazy way out. Explain your reasoning Goddamnit! So anyway, I really dislike “should” and I encourage caution with its usage. it’s just so presumptive and sanctimonious. It’s also passive-aggressive, and nobody likes that. I much prefer, “Why do you smoke dumbass?” or something to that effect.

Once we sorted that little problem out, we decided to strap up and roll. Middle of the day, hot, everybody in the free world is working, yet this lull of 2 hours presented itself to us and we took it. Back to the Northside for bomber downhills and grinding climbs. T has been showing up on the scene again, resurfacing now that his daughter is 3 and can take care of herself. At about the 10 mile mark, he lit it up. I mean he LIT IT UP. I just tucked in behind him on the long trudge around the dry lake bed and enjoyed the ride. We were halfway up the 1.5 mile climb when he finally pulled up in the shade to regroup. Nice work dude, nice work indeed.

You should keep riding as much as possible.

Juancho out.

Big Sky Country

Ansel Adams Posted by Hello

I woke up thinking about the Tetons this morning. They were the first place I lived outside of Florida. Talk about setting a high water mark. While not everything went smoothly that summer–10 hour days, six days a week, love quadrangle in the kitchen– I remember snow falling on the 4th of July, bears sneaking around the ranch, a sandstone cave high on a bluff overlooking the Gros Ventre range. In that semi-lucid state just before waking, I squinted my eyes against the glare of the sun on the Snake river. I felt the thrill of being up high and far away. Fields of lupine, indian paintbrush, and sagebrush. Pints of Guiness at Dornan’s.

I hope Sasquatch shows up with a post from there today, and hits on a few things I might have forgotten about. Maybe I need to get back to the big sky country myself, just to have a look around. It makes me kind of sad to think of all the places I’ve been that I may not make it back to for a visit. On the other hand, maybe I’ll spend another 12 years seeing them all over again, with some new stuff in between. Hell, there’s plenty of time for everything right?


A body in motion, a body at rest-

all gone Posted by Hello

Whoa- I’m knackered, spent, whipped, done, tapped out. From my stomach to my soul I feel empty. I don’t think it was the ride yesterday, although it was definitely surface of the sun hot out there. As I review the last month of entries to the circus, I realize I have been a very busy man. I re-entered the local scene this past weekend with plenty of riding, rum, and reckless behavior. My living room looks like a luggage bomb exploded in it. The overalls left over from the folk festival weekend are getting to know the nattier threads of the work trip last week. I think I see some sparks between them.

The camp box appears to have vomited its contents onto the floor, and it seeps into the laundry pile accumulating in the kitchen. The coffee table is buried in mail unopened, and the floor beside it is littered like Myrtle Beach with the carcasses of the opened stuff. The T.V. still stands in the front of the room like a struck-dumb idiot who doesn’t realize his microphone is turned off and it is time to abandon the stage.

The rebuilt Dakar of Wacissa fame is locked to the bed of my truck, ravaged by Taco in our frantic effort to fix his deraileur, which came to naught. *(Shins hooked him up yesterday in an 11th hour save.) I haven’t the energy to bring it to the porch. I stare at it like a wounded buddy, and I’m helpless to aid him.

The Dragon, god bless it– has a bent hanger, a dry chain, a coat of dust and mud, but stands ready to deliver punishment like a Navy Seal. It rolls its eyes at my sloth.

I got to bed at 11:30, and up at 8:30 this morning. Then I got back to bed at 10:15 and rolled out at 1:30. In between dreams and waking, I read a few chapters from Deliverance.

I’m re-morning-ing right now, with a second round of coffee and aspirations of going to the gym, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, fixing “Old Red”, burning some tunes, filing the files, feng shui-ing the living room, and cooking some black beans.

Or I could turn the air down, the fan up, the lights off, the covers back, and get back on the river with James Dickey and the boys.

Does anybody else hear that banjo?

My town kicks your town’s ass.

tally sunset Posted by Hello

9 hours after leaving Myrtle Beach, or “Dyrtle Beach” as I like to call it, I pulled into Tom Brown park to wait for the boys. I arrived a little early so I dropped the seat back, grabbed my pillow and snoozed. It was awesome. Just to be back on home soil was great. It might as well have been 10th ave. Powder and Taco showed up and away we went. All was right in the world.

Powder is in Jackson Hole this week. S’quatch and Co. are safely underway. I get another shot at Razorback this weekend, and a pretty girl said there might be a “blueberry pie” in my future.

Sounds like code to me.