2014 Seasons in the Sun

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Biking Claremont 4th of July

Were there more bikes that people? Was Indian Hill flowing curb to curb with patriotic bedecked two and three-wheelers? Should Cycle Claremont be revived? Is there not a defunct local golf course that could be made over into a bike park?

I have missed the last couple Independence Day celebrations in town, and forgot how much fun they are - from the pancake breakfast in the morning, to the festival, through the parade, and into the evening get-togethers and fireworks, it can be a full day.

More to come...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day

Like an olde-time St. Charles, Iowa parade.
Bring out your bikes and have a terrific Independence Day celebration, where ever it happens.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Hill at the Edge of Town

"… Tonight I'll be on that hill 'cause I can't stop,
I'll be on that hill with everything I got,
Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost,
I'll be there on time and I'll pay the cost,
For wanting things that can only be found
In the darkness on the edge of town."
(1978 B. Springsteen)

It may not be so dark on that hill at this time of the year, but the rest sounds pretty accurate.

Now, may I speak freely for a moment? 

What has happened to the Thursday ride? I seem to remember nights when the group would be all strung out, from top to bottom when it hit the hill at the edge of town. From what I saw tonight, other than the first guy up and another guy way near the back, everyone looked to be on a slow Sunday spin. All relaxed and smiling. Where was the speed? Where were the grimaces? Where was the look of pain?

I understand, it may be partly my fault, after all I haven't done the ride in months (and may not be allowed, or welcomed, back any time soon), but it seems like the ride needs a protagonist, an instigator to stir the pot. Heck, If I had known it was Thursday cruise night, I would have come back long ago; a nice, easy ride before the weekend sounds pretty good. Not that I am volunteering, mind you. No, I would be that guy at the back, a grimace that only looks like a smile, panting, red in the face, and ready to be dropped after two miles. 

It is much easier to get there ahead of time, take some photos, go home and write about it, and ride fast vicariously. Keep on keeping on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This Bud's for You, 1 July

Remember those old music myths - if you played a certain Beatles song backward, you would hear a satanic message? Or something like that? If you ever gave it a try, I imagine you were less than impressed by the lack of hidden message. Playing tonights Bud's Ride finale in reverse photo order is kind of the same - no hidden message. Your SoCalCycling.com victor led from the wind-up to the line and, though his lead was never so great to allow him to relax, it was as simple and straightforward as that. This Bud's for You:

From the Archives: San Luis Rey Road Race, 1995

Back in my racing prime, or as close as I ever got to a racing prime, I had certain number of big targets each and every year. That number was greater than one, but less than three; the number being two - the Tour of St. George/Chums Classic/Tour of Hurricane, and the San Luis Rey Road Race. During those times I tried to never miss an opportunity to interact with my far-flung fans. You will notice the young man on the extreme left was particularly thrilled to meet a big time amateur like myself. 

The race was notable for a lack of judgement on my part. I was in the group of twelve contesting the finish but was unable to keep pace with Devon and the five chasing immediately after him. With six across the line I believed all the money was taken and so sat up. It was only later that I realized the money went ten deep and my eleventh place was not good enough to collect any of it.

There was a more memorable moment as well: On the second lap, where the road began its climb I went to the front and strung the group out. Completely single file. Everyone should do that at least once in a career. Even if it is an unnecessary expenditure of energy [dumb move], it is a cool dumb move. Later Devon calculated that ten riders dropped out at that point. Double cool - just increased my chances. Maybe not such a dumb move after all.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Blues: Slowly Passing

We ride two different roads - hers is full of conversation, "rambling" I call it. It flows as long as the pavement unfolds in front of her wheel, it takes sudden turns, is often directionless, and frequently gets her lost. Mine is studied and planned, small talk involves bikes, bike trips, bike people, and little else. It is to the point, with little room for randomness.

I was keeping the ride "together" by following at a short distance; she does not like when I ride her wheel, hence the short distance. At sixteen miles per hour, our clip was not quick, but I was content with it. Pedaling the Ibis allowed me to hop between the pavement and the dirt verge at will. I was off pavement when our sixteen miles per hour pace carried us up to a lone rider, and so I hopped onto the path in preparation for passing.

Our pace dropped - fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve. Then leveled off. The Los Angeles River Ride had brought heavy morning bike traffic over to the San Gabriel River Trail. But that was then, and this was now. Passing groups gave way to big gaps with ample opportunity for passing slower solo riders, yet she seemed stuck in place, and I could not understand the hesitancy. 

My preparations for settling in to a new, slower, reality were suddenly preempted by a subtly evolving shift to the left. "Ah, the pass. Finally." But, man was it slow. She moved ever so slightly ahead, and I had hope. Hope can be dashed in the flicker of a light, the blink of an eye, or it can, as I was to find out, drag on through countless wheel rotations. There was no turning of heads between the two, and I guess I was far enough behind that no hint of conversation reached my ears, yet the slowness of the pass suggested something was up. Hope turned to dismay as I began to realize the slow pass was devolving into a non-pass. 

She had found someone to talk to.

Zeus knows, I can't blame her for finding conversation where, or when, she can, and she is a far more "social animal" than am I. Once again I tendered my resignation from the Benevolent Order of Adequate Pace. Besides, this wasn't so bad - I still had the dirt verge to keep me occupied. As tends to happen in instances like this, though, one thing led to another.  Twelve miles per hour became eleven, ten, and then even nine as the two new friends caught an even slower moving couple.

And the turning of the cranks became a turning of the screws.

No dirt would keep me entertained for long at that pace. So it was another hop up to pavement, the flash of a peace sign in passing, and "i'll see you up ahead." That's the great thing about cycling, isn't it? It can be as socially infectious as we want it to be, at nearly any given moment.

It was a great weekend to escape the heat and humidity inland, for the humidity, but a little less heat at the coast. Hope everyone had a great couple days.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Boobs on Bars

Pete has, lately, been organizing these mountain bike rides through many of our local riding hot spots. Though I wanted to get out to each of them I missed out on three (at least) earlier rides, to Chino Hills State Park the world famous Fullerton Loop, and Marshall Canyon, so when this latest one, to Bonelli Park, popped up on Facebook I made sure I was ready and not let the opportunity pass me by. Now, Bonelli is like a once a week thing for me [yes, you say, we've grown weary of all those Bonelli posts, you say] but, and as I have mentioned before, there are so many interconnected, and criss-crossing trails in the park that it is hard to tire of the place since you can mix it up each time, and thus vary the loops.

the intrepid party of explorers ready to depart

The last time I did a group ride at Bonelli it was with the Girlz Gone Riding, and more specifically geared towards beginners and novices, and I was able to take them on my favorite lakeside detour around the cove. Today we kept more to the steeper and rockier perimeter, damaging legs and egos the whole time. There are some steeps that really force you to push and slow grind, even in the easiest gears. The kind of hills that may have you hunched over so far that you are riding "boobs on bars" - an apropos description I must admit I had never heard before today.

I think the group may have been a bit smaller this morning since some of the usual protagonists are in Portland for the Naked Bike Ride (photos or it didn't happen, I believe is in order), but we had a fun group, a fun ride, and I will certainly be keeping an eye peeled for the next one. Thanks, Pete, for organizing.

kactus kingdom

up to the heliport and into the clouds

this little trail segment, coming down from the helipad, is trickier than it looks

riding through the summer dry

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