Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Hunger Artist

After reviewing my commitments and available training time between now and January 13, the day of the Tour De Felasco it is time for some desperate reframing of the context of the event. Like my main man David “I got a bag of pee in my hand” Blaine, I will be attempting the tour in the worst possible state of conditioning. Between now and then, I will not prepare my body for the ensuing suffering in any way. I will ride 50 cold miles over rugged terrain with my hand still holding the indentation of a remote control in its soft palm. The scent of peanut butter pretzels will waft from my breath even as I clip in at dawn. The hell with it, who am I kidding? I will most likely be able to ride about 14.7 miles between now and the tour.

The thing is to confront a challenge right? So let’s make it truly challenging. I hereby declare a moratorium on training.

Who’s with me?


He’s on his way!

Hang in there kids, Santa’s pedaling as fast as he can. Of course, he got dropped somewhere along the AlCan Highway by his undisciplined and unfocused training partners who have no respect for a sense of propriety or tradition. But still, reaching deep into his red bag of courage, he forges on-poised to launch a brutal solo attack against the collective juggernaut of Donner the “freight train” Blitzen, as led by the young prodigy Rudolph “Red Nose” Reindeer
(So named due to his frequent appearances in the tabloids with the likes of Lindsay Lohan and her gal pals). The So-called “Brown Train” has ruled the road for a number of years, but it looks like Santa “the Lung” Claus will put the final period in that book this weekend.

Let us hope you have all been nice.


San Fiasco

In the movie The Princess Bride young Wesley must endure the nightly routine of the Dread Pirate Roberts saying goodnight with the phrase, and say it with me here- “Goodnight Wesley, perhaps I will kill you in the morning”.

That is pretty much how the Alachua-Marion County Mafia is doing us Tallahassee boys. “Goodnight boys, perhaps you will be registered for San Felasco in the morning”. Pa Ingalls suggested that training as though you are a sure thing for the event is really the best way to go because then you are ready to ride, which is its own reward.

HA! At this time of the year, what with a perpetually spinning calliope of late nights and good times available, you think Juancho the Angry Monk is going to re-assert himself for no tangible reason? No. Only the very real threat of very real suffering is strong enough to motivate the Angry Monk during the Holiday Season.

Like the Sword of Damocles, the San Felasco 50 spins above my head. Despite all of my earlier preparations (which were launched too soon by the way) and all of my exhortations laid out on the field of humiliation at last year’s event, I am poised to roll into the event underprepared, underconcerned, and most likely- underfoot.

Perhaps that is just the San Felasco facts? Perhaps that is the tradition? OK, here goes- new party line- anyone who is trained and fit for the Felasco is weak. The Real Studs do it as an “off the couch” event.

Pass the peanut butter pretzels,


The God & Country Defense

Do you know how it goes when you call up a buddy for a ride and they immediately go for the “higher moral authority” response?

I’m only pointing a finger because I am man enough to own up to my own version of it. The problem is that I am a single guy with a work from home lifestyle so the entire world knows that I am pretty much available to goof off at a moment’s notice. The God & Country Defense is a flimsy one for me. “A ride sounds nice but I’m really crunching out this big grant” is a God & Country version of the truth. The truth being, ” I’ve got a pop tart in the toaster oven and I’m about to watch the MTV “Beauty and the Geek” marathon. Due to my shoddy ramparts, I end up being cajoled onto the bike most of the time.

This is not so for some others though now is it?

Folks with children and wives, they can pull the God & Country defense anytime they like. Folks with important jobs winning bread, they are not to be questioned when they somberly explain, “Man, I would love to get out there, but you know how it is, God and Country brother, God and Country”.

This would be fine if it was only used under noble circumstances, but I am beginning to have my doubts. I think some folks are getting pretty cavalier with the G & C defense. Rarely do they up the ante with something like, “Now if you can ride at 6:30 A:M, I’ll meet you at the trailhead”, or I’ve got 45 minutes to kick your ass after dinner. No, they are lazily slurping gravy somewhere cloaked in the flag of family responsibility, hiding behind the bunker of professional obligation.

So when does a bro push the limits? When does a bro start hawking and stalking, whoring for a bike ride?

When is it all right to call out the God and Country Defense?

It is a tough one, but as ride brothers and sisters do we not have our own “higher moral authority” to aggressively advocate for that which we hold dear? To say, “God and Country be damned! We will ride today!” Don’t we all count on each other to maintain that level of motivation year in and year out, through all seasons?

It can be hard to justify the time necessary to keep your bike on the pedestal where it belongs, especially in the face of a non-riding home environment, where duty calls constantly, but we all admire those stories of people who went to manic lengths to ride and train against the odds.

Mystery came over yesterday, scoffed at my G&C defense and off we rode. I appreciate him for it all the more.

