Monthly Archives: January 2006

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

Coretta Scott King

Another Civil Rights Pioneer passes over.

I am glad I will be in Atlanta tonight, a block from the King Center.

I will pay my respects at Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

Mrs. King is hereby inducted into the Clydesdale Hall of Fame for her giant contributions to human and civil rights everywhere.

If you have never visited the King Center, I hope you get the chance someday.

-Gotta go now-


Rust Never Sleeps

The Dragon ( my bike) is in ICU. The seatpost is fused into the seat tube and we have been going at it with a hammer and chisel. Now would be the opportune time for all of you who balked at my praise for steel frames to come out of the woodwork with your “I told you so’s”.

There will likely be a new starter drafted in the coming weeks.

Now how about that “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” send-up S’quatch penned down below in the comments section? I think he should finish what he started.

-Check back later, for more fun and adventure at the BIGRINGCIRCUS!


The San Felasco 50- A Conclusion-

I’m not sure how, or why I chose to follow the gang out of the lunch area. The rest had done me more harm than good. Although I ate two bowls of the chicken soup I had longed for all day, there was no joy in it. I savored it no more than a man enjoys a meal in the shadow of the gallows. Goo, Espresso Love flavored, had become my fixation, the only thing I wanted. The only thing that worked.

We left as a merry band, jostling and reassuring one another we were “almost done”. Within about 100 yards I was alone again. “Go on without me!”. “Leave me alone, I’m hideous!”, I cried, and the vermin turncoats were all too happy to oblige.

Then, the worst possible thing that could happen, happened. I saw Sasquatch.

What was he still doing here?

Who fixed his second flat after he failed to fix the first flat?

The situation was quickly becoming untenable. During a quick, and rather subdued conversation, S’quatch informed me of his many delays and setbacks. I feigned sympathy and interest, trying to purse my lips in the manner that I supposed people did when they were concerned for a friend. I made my eyes baleful and guileless, nodding in hypocritical empathy while inwardly I guffawed and belly-laughed at every mishap he relayed.

We parted ways, and I contemplated how much time I had on him, including a 15-20 minute break he would undoubtedly take for lunch. I bent to my task with redoubled efforts, creating a visual change in my riding of absolutely nothing. My aching and hyperextended knees could only push the pedals through the momentum of leveraging my bones into the cranks, much like a double amputee would pedal with prostheses.

Mile 35ish? A mirage of riders and volunteers filled the muddy trail in front of me, and, oblivious to chimeric tricks of the mind I trudged ahead determined to stop for nothing.
“Excuse ME!” said a phantom rider as he hurried to pull his imaginary cycle out of my path. I pedaled on, maintaining just enough momentum to keep upright.

“UTAH!” I hear, and it registers deep down where my Ego has long since taken refuge behind the Medulla Oblongata. It’s Pa Ingalls! And the Mayor! Hambone! Taco! They’re all here!
Unable to communicate my joy at seeing them again, I think only of the spectre of Sasquatch-rested from a hearty lunch no doubt-and churning like a washing machine behind me somewhere. I press through them as though they too are simply a reel of film, projected from my brain onto the real world.

And of course they pass me again soon afterwards, laughing as one and in the best of spirits.

Mile 36ish. Nothing matters now. Not finishing. Not beating Sasquatch. Not living or dying. There is only the pain and my intimate relationship to it. Like a hostage who thrills to see his tormenters each morning because they are his only companions, I cherish the pain as my touchstone to the world. For it to cease, I would have to not be.

Mile 38? I saw him through the trees, and I think he saw me. He was standing up, but trapped behind some riders. I begin frantically clawing the shifters and kicking my feeble legs against the cranks. He’s gaining on me! Oh God, not this. Why this? I can’t let it happen. Unfortunately the gradient of the earth pitches up in the slightest of angles, bringing me as close to a complete stop as I can be and still move. I quickly make adjustments and change tactics.

“Sasquatch! My Broooooo! Way to crank it out!” He hesitates slightly before pulling up, and there is only the slightest trace of congeniality in his eyes. We both know what games have been played today, and I suspect it makes him uncomfortable to see me do anything but fall on my sword at this point.

“Man I’m struggling, aren’t you? What do you say you and me limp in these last few miles together? Like the old days?”

He casually inquires about the whereabouts of the others, and I lie through my teeth saying “They’re just up ahead, everybody’s chilling out now, kicking back.” I want nothing more than company right now, to coax me along in the final grueling miles. I have a rueful vision of S’quatch–sitting on the cold ground, face in the biting wind, hands full of incomprehensible bike tools and inner tubes– as I rode away from him at mile 9.

Ceremoniously he pulls something out of his jersey, and says, “You know what’s working for me? These Coconut Longboys! Man, just put that in your cheek and suck on it, and it will really get you going.” Do I detect an emphasis on “Suck on it” or is that just my paranoid mind? We’re a team. Juancho and Sasquatch, against all odds. I’m so glad my friend has caught up with me so we can finish this off together!

