Monthly Archives: July 2005

Get it while it’s hot

I like biscuits and gravy in the wintertime. Hot black coffee to sluice through the grease in your mouth. Maybe even hook it up with some cheese grits on the side, (y’all know how I like to make ’em with the garlic powder, the louisiana hot sauce and the sharp cheddar). Scrape up the cracklin’s off the bottom ofthe pan before you hit it with the milk. Yes Sir, yes M’am, that’s what I like before a ride in the wintertime.

Sometimes I’m all about a big pot of black beans sitting on the stove, morning, noon, and night, cruise by and take a swat straight off the the top. Mmmmm, a little onion and a lot of fresh herb. Chase it down with a cold glass of tap water.

Late summer night, back from a ride, big ribeyes on the grill, marinated in fresh garlic, olive oil, and rosemary. If there ain’t no rosemary, I don’t even want a steak. Roll the corn up in foil with a pat of butter and a sprig of the piney good stuff too. Asparagus dripping and sizzling. A 12 pack of mountain sodas nestled in the fridge, patiently waiting their turns. Legs all tired and good, mind blown clean from the ride. That’s the soul food right there.

Somebody throw for bull.

Fall comes in, you get caught that first cold afternoon out, “Damn I’m freezing!” Pull into some country convenience store in the middle of nowhere and fix yourself up a 16 oz styrofoam cup of trucker coffee with a pack of hot cooca mix stirred into it. Might as well get a few tater logs if they got ’em right? Sun is so bright, and the air so cool you could just lay in the grass by the store all afternoon, except you’ve got to clip in and get home, 20 more miles of highway, powerlines, sidewalks, singletrack, parking lots, and neighborhoods (remember the little black girls who hollered, cheered, and jeered us on the way out? Let’s go back that same way. )

Fix a torn sidewall with a dollar bill, tighten up a bottom bracket with a tiretool and a log, whatever comes up along the way, you have an answer. That’s the soul food right there.

Coming up the St. Marks trail, catching roadies, hammering away like you’re building the railroad. Legs are tired, but so warm and loose you could ride the sun down, and you probably will have to actually.

Bunny hopping over coke cans, broken glass, curbs, imaginary curbs, empty 40’s in brown bags, (sounding pretty good right now?)

Threading the perfect merge into traffic, catching the light, carving down the hill into the cemetery, traffic noise falls away in the company of the dead.

Bombing campus from the Wescott fountain down to the Union, never touching the brakes, just surfing. Pulling up somewhere, completely awash in memories of a 1988 Yellow Dakar and a pair of High-Tec’s. (Follow for Now is playing at Mama’s, I heard the skinheads are gonna try to crash it, let’s go over there!)

Been back in town seven years, that’s pretty hard to believe. Am I ever going to leave again?

Not if the menu keeps serving up soul food, and everybody knows you have to cook it up yourself if you want it to be good.

-Back on the road tomorrow, I’ll catch up with you somehwere.

Maybe a couple of guest hosts this week, we’ll see.

Cornbread and collards, Juancho

Be Cool

There is a sandstorm blowing in from Africa, and it is supposed to make things really gross and uncomfortable around here. As opposed to what? The mosquito-laden soup we walk around in all day? The liquid heat of the Publix parking lot? Just when you thought the worst was upon you, up comes a sandstorm from Africa, fabulous.

Fortunately, I will be well on my way north by the time it hits, and hopefully I’ll be blowing bubbles in the Oconee river later today, or eating cheese grits, drinking cold iced tea somewhere along the way.

Just because I’m gone don’t think you can just do whatever you want around here. I’ll be keeping an eye on things, assuming Georgia has the internet.

If anybody really wants to address the teeming hordes, get word to Sasquatch and we can arrange for you to get the keys to the city for a day.

Down here in Dixie we say, “Welp” right before we segue into a departure, I’m not sure what the ‘p’ is for, but here goes…

…Welp, I’m out of here, time to go watch Lance Armstrong drag everyone around the Champs Elysees for the last time. No speculation about a return to cycling for him, that dude is over it.

