Wednesday, October 31, 2007

please open the forest

There’s something wrong with the idea of a forest being closed. If we were to go up there right now and take a look around, we’d find that everything was in order. No trees would be stowed away for the season; the flowers would still be bright; the streams would still be following gravity downhill (more or less); sunlight would still be filtering down through the leaves to the floor of the canyons; the cats would still be lurking in the shadows waiting for just the right moment to pounce down and rip our hearts out. You know, the usual stuff is going on up there. Nothing would be different from a month ago when the forest was open. A month or two ago, bikes and picnic lunches and horses were just as likely to spontaneously combust and cause massive fire devastation - actually, more so, since we’ve had a few inches of rain since then, right? But, I guess we can’t be trusted. Sad.

I just want to visit my mountain. I can gaze up at it now and then, but it’s just not the same as being there. So, please open the forest soon.

Monday, October 29, 2007

maybe it’s just me, but…

Every time I go into a bike shop, the interactions, conversations, transactions, etc. are really strange and awkward. It seems to take a lot of effort to communicate with people in the shop. It’s almost as if we don’t speak the same language and have to mime to each other what we’re trying to convey. I wanted to pick up some toe clips for the SSSSSSSSSSS. This would seem like a relatively simple task, but for some reason most of the bike shops in my area do not carry metal toe clips. Since the SSSSSSSSSS is a somewhat vintage bike (’71) it seemed appropriate to seek out some metal clips that bear some resemblance to the clips it came with (I have no idea what happened to the originals. I took them off when I was like 12 years old along with that old uncool seat (the original leather Brooks saddle!) and now two decades later, they’ve both been misplaced.) But, I knew of one place about twelve miles away that was sure to have some replacement clips.

So, I rode around town for a while with Mr. Adam and went to a nice burrito joint and checked out his new apartment and then finally dropped by the tiny little new hyper-hip bike shop – they actually call themselves a boutique – can you believe it! I basically knew what I wanted upon entering the store (having done excessive research online) and maybe I should have made that more clear to the bike shop hipster – that probably would have helped the flow of the conversation. Eventually, we (the shopkeep and I) managed to come to an agreement where I was allowed to make a purchase from his store and get the hell out of there. So now I have toe clips and sssssssssshe’s really all ready to roll. The whole experience left me feeling strange, though, and I spent the rest of the day “fixating” on it and wondering how I could have made it easier for the shop and myself. Then I spent the night dreaming about biking.

Last Week:
Run: 30 = 14+7+9 (8 miles from my all-time annual record of 912)
Bike: 68 = 3+(11+8)+(3+6)+3+7+27
Beer: 19 = 5+1+5+6+2
Burrito: 5 (100 ytd)
Car: 25

Friday, October 26, 2007

converSion SeemS SucceSSful So far

Here are a few pics of the Seventies Schwinn Super Sport Single Speed. The brakes are still on there for now ‘cause I have no idea how to ride this thing. Still need to find some metal toe clips. I took her out for a short test ride wearing flip-flops. That probably wasn’t the best choice of footwear for my first-ever fixed ride, but it worked fine. You really can slow it down with the pedals pretty well. I don’t know about actually coming to a stop, but I’ll work on that.

Thanks to Harv and Sheldon for the tips…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

stretching, or not

I used to be all into stretching. I’d do a little bit of light stretching before a run and then a long and thorough session afterwards, lasting as much as 20 minutes. Recently, though, I haven’t been stretching much at all beyond a quick toe touch and a low squat when I get home. It’s made things pretty easy to skip that step and just get on with the day. And I haven’t noticed any major changes – only a slight reduction in flexibility when I stretch. I was planning to do a stretch after yesterday’s run, but I ended up going about twice as far as I planned, so I skipped it. I generally dislike stretching after longer than normal runs. It seems that there’s a greater chance of over-stretching already over-fatigued muscles. Today, I kept to the seven-mile bridge run plan and stretched afterwards. This was the first time I’d stretched in at least a month, I think. It felt fine, and nice, but I’m not as into it anymore. It seems like a good idea to stretch once in a while just to keep things in check – maybe once a week or once a month is fine.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ah, man, not again…

The forest is closed indefinitely. I guess that means road riding this weekend.

letting jonah run/live

That symbolic reset yesterday seemed to help me out a lot. Or maybe it was the giant bag of fake Oreos I’ve been binging/carbo-loading on the last couple days. Whatever it was, I’m feeling much better now. Sorry if I got a little ranty yesterday – I mean, I did use the H-word (sorry mom). I went out this morning for the usual seven-mile to-the-bridge run but just kept on going and going. It probably wasn’t the best day to have done this given that I skipped breakfast, the temperature increased by twelve degrees during my run, there’s smoke everywhere from all the fires closing in on LA, and I haven’t really been running that kind of distance for a while, but this was the day it happened and I’m glad for it. I had a great run. I finally turned around when I got to Johnson’s Rock. This is the finish line for the AC 100 just below JPL/NASA. Granted, I took the super easy way to get to Johnson’s Rock – a gentle cruiser up the Arroyo Seco, rather than the 100-mile trek through the mountains from Wrightwood – but it still felt like a nice accomplishment for the day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I’ve been in a running bog the last few weeks. Once I calculated the minimum to complete my Running Grand this year I’ve been doing the bare minimum to get through the year. For some reason I’ve lost the drive. I think I know what that reason is: the bike - it’s all I can think about. And now suddenly I’ve got this new goal of biking 3000 miles this year that I hadn’t fully embraced until now. All my focus has shifted.

