Thursday, June 25, 2009

A day, ahhh... the life

So as it turns out, everyone visits me. I have friends from out of town, out of the country, from the Valley, from SLO, from the Bay Area, Reno, Tahoe, Seattle, and places I can’t even locate on the map that come for visits, bike rides, food, wine, illicit drugs and other activities I can’t readily admit to. And all this, just lately. Why does everyone come just to see little ole me?

Sense of humor, wit, intelligence, humility? All unlikely… But one of the sure fire reasons anyone ever comes to my house or agrees to spend any amount of time with me is on a bike ride, for a bike ride, to get to a bike race, cycling event or just for maintenance and mechanical needs on their two wheeled machine. Of this, I am certain. And unlike many riders, who only do this ride or that ride, or only train alone, or who like these riders or that club but definitely not the others, the Bobas or Norcal or Nexus or Art’s or whatever the fuck, I’m a cycling HO! I’ll ride with anyone.

And because I have such low standards (as does apparently she), last night Trac-Trac, blogger and heavyweight extraordinaire came to town for a mt. bike ride. Now I am all for clowning and riding with hot chicks, but to ride with the hottest clown in town was a lifelong dream come true. I was expecting some cupcakes from the cupcake but I bet she was all out of baking soda, or is it powder? Some people take for granted the company of others, especially once they start to get annoying, but not me. I was, am, all about living in the moment. The fact that I have asked her on about 4 rides over the past 4 years, actually been on about 5 rides where she happened to be there, but never one with the sole intent of her coming to ride with me, made this indeed a special occasion, one worth writing about.

As is often the case, I scrambled home after a hard day of making the city a better place to live and got ready for the ride. I tried to ignore my immense lower back pain, my recent decline in immune system stability, prominent outbreaks of unidentified communicable diseases and promptly climbed into my used chammy for a sundowner ride in one of the most spectacular mt. biking parks on the west coast. After agreeing to show up early so as to be able to see all the best trails the park has to offer before the sun sets, I get a text from Trac saying, “running a bit late, traffic.”

Whodathunk it? Traffic, northbound on US 101 on a weekday around quitting time? Startling revelation for all parties, but I was already chammied up, so what is a fella to do? I mounted my road bike and did about a two hour spin. I hear this is good for “opening up the legs.” When I returned, sure enough, the ladies had arrived. While I was all set for a romantic raping in the woods with just a fat chick that I figured I could handily out muscle (she lives near the Ridge trail, in a house surrounded by oaks), instead I got Trac and her “teammate.” I guess teammate wanted to explore the trails in my backyard as well, apparently she is quite the mt biker, structural engineer, architect, man slayer, and party killer, with two thumbs. Somehow she thinks having two thumbs in a distinguishing characteristic? I didn't ask any questions and besides, as most of you know (what, like two of you?), you have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on Pedro.

Clearly, as clear as the day is long, Trac brought her wingwoman (no, NOT a D.U.F.F., by any means!) to advance her chances of slaying yet another stallion. Or, could it be that she was genuinely afraid of being alone with me? Not so much for physical harm, but more for what if I was totally annoying, or sarcastic, or incessantly coming on to her all night. Well, either way, and for whatever motivation, the dynamic changed, we were now like Jack, Chrissy and the brunette. 3 was company indeed. And just for good measure, just so she knew she was safe and if she was entertaining any ideas of attempting to jump me (sexually) that I wanted to thwart, I said something like, "gee, have you put on some weight since I last saw you?" Women, even waify ones it turns out, don't take kindly to this. And if I decreased my already non-existent chances of my bones being jumped, I certainly upped my chances of being pepper sprayed, not out of self-defense, but out of joy at bringing me pain.

The ride was actually noteworthy as well. We rode over to the park and entered at the dirt crits at Howarth Park, looped through the single track around Spring Lake and climbed up to Cobblestone to get the game started. Orchard and Live Oak took us to the top of Rough Go and a rest at the lake. I asked an innocent fella if he’d mind taking a picture of me and my two girlfriends together, since I finally convinced them to come out on a ride with me instead of making me work so hard in the bedroom. He was all over that shit. And as one of the gals pointed out, it’s a good thing I have such small penis because otherwise those red shorts would be way too revealing!