Remember, Rust Never Sleeps-


The Dong Man

The Big Ring Circus mourns the loss of Dong Ngo, friend and mentor to our very own Pete down at Joe’s. Losing people sucks. Losing them abruptly sucks the worst. Take a moment to visit and see how large a footprint this guy left on the cycling community.

Travel safe Pete, and hurry back.


Ask Big Worm

Mr. Worm,What psychological disorders does one need to posess in order to be a member of your crew? Also, are there any that would exclude someone from your crew? Please respond in two parts.

So now someone wants me to define our little group of miscreants. Our various disorders vary widely. We’ve got a couple of Napolean complexes, at least one clydesdale who eats to find love, a certain anal retentive artsy cat, another who came from a large group of siblings, that now has a horrible case of the “Look at me! Look at me!”s. Point is, these days, most everyone can find some sort of psychological disorder, tailor made for their unique quirks. Our crew has a fabulous mix of quirks, and like any fine recipe, when the right mix occurs, fireworks may result. For example, mix in one “left wing, By God this is how it should be!”, with one part right wing “Save the world and be nice to the less fortunate.”. Then throw in two Napoleanic agitators, who circle the ride chattering away with styles similar to Chip and Dale on high speed! The rest of us just sit and watch until the show really starts! It’s more the rule than the exception that eventually someone will dive off on another trail, sputtering about why in the hell do they ride with so and so, and how they are never coming back! Inevitably though, that same person will be calling around two days later so as not to miss the next episode of Days of our Rides! Now that I think about it, I think that basically the entire group suffers from tremendous case of Soap Opera Syndrome, or maybe it’s just too much Drama-itis.
As for exclusion, are you kidding me?! Any half sane, half wit would have enough sense to steer clear of this quilting bee of old ladies just poppin’ off at the jaws!! However, if you just can’t see the light, it’s probably because you didn’t turn it on yet. So come on out to one of our night rides, and one of us will show you where the switch is. Hopefully your own personal disorder will allow you to be on a couple of rides before it’s your turn to shoot off on some tangent trail, where all the way into the distance we’ll hear the familiar sounds of muttering…..insensitive schmucks!……. I don’t know why the hell I ride with these guys……never coming back………wonder where they’re riding thursday…..

Thanks for doing some heavy lifting Big Worm,


World of Wheelcraft

As if responding to some tectonic allure, members from various far-flung tribes converged on All-Saint’s Cafe yesterday morning at the chilly, bleary-eyed hour of nine. There were Sleestacks alongside the Marshall Family, Rhino Beetles and Waterbugs, 1 x 1’s, 2 x 9’s, and 3 x 6’s. There was cotton thermals riding with lycra. Bike church devotees as well as the Agnostic (ride slow and leave at noon) crew.

I would not have been the least surprised to see a platoon of Mormom missionaries ride up, in fact, shame on them!

Some of the riders were public funcionarios in the cycling community representing the City of Tallahassee, Fat of the Land, The Forest Service, IMBA (International Meatball Association?) some of the riders were All-Terrain Senators of our virtual community.

The rollcall of riders known to this blog along was substantial although the mythic man-ape has truly become an urban myth again on knobbie tires. No comfirmed or rumored sighting since??? Anyone venture a guess? Mystery and Hambone were also AWOL, both calling their own variance of a “social” from festivities the night before.

Bigworm, The Wrecking Ball, Tally Flasher and the rest of their dirty crew showed up which should have spelled disaster right from the start, but didn’t. Then there was the whole, “I’ve been riding mountain bikes since they were actually made out of mountains” crew. You can’t argue with them either.

Then there was me, you can certainly argue with me, any time you want punks.

Since I’m writing this at a slower pace than I actually rode yesterday I will try to dip into my big bag of courage and forge ahead. Our destination was about 15 miles away by town and country and our chances of arriving in a cohesive group were going off in Vegas at about 20 -1.

Yet something happened. Like a patchwork crazy quilt, we hung together, and it was warm and cozy, and you could hear the refrain of Kumbaya drifting along our ragamuffin singletrack peloton all the way to Tom Brown Park- where things degnerated into a terrible brawl.

Not really, that was a joke! Gotcha didn’t I?

So yes, we all arrived at the Pedrick Greenway more or less intact. We lost one to a mechanical and another to babysittin’ but otherwise we rolled up 20 strong, where our ride host had parked his truck and a cooler full of goodies (not beer, dude no beer? what were you thinking!)

This is where I must state for the record that I declined to extend the ride with the Bigworm crew and if I do not self-disclose this fact then BW himself will most likely adress it and I can’t have that. Juancho turned around and rode home, skipping the additional 18 mile option. Whoop-de-doo OK?

