Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's ride was for Steve

Was the type of ride today I could have been pretty frustrated with, and was for part of the time. Driving out to The Ridge I had Steve Larsen on my mind. In fact he's been on my mind since I heard about his passing away later this week while running on the track. Dropped dead heart attack. Steve was 39 years old and the father of five. Before I was a dad I could easily say, "live life in the moment, do what you love, if it's your time it's your time." But being a dad, man it puts Life in a whole new category. A primal shift in the human paradigm of reality perception. I used to think I would ride slower on the dirt when I had kids but, well, I don't. Feel better, safer at warp speed or somewhere near there-depending on the day. I know Z would want me to lay it out. On the road, well that's a different story. Pulled my bike from the back of the truck, and remembered the rear shock had no air. Last ride in Annadel was Rough Go about...3 weeks ago. Bike's been hangin' in the shop, neglected. The Epic road much less than it's name sake. On top of this a new front cable had stretched so that the front derailuer rubbed in most combinations. The worst was the squeaky fucking rear wheel, spokes I think. Maybe grit in in freehub or cassettte. Either way, if I hadn't been alone my friends would have made me ride ahead, or behind. Now that I think of it, bike might have been soundin like crap for a while since I usually ride with my ipod, forgot it today,maybe I hadn't noticed. To a non-cyclist these would seem like minor bike problems but enough to surely kill a ride buzz. Couldn't do anything about it so what were my choices? Quit and go home, ride anyways and be pissed off, ride anyways and not be pissed off?. I'm working on my Life Philosophy and here was a great place to practice. What do we have control over in life? The way people see us? What they think of us? How (un)successful we are? All we really have control over are our own thoughts, that is, our reaction to people and situations. Getting too philosophical? Well, when was the last time you were stoked just to be out on a ride/race and surprised by some schmuck having a fit? Maybe it was you, or a good buddy who felt comfortable enough to whine and fuss in your pressence.Point is, I was doing what I love, where I love to do it. Not worth getting upset, right?Even found a new place to catch a view of the Pacific under some amazing Bay Trees. Kinda felt like taking a nap. Cut the ride short to get home and see the kids. Man, that's the crux: Steve has five kids! If there's ever a challenge it's being with and raising kids, but so worth it. Got home to catch some cartoons with Josie and she fell asleep with her head on my shoulder. Little nap watching Scooby Doo. Later Me and Z did some jumpin in the trampoline, swung on the swing and planted some pumpkin in the garden at 8:00 P.M. Read some Harry Potter and now he's deep in sleep, Josie too. Without a doubt will fix all these bike related issues before my next ride but there's always something else get upset about...but only if we CHOOSE to. Take a ride with a buddy this week on your favorite trail. Spend time with your kids, hug your wife/husband cuz man sometimes Life just aint fuckin' fair! From the sky to the mountains to the river to the Sea my two wheeled brother. RIP

Sunday, May 10, 2009

And in Closing...

Let's begin with a giving of thanks. Thanks for the safe rides. Thanks for the sun that shone, the breeze that blew at our backs and the immature California Coastal Mtns. that ripped our legs off. Thanks to Kim, Steve P, Mary B.,Ted C.,Katrina and Nick at the starts. Thanks to Kim for her long days atop Coleman Vly Rd and the amazing maps. (Even if I'm too ignorant in regards to movie lore to understand the deeper meanings.) Thanks for the bodies, minds and spirits that converge to allow us to rip through life astride two-wheeled kinetic sculptures. Thanks to Pachamama.

