Sunday, May 30, 2010

“the mountain wins again”

The Mount Wilson Trail Race was yesterday in Sierra Madre. As always, it was a great event with lots of community involvement and familiar faces and food and drink and beautiful weather… and one big mountain to climb.

The day started off early riding east down Huntington, racing the sunrise over the mountains. That was actually a really nice part of the day. Totally empty and cool. Just me and Mindful Mule spinning along quietly, making our way to the start.

The field in this year’s race seemed to be a lot more spread out than normal or maybe I was just running in a lucky gap, but I had very few people around me for much of the race.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t take advantage of the extra space to move forward for a better time. I just couldn’t get myself together on this one. On the way up, I spent a lot of time at redline. And on the way down, where I can normally make up a lot of time, I was pretty tentative about my footing – probably a sign of old age. I kept saying to myself, just live to run another day. I really couldn’t be bothered to risk anything for a better time stamp: 1:43.

I don’t know what it is about that mountain but I can never seem to master it. The mountain will always win. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but hopefully circumstances and training will align for a slightly smoother run next year. I can hardly wait…

Friday, May 28, 2010

totally unprepared

The Mount Wilson run is tomorrow. I haven’t prepared at all in terms of training or resting or eating or anything. Hardly anyone I know is running it this year. Hopefully The Reverend will be there so we can go to the beer garden afterward. And maybe at least some familiar faces.

I’m not expecting much from myself for this run. My running pretty much dropped off the face of the earth after May 6th. Since then I’ve only run a few 3s. I’ve been sick and tired.

But I’m already signed up and it is a nice local tradition. So I’ll drag myself to the start in the morning and everything will probably be just fine.

one glove dream

I had a dream last night about bicycling. That’s not really news worthy. I dream about biking pretty much all the time these nights. Oh, wait, now that I’m digging into my subconscious, I ‘m remembering another biking dream from last night, too. See what I mean? Ho hum – do it all day, dream it all night.

In the first dream I was riding at night and it was somewhat cool. That’s how it’s been lately. It may sound surprising to those living in cooler climes, but I’m just now able to get rid of some of my warm layers on night rides home.

That’s not to say that I couldn’t, or haven’t, ridden home at night in shorts and a T, but there is a certain cozy factor that feels really nice right now. Maybe I’m in denial about the approaching heat wave, aka summer. Last night, in the non-dream world, what do you call that, “reality,” I rode back down the hill in jeans, double rolled on both sides, T, open flannel, and wool cap. I could have made it home without freezing to death in far, far less, of course, but like I said, it feels nice to cruise home easy down the hill, no chill, over-shirttails flapping behind, a burrito in the basket.

So, anyway, the dream. I was riding and I had one glove on and I was thinking, I wish I’d brought both gloves because this left hand feels cozy and nice.

And in the other dream I was riding Totally 80’s (eighty-eight Centurion, steel road bike with seven-speed downtube shifters) on a golf course. There were a couple other people riding with me, up ahead – I couldn’t quite catch up to them, of course, but it was an awesome ride along the cart paths and up against the banked mounds for the tees and greens. The grass was cut real short so we could pretty much ride wherever we wanted. There weren’t more than a couple golfers out to get in the way of. But then we came upon some equestrians so we had to dismount and follow the “bikes yield to hikers and horses” trail rules.

The toe clip straps on T80’s seemed to be those from the fixie (seventies Schwinn Supper Sport single speed, SSSSSS). They’ve got color to match the fixie, sort of a honey gold to compliment both the brown paint and natural sidewalls. I think, my subconscious wants me to get some matching blue toe clip straps for Totally 80’s blue-splashed front and rear frame and bar tape.

Plus. I think golf courses could be used for much more than golf. Many of them would make great parks. I’d also like to see more courses using a diversity of plant material, native to the area, rather than just endless blades of grass.

Friday, May 21, 2010

“They call me Mimi”

In memory of the sweetest little terror of a kitty.
(With help from James Taylor, Guns N’ Roses, and The Grateful Dead)

“Just yesterday morning
They let me know you were gone…
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, Baby, one more time again…”

“I used to love her…
I know I’d miss her
So I had to keep her
She’s buried right in my back yard.”

“I don’t know, it must have been the roses
Roses on the ribbons in her long brown hair…
All I know, I could not leave her there…”


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Ride of Silence

The Ride of Silence took place last night at the Rose Bowl and locations all over the world. This annual ride honors those cyclists that have been injured or killed while on the bike while at the same time raising awareness that the streets are for people and bikes and cars and that we can be mindful and respectful of each other while we’re out there.

It was a beautiful evening for a ride. We rolled out just before sunset with about seventy riders and slowly made three laps around the loop. Silence was kept throughout the nearly one hour ride which allowed each of the riders the peace and space to reflect on their individual reasons for being there.

Ride on… mindfully, respectfully, safely.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

California vs. Italia

For me this is usually a no brainer – I’d take Cali every time. But this week, California, or I should say, the Amgen Tour of California really screwed up. Cycle racing has a very longstanding tradition in Europe. Many races there go back over a hundred years. No car support back then, but that’s a story for another day. Today’s story is that for some idiotic reason, this year’s Tour of California was scheduled right in the middle of the Giro d’Italia – one of the three Grand Tours in the sport of cycling along with France and Spain. I love the tour of California and I thought it was great when they held it in Feb/March as they did for the first three years, or is it four now – whatever, it’s a very young race. It was awesome to crush the pros early in the season and show off California to the world as an epic place to cycle with wind and rain and snow and sun and killer mountains and huge crowds, etc. But scheduling it not only in the height of cycling season but in the middle of the Giro is really in poor taste and stepping on European toes. I shake my upward curled fingers at you ATofC.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

once you go track… you can never go back

Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but I thought you’d appreciate the title. After nearly 600 miles of running almost exclusively in my superlight track shoes I finally gave myself a break today on a short run with Hilary and wore my old regular running shoes, Adizeros, I think they are, which also have around 500 miles on them but today they felt like running on pillows by comparison, except for the fact that they simultaneously felt like running in concrete boots as they’re super heavy, again, by comparison.

I had a really hard time getting started on today’s run. It was like I had forgotten how to run completely. That’s how different my running style has become with my track shoes.

The trouble with the track shoes, though, is that they beat the crap out of you and after several months of that and that I’m just trying to recover from a pretty wicked fever/cold… well, today I just needed a break.

After about 1km of uncoordinated clown running form the old style started to trickle back in and it really felt great. It was so easy and so easy to go fast.

I’m gonna keep running in those track shoes because I think they really do make me stronger, but I think I should mix it up a little more often so that I don’t hammer myself into submission every time I go out.

Two weeks from now is the Mt. Wilson Trail Race in Sierra Madre and suddenly I’m thinking it might be nice to run in the cushy shoes for the race. They’ll be great for the downhill, anyway. And with their high heels should make the uphills less steep?

So, I guess you can go back… it’ll just never be the same.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

the doors of perception

Awakening from a daze, I find myself on foot in the Arroyo, again. Am I pushing further and further to find this place of transition, as in an addiction, or am I finding deeper thresholds to pass through? Over worked, my legs ache. The spring sun is intense – unadjusted, winter hide still browning, I’m blasted. Out of place, a desert sky hangs, still, above this tilted alluvial plain between my mountains and the Pacific. Doldrums between uncertain seasons – a strange emptiness lingers – like a ghost town, the doors of the tavern hang open, no wind or man to swing them. The earth and sky waiting on eternity.