After seeing the wingwoman's skills, I realized that sweet and funny though she was, and great to have along, we wouldn’t be doing the prize trails in the park and still making it back by darkness. So, easy enough, a rerouting kept us closer to sunset grub yet still with plenty of just plain perfect trails to explore. The crash tally, for those that are keeping track (Emily!) was Pedro 2, Trac 1, and Teammate O (that I know of). The most spectacular superman spill of the night was a superman effort by the Ms. red crotch herself. I got to see all of that. Oh yes, back to the park and the trails; it's technical enough to keep you sharp, steep enough to make you work, and fun enough to ask yourself why you ever ride on the road at all.

It was time for dinner and we finished up a lap around Ledson Marsh, the Ridge and down Marsh to Canyon and spilled out of 3 hours of doing it, “dirty style,” to quote Trac herself. Yes, she did say that. Ask her.

I was ravished, Trac was full of female luna gu's and strawberry clif blocks that she’d been pounding all evening but the more refined of us, Teammate and Pedro, were starvin marvins. Our anti-yeast change of clothes backpack awaited us at East-West and grub we did. Soooo good, if you haven’t mixed the beat puree with the hummus, you must. Of course, with a chance to look at each other's faces rather than asses, this where the conversation got interesting.

Trac would not stop talking about how she didn’t want to be talking about what were we talking about (her “va-jay-jay”). Teammate wanted to know if “the carpet matched the rug” and I said, “of course, it has to, I can totally verify that!” And I can, not because I have dreamed about it or have photos or because Trac would even consider sending me any in a veiled email message, but rather my father was Irish, and his father was Irish, and I have known a few redheads. I mean truly redheads, the few that I have known in my day, (even dated one - so sweet she is, Hi Amy! Love you, can’t wait to meet your new beau!) and those people have red pubes. It’s just a fact, jack. Whether they trim, shave, maintain or otherwise fertilize and grow them, that is an individual choice, but the color, now that is part of god’s divine plan.

We froze our asses about off pedaling home as the fog and cool temperatures rolled in. A hasty collection of boom boxes, skirts, thongs, and text messages was followed by a packing of the car and a nearly 10 pm departure for the wingwomen. I managed to shower and throw myself in bed for an extremely pleasant night’s sleep, surrounded by my ever present bed-time partners… a male and female, and of the 3 of us, only the males are recently shaven, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Terrorists... a Problem or a Reaction to Sad Reality?

Names of correspondents were not changed and no one's identity is protected because no one reads this blog and even if someone did, they wouldn't care...

Dana (Israeli),

Thanks for your insight, from an insider. Here are some things to consider from an outsider.

On the one hand, you suggest that during the truce, Hamas didn't "stop bombing Israel" - just did so less frequently? I haven't heard of any credible news sources making this claim. It seems that both sides honored the truce and that only after efforts and negotiations failed (Hamas wanted more freedom of operations within Gaza, a more open border for supplies, medicine, food to be imported and Israel rejected this out of fear of weapons and terrorists being brought in..) did rocket attacks begin anew.

First of all, Hamas does not have the capacity to "bomb Israel," as I understand it, rather the launches are of a fairly primitive variety at a town or two within their reach. Something like a few killed and 16 injured?

Secondly and much more significantly, you say that an "increase in security and control over 'Palenstine', including the West Bank, by Israel, has been in direct response to terrorist attacks within Israel by Palestinians." Do the terms "security and control" include aircraft bombing raids? ( Yet at the same time you say that Israel's tactics have reduced suicide bombings? Which is it, aggression by Israel toward Palestinians has reduced suicide attacks or is in response to them?

You may be keen to the fallacy here, and the same is true with many U.S. politicians who don't distinguish between acts of terrorism on the part of people around the world and the capitalistic, imperialist system that concentrates power and resources in the hands of the few at the expense of the many, including the planet's natural ecosystems. Terrorism exists because people are desperate. They are willing to kill, be killed to achieve things like freedom from oppression and occupation, food, water, land, control over their own resources, etc. Until the "developed" nations of the world recognize this, every single effort to "Stomp out terrorism" and every "War on Terror" will do nothing but add fuel to the fire. It gives reason and cause for more suicide attacks, not less. The U.S. is a prime example - by definition this country was started by terrorists, willing to defy, kill and wreak havoc on the British who were occupying, over-taxing, extracting copious resources and oppressing citizens of the colonies.

