Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Forget Something?

I normally take clothes into the office when I do drive in. It seems I always have a pair of pants, socks, ironed shirt, etc. waiting--cause that stuff is weight and I can't fold or pack for crap. Bev can, but I have to really plead with her--and she doesn't want me looking all wrinkle-lee. A pair of shoes is also stowed in my locker. This just saves time and makes me at ease.

This lovely morning I made a hastey last minute dash to work on the bike, and made it with a few minutes to spare. I had to pack clothes to wear for today in my backpack--but as I got out of one set of sweaty bike clothes and layed out the office ones--I was sans underwear, mes amis. I forgot to pack 'em. I will make it a point not to do this ever again, and actually will have a back-up pair in my desk. At first I felt exposed and like a tramp--but with emails and phone calls, I forgot about being one layer short.

One time when I worked at AHSL, I rode in, and put the bike in the office, and went down to the locker room. I got undressed, took a shower, got out, and then realized I'd left my clothes still haning on the back door there in my office. For a second there I'd thought I didn't have any clothes at all.

I had to change back into my bike stuff, walk back down thru the hospital to fetch my pants, shirt, and all that. Wonderful...


Breakfast in Casa Grande

Picacho Peak from the Frontage Rd. The major landmark for our Brevets. I-10 and the Frontage Rd. are the old stage coach line. Here at the Peak, the stage coach turned and headed West to San Francisco. I'm riding to meet Steve in Case Grande for breakfast. I've left from Tucson and he's started out from Scottsdale.

The course for the Brevets ahead... Picacho Peak, The Tortolita Mts, and Mt. Lemmon in the backgroud. Keep going South and you're in Old Mexico, mes amis!

After breakfast, time to ride back home.

Bon Journee!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Always Go Forward, and Never Look Back"

My first afternoon, and first time to visit Monterey Bay--bike riding here seems to be out of necessity for some people living here, and just makes sense. There's a nice bike/walking/jogging path that connects tourists to the spots, and helps locals get about.

Seals sun themselves--the water is clean, and the air feels good to breathe. I believe seals enjoy their lives as they seem content and don't mind the tourists--but they can be noisy and their barks and bellows you would probably tune-out after awhile. Kind of like when the jets fly over here in Tucson. You get used to it...

Cannery Row of way back. Probably was a rough place to work and live...

The Monterey Bay Aquarium--way cool. Marni and I got really hungry looking at all the fish. In a way a I felt a little guilty--but after a few cold beers and fried Calumari, bring on the fish, Baby!

Okay, so the adventure begins. We eat and drink some of the best seafood I've ever had, then attend the "conference" I get an hour break in between speakers, and rent a road bike from a bike shop in Cannery Row. I get a map and encouragement from the wrench, and he gives me a break on the price of the rental. He pulls out a large road bike that never gets ridden much, and the bike says "Go Go Go!" I get it back to my hotel room--riding through the streets of downtown Monterey. I already feel like a frumpy local and not a frumpy librarian-type.

I've brought my own clips, and other bike gear/clothes for a 40+ mile ride up (or down) the coast. Shock told me, and I think Stef and Angela told me it could be cold--so I brought arm and leg warmers.

After a dinner with the company that evening, my plan was to get out early and ride up to the Mission in Carmel--looks like about 20 miles down the coast; a very do-able distance for me. As the dinner was about to get under-way, and we were getting a lift from our hosts to the resturant--I met this guy Tony and his wife Rita, from Pittsburg. Tony had gone out the day before on a rental bike and gave me some good info on the route I was going to take (because gentle readers, the maps I had sucked and got me lost) So thanks to Tony's recon of the area, I felt good about my trip.

When I left about 6:45 a.m. from my hotel it was foggy, kind of dark, and as you can see from the only human likeness beside myself, cold... I put a local weekly rag newspaper in the front of my jersey to keep my nipples from freezing off! I'll toss the paper once it warms up...

Cannery Row and the Aquarium. I zipped through town along the bike path. I brought flicky lights so I wouldn't get run over by a fish delivery truck. It was cool because the air was wet and misty and not a soul was around.

The Point Pinos Lighthouse, in operation since 1855. You can see how dark it was out there. From here I start to get on the coast, and I can feel and taste the ocean spray on my lips. I'm on 17 Mile Drive going south down the coast. Gulls and pelicans glide over and eye me with a bit of couriosity.

Wow--its like the ocean! This area is a Nat'l Marine Sancturary--cool...

The ocean at what appears as high tide, seems kind of like me in the morning; loud and restless.

I took more pictures but when I stopped I got cold--kept moving to stay warm, plus there was a bit of rain. But it was oh so sweet--the waves, the birds, the seals, the sea otters out there.

No one around to take my photo--yet another self-portrait in your face, Gentle Readers!

Oh yeah, so then there's Pebble Beach--some where along the line I made a wrong turn, and ended up climbing into the mountains. The fog and mist made it difficult to see, and luckily there was no traffic--the roads got narrow and went up and down through the thick forests. There were plenty of deer about. Many of them just stood in the road, or by the side of the road watching me climb up the hills. This area is semi-private and closed to bikes and tourists on the weekends. I couldn't see but I could hear the waves, but they may have been echoing thru the canyons. Either way I ended up going more North and East than I wanted, and was headed more toward Hwy 68.

I saw some sort of building and a woman had parked her car and was heading into her office. I stopped her to ask for directions. She looked really surprised at first--like, where did you come from and how did you get here? Until she looked at the map I had. "No wonder you're lost--this map is horrible!" But she set me straight and basically I had to go back down the way I came. Had to watch for deer on the fast descents--and through the fog, I almost missed the landmark the woman told me to watch for. Geez! But I got the road she said, and I popped out and could see the beach.