Thanks for tuning in, drink plenty of fluids. (insert crass joke here)


Boiling Point

A subtle clarity dappled my mind as I drove home from the Dentist yesterday. I felt, different? Better maybe? It’s hard to explain. Aside from the carnage, the novocaine, the brutality of the job, I felt normal. It felt, exactly, like a fever breaking.

And there is your answer.

For the last three weeks I’ve complained about the heat, which is no worse than any other summer. I’ve kept the house at an arctic temperature and still kick the covers on the floor every night. I’ve physically assaulted poor Sasquatch. I’ve overheated so much on rides that I was on the edge of a panic attack. Grumpy, sleepy, irritable, uncreative, uninspired, accusatory, and short-tempered. I have been the seven dwarves of hell.

I believe I had a fever for the last three weeks. It would certainly explain a lot. No slump. No lack of cosmic motivation. Just ill and unaware.

As soon as my mouth heals I’m going to pour myself a big old mug of turpentine, and fry me up a big mess of barbed wire, smother it in blackstrap molassess and come out there and WHOOP SOME ASS!

From the launchpad-Juancho

Road Redemption

I’m getting out of here on Sunday. It’s back to work for the Fuller brush man. I think this trip could not have come at a better time. Athens, GA is well known as a Southern Mystic Power Center. I think it’s high time I make a pilgrimage. S’quatch & Sqwatch are minor royalty in the Athens scene, so I’m counting on a nice letter of introduction to grease the wheels.

I plan on “reconnecting” with my bike. We have both been so busy lately, that we ignore the little things that made us fall for each other in the first place. Oh sure, the paint is a little chipped, and that red-wall Panaracer XC-Pro makes its ass look big, but its still the same sweet hardtail I fell in love with back in 2003. I guess I’m a little worse for wear myself. I lined us up a hot date at a local singletrack, to get the flames of passion rekindled.

Here’s the description…

Not much in the way of big hills but highly technical with tons of 3-5 dropoffs, sharp switchbacks, tight trails, tough rock gardens and one very nice 20-25 foot drop-in. I have only ridden the first two sections (about 6 miles) but there is more along the power lines, I am told. Definitely not for beginners although a good place to hone technical skills. One section has 5 3-5 foot dropoffs in a row and is quite an entertaining little series of jump opportunities/break your bike and neck opportunities. Not much room to build up speed and a few rock gardens and vertical uphill spots that only a select few can conquer without dabbing a toe or two. I got a stick in the eye, stabbed in the leg with my own skewer, and nearly lost my lunch. It was awesome.

It will either break us up for good, or make us stronger as a team, don’t you think?

I’ve scheduled a lot of cushion into this trip, so the Dauset Trails south of Atlanta are on the menu, along with some lazy swimmin’ in the Oconee. Athens will straight up feed a hungry man too. The GRIT, The Bluebird Cafe, The Five Star, and a variety of “meat and three’s” to tour. I’m talking cornmeal battered fried green tomatoes with ranch dressing, kitchen sink style burritos, gumpy vegan gruel platters smothered in Bragg’s and Brewer’s yeast. I’m an equal opportunity feeder. In my world pork chops and tofu get along great.

Yes, a little foreign dirt in the treads is going to snap me out of this funk.

I’m going looking for a little road magic.

Later muggles,


Go on, get out of here!

That gregarious, gargantuan, guardian of the forest-Sasquatch- has been steppin’ out lately. He turned me on to , the journal of a woman who I can safely say would drop most of us like a wet pickle on her bike. Luckily, she lives all the way up in Minnesota so I can safely say–

“Bring it on! If you ever show your face in Tallahassee, we’re racing”

–with little to no risk of suffering the consequences.

As the steward of this little corner of the internet, I don’t go visiting too often, content to add another cyberlego to my own wonderland without checking out what the neighbors are up to.

Since the Vicodin has me in a state of suspended animation, (not to be confused with reverse hibernation) why don’t y’all stop by and say hello over there and let me get some rest for once.


A hero must lay down his sword

Excerpted from Magnus Backstedt’ tour diary.

I’m disappointed.

