Spokes in a wheel

Finally, I’m able to sit down and , enjoy a nice farm house ale, and try to wrap my head around all the awesomeness that transpired today. Pursuing a major undertaking is undeniably a team effort, that requires everyone carrying a bit of the load, much like spokes in a wheel. One breakdown and the wheel tacos quicker than you can say carnitas. For the past 5 years I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with strong spokes in this wheel called “hell of the south”
First off, thanks to all of the volunteers for showing up in the pissing rain standing on a corner south of nowhere, waking up at 4 am to sort rider numbers, staying up late to drop safety pins in an envelope etc., etc. Without these folks we would not have been around for 1 year much less 5 years.
Thank you to the community, the volunteer fire department and the united Methodist church of Berlin, TN. Who knew this community would embrace us like they have.
Thanks to our awesome sponsors; MOAB, Castelli, Swiftwick, Darrell Waltrip honda, SVMIC and others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.
Finally, thanks to all of you, the racers. Your support is justification for the vision we had to provide a unique race and experience unlike anything we’ve had in middle TN.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten half the shit I wanted to say, but the beer is almost gone and I’m slipping into a coma.


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Can’t believe we’re hours away from the 5th edition of the “Hell of the South” You guys have gone above and beyond with pre-registration this year, and all fields look to be very competitive.  

Here are a few things to remember for tomorrow.

Parking is a premium in the little dot called Berlin, TN.  We will have volunteers directing you where to park when you roll in,  Please follow their directions, any problems the volunteers get will become my problems and my solution will be far worse than just following directions.

The updated start times because of the field split of the cat 3/4 are

P/1/2 – 9:50

Cat 3 – 9:55

Masters combined – 10:00

Cat 4 – 10:05

Feed zone is on Old Sowell Mill Pike, apprx 1/4 mile from the turn at Newcut.  Park off of the roadway, and have your feeder stay out of the road prior to and after the peloton rolls through

We have one (1) wheeltruck per field.  If you have a larger team, consider consolidating your spares down to save room.  Additionally, it may be advisable to stage a helper on the gravel road with a spare or two.  This will save time waiting on the wheeltruck, in an area that has historically produced many flats

PLEASE, PLEASE the helpers for feed, wheels, cheerleaders, picture takers, DO NOT park on or near the road so as to impede the local vehicle travel. These roads have steep shoulders, and are narrow and I don’t want to anger the citizens that have to traverse around a bike race to go about their normal routine. 

If you haven’t done so, buy a lunch from the Volunteer fire dept and hang out for the awards.  Castelli, Swiftwick and MOAB have gone above and beyond in getting some cool prizes for our winners.

Based on anticipated schedules the awards ceremonies should be

Cat 5 and Women ~ 10:30am

Cat3, Cat 4, Masters, P/1/2 ~ 1:30 pm

Thanks again and we’ll see you tomorrow


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We’re in the home stretch!

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, at this point however it is little more than a dot off in the distance.  For those who have already registered, thank you!  You guys and gals are what makes my cycling world go around.  For those of you who haven’t registered you have 4 hours to make it happen.  

After careful thought and a lengthy run through, I’ve decided to split the category 3 and category 4 fields.  80 riders all shooting for a little patch of gravel going 25 mph sounds really cool, while in reality it would be carnage incarnate.  Since we’re on a tight timeline, the effect of this split, is that we will combine the masters 35+ and 50+ fields into one group.  Hopefully their collective experience will allow cooler heads to prevail when the shit hits the fan.  

What does this do to start times, not much, but here we go;

P/1/2 start at 9:50 am

Cat 3 start at 9:55am

Masters 35+ AND 50+ start at 10:00am

Cat 4 start at 10:05am

If you registered you will see this again tomorrow, along with some pertinent info about feed zone, wheel trucks, awards etc.


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After nearly getting hit today by some asshole in a hurry to get to the crack house, or to the mapco to spend the illegitimate kids inheritance on lottery tickets, my mind began to assemble a tirade of derogatory names I could splash all over the D-bag that nearly ended me.  As I put pen to paper, It occurred to me that the definition of  “redneck” is no longer appropriate in today’s vernacular.  This is what Mr Webster has to say about a “Redneck; a white person who lives in a small town or in the country especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and who is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive.  THAT is not a redneck, that is the glue that holds this country together, working his ass off all day at a job most of the rest of us would say “hell with that”.