The international community is making a different point from what you say - "these actions have been directly instigated by violence against Israelis, within Israel." That is, the response by Israel is greatly disproportionate, extremely aggressive and effectively killing (either directly with bombs or indirectly by cutting off supplies, food, water, medicine, etc.) primarily innocent civilians in Gaza. The three-day death toll in Gaza climbed to 345 with more than 1400 injured. Do you think this will stop attacks from Hamas, reduce chances for attacks from others, like Iran, or somehow quell suicide bombers? Do you think it's an appropriate response to the rocket fire by Hamas in southern Israel?

Barghuoti makes this point and offers what I believe to be true; the feeble rocket attacks by an starving, desperate people is a symptom of a greater problem - the oppression and occupation of Palestinians by Israel and the lack of a truly autonomous, contiguous land for Palestinians. I also agree with him that much like in the film "Wag the Dog" or in many U.S. political maneuvers, the politicians of Israel are attempting to "look tough" in defense of their nation-state at a time of elections. I'm sorry, but all the lives - even one of the lives - lost and shattered, on either side, to me are more precious than political advancement.

Until the Zionist movement is silenced, a proper nation-state is awarded to the deserving Palestinian people, the same basic tenants will persist. In my opinion, what Israel should fear more than anything, certainly more than Palestinian rocket fire or the loss of some of "their land" to Palestinians or the creation of a nation called Palestine - is their overly aggressive actions unifying the Arab world against them. That would be devastating for all parties involved.

Thanks for considering an outsider's point of view,

Pedro (Californiano)

On 12/31/08, Dana Shapiro wrote:
For records sake, after the truce ended two weeks ago, Hamas (Palestinians) were the ones to reinstate violent behavior. During the truce, Hamas didn't actually stop bombing Israel, they just reduced the velocity of attacks. While a nonviolent strategy in reaction to Israel's attack would be morally respectable, as suggested by Barghouti, it is definitely not the reality. Barghouti sounds like a relatively rational politician, too bad he's not representative of the governance in Gaza.

Almost all the increase in security and control over 'Palenstine', including the West Bank, by Israel, has been in direct response to terrorist attacks within Israel by Palestinians. So, while I agree that many if not all of Israel's actions over the past 2 years have created major problems (except for reducing suicide bombings, which it has success achieved), these actions have been directly instigated by violence against Israelis, within Israel.

On Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 7:21 PM, pedro <> wrote:

check this NPR story out! Mustafa Barghouti says the ones benefiting from the violence are Israeli politicians, much the way Bush benefited in public opinion (by a vast majority of Americans) by striking in Afghanistan and Iraq in the eyes of the US public, at first at least...

this one is decent too...Scott Lasensky of the U.S. Institute of Peace

Dana Shapiro
Department of Man in the Desert
Social Science Unit
J. Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Sede Boqer Campus - Israel 84990

Monday, December 15, 2008

Successful Rides

SLO - town was amazingly warm, well attended (about 60 riders per day). Chris/Trish Black did a great job. Info and photos from that ride below.

SR - was equally impressive, highlighted but a feisty group of 45 on Friday and an epic Sweetwater Springs climb, a massive group Saturday of 0ver 60 in cold temperatures heading out Coleman Valley to the coast - photos from our super SAG and photographer Ronnie Lenzi:


The Saturday group was antsy, tough to contain despite my begging, pleading, and manhandling riders! Once we split the group at the 50 mile mark after lots of climbing, most went home and 12 crazy fast riders chased Nick and Dirk around the county for a 6 hour ride. Ouch.

Sunday saw ride temps to start, in the rain, at 29 degrees. 18 riders showed! Wow. Most of the group was pretty gassed, with sore legs, and enjoyed skies clearing after the first 20 minutes and 3 hours of great, rather epic riding. We head south (due to black ice and hail at the top of Trinity and Spring Mt.) to the rolling hills between Tomales and Sebastopol and had a wet last 30 minutes.

