Friday, June 29, 2007

and the other joke I know

This one’s my favorite…

“What did the Zen monk say to the hotdog vendor? … … Make me one with everything!”

That one’s great ‘cause you don’t really know if the monk wants to attain enlightenment or maybe just a hotdog with all the fixin’s. And, really, in the end, what’s the difference. nez.

Happy weekend…

Thursday, June 28, 2007

fine in the moment

In my running over the last few days I’ve been trying not to make any promises to myself. Usually, there’s a little voice in my head that makes demands on me like, “turn around at the bridge no matter what,” or “only run four days this week,” or “if you keep running now, you can’t bike later.” Kind of a bossy little coach in there. I know he has good intentions. He doesn’t want me to bonk miles from home or push my limits too far and suffer for the next week because of it. He’s generally a pretty good coach. But, he does get stuck in the past. He won’t let me forget my various bonks, heat strokes, and dehydration mistakes from years ago.

I appreciate his concerns and efforts. I’ve been listening to him this week, too. But, I haven’t been so compliant with his program. For instance, I was about three quarters of a mile into my run today when my right ankle started hurting. This was likely due to a slight overuse from the day before. Coach let me know that I should probably just take it easy today and jog it out for 3 miles - tops. Probably good advice. That’s what I would recommend to anyone else who asked my advice. But, I kept going…

The problem with that advice is that everyday there will be something (a sore ankle, upset stomach, not in the mood.) That’s just a part of normal life. Sometimes these things are more serious than others. Sometimes it is a good idea to turn around after one mile. This week, though, I’ve been trying to let these things ride and not plan anything out ahead of time – just putting one foot in front of the other and being there for what develops.

This reminds me of that joke: “How do you make God laugh? … … Make a plan.” That’s one of the only two jokes I can ever remember. I guess it’s not really a joke – it’s hardly funny. But, it does provide a good reminder to stay connected to the present moment because things change. Three minutes from now that ankle problem may be a thing of the past, and you may continue running all the way up to the end of the road even though Coach said “don’t run past the bridge because you didn’t eat any breakfast and it’s too hot out.” Yes, but look, Coach, it’s the end of June. It’s summer in Southern California. It’s hot out and it ain’t gettin none cooler for three months now – maybe four. And, besides, I’ve got a new team now – Spirit Hawk and Datura Soul. We’re not in training, we’re just celebrating on this earth, as best we can – and in the process, sometimes we bonk, and sometimes God laughs… and that’s fine, that’s just fine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

rest and nutrition

Took a nice easy rest day yesterday. Did a lot of reading on the couch. Even drove a car to pick up a pizza for dinner even though it was only a total of about three miles. Sometimes a lazy day is nice. But, I do want to rig up some sort of good pizza carrying rack for my bike. Maybe just a big flat board with a couple of bungee cords that I can attach to my rear rack with a couple of quick wing nuts.

After the rest day, the run this morning felt great. I went out on my usual bridge run. I felt really strong and comfortable. I decided not to push the distance though because it was getting hot and I hadn’t eaten anything for breakfast except two mugs of black coffee and a mug of water - I thought I was out of food in the kitchen – forgetting about the leftover pizza in the fridge… which was just fine, because it felt good to devour it upon my return.

I know Lance Armstrong is quickly becoming old news in the cycling world, but his wristband hasn’t broken off yet so I figure I can keep taking about him for a bit. One of the things that amazed me most about all his performances was his nutritional intake. I read that book by Carmichael, his nutrition coach, and it’s pretty amazing. I can’t remember the exact numbers anymore, but Lance consumed several thousand calories a day during Le Tour for, what, like, 21 days in a row or so. That seems as incredible as riding so many miles so quickly. I think nutrition may have played a bigger factor than any alleged doping. And hydration/cooling, too, which clearly was a factor in Floyd’s big ride last year. Was that only a year ago? Seems longer. Anyway, I was thinking about that on my run this morning.

