Friday, December 22, 2006

To the Moon

double-click the picture to see a larger image
Stef designed the Team Mooney jersey we're wearing, and Chris and Stef have done the Photoshop work/magic. Chris, professional photographer, is on the far left. I'm standing next to him. Stef is under the moon to the right--the hairless one--and his smokin' hot wife Angela is on the far right--if you didn't already notice.

Be careful because she can kick your pathetic ass, my Gentle Reader of this Blog.


Craycroft by Campus Bike

Today I used my campus bike to ride back to the office from an errand on the Air Force Base. An adventure of sorts and I’ll make a note in the blog. The Base has a one of the best places in town to get your car fixed. 22x needed a new pair of struts and I had to leave her there all day. My problem was that I needed to get back to work somehow.

Craycroft Ave flows into the main entrance of the Base, and its about 4 or 5 miles from my office. There’s a wide bike lane all the way—so I will simply bike back to my office. But Craycroft is so busy and clogged with traffic… Driving to the Base sucks because every old retired ex-military fart is in town and going to the base for cheap shit they don’t need—made cheaper by the fact that you don’t have to pay taxes. So they drive slow and create a big fucking traffic jam—and there’s no way around them.

Okay—I get the campus bike out of my bike locker, throw it in the trunk of 22x, and drive to DM. I drop off the car, and now I’m on base and going to pedal back to work.

I’ve not ridden the campus bike this far except on the trails near Dog Mtn. I can still ride pretty fast, and I cover a lot of ground—the bike lanes on Craycroft are wide—and believe it or not, I’m riding faster and further than traffic, because, and I can see them, all the ex-military snow birds and making their way to where ever it is they go. And the road has a slight descent going North--cool--so I get some speed.

It is a bit brisk, Gentle Reader, and I will tell you that early last summer I found a pair of perfectly good work gloves on the ground when biking in one day. I saved them in my bike locker for a rainy day or cold day—and I got to use them. That made me happy because it was just cold enough for gloves while riding. I also stashed a pair of Tony Hawk skateboard shoes in my locker as well. I was glad to have an extra pair of sturdy shoes because all I wear are sandals (that are formal for the office) and not good footwear for commuting on busy streets.

I must say that, yeah, Craycroft was a cold dirty busy street—but there were glimpses of beauty and living things living despite our thoughtlessness. There were huge trees with branches stretching out, and I could kind of tell that younger trees of the same heritage as the big grandfather trees had fanned out over the landscape of the dingy neighborhoods right off this Grande Allez. Even small ones were growing thought cracks in the cement and pavement.

This has meaning and one day I might understand the language and strategies of a forest, and even an urban forest at that. But I am afraid that the life I’ve been allotted, which I hope is long and fulfilled, is not quite enough to unfold this mystery today.

Allure Libre

Monday, December 04, 2006

Eat My Dust

We're on our way!

Yours needs coffee...

When we ride past a tree, or clump of vegitation that blocks out the sun, the cold seems to grab your ass! I'm not kidding!

How many times have we traveled down this road? Picacho Peak seems symbolic of our Arizona Brevets and Randonnees--the route we take past this monument has been traveled for hundreds of years. Probably about 150 years by white men alone. The Frontage Road is actually the old stage coach line.

We're caught in a dust storm, Gentle Reader--we ride in a brown cloud of fine sand and grit. I can taste the dirt in my mouth as I breath, and I can also feel it grinding in between my teeth. The wind is really taking it out of us. We're trying to make it to Casa Grande for breakfast. The gusts are 25 to 30 MPH.

Oh, and here come the tumble weeds. Since visabiliy was about 100 yards, we would see them rolling and bouncing through the desert. Since we were in a stong crosswind inside the dust storm, they came hurtling across the Hwy.

We dodged many tumble weeds like the one. As they were rolling past, I just missed a large one by slowing down. A car coming along didn't quite judge the speed, and right after I dodged it, the car and the narley old week collided, with the tumbleweed busting into a few hundred pieces.

Plonsky Power!

Susan is going to meet us in Casa Grande for breakfast, and then ride with us for awhile—however, the wind is so bad that we figure trying to make it to Scottsdale in a 25 MPH head wind would be futile. Gentle Readers, I will tell you that by the time we did see Susan at Denny’s I was hurting. As we had breakfast, we could see the palm trees almost bending over backwards from the wind.

So it was decided that we’d abandon the MSM ride, and get our asses back to Tucson. Beloved RBA will ride to chez moi with Steve and I, and then Steve will drop her back in Casa Grande as he continues back up to Scottsdale.
Mes amis, you must know that it is difficult to abandon a ride to Scottsdale when one knows that a gourmet meal prepared by Kim awaits on the kitchen table. And it was going to be lasagna…

Taking a respite from the Wrath o’ the Wind...

Susan “The Flame” Plonsky pulls for 50 plus miles back to Tucson.

We took the Frontage road on the west side of I-10 this time instead of the usual route on the east side. The road was in very bad shape, and not one car passed us either way for 25 miles—people don’t drive their cars down it, the road is that bad! Steve and I took a beating—and still had to try and keep up with Susan… while fighting the crosswind.

Susan gets us back to Dog Mtn before dark. For that, we are very grateful.

Mystery Van is loaded and its time to roll out.

Well, Gentle Readers, this was a very tough ride. I believe I did a couple of things wrong here, but mainly it was probably not staying hydrated. Because of the cooler temps, I didn’t drink enough, and then not drinking enough and riding so hard in the wind caused the cramps in my legs to start. I was just able to keep them at bay with endurolites and a few salt tablets. It took me a few days to recover fully. Yeah, didn’t drink enough.

Allure Libre!