Back to the Bowl...

If it's Tuesday (as it was last night), I must be at the world famous Rose Bowl. There was a time when that would have been true, but as this was my first visit this year, there is not quite as much truth to it these days. Anyway, it was kind of like visiting with an old friend, or at least a friend you only see once a year, but can still pick up where you left off without missing much of a beat.

now, i don't know if he was off the front in a solo break attempt,
or if he timed things to make it look like he was. either way, he got the spotlight

Of course, much depends on what you mean by old friend, and how it is said; the difference is subtle, but distinct. If you say it with a sneer and heavy load of sarcasm, as a response from Kirk to Khan (if you know what I mean) Old Friend, you've got it right. See, the Bowl wants to welcome you back, it's all in good fun after all, right. Right. But then it is going to make you pay for that pleasure. Sure friend, glad you're back; all is good. Saddle up, lets race. 

Like all good training rides, the one at the Rose Bowl is a mixture of fun and serious competition. Because the concept of "fun" is supposed to be devoid of any sense of seriousness (I checked the definition), the combination of the two is a tricky juxtaposition in, and of, itself. It is a lot like the term "organized chaos" which, I think, I have used in the past in an attempt to describe the Bowl. It is a madhouse conglomeration composed of racers, recreational riders, commuters on bikes, commuters in cars, walkers, runners, strollers, dogs, golf balls, soccer balls, soft balls, and Cat 5's all, largely, trying to occupy the same space at the same time. A thin white line helps create some sense of order; ability and experience sort the rest.

It is easy to find your way back to the Rose Bowl. Like an old friend, it will gladly welcome you with open arms, a firm handshake, a slap on the back, a smile and a joke. What you need to keep in mind is that, like any meaningful friendship, this one is going to require some effort to maintain. That is what you will find hidden behind the smile, the innuendo beneath the joke. Good to see you, Old Friend, you say to one another, with gritted teeth and narrowed eyes.