Monthly Archives: April 2006

Giving Back

Here at the Big Ring Circus we believe it is important to give back to the community. That’s why we have taken this young man “Big Worm” under our wing. This brave tike has dreamed and dreamed of riding a “two-wheeler” someday, and now, through the generosity of sponsors, he will have that opportunity. Of course, safety first is our motto, so we started him off at the playground. He wears his cleats and helmet everywhere; the grocery store, church, the bathroom, everywhere. He is so excited!

When asked how he felt about finally realizing his dream of learning to ride a big boy bike, Big Worm had this to say… I’ve got 147 Pokemon cards, some of them twice!”

You go Big Worm, you go!

It does take a village doesn’t it?


If I was Godzilla (and I might be)

I would stomp the new apartment complex that is being built next to the Munson Trail into matchsticks.

I would use my long stride to walk back to the mountains in a matter of hours.

I would go down to the State Capitol and have a word or two with Jeb, man to monster.

I would probably have to ride a 29’er (God Forbid!)

I would eat handfuls of road bikers like popcorn.

I would use my fiery blast to cook brats, steaks, eggplant slices, and whatnot for all my friends.

I would stomp a swimming pool in my backyard before it gets too hot.

I would drink every one of you under the table due to my gargantuan liver.

I would track down Mothra, and Rodan, and settle their hash once and for all.

I’ve had three days of total rest, I am ready to unleash the beast out there today.



Stormy Weather

Storm on its way going BOOMBOOMBOOM

Sends Juancho running to his room, room, room.

Lightening in the sky goes ZAPZAPZAP

Juancho hunkers down for a nap, nap, nap.

Hail from the clouds falls SMACKSMACKSMACK!

Juancho wakes up for a snack, snack, snack.

Just another day in the hood, hood, hood.

Thunderstorm daze feels good,good,good.

That’s verse Yo.


El Verano

Artwork by Mano

The Guayabera is a mainstay of Latino culture. Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico- in the plazas, placas, and esquinas you see men wearing them. The Guayabera has four pockets. It was explained to me that according to the cubano culture the proper contents of the pockets are cigars, dominoes, lottery tickets and la pistola. This garment is also a long-standing symbol of men of the people. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and firebrand president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez wear and wield them like a K Street Power Suit.

Women never wear the guayabera, although I think it may be very sexy for them to do so.

The temperature is climbing quickly around here. Spring is basically over. It sure was nice while it lasted. I realized this as I dug frantically through laundry mountain in search of my lime green guayabera. I will wear it often, if not daily.

Other signs of summer around 10th Ave are:

A.C. Intake Fans spliced onto extension cords. (Keep pets and fingers away!) My brother rigs these up for free.

Shirt-free Poker Night.

Trash cans reeking of Grouper carcasses.

Smilac thorns in fat tires.


Coors Lite on Ice.


Waking up with Mosquito bites.

The anticipation of 30,000 college students getting out of town.

Big Dick (the landlord) mowing the dirt and debris in my back yard.

What else makes it summer? Here or elsewhere?




Back at the house and regretting it already.

Waking up to the roar of the Davidson River Falls in the twinkly early morning light, wading out on the rocks above the water to watch the swirling, the tumbling, all of that rushing off to somewhere going on.

Up on Table Mountain, the wind scraping across the bald top, grabbing at tents. One second threatening to blow our fire out, the next moment stoking its flames high into the night sky. WoooOOOooooooooo all night long-like a ghost.

The SNAP! of pine sap cooking in the fire.
The whirring of a propane stove frantically working on coffee.

Ka-chunk-chunk-chunk- dropping into your biggest gear at the top of the Thomson Trail at Tsali, preparing for lift-off. The wind in your ears on the descent like ripping paper. the pinging of rocks off your frame-PING!

Tsssssssssssss- Fat dripping off a steak into the coals-tssssss.

A cooler with no more ice buried deep in the the middle of gear mountain nurturing a turkey carcass and an uneaten hunk of Stilton cheese. A mesh bag full of crusty chamois, dirty socks, and muddy shoes crammed right behind the driver’s seat headrest.

Almost stepping on a banded water snake (I think) and walking on water for a second.

The hollow POP! of a cold bottle after a hot ride.