It’s not like I started today thinking about dropping out of the Tour de France. It just turned out that way.
My back started really bothering me after the start. I could never get comfortable on the bike and it was even hard to grip my handlebars there at times. I just couldn’t get any power out. I would try and try and try and there was just nothing. I felt like I had about half the power I did yesterday. I tried smaller gears, bigger gears and nothing. It was one of those days when I could neither spin nor turn gears.
The stage itself kicked off with the usual charge from the line and the attacks started right from the gun. There was a bit of a tailwind, too, so that boosted the speed even more. Even going up the climbs, it seemed like a full-on sprint the whole first hour and I was having a mess of trouble trying to stay on.
Unlike the other day, though, I couldn’t keep fighting back on. At one point I slipped off the back of the field, moved back to a chase group. Over the next 20km, my back kept getting worse and worse and I kept getting dropped by the grupetto. I would get dropped on the hills and reconnect on the downhills, but each time the gap would get a little bigger….
Suddenly, I found myself riding 70km on my own. That’s not fun when your back is killing you and you don’t have any power going to your legs. All in all, it was a pretty shitty day.
I’m really, really disappointed, but what can you do?
So, tomorrow I get on a plane and go home to Wales to my family. My wife and I are expecting our second child in September, so it will be good to be home for a bit. I will spend some time at home and try to get my physical problems sorted out before focusing on training for the Olympics.
I’ll try to keep in touch over the next couple of weeks and let you know how things are progressing.


It was a tough race for the big guy, it took a lot to take him out.

Spewed 6 times in a stage???

McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) has discovered where his limits are. He was struck by a stomach bug after his third stage win, at Montpellier last Friday, and began the first of three Pyrenean stages on Saturday wondering if he would survive.
“I hardly slept at all. I spent half the night lying in the foetal position. I thought: ‘how the hell am I gonna get through this?’,” McEwen said.

“But there is always someone who is a bit worse, like Maggie (Magnus Backstedt) who spewed up six times on Saturday and still made the finish.”

And then…

Knee injuries afflicted Alejandro Valverde, Tobias Steinhauser, Bernhard Eisel Angelo Furlan, Magnus Backstedt and Juan Manuel Garate.

And then…

(Excerpted from the man himself)

Hitting The Deck Is No Fun!

16th Jul 2005

Today was one of those days that you just put your head down, ride and wait for the finish.It’s not that this stage was so hard, it’s that I suffered so much yesterday that I am still trying to recover.To start, I came down on the descent of the Col de la Madeleine and then spent the rest of the day hurting. I was on my own, just trying to get back on to the grupetto and I locked up my front wheel in a corner and landed on my back.

And so…

Two riders were unable to appear at the start of Tuesday’s stage, as both Magnus Backstedt of Liquigas and Gianluca Bortolami of Lampre decided not to continue their race.

You’ll get them next year Magnus! Good race.

Reverse Hibernation

I think I have found the answer to my summer doldrums.

S’quatch, please stop by sometime in October and throw some crackers down this hole. I’m probably going to be hungry when I wake up.

U.S. researchers said they have induced and then reversed hibernation in mice, the first step toward hibernating human patients by slowing their metabolism.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center said they used oxygen deprivation to trigger the hibernations, which lasted six hours. The mice were revived with no ill effects.
During hibernation, cell activity nearly stops, reducing the need for oxygen. If such a suspended state could be induced in human patients, it could help doctors buy enough time to locate transplant organs for the critically ill or transport wounded soldiers to field hospitals.
Inducing such a state might require only an intravenous saline solution mixed with trace amounts of an agent that interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen.
“We think this may be a latent ability that all mammals have — potentially even humans — and we’re just harnessing it and turning it on and off, inducing a state of hibernation on demand,” said Mark Roth, the lead investigator.
Oxygen deprivation also could speed the healing of wounds by stopping cell death and keeping transplantable organs fresh longer.

Maybe I’ll get the full organ overhaul while I’m down there.

