photo block

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mr. Ed

Abbey on NBC from Eric Temple on Vimeo.

(as seen on Bedrock and Paradox)

I'd never heard his voice or seen his face before. He looks and sounds somewhat different than I'd imagined - a little mellower and kinder and softer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

sleeping and running at altitude

I’ve just returned from a brief Rocky Mountain High. Hilary and I were up/out/over at her family reunion near Granby, Colorado. It’s a pretty fun affair. They hold it in a different place every two years. This is the second time I’ve attended. Lots of good folks in that family. I think there must have been like fifty of us but I forgot to count. Maybe only thirty-five. We did a lot of singing and praying and eating and (strangely) watching videos from past reunions, which is actually kind of cool to see the younger versions of the people sitting next to you. Oh yes, and a talent show and a couple campfires complete with ‘smores and John Denver covers under a rising full moon. Pretty neat tradition they’ve got going.

But, man, that’s a long way to drive. Roundtrip is something like thirty hours. Luckily, it’s through some of the most incredible scenery in the world. That short stretch of Arizona through the Virgin River Gorge is super. Then you hit Zion and go for a run dressed as Jesus and it’s sweet (Birkenstock sandals, wide-brimmed hat/halo, fully unbuttoned short-sleeve surf-styled/Mexican collared shirt.) Then incredible skies and canyons through Utah and a beautiful thunderstorm followed by rainbows. Followed by uncountable crossings of the Colorado River, and the two mile vertical climb up and over the continental divide. Cowboys and horses and trucks and farms and old, old ranch houses and fields and peaks and rocks and you just keep rolling on and on and on.

After all that, we arrived at 8,750 feet or so. That seems like a pretty high elevation. It’s not out of this world or anything, but pretty well up there. Hil and I found an awesome little loop trail that we did a couple times. It wound around and over a creek and up a hillside past pines (sadly being heavily hit by that beetle or moth or whatever that is sweeping the West) and cottonwoods and it was such a nice little trail loop that I wish I could find waiting for me outside my door every morning.

Interestingly enough, for a guy that lives at approx. 580 feet above sea level I had no negative altitude affects. More interestingly enough, I did experience some positive altitude affects. Sleep was very deep and restful with intense and remember-able dreams. And running felt great. It was almost as if I could breathe better up there. There wasn’t so much oxygen/air to get in the way of the flow. I took great big lung-fulls of air and felt like I could have run forever. Very interesting. Of course, it probably had more to do with the inspiration gained from the beautiful surroundings that overrode any limiting physical abilities.

Upon returning to LA, or really, upon passing through Victorville, a great sadness overtook me. After spending close to a week traveling through the most incredibly beautiful landscape I hit the smog and the freeways and even though I was tired from the drive all I really wanted to do was to turn right around and go back. But here I am, back at home, and I know that the secret beauty of this place will return to me soon. And I’ll be grateful…


No, that’s nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. It stands for What Would Mindful Mule Do? (MM is my bike – the urban-mountain-do-it-all-workhorse(mule) – but, it’s also me.) You see, recently when having a tough time making a decision about something (generally trying to balance endurance pursuits with social life) I think of some of my blogger friends out there and consider how they might approach the same situation. It’s helpful in keeping me on track. Of course, some of those blogger friends are complete freaks of nature (I mean that in the most loving way) so sometimes you can really only take their example with a grain of salt.

Mindful Mule, however, is fairly well rounded. I can trust that Mindful will lead me down a pretty wholesome path. He rarely stays in the barn all day but he’ll probably never do a century. A 20-mile commute, a CICLE ride in Griffith Park, a trip to the grocery store, a trail ride up Brown, cruising Old Town in the evening – check. Mindful is up for all of these. But a mule needs his rest. A nap, a beer, a book, a giant burrito – these are on his checklist as well.

So, I guess what I’m saying is it’s important to stay close to home, close to your self. It’s great to push the envelope sometimes to make sure you’re not missing something, but generally there’s a pendulum of peaks and valleys and they all average out to something reasonable for our lives.

Thanks to you all for being there in my thoughts.

Monday, July 19, 2010

cool thoughts

Miller High Life — Alternative Fuels from Michael Williams on Vimeo.

made in the shade

Lately I’ve been almost forgetting my helmet, again. With all this heat it would be nice to go without. The thing that usually catches me before I ride off is the feeling of intense sun on my forehead. Even a helmet without a visor provides a lot of shade. So I guess I’ll keep wearing it.

At this time of year one of the worst moments on a ride is waiting at an intersection. That’s when I get blasted in the worst way. Direct sunlight plus reflected light off the pavement and radiated heat off the pavement and sudden loss of wind cooling (as you’re stopped) and those cars next to you put out a lot of heat too.