Have you had time to collect your thoughts? Was a memorable day on the Ridge, as I knew it would be. I managed to will myself through another epic Hopper, riding along folks who have put in countless miles and hours, spinning in their garages watching videos of Paris-Roubaix as the rain hammered down late December,or better yet, saddled up for a 4 hr. slog in the rain, anticipating the first Hopper in the end of Feb. An impressive hardened group showed up on Sat to challenge the series finale, only a few of whom had never ridden a K.R. Hopper. A good sign to me; meaning that people knew what they were in for. I figured 4 1/2 hrs. would be a fast day for me. The start went smoothly again, thanks to Kim, Steve P. and Mary. Thanks T for coming out. Thanks to all for the Happy Bday to Josie. I was on the podium before the ride began. The descent to Monte Rio, was smooth, relaxed and safe. Enjoyed the chat down Moscow and Austin Creek Rd. and then was awakened to find I was being dropped after turning rt. on Caz Hwy. Thought it was a brief acceleration but turned out to be the real deal. Cal Strawberry led by John Hunt drove to the first climb and from what I understand dealt a fair share of whoop ass all the way to the finish line. Field yo-yoed throughout the day. People were caught and dropped. Alliances were drawn and abandoned as roads pointed upwards. Checkbook balance reassessed and huge withdrawals taken. Many dipped into retirement savings, unkindly rewarded by the double whammy quad and hammy crampy; forcing rider to dismount and suckle the last drops of warm water. Oh but Meyers Grade to Jenner! Ripping, ripping, ripping! Did you enjoy the moment or did you disregard the hand at your back and the views of the mighty Pacific and napping harbor seals as your mind left the present, wrapping its twisted fingers around the future? The future ascent of Willow Creek and the Twin Sisters? The only control we have in our lives is of our own thoughts, we are often together in a Hopper but ultimately alone. On Willow Creek there are always people ahead of you. There are always those behind. Sat I rode thinking of those ahead, knowing Matthias was lurking around a corner behind me. Managed to stay ahead of my Gianni bros who kindly served me in Chileno Vly. Tough love in the West County. Checked my time from '01, the last time we rode this exact loop. And the only stage I've managed to win. I was only eight minutes slower this year (4:39 ) than I was 8 years ago! So it's true, I'm not really getting (that much) slower, everyone else is just getting faster! :) John H. finished with a smoking time of 4:05 * Special thanks to Hillary for the water and to Veronika for sharing down to her last drop. Don't forget to check out her amazing photos.

I hear Roger and Timmel threw down Mano a Mano on Willow Creek with Timmel the victor. Hats off to the MudPuppy and to White Lightning who informed me this year that he is just getting stronger since this is technically his second year really riding his road bike a lot. Congrats to Kathleen for being the fastest lady and to all the others who made it out. Got a story to tell? Shout it out.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

King Ridge, a mystical, mythical ride. (Painting credit Charles Beck-Meyers Grade) The archetype of epic road rides in Sonoma County. The sensual paved undulations that keep mountain bikers on their road bikes. Okay I said it, maybe I'm just speaking for myself but I don't think so. I heard a complaint a couple of years ago, "this is not a road race!" No, and it's not really a road ride. It's a long, hard bike ride. Let's be honest since there will be many first timers out there; there is no easy way to ride King Ridge. And if you head north upon reaching Tin Barn Rd. your day will be a long one. Choose your company wisely, eat and drink enough and don't lose your ride card.

Grasshopper ground rules for first timers and veterans:
1. Sign in at Community Center in Occidental 10$w/license 15$ w/one day license
2. Ride begins at 10:00
3. It's unlikely that the group rides single file all day but...DON'T CROSS THE MIDDLE LINE!
4. Ride is self-supported. Plan on being gone 4+hrs. There will be no one to give you water or food nor a "broom wagon" to scoop you up with a nice mug of warm cocoa.
5.Stop for water if you need it. Stewarts Point should have water up the Hwy a bit behind the Post Office or across the street near the store.
6.This is a training ride.
7.The decents are very fast, twisty and sharp. If you know the roads ride carefully. If you don't know the roads ride very carefully. If you can't see around a turn assume there is a Ford F350 pulling a horse trailer with a Rush Limbaud sticker on his bumper and an rifle rack on his back window cutting the inside corner hauling ass up hill!
8. There are no road closures or signs on the course so don't lose your map if you need it.
9. There is water in Jenner; also bagel dogs, frozen burritos, Monster Sodas and Emil's famous smoked salmon!
10. Have a good ride and thank your mama on Sunday for birthin' ya so you can do fun shit like this!
For those who are embarking on their first Grashopper view this Intro Video

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Overall So Far...

Fastest combined time. Since we all know the Hoppers are just "fast training rides" here's how we're keeping track this year. All times added up. Fastest cumulative after all 4 rides is the "winner". White Lightning is in the lead by a minute if Max doesn't fly south just for a custom Emil-Stand it will be a battle between Rog and MudPuppy. If you haven't done all three rides so far...your name is not on the list.