Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BaaaaaD Valve Stem!

Gooood bike mechanic!

Remember when you were a kid how a parent would tell you that after the big test/game/doctor visit/show etc. you were going for ice cream, pizza, or whatever treat? Then when it came time to go something went awry; the place was closed, they were out of your favorite flavor, or you had car trouble? You had tasted the flavors of your favorite food for hours in anticipation and when you couldn't satisfy the craving it just about drove you out of your skin? You know you're in deep when you feel that way about a bike ride.

I had run some errands earlier on the bike. Stopped at home to drop off the odds and ends and add more layers of spandex before taking on a series of hill climbs. I was really looking forward to the workout.

My front tire seemed a little soft so I grabbed the little hand pump to top it off. I hit it wrong somehow and emptied the rest of the air from the tire. Now the stem (which was bent to begin with) was stuck too far down and all efforts to grab it sufficiently failed. The pump itself appeared to be working improperly so I disassembled part of it and put it back together. No luck. I was crazed at this point. I futzed with it like an orangutan for about fifteen more minutes before admitting defeat.

Crouched on the patio all suited up, helmet and gloves, my fiery steed crippled, I felt just like a little kid staring through the glass at a vat of Jamocha Almond Fudge where the Peppermint Fudge Ribbon was supposed to be.

Now a normal person would just deal, put their sweats back on and find something else to do. A bike nut on the other hand puts on street shoes, throws the bike in the pick up truck and drives (in rush hour traffic) to the LBS IMMEDIATELY!

The muscles in my legs bitched and cursed the whole way like horses stuck in the starting gate.

I rolled into B&L ten minutes before closing where the crew were just putting the shop to bed. Elliot saw my pooh face and asked what was the matter. I held out the falling-apart-pump... Of course it was a tiny problem and all was made right in a blink. I caught up on the news and found a shiny new pump.

What struck me as I meandered around the half darkened shop and chatted with the grease flecked guys was how much I felt welcome and at home. There was no question why I had to have my bike working RIGHT NOW! No one was looking at me like "oh god another customer before closing!" I asked about some of the new toys and no one was in a rush to get me out the door. If the problem had been bigger they would have stayed without hesitation. As I wheeled the bike out to the truck no one hurried behind to turn the locks. They are cyclists. They get it.

It was dark by the time I got back so I ended up at the gym consoling myself with the fact that the bike would be ready for me in the morning.

Today dawned with the howling wind on the edge of a storm front that is moving in to town so I didn't get quite the laps in that I had anticipated... But the warmth of the previous evening's adventure stuck in my heart. I feel truly blessed to be a member of this crazy bike tribe.

The storm will pass soon. It's the little things that make life sweet.

And now for an Ed update: here he is back on the tele pole watching the sunset.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sneak Preview

My Big Debut

Once upon a time, while still in high school I fell in love with the medium of radio, and of course, pop music. Friends and family had remarked on my 'awfully deep for a girl' voice since I was a child so it was fitting that my first internship would be at a radio station. I went on to study, not broadcasting, but media philosophy and linguistics, leaving radio behind. Finally, philosophy gave way to art and there I stayed.

While making plans to move to Santa Barbara I ran across this little video project. A philosopher needed a female voice over for her scientific proof on the existence/nonexistence of god. 'I can do that!' I thought. It sounded fun. Controversial, but I love ideas that stir the pot.

It was originally supposed to be only voice over but when I went for the audition they said "we like your look" so I ended up on camera. Working with a teleprompter for the first time was really cool. It was so much fun I decided to get back into doing it as a sideline.

Please bear in mind when you watch that I am reading a script. I was hired to do a job. Although, as an ex philosophy major, I do agree with the logic of the argument it by no means expresses my personal spiritual views. In a nutshell I believe that God is a spiritual concept, not a scientific one. My spiritual beliefs are quite complex and just that - beliefs - which don't require scientific proof.

I do believe that what has kept humanity at war throughout the centuries is our conflicting beliefs on spiritual "Truth" and the nature of "God". Dr. Atwater's proof is one way of offering a solution, in that if the existence of God cannot be proven scientifically then maybe we can stop killing each other over Him.

Mama always cautioned that if you want to keep the conversation polite steer clear of Politics and Religion. Polite conversation is boring. Dialog is how the human race evolves. So feel free to make all the comments you want. Of course anything vulgar or mean spirited will be deleted.

The video will be released on YouTube soon and we'll see what happens...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Butter and Cement

Winter temps can be fickle in SoCal. Even on the most beautiful days I tend to stay close to home. When you ride out dressed for 61- 65 F and find yourself 15 miles from home when the wind comes up and it drops into the 40s it can turn a great ride into a big, slogging drag. I had a lot of work to do today besides, but knew I had to move my legs and was sorely in need of an endorphin rush.

My usual quick fix solution is to go up-down the hills just behind the house. The neighbors up there who walk their dogs are so used to me now they call out "How many laps today!?" as I zip past.

The revelation on this particular trip that makes it worth writing about is a subtle one but I'm sure familiar to many. The approaching crest of the first lap took me by surprise. Usually it takes me a LONG time to warm up. The first slope is short but steep and being far too proud to down shift into the wee gears I'm usually standing on the pedals for most of it. It feels like I'm riding through cement and I wonder if I'll ever get stronger. But here I was at the top and could barely remember the bottom. And the muscles in my legs were propelling me forward smooth as butter.

I can't even recall what it was that occupied my brain on the ascent. I might have been pondering (Ok, grinding my teeth over) the shamelessly fear-mongering statements made by John McCain in his victory speech last night. It could have been the old standby, 'why did I waste so much of my precious time on that particular ex-boyfriend'. Or, maybe it was about the big hole in the ground that I passed on the way up where the last pre-WWII cottage in the neighborhood was recently razed. Soon a $1mil. postage-stamp patch of ground would be turned into a $3 mil., three-storey ocean view pad with roof deck, at most three tiny bedrooms, a microscopic garage and not an inch of yard where kids or pets could play... priced thoroughly out of reach for 95% of the population....

The point is that I was DISTRACTED and arrived at the top of the hill without breaking a sweat. I felt awesome. Things are changing. The legs are BACK! So of course I went up-down the hills eight more times, as fast as I could until it HURT and I had a giant smile on my face.


So many teachers and coaches stress FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS throughout any type of training process. I stand before you this evening in praise of

If you want to make great strides in fitness my advice is to get out there and talk to yourself!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Good Day to Be a Duck

It's cold and damp and drizzly here in So. Cal. The big storm has passed and everything is soaked. People are huddled around the fourth cup of coffee because it warms the hands.

I know we don't know from REAL cold here in subtropical/desert paradise but it's cold enough on a Sunday for us to just stay inside, hang out in the kitchen cooking roasts and soups and wait for the sun to come out again. Wusses!

I really don't have anything to write about yet, except waiting. I'm waiting for a video I made to be released on YouTube. Waiting to be able to ride my bike again. Waiting for Monday to talk to clients. Waiting to cast my vote and for the Bush administration to grind to a halt - at long bloody last!

I am painting today, but can't share that yet. It's a bike painting...! More on that later - when it's ready for public consumption.

For now I will give you the Great Blue Heron, hunkered down on the marsh, and Eli the cat (take note "Suitcase..." Chris) all curled up. These two pretty well sum up the mood around here.

Stay warm.

Makes you wish you had a long furry tail doesn't it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


From all the water fowl on the marsh and the creatures on two wheels,


Don't dream it, BE it.