Monthly Archives: July 2009

Bon Dia!

The Tour de France visits Barcelona today, where I spent 1/39th of my life. Seems pretty insignificant now, but certain years in our lives loom much larger than others. The four months I spent in Sackets Harbor, NY were like ten years in a Turkish prison. The past ten years I have lived in Tallahassee feel exactly like ten years. The year I spent in Barcelona I remember as the greatest long weekend of my days.

I didn’t have a bike in Barcelona. I was a bigtime walker. From Barceloneta up through las Ramblas and all the way to Montjuic, where today’s stage finishes. That would be a day well spent.

I regret not having had a bicycle in Spain, and I regret not having a Catalan novia too. I had my whining American girlfriend with her love of pastry and beer, and I had a pair of Vasque boots that I wore everywhere- until I made a Catalan friend named Jordi who sighed with hopeless embarassment every time I showed up looking like a missionary/ lumberjack to go out for the night. He pointed me in the right direction and I dropped some serious pesetas on some Barcelona finery. Dudes there dress sharp.

When my American girlfriend and I parted ways, I went to war-destroyed Bosnia to escape her- she told me she was screwing some guy in Prague in the months before I got there. I nodded in total understanding, of course you were dear.

Te echo de menos Barcelona. Viva Catalunya Siempre!


A Showdown

I watched this guy stand and fire a roman candle into the woods next to the bathrooms at the Munson trailhead. The rain just quit as I pulled into the parking lot so I wasn’t specifically concerned about a fire, but more the general disresepect for Dr. Munson’s lounge. It boomed from his hand three times and then he flung it into the woods.

“Hey! What in the hell is wrong with you?” This-my tactful lead-in.

Stammer, sputter, unintelligible mutterings, and then he charged towards me.

I quickly got off the bike and prepared to be shot at, stabbed, or confronted with a bad odor. As he closed in the focus improved through his coke bottle thick lenses. Emboldened by my lycra wrapper, he might have assumed he was backing down a James Taylor fan, or a man who buys free range eggs.

I think I was a bigger wad of gum than he was ready to chew. The only scary part is how much I wanted it.

I asked him to please pick up the debris and think about the rest of us who care about the forest.

After it was over I realized that’s what a guy who buys free range eggs would say.

Oh well, better that than jail.

now in italics!

Feasting at the Barbed Wire Buffet

Jill Homer, a blogworld sister from Juneau, AK, finished the Tour Divide mtb race from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, NM last night. Something like 2800 miles of mostly solo pedaling. Can you imagine walking out the door to go for a ride and being gone for 24 days? I mean, I have had some rides where the Wrecking Ball tormented me so the ride felt like it was three weeks long, but it was actually about 2 or 3 hours.

You can check out more about the race, and find Jill’s “call in” updates here. The pain and isolation is at times so apparent it is hard to listen to, but she never quit- and so today us bloggers are proud to raise one of our own on our shoulders.

Congratulations Jill Homer, you did a hell of a thing.



Coming back on the Cadillac trail this morning I had to take things kind of slow due to the film of slime that accumulates all over my cockpit, which is a ridiculous word to describe the handlebars of a bicycle, but that’s how we do it I suppose.

Still, all slime aside I am glad to be back to a riding routine that allows me to ignore and postpone so many other pressing issues in life. The great heat wave of 2009 exposed the fragility of a lifestyle based on unfulfilled expectations, revenge fantasies, and a diet of candy corn ,hummus, and tuna pasta- or maybe it was just hot.

The Tour de France is on. I am pulling for the Schleck brothers to spoil LA’s shot at a comeback. Why must I be a hater? I guess I can never forgive him for that ride with George w. Bush at the ranch. We are all to be judged by the company we keep.

Last night at St. Marks, as some friends rocked Oye Como Va from a flatbed trailer and fireworks shot off over the river- I couldn’t help myself, I smiled and felt vaguely patriotic, like maybe things are going to work out okay for us all in the next couple years. If they don’t, I’ll just keep what I have got and keep working with that.

On and off the bike.


The Recipe

I guess it started with the ribs and slaw at Huckleberry’s BBQ, and the dive in Fanning Springs while spitwad sized raindrops plopped all over the surface of the water. On top was about 8 feet of tannic Suwanee River water. This warm water laid on the cold topaz spring water below like a 151 floater.

A couple of nights sleeping in Mom’s spare bed, where I always sleep the unworried and collapsing sleep you only get when you have no doubts you are where you are supposed to be at the moment.

I watched the Gulf showing out in all kinds of aggressive ways before the sun came up at Bean Point, the northernmost tip of the island and a dramatic view of Tampa Bay and the wide open sea. I saw four thunderstorms scattered in a skirmish line across the morning and knew I would be driving in them and all the storms yet to cross that rise where the earth slants away towards Mexico.

A hellish soaking whiteout drive up the Interstate yesterday, and a good night’s sleep in my own bed, equally restful as the spare one at Mom’s but different. No lilting dreams of caring people smiling, but back to dreams of dismantling apparatae of unspecified purpose and putting it in boxes, but nobody cares about our weird dreams.

A visit to the doctor, wherever death lurks he has not announced himself, nor left clues of any kind. In the face of such evidence how can you not ride, and ride joyfully? 103 degrees says the van, at 5:00 P:M? We will ride for the shade and enjoy the easing of the temperature as the day slips away.

The legs feel too good for caution. I smile and try to turn the screws a little bit, but old CC is not impressed, and when we see him riding the other way, and he joins us, and he thumps us through a mulchy bracken of ticks and vines clinging, neither is Dogyboy impressed.

And yet here we are, riding the day down in summer, and death will have to be patient.