Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn....

I hated my clothes for being clean. I hated my bike for not having a drive train problem. I hated Big Worm for fixing it. I hated Spanish Mackerel, for showing me he has a snap and a sprint. I hated Slade, for riding from his house on the last two rides.

My oldest said: "You will feel better when you get out there."
We call him "Captain Positive" around our joint. How that kid came from my D.N.A., I have no idea. I guess there was more Mom in the mix, good thing too.

The sun was hitting the Greenway in a very nice golden hue. I thought about my Bro in D.C. depositing another pound of flesh to the research team, that saved his life. I was reminded that whenever you can, wherever you can, you must ride. Turning the pedals is not a chore, it is a privilege.

I rode the upper part of Caddy after the levy. If you want to know how surfing feels on land, let go of the brakes and keep it around twelve miles per hour. Flows like a river baby.

I slid back into my hood, and big ringed the Woodgate climb, out of the saddle. The pasta was hitting the table, as I walked in the kitchen. I fell asleep at 7:30 and cruised through to 6:00 a.m.. That happens about once a year.......What was I talking about ? Oh yeah. God, I love riding bikes


Friday, January 23, 2009

Teacher Teacher

"Why do you need to speak to a councilor?"
She looks at me over the top of her glasses. Her lunch is in a Subway bag next to her. The drink is sweating into a tight puddle. There are three desks to greet needy students, and hers is the only one with a person behind it.

'To talk about my Mother." I say dead pan and I wait for the smile. Crickets. Tough crowd. Is this thing on?

"Sorry, I need to speak to someone about enrolling and to get a copy of my transcripts."

My whole life has been the pursuit of recreational endeavors. If you can't make any money at it, I am an expert. I am obsessive. I am fortunate that I never directed that energy toward gambling or drug use, because I would be long dead.

Lots of my friends skateboarded. They just didn't do it for an hour before school and three to five hours after. They liked it, but none of them asked their doctor when they could skate again before the compound fracture in their arm was set. Fewer still had Fathers so concerned for a sons safety, they locked up the skate gear, knowing that the kid would skate before the swelling went down.

I could not sleep for thinking about surfing. I would dream of waves. During long flat spells I would drive to the beach every day hoping for miracles. Once preparing for a surf contest, I went to the beach everyday for thirty two days. When there was surf, I'd run mock heats and see how many waves I could get in fifteen minutes. If there were no waves I would run to the end of the park and paddle back, two or three times.

"You need a mathematics assessment test......it's in this building, room 208. Come back with the score and you can talk to a councilor."
"Sweet!" I say (with a thumbs up).... Nothing.
"NEXT!" She says, as a tattooed skinny jeans guy walks by, so bored he can barely stay awake.

My sons music teacher asked me how much I was practicing by the time I was Lil W.B.'s age.
"Three or four hours a day." I reply.
"Ah.......obsessed." She says. She knows the symptoms as a long time sufferer.

I had a mismatched kit, that looked like jelly beans. All different colors and brands. I had one tom, a snare with no bottom head for the second tom and an old bass drum balancing on a waste basket for a floor tom. Most of it was fished out of a trash pile by my Brother and I. My room was covered with saw dust from my sticks. I ruined the rug with my pedal.

My music life occupied my every thought and dollar for the next twenty five years. Jobs for me were only a means to support the habits. I have never really had a job that defined me. It was just what I did for money. That was all fine until I over heard my youngest tell a friend that I didn't finish college and we were fine. It changed the way I saw my life. On a hill in Georgia, the thoughts of what I should have done robbed me of my focus, and caused the single biggest mental bonk I ever had on a bike. Call it what you want, I couldn't shake the feeling.

"One of your history credits is going to fall off but other than that you just need a Humanities, and elective and your Math. We can enroll you in the History and I will make a note on your file that you will start the Math next semester."

You wake up one day and you're forty five. Worried about losing time on the bike. Worried about not being with the crew enough. Worried about this years W-2. Worried about putting on weight. Worried about all that time. Worried about choices. Worried about setting a good example for your boys.

I've had a really good time. Now I need to crack the books. I will still ride as much as I can, I just can't put it first for a while.