There is usually a nice mini pocket of shade to hide in though. Even the shade from a lamppost (or similar) can make a big difference especially on longer rides (exposure adds up). It seems obvious to hide in the shade on a hot day but I don’t see other people doing it much. I’ll stop fifty feet before an intersection if it means the difference between stopping under a shade tree or not. It seems to confuse the cars but whatever – like I said, it should be obvious.

Same-same with running. Which brings me to the next topic related to heat. I’ve been noticing a lot of runners out lately in the heat of the day, running in bright sun. I kept asking myself What are they doing? How can they do that to themselves? Then I realized that they’re probably not going very far. Still though, unless you’re training for Badwater or something, it’s probably a good idea to run in the cooler part of the day or at least in a shady area. You’ll be more likely to come back for more. You’re not going to lose that 15 pounds (if that’s your goal) all in one run anyway. A little bit at a time…

Saturday, July 17, 2010

who is that girl

I was out on a short run last night after the heat broke. I saw a runner going in the opposite direction on the other side of the street. I’ve seen her around running a fair amount. Mostly I see her up on the eastern side of the Arroyo.

And I’ve seen her a few times going up the Mt Wilson trail during the race. She always seems to be right in front of me or passing me. I guess that’s the only time you’d ever see someone in a race, but in her case she’s been there a lot.

She’s got kind of an interesting gait/stride. Which is to say, it’s a bit wacky. Okay I’ll just say it, she runs like a girl. Feet kinda kicked out or in or both or something. Over the last couple years her form does seem to have straightened out a bit.

I saw her again at the end of my run. Again going the opposite direction. Based on her running routes it would seem as though she lives in South Pas.

So I looked at the standings for this year’s Mt Wilson race but was surprised to find that there were only three runners registered from South Pasadena. Woohoo, first place male - out of one! One woman, Elizabeth(28), finished about 20 minutes ahead of me – third female overall. The other, Corlyn(47), finished about 20 minutes after me.

Based on those finishing times it doesn’t seem that the runner from last night could be either of these two women. So maybe she doesn’t live in South Pas. Or maybe I really need to step up my training to avoid being crushed by the girlie runner.

I just wish I’d come to this latter conclusion in the cooler part of the year…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

crescent moon through palm trees, endlessly

The last couple of nights there’s been a lovely crescent moonset along with one bright starset (planetset) behind a couple of palm trees up on the west ridge. It’s incredible. I’d say it’s beautiful but that’s too generic for this scene. It’s earthly, ancient, though, and then some. And, yes, it’s beautiful, for those that really appreciate the meaning of the word.

This scene feels very much like summer. Of course, the sudden spike in heat helps, too, but this evening’s silhouette of hillsides below bright celestial spheres and deep purple skies seems more significant than the temperature. It’s a calendar, reflected by the weather.

Adding to that, a display of several thunderheads from the desert to the east rose above the San Gabriel Mountains this afternoon. These giant mushroom shaped clouds reminded me of the smoke plumes from the wildfires last summer. Not quite as sinister looking as
this, but they’re sure to get bigger as the summer progresses.

So, anyway, summer is here. No longer can we/I hide behind the guise of June Gloom (which, by the way, was awesome this year – up until a couple days ago I was considering posting an entry as “the coldest summer I ever spent… was in LA 2010” – a bit of a stretched reference to the famous quote that you’re sure to know or can look up (regarding San Francisco, and apparently misquoted to Mark Twain) but it really was cool and nice for a while.

Also, even though I’ve been pretending to play it cool, I am so uber-psyched that Geoff won! Western States! So fucking! awesome! So happy and excited for you, man. Love it. Can’t even believe that we’ve exchanged comments in this blogger world. Thank you. Run on!!!

a visit from the blacksmith

The Adidas adiZero Ace are my new running shoes. They’re very light and airy. A nice compromise, I hope, between my last two pair of running shoes: the cross country shoes and the “regular” running shoes, both, also Adidas. I guess I’m on an Adidas kick. Three in a row for Three Stripes. The old pairs each have 600 miles on them and are beginning to feel a bit harsh. I’ll continue using them for a while on short runs or around town or add them to the growing pile of old running shoes in the closet – why do I save those? – perhaps they’ll make a good art installation someday.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

all the pretty horses and mules

There are horses in the Arroyo. Not wild or roaming or anything. They hang out at the edge of the stables right by the trail looking all cool-like with taped ankles, ready for anything – maybe another round of jumping or an easy ride down the trail. When I can’t get motivated to go for a run I think of all the pretty horses and they inspire me to go. Horses have great running form. When my own form breaks down due to fatigue I find it helpful to visualize and mimic theirs.

There was a mule on a walk in the Arroyo today, too. She looked super mellow. Blissful, almost. Living the good life in the Arroyo. Another good role model.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

sun sea and sasparilla

The beach for the holiday weekend. Barefoot to the pier. A dip in the warm Pacific. Cheese Shop sandwich and root beer. A tradition.