Pleasant dreams,

Juancho el Oso

Resident: General Delivery

Some armchair blogger accused me of “mailing in” my post last week concerning my abnormal sleeping habits. ‘We don’t want to read about you waking up in the morning” he told me.
Another trusted loyalist commented I was “all over the place” in that one. He seemed to think it uncomfortably intimate to picture me rolled up 10th Ave ghetto burrito style.

So, gentle readers, I’m going to fax this next one to you, or maybe launch it like the damn space shuttle. I’m going to shoot it straight into the mainline of your underwhelmed psyches. No more pulled punches for the marks at the circus, get out your wallets and prepare to be fleeced.

Thoughts on the Tour.

I have seen a lot of this type of grousing…

“George Hincapie wheel-sucked his way to victory”.

Now I’m no rocket scientist, but it looks to me like road racing is similar to playing chess while someone kicks you in the nuts, and old George must have had his cup in. Other than marrying a podium girl from the tour a few of years ago, George hasn’t won any individual tour victories.

So for the record, the Big Ring Circus applauds George (Who the fuck is that?) Hincapie.

Now, about my so-called “slump”.

Sasquatch delicately mentioned that maybe– staying up all night, drinking, smoking, and playing darts is not really helping me in my quest for total domination. He’s no rocket scientist either, but he’s closer than me. What do you think? Is there a possible connection between my VO2 Max (Ability to breathe I think) and smoking tar?

Does riding in the heat, dehydrated like an astronaut’s breakfast affect performance?

Is it also possible that riding with an icepick headache in your temple could have some impact on my morale, my motivation, my enjoyment of a ride?

I don’t know. That sounds like a lot of Chicken Little-ology to me, but I value your opinion.

And then, so if I change my ways–Let’s say I drink supplement shakes, I go to bed at 10:00 P:M, I save drinking for the weekends only, I get plenty of rest (actually I’ve got that one wired), and I avoid the camaraderie of my non-riding 10th Ave peers, where does that leave me?

If I then succeed, is it a pyrrhic victory? To sacrifice so much to gain, what?

Hmmm, Total Domination does make me salivate with hunger.

I’ll leave you to chew on this, I don’t remember who said it.

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”

Perseverance or obstinacy? Place your bets.

Juancho, unapologetic.

Rough Water

I woke up at 5:15 A:M this morning.

The fan was blasting directly into my ear, just like I like it. I went to bed at 11:00 after a couple of tall vodka tonics. The corner of the pillow was tucked just the way I like it. I was rolled up burrito style in my comforter. The AC was pumping on full sub-arctic mode as usual.

So why? I was dreaming vividly, I know that much. There was water, lots of water. Hmm, don’t have to pee necessarily, but I get up and do it anyway. Lie back down and try to reconnect to the dream, but you know that never works. I was awake. Completely and undeniably conscious and rested. It don’t make no damn sense. Oh well, we got ourselves a show to put on under the big top so we might as well get to work.

I think I’ve figured out part of the reason the doldrums have set in for me this summer. It’s an achievement to get out and ride at all in these conditions, and that just ain’t me. I like to ride with purpose. I like to explore. I like to pioneer. Link up trails, neighborhoods, highways, drainage ditches, swimming pools, and in general make a day of it. This business of riding the same stuff like a hamster on a wheel is getting to me. Of course if I was riding it faster I may not feel that way, but whatever. I’m going to work with this new paradigm. Trying to log a huge ride this time of year can kill you, but that may be better than the current status quo, so I’m up for ideas. Anyone? Hello?

The tour gets rolling in 45 minutes and I think I’ve earned the right to watch it this morning. For those of you following the race, I encourage you to support Janeck Tombak, of the Cofidis team. It was brought to my attention that the homeboy from Estonia has been struggling at the very bottom of the leaderboard from day one. Yet here he is, still in the race. So if you’ve ever worked hard to do poorly, throw your hands in the air for Jan Tombak. If you can admire someone who refuses to quit, throw some love to Tombak. He’s a more accessible hero than Lance Armstrong, that’s for sure.

Oh, and today? I’m pretty sure Magnus is going to kick their ever-lovin’ 28 inch waist asses in the flats.

Juancho Magellan Out