Next adventure?......Check.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Sorry

Okay I get it, we had to live with a douche nozzle for eight years that couldn't complete a sentence in English if his oil stock depended on it. I know he was an ex drunk with an important Dad, and the Masons propped him up to the highest office in the land. I too am angry, that we had to live with nothing more than a letter man homecoming king and that he dug us into some really deep mud holes.

I also get that Barrack is cool. It's nice to have a well spoken, good looking man in the White House. I too got chills during his campaign and I voted for him. I love the fact that the guy and his wife can find two and four on a dance floor. I like the fact that actual artists I listen to are endorsing him (the fact that it coincides with the release of their latest album aside). I think it is a wonder of our time that we finally elected a MAN of the people instead of some entitled prick from a rich family. I am behind him in every way and I couldn't be happier that he's OUR guy.

Now: can we all stop looking up at him like prepubescent school girls at a Jonas Brothers concert? Can we stop pretending that his wife is the Virgin Mother and that his angelic kids have the cure for cancer running through their cute little veins. Can we PLEASE stop referring to him in terms normally reserved for sons of divine beings? Can we all just realize that this is how a president is supposed to look and behave, and that this should be the norm and not the exception?

I applaud his every move and I am glad to be on the winning team, but I would like to bring him back to what I voted for: a Human Being. Maybe we could all take it a down a notch or two. There will be plenty of time for a victory lap after the issues are worked out....don't ya think? I know the dust has hardly settled on this historic election. I don't want to be a wet blanket on the good feeling the country has for the first time in our lifetime, but I swear if I see one more (*RICH*) teary eyed celebrity, I am gonna hurl.

Congrats Mr. President, thanks for winning and giving us all hope. Good luck on the job.

Oh yeah.....bikes are cool. Rock on.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Somebody Get Me A Doctor!

I've fallen off my bike and I can't get back on! Please send help!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue

On our bike trip to Macon, I was introduced to my latest obsession: the movie "Iron Man". The movie is good to be sure, but the draw for me was the Tony Stark house. I love modern architecture and the house in movie is amazing not only because it houses a billionaire, is a compelling design on a very dramatic site, but it's just freakin cool. The C.G.I. masterpiece takes more than few ques from famous Frank LLoyd Wright apprentice; John Lautner. So began my obsession with all things Lautner. I have been scoring the net finding as many examples of his work as possible. I have developed a love of his later concrete houses. I have been tortured by the alarm clock as it pulls me by the neck, out of the dream homes, where I live my subconscious second life.

I have a personal connection to his work that I wasn't aware of until I discovered one of his California houses. It was featured in a Brian de palma film called "Body Double". Back in the golden era of 80's musical schlock rock, I did a record in Hollywood with my first real band. We (through a series of music biz underworld mishaps) made the acquaintance of Barry Whites manager. He agreed to sign us to his label when he learned that our manager (specializing in South American imports) had disposable funds. Before you could say: "wire transfer to a fictitious name" we were on a plane to Hollywood, reading about ourselves in several Florida periodicals. We stayed at Tony's (I know) house in Hollywood Hills and the scene that greeted me every morning, was the house designed by Lautner.

Over the next few weeks we made our record at the (then) famous Devonshire Studios. Crystal Gale was across the hall, the Daz Band was in studio C and in the main room was a bunch of rubes from Ft. Pierce. We really didn't get to play that much, as the rule of the day was to use drum machines and keyboards. I did get to sing on the track and over dub real cymbals, after getting in a heated argument with (famous arranger) Jack Schulman. He read his resume aloud to me, citing his work with Dianna Ross, Henry Mancini, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, and countless other artists I hated. He stormed out, and I cut the overdubs. The engineer, who had treated us like punks up to this point, laughed for half an hour. He declared that I had "balls" and adopted us as friends for the rest of the project.

The weather, surroundings and the sight of that house, made me believe that anything was possible in that west coast fantasy land. I would look up imagining what it would be like to live in a house on a pole, and play music for a living.