Can’t wait for this year’s tour – less than two weeks away…

Monday, June 25, 2007

it’s official

I received my diploma in the mail. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it or the degree that it has “conferred on” me, but it was a great experience. Thank you to all that were a part of this special program. I’ve learned so much from each of you. I hope our paths cross again soon. It’s been a beautiful journey. Namaste. Bowing…

Sunday, June 24, 2007

past week 062407

Run 21 = 7+7+7
Bike 151 = 3+28+2+6+28+7+18+7+28+8+16 (thrice to Brown)
Burritos 3
Car 26 = 12+14
Beer 18 (there was an IPA festival at the Pub)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Brown Mountain Solstice

The glorious cone…

and beyond…

and the ally that knows the way…

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Summer Solstice!

May you all enjoy peace and health and happiness in this next revolution around our whirling star…

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

reflections on my mountain

“The Stars” (excerpt) – Robinson Jeffers

There gently through its wilderness drops
That River of the South I have loved so well
That heart and sense ache for it, – nor alone
High in the North are peaks and wilderness,
Deep woods and waters pale,
That always my remembering spirit possesses,
Mine by the love I bear them, O my own! …
There also does my ghost yet loiter; there
Some echo of my song
Yet lingers; …
And in full summer above their fern-grown fountains
I have been so glad that joy became a prayer, –
Among the pines of mighty cone, dark firs,
And mountain cedars, musical whisperers, –
And every thought was good, every breath sacred there.

Jeffers, R. (1974.) The Alpine Christ. Cayucos Books.

Rode up Brown Mountain again yesterday afternoon. It was slightly cooler and clearer. Still pretty hot, though – mid-eighties-ish. Sometimes you can see the ocean from up at the top. I thought I might get a glimpse of it today, but the marine layer (of clouds) was obscuring the view. On the afternoons that you can see the ocean it often looks red because of some sunset-smog-refraction phenomenon or something like that. I’ll try to get a picture some time. It’s cool.

I didn’t bring the camera today. I wanted to go light. (I didn’t bring my lock either because I didn’t want to be tempted to drop by the pub after the ride like I did last week. Five Guinness was not a good recovery dinner.) When I got to the top I saw the most beautiful pinecone hanging from what I think might be a Coulter pine - based on the size of the cone. This cone looked fairly young. All of its seed segments were still closed tightly. It was mostly green, but just starting to fade through varying levels of yellow – very multicolored. Clear sap was dripping out of each of its little hooks. Each of these droplets of sap was shining in the sun and reflecting the whole world back at me. It was so full of life. It was glorious.

The photo is from last weeks ride. It shows the route to the peak of Brown (and lots of blooming Yucca and a few of the pines.) The peak itself is not in the photo – it’s further off to the right. There’s only an animal track that heads up the ridgeline. I think it’s about another two miles. It’s a rough route. I’ve only been all the way up there once – about ten years ago. I’d like to go there again sometime. Nobody ever goes up there. It’s a very wild place. I feel like it’s been calling me back. That mountain has a deep soul.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Wow, those Ergon grips really are super comfortable. I haven’t even taken them out on a test ride yet, but just adjusting them I can tell I’ m gonna like ‘em (knock knock). Thanks to Dave and Lynda and Jill for sharing the secret.

And, as long as I’m promoting, I also like the Cage Rocket. I’ve used this for a few months now and it’s great for stuff and junk like repair kits, tools, inner tubes, mini pumps, etc. Although, obviously, it takes up a water bottle space and that might not be so cool this summer. My friend Dan tells me that a plastic tennis ball can fits into the cage, too - if you want to make a cheap version that probably holds more stuff.


Run 32 = 12*+3+7+7+3
Bike 57 = 3+28+6+11+9
Car 31 = 3+28
Burrito 3 = 1+1+1
Drinks 13 = 1+5+2+5

*This 12 mile run was the last in a string of six days in a row from the previous week. In that six-day period I ran more than I ever have before, for a total of 54 miles, which is 10% more than my previous weeklong record of 49 miles in seven days. So, that felt pretty good and helped to get me back up to pace for 1000 miles this year. It’s funny, though, I know this isn’t a competition or anything, but after reading Geoff and Catra’s blogs, 54 miles in a week seems pretty ordinary. So, I’ll keep pushing…

Friday, June 15, 2007

to brown

I finally went on a real ride yesterday (recently I’ve just been transporting myself around town via bicycle.) I rode up the Brown Mountain dirt/fire road. I left home in the late afternoon. One of the many reasons that I like this ride so much and that I’m willing to do it over and over again and that I can’t wait to ride it again is that it’s only seven miles from home, so I can ride to the trail pretty easily. It just doesn’t seem so fun to put the bike in the car and then drive it somewhere and then get it out and set it up and on and on… just too many steps. I’d rather avoid the middleman. Above is the view off the back side. Below is the view off the front – note downtown los angeles – isn’t she beautiful?

