Monthly Archives: August 2008

Dodging the Shiv

One good way to protect yourself from unprovoked attacks on the trail is to tuck a substantially thick phone book into your chamois and jersey in order to absorb the blade’s attempted insertion into the kidneys. A shank, or a shiv if you prefer can be made from a variety of handy implements available on any bike ride.

An empty pack of energy gel can be rolled tight enough to be filed down into a weapon designed to puncture.

Another malleable option is the pre-ride sandbag disclaimer:

“I rode a record lap yesterday so I really want to take it easy today.”

This actually means, “When you least suspect it I am going to cram this ancient and stale sharpened granola bar into your pancreas at the bottom of the next hill.”

When a new rider, or an old rider acting like he is new, is earning a rep’ or “riding the yard” he makes a target of himself. Despite all efforts to avoid conflict and mitigate the frequency of assaults, in the end the rider must succumb to the savage nature of his surroundings and procure himself a shiv.

I prefer the Titus Racer X.

Yes We Can.



A couple of rest days and I’m ready to load up and ride all the way to Indoslavia. I walk around with legs burning and siezed up like a dry engine all the time saying, “I feel pretty good I guess, I’m loose.” When actually I am so stiff I move like C3PO, that robot from that movie.

Well today I actually do feel loose and rested. I’m one good meal away from running for mayor of Quickville.

The Eastside is inundated, so we won’t be riding there for a while. The South side continues to suck water like a Japanese man eating noodles, but we have ridden out there ninety-nine of the last hundred rides. What’s the report from the Northside system? Anybody? Don’t make me call on you, it is always better to just volunteer.

The world is definitely changing. Mystery, who is now a completely open book since his elopement to Hawaii. He came over yesterday and took a shower. That’s right. He took a shower. Nobody made him do it. Nobody asked him to do it. He just took it upon himself to clean up a bit before going off to his “therapeutic massage.”

Next thing you know S’quatch is going to call ME for a ride.


Soggy Bottom

There was a moment yesterday when I pictured myself hanging out at some underwhelming strip mall out on Capital Circle for the rest of my days. If Joe were to move his operation to some such place, then many of us would work to make that strip mall home, but I don’t want to go anywhere. It is too early to know what might happen, but life will be changing for the time being, and we all know change is bad-except in the White House.

I came off the couch last night around 7:30 with a serious case of the willies, or maybe it was the heebie jeebies? I don’t know because I am not a doctor. Intending to take a day off the bike I stacked and sorted the mail that piled up over my vacation and made plans to stack and sort the subsequent piles again later. I placed all of my riding clothes (disgusting!) in the washing machine to soak in a Borax & white vinegar cocktail, and then I nervously ate a handful of tiny Heath bars.

The stress was catching up to me. What will happen to the shop? What will happen if Obama doesn’t win? I know from experience that this line of thinking always leads up to images of myself eating cat food in the park as an old man so I grabbed my piss stinking shoes and gym locker funky helmet and burned rubber for the trail.

I have Mystery’s 10,000 watt headlamp and I have barely used it, so I strapped that thing on and rolled out for lap 4 of Munson/Twilight in the last 3 days.

I hate that trail. I love that trail.

As soon as I clipped in and entered the forest I felt better. My legs felt like they were being pressed in a vise, but my mind felt as light and refreshing as a gin and tonic. I rode in the dark for most of a lap, but needed the light for the last 30 minutes or so.

Tunnel vision, charging into the darkness, my standard approach.


Rain or Shine

The glory of riding in Tropical Storm Fay was short-lived, with all memory of the experience expunged from my mind by yesterday’s relentless abuse from some weekend warriors, some fair-weather cycling enthusiasts. For bicycle tourists, they sure did kick my ass. That’s why I am glad I have this video of me mocking them the day before, when the trail was REALLY sweet, and under 10 inches of water.

Bushy is holding some video from the storm so expect my coverage of the weekend to drag on much like the storm itself did.


Splish Splash

Finally. I thought this storm would never get here.

For some of you this weekend will be a perfect opportunity to pass on riding your bike, and you would be correct. It is perfectly acceptable to call a “meteorological” when a named storm comes to town. You can lay up all snug in your Indianhead Acres compound and watch arthouse movies written and directed by indigenous peoples and chow down on some tofutti waxing wistful about all the miles you would have gotten if you weren’t so worried about your drivetrain. Like conscientious objectors in times of war, you are well within your rights.

Bushy suggested a ride at St. Marks out on the dikes (stop that, this is a family blog!) where we can really get some perspective on this storm and see huge gators flopping and wallowing in barometric discomfort.

This is what passes for a good idea at this site.


Shiver & Shudder

I’m always relieved and a bit elated right after a hard crash. This might sound strange, but there are lots of reasons.

The odds are that you will wreck your bike eventually if you are riding a lot, so after the crash I feel like I have made my quota. Sometimes you are due and you know you are due and like all debt, it is a relief to pay it off.

The chemical wash that swoops in on the heels of a good thumping is the best your body can muster up, and once the unicorns gallop off and the emergency broadcast system has been tested the numbing lobotomized residuals are pleasant and soothing. A good thumping is like taking your brain to the brain wash.

Aside from bumps and bruises, tweaks and contusions, getting up from a good bell-ringer is life-affirming. Walking away from it gives me that Cal Ripken feeling.

(Cal is a famous football player-known for being tackled the most times.)

So that is why I feel good about feeling so bad right now. Knee to the stem, bars to the sternum, miscellaneous points of interest from jaw to ankle. Bigworm is going to tell you it was nothing, but I promise you- it was something.

The idea of an injury taking me out right now is chilling.

Do you think Worm might have staged the accident?

Shoveling Coal

What’s to say? Another lap at Munson, Bushy and I quiet as a couple of graverobbers and working just as hard. One dropped water bottle and a prize gopher tortoise stopped us briefly, otherwise it was robot city. The only sound I remember besides the crinkle of rain is the gnashing of sand in gears and calipers. I love this sound, as it means Autumn upgrades are right around the corner in time for all day robot riding weather. By November the Racer X and I will have sanded all the rough edges away and be stripped down to two essential ingredients: Fast/Scary.

For Halloween I am going as myself.