Wednesday, August 24, 2016

About an Hour

Turning right onto Bonita brought three riders into view, when I caught up to them just before Casa Colina, they turned out to be a trio of young women with one beach cruiser and two more substantial roadie bikes between them. Outside the Old Stump, Mike's Wednesday Pedal Power group was waiting to get things going. I cooled my heels while a freight train rumbled past on the first train crossing at Fairplex and Arrow, and then made one of those big exasperated exhalations at the second crossing, where a Metrolink train carrying folks home from downtown LA sped past. A few wayward riders cast adrift from the Bud's Ride cruised along Puddingstone before I turned off onto the little parallel dirt trail which I was expecting to be the highlight of the evening ride. Longer shadows at the end of August. A couple of couples slowly rode through the park while discussing what to do next. One roadie began packing up his bike on Wright while, a little further on, another sat on the curb working on the cleat of his left shoe. Back at Fairplex and Arrow I caught up to Jenna and Jeff, stopped at the light and said hello until our light turned green; they continued on up to Sal's to meet Richard and the rest of the Loopy bunch for pizza. A couple blocks later I slowed to let a wee lass riding her trike in fancy party dress and pretty pink helmet cross the street, dad walking behind. As she got to the top of the corner accessible ramp she exclaimed, while sounding amazingly like Boo of Monster's Inc, "I did it!" She did, and made it look easy - a future climber. That's the highlight. Back in Claremont, a driver, already halfway through the crosswalk, grudgingly gave way to a young boy walking his mountain bike across the street, a look of frustration at having to wait clearly etched on his face. Sigh. People walking through the Village, and cars parked, a lot of cars. A guy jogging with a cute little black and white dog, I don't know what kind. Some loud music and practice taking place on one of the roof-top athletic fields. A murderous gathering of crows, all for one little hawk perched on a soccer goal. Looking left I see a family approaching on their bikes; swing around and wait for the photo op, and am caught in the act, the photo turning out to be blurred anyway. And then the sun, almost slipped from the sky, a bloated orange/red fireball in rapid descent. Finally, two turns from home a boy walking with his dad, a big, enthusiastic wave impossible to not respond with a smile and wave of my own.

I haven't often made it out on Wednesday evenings this summer. I am glad I did tonight, there was a lot to see.

Cycling Claremont: Hennie Kuiper

I mean really, if you are going around naming chickens how could you not distinguish one of them with the name Hennie Kuiper? This Hennie is a bit stand-offish, not a trait (I believe) the other Hennie was known to exhibit. While the other chickens ran over to see what I had brought for them (nothing), Hennie here ran away, and probably would have gone all the way up the plank and hidden in his house if I had made the slightest of movement more. The Hennie shown above, was pretty big, and would probably have beaten its poultry mates in a lapped race around the pen.

The real Hennie Kuiper, as a racer, was an accomplished cyclist, winning Gold in the 1972 Olympic Road Race, multiple stages in the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, World Championship, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Giro di Lombardia, Milan-San Remo, the Milk Race, Grand Prix de Wallonie, etc...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cupid, Death, and Beyond

How Cupid and Death teamed up in the first place, must be quite some story and, while I am not sure I would want to look back to see that tandem chasing, if they were up the road I might be driven to extra effort just to find out the reason for their ride together.

"Cupid, Death, and Beyond" (1881) by Max Klinger (Theo Stroefer, printer) from the exhibition, Guillermo del Torro, At Home with Monsters, showing now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Sometimes you'll see it as splotches, rusty pockmarks staining the landscape, and other times as great waves rushing down a hillside, flowing over everything in its path. Buckwheat. It is difficult to miss this time of year, and even more difficult to ignore. In fact to do so probably requires conscious effort. But then why would you want to do that? I took a close look during rides this weekend, split between the SGRT and Bonelli Park and noticed a great range in growth pattern; those spread out along the San Gabriel River Trail seemed more crimson, a little more pliable, perhaps due to slightly cooler temperatures, slightly more morning moisture. The swaths at Bonelli contained drier patches, rust turning black with brittle stalks. Surprisingly, though, Bonelli also had plants still in bloom, small white flowers contrasting with puffs of rust. A lot to see when we ride - up close, and far away.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cleaned Up

quiet along the shore of Puddingstone this evening

tall trees and long shadows

I did not discover that mythic Escher downhill - perpetual, not to mention never-ending. The local supplier failed me this month, so no extra energy was to be summoned from my legs. Wait, what? [throat clearing sound] Moving on; I just was not quite up to drafting that bus along Bonita. My wind-chapped face and red wind-blown eyes suggest that the wind was, most certainly, not at my back. Yet there it was - the little screen telling me I had picked up an extra two and a half miles per hour at the end of the evening ride. 

I may find my way back to racing, yet.

I shaved off my mustache. Yes, no longer mustachioed. 

Could it be, I wondered?

And so I conducted a highly scientific experiment, comparing stats from two comparatively similar rides, each ridden weeks apart, one with mustache, and one without. The stats don't lie; other things might, but not the stats. Two and half miles per hour.

someone left this nice directional arrow; it came in handy pointing to where the mustache was.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lines in the Sand

Either I vary my line, each lap, as it sweeps around the discus / shot put cage, or I was chasing someone last night on the Cross Town Loop. There is room enough here, for passing runners, whose wayward paths deflect from the competition track. To the left, to the right, maybe middle of the road, testing one then the other. One side firm, you know what to expect, the other wishy-washy, flip-flopping onto your side in the soft, leafy verge. There are rocks around the bend, unseen obstacles from this vantage, but it is a familiar ride and you lean left with confidence, over the bumps to the smooth path of turf.

Politics. Ride.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is Closed

The infamous red flag has the Wilderness Park closed again this week - closure is scheduled to last from Tuesday the 16th through Thursday the 18th, expect the trails to reopen on Friday the 19th.

Update: Closure has been extended through Friday, reopening will now take place on Saturday.


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