Monthly Archives: June 2005

Out of Pocket

off to work Posted by Hello

The clouds have parted and the malaise of yesterday is a bad and distant dream. I read to them all from the good book at Munson today, except most of them were too far back to listen and one of them was too far in front. It was hot as blazes, but that might have been the force of the Jamis Dragon bursting through the atmosphere. I will be absent from the circus for most of the week. I will try to post from the road, but you know how that goes. If you have a blog and try to post from the road anyway, than you know how that goes.

You know what happens when the ringmaster leaves the circus? The clowns run off and get drunk. The animals are released from their cages. The strong man lays down with the bearded lady, and the popcorn machine goes full tilt until the big top is ready to rupture. Since the beginning, all of 90 days ago, it hasn’t mattered to me if folks want to pay the price of admission (5 minutes) to join the show, or if they just want to check in now and then and think to themselves, “That guy is a jackass, I can totally drop him and write better than him”. Hell, that’s what got me started. I appreciate every click and scoff you’ve thrown my way, but in my absence, it’s going to get mighty boring around here. you might choose to play amongst yourselves. Either way I will be back Saturday and the world will be saved from certain destruction once again.

Some minutuae in your future…

  • S’quatch and family will hit the road soon for an old-fashioned motor tour of the great west. Overall I.Q. in the campgrounds of America is projected to spike by about 50 points with those two kids of theirs along. It’s too bad they will use most of their untapped potential for bringing to their father’s attention all of the unforeseen sufferings they will encounter along the way. Squawtch, his wife, will diplomatically alter between steadfast support and joining the mirthful abuse with the children. No matter how you slice it folks, it works out great for us.

  • The Tour de France will commence in July and the BIGRINGCIRCUS, (fuckin-A right that’s all caps) will wholeheartedly throw allegiance to Magnus Backstedt, the largest rider in the Tour by a shitload. Duh, of course we’ll cheer for Lance, we are not a communist circus after all. I still predict some rhinocerous beetle domination on the long, hot, flat sections by the “COLLOSAL APOSTLE” Mr. Magnus B.

Now is your chance to say, “But what about all the shit you talk about road bikers?” And my reply…What about it?

Have a great week amigos.

Juancho se fuera

Hunker Down

bunker supplies Posted by Hello

I’m just not very good at this sort of thing. As soon as the sun disappears for more than 8 hours I fall to pieces. What do you people do to get through the gray days? I work on my bike, but it doesn’t really need anything. I try to keep laundry mountain going, but that doesn’t require a lot of supervision. Pretty much, I spend all morning circumventing the bottle of wine that follows me around the house with it’s plum red eyes. Eventually I will fall to it’s persistent, expectant stare and do what I do best- drink red wine on shitty gray days. Allow me to reminisce…

Portland, OR February 1995

The sun disappeared one day in January and by the end of February the newspaper headline read: 40 DAYS WITHOUT SUN! To the local “webfoots” this was some milestone of accomplishment, to me it was a license to drink red wine. All 6 of the major bridges over the Willamette river were equipped with crisis phones and placards describing S.A.D. (Seasonal Affect Disorder) or the urge to kill oneself after not seeing the sun for forty days.

I was a bike messenger for TRANSERV, ie the RED ARMY, so called because of the red Burly jackets and there were about 50 of us. It was the lowest paying of all the messenger services in town. The day would start like this.

Wake up and put on soggy bike clothes from the day before.
Cook and eat 5-10 pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup.
Drink a pot of coffee.
Walk outside, get on bike, and ride into a soft rain, or a hard rain, or a drizzle, or a misting rain.
Stay soaked all day delivering packages to Bid’ness people.
Lurk with the freaks under the Burnside Bridge
Go home, drink red wine, or maybe a 12 pack of Hamm’s lager.
Go to bed

On Saturdays and Sundays I would wake up and listen to depressing music like Spaceman 3 and the Velvet Underground, and start drinking red wine at 10:00 A:M. It didn’t really matter, there were only two times of day, “Gray” or “Black”.

After that winter I packed it up and came on home to Florida, the sunshine state.