My proposed definition of Redneck \’red-nek\ : Typically a white southern male between 18 and 30 yrs old, who is usually lazy as hell, a smart ass, drives a four wheel drive truck with an exhaust pipe that you could roll a basketball into, and for some reason sees the need to hang a ball sack from his bumper. Outside of his truck he is easily identified by a severely creased cap, perched at a queer angle on top of his pin head, or if his favorite team is playing, it could be flipped backwards.  He also is usually carrying an old mountain dew bottle filled with tobacco juice that didn’t dribble down his chin. When not out muddin’ or terrorizing innocent cyclists, he can, in rare cases, be found at the local community college struggling to get through remedial math and talkin’ up the mother of his illegitimate kid about his glory days as a 3rd string quarterback for some high school no one cares to hear about, but one in which he took his GED after he flunked most classes other than Agriculture 101 (How to stand around playing pocket pool, while real students bust their ass to make something of themselves).  If he’s lucky he’ll fall into a job running a backhoe for the county dump, or picking up the lunch trays at the high school for enough change to support his 3rd wife and their 6 kids.  


That seems to do it.  Now to find the address to Merriam-Webster



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Juanita Cuervo

Can you feel it? As a cyclist it’s a pre-programmed part of our DNA, the very fiber with which our chamois is woven.  Yep, it’s almost time to lurch the big hand on the clock forward by one hour!  Those nocturnal creatures hidden in the deep dark recesses of basements and garages will all emerge, eyes shielded from the sun, carrying an armful of worn out tires, sanded to the threads by the dreaded trainer.  Those unfortunate souls that are not independently wealthy, supported by parents or spouse, or hiding in academia will spring forth, delirious from too many sufferfest videos,  eager to show off the pasty white sticks hardened by hours of spinning to bad disco music.  

Suffering through the worst winter since Washington crossed the Potomac, I think we are all ready for a little sunburn.

The race season is upon us.  For those of you who’ve been doing more training on your bike rather than working on your ability to quote the entire Phil Liggett vocabulary repertoire, come out to a low key event called Juanita Cuervo.  The throwdown happens March 15th in Bethesda, TN.  $5 to throw down and win some cash, I’ll also have some T-shirts and a special prize for the first person to find me and tell me what the hell Juanita Cuervo means! 

Hit up http://ow.ly/i/4HXex for details


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It is time….

Cobblestones, pig shit, mud, gutters, wind, rain, mud mixed with pig shit, more cobbles.  Gladiators on two wheels battling the elements as much, or more, than each other.  Yes my friends THE cycling season is upon us, Het Volk errr Omloop Het Neis….. whatever, Het Volk and K-B-K are this weekend.  Predictions?


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.



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Race Promotion and the need for volunteers

Promoting a bicycle race, or as we say down south, puttin on a race, can be a fun and exhilarating experience or it can be a complete pain in the ass. More often than not it is a combination of both, not in equal measure, and much like my fitness, you never know when the man with the hammer will come to visit and make your life a living hell.  There are many reasons an otherwise sane person would subject him or herself to such a dire fate, some noble and some suspect.  

I’d like to think the vast majority of promoters are of the same mindset as myself in that cycling has given me so much that I’m willing to imitate samurai Minamoto and fall on my sword just to watch, you the swirling masses, writhe in pain and agony reaching for the top step of the podium and a fine piece of Tennessee river rock to dangle on the mantle.  

Some promoters I know go into it looking to make bank and score some sweet swag.  I’ll let you in on a little secret, THERE IS NO MONEY TO BE MADE PUTTIN’ ON A BICYCLE RACE.  Just ask any EX promoter that  now litter our little towns and scenic byways. Not unlike waking up from a binge drunk and getting popped in the mouth, that check you have to scratch out of your own pocket is a mighty bitter pill to swallow.  

Finally there are the promoters that do it for the love of themselves.  Kinda like that kid in eighth grade who could roll his eyelids back, it probably hurts like hell but the you’re doing it for nothing more than self promotion.  You’ve raced this dudes races before, lots of fancy graphics on the flyer, the promise of kick ass prizes, big names etc, but when the pack blows the first turn and rides out to oblivion because marking the course was an afterthought, you’re left wondering if the 50 spot you threw on the reg table went to purchase the latest edition of photoshop.

Finally getting to the point, Volunteers.  Unlike the PT Barnum freakshow circus, when we roll in to town to plunder the local roads, we would be hard pressed to pull off much more than a one man bike rodeo without much appreciated outside assistance.   All race promoters rely on you, dear volunteer, to make this grand delusion a reality.  Your payback for standing on a corner just south of the middle of nowhere; a free lunch, a killer T shirt, a front row seat to witness the grassiest of grass roots bike racing and much adulation from the poor schmuck called the promoter.  Of the eleven people who read this dribble if you would like to volunteer, or if you know of someone who may like to volunteer please head over to http://volunteersignup.org/BJTC9 and sign up.  You can also reach out to me through the comments or send an email to the fireman at jayelevy@gmail.com  


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