So there you go, an honest to God ride report for once. Now I must consult the oracle and address your meaningful questions from Friday. That should take about 20 minutes.

Don’t forget to sugar the bit this morning,


V- Let me guess your age & weight!

Actually, let’s not do that.

I once predicted that Hurricane Ivan would miss Pensacola, and John Kerry would win the presidency. When Ivan blasted into Pensacola I knew things were looking grim for old John-boy.

I made a series of poor prognostications last night as I went deeper and deeper in the poker hole, all the while mocking the weatherman for predicting a low of 21 degrees this morning. I ought to have put two and two together as I steadily shoveled change into the center of the table, because it was definitely 21, and some areas are reporting a low of 17. I distinctly, (well, it is a little fuzzy) remember proclaiming the Weather Channel to be a bunch of monkeys throwing darts as I assured my friends the low would not dip below 40 degrees.

But that won’t stop my irrational confidence in my ability to predict the future. So- Are you curious whether you will get that big raise? Wondering if he/she/ or shim likes you? Want to know if we will go to war with North Korea? Wondering if Justin Timberlake’s next single will climb to the top of the Billboard charts?

Forget Big Worm, just ask-



Yesterday I bundled up to take the trash out. I hadn’t left the house or looked out a window yet, it was around 1:30 P:M, so you know, it was just about time to roll out of bed and get to work. I opened the door and a flood of amber sunlight pierced the dusty gloom of my living room. Sweat beaded upon my expansive brow. Deep within the carbonite casing, my heart began to beat slowly. Thump, Thump, Thump! I experienced the strangest desire to go for a bike ride. Hmmm, I thought I had given that nonsense up? I hadn’t pedaled an honest stroke since Oak Mountain on November 17. The drunken midnight ramblings at the Pole Barn didn’t count for much, at least not by anyone but the law.

I stretched my knees and listened to the carbonite crack off of them. I picked up a helmet, a shoe here another shoe somewhere. A couple of mis-matched socks and a call to the Tally Flasher, and I had a bona fide rope gun to lead this ride.

A quick flip through the internal I-pod and cue Teenage Wasteland, perfect!

I’ll be damned. I still like to ride this thing, and I don’t even feel that bad, or fat, or slow, just a little bit of all three of those things, but not a lot of any one.

Now I realize that I have agreed to lead a ride Sunday morning that will be particularly long for our area average (30-40 mixed singletrack, road, doubletrack, etc.) on what will likely be a very cold morning. 9:00 A:M at All Saint’s Cafe should you be inclined. The ride will feature some All-Star veterans so I hear, and I ain’t talking about the Juancho.

Where did I put my cozy carbonite sleeping brick? I want to crawl back inside it. Wake me up when the gravy has thickened.

On other fronts-

Big Worm is totally, practically fired. I bet I can get the Human Wrecking Ball to take over for 1/2 the cost. How’s that sound? “Ask the Human Wrecking Ball?” Of course, he was never a mechanic like Big Worm, and his own life is a shambles of broken dreams and empty promises, but still- a bargain is a bargain right?

Trav’ler Report: Dr. Detroit, frequent acerbic commentor, and his lovely wife Professor Slaw, breezed through town with baby Danny, a little Irish bundle of joy. Now they are back in De’twah sniffling and cold. Thanks for stopping in guys!

Mel (Not his real name) will arive from NYC on Sunday night for those of you who would like to see him, or collect on old debts, come on over. He will be staying at the Ringmaster’s suite. He is not bringing his new Titus Racer X. Why? Because he’s chicken of course. Bawk, bawk, bawk!

And that’s about enough of this,

endurance blogger

Day III: Left Behind

“Dear Mr. Juancho,

We are sorry to inform you that the 50 mile Tour de Felasco has filled. Please find your check enclosed…

*Sigh* it was going to bounce anyway.

Like the last kid picked in gym class, nobody wants me (or Hambone, or Squatchie, or Mystery) to participate in their stupid bike ride.

The Ididaride, one week later, along the banks of the Suwanee River?

Also Closed.

So, the question is: If you are shut out of all the painful, manic-obsessive bike events in your area do you just go for it and start eating biscuits and gravy every morning for the rest of the winter and start drinking pints again down at the Warehouse, perfecting your pool game?

Obviously, the delicious answer is yes, and save room for cake!

Unfortunately, there is one more endurance ride scheduled in the area, and it happens to be hosted by our very own Fat of the Land bicycle organization. The Hell and Back is a supported adventure ride from downtown Tallahassee to the middle of Tate’s Hell Swamp, and back. It is 70 miles one way, probably through a muck-filled creek bed and/or sand pit. Last year it attracted a raucous crowd of 5 riders.

Numbers are likely to double this year.