Where’s Gym?

So, Big Jim Slade has been missing in action from crew rides for a few weeks, and people were starting to get worried. As Big Jim has been known to go missing for years at a stretch, There is some concern that we may have reached the next Ice Age. Have no fear, I called upon an old riding buddy, an icon of justice, and I assure you, he’s doing his level best to find Gym.

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!

I’m still not entirely sure this ride happened. I went to sleep Saturday night, in a fevered state of soreness and exhaustion, after Big Jim Slade suckered me into another ride where he drops the ever loving bejeezus outta me, and leaves me for dead. I whimper and shake until sleep comes fitfully.

I awake to my own home, but something feels different; can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s different. I head to the kitchen as if driven by some innate knowledge that I need to fuel for a ride. Everyone is out of town, though. Except BJS, and he sucks, but is trying to atone for his sins at church this morning.

As I eat my peanut butter and waffle sandwiches, and giggle to the humor of Sweet Home Alabama (You’ve got a baby…..in a bar!), there comes a gentle knock at my door. Who could it be? Mister Rogers? Captain Kangaroo? Even better, my mythical, magical satyr buddy, Spanish Mackeral is dressed and ready, with cross bike at hand!

A text message later confirms another myth in the flesh, everyone’s favorite unicorn, the Red Cotton Candy Butcher Dragon of Boot Camp fame, is in en route.

We rolled out easy, amidst a hazy morning of pixie dust and talking blue birds. The 3 of us made our way to the Ochlockonee River Wildlife Management Area, to seek lost trail.(Lost to us anyway!) I was so blown away by the sheer fairy tale nature of riding with these 2 white elephants(not a fat joke), that I kept expecting to round the corner and see Asland the Lion, and the Mad Hatter having tea, or maybe Lil’ Ronnie with hair!

In our quest this day, we battled many an evil thorn, a vicious horde of blood letting, battle mosquitoes, and apparently one shark, as I had to stop and pull 2 of his teeth from my front tire. It was a glorious day of victory, for 3 guys getting their old school, core group, ride on!

(You’ll have to forgive the blurry nature of the pics. I simply had to document this event, but apparently the Narnia filter was still engaged.)

Who knew Satyrs and Unicorns were such good friends!

Sound the Charge!!

By my count, we’ve got 9 Chain Gangers rolling to Fernandina, Saturday, for the 2nd round of the Florida State Championship Series. I know of at least 2 more showing up Sunday morning.

Personally, I’ve been tired from the race travel, but a couple of months off does wonders for, or to, the psyche. This race was on my “schedule, so I could race my 29er at least once, and with my sketchy ankle, not too many courses are agreeable. This one is flat, fast, and not too rough, so here goes.

Next thing I know, BikeChain is a round sponsor. Let’s hear it for K-Dub’s vision, or madness! Either way, you gotta back your brother’s play. Chain Gangers en masse. They’re coming out of the woodwork for this one. Human Wrecking Ball is on his 15th racer reincarnation. We can rebuild him. He will will be stronger. He will be faster. He may blow sky high, but the tales afterward will be enthusiastic and entertaining! Longshanks will be expanding his views from the inside of the expert torture chamber. Silk will be debuting his latest Frankenbike. Spanish Mackerel heard the trumpets calling from his place in the clouds, and will drift earthward for a weekend with the boys. Clearly, Big Jim Slade has not had enough to fret about since the GA Series, so he’s jumped on board. Even New Baby Daddy, Marcus, is looking to participate in the race foolishness. It’s probably a lot easier than the new baby madness that’s been his reality, lately. Derwood has started threatening us with his RV racermobile. If we go over in that rig…God help us! No, really! I mean God help us. I’d like to actually arrive, and a little divine influence could go a long way.

If you find yourself along the North Florida Atlantic Coast this weekend, and there are a bunch of hyped up, lycra clad, mountain bike kooks buzzing the beach line, look around for the BikeChain tent. Stop by and say hello, but beware, if you get a little madness on you, we are not responsible.

Fine Print: BikeChain madness may stain. You may be able to get it out with seltzer water, but I wouldn’t know because I don’t believe in froo froo stuff like seltzer water. You may find you like the stain, and that’s ok. It’s not like it’s some sort of social stigma. Well, actually it is, but we kind of like social stigmas around here, so embrace it. If the stain is left too long, you may find yourself suffering side effects. Side effects may include: leg shaving, lycra wearing, mud splashing, bike part cravings, possible divorce due to inordinate amounts of riding time on weekends when you should be mowing the grass, planning your vacations around the 50 mile race you read about in Dahlonega, and having entirely too much fun with a bunch of two wheeled misfits who enjoy the same BikeChain, stain driven, side effects. Not so bad, huh? You may have noticed that anal leakage was nowhere in that list. Now you’re gettin’ it!

