Monthly Archives: July 2009

a marauding I will go

Time to provision the GMC Safari and prepare to throw off the bowline, I’m going on vacation. By this time next week I hope to be adrift on the U.S. Highway system in search of life’s treasures. A rendevous with the tree climbing cult down in Reddick, a bon voyage meeting with Mel (not his real name) who is moving to Singapore, then up to the mountains where I plan to set up on the Davidson River in Pisgah National Forest, just outside of Brevard. Soup will join me for a few days if all is well with his child, the oracle, Mae Elizabeth.

I expect other brigands and ne’er do wells to sneak into the harbor under cover of darkness when my cannoneers are sleeping off the rum. I’m not exactly sure who is serious and who is flapping gums. The rumors are endless on the high seas and the black market.

I know this. I have to get out of here. When I say “here” I am not sure if I mean my own mind or this town. So far this should have been called the summer of low expectations. In fact, if you do not live in Tallahassee and you would like to promote your town as a possible destination for recreation or relocation, please share a specific detail about what makes your port a happy one.


The Myth is Fading

Remember Sasquatch? This blog was built across his broad shoulders. We would ride. I would get on the internet and lie about that ride and the next, and thus this blog developed plot, character, and theme.

In the beginning S’quatch was fearless. He rode all the trails, crying like Chewbacca on those that were “bumpy.” His specialty was the crosstown explorer ride, where his ability to evade detection and ignore POSTED signs gave him solid advantage. Singletrack, doubletrack, sugar sand, and road- he left his King of the Symians prints all over.

Then, was it after an injury? A long winter? A too long sit at the holiday table? He became native to the forest. He became the Nessie of Munson Hills.

A bike was broken. The replacement came. It looked to be of the same quality as a decoder ring stuck to the bottom of the Crackerjack box. He loved that decoder ring! He declared it superior to all previous rides. He was happy. I was happy- if only in the forest.

Now. The decoder ring is broken, and yet to be replaced. He lays in his den, overcome by the swine flu, growing weaker by the day. I ride by, hoping to coax him out with a side of beef, or two McDonalds chicken wraps, but I only hear him softly mewling through the window.

Another replacement frame is coming. He will have to take what he gets. Suspension is unlikely, front or rear. He has no collateral with which to barter upgrades. His tandem road bike, useless curio that it was, can’t be traded for a Fox Vanilla or even a kind smile, as he lost it to a hustler down in Memphis.

I fear the worst. I fear the myth is fading.


Who’s got your back?

The universe was taking me apart- an existential picking of the bones underway. This blog is about bikes and who cares about the weird dreams you had last night or the 3:00 A:M “Why am I here and what am I doing?” conversations with the hooded shadows hanging from the closet door. You want real problems? Move to Mogadishu, or Gretna, FL.

So an unexpected visit from family was most welcome, a little change of energy, a little fresh blood, a little get outside of yourself.

The Great Magnet will drag you to heel, that’s for sure. I now find myself 300 miles from my home sitting at my Mom’s kitchen counter while she sleeps away the flu in my bed back in Tallahassee. We became separated by a 1979 Winnebago with 3 wheels and a tow-truck driver afraid of wheelchairs or Mexicans. Turns out we all needed a little back-up.

If you are confused by this narrative, join the club. Better yet, try living it.


this is not a blog post

Be glad I just deleted the mess I was about to post up here. I’m going to enjoy this cup of coffee and appreciate the miraculous soft breeze blowing through open windows this morning. Watch a little Tour de France, reflect on my awesome solo outing yesterday, the delicious lager that followed it, the great reading by Bucky McMahon.

Time to put the brakes on this crazy train for a minute.



It is warm here in Alabama. Not heatwave hot, but steamy like the meatball pan at a Subway sandwich shop. I did not let that stop me from gutting out a fantastic loop at jewel of the South, Oak Mountain State Park.

I arranged a little play date with a colleague who made the unfortunate choice of telling me he rode mountain bikes. Not wanting to take any chances I opted for the more brutal counter-clockwise (I think?) option of climbing to the ridge up the jeep road and bombing down through Blood Rock as an early assessment. Ex-Navy Seal worked in his favor, residing in flat Pensacola did not.

He is a game fellow and we got the whole 17 mile loop in before reporting for work at 10:00 A:M. If we had taken much longer someone would have mopped us off the deck as we melted into the road. If it wasn’t my favorite Joe’s Bike Shop jersey I would throw it out. I’m avoiding the obvious- it will never smell right again.