Thanks to ALL who CAME OUT! The rides, the dinner, the training, all make the whole charade worth while! Total of 206 miles, 13,000 feet of climbing and ONE RIDER, only one, showed up to complete all the miles for Santa Rosa. Congrats to MADDOGGGGGG, seen here riding next to his gay lover.


From Chris last weekend---

Today we had a total of 57 riders and slightly cooler temperatures for a great ride south to the Nipomo Mesa. Walter Ajanel from Wally's Bike works provided support for today's ride (so Trish could rejoin the ride after driving support yesterday).

The weekend was a big success; thanks to all who attended and contributed to lots of fun and sore legs. Total distance was 204 miles and just shy of 10,000 feet of climbing.

I hope many of you will attend Peter Brown's camp next weekend in Santa Rosa; it should be a blast!

Saturday photos at the bottom:

Chris Black
Morgan Stanley/24 Hour Fitness/ Specialized Cycling Team
San Luis Obispo, CA

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

December to Remember - Happy Hills x 2!


So much to get excited about, including two amazing training camps starting
in one month. Arrive early, the rides leave on the hour, not 10 minutes after.

San Luis Obispo - meet at Black Horse ( 1065 Higuera Street, 93401)

Friday December 5;
Ride leaves at 1:00 PM, heads south (Huasna) 3-4 hours.

Saturday December 6; Ride leaves at 9:00 AM and heads "up the coast,"
to the infamous Santa Rosa Creek (aka "The Wall") climb.80+ miles.
Returning Old Creek and Hwy 1.Plan on 5-6 hours and a "B" group
that may skip the climb and head back early.

Sunday December 7
; Ride leaves at 9:00 AM and heads south to the
Nipomo Mesa, 75+ mileswith bail out points for those who need to leave early.
4-5 hours.

Santa Rosa - meet downtown at 4th and D Streets (Peet's/Starbucks)

Friday December 12; Ride leaves at 1:00 PM and heads north - Windsor,
Guerneville, Graton loop 3-4 hours.

Saturday December 13;
Ride leaves at 10:00 AM and heads west to
Coleman Valley (reverse route of Tour of California), back through Russian
River,Occidental and the hills of Sebastopol.
Returning through Cotati and
Sonoma Mt. Plan on 6 hours and a "B" group that may head back early
the second time through Occidental.
87 miles, 6 hours.

Sunday December 14
Ride leaves at 10:00 AM and heads east to
Trinity Grade. Regroup at Cavedale firestation and head to Napa Valley for
the last climb of the weekend, Spring Mountain. 5-6 hours.

The Santa Rosa Camp will include a 6pm Saturday night dinner party at
the Riviera Restaurant. Space is limited to the first 50 riders who email
(with the subject line "Riviera" - they are attending
how many people in their party, AND willing to pay (about $30 per person)
for an exceptional multiple course Italian meal from the Pesce family.

B. We'll see the likes of many teams represented at the Happy Hills,
but two hometown teams will be expected in full force.
The team (BOBA vs. NORCAL) which shows the most colors,
does the most miles, and represents Santa Rosa the best will receive an
incredible prize fit just for them - to be given out at the opening night of
Tuesday Night Twilight's - 2009.

C. See links to google maps below for detailed route descriptions.


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


View Larger Map

The basic facts remain the same.

1. This is a free winter endurance training camp. Rides usually
generate between40 and 100 experienced riders (Pro's, Olympians,
National Champs,weekend warriors, etc.), you must be able to
handle your bike well in a group and always be prepared to fix
your own flats and find your own way back to the group/home.
Several of the days, however, will have sag support.

At least one water/pee stop can be had each day but bring all the food
you need with you.

2. This is not a race, and while the routes are hilly and the
workouts are hard, December champions are frowned upon.
Both the SLO and SR camps will have some hard climbs where
folks can be "turned loose" to regroup at the top.
Other than that, we will try to stay together.

3. Chris Black is the ride leader in San Luis Obispo and
I'll take the reigns in Santa Rosa. While there will
be bathrooms available at the start, please take care
of nature's business before arriving. Rides leave on
time, so arrive a half hour early for coffee.

Looking forward taking over county roads as a
massive group, getting fit and having a blast!

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's that time of year, again...