Which, again, brings up the whole issue of goals and counting. 1000 miles is a totally arbitrary distance. What the hell is a mile? And why not 1111 miles? Maybe that should be my new run goal. And 3333 for the bike. And less than 555 (or 666) for the drinks.

But, there I go again with the goals. Why can’t I just go out there and run and bike and drink and live?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Surreal Cross

I watched my first cyclocross race on Saturday. Dan the Man and I rode out to the SoCalCross race at Hansen Dam. It was a very strange experience. As we approached the area we could hear someone talking on a loud speaker somewhere off in the distance, but couldn’t quite figure out where. Finally we managed to track down a way to the start/finish line. There was hardly anyone there except for the riders. Dan and I found a shady spot to sit for a few minutes as we watched the riders meander around the surprisingly lush green park with lots of trees right in the middle of a dry, rocky, sun-exposed floodplain/wash/arroyo. They were playing an odd assortment of music which included a fair amount of smooth jazz and classical Latin guitar. It felt like we had stumbled upon another dimension. I kept feeling/saying: “this is so weird… this is so weird…” And the racers kept rolling along peacefully to the sounds of their easy listening music.

Last Week:
Run: 14 = 7+7
Bike: 116 = (7+3)+6+(3+6)+(3+6)+48+34
Burrito: 4 = 1+1+(1+1)
Beer: 21 = 3+1+6+4+6+1
Car: 101 = 67+34

Saturday, October 20, 2007

the next level

First, I just want to apologize. I know this may let some of you down. I never thought I’d let myself get in this deep. It started out innocently – just fun and games. I thought I had the intelligence to recognize my limits and the strength to keep myself within them, but yesterday afternoon my momentum carried me over that line. It’s now gotten to the point where I just have to share with someone that might understand what I’m experiencing here. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time hanging around the cool kids and maybe I just want to be a little more like them, but, well, I’ve decided I have to do it. I’ve held out for as long as I can. Now I’ve really got no choice in the matter – I’m going “fixed” - and I’m totally stoked! I can hardly wait for those parts to arrive so I can convert that seventy-one schwinn super sport to single speed – S.S.S.S.S.S.

Wish me luck…

Thursday, October 18, 2007

new trend

Okay, so, this is the new bike trend about to sweep the country, but make sure y’all remember where you saw it first. I just discovered a hot new item that is perfect for those cooler evening rides – and they make you feel just a little bit tougher, like maybe a motorbike rider from the fifties (hey, Stella!, I mean, "What have you got?"). Some of you might recognize these gloves. They’re easy to find at most any hardware store across the land, and they keep your hands nice and toasty at 1/10th the price, and then some…

one beautiful jalopy

photo by cruz with us

Monday, October 15, 2007

locked up

My Kryptonite cable lock has died at the age of 5 (maybe?). A couple nights ago it froze in the locked position as it was securing my bike to a railing. Luckily, after a few minutes of coaxing and praying it released one last time. It didn’t give much of a warning that it was about to stay closed forever. The last time I unlocked it, it was a little sticky – that’s all. I thought it might just need a little oil to get it going again, but no. It is gone, and even if the oil helped, I’d have a hard time trusting it to unlock when I needed it to.

The last few days I’ve been using an old U-lock (a.k.a. a D-lock in Australia, which makes a little more sense to me – I once “translated” a bike safety pamphlet from Australian into American.) This U-lock is very old. I think it might even be one of those models that you can apparently open with a ballpoint pen, or something – is that urban myth? I’m sure no one remembers how to do that anymore anyway.

So, I guess I’m in the market for a new lock. I can’t decide if I should go thin and light or not. I mean, it seems to me, thin is okay if you’re just dropping in somewhere for a pint or a burrito, right? A thin, light lock might be easier to break or cut, but someone still has to come along with something that will break or cut it and the intention/inclination to do such a thing.

For now, the old U-lock is fine, but it limits the places I can lock up to – no big trees or light posts.

a nice note from Hilary before last weekend’s ride:

p.s. – Hi Becca and Tara

Last Week:
Run: 21 = 7+(7+7)
Bike: 113 = (3+2)+(2+8)+(18+7)+13+14+(20+26)
Burrito: 3
Beer: 19 = 1+3+7+1+6+2 (Octoberfest, you know)
Car: 3 (pizza delivery)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

rainy ride

Finally, a good ol’ rain ride last night. Mindful Mule was desperately in need of a bath after that long summer of dusty buildup. It was a nice light rain (2.2 cm overnight) – the kind that’s lovely to get out and ride in.

