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Friday, January 28, 2011

mind to match my mountains*

Riding up the street the other day took me back to the seventies. The afternoon not-quite-sunset sky was hazy. The mountains, having just days before been multicolored pop out three dimensional gems, were more distant and flat, residing in some other realm of reality, leaving only their monochrome calling card should any of us happen to glance their way, not wanting to leave us completely unattended, landmarkless, unable to find north. That dusty orange light reminded me of the days before the mountains, before they existed. Things were different then, so much smaller, mellower, nothing much going on… air pollution turned that decade into one long rose-tinted dream and made us think we lived in the city when really we were up by the foothills, if only we could have seen them… “The Town and The City”** now instead, and the mountains too, now that Wilson’s spires finally pierced a whole in that sky to let the smoke drain away, so that we can remember to match our minds to our mountains.

* Stone. Men to Match My Mountains. 1956.
** Kerouac. The Town and The City. 1950.

Friday, January 21, 2011

two moons

Saw the full moon set and rise yesterday – full enough, anyway. That doesn’t happen very often. It wasn’t planned – it just turned out that the moon and I were on the same schedule surrounding my morning and evening bicycle travels. Both times I only caught glimpses of her through the trees as she was hovering at the horizon, big and round and two-dimensional looking with so much reflection – too bright for texture, a ghostly outline. Two wheels in the sky, a goddess companion of bicyclists.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Amgen Tour of California to ride Claremont to Mount Baldy

One of the highest mountains in the Los Angeles area is Mount Baldy. On clear days its domed peak can be seen from many miles away, floating far above the cityscape, a beacon and reminder of mountain adventures, past and future. It’s a favorite haunt of many a hiker, biker, skier, and nature lover.

And finally in this sixth year of the Tour of California the peloton is going to take it on. Riders will start this Stage 7 on May 21, 2011 in the city of Claremont near the foothills of Mount Baldy before winding their way up the Glendora Mountain and Ridge Roads. This is exciting news for the local cycling community for which this classic route has been a long-standing test of one’s mountain cycling mettle.

Although the riders won’t actually come anywhere near the peak of the mountain (the paved road stops a few thousand vertical feet below the top) it will be a grueling ride nonetheless, covering many mountain miles with constant vertical gain, the steepest grades and tightest hairpin curves awaiting them in the last few miles of the climb. It will likely set the stage for the wildest mountain spectacle yet seen in the Tour of California.

It promises to be an epic stage for this year’s Tour and will hopefully become a classic, revisited for many years to come.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

currently reading

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
by B. Traven
I’ve stuttered on this one for some time. Lately I haven’t been much into fiction, which this is, but Edward Abbey won’t shut up about this book so I figured I might as well give it a try. And I have a feeling that there’s probably some nonfictional elements to it that Ed must have latched onto – likely something geographic or landscapey.

God’s Middle Finger:
Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre
by Richard Grant
This one came up on the library search list when I entered Sierra Madre looking for the book above. And well, it looks fun and also landscapey.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:
A Year of Food Life
by Barbara Kingsolver
Recommended by the wife of one of my Arroyo runner friends. I have runner friends? Well, sometimes. It gets lonely out there and it’s nice to meet up with other people once in a while. I don’t think he’s related to the company that makes the running apparel called Hines, although I’ve never asked him.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Like Denali

I’ve never been to Alaska but I’ve read a few books about the Denali region and seen some pretty great photographs of the mountain – one in particular by Ansel Adams from Wonder Lake. I like the idea of calling the mountain Denali rather than Mt. McKinley. It feels a lot more appropriate. More sacred. And it is a sacred mountain. They say that. But you can tell anyway just by looking at it. It just is.

The last few nights have given some incredible views of Brown Mountain. You know that moment when town is in shadow but the mountains are still glowing in the sunset. Alpenglow in Los Angeles – incredible, isn’t it? Purple mountain majesty on one side of each ridge and warm soft mellow powdery orange on the other.

The other night I was noticing that Denali and Brown actually share some similar features. Something about the way the ridges take their time descending from the peak. Brown is a little more flat-topped than Denali and obviously much smaller but they both hold such a strong presence – almost proud. Sacred mountain brothers.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Salad of Champions

I eat this a lot. Sometimes twice a day. It’s the right way to eat like a pig – in that, despite the common thinking on the subject, a healthy pig would probably like to eat much in the same way. Or maybe it sounds better to eat like a mindful mule. It’s a semi-starvation diet, no doubt, but humans probably are meant to be a bit starved, lean, fit. It’s a pretty simple plan: moderate starvation + excessive physicality = fighting weight; fighting weight + a few pounds of “wine and beer” = just about right.

Start with a pretty bowl about the size of your head.
A fork and a spoon – you might need both.
Ingredients vary with season and availability. Try something new.
Break or cut to desire.
A few leaves of lettuce – something better than “iceberg dead ahead.”
A couple pieces of kale or chard or cabbage or the like.
A couple pieces of bread or a cup of mixed rolled rye/barley/oats/wheat.
A few canopies of broccoli or cauliflower.
Tomato or apple or pear or plum or orange.
Carrots or radishes? Whatever you’ve got.
Hunk of cheese or tofu or tempeh or peanut butter or some sliced almonds.
A bundle of cilantro or dill.
Green onion. Why not throw the whole thing in there.
Several twists of pepper.
Several shakes of red chile pepper, sea salt.
A good splash of apple cider vinegar to rinse down some of that shake.
A squeeze or slash of mustard (Dijon?)
More olive oil than you dare to measure – like about five seconds.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


It’s official. We’re a One Car Family. Well, really more like a one car couple. Pretty good still. I mean, this is LA (sort of.) Although, not much has changed lately. We’re still getting around town with the same habits we’ve had for a while now. The only difference being we’ve now got a lot more space in the garage. The garage car has been sold off. Which also makes a difference in paying only half as much insurance and registration. Think of all the Margaritas we can buy each other now. Not as many as you’d think actually. But a lot. Well over a hundred. A hundred Margaritas a year – every year – for as long as we stay OCF. That’s incentive. Now… about that ZCF…

Saturday, January 1, 2011

999 beads

On the last mile of the last run of the year I found a strand/necklace of beads. I find a lot of beads while running. Maybe I look for them. Maybe they look for me. Most of the beads I find down through the Arroyo. And most of them I end up wearing myself as is or restrung into bracelets or necklaces to fit my fashion. I like beads. It’s a little surprising that I find so many. Why are beads falling off of people in the Arroyo at such a rate? It’s not like it’s a big hippy fest down there.

At any rate, it was nice to encounter these beads as a marker for the end of the year and the achievement of mileage goals. I barely squeezed in those last miles. I had to run like hell this past week to make it official. Probably stupid and unhealthy and asking for a foot or leg injury due to increasing mileage to quickly but I just couldn’t help myself.

So now we’re all back to zero miles on the year. Time to start over. Although, we just went for three this morning so it’s already begun…

“Now Sacagawea saved the day,
She had a belt of blue.
‘Twas beaded up and beaded down
With blue beads through and through.
Please take this belt she said to them,
We can’t afford a fight
But offer them my belt of blue
And see if it is right.
No take’em, no want’em,
Gotta have blue beads, blue beads!”