It was a pretty hot day and I was having a hard time motivating for the ride. It would have been pretty easy to stay home and watch The Simpsons. But, since I’ve been reading about so many adventures on all your blogs, I seemed to be magically pushed out the door. Thanks. It was a great ride. It felt nice to spin with my clipless pedals. Normally, for easy riding around town I use toe clips. Oh, by the way, the speed wobbles on the front wheel are back, argh! I guess my French isn’t so good after all.

The hillsides are definitely starting to dry out now. Summer is fast approaching and we didn’t get much rain this year (I think we had record low rainfall this season). There are still a few flowers up there, though. The Lupine is hanging in there in the shady spots and getting blasted in the sun. Our Lord’s Candles (Yucca whipplei) are beautiful right now (see below.)

After the ride I dropped by the pub. I had no money but Justin, Tracie, and Bryce kindly provided.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

bike art

Here’s a picture of a bike that I drew in the third grade. (18” x 24”)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I’d like to relearn how to do a wheelie again – I mean, “poppa wheelie!” I haven’t tried that in a long time. I was never very good at it to begin with – even when I was a kid on a dirt bike I could only get through a few pedal revolutions with the front wheel off the ground.

(This reminds me – one of the movies at Bike Week Pasadena was Joe Kid on a Stingray. It chronicles the development of bmx over the past 30 years. It’s a blast to watch.)

I remember one attempt at a wheelie gone badly. I was probably around ten years old or so. I was riding my Rampar. It had a blue mag wheel in the front and spokes in the back and I had spray painted the frame grey (I think. It went through a lot of variations over the years – I’ve got to find a picture of that old friend). I was on the sidewalk across the street from my house and as I pulled the front end off the ground, the wheel disconnected from the fork. I held on as the fork went straight down and hit the sidewalk. I launched over the handlebars and landed directly on the top of my head. Unfortunately, I can’t blame any of my current stupidities on this incident as I was, for some strange reason, wearing a helmet.

A nearly identical wheelie fiasco took place about two decades later. Luckily for me, I got to watch this one evolve in slow motion right in front of me. My friend Johnny played the part of the head planter this time. A helmet (again) made that afternoon something we could all laugh about at the pub just minutes later.

So, now… why do I want to pop a wheelie again?

Monday, June 11, 2007

running with Hawk's feather

In the early part of our run today I saw what I believe to be a Cooper’s Hawk fly across our path. I didn’t think too much about it at the time except that I’ve been noticing them a lot more lately. In the last several years they seem to be increasing in numbers here. I wonder if this is representative of some sort of shift in their territory or population size.

These are really beautiful birds. It seems that they hunt other birds. They zip horizontally through the trees and slam into their prey of smaller birds – pigeons/doves? When they hit their target there is an explosion of feathers. It’s quite an amazing site. I’m no ornithologist or anything so I could be misinterpreting what I’ve seen but most of this does seem to check out on the interweb.

And then we ran some more. This was the fourth day in a row that Hilary and I have run our bridge route. This was Hilary’s goal that I mentioned in an earlier post. And she made it. In fact, on two of those days we went considerably further than we’d planned. So congrats Hilary – now it’s time to start your own blog!

Today was one of the days that we pushed a little further. Just past the bridge, there’s another bridge, and as we passed under this second bridge I noticed a hawk’s feather. I think it may be a Cooper’s. Surrounding this feather were many smaller feathers from another bird. Perhaps this was the scene of predation.

So, I picked up this feather and carried it with me for several more miles. It felt great. I felt like it was giving me energy to move smoothly and lightly across the earth – almost like flying.

