No, it's not the hill profile for a Giro stage, though they will present next year's Giro course this Saturday. Hair gel and swanky suits, galore! This, my friends, is a "significant northwest swell event," coming our way next week. The predictor-guys... No, not the bike racers, the surf report guys. Geez, we can' t talk about bike racing all the time. Anyway, those guys who watch the bouys and computer models and tea leaves and stuff are calling for 15-20 feet. In the channel.

That's, um, like big and stuff.

Now fear not, gentle reader, I will not be paddling out. That's a whole lot of water. Like the Stelvio. Only wet. The storm making it happen is sitting close to the coast, so that big mass of water will be movin' something fierce. But I will be dusting off the beach chair. Because I like to watch.

I might even get out the camera, the one that requires actual film. You remember film, right? Long, skinny, plastic ribbony substance, that when exposed to light and chemicals displays images. You know, that stuff. My film camera still kicks ass over the little digital box, but it only gets to come out on special occasions. If the tide hits just right, the wind doesn't freak, and Sandspit starts working, that would constitute a very special occasion.

If not, well, there's always the webcam at Mavericks.

In totally unrelated news, the gray lady plugged 'cross racing in today's Escapes section. What next, downhillin' in Sunday Styles? Mud, Sweat and Gears. You'd think, with the mulitude of talent assembled there in the big NYC, they could rally up a better headline. I mean, even I could do better than that one. Mud... Mud and... Barriers and... Um, well, right. Maybe later. Anywho, click and read. I'll just be sittin' here writing headlines. Pedaling... Mud stuck in pedals... Sweat and... Pedals and... Falling... Falling... Falling...

(Graph thingy stolen from wetsand.)


Now, with pictures...

I like the climbing rides. Roll out the door, start pedaling. Simple.

This time, instead of trying to make words, I brought pictures. Pictures are good. Or they would be good, if I'd bothered to bring my camera. But I didn't. My pockets were a little full. And I wouldn't want to add weight, you know. The horror! Instead, I give you furry, blurry cell photos. You never knew the world looked quite like this. Alien lenses. Or something.

million dollar view, not-so million dollar cell phone
the clouds were pink... really.

the road snakes upward
and up and up and up

one blue bike, such a poser

the view commanded the islands
they're out there, i promise

a cratered moonscape
i'll have a some dirt with my road, thanks


there's a coke in the fridge
and not much else


Under a Winter Sun

I like me some kelp. With a full moon comes wide tide swings. Yesterday, it hit 7 feet and change in the morning, then skedaddled on out to a minus by the late afternoon. As the tide goes out, the kelp reaches up and wraps around fingers and toes and surfboards. Nothing like blowing the take-off, because the kelp grabbed your fin.

Yesterday was some good surfing. An overcast, grey sort of day, the sea the color of the sky, or maybe it was the sky the color of the sea. I'm never quite sure about such things. A decent little swell brought out the full cast of characters.

There's the guy who always wears a white hat tied under his chin. There's the guy that rides each wave all the way to the beach, then walks back up the point for the shortest possible paddle back into the lineup. Is it really easier to walk than paddle? There's spastic paddler guy. His hands churn egg-beaterlike, his elbows high and dry. Who knew it was so hard to make a surfboard go. There's the wave hog. Got it! Outside, outside, got it! He likes to give a little whistle, just to be sure. I mean really, if you're that badass, go to Jalama or something. Tarantulas. Now there, my friends, is a great name for a surf spot.

But I am being digressing.

There's the dude who can't steer. Um, if you're going to take off from the top of the point, try not to run everyone over, mmkay? There's the spastic kid on the short board who's watched far too many surf vids. There's the woman who must have spent years at ballet school as a child. She stands on the board in third position, the feet placed just so, the arms floating all graceful like. She can't turn either, but she looks pretty doing it. I suppose there's something to be said for looking pretty. There's dad, teaching his kid to surf. He knows just where to sit in the lineup, and he launches his little missile into the perfect wave. Of course, junior falls over and gets worked. There's ugly pink surfboard guy. Pink. I hope it was free.

Me? I caught me a few waves and watched the sun dance off the peaks, turning grey to silver, each rolling swell a wrinkle in rippling silk.

Intermission Talk amongst yourselves. Topic, the weather.

Alright, I'm back now. Didya miss me?