Goosebumps running wild up and down my body after jumping in the icy river first thing after waking. Drip drying leisurely over coffee. Trying to get a rise out of my campmates by pontificating on matters such as, “You know why Erma Bombeck was so popular in the 70’s don’t you? She had the right name for the time, say it- Bommmm-Beck. It’s fun, like the 70’s.” Or maybe I would provoke them with, ” Beck is by far the best rapper in music today”. They generally had no opinion on these matters.

Another word that’s fun to say: RHO-DO-Den-DRON. Go ahead, say it out loud. It’s fun, like Erma Bombeck.

The rattle of climbing gear hanging from harnesses as we toil up the rock.

Such good fun, such a good life.



Haulin’ Ass

Time to Go.

Put down the checkbook, telephone, fingernail clippers, garden hose, laundry detergent, and the meatloaf sandwich. Walk away from the keyboard, the television, the job, and the thousand and one other small intrusions and indignities. Time to Go.

I want to see some asses in some seats pronto.

By now, if we don’t have it we don’t need it or we will get it on the way. As departure time nears, the domesticated life will launch salvo after salvo at our freedom. “Just let me make a call”… “I need to run by the bank”… “Did you remember the blah-blah-blah? Yes, I remembered the blah-blah-blah, now get in the damn car, crank up some anarchy music and let’s move. Time’s a-wastin’.

Next stop: Dupont State Forest.

Butter Gap, Longbranch, Pisgah, Picklesimer Fields, Looking Glass Rock, Tsali. That is all I want to hear out of any of you! Talk to me about corn-fed aged beefsteaks and Guiness.

I don not care about your GPA or your IRA, because I’m going MIA.

Campingcampingcampingcampingcampingcampingcampingcamping CAMPING!

Until next week then-


Boom! The BRC is One Year Old


The BigRingCircus turned one year old today, more or less, so happy bigringday to everybody. What started as an idiosyncratic vanity project has expanded into a much less idiosyncratic vanity project with lurkers. Pretty impressive if you ask me. Over 10,000 visitors have stopped by, although maybe I account for 9,000 or so, I’ve never understood how that works.

As I sit here my neck is wrenched in pain from a sleep injury, and I am preparing for the big Blue Ridge extravaganza. That really sums up the vibe around here, something to bitch about and something to look forward to. Worried but hopeful, that’s me.

I read through the archives a bit to get a sense of what has gone on this year and let me tell you, my life is exciting and awesome. There are stories about ticks, kudzu, beers, bonfires, trails near and far, cold nights alone in the woods, EmmyLou Harris even makes an appearance.

The circus celebrated a birth (Danny Boy!) and the passing of an icon or two.

Magnus Backstedt left it all on the roads of France, and it is almost time to get ready for that special time of year when the lions lay down with the lambs and I watch road racing. Go Big Mags! Eat the competition!

There has been heat stroke, jock itch, legionaire’s disease, and hangovers, but the
Circus kept rolling from town to town.

Not one but two sightings of exotic, wild cats and the participation of not one but two hominids (S’quatch and the Bionic Bigfoot.) I was courted and rebuffed by an actual cryptozoologist, and he better stay as scarce as the Jaguarundi himself.

The 12 hour, the Felasco 50, the Fool’s Errand. They are all in here too.

So what happens now? I don’t know. I dig the writing man, I just like to wake up and spew into the keyboard. Sometimes it comes out real nice (The Clothes Make the Man, Soul Food) and sometimes it is kitchsy and bloggy (like today) but without the Circus I wouldn’t capture much of anything that happens, so for that I am grateful.

The fixed gear gang is playing bike football behind my house in the park this afternoon. I think I’ll un-crik my neck by putting a lick or two on those wispy punks.

It’s Poker night on 10th and GM’s in town.

Somebody has to rule the world and it might as well be Google.

And thanks for hanging out, you’re all fabulous people.

still crazy after all this year.

Rules of Engagement: Spring Trip ’06.

Mystery and I, we go way back. It’s like I told he and S’quatch last night. It isn’t that we like each other and get along, but that we both have flexible schedules. Like I told him last year, I’m all he’s got. In order to pre-empt some potential road trip quarrels I would like to establish the ground rules.