“Get on my wheel” he says, and I never see him on the trail again.

I am now feeling certain that I am the last rider on the course today. I haven’t seen anyone for over an hour. The sun is going down in the sky and I feel it must be after 4 O’clock. I imagine them shutting down the finish line and my friends looking at their watches and sharing worried, annoyed glances. Luckily I drove my own vehicle, and I figure they will have the decency to leave a note. Something to the effect of:

“If you’re reading this you made it back to the truck on your own, or you have already received medical attention. Way to go man! “

We hope you’re OK, call or something. We’ll be at the Pole Barn eating and drinking beers.

See ya?

Mile 40 whatever: I suffer the disappointment of thinking the finish line is just over the rise continually now. The directional arrows are in disarray and I’m no longer certain I am on the right path. It doesn’t matter, there is nothing to do but continue on. As I roll through switchbacks on the top of a wide open prairie I see the impossible- another rider. “Ha-HA!” I think, “Juancho will have blood on his sword this day yet!” and I beg my legs and shivering body for all it’s got. The rider is gaining so fast I begin to think it must be a course marshall, nobody could be that fresh at this stage of the race, and I am panicked that I will be asked to give up my effort for the day.

Instead, a most curious-looking woman, shaped very similar to a potato, grinds by me on an uphill section across the prairie. I look to her eyes for sympathy and see only the evil joy of a rider who has finally, after many hours, passed someone.

Mile 49 3/4: Technically I knew I was deviating from the finish line, but you should never let the horse see the barn when he’s hungry. Rather than winding another 1,000 yards around the field and delaying my friends further, I struck out straight across it, bearing down on BLDT where I could see a few tiny figures lounging in the grass. The field was largely empty now, and the sun was low.

A smattering of cheers arose as I fell from the saddle. All sins forgiven now, all scorecards tallied.


A Pause for our Sponsors

The conclusion to San Felasco-Against the Odds-will continue shortly. In the meantime I would like to thank a few people…

Pancake Girl
Herb Man
Olive You
Mama’s Little Baby, Suey Dog, Jordi, & Henry
Ma Ingalls
The Pole Barn
Matt from West Palm

These are the folks who make it all possible!

What will happen next?

Does Juancho have what it takes?

Where in the world is Sasquatch?

Will Mystery “the Untameable Stallion” finally be tamed?

Stay tuned to find out…

The Tour de San Felasco

In an unprecedented act here at the BRC, I present the actual human participants of this chronicle. 7 known characters are in this image, as well as 2 who are currently applying for nickname status. I’ll let you work on the who’s who on your own time, because I have a story to tell.

Note to non-riders: the following introduction is an excuse, and a damn good one, and that’s all you need to know.

Similar to the time I saw an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake on the trail and flung myself to the ground, offering it my neck- I impulse purchased a new saddle the day before the 50 miler. Unfortunately, my seatpost is cammed so hard into my frame that I could not lower the saddle to compensate for it’s increased size. Therefore I entered this ordeal with my pedal stroke slightly extended. That’s all I got. I know it isn’t much, but that’s it. Of the 8 hours I spent in the woods on January 16th, I passed much of it alone, in pain, and singing to myself. When I wasn’t alone or singing to myself I was still in pain, and cold. I decided to “go light” and chose not to wear a nylon windbreaker of any kind and the standing 30 mph wind ripped through my single layer of polypropylene covered by a lycra jersey. The following account is true to my recollection and subject to correction by one and all. It is hard to separate the events of the day from the protective imaginary shell I constructed to insulate my fragile Ego from my terrified Id.

I arose at 5:45 A:M in the Reddick pre-dawn. I was rested and a cup of coffee away from ready. Like an elite fighting force we bolted down piles of grit gruel, sent up a few silent prayers and loaded into the trucks for the dash up I-75. Payne’s Prairie was glowing under the sunrise as S’quatch and I, alone in Barbie’s Little Dream Truck, hung to the taillights of Pa Ingalls’ 5 ton diesel. After check-ins and the above group picture, we rolled onto the trail promptly at 8:30 A:M. I followed on the wheel of the Mayor (pictured far right) for the inaugural departure and then quickly realized he was traveling at an insufferable pace. The trail was in beautiful shape, flowing single track of packed dirt ready to grip knobbies as we carved along at a nice clip. I was cold, but I figured the day would warm, as would I.

Mile 5ish: My chain breaks. Matt from West Palm stops to offer a tool, which I need, and I am back in action a few minutes later. Big shout out to Matt, who also got a quote in the Gainesville Sun.
Dear Matt, I guess this has been your 15 minutes. I hope it was worth it.