I felt good, out there chopping that wood. Riding bikes is hard work.


Out of Office

I am off to Alabama this morning. Will somebody feed this blog while I am gone? Two scoops of malarkey in the morning, and don’t forget to clean out the box.

This is a work trip, but as I am ever hopeful, the bike is packed into the trunk of a white Chevy Malibu. If all goes well I will be at Oak mountain shortly after sunrise tomorrow to try to squeeze in the full loop.

Ten days ago that was an intimidating proposition. With the help of so many MVP’s out there I have ridden myself back into “form” although the form looks like the same as ever- a cinder block wrapped in pancakes.

Forest time trialing with Dogboy, red hill ranging with Soup and the Wrecking Ball, Eastside singletracking with PC Tommy- I managed to work out the kinks with the help of all the familiar faces and trails. Thanks everyone, except you Dogboy, you almost killed me.


Tree Cult

Until recently, news out of Reddick, FL had been sparse.

We all should have known better.

For those of you joining us late, you can pick up the backstory by searching the following terms in this blog, should you care, and I hope you do. Few of the stories told in this blog can be considered factual, but the events and characters related to the following terms are real-frighteningly so.

Ma/ Pa Ingalls
Pole Barn, polebarn, or po’barn.
PBT/ PBT Therapy
Modified short loop
San Felasco
misery/ St. Joe Bay
Liars/ Cape San Blas
Princess bed
“Suey” Dog
mountain soda
Donkey Whisperer/ing
Inkspot Project/Accomplice/liar accomplice

This is why there is nobody to blame but oneself for not seeing this coming. All news out of North Marion County is now tree-related. All bikes are dusty and their eyes gaze steadfastly upward to the crowns of Live Oak, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and for all we know Slash Pine. They wait politely for you to finish with your niceties so they can begin disseminating propoganda about their new prime directive- Tree Climbing.

This isn’t slingshot in the backpocket, Mommy can’t see me up here tree climbing. This is 60 meter static line, soft anchors, prussik knots and “tree saddles.” At first blush it appears to be a sport, or what you might call an activity. The most cursory of internet searches yields the truth to be far more disturbing.

To reinforce this point I offer: Exhibit A.

So how is that I know the following new terms will soon be added to the Reddick/Alachua database?

Heights/ need to pee
Tree time
Branch mother
Ma Ingalls/ticked off
credit card
Reddick Volunteer Fire Department

Please click the link to access the manifesto.


The Antidote

I can’t think of a problem that can’t be solved by going for a bike ride. Not one.

A good bike ride cures: anger, depression, boredom, nervousness, irritable bowel syndrome, existential dilemma, mid-life crisis, loneliness, agoraphobia, xenophobia, and procrastination.

Actually it does nothing for arachnophobia, as witnessed today watching the boys jump off their bikes clawing at helmet straps to evict large banana spiders. Nobody seems to mind all the ticks hitching a ride.

Overcast skies and an acquiesence to professional ineffiency brings a much needed improvement in the riding conditions. The more time in the saddle the less time to make bad decisions elsewhere. Instead of getting involved in that upside-down mortgage I went for a ride. When I finished I didn’t even want a house. I wanted a tuna fish sandwich.

It is hard to get in trouble when you are living in the pain cave.


Get Lost

Not all who wander are lost, but most of them are.

That is what I was thinking as Squatch (remember him?) prompted one random turn after another out in the land of Munson. Gas lines, powerlines, random squirrel trail, he was into all of it. Everything looked like a good idea.

I give him full credit for his appetite for adventure late on a Thursday evening.

Me, I don’t like to feel “unplotted” on the map. I operate from a position of expecting disasters large and small. I automatically calibrate plans b to g for a given circumstance. I enter crowded venues plotting bathroom locations, exit signs, and options for sheltering in place. Every ride I consider the possibility of having to walk it out with a stymied mechanical. Call it what you want, but it comes from past black eyes and kicks in the balls that caught me napping.

I got this way from needing contingency plans and developing scenarios in crisis. It is no coincidence that my work provides me a bird’s eye view of a world where things have fallen apart. When I realize the situation is recognizably altered from the expected norm, I can finally relax.

“See” I think to myself, “I knew it was all going to go to shit. Good thing I read up on the edible organs of the Pine Beetle.” I then cheerily go about the harvest of the beetles, content in knowing the other shoe did drop.

I don’t think Squatch sees it like that. I’m sorry I didn’t want to get my wander on last night brother, but to me that’s just called getting lost.