So just rode along at a nice clip--I passed the Lone Cypress Tree, famous landmark--obscured by the fog still laying around... nearing Carmel, I had to start climbing again. I went through the Carmel Gate, and had to ride in morning rush hour traffic on some narrow curvy roads--got to a place to take a breather, and asked a young waitress at a cafe if she could point me in the direction of the old Mission. I was close, and her directions got me there (she actually told me a short cut the locals use to get to Safeway) but I had about two miles of tough climbing to get to the an old ranch and Ranch Road--suddenly the Mission appeared.

The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo, Del Rio Carmelo--opens at 9:30 a.m.
Friendly staff let me in the gift shop to get warm, and they let me stash the rental bike in a storeroom. One of the nuns let me inside the compound and in the garden, where the sun warmed me as it came up over the mountains. I rested while the staff got things ready to open the place for visitors, pilgrams, and tourists. Humming birds darted about and let me know I was on their turf.

Morning in the garden.

Sun coming up, as it had since 1770.

I go inside, and say a prayer I can find my way back to Monterey!

Finally some sunshine! This place is so beautiful. I'm glad I'm here.

Every where, there's a vision of beauty and mystery--a moment to reflect on who and what you are--where you belong in time and place, and the purpose for that arrangement.

It is healthy to ponder these thoughts, in this world of airports, elevators, conferences, blogs, emails, and shopping malls.

This is where the Padre hung out. Father Junipero Serra, who founded this mission, as well as all the other ones in California, said, "Always go forward and never look back." I will use this as my mantra for my 2007 Brevet Series.

These guys were from the Netherlands...

On the coast, headed back to Monterey.

My old friends from the mountains, now having breakfast on the golf courses of Pebble Beach.

Sea otters down there in the kelp.

Nearing Monterey, and a few miles from Cannery Row. I ride back to my hotel, stash the bike, change, and make it back to a speaker at the conference center. Mes amis, you must know I slept through most of the speaker (she wasn't very good) and then had yet another awesome lunch on the warf. Glad I made this trip...

Allure Libre!

Monday, October 16, 2006

200 Km Brevet (Almost DNF)

Another successful Brevet thanks to Plonsky Power.

Dave "Shock" Peashock at the Casa Grande controle.

I make it to the first contole, all 240 pounds of me!

Gerry is going over the cue sheet before the start of the 200, as the course had changed a little. What didn't change was the headwinds we all faced out on Indian 15, the Hwy out on the Rez.

This was a tough ride. It was gusty headwinds all day. I got lucky, Gentle Readers, and just finished the 126 miles or so in one piece. I almost had to abondon the ride--it was so tough with the winds, that I was cramping and I'd also run out of water. 10 miles from the 86 mile controle, I was in trouble. My legs were cramping so bad that I had to get off my bike. As I was collecting my thoughts, Tom and Mick came over the hill and I quickly got back up and then asked if I could hold on to a wheel--I was in trouble and needed help. They were more than happy to help out and I hugged a wheel until the controle with water and food. Mick gave me one of his water bottles and I drank that down and that's what saved me because I was finished. I just eeked in.

After some lunch and filling my water bottles--and stuffing a few turkey wraps in my jersey, we rode back with a tail wind. However, as you might have guessed, the wind shifted again and about 15 miles out, the brutal headwinds punished us again. We pedaled in ever so slowly, and made the finish right before dark.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Morning Climb Rain or Shine

To break up the usual commute, I took Tangerine East to Moore, then Rancho Vistoso to almost Tangerine and Oracle. It definetly added a few more miles to my ride--more than I wanted, and it added a few extra climbs I was not ready for. I rode about 30 miles instead of 23. What makes this ride memorable, Gentle Reader, is that I found myself mostly in a headwind as rain clouds decided to crawl off the top of Mt Lemon then come down and let loose on me. Oh, and I skipped breakfast--mistake because I felt like I was imploding...

I had to climb from Oracle and then East on Ina for a few miles, and at this point, I realized I put on more miles that I needed--and I was sort of running out of time and needed to push to have time for my shower and change in the locker room. The rain stopped and the sun was out and it was clear and beautiful. The air felt good filling my lungs as I worked my way up Ina.

I've seen everybody out riding. Today, I was the only guy on the road. I got to see the lightining bolts flash down the ridge. Cool...

Allure Libre!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rain in the Face

What a lovely soaking ride into the office I had this morning. Lightning was spacktackyoulore! And, Gentle Readers, you should also know that I arrived covered in a fine layer of lovely filth. Ahhh... I was so dirty and muddy and covered with sand, that first I had to take a shower with the bike clothes on to get all that crap off me.

It was good to get out and ride. I went part of the way with a guy Alex, whom I've met before, and we rode together until Mountain Ave. That was cool that we saw each other and remembered we'd ridden before. His commute is 17 miles.

And coming down Glenn, I was thinking about how I wish I'd kept on my cool black fenders from Germany on the bike(I still have them in the garage.) Just then, a fellow commuter rolled up beside me. He was riding a Mtn Bike/Street Bike and had fenders. I commented that he looked nice and dry, and he laughed and told me that everyone asks him why he still keeps those silly fenders on his bike anyway!

I think I'll get the old Raleigh to the bike shope and have Phil put my fenders back on. If rain is forcast for some of the Brevets this year--it will be good to have them on board.