Sackett’s Harbor, NY June, 1998

Three years, 3 countries, and two states later I find myself in upstate New York, bartending and waiting tables at the Tin Pan Galley. this will prove to be a bad decision. It is the beginning of summer, yet the sky has been riveted shut with dark, steel-blue clouds. On my first day there I sit down to brunch at 10:30 A:M, have one mimosa with strawberry-ricotta stuffed french toast, then push my unfinished plate and drink aside and open a bottle of red wine. At 6:30 P:M I get up from the table, wade through the bottles at our feet, and go to bed. This becomes a gray day ritual for the summer. I finish my indentured servitude in September and leave “Scratch-it harder”, NY to return to the sunshine state.

Tallahassee, FL June 2005

10 years later, far from the gloomy downtown of Portland, or the ink-black waters of Lake Ontario, the rain is falling hard and steady under a black sky. I know I wrote the other day that nothing would keep me from the trail, but you should be accustomed to my delusions, my hyperbole, my whole house of cards. I did ride down to the bar to get my truck this morning, if that counts for anything. It was raining, and my head hurt. My brother, who has chosen the moniker “Paco”, dutifully saddled up and accompanied me down there.

Now the red wine clock is ticking. I think I’ll go with a nice red zinfandel to get things started.

Fuck you Arlene!

it’s time Posted by Hello

Rain for the whole weekend, that’s the forecast. Just like last year sitting around waiting for Hurricane Frances to come to town and bore us to death. Well, this year I’m not just going to sit by and “get prepared” for hurricane season. No way, the batteries are already purchased, the canned goods remain canned. The coleman lantern and the propane grill “Old Sparky” are ready. It’s time for action. Wet, 100% humidity action. I don’t care if I have to shoot Munson in the kayak tomorrow, I’m laying down a 38 minute lap.

Last year we got pasted in Florida by Charley, Frances, Ivan, and then Jeanne (Ah, Jeanne was so cute wasn’t she?) Now we’re back to the top of the order again, unbelievable.

It’s enough to make a man start drinking. (Well-harder stuff and earlier in the day anyway.)

Launch Aborted!

launch panel Posted by Hello

Due to inclement weather, mission control scrubbed the launch. Damn them, I was so ready for it. I won’t let those geeks in the tower keep me away from my due glory forever, or as Taco put it, “Dude I don’t think guys our age are supposed to be wanting to go down shit like that!”

Our age? What do you suppose he means by that? I’m only 35, or as I like to call it, second puberty. All the same, the crosstown run through traffic in the pouring rain was awesome. Everybody showed up despite the weather, and it’s another notch in the Shammy for the Cadillac trail. Gotta love it. If I knew how much fun I could have, I would have retired years ago.

Mission Control

BRC HQ Posted by Hello

As you can see I have the entire BRC staff working out the details for today’s launch. Pleased with the results of the Razorback pre-test, we have decided to move the launch schedule up. These dedicated men and women are the unsung heroes of the BRC. They are calculating wind resistance, estimated time of departure, wardrobe selection, tire pressure, time of engagement, speed of roll in, proper buzz adjustment, potential for injury vs. viable rescue window, and especially “sack content”. That’s right, I’m going back to the Cadillac “hazardous area” to check out the drop zone again.

It’s all in the mind. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Just point and go. No problem.

I have complete trust in the team’s calculations. If they give the green light, we launch today.

Thanks for the epic account S’quatch, your descriptions were so vivid I don’t feel the need to replicate the journey, until sometime in the fall anyway.

Strap up boys, this trail might not go quietly.

