Monday, April 30, 2012

First Circle

Lil Ball (not to be confused with L.W.B. pictured) is a good kid. I think I have been riding with him since he was twelve or thirteen. I can always expect a text from him when I need it. He is good for getting me on a bike and pushing me a little harder than I want to go. My son thinks of him as a rock star and would rather die than disappoint him (same with big Worm and B.J.S.). We rode from Southwood down to St. Marks in a pilgrimage (of sorts) to get my legs back in the good graces of (Deity of choice). Lil Ball did all the work, pulling us 20 MPH down and back. He made me ride a few extra miles at the end, before he and my son, dropped me, just to keep the anger tank full.

Sunday L.W.B. and I went through our morning rituals in silence, save a few moans, groans, coughs and involuntary farts from the tired old man. Off we went to meet Lil Ball for a circumnavigation of the Vineyard Loop. We mounted up and headed down Woodgate where L.W.B. broke a chain. After a comedy of errors and a complete breakdown (I ain't saying who) I headed out alone. It was a long hot slog and I haven't been in my granny gear that much since I was in N.C.. Thinking of my B.C.O.G. brothers doing a hundred miles in Cahutta, was fuel enough to keep me going. I crawled home, ate and passed out while my legs twitched (like the bottom half of a toad in a science lab battery test).

I ended up with over a hundred miles (road and MTB) for the week and probably the most I have ridden since 2010. What no ailments? No bizarre science defying health issues? Well, funny you should ask (and thank you for your concern). I did have a crazy ass migraine, complete with the ocular blinky "C" in my left eye last night just to remind me I am not normal. (Deity of Choice) forbid, we not have some moment of frailty.

All in all, good mixed with the bad, it was alright.
We are riding bikes.
That is better than the alternative.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cold As Stone (take two)

I am listening to Iheart radio. My eyes are rolling back in my head, fighting the need for sleep. I rewind through a montage of images from the last two weeks. Flying down The Greenway with a thirty mile an hour tail wind. Running out of gears on grass hills. Laughing alone in a field is a new feeling and a memory from life before injuries. Sunday on Red Bug, realizing I am not ready to ride roots. Crawling back up Woodgate to my house. It seems like I have been riding forever again, but its only been two weeks. The obligation has returned. I hope it stays long enough to get me in shape.

The pain is focused and general. The initial pain of the saddles first touch. Rolling through the first minutes of stiffness. The only good thing in my grasp is a feeling of familiarity. Feeling like a rider. Something is different, maybe a lack of impatience. First things first: miles, take off weight, learn to turn. Someday in the distant weeks, I will suddenly be able to stay on for a whole group ride. Maybe someday I'll reach the holy of holies: an unconscious point where I ask myself, why the ride is so slow.

The song on Iheart leads to an involuntary head nod. It is eight minutes long and I want to hear it for an hour. It's by a band from the eighties. A-hA. Dear (deity of choice) I hated that band and yet here they are on my phone, killing me with melody and groove.

 Anything is possible, I am sure of that one thing. If you forget to judge, to preconceive, you can be lured (in spite of yourself) back to a place of happiness.  


Monday, April 23, 2012

Cold As Stone

I am pulling an orange extension cord through a leaf covered college campus. I pull it through intersections and past businesses. I feel like an idiot. I see a kid on a skate board trying to Ollie off a small ledge. He is not a skilled skater. I offer a small tip. He begins screaming at me about how it was my generation that polluted the earth and ruined everything for his era. I try to argue my case, he isn't listening. He has a look that leads me to believe this could escalate to violence.

The tension on the cord is getting worse and worse until I am leaning like a bad mime, into the wind. I turn a corner and walk down an alley towards a gig I am supposed to be setting up. They are already playing and the young college crowd is hating the music.
I wake up to a perfect morning. It is chilly in the room. The windows are open. I am rested. It feels like a perfect morning, until I gain my senses and realize it is Monday.


Thursday, April 19, 2012


Top Ten Reasons road bikes are dumb:

10. No Suspension.

9. Can't blame tire choice for shitty ride.

8. Girls ride them faster than you.

7. Every time your knees come up, they hit your gut, and remind you that  you are fat.

6. Cigarette keeps going out and beer spills, on sprints.

5. Chicks only think bright colored kits look cool on handsome young guys.

6. Just like life, at the end you are alone.

4. It's hard to take advantage of the draft, when you can't stay on with the group.

3. Can't make up for lack of fitness by riding skinnies and big logs.

2. No points given for injuries and health issues.

and the number one reason road bikes are dumb.......

Not near enough Duck Signs!!!!!!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caught By The Light

It's my first ride back, March 10, 2012. I see them in the distance. I recognize the colors, logos, the chain links, but not the faces. They get closer and I feel more nervous. I am scared of riders bumping me most of all. The collar bone is still tender. We are wearing the same kits but no one waves, and no greetings are passed. I am off the trail and I watch them ride away. Just out of ear shot they talk again like the unwanted guest is out of the room.

