Monthly Archives: August 2005

Liminalism

April, 1996

I was in the Steen Mountains, 60 miles south of Burns, Oregon, which is nowhere. My head and chin were shaggy, and I had not changed out of my overalls in 6 days. I had no intention of ever taking them off. Everything we had smelled like sweaty dudes and sagebrush.

My life in Portland was already fading away from me physically and mentally, and my new life in Tallahassee was nearly 3,000 miles away. Todd and I rode up onto a ridgeline overlooking the Alvord Desert and it appeared to be the true edge of the Earth. I remember thinking that I would never stand in that place again. I was excited about my next life in Tallahassee, although it did not have much shape in my mind at the time. Something about being poor and protesting genocide, that was the main point. I watched an ultralight aircraft whir across the desert below, a lone dragonfly on patrol.

June, 1997

The Barcelona bus station, crowded, noisy, and full of diesel smoke. Tired from staying up all night playing guitar, drinking Cava, and eating roast pork with my Catalan friends, I fell into a window seat. I was headed to Milan, then further east. I waved goodbye as the bus pulled out, thinking I would never see Jordi, Robert, or crazy Lamberto ever again. They told me many times they were not interested in ever leaving the beautiful country of Catalonia. Hell, they had never even been to Madrid (spit!).

They certainly weren’t coming to Sarajevo.

October, 1998

Walking into the white house, and seeing all the fellas for the first time in years rocked me. I had no job, but I knew I was home. The grand ramshackle staircase, the dirty kitchen, the promise of a yard full of football idiots shelling out cash to park. We stayed up late drinking scotch and I remember laughing until I had no more tears and had to fall asleep outside on the porch, as I was bedless.

August, 2005

One of my friends just lost his job, that he had only started last week. It was supposed to be the job that would keep him around for a while. Now, he says, “This town is fighting me” and I know exactly what he means. He looks toward Hawaii, Costa Rica, and other past notches on the travel belt, but I think he would like it just fine if he could stay right here.

I can’t decide if I’m jealous of him, or relieved it isn’t me.

Juancho

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

-HST

Though not a man of great physical stature, Hunter S. Thompson is hereby inducted as an honorary Clydesdale for his lifelong commitment to doing things in a BIG way.

Rest in Peace just does not seem the appropriate conciliatory response for a man whose remains will be shot from a cannon.

-Gonzo Juancho

Standing over the 8 ball


After the 4th consecutive bludgeoning, the other guys physically moved away from us, clustered and muttering. GM and I continued wreaking havoc on their self-esteem as they worked through all possible team combinations in a vain attempt to beat us.

Sometime in the long, late evening S’quatch appeared through the back door, lurking like a gorilla in the mist. His primate sensibilities enable him to track like a cougar. I felt at a distinct disadvantage seeing him out, in the evening on his bike, accumulating more 1/2 speed road miles, while I enjoyed some time, um, off my bike.

No matter, there will be hell to pay on the trail, and the bill is coming to me.

As yet another hangdog pair racked the balls, I harangued them with “I’m quitting after seven just like Lance”. I, personally, found this to be hilarious.

After six in a row, they switched to, “This is boring”.

After notching another 8 ball in the corner pocket I replied, “You’re telling me!”

It was an 8 game sweep, unprecedented.

Have a great weekend, I’ll try to write less sucky on Monday.

“Tallahassee” Juancho

Make your own fun-

Not going to be able to make it happen today, the Big Top needs some maintenance and the clowns are all too sad or drunk to go on. Please refer back to yesterday’s post about your own special power spot, where you rejuvenate, plot, and plan– if you are hungry for a little bit more thought-provoking action.

Otherwise you can just stand around like these girls, waiting for someone to ask you to dance.

-Juancho

La Querencia

A buddy who lives up in Detroit e-mailed me yesterday. He says he reads the BRC every day but finds it somewhat limited in scope. Apparently I only write about bicycles, bicycling, and bicyclers.

He believes that this topic can only be mined for so much good material and it will eventually go stale.

It made me stop and think.

What the hell else do I have to say?

Politics? Nobody wants to hear it and I get angry too easily.

Love? I wouldn’t know the first thing about it. I mean, I could say I love kicking S’quatch’s ass on the trail, but that isn’t the same thing.

Updates on the family and kids? The family is fine and if there are kids, they haven’t found me yet.

Then it occurred to me, there is one other venue where I live out my scintillating, beyond the red carpet life. My back porch, and specifically, the dartboard.

Surely Mr. Detroit remembers the sting of defeat and the CHUNK-ping! of steel sinking in the bullseye. The dartboard is my television.

It isn’t a glamorous setting, especially this time of year. It is very damp out there, and gear mountain constantly threatens to invade the “social area”, but I tell you what, a lot of dudes would experience missing limb syndrome if porch operations came to a halt.

There is a word in Spanish, querencia, that is used to describe the place in the ring where the bull chooses to make his stand against the matador, the pecadores, and the inevitability of his demise.

This dirty porch is mine. Where is yours?

Juancho el Toro

The Funk

I finally found it. The mystery stench in Barbie’s little Dream Truck.

For weeks that truck has stunk and stunk, and I assumed it was the accumulated funk of myself, my brother, and whomever else crams their ass in the jumpseats on the way home from a trail.

