Thursday, May 29, 2008

Readin' Ridin' and Ruminatin'

What the heck happened to the week?! Last thing I remember I was watching it rain on Saturday morning and wondering if I was gonna get a dry ride in. I finally said "forget about it" at 1:30 P.M. I took a 2 hour ride (perfect traction!) and upon arriving back home the rain stopped. Oh well, it's all a blur from there, riding, reading, ruminating (even though I only have one stomach). The Andromeda Strain on A&E was was an interesting little diversion. How they managed to go from a semi-believable science/techno story to a really painful, bad comedy I'll never know.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dickhead in the Wind!

Sometimes, I don't know why, I get out on the bike and it feels like CRAP! Everything is wrong, I feel like a fat toad who hasn't been on a bike in a year, the wind is like a hurricane in my face (no matter which direction I'm riding), and then, I start imagining that some bastard has screwed around with my seat height. These and a hundred other rancid thoughts start to pollute my stream of consciousness while I'm doing this thing I profess to love so much. So last night, as I fought my way out Placer Street swearing aloud at the wind, shaking my fist at people in cars whom I deemed to have passed me too close, I finally arrived at the turn-out to Rattlesnake and the trail to the top of the world. Ahh, good old dirt! I saw a familiar short, steep section ahead and thought, I will not gear down for this hill, I'm going to hammer it! I stood out of the saddle, made three strong strokes and something snapped. The rear wheel locked solid and I found myself in that oh so awkward position of belly laying on the stem of the handlebars, while my lips could have kissed the front tire.
I thought I had snapped the chain for sure. But no! Then I thought it was the rear deraileur, nope not that either. What it was was my own careless (brainless?) attention to detail. I had fixed a flat tire on the rear the day before and only finger tightened the axle quick release. The wheel popped out of the drop outs and locked against the chain stays. I quickly looked around to see if anybody saw it and then, magically, my whole attitude changed. Humility. The rest of the ride was much better!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Race of Truth.

Sunday marked the beginning of a series of time-trials that the Redding Velo club is putting on. I have always loved racing the clock, so I loaded up my red bike and headed out to Millville to ride. The course was a 6.2 mi. down and back, with riders starting every 30 seconds. I flew like the wind on the way down and broke like the wind on the way back. But, all and all, I was pleased with my time of 18m. 04s. Yesterday's T.T. was the first in a series of four (one a month) through August. I was very impressed with how well the event was run and how nice the folks all were. There was everything from high dollar, purpose-built bikes, to tandems, to a full suspension mt. bike. (God, that hadda hurt!) I am definitely going to try to hit all four of these events and I encourage everyone to come on out and blow your cookies... I mean ride!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Walden's Bike by Hawking

For years I have dreamed of being a naturalist writer in the spirit of a Henry David Thoreau, Annie Dillard or perhaps Joseph Wood Krutch. I would wax poetic on the simple, seemingly insignificant doings of such romantic things as, Water Skippers, Nesting Birds and Poison Oak plant development. But alas, I am a rider of bicycles, so I tend to flash through these "Universes in Miniature" and get set for the next "Intense" section of the ride. Hey wait a minute, some physicists speak of theoretical, sub-atomic particles dubbed Tachyons. These particles are said to be able to travel faster than the speed of light. Maybe I am in a universe of Tachyons while riding my bike. Information simple cannot be received, processed and sent fast enough to have any bearing in the physical world, as we know it. But somewhere deep inside me, it's all getting in.

Monday, May 12, 2008


The weekend was full of matriarchal charm as the women in my life took center stage in the form of my daughter's 20th birthday and of course Mother's Day. Being the season of moderate temps, I simply hit the trail nice and early. Rousing no suspicion of fulfilling my own selfish needs in the form of 2 more epic bicycle rides and wearing the hats of "Good Dad", "Good Husband" and "Good Son", an art form that I have perfected through years of trial and miserable error. The worst of times was back in the 80's when an old buddy of mine, who was an icon of cycling in Shasta County would promise me, "an easy little 2 hour jaunt and you'll be home for lunch!" Then, for the nineteenth time, I found my self somewhere in the Manton area, hoisting my seventh draught beer and watching the sun set, along with any hopes I had of sleeping in my house that night. The bottom line is this, I enjoy cycling, I love my family!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sittin' on Top o' the World

Last night about 5 P.M. I arrived at the "Top of The World" on my Cross-Bike having fairly flown up the "Rattlesnake" trail. Quality training rides and excellent nutrition really do pay off! There was a guy sitting up there when I arrived, he had ridden up before me and was just kickin' it enjoying the lovely weather and scenery . He was delighted with my bike. We had a nice chat about everything from full rigid bikes, to one-speeds, to 700c wheels off road. Then, one by one, three guys on expensive, full suspension bikes arrived, then a girl who jogged up there came puffing up. It was a regular hoot-nanny folks and by gaw, I am so proud to a Redding local!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Lost Weekend

A whirlwind of a weekend, this last one was. Me dear old Mum turned 70 so there was a big party with lots of old friends from out of the area here. I surprised her with a real blast from the past in the form of our old, old friend "Hippie Charlie", from our L.A. days. Let me tell you friends, the 60's are still alive and kickin' albeit a wee tad gray! Old Char got going on subjects ranging from peyote cults to government mind -control plots until finally, I had to take him out for a little walk to the Sundial Bridge. Then as if by magic, in the light of the setting sun, friends began arriving one by one on their bicycles until Charlie finally yelled out, "Do you know every person who rides a bike in this town!?" We had not seen him in almost 35 years but it was just like old times again. He stayed Friday and Saturday night at the Motel 6 and "boogied on home" early Sunday morning. I got my weekend rides in, while he explored the area in his Prius.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian Europe, as in the Celtic celebration of Beltane, and the Walpurgis Night of the Germanic countries. Many pre-Christian indigenous celebrations were eventually banned or Christianized during the process of Christianization in Europe. As a result, a more secular version of the holiday continued to be observed in the schools and churches of Europe well into the 20th century. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the Maypole and crowning of the Queen of the May. Today various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on 1 May.

The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer. In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary's month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary's head will often be adorned with flowers. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of "May baskets," small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors' doorsteps.