It's a chilly morning in February 2009 at San Felasco. We are all ready to roll. I am really regretting not getting the BC vest, it looks really cool. Mingo, Micro, Silk, Shanks, Curl, Little Ball, Frog Legs, K-Dub, Cliffy, Big Worm, Darnel, Spanish Mackerel, Lyle, Ice Berg, Derwood, Big Jim Slade and I are surrounded in a sea of orange and black. Everyone is looking and wondering what the hell is up with us. We are loud, we are laughing. Some are bothered, some are jealous, but all notice. We are still rewinding the previous nights costume exploits. We roll out like we own the place.

I make my way back to the Piney Z parking lot. I am answering questions from kids at the pump track.
"How do you ride those small pedals? How much that bike? You can ride a wheelie? Is there trail in there? Are you going back to Tom Brown? How long will it take?"
I look up to see the Big Man, D, El Gato, Cliffy and Ice Berg rolling up. I yell, "Stripes!" (my derogatory nickname for non crew BC kit owners).
"Ain't no stripes here."
Big Worm says out of a sideways grin. I notice I am the only one wearing the new kit.

The first two hours of San Felasco are always the best. Everyone is together and we have a tradition of singing an obnoxious song. This Year we begin "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the entire crew is singing. We pull off the operatic "Galileo" answer and response as we pass a long line of riders. They think we are dicks and they are right. It's just how we like it. It is the tie that binds us all. We are too rough, too foul mouthed, too loud for other groups. We are in the blind state of wonder that accompanies not knowing change is coming.

Cliffy starts to twitch. Like me, he has been off the bike forever and he wants to ride. They head out and I head back up the multi use. As I crest the top, I see a woman on a entry level MTB. Her seat tube is all the way down. She rides past in the new BC kit.

At the first sag stop we all start to get game face and the factions form. Fast Experts, the B group I am in, with my inner circle and the guys that came with no miles in there legs and a hangover in their head, pick up the rear. It is a model for what will happen in the future. People move to different cities. The young guys get into college and take up motocross. Couples part and others come close, some have strokes, others had heart issues, others tend to family and career. Some just make decisions based on training. The covalent bond is losing electrons and the flashes of energy from the splitting molecules makes me squint. We didn't know it, but it was the last song we would ever sing in the woods. It felt just like another day, but it was the farewell episode of the show you wanted to watch forever. The echo increases as the historic snap shots drift and the credits roll. San Felasco 2009: The day BC went super nova.

I cruise past Tom Brown on the black paved ribbon that has been silent witness to all of my comebacks from threats, great and small. Back on Fern, I look over at the junk trucks by the cement mix yard.

The old glass still reflects the sun, but it ain't like it was.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beyond This Moment

27 miles in two days. It all feels good. The pain feels good. The twitching muscles while I sleep, feels good. The fear of falling feels good. It felt great to ride with my son again, even when he almost put me back on the DL by high siding a tail whip slide, five feet in front of me at 20mph. It felt good.

I rode through my first bonk. I lost Cory and doubled back for him. He doubled back for me too. Both of us doubled back on the route the other took. From above it would have looked like the stooges on bikes. We still rode out to Crump road.

 It all felt good.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Undisclosed Desires

Here I sit on another eve of bone diagnosis. Even with health issues I can become cynical and jaded. I am veteran of a thousand waiting room wars. I can separate the meat from the grunts in one room sweep. I have laughed at the noobs, that get annoyed in the blood test lab. I have marveled at strong mothers of sick children. I have the hundred medical form stare. I am highly decorated. I am out of puns and metaphors.

I wish there was some inspirational ribbon I could pull from all this dear readers, but alas my streams are nuggetless. This collar bone thing has no nobility since it was (by far) the least dramatic, dumbest crash I ever had. The injury, though tough and somewhat painful, really doesn't even rank top ten in the shit list of health issues I have suffered in the last five years. There is no glory and even less sympathy. I didn't take any of it seriously and was taken down by the silent killer...sloth.

Tomorrow I go to the uninterested orltho guy who will squeeze me in between, famous motocrosser A and up and coming F..S.U. quarterback B. He will have just enough time to be bored with the fact that I've been off the bike since January twenty, 2012. He will say: "see you in x number of days, weeks etc." or he will clear me to ride. This will be the only event worthy of anything resembling drama. He will regale me with a "good thing you are not Patient X, who suffered an injury way worse than yours" story, in hopes of making me feel lucky. This futile action will be met with no eye contact and a dismissive yawn. I will hold out my hand for the form before he gets it out of his metal notebook. He will check his hair in the mirror and open the door to F.S.U. quarter back B. Their awesome conversation, about all they have in common, will fade with my footsteps, as I walk to check out. This is fine with me. I have had the full attention of enough doctors (perplexed by my behavior or maladies) to last me a life time.

Then there will be the elephant in the car with me that I have no one to blame for but myself and boredom. I have not been on the trainer. I have not been eating right. I have an extra gallon of milk in my mid section. I can't whistle the Rocky theme. I have a tap root that goes to China from just under the surface of my couch. The saddest sad of all is, I don't feel like I have missed cycling much, or at all. Is there a cure? It's a head scratcher.

I am sure Walter Cronkite had nights he hated the news. I know how he feels.