Felasco is What You Make of It

Felasco is something different for each of us. For some it’s about finishing. Maybe we have not done too many long rides in awhile. For some, they’ve never done anything this long. Maybe it’s about personal bests. The distance, for others, is no big deal. They just want to knock it out and check their score. Still others try new tricks for spice. Maybe it’s the first time on a single speed, or the first on an 8″ free ride rig. I saw one kid roll out on a unicycle. Poor bastard.
For me, it’s about all of that to some degree, but mostly about hanging out with the crew. Everyone gets a kitchen pass for this event. Guys who never do road trips, are yelling “Shotgun!” in the parking lot, and wrestling for bike space in the hotel room. In twenty years, this crew has seen many come and go, but quite a few are still around. We had about 18 guys with us this year. How’s that for a crew to hang with?
The Friday night festivities were outrageous. I’m glad to see we still have it in us, though it doesn’t get seen that often anymore. That night alone will provide plenty of ride conversation for the year to come. Saturday saw another train of T-towners leave the lot together. This year, the Bikechain kits were in effect. More than one poor soul muttered under their breath, when they pulled over and realized there was a chain of nearly 20 Chain Gangers they had to watch pass by, before they could continue their own saga.
This year I hung at the back. Last year, I took off and tried to keep a decent pace rolling. But, when at dinner, I heard all of the stories from the back of da pack crew, Bikediet and I looked at each other and realized we’d missed out on something. It’s tough going slow. Almost as tough as going fast, just different. But riding in the Humor Caboose paid off. Laughing and heckling stave off the pain. Everyone has their ups and downs, but you try to take care of each other. That works until the hate fatigue is just too deep, but that’s not usually until the last 5 miles or so. By then, everyone wants to be back at the truck, hanging over a tailgate, lying about how great they felt.
This ride is in the books, and I for one, had a blast hanging with the crew.

p.s. Lil’ Ronnie, you’re forgiven for yelling at me before lunch. I realize that all of that emotion is tough to keep inside. Let it out, tough guy, let it out.
p.p.s. Be sure to check the pic. There’s a who’s who of the Chain Gang in there. Bikechain, Bikediet, Micro, Spanish Mackerel, the better half of Derwood, Wrecking Ball, Crawl, The Tick, Flash, your’s truly….

‘Cross Style

I know the post is a little late, but I didn’t have all of the pics ready to go yet. Local guys did well, and my hat’s off to Jim and Kristen for putting on a fine event.

Silk flatted about a half second after that picture was taken. He soldiered on to catch all the way back to 2nd, in B race on Saturday. He bumped to the A race for Sunday, and pulled out a very respectable 4th.

Little Ball had no intention of racing, but after much harassment from your’s truly, he antied up. He rode a strong race at the front, to finish 3rd. All that on Taco Bell and Mountain Dew!

Local road legend, Tom Gillis put cross tires on his 29er mountain bike, and threw his hat in the ring with the rest of the master’s crew. Here he’s climbing Bigworm Hill. This hill was a beast on both days.

Ice Berg and Bigworm getting their spectator on. I’m sure we were heckling someone.

Even Cliff broke free of his anti race stance to join in on Saturday. He may not have won, but he had the best chest hair display, hand’s down. If he just had a big gold cross…

>Here’s a short clip of Bigworm Hill on Saturday, during David and Zac’s race.

Sidelined

Sitting on the sidelines sucks! It’s the perfect Tallahassee mountain bike season, and it looks like many of the fair weather crew members have come out of hibernation. Red Dragon is regaining his wings. Micro’s attendance is growing. Even an out of town, old schooler was here this past weekend. It’s killing me not to be there, but I finally heard from the doc’s office yesterday. I’ve got an appointment at TOC next Thursday. My ankle has been feeling better, so I may even try an easy ride later this week, or this weekend.
I’m stoked to see the weather has the ‘posse out en masse, and if I don’t see you folks on the trail soon, I’ll see you at the Sweet 16 Double Header, at Bikechain, Nov. 8th! Kent and Mark have been working hard to make the shop space look good, and there efforts are paying off. Come check it out, next weekend.
ps. Keep a close eye on Big Jim Slade, I think he has been up to something. Here me now. Read his later.