Below is the final notification from last year's training camp. Funny how I mention that the SLO riding is world class, much like where I grew up & into cycling - Sonoma County.

Well lo-and-behold, here I am again, made the big move from SLO back to Santa Rosa. Many questions have been asked and answered about life, work, joy and pain, but most of all, what to do about the 5th Annual Happy Hills Training Camp come December 2008? 

The SLO camp was (is?) traditionally held the first weekend in December, conveniently situated to burn turkey (for you Republicans - no, not the country - let's assume the terrorist threat there is not an imminent one!) and stuffing yet not too close to clash with Judeo-Christian Capitalist birthday traditions... 

I also blogged after the ride about traditions, starting one of your own, etc. The Browning of Happy Hills may be Blackening, Chrisply, and Happy Hills looks to be dividing, growing, like mitosis of a cycling cell... nothing could make me happier, ok, almost nothing. 

Word on the grape vine is SLO Happy Hills will go off December 5th-7th and SR Happy Hills is coming together for December 12th-14th. Book now, you're not gonna want to miss this. 

Details on how to have the some of the best 3 (6 now!) days of long, slow, gorgeous riding can be found here, it's just a matter of time. You'll see familiar faces, make new friends, and your legs will be so glad when it's all over. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Boise, I'm yer ho

Westward we march.

Leaving Cini in Fort Collins was bittersweet. Coulda put that prof in the van and hauled her on the bike racing adventure. She-da rocked it. The drive outta the rockies, via the Snowy Range of southern Wyoming was full of so many vistas, I had to close my eyes. I slept at least 3 of the 7 hour drive back to Park City. I'm a good sleeper, and I'm a good kid when I'm sleeping.

There wasn't much time in PC before it was off to the Tuesday night world championships - SLC own crit on a car racing track. Great workout, if only amid some very strong yet poorly skilled riders. Not only did they like guttering every one in the crosswind while trying to bring back breaks - then wondered why no one would pull through - but with two laps to go the second bloke of the night tossed himself to the ground in front of me. Forty five minutes of intervals was enough of the crit for me, I watched the last two laps and licked my still weeping wounds.

Aside from getting a burger in a pita (ever heard of that? I mean where am I supposed to put the mayo, mustard, lettuce, onions, tomatos...), dinner was swell with Kirsten and Nate - fine upstanding young citizens. Only thing is Kirsten can grate, like on your knuckles when the cheese is down to the knub and ya slip. Nate is a brave man. And not only did I find this out at dinner as she was unrelenting towards me (I did the awful deed of sending my burger back to get a real bun around it), but in the morning I fed Pow-dog a some scramble egg juice and just about got hung in the town square. Wowza. The hostess with the mostess took super swell care of us in the PC palace, so no complaining at all. At all. Can't wait to have those two out to Cali.

This morning the travels continued. Another climb up Royal Drive above Deer Valley to start the day with a 30 miler, at altitude with high heart rates, and then the pavement moved beneath us. I-84 doesn't offer much, but Boise sure does. Great city, so many outdoor play grounds and OMG, they's some pretty folk here in this town, and some ugly ones, but the purty ones sure is purty. And there's good conversation to be had in Boise, like at dinner when these two made up late 30's ladies sat down next two us, talking about being tipsy, having mouths like sailors, and then, the volunteered data;

"My husband of 15 years left me 3 months ago for my best friend!"

"Um, wow, no, that's terrible!" I managed to mutter.

"We have 3 kids, he's got them tonight so I'm out getting hammered with my friends, I'm so fucked."

"No you're not, you don't want him anyway, he did you a favor, made it easy on ya," I consoled.

"You're right," she said, "I'll try and keep that in mind. Oh, did I tell you he bought her a new rack?" she said as she glanced down at her own sagging self.

Without much else to say at this point, Craig and I managed to stand up and bid our farewells.

"Where you two going," she and her made up, equally losing equilibrium friend questioned, "we're just getting started?"

"No sure, maybe to bed, together, it is our honeymoon afterall!" The looks on their faces - priceless.

But no, I didn't say that. I only blogged it. But that makes it somewhat real.

