"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Dateline: San Luis Obispo, 3.7.08

Tomorrow's high in Chicago is 25 degrees.


Around 4pm your time, while you are trying desperately to convince yourselves you are having "fun" while freezing your balls off satisfying your nicotine cravings...or maybe on the other end of the spectrum you'll be returning from a training ride with a line of snot coming out of your nose as long as jump rope...I'll be pulling out of the parking lot of the Peach Tree Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA in 73 degree sunshine on my first ride of camp.

But for now, I'm the fool.

I'm leaving for the airport at 3:30 in morning. I'm in limbo. Do I sleep or stay up? Do I save myself for the plane, knowing I can't sleep on planes? Or do I set an alarm, and doze, fitfully, dreaming of green grass and pine trees and sweet mountain air, only to awaken, bloodshot and shaky in the middle of the night, knowing I won't be able to function without making coffee, thereby dooming myself to four 4 hours of nodding off in a cramped seat with an elbow in my side?

So for now I watch South Park, and put my weird, creepy toiletries in my bag, and set my alarm to wait and see what the body does.

Uninteresting facts:
  • It's amazing how much weight a week's worth of Clif product ads to the weight of your bike case.
  • My cycling clothes take up more than twice the room in my bag as my street clothes. I will be wearing "tights" more than 50% of my waking hours.
  • They tell me I am actually going to get tired of eating on this trip. (I believe it. We'll be in the saddle for nearly 30 hours over the next 8 days, with as much as 500 miles of riding and nearly 40,000 feet of climbing.)
While I am no stranger to the beauty and grandeur of the west coast (Alaskan born and raised) I haven't been to California in over 12 years - and that was my first and only trip. Back in 1995 I took a college ski trip to Lake Tahoe. We made the drive in 36 hours, with a short stop for sleep in Indian Springs, outside of Vegas. In other words, it was 34 hours of brown dirt and stubby trees and desert, and then 2 hours over mind-awaking scenery, as the Sierra Nevada rose out of nowhere like snow-covered angel wrapped in evergreen garland. You could smell the fresh, minty air blowing eastward as the mountains loomed in front of us. I felt like dropping to my own knees and kissing the ground on arrival after 2 days stuck in the car annoying the shit out of each other, I can only imagine how the westward settlers must have reacted.

So now, in less than 24 hours, I'll be there again among the mountains, and getting to know California on a far more personal level. Although 12 years ago I did leave quite a bit of me behind in Lake Tahoe.

This time I plan on bringing some of California back with me.

And I'll show it to you at Hillsboro.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Oh yea...! Brigin' to the Roubaix. Right on, brother.