Luckily it didn’t start raining ‘til exactly one minute after everyone had dispersed from the CICLE Art Night Ride. We had a pretty good turn out for this ride between several art exhibits in Pasadena – probably about fifty or so riders. I love floating along in that sea of blinky lights.

Since this was the first ride I’d done in the rain in a while, and I didn’t have any rain gear (“like, oh my god, it never rains in LA, hahaha…”), I was a little concerned as I watched the drops falling through the street light outside the bar window as a few of us decompressed (decomposed) after the ride.

But, it turned out to be a really enjoyable ride home. There were hardly any cars out on the streets so I just took my lane and watched the water spinning off my wheels. Mindful should be nice and shiny for a while now. I think I’ll take her out for another giant coffee right about now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

double bridge

Today I ran to the bridge twice (7+7) - once in the morning and again in the evening. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. This wasn’t something I had planned. I was actually pretty tired after the first run. It was one of those runs that felt like it took forever to complete. But, Hilary seemed pretty excited to go for a run when she got home this evening so I figured I’d go with her and see if I could draft off of her energy. I was very slow for the first half of the run, but then felt pretty good on the return. My body was pretty tired out so I took the opportunity to really focus on my form to carry me along. This is something I’ve been trying to do a lot towards then end of my runs as I begin to tire. It seems that good form can carry you a long way and it also seems to make the run more enjoyable rather than shuffling along through the drudge of fatigue.

The double was a fun challenge. Maybe I’ll work it into the mix a little more often.

Maybe a double Brown Mtn ride sometime, too.

Now we’re eating a giant pizza!

Monday, October 8, 2007

a nice night for a ride

A little something I wrote about riding through the seasons.

hungry for bikes?

An email I sent today:

Hey Adam.

Have you been to Bicycle Kitchen out near/in Silverlake/Los Felis (near LACC). I was just there for the first time over the weekend. It's a pretty fun scene with lots of bikes and their riders all around. There's also another bike shop, a coffee house with tasty sandwiches, an ice cream place, and a vegan restaurant all on the same block.

Maybe we could meet there sometime.

Enjoy it,

(of course, this invitation is open to anyone who reads this, too.)

Also sent this one:

Hey Dude,

Thanks for the burrito message.

Have you seen the "Into the Wild" movie. Just saw it last night. It's purty darned good. Lots of music by Mr. Eddie Vedder and direction by Sean Penn was added sweetness.

Ate a Senor Fish Vegerito for lunch and just drank a $2 Sapporo can.

Feelin' fine.

Hope you're, too.
The Diamonds

Last Week:
Run: 23 = 7+9+7
Bike: 47 = 7+3+7+4+(4+5)+(8+9)
Burrito: 2
Beer: 16 = 3+5+3+2+3 (a bit of a spike, but okay)
Car: 66 = 29+10+27 (a little devilish)

Friday, October 5, 2007

balancing the pub

I have to remind myself that drinking at the pub is not always a bad thing. After all, last night it allowed me to enjoy the really nice, cool evening on the outdoor patio and I got to hang out with a few old friends and some new ones, too. We talked a lot about native trees and bikes. And those extra 1300 calories and 105 carbs seemed to help me push my run a little further this morning.

Monday, October 1, 2007

first of the month (rabbit, rabbit)

I originally started calling the newest addition to the bike quiver “Metamorphosis” because it looked so much like my other bike (Mindful Mule) had gone through some sort of incredible cocoon phase through which it grew suspension, among other things. Meta feels like an easier nickname, but I’ve been unsure about what kinds of connotations that name might hold. So, I did a quick check on Wiki about the meaning of Meta. Two of its definitions are “beyond” and “with”. These seem fitting. Meta and I are becoming fast friends. We’ve already traveled “with” each other “beyond” the boundaries of city-life, up to that soulful mountain of mine – Brown. (By the way, the picture up at the top, in the blog title/header is of the mountains off the backside of Brown – “beyond” Brown.)

Beyond and With seem like good words to remember in our lives, too. We want to move beyond our ego restraints, to possibly touch some of our transcendent, spiritual potential, but we also want to stay grounded or connected with the “everyday” world of culture and people around us. Basically, don’t get too “bike crazy” or it could get lonely.

Last Week:
Run: 14 = 7+7 (ytd 816)
Bike: 78 = 3+27Brown+12+28Brown+8 (ytd 2173)
Burrito: 2 (est. ytd 86)
Beer: 9 = 3+5+1 (est. ytd 392)
Car: 41 = 31+3+7 (est. ytd 1321)