The espresso machine called. Of course I answered. Now, where were we? Thanksgiving happened. Bikes were ridden. Nappage was committed. Coffee was consumed. People were watched. Pizza was eaten (with red wine, natch). Relatives were phoned. Slacking occurred. Fun was had.

The passive voice was massively abused in the writing of this post. Forgive me oh Chicago Manual of Style, I know not what I do.

Respect my Authoritay Was it me, or did the cop who pulled over the group ride bear a striking resemblance to Cartman? This coincidence made it terribly hard to take seriously the earnest lecture about behaving well and traffic laws (yes, kids, the red sign with the letters on it does mean stop) and such. Terribly hard not to start giggling at exactly the wrong moment. Congratulations, sir, you win the prize for Walking Caricature. Come on down, you'll find your prize behind door number two: A dozen jelly donuts. Mmm, donuts. Stop sign? What stop sign?

Maybe the local ride just needs a donut sponsor. Pass the sprinkles.

In other news, I managed only six points on last week's round of trivia. Alas. I need to work on my guessing skills. Or, um, learn something about bike racing. Right, I'll get right on that.

How 'bout that weather?



Ich bin ein Berliner. I am a jelly donut.

The letters are wearing off my keyboard. There's a blurry black splotch where the n is supposed to be. Same with the e, and the s, d, and c are catching up real quicklike. This is a regular occurence in my life, almost as regular as the wearing out of chains, cassettes, and other shiny moving parts made in Italy. For a while, I had a keyboard that had hardly any letters left at all. I could see all the numbers and those funky function keys, but no letters. This one's still got some life left in it, though. It looks well-used, broken in, like a favorite pair of jeans with the perfect rip just starting to show in the knee.

Letters, shmetters.

Saturday, someone told me I'm funnier in blogworld than in real life. Funny? This blog thingy is serious business, dammit. Of course, if I were to be funny, it certainly would never happen before 10.00 am. Just because I'm riding my bike doesn't mean I'm actually awake.

Pass the espresso. Yes, thank you, I'll have another.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of two hours from home on Saturday's ride, I broke my zipper. Of the lengthy list of things that can break on a bike ride, the jersey zipper ranks relatively low on the severity scale, somewhere between funny and annoying and a long way from expensive and catastropic. One does not, after all, have to walk home with a broken zipper. Nor is a cell phone necessary. But the weather was a tad on the chillier side of warm and while a base layer works really nice as, erm, a base layer, it did not work nearly so well as an only layer. My boobies froze.
Where was the old man standing by the side of the road with his Gazzetta? I needed that guy.
Spare tube? Check. C02? Check. Bonk money? Check. Safety pins? Um...

Shopping list:
Safety Pins.
Full-zip long-sleeve jersey.

That should just about cover it.


Into the Belly of a Hair Dryer

I just put lotion up my nose. It smells better than vaseline.

I rode up into the hills yesterday into the belly of a hair dryer. Warm winds whorled through the canyon crevices, the scaled road surface shimmering in the searing sunlight. My feet swelled in protest.

You have to climb to get to the climb, up through million dollar views, their twisting driveways peeling back from the main road. An old waterworks, green concrete built in the days of the WPA, stands guard at the base of the mountain. Extreme Fire Danger, reads the only warning sign. Past the reservoir, once above ground, now buried, you take your first bite out the climb. You feel sated, but this is only the beginning. Through the first steep set of corners, you reconsider. Somewhere your couch is calling, but you ignore it for now. The first false flat isn't flat, but relative to what comes before and after, it feels like it might be. Your confidence builds and recedes. Gravity's invisible hand pulls, your legs push.

The road snakes it way up the mountain, topping out at four thousand feet. In a fit of lizardish laziness, I stopped short of the summit. The view commanded the channel, the islands closer than they appeared, the city pixellated in white, red, silver, and green. Maybe if I'd taken a picture, you could see what I mean. And, I wouldn't have to write so much. Writing is hard.

Swooping down through the switchbacked corners, the scenery blurs vertiginously. Steep drop-offs stalk the unwary. Potholes pockmark the road surface, a cratered moonscape. The brakes burn, your hands cramp. Dodge the guy wrong-siding it, climbing too hard, too delirious to see the danger in a blind corner on a one lane road. You look over the edge, the view extends across the canyon out to sea.