Quivering in their Shammies-

bigtop Posted by Hello

Here’s a picture of Me and S’quatch cold kicking it under the big top, just another day at the office for us. I don’t want to distract you from the saga occurring in the comments section below, so that will be today’s main course ( I know, leftovers!) but I will tell you quickly about last night’s ride. My bro and another old buddy, Taco, joined us for a loop to Munson and back. We had a hard time getting started with forgotten shoes, minor mechanicals, and a general lack of coordination, which pretty much sets me off. I was impatient with S’quatch, he was impatient with me, his wife, Squawtch seemed pretty sick of the whole scene, it was great. Piss and vinegar, turpentine and barbed wire, that’s what good rides are made of. Although it was just supposed to be an introductory ride for little brother and a re-introductory ride for Taco, S’quatch had to try and take me down. Not happenin’ friends. After the drumming I took in Gainesville, it was nice to be the fast one for a change. I think I’ll try and round up some seriously unfit people to ride with to further bolster my flagging self-esteem. So send me your crippled, your maimed, your fat and your lazy, I got a place for them all under the big top. Now back to our story…


While I was down in Alachua and Reddick ripping out 8 mile time trial loops with the waterbug crew, Sasquatch was busy picking off a major ride in the life list, the Spaghetti 100K off-road loop. 70 miles of back country clay roads winding through the north Florida/ southern Georgia plantation land. It was a bellering cry of protest from the gentle giant. As Powder continues to coax me onto the singletrack, Sasquatch heeds the call for more miles. If this crew is ever going to pull back together, I need to get them both to Dr. Santos for a prescription of miles and miles, of singletrack. I have to get to work now, I can’t be standing around the parking lot jacking jaws with you people. Maybe S’quatch will come out of hiding and tell us a little about his weekend ride. Be still everyone, he’s a little skittish. Oh! Ssshhhhh! I think I hear him coming now…


ichetucknee Posted by Hello

“Wait a second so I can roll up the window”, he tells me. So I wait, then we promptly jump out of the car and lock the keys inside, including the spare key I gave him at the beginning of the trip when I said, “Take this key, in case I lock my keys in the car.”

Why do these things always happen to us? It is an interesting question. When the Hardman and I are at-large in the world, something changes. The stakes go up. Common sense goes down, and then things start to get interesting.

It had been an epic weekend, where all expectations were met beyond my hopes. When does that happen? OK, so I got my ass shellacked at San Felasco, and Razorback damn near killed me, but oh man, what a way to go. Tired smiles tattooed to our faces, we roll up to the Springs to squeeze in just one more moment, one more feeling, one more good WOW! before coming home. Thunderstorms are brewing, the air is unsettled, swirling and charged. AAA is called. They will be here sometime around 2006. The ranger reminds me of myself in some strange way, like a version of yourself in a dream come to give you direction and guidance.
He told us he would leave the gate unlocked and we could let ourselves out. He saw our cold cans of Guinness, knew we had nowhere to be for a few hours, and chose to trust us with the keys to the palace. I think he even considered having one with us.

So there we are, alone in a place that sees thousands of visitors in the summer. I pitched the tent, just in case nobody was going to come. Under the new moon the world was black. A carpet of fireflies lay undulating through the trees and over the water, as far back as your eyes could penetrate into the surrounding swamp. Soft heat lightening and blinding strikes lit the sky intermittently, exposing the naked world like a polaroid snapshot.

We swam, we wandered, we waited.

Unfortunately the locksmith came, like a bouncer at last call. When I close my eyes right now, I can still hear the rain in the trees and see the shadows of draping spanish moss enshrouding a wild, holy place.

Juancho the Martyr

Posted by Hello

I spent good money that I have yet to pay back to insure myself against this sort of thing-

I am out of the house and working as you read this. I know, yes, it is very noble of me. Yes, of course, lots of people do it. No, actually, I am not a housewife, a bum, on disability, or a Mary Kay representative. I won’t tell you what I am, but I can guaran-damn-tee you that what I am don’t get up in the middle of the night (7:30 A:M) and go to work.

Lots of good stuff brewing. The plan is to invade the Gainesville area, beginning with San Felasco tomorrow, then eating and drinking our way through town like a swarm of locusts, then riding Razorback in a self-loathing, fearsome, alcoholic sweat the next morning. Powder is coming along, as I will need a designated driver to get back home on Sunday.

I’ll post up later, after I get back from the salt mines. No, stop it. It is very nice of you to offer to support me, but really I’m curious to see what people actually do at this hour.

If I miss you later, then have a great weekend, and I mean that.

-Juancho Out