Monday, March 1, 2010
Riding in Santa Barbara has its treats. This gem of a statue is on Mountain Drive. The fanny actually opens as a depository for mail! Perfect invention.
Sunday, I began my ride with World Championships, but broke off the group ride after 40 minutes or so to get some longer miles in. I wanted to do something I hadn't before so I rode over Casitas Lake Pass (below) and into Ojai Valley eventually to Santa Paula and back. That clocked almost 200k, the longest ride I've done since I've been here. That day, it was my intent to ride not just endurance, but hard, and for a long time - to bring back the reminiscent sentiments of my rides last year in Burlington.
At hour 4, I had eaten all my food. I needed more fuel than I anticipated and I could envision the proceeding hour and a half melting into a blurry delirium. As I fatigued, I started to dose my effort. I climbed for 10 minutes pondering my plans. There were no real stores until Carpinteria, a good 40 minutes away. I drank my water. I decided at the top of the climb I'd stop a cyclist or even a driver and ask for a gift in snack-form.
There were no riders there, but there was an obese couple who had stopped their white s
edan to soak in a view of Lake Casitas on this 72 degree day. Trying my luck, I pulled up slowly and found words. "Hi. I'm sorry to have to ask this, but I'm trying to get to Santa Barbara and I'm all out of food. Would you happen to have anything in the car?"
"No," was the initial answer, but the girl waddled to the car saying she "might have a pack of M&M'S."
"That'd work," I answered. Incidentally, this spurred some sort of cascade effect and the man made his way sideways to the front door and popped the trunk. "I've got some Pepsi, you want a Pepsi?" Inside there were six 12-packs of Pepsi, three Diet, three Regular. "You want Diet?" I held back my instinctive, earnest and introspective reactions of shouting "I want all the calories I can get!" and pointing out the clearly obvious correlation between their diet and physique, I asked kindly for "Regular, please." I got a bottle of water out of the deal as well. I didn't know what to give them for their help, but they seemed not to mind and happy to contribute to my epic journey. Thankful, pockets full and feeling the pump of caffeine, I hopped on and finished the ride with some pimp in my step.
Every once in a while, going on humbling rides like this one sends me back to the exhilaration that I felt when I first began riding - when I would go out in 45 degree weather in shorts and a jersey (my only riding clothing), and when I'd be out so late I'd have to stop at a stranger's house and ask to borrow a flashlight, and when my mom would come looking for me at 9pm and I'd make her drive behind me so that I could finish off the ride with the lights from the car.
The importance of being mentally and physically challenged and stimulated by the flow experience, while getting your basic needs met are the fundamentals of life! Cycling can do that for some of us. For others it's driving a car really fast, shooting guns, golfing, swimming with dolphins, solving math problems, or going to Mars. But, this is why I do what I love to do and why I hope I can continue to do it as long as I want until I find something else that brings me the same euphoria.
Tomorrow I leave for Merced where I will compete in a flat 90 minute criterium on Saturday and a 120mile road race on Sunday. These will be the first races of my 2010 season and I'm psyched to make the 5hr road trip up there in teammate Ken's 740 Turbo Volvo from 1991 or something. I'll be solo, but Tim will join me on the rebound. Hopefully I can get him to pay for my In-N-Out Burger on the way home. What?