On the homeward stretch Hilary’s feet began to give her some trouble. We stopped at “The Fountain of Youth” to readjust shoes and get some water. The fountain of youth has the best water in the world – or, at least, it tastes that way in the middle of a long run; I wouldn’t dare drink it any other time. To inspire her on her way home, I handed Hilary the feather. She tucked it into her ponytail and immediately took off running – fast. In contrast, I suddenly felt enervated. I could barely find my stride or keep up. I’d lost my ability to fly.

After the run Hilary reported that as soon as she tucked that feather in her hair the pain in her foot went away and she felt a burst of energy that carried her the rest of the way home.

This was a good reminder for us that there’s a lot of power out there in the world that we often overlook. Thank you for joining us today Cooper’s Hawk. It was a great run.

Visit The Peregrine Fund for more information on birds of prey.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

week in review – 061007

run 42* = 12+7+9+7+7
bike 44 = 7+3+5+7+15+7
drinks 15 – a notch down from last week
burritos 4 - mmmmm
car zero (not much to improve upon there)

* probably the most I’ve run in a five day period. my seven day record is 49 (7x7), so if I continue the same pace for the next two days I could push that envelope, but I may back off a bit. Hilary is going strong with her goal of four bridge runs in a row (9+7+7+?). Nice work!

tasty snack

Here’s another tasty treat I’ve been munching on this week - Vegan Deviled Eggs. They’ve got all the fat and zing of the real thing and they’re easy to make. Just cut an avocado and pour on some mustard - yummy. Oh… I should add salt next time! And what is that orange stuff they sprinkle on the top? Paprika, yes, maybe some of that, too.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

smooth ride

I’ve been having some speed wobble issues on the front wheel of my bike for a while now. For a long time I thought it was a worn out front tire that was causing some sort of vibration to move up through the forks to the handlebars. I ended up getting new tires and the problem persisted. Then I thought the neck was loose. (Is that what you call it? It has the older style threaded fork – nowadays I think they call it the stem/headset.) I tightened the neck and the problem persisted.

I didn’t mind too much, because it was only a problem when I let go of the handlebars. But, I do like riding hands free sometimes. A few days ago the problem got even worse so that even at low speed the wobbles would be too much to control.

Luckily, I found another problem in the front wheel, too. The front hub was loose. So I tightened up the washer/nuts around the bearings and then slid on the outer rubber bushings and the second set of nuts with just the right amount of magic touch – that’s a tricky give-and-take procedure. And voila (pardon my French), two problems solved, a front wheel that spins freely and safely without speed wobbles. Lucky guess. Now she rides so easy and straight and true (um… no, never mind… I’ll let you think what you think about that paragraph.)

And now I think I’ve stalled myself quite long enough on this Saturday night. So I’m off to the pub. I promise I’ll be good.

smooth running

This past week has been focused on running. I didn’t really plan it that way, but sometimes these things just happen. I went for a long run in the middle of the week. It started out nice and innocent. I was just heading to the bridge for seven, but then I kept going and going and soon enough I was circling the rose bowl. The nice thing about that route is there’s a drinking fountain about every three miles, so you don’t have to plan ahead for hydration. The next day I went out for an easy seven and stuck to the plan. Then Hilary got back from a trip the following day and told me that she wanted to run to the bridge four days in a row. Well, I certainly couldn’t turn that kind of offer/challenge down. So, I’m excited to see the weekly totals – maybe a PR in store for us. “And, their running…”

That last bit is sort of an inside joke for my sister l’Aura. She used to mimic sports casters: “and he’s got the ball… aaannnd heeeee’s ruuunnning…. and, he’s running, he’s got the ball and he’s running…” How did it go?

This has also been the week of smoothies. After each run we’ve whipped up some nice recovery drinks – frozen berries, soy milk, yogurt… you know the drill. I don’t recommend pouring in the morning’s extra coffee, though. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it just didn’t work.

Here's a picture of Hilary in post run relaxation mode. Notice her lady-like pinkie-off-the-glass style.