Far below, a car inches its way upward, still small in the distance. You'll hear it long before you see it, surprising you behind the next corner, its mass monopolizing the road. You slip between it and the mountain side, a few centimeters to spare. The road straightens, flattens, then turns again. Your internal compass spins haplessly, seeking its bearings and finding none. A steep series of corners, none of them banked, lures you downward. Come here little girl, I'll give you some candy. You open the brakes, concede to temptation. Someone has painted "pave" on the road. An arrow points to a hole roughly patched. You corner again, wheels angled, a physics problem brought to life and set in motion. A straight steep chute ends with a stop sign. You wonder if you can. You do, but just.

The air feels slightly cooler here, down off the mountain, but not by much. Your sweat is long dried, evaporated nearly as fast as it appeared, leaving only salt behind to mark its visit. There's a Coke in the refrigerator, and the refrigerator lies just down the hill. You roll in the door, still in the twelve.

Disclaimers: This post brought to you by the Alliance for the Affirmation of Alliteration. In honor of the awkwardly named Third World Conference on Doping, no espresso was consumed in the composition of this post, a herculean feat never to be repeated here.


Blame the Cat

Cycling Revealed has begun their annual winter trivia game.
New questions show up every week until February.

So trivial.

I scored 7 points out of 15 on this week's edition. Some of the questions
are like kinda hard and stuff. They're grading on a curve, right?

Yes. I am a total dork. But you like so totally knew that already.

I had big plans for this post. I was going to write something witty, profound, even earthshatteringly brilliant.
But my cat is sleeping on my arm. I really can't type so well. Which puts brilliance a little out of reach.

It's always the cat's fault.



You're not punk...

...And I'm telling everyone.

I went to the gym today. Specificity, Shmecificity. Since I'm not very good with numbers, I kept losing count. Was that two sets or three? Eight reps or twelve? Maybe I need to carry a calculator. Or an abacus.

But counting is so not punk rock. So I just guessed.

Yo, meathead. Yeah, you, making funny faces and loud grunting noises, checking yourself out in mirror. Ohmigod, I can't believe you can squat three times my body weight.

You. Are. So. Cool.

NOW RERACK YOUR FREAKIN' WEIGHTS, DUMBASS! Newsflash, pec-boy, there are other people on the planet. And some of us plebes can't get your 45 plates off the squat rack, mmkay? I really like tracking down some gym staff guy to do it for me, or more to the point, for you, since you're the one that sucks. So I'm only going to say it one more time: RERACK YOUR WEIGHTS! Don't make me come over there. Because I'm way, way smaller than you.

Meanwhile, I'll be slam dancin' in the corner. A Girl's got to do something between sets. And it sure isn't listen to that '80s crap coming through the sound system. (If you like '80s crap, I'm sorry. For you.)

Anarchy burger, hold the government. (Extra credit, if you can name the originator of that gem of a phrase.) Speaking of punks, we had a little outburst of anarchy here at Disneyland, right on Main Street. Stop the electric light parade, we've got a cataclysmic situation here. Halloween night, a crowd of merry pranksters decided to throw a spontaneous party in the middle of State Street, the main shopping drag lined with chi-chi boutiques. Coach handbag, anyone?

Now, spontaneous outbreaks of "people power" are not exactly the norm here. Yes, student protestors burned the Bank of America in the Sixties (actually, I believe it was in 1971, but sometimes the calender refuses to conform to events), but that, my friends, was then.

I think there might be a few ageing hippies still hiding out in the hills. If you search the halls, there's probably even a Marxist or two lurking about the University. Has the New Left become the Old Left yet? Inquiring minds. (Full disclosure: All three volumes of das Kapital, first American edition, are sitting here on my shelf. Bound in red, natch.) We have a hardy band of war protestors who never miss a Saturday. Thanks to them, I frequently spend my training rides with peace songs stuck in my head, which at least makes it hard to summon up much in the way of road rage. All we are saying is give peace a chance. (No, no need to thank me, just playin' it forward.) But in the main, this place is pretty darn mainstream when it comes to the politicin' A median housing price in the low seven figures just doesn't bring out the anarchists. Property is Theft.
What, no takers?

Anywho, the Reclaimers led the police on a wacky foot chase around downtown. The cops weren't so amused, and out came the riot gear. Clear the station. All the cars came peeling out one after the other, getting crazy with the blue flashy lights.

Me? I was just trying to pedal my bikey to the grocery store to get some food. A Girl's gotta eat, you know.

Please don't run me over blue flashy lights. All I wanted was a Pepsi.