1. No Steely Dan.
2. When I say we ride to Picklesimer Fields, we go to Picklesimer Fields.
3. All Rock Climbs must be completed by sunset.
4. All riders must refrain from hitting me in the face with their bicycles.
5. No riding upwind of me after the third day.
6. No driving my rig like it is an F-16 through Atlanta.
7. Let me do the talking, whenever, wherever.
8. No deviation from pre-determined routes on trail or rock, without exception.
9. No eating eggs in the dirt.
10. Jim Mahoney must bring his own sleeping bag.
11. No interrupting Juancho during story time.
12. No pre-dawn “alpine” starts to the day.
13. A 50 yard tent to tent buffer must be maintained at all sites.
14. Coffee should be underway prior to Juancho waking.
15. All clavicles must be secured before takeoff.
16. In case of serious injury, you will be drugged and placed carefully deep in the woods.
17. Juancho is to be full time fire marshall.
18. Passenger side window must be down at all times following the third day.
19. Captain and Tennile on your I-pod only. (An I-pod is a music dee-vice).
20. Used socks ride outside.

That is a good start. Violation of the rules will result in either a direct or indirect free kick based on the infraction. Juancho will remain the home team for the duration of the adventure.

Now Load Up!

hucked it, hucks it, will huck it.

The Blue Ridge

Good morning. It is nice to be back.

It was a long week full of bratwurst, tornadoes, mountain streams and fried chicken. Aside from the occasional white power racist the folks in north Georgia are real nice. A quick four days to put the big top in order and Mystery the Untameable Stallion and I are out of here for the Blue Ridge again. I can’t wait to get back up there. It is that time of year when the nights are cool, the days are warm, and the dappled sunlight on the creeks and rivers hypnotizes.

This place is a mess from all the neglect. Let me shovel out the elephant stalls and get back to you. How is everybody? What’s going on out there in Minnesota, San Diego, Detroit, Kuala Lampur, that mucky place in England, Lake Weir, Portland, and the Florida State University Campus?

I’ve got some stories, and they involve Karaoke. I just need some time to re-acclimate.

has a bike, rides it.

Dos Dos

22 was my number when I worked for Transerv Messenger Service of Portland, Oregon back in 1995-1996. Our dispatcher Elwood coming over the radio, “22,22, dos-dos, 105 on Alder, 10th floor, Schwab & Wiseman, Superrush. Pick it up and call me.” Those were good times, rolling around the city, Elwood conducting an orchestra of 40 riders.

Imagine my simple pleasure when I received my registration card for the Fool’s Errand (rally? race? extravaganza? ) on Saturday. Here you go Patrick says, you’re all set #22. Good luck!

This race was organized around the messenger/courier concept as we were issued a manifest, given a map, and the whole course had to be completed within a certain time window. I won’t go into the minutiae, because there is a lot that. For the curious, here are some of the tasks we had to accomplish…

Write a sentence, the next person drew a picture of that sentence, the next person wrote a sentence about that picture-ad nauseum.

Paint or draw something on a mural that negated something else on the mural. For instance, my fish ate a snowman who was melting a fire that was burning a truck that was…

Tow a rollerderby girl through an obstacle course on a kid’s BMX bike.

Do the electric slide. If you fail you go upstairs and arm wrestle Eddie, who beat 75 people in a row that day.

Sign a petition at a student/farmworker boycott of McDonald’s. The cops were called to that one.

Propose to a girl dressed as a man in the food court of the mall. Cops intervened there too.

Ride “The difficult bike” and sign a post card to President Bush. I have no idea what it said, but I don’t think it was a “Keep up the good work!” card.

Chase down some drunken idiots roaming a field in their BVD’s and pelt them with water balloons. This was by far my favorite event. Those guys were deranged and hilarious.

Go by the organizer’s (Patrick) mom’s house and have your picture taken with his little sister. Receive your after ride beverage cup celebrating little Eli’s bar mitzvah, Mazel Tov!

Shoot the adult size slip and slide at the end of the race ( I was gouged by a tent stake on that one).

And you’re done.

Bushy and I skipped the stupid haircut stop and the “commemorative tattoo” stop. No regrets there.

The finish line party at Tom Brown Park featured 5 bands, snow come margaritas, veggie or meat burgers, and Patrick’s Mom ( A real nice woman with an obviously huge sense of humor).

Following that was a continued celebration at a local residence called the “Charles Mansion” that attracted around 500 people. The music was provided by a a collection of boomboxes pumping out funky dance music for this exact party, broadcast over V-89 the local college radio station.

The logistics are enough to make me swoon. This Patrick fella is a regular General Patton. He gets things done. As a Tom Sawyer myself, I know when I have been out Tom Sawyered.

What I take away from this event is the important reminder that the best fun of all is the fun you make yourself.