With all this running around it feels like we’re in training for something, but I don’t know what that is. Maybe something will present itself to us when we are ready.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

stay cool

Summer is right around the corner so I thought I’d share one of my tips to beat the heat. Just before you head out on a run/bike/hike/walk/whatever, give yourself a good dousing with a spray bottle. Make sure to really get the head, neck, forearms, back of the legs… well, everywhere. This has helped me a lot. It allows the body to start cooling off before you start sweating. I have not been very scientific about this, but I think that it can extend the amount of time you can spend out in the heat. I did this today since it was rather sunny and warm. I ended up running 33% further than I had planned (results may vary.) When August rolls around you can also take the spray bottle with you, if you’re not too embarrassed – like I am. Then you have instant cooling throughout your journey and you can cool off your friends, too. This means that you can stay cool without losing excess water of your own – in other words, less dehydration. And, if you do get thirsty, just twist the nozzle off the bottle and take a sip.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

knowing the way

I’ve been feeling more alive lately. I thank my bicycle for this sensation. It turns me into a time traveler. It changes the way I view the world. It enhances my awareness.

I’ve got this new mantra: ride happy. It’s helps me to say this before I get on the bike and even a few times during the journey. There are a lot of cars out there. We share the road. Sometimes I get in their way and sometimes they get in my way. We are all just traveling somewhere along the way.

I rode home from a friend’s house late last night. It was cool and quiet. The streets were empty. I hope you know the feeling…

Last Week
Run 31 = 7+7+9+8 (400 year to date – aiming for 1000 in 2007)
Bike 30 = 10+10+3+7 (1,170 y.t.d. – aiming to drive way less)
Drinks 17

Saturday, June 2, 2007

shiny things are pretty

I started cleaning up the SSSS (Seventies Schwinn Super Sport – temporary nickname until it earns another.) This will probably be a very long process that I’ll eventually abandon before completion, but I did want to share one breakthrough I learned about from Vintage Life Cycle. Wadded up aluminum foil is great for removing all those little rust spots on the old chrome/aluminum/shiny metal parts. Just crumple it up and start rubbing. It’s really simple. Although it does turn your hands black, and it has a strange smell similar to the exhaust of one of those old Mercedes converted to vegetable oil that seem to be increasingly popular these days. It doesn’t produce a perfect shine, but it does a pretty nice job of cleaning things up. Maybe there’s a polish that can be applied after the clean up that will really make it shine? In the photo, the seat post has been cleaned – it used to look like the seat post clamp still does.

Also, after adding about a quart of oil to her, (I’ve never seen anything soak up so much oil – like a sponge) I noticed that there was some over spill onto the frame. Interestingly, the paint looks a lot better in those oiled sections. It’s like the paint is dehydrated or something. But, rather than poring oil all over the frame, I’m considering some sort of wax, maybe the kind you wax a car with to bring out some of its remaining luster. The paint is pretty scratched up so I don’t want to put too much effort into it, but I think it might help.

Friday, June 1, 2007

mags versus blogs

The new Trail Runner magazine finally arrived in the mail yesterday. I’ve been looking forward to its arrival for a while now. That’s the trouble with the bimonthly magazines. By the time a new issue arrives you’re so excited and deprived that you tear through the whole thing in just a day or two and then there’s a whole two more months to wait again and wonder if maybe your subscription has expired. And don’t get me started on the quarterlies – yes, you Wend.

I’m not exactly a trail runner, although I do enjoy it from time to time. But, I find this magazine inspiring. I usually see a spike in my running mileage soon after each new issue. This past interval between magazine issues, I discovered blogging. Now I get inspiration from you all every day. So, thanks a lot for that.

It’s funny, after all that anticipation of the new issue I found myself a little let down (although, I haven’t read the Angeles Crest 100 article yet – I’m excited about that and saving it for last – that route finishes at my favorite trail). Some of the articles missed the human element that I find in your blogs. There’s a certain realness, a humanness that is sometimes lost in all the polishing of a magazine. I wanted to be able to comment and ask questions, too. I suppose I could send a letter to the editor, but then I’d have to wait two months for a reply.

So anyway, thank you all for keeping me even keel over the past month. Maybe I’ll let that subscription run out after all...

Run 9 – slow and steady

All this inspiration and I’m taking a rest day!?