For the eighteen days we burned through piles of untraceable cash. We ate next to Eddie Murphy at the Hard Rock Cafe, ran smack into Ben Vereen in a market, saw Carlos Santana channel God at the Palladium, and heard every shitty band in L.A.. The record we made was a huge flop and disappointed our fans, family and us on a biblical level. We returned home and hit the ground smoking like a tiny unseen meteor. It marked the begining of the end to my tenure in St. Lucie county, set up the greatest romantic heartbreak of my life, and nudged me toward Tallahassee...the place I played in some epic cover bands, met my wife, and started riding bikes.......(C'mon you knew the tie in was coming).


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Broken Bonds

Friday night we went out to dinner in costume. It was one of the funniest nights I have ever spent. People often refer to me as funny, but I was nothing more than a key grip in this motion picture. I watched the Red Dragon/Darnell show but to my left, Silk was putting on a subtle comedic performance fueled by his re acquaintance with the demon rum. Frog Legs and Worm presided over table three. We held the restaurant hostage, and even a table of law enforcement, strategically placed beside us, didn't curtail the festivities. People openly mocked us, and never caught on that they were the joke, and their contempt was our goal.

The morning energy wasn't quite as spry as the night before, but we still managed to make reveille, suited up for the days events. We looked like an army in our Bike Chain kits and the sight of us drew many double takes from the rest of the Tour de Felasco Pilgrims. We had around seventeen guys in uniform, and I cricked my neck to get a look at the crew winding through the first sections of single track.

As always, the crew started to split after the first stop. Worm, Darnell, Mingo and I rolled out quickly. My drive train was skipping and getting worse by the minute. It reared its head on the climbs and the more I tried to handle it in a calm adult manner, the more my anger grew. On a rooty step up, the chain skipped, I cracked, and let the obvious obscenities fly. My brow went down and never came back up. By the second sag stop, Worm had had enough and decided to wait for the others behind us. I pressed on with Mingo and felt like an idiot.

We eased into a nice rhythm and oddly the drive train evened out on the flatter terrain. By lunch I had regained a little composure when events conspired against me again. Mingo and I agreed to roll out of lunch quickly together. I thought I was holding him up and I rushed to the meeting point. I didn't see him as I scanned the area. I looked down the trail and I thought I saw him rolling ahead slowly, so I headed out after him. Now my eyes are not what they once were and I wear glasses, but I can't ride with them. Long story short (ya right) I left Mingo. Karma paid my mistake by putting the Higher Ground guy (from the cyclocross race) right behind me. He was happy and delightful and chatty. He was genuinely interested in all the goings on in my life, and shared the details of his as well. I wanted him dead. Nothing personal mind you, but once I realised I had ditched Mingo, I had written the day off and wanted to be alone. I raised the pace and he rode my wheel like a champion, to the next sag stop. He pealed off, and I rode through.

Half way to the last stop Derwood caught me and rejuvenated my tortured soul. We found Cliffy there, and he and Derwood hammered off toward the finish. I filled my reservoir looked at my watch, it was just after one and I felt fine. I often wonder why bikes don't come with warning lights. If I have learned anything about bonking it is this: it is always preceded by an involuntary denial response. The route home was different than previous years, and it toyed with my mind. I doubted every turn and nothing looked familiar. Defying all logic, I emerged in the parking lot, five hours, twenty nine minutes and one second, after I left it. It was fastest I have ever ridden the tour.

San Felasco is not about going fast it's about enjoying every inch. It's about being there when your friend needs the Oreo's in your pocket. It's about riding with friends and looking at the forest we only get to ride once a year. Even though I finished quickly, I came in last.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Don't Give Up

Nothing tastes better when they hand you the t-shirt, than a half a bagel, a cup of watered down Gatorade, and some warm soup.

Don't forget......it's not a race.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


Trying to stay posi......feel me?


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good Times Bad Times

The good news: I think I know why I had such a hard time this weekend on the hills.

The bad news: I am in the grip of a flu-like funk, and I may have to sell my slot to San Felasco. Bummed does not even come close to how I feel about it.

All interested parties post your email in the comments section and we'll go from there.

Dang It!


Monday, January 5, 2009

Are You Experienced?

I am leaning over my bars. I am in the middle of my third physiological breakdown of the day. My thoughts are wild and random. I miss my wife. Maybe I should go back to college. My father was right. I have three goo's back in my bag in the unreachable cars. I brought too much water and I am almost out. I am taking a mental inventory of the stores around me. Tyler is out. Derwood has half a bottle. Slade spins his bottle in his hands, like he is judging the color of a 1929 Chateau Latour.

