Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Sunday Cross Town Loop: With Psycho-lists and Donuts

The question was, and remains, did the Psycho-lists actually ride up San Dimas Canyon before heading back to the Village for donuts, or did they simply make a bee-line for the Cheese Cave where the soon-to-be-open Grizzly's Biscuits and Donuts were stoking the fires of desire by handing out a sampling of their sweet fare? It is a question that remains, because it is a question that went unanswered. It is a question that went unanswered, because it was a question that went unasked. 

I thought it would be kind of rude.

And any way, I already knew the answer. If there is anything the Psycho-lists like more than fresh, warm donuts (and especially when the business making them is a local favorite) it is riding bikes.

As for yours truly, my lazy a** wouldn't get out the door in time to join, though it had been the plan the night before. Then again, I couldn't settle for the bee-line on such a nice day either, and so it became a day for the Cross Town Loop where I startled a jogger on Powerline, saw a bunch of downhillers readying themselves for Webb, saw Santa in an inflatable chair, grudgingly accepted a bite of chocolate cake donut, startled a runner at the Farm, and pondered some student art (least way I think it was art - it may have been part of some performance since a note on a chalkboard made reference to a 7:30 performance start time. Although since most of the other things written on the chalkboard had to do with various pieces of male and female anatomy it must have been some kind of performance). Anyway, and moving on...

a fine-looking back of head, mind you, but I hadn't really intended it to be the focus

Grizzly chef talking donuts

hmmm, sometimes when I look at art I require an explaination

Saturday, December 3, 2016

2016 CACX District Championship Weekend: Stopping to Chat at the Greek

What is the sport in which a competitor crashes, maybe not a major crash, but still something no one wants to do, and gets back to their feet with a smile and a laugh? What is the sport in which a competitor stops in the middle of competition to chat with the spectators? What sports course has more curves than an old spyrograph drawing? What sport is it where the spectators say rude and less-than-complimentary things to the faces of passing racers and everyone, including those racers, gets a kick out of it? What sport is it that seems to revel in throwing obstacles in the paths of its competitors just to slip them up, and trip them up, and consider it all part of the game?

Well yeah, cyclocross, of course, what else? 

What a fantastic first day of this years' CACX / NABRA District Championship weekend.

If I didn't know it to be fact, I would find it difficult to believe that this was only the second cross race that I have made it out to this year, and that two full months have passed since the first one. The images, the sights, the sounds, the look of trepidation on the faces when faced with an off-camber drop in loose material for the first time, the sheer relief and satisfaction on those same faces once the rider clears the obstacle, the shouts and yells, ringing bells, the swirl of activity became too much at times. At those times I found myself unsure and overwhelmed, standing at the middle of the course, tape winding around in every direction, an impossible maze, just watching, just staring, letting all the sensory markers remind me, helping to refocus on the task. It can be a crazy-ass thing, this cyclocross, and when it is held at such a publicly visible location, as is the Greek Theater at Griffith Park, you wonder what the passing people, people who may have no idea of what it is, think about the sheer madness of it all.

Cool to see some of our hyper-local racers doing well - Michael finishing with a spot on the podium, Greg busting his seatpost but recovering to finish a strong tenth, and Diana always challenging in the women's races.

If you are ready now for the Flickr album it is here, smaller than normal this time, but still with a selection of ninety photos. As usual, if you don't see who, or what, you were looking for, let me know and I can check through the rest. See you all out in the Valley next weekend for Santa Cross, the Prestige Series finale.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Its the Weekend

It is the weekend. A quick ride this afternoon got it off to a good start. Now to keep it going. Ride hard, ride easy, it does not matter as long as you ride fun. Enjoy your weekend.

Winter barren trees above, still some leaves below

This was a little surprise. Sometime between Tuesday night and this afternoon someone built up a little lip at this spot on the trail around Sailboat Cove. It is not much, but an Incycle rider who came along a few seconds after me made the most of it and got a couple feet off the ground.

a little bit of not-very-distinct trail

the shadow was there, with crooked arm

again around Sailboat Cove

windy ripples on the water. the shadow was there, with crooked arm

blue water and what looks like snow on Baldy, and the shadow was there, with crooked arm

Thursday, December 1, 2016

From the Archives: Crits of Fury, 1996

Looking a little too relaxed. Hope it was just a pre-race warm-up lap.

Ah, yes, would all moments of a race be as relaxed and care-free - waving while passing by, stopping completely to talk with a familiar spectator beside the course. But no, it is not the nature of the competition to allow any such thing once the race begins. Focus then takes over, single-minded determination; whatever happens on the sidelines then is as much a blur, incidental white noise, as the blur of pavement beneath a pair of racing wheels.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Montrose Minute

I almost forgot about this only-relevant-today blast from the past.

You all know Steve Lubanski. Right? His Open Road Bicycle Shop was a long time Pasadena institution before he decided to pick up and move to a higher-dena, as in Altadena. Anyway, months ago I was searching through the old training journals for some information when I found an entry from 30 November 1996 and, though I almost forgot and missed the opportunity, it relates to an incident on the Montrose Ride exactly twenty years ago. During the week leading up to the 30th I was tasked with moving from Pasadena to Alhambra, sleeping in the former while shifting stuff to the latter. Because of that, essential bike stuff was in two places which caused me to miss my traditional Trader Joe's meet-up. Instead I waited along the curb on Huntington for the bunch to arrive. Fortunately my resting spot was at a red light which, apparently, was exactly what the peloton was waiting for. When they came to a stop, the assembly immediately broke into song - a chorus of Happy Birthday Steve to be exact. All the drivers around looked at us like we were nuts too long on the tree and, of course, wished they were a part. I never did find out if that exact day was Steve's birthday, or if it was just in the general region, but the moment stuck with me - one of those incidental events in the local peloton.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Two Wheel Tuesday: Bigger Stones

In about 1985 the Beat Farmers sang about rolling Bigger Stones, a song I have always taken to be about something other than rocks. Something like having bigger huevos and doing things in our younger years, things that we may be less likely to do as we get older. Wiser? I don't know if twenty-five years would have made any difference - sucking at descending is likely the same at whatever age. What I have noticed since I started showing up for these night mtb rides is that the stones (rocks in this case) seem smaller, less intimidating. That may be due, in part, to the shadows, but it may also partially be due to a narrower field of vision. The combination of the two means that I am more likely to just bull my way down the trail, rather than attempting to ease my way around protruding rocks. It is funny, and certainly not the way I expected it would be; I would have assumed that the darkness would have equated to increased caution. But maybe that is just me - what to y'all think about it?

Like a skunk running out of the darkness beside the trail, this is just another surprise of the night-time Two Wheel Tuesday rides starting from the La Verne Brewing Company. Thanks to 3941 Tamales for coming out tonight, their motto, "Notcho Ordinary Tamale, Bigger is Better" is true; I could have been satisfied with one.

Herbert and the Gang

that is one bright windbreaker

attacking from the front

checking out the lights

over that bedrock outcrop, Crosby Trail

down to Bracket Field

Seems like we rolled bigger stones back then
Seems like we rolled bigger stones.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Blues: Tireless in Claremont

Selective thievery, or a fairly ingenious way to deter would-be thieves?

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.


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