Monthly Archives: July 2007

Mississippi Ride

When I pulled into Meridian, MS yesterday the sky was imploding upon itself in big stacks of towering blue-green thunderheads. The rain was not so much falling as it was pounding the earth with a violent stomp. The Hampton Inn I was to check into seemed laughably undergunned for the onslaught and I sat in my police model Grand Marquis for 15 minutes just marveling at the angry blasting and blowing of the storm.

This morning I woke early due to the time change from EST to CT and pedaled across the street to the Bonita Lake trail. That’s right, 10 miles or so of singletrack across the street from my hotel.

Blowdowns, debris, and soggy soggy trails made this local park system as rugged and difficult as the trails of Pisgah, NC or my local sadist the Live Oak Connector trail. I can’t tell you how good it feels to get tough miles in while working on the road. I could just as easily be the sad drunk at the Chili’s bar playing “ain’t it awful” with the copy machine salesmen and the traveling office pogues of America. Not to say I haven’t joined them a time or two.

Mississippi fascinates me. The black-hearted beauty of this place where they sell pickles brined in kool-aid and you can see the crossed bloodlines of slaves and masters in the faces at the gas station. Well-dressed ladies in bouifant hair-do’s stand smoking stylishly while their husbands pull bag after bag from the trunk of the Lincoln. This is a place where people eagerly and energetically speak of faith and God and calling and prayer the way I speak of mission and spitting in the devil’s eye and the bitter taste of cynicism. Their sincerity is appealing in its vulnerability, but I also hear the siren’s song.

Prayer is the first to unite and the first to divide in this part of the world.

Either way their trail is awesome.

Juancho

the Return of the Comeback that Came once Before

So far this year it has been a struggle to keep my head above water on the bike scene, and once again that gives me the pleasure of reaching deep inside and pulling myself back from the brink of disaster. It only takes a few crumbs of motivation to keep the dream alive and an industrious scavenger can find a nip and a morsel anywhere if he pays attention.

25 miles on the mountain bike with Torso brought me to my gasping knees on Friday. I call this the confrontation with reality phase.

12 miles of stratosphere scraping hill climbs with S’quatch Saturday re-kindled the flame.

32 flat road miles yesterday chasing Tri-geeks and S’quatch towards the end of his 80 mile vision quest had me feeling like a man who knows his way around a bicycle again.

The Golf clubs are shelved. They served their purpose as a diversionary tactic to lure the rest of the gang off track. Now while they are golfing and chasing my score, I am back on the bike doing the good work that the Lord intends me to do.

Suckers.

Of course, this is another version of my “training for next season” approach, and as we all know next season never comes.

I’m scheduled for a month off in sunny Sandy Eggo to welcome the arrival of my new nephew, Clell Beauregard, in August and I am thinking of a tour up the PCH on the Fuji Del Rey at some point. If you have any cycling knowledge of the area, please chime in. I expect it is windy, hilly, and rooms are expensive. Other than that I just know it is epic and beautiful and will make me a better person.

Please note the post below and feel free to regard it as current also, the Tour frenzy got to me over the weekend.

-Juancho

The race is on. So, so on!

Just as I hoped the finish of today’s prologue to the Tour de France was good for a motivation bounce that had me dragging myself on the roadie bike and trundling after S’quatch in the midday heat. 12 miles of brutal hills. Nothing so spectacular- true, but were you up until 3:15 in the morning debating the influence of art back to the first scratchings of cave people? Hmmm?

That’s right, getting my culture on, as the saying goes.

Today’s ride was fueled by Eggs Atlantis so here is the recipe. I think it works out to a nominal 6000 calories, but it cannot be beat for nothin’.

One croissant-split and toasted topped with-

sauteed crabcake, topped with-

sliced and fanned fresh avocado, then…

2 eggs poached (add a dash of vinegar to the water to keep the egg from separating, I use balsamic, but white wine vinegar leaves no residue). Then douse with Hollandaise.

Hollandaise: Whisk two egg yolks with 1 tblsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of nutmeg (I use cayenne actually) then drizzle in 3 tblsp of melted butter while whisking briskly.

I actually used an English muffin this morning in honor of the London start.

Don’t be afraid, go ahead and make it, good food is good for you.

Get your votes in early, who’s going to win? Who’s going to scratch? Who’s on the juice? Who needs to be?

-Juancho

Happy Birthday Amerika

Maybe it was because the holiday fell on a midweek Wednesday, but I just never got that patriotic lift that typically accompanies the 4th yesterday. The Torso and I had a good, long ride up to the North side. Taking 2-3 weeks off the bike turns out to be not so good for your form. I felt like Christ crucified the whole time, but gamely held on without stopping to cry or calling a cab. The golf clubs stayed holstered, true to my word. We grilled out with friends, lit fireworks, but it still just felt like Wednesday to me, not the birthday of the United States of America. I should have rented Saving Private Ryan instead of season 1 of Deadwood. That might have helped.

I know, love it or leave it right? Don’t tempt me.

Luckily, that most American of times is upon us this weekend, Le Tour de France! I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see Phil Ligget, Bob Roll, and even that putz Al Trautwig back on the air ad nauseum breaking down the ins and outs of the course, the contenders, and the drama.

No need to search for inspiration anymore. I will have it beamed directly into the house for the next 30 days.

Now that some time has passed, and tempers have cooled, I must ask; do some of you still really believe Floyd Landis was clean, or framed, or able to generate synthetic testosterone from whiskey? I’m just saying- the suicide of his father-in-law/ best friend, blackmailing Greg Lemond with sex abuse stories from his childhood, the absence of a hearfelt statement like, “I have never taken any performance enhancing drugs, especially not last year” from Floyd.

Does he look like an innocent man?

I think he is about as innocent as Dick Cheney.

If my main man Magnus Backstedt does not enter the race, then I will be supporting the crazed Kazkahkastani Alexander Vinokourov. He wants it bad I tell you, really, really bad. The Americans in the field are just not very inspiring to me this year, except maybe that fella Chris Horner, because he doesn’t stand a chance.

Rooting for Team Discovery has become like rooting for the Lakers or the Yankees. All the talent, all the money, none of the mystique.

-Go Big Mags!

Juancho

A Gentle Reminder

A number of things happened on Saturday to steer me back towards all that is good and true.

I finally got beat in golf. After an unprecedented string of victories I fell victim to a nefarious conspiracy by my peers. It was a classic set up, involving everything but the mysterious beautiful woman (Thanks for nothing guys!)

The set up: a late night out the night before. My playing partners kept me out to all hours of the night, sacrificing themselves and their game to insure my depleted condition in the morning for:

the ringer: The 11th hour inclusion of a rested and ready mystery partner. He was motivated and hungry for blood, and he got it.

At least I whipped his patsies.

I discovered my vehicle, pictured above, in this sad state upon returning back to my friends’ house, victim to a violent storm.

Talk about insult to injury.

The combination of these events, enhanced by the the looming start of the Tour de France points me unquestioningly back to the bike.

Mother Nature’s gentle reminder of how I have strayed from her woods in favor of a Disney’fied version of the outdoors is a point well-taken.

While I will likely continue to lay waste to my adversaries occasionally on the golf course, I am not- and will never be-truly of that world. Like Dikembe Mutombo on the basketball court, I will always be slightly out of place removed from the jungle environs of my raising.

So, sometimes we date the wrong people.

Sometimes we eat the wrong food.

Sometimes we say the wrong things.

And sometimes we play the wrong game.

See you on the trails,

Juancho