It's late and I'm sleepy. I won't get into the conversation we had with the gal who, while strolling down the pedestrian mall, lined with lively music, bars and restaurants - a hopping Wed. night in Boise - wanted to (and did) show me how well her abscess healed, and where it was. I guess they lanced it or something? She was inspired by my arm bangages and figured we were abscess siblings.

Bend better not disappoint.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Colorado Imprecionado

I wasn't thinking too much about this state in its overall roll on this trip. Utah, Kentucky, Oregon were where I thought the good times would roll. Colorado has much to offer, in people, places, things and rides.

First off, it was a huge relief to leave Kansas. Lucas Euser was awaiting our arrival in Denver on Friday, the 4th. The plan was to arrive at our lovely hostesess Bree's place and head out for a ride. Lucas is still recovering from a nasty fall, nastier than mine, so a couple easy hours was all we wanted. The fact that none of us knew where to ride and that it was 95 out, did not deter. Every community should have bike paths, and lots of them. Los tres amigos explored the S. Platte River trail, leading south of the mile high city. A vibrant Latino community was present, all celebrating independence in their new, or not so new home country.

The ride was swell, and it ended it beers with lemonade inside at John and Jill's place. Lovely. The evening was filled with sushi (in Denver, I wondered... I guess it was fairly fresh, but...) and Sapporros. Bombs happened to be bursting in air. I didn't like it too much. Fireworks for fun. Although I was compelled to burst out with "DOWN with the British!", I couldn't help but think of many Iraqi families, and what they might think of us Americans watching explosives for fun. Jill and John are engaged, and loving life. It was great to meet such fun loving folk. I hope I get to see more of them. John will be at Cascade, running and rubbing for the Garmin-Chipotle team.

Saturday was Mt. Evans, 14,200 something feet. As a sprinter, I loved that ride. Mostly a gradual gradient, the first 3rd of which I kept pace with the little pro and roempile, but they left me behind. Before we were able to summit, as has been the case each of the last 3 days in the monsoon rockies season, the thunder rolled and we descended. I flew off that hill, even as the rain started to fall, passing cars and racing the precip hoping I could get back to the car before getting drenched. Mission accomplished. My confidence was high for handling in the rain. Dag gummit.

Post Evans, it was pack it up for Boulder. What a cool town. I could live there. Well planned, full of athletes and progressives, a veritable liberal island amid an ultra conservative state. A stroll down the famous Pearl Street entertained, and a falafel dinner went down well. The next morning it was up Canyon. Craig made me do a couple of hours before the crit. That is supposed to "open me up" for the race, but I just feared it would make me tired. I bet had I not crashed in the Master's race (which I got back on my brake rubbing, magnet clicking, banged up bike to finish btw), I bet the Pro race woulda sucked it outta me. All I really wanted (and feared) was to scrub the hell out of my wounds. Dr. Brown to the rescue. She gave me her key and after a stop at the farmacia to pick up the Tegaderm, we landed in Ft. Collins and took care of business. I got cleaned up, then dirtied the blood stream with a beer and 4 strong margaritas. Funny how that first night of sleeping with painful open and weeping wounds (poor Cini's sheets, I oozed all over them) wasn't so bad. Dr. Hassel and Dr. Brown were great dinner company. Craig had some UC Davis stories to share, as all 3 are alumi and seem to know many of the same folk. Too bad these gals don't live closer, I'd see more of them.

This morning it was all about Estes Park. An 85 mile mile round trip from Ft. Collins, this is a beautiful ride. The climbs around Horsetooth Reservoir were short and steep. But the ride up Big Thompson Canyon and up to Glen Haven was gradual and stunningly beautiful. Craig took the ride nearly to Estes Park, but my hip was begging for mercy. An Americano at Leah's was just what the doctor ordered. We booked it home though, losing elevation nearly the whole way. All in all, we did 70 Rocky Mt. miles in 3:45. Not too shabby. The evening is closing with a great stage of the Tour at Diana's. What a gracious hostess. Aside from killing a horse today, she's been so kind to us. I may have to seek some help with my biking problem.

Tomorrow, we'll do Salt Lake City Tuesday night world championships and spend one more evening with Kotval in delicious Park City. Then, it's off to Boise for a night, and the grand culmination of Cascade in Bend. Yahoo!