Mile 9: First Sag Stop- Sasquatch is attempting to fix a flat. I assume he is done for the day as he usually refers to his bike in this state as “broken”. My level of suffering is already acute at this point, with my knees and Achilles’ tendon’s registering the ill fit of the saddle. The cold wind on the bald point of the hill is too much for me to endure. I press on, aware that I am abandoning S’quatch to his own opposable thumbed fate. “That’s the last of him, my Id chortles into my inner ear, “only 7 more to crush”. Off I ride.

The singletrack continues to flow as Hambone (4th from right) and I connect for a long, mutual run together. I’m out of the saddle a good bit, so life is good for a while, swooping and dodging through the trees and along the piney ridgelines. “Mountain bikes are awesome!” says the Id, “Juancho, you’re awesome!” says the Ego.

Mile 18: Second Sag Stop- This shit is starting to get for real now. People are not smiling anymore, the black tar mud has seen to that. I am cold, like hypothermic cold, because we have been shadowed from the sun, deep in the wet lowlands for about two hours. Bikes have been pitched into the palmettos and used as stilts to cross open water by now. The feet are soaked and will remain so for many cold hours to come. This marks the beginning of my dirty GOO habit. “Espresso Love” flavored baby, and I will kill for it if you want to press the issue.

Eleven miles to go to the lunch stop, the distance of the most casual of rides, and I am already plotting my escape plan. A catastrophic mechanical or physical is the only thing that will save me now, and I examine all possibilities. Somehow I need to ruin a wheel…

Mile 21ish? Taco, 3rd from right joins Ham and I after wandering an extra 3 miles for not realizing he should be following the “A:M” arrows instead of the “P:M” arrows. “We will finish him!” says the Id.

Mile 25: I am visited in my mind by, in the following order: My middle school gym coach “Butch Downing” who often lectured on the insipid dangers of mediocrity, a marching parade of sexy librarians, and a rubber mallet that threatens to thump me on the soft nougat-like base of the skull-as a gesture of mercy. I quit talking to the outside world. I nod eagerly to the mallet.

Mile 29 The Lunch Stop: Two young guys, like 8 years of age, are at the top of a cruelly steep hill, gatekeepers to the hot chicken soup, and piles of PB&J’s. They cheer for us as we struggle up the sandy rise. “Come on 234, you can do it!” One screams. Tears fill my eyes and I vow to leave him everything in my will. The underwear that doesn’t fit, the comic book collection, the taken apart Rubik’s cube, he gets it all God Bless Him!

My friends cheer and wave me into their circle with full mouths and plastic spoons, in contrast, I hate them all and vow to make them suffer as I have suffered if it is the last thing I do. Thankfully, S’quatch is still miserably far behind me, never to be seen again hopefully.
I try to quit, to tell my buddies I’m done, but I can’t. I quit talking to the outside world hours ago, and I just plain refuse to open my mouth. My legs stand up. I ask them, “Just where in the hell do you two think you’re going?”. The legs reply, “Look at us dude, do we look like quitters? People call us King and Kong for the love!” To which I reply, “That’s stupid. Absolutely nobody calls you two King and Kong!” And they have the final word, “YOU call us King and Kong!”

And so I do.

We get back on the bike, my legs and I, and ride away from the pink bail-out arrows into the forest beyond the chicken soup, the fire, and the excuses.

To be continued…

Feet Dry

Prepare yourself for a Juancho-brand hate-fest or get out now.

I can now say with some conviction that cruises attract two particular types of people: the morbid, and the morbidly obese. Often these distinct subcultures overlap. Imagine my sincere excitement to learn that my first and only cruise experience of my natural born life until the day I die coincided with “Goth Cruise 2006”. This event, which I imagined to be one of a kind, is actually a phenomenon well represented throughout the cruise industry. After some research I discovered that the “Goth” subculture frequently gathers aboard cruise ships to celebrate their eternally bleak outlook on life. Please refer to the following interpretation of the gothic psyche if necessary.

Goth unashamedly celebrates the dark recesses of the human psyche. Put the back of your hand on your forehead, and you’re there: dark sensuality, sweeping sadness, morbid fascination, forbidden love, the beauty of enduring pain, you get the picture.

Wandering aboard the garbage barge, Sovereign of the Seas, a preponderance of black eyeliner, fishnet, and plunging necklines on black velvet evening gowns peppered the crowd, and you wouldn’t believe what the girls were wearing! How is it that this culture which associates itself with cemeteries, Anne Rice, and the color black has made a tradition of gathering to the sounds of steel drum bands and all night buffets?

No matter, to be fair, the Goth folks were without a doubt the more intellectual, congenial, and interesting folks aboard the city-sized cesspool, the Sovereign of the Seas.