All the great adventures of my life share one common denominator; I didn't see the impending situation coming. Watching reef dry up around me in Hawaii, as I paddled toward blue water and a huge set. The last few frames of slow motion, as the spiked volley ball came toward my face, in an unfriendly game on Guam. Standing at the edge of a half pipe, one hour before my heat, as Mike McGill flew over my head. Your brain goes to the Google window and there are no results. The answer to the equation is: you are not ready. Your experience bag is minuscule. The chasm between what you should know, and what you don't, is so clear and stark that you can't even react. You stare at everything around you as though it is an absurd dream. You thought you were ready. You were wrong.

Big Worm does a wonderful thing when his patience is running out. He stares directly at you and smiles. I have always believed he was waiting for you to finish your thought. I realize now it means he has lost his faith in logic, and in language. He is the only one on the hill that has ever been there. Now we are lost, and everyone has an opinion about our next move. I make the four thousand, one hundred, fifty sixth nervous joke of the day, and he breaks off the laser and smirks at me. Tension averted. Big Jim keeps looking at his GPS. Tyler has the expression of a hitch hiker in the speeding car of a madman. Derwood is happier than he has ever been. Zack (the youngest of the lot) waits with no discernible reactions. We start to roll again, up hill.... naturally. The sound track for this part of the movie is two notes over and over. A sick dissonant chorus with all the melodic charm of Quint's nails going down the chalk board.

Earlier in the ride we bombed down trails covered in so many leaves the track was gone before you made it. Then we back tracked and ended up on some brutal climbs. We stumbled onto some boy scout camp and tackled the hill that caused break down number one. I had a huge gap between Slade in front of me and Worm behind me. I felt fine. It wasn't that bad. I rounded the top to see more climb ahead, and no one in sight. I simply stepped off my bike, let it fall in the leaves, and sat on a log. Worm rode by minutes later, deliberate, experienced, knowing exactly what I was learning, and said nothing.

It is said that you see something in yourself when you are pushed to this place. The place where the jokes run out and no one is talking. Everyone is gassed and no one admits it. You keep going because no one is coming to get you. These are the rides you talk about for years with a mixture of remorse and hilarity. This is the tool you pull out on the next ride, when you don't go too hard at the base. This is the fuel for the wink you give to the next poor bastard sitting on the log. Today you are lashed to the learning tree, and no one can can show you the answers. Your only hope is that the arm holding the the whip will eventually tire and let you off.

We rolled into another boy scout camp and another parking area. There were two others just like it a lifetime and five hills ago. Even as I saw the cars it didn't compute. I knew Worm would find it.

Someone is talking about how they smelled brakes on the last white knuckle downhill. The cooler is open and a beer foams up. Wrappers are ripped and food is devoured. Somebody laughs. Worm is riding a telephone pole that lines the parking area.

It may have been the best ride ever.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Long And Winding Road

Here's what I learned on this trip to Dauset and Thomaston, that I didn't know before.

1. Riding in the mud and rain is actually cool and fun once you decide to do it.

2. Worm is technically better than you or I think he is.

3. Big Jim Slade is a way better climber and rider than he or we thought. He's also has a crazy, dark, angry side (thank God).

4. I am not as good a climber as I thought I was.

5. I am not as mentally tough as I thought I was.

6. Our local trails ain't shit.

7. Tyler (not Tailor) has more to complain about than just about anyone on the planet, and never does.

8. You can always eat more if you just apply yourself.

9. Some hotel maintenance guys take their duties very, VERY, seriously.

10. If you bribe a guy to do your laundry in an industrial machine, it gets REALLY clean.....FAST!

11. You can wash the orange out of Costelli shami's.

12. Zack is more awesome than he thought he was.

13. Derwood can make more noises asleep, than he does when he's awake.

14. Just because they have great BBQ in Macon doesn't mean you get to eat it.

15. It's very cool to watch DVDs while you drive.

16. Iron Man is a kick ass movie.

Pics tomorrow.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dress You Up

Ideas for Big Worms New Skin Suit;

I will now enter the witness protection program never to be seen again.