–Not that we drive to trails.

I couldn’t take it anymore this morning. I had to find it.

Is it this coffee thermos? I stick my nose down in it and take a deep breath. Whew, sour, but not sour enough. Is it this pair of crunchy socks? I hold them to my face and breathe in. A little musty, but not so bad really.

Is there something rotten in my Camelback? I pick it up and immediately release the latent FUNK that has been lurking in it for weeks.

There is definitely something dead in my Camelback.

Sniff, sniff, cautious sniff. Oh my God that is nasty. Sniff, sniff.

I find nothing in the pockets, that’s strange.

I pull out the bladder and find it 1/2 full of what looks like runny cottage cheese. Interesting, I don’t remember putting any cheese water in there the last time I took it on a ride.

Now I hate to waste resources and lose gear unnecessarily, so I had a decision to make. Could it be salvaged? Could I return it to normal? Let me see, maybe if I just unscrew the lid here and– My eyes! My eyes! quickly I screw down the lid and dump the bladder in the garbage.

So what do you suppose was in that thing? All I can remember is I used to have a little bit of that Accelerade stuff and now I can’t find it. Their gimmick is 1/4 protein to 3/4 carbohydrates. This is supposedly a very big deal.

So what do they mean by protein? Where does it come from? Is it some synthetic, fruit-flavored protein? I don’t think so.

As my brother said last night, “Bubba, there’s only one thing that smells like that when it’s rotten and that’s chicken.”

Chicken.

Accelerade is made from chicken water.

How appropriate!

Tell the ladies Barbie’s little dream truck is back in business.

-Juancho

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

Through a surprising interpretation of the rules, the judges have inducted William “The Refrigerator” Perry as the next honoree to join the Big Ring Circus’ Clydesdale Hall of Fame.

It seems that, although “The Fridge” is actually known as a weak cyclist, the largest Superbowl ring ever made rests on the meaty digit of Mr. Perry. Well, a big man, known for not just a big ring, but the BIGGEST ring obviously deserves his place of honor alongside Tour de France rider Magnus “The Colossal Apostle” Backofthepackstedt, and Dan “Hoss Cartwright” Block.

When asked about his lifetime of cycling achievements, the Fridge had this to say…

“It is difficult to pick out one defining moment in my cycling career, but I would have to go with out-distancing Juancho and Sasquatch in a wheelie-riding contest in the Avon Park, FL Winn Dixie parking lot back in 1982.

It really hurts my feelings that Juancho, to this day, denies that I won.”

So, a begrudging congratulations to William “The Refrigerator” Perry, latest member of the Big Ring Circus’ Clydesdale Hall of Fame.

He lies!

Juancho

Family Values


If you have ever felt Juancho’s spurs in your shanks out on the trail, the man you want to thank is right here at the compound. If you have ever awakened in a cold sweat, heart pounding, with the nightmare image of a stout, hobbit-like man bearing down on you in the forest, stop by and thank my Dad today.

It all began with a Schwinn Scrambler, maroon with yellow mag wheels. The year was 1978.
Our dirty family secret is that my father was a roadie, and a highway commuter. He rode a blue Raleigh racing bike, leather saddle, silver toe-clips with leather straps, and I was not allowed to ride it. This is how I learned that a bike is not a toy.

(I rode it anyway, with one leg slid through the frame because it was too tall, but let’s just keep that between us OK?)

There were other bikes, namely a Fuji Palisade, that came into my life one Christmas in the 1980’s. I traded in my parachute pants for some lycra and raced a few sprint triathlons.

Then I got my hands on a yellow Jamis Dakar, and with the finality of a sex change operation, I gave away my road bike. No regrets, no remorse.

That Dakar survived many surgeries and mutations, eventually landing a second life as a messenger bike in Portland, Oregon, 1995. That almost killed it.

None of that would have happened without the Scrambler though, and the permission to ride it as far as I could as long as I could still get back home.

Last night I rode Munson in the company of my parents (two of them anyway) and my brother, Paco. They hung tough, they fell off their bikes, and they loved it.

…and S’quatch, Taco, that’s the only reason I let you get away from me out there.

Juancho

Standin’ at the Crossroads.


Thanks S’quatch, for sittining in on my little jam session yesterday, nice licks.

What you see here is the only song I ever learned on guitar. If you can play the blues, what else is there to learn? Just a lot of stuff that derives from this, that’s what.

Very similar in fact to the hard tail vs. full suspension debate. My steel hardtail is a Gibson J-100, where say, an Ellsworth Truth or a Santa Cruz Superlight, is more like a Moog synthesizer. So really its a matter of taste and riding style.

I am more of a Robert Johnson or Sonny Terry style rider while someone with say, an Ellsworth Truth or a Santa Cruz Superlight is more along the lines of a Moby or Duran Duran style rider, especially if either of the bikes happen to be a metallic blue.

To each his own I say. Live and let live.

I got people in town, and the BRC is of course TOP SECRET, for no good reason whatsoever. Riverboat will accuse me of “mailing it in” and he’s probably right. I just can’t work with anyone else in the lab.

That’s just one of the many reasons that…E-ver-y day, e-ver-y day I got the Blues!

Ba dum, da dum, da dum, da dum, da da da da Dummmmmmmmmm…..Oh yeah.

Blind Juancho