The other group which dominated the vessel were the extremely fat tourists from landlocked states. Wow, there were some big ole boys and girls on that boat. Enough so, that my main paranoid concern became sinking rather than legionaire’s disease (which I most certainly now have). I did not realize that food played such a major part in the cruise experience. Many of these people obviously choose this vacation because food is included in the package deal, and they intend to eat themselves to an essentially free getaway.

While I’m quite aware that my own snobbish attitude did nothing to contribute to the overall festive atmosphere of the floating nightmare, The Sovereign of the Sleaze, I did try my best to ignore the seasickness, the exorbitantly priced beers, the obsequious and pandering international staff, the bad Vegas-style shows, and the preponderance of drunken conservative blather overheard (Elton John is a deviant, Hollywood is destroying our values, Elton John’s partner in matrimony destroyed Elton John, whatever.)

In fact, I do remember enjoying myself at one point. We had been at sea for something like 20 hours on the 4th day and the weather was grey, the clouds were low, and the water was a dark, metallic, blue. I was as far forward in the bow as possible, and at the lowest deck available. Land was nowhere in sight, and the wind was blasting and chilly. I looked down and thought to myself, “That’s death right there bubba, pure and simple, fall in and you’re done” and it was unimaginably beautiful.

I guess that makes me Goth.


Live from the ocean

Good God, this cruise experience is strange. The 150 “Goth” folk are keeping it interesting for me, and disturbing for many of my shipmates.

I’m pretty much ready to be back on 10th Ave by now.

Gotta go, the fees are outrageous!

Capt. Juancho

A Hobbit Goes a Wandering

I feel like I just returned to the happy Shire, and already Barbie’s Little Dream Truck is loaded down and pointed south. There is very little left to say at this point. I’m amazed anyone comes by at all. I realize I have groused and complained ad nauseum about the opportunity to spend a full day in the woods on my bike with my bros, and also about that cursed “free cruise to the Bahamas”. What can I say. Happy, upbeat journalism is unappealing. In this instance though, I am going to apply Occam’s Razor to the situation. A thing is most likely what it appears to be, or the simplest explanation is most often true. In that case, I have to admit the next two weeks aren’t much to complain about.

Although I still have my doubts.

Be good,


Packing the War Bag

San Felasco War Bag Checklist

  • Enduring sense of irony
  • Withering sarcasm
  • Loathing for those more prepared
  • Mock pity for those less-prepared
  • Extra Excuses
  • Extra 15 lbs.
  • Feelings of wretchedness
  • Resignation to my fate
  • Fake smile
  • “Special” fake smile for certain Tallahassee factions
  • Hope that I will see others suffer misfortune
  • Sense of humor
  • Collection of special “San Fiasco” nicknames
  • Helmet with can of Guiness dangling off the front
  • Regret for lack of training rides over the holidays (x 2)
  • Off-hand derogatory comments for Full Suspension bikes and riders
  • Internal Soundtrack (probably going with Outkast/NOFX)
  • Beer to cry in (for later)
  • Versatile fantasy life to escape to for a while
  • Random items meant to enhance performance (but won’t)
  • Dread for the middle thirty miles (the rest will be easy)
  • Apologies for losing it at some point
  • Plenty of blame to go around
  • Bale of barbed wire
  • Jug of turpentine

Wow. I had no idea organized riding was so gear intensive. What am I forgetting?

William Juancho Wallace

Standing on the Verge of Getting it on

After bickering about almost everything (S’quatch’s driving, the way to load the truck, what to have for breakfast, where to stay, when to ride, and whether Lindsay Lohan is a better singer than Ashlee Simpson) we actually made it to Alachua county and rode San Felasco, followed by a three hour flogging at Razorback the next day.

It didn’t feel so good. Pa Ingalls coined the phrase, “riding with the parking brake on” and that sums it up nicely. On the other hand, I felt good on the steep drops and dicey traverses around the Razorback quarry, but that ain’t going to help none during the SF 50. The way it stands is, I’m not ready and I don’t care. 50 miles is far enough that I will have time to get in shape during the ride. No matter what happens I will slink off to the Bahamas for 5 days of rum therapy immediately after the event, so the hell with it right?

Congratulations are in order for the BRC’s favorite pole-barn building frontier couple. They’re a gonna tie the knot. After 5 years of common law union and Apache fighting they are ready to secure their bond in ink. He whittled her a ring out of a palmetto stalk too, which was sweet.

I hope you had a good New Year’s Eve, with opportunity to both revel and reflect. If you want you can tell me your resolutions, thereby committing them to a public venue and a heckling horde, which may or may not be helpful.

We made a big time of it around the bigtop, with friends joining us from Bosnia, and Tampa, along with the regular tiny car full of clowns. In fact, there was so much action around here I am glad to be back at work, (not that this is working).

My resolution of the moment is to confront vigorously people who use the word “should” in reference to anyone but themselves.

you have been warned,