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Monday, November 18, 2019

Red Tail Invited Ground Squirrel for Brunch

One day Red Tail invited Ground Squirrel for brunch. Ground Squirrel was very excited. She had known many friends who had been invited to brunch by Red Tail in the past. They had never returned so she assumed it must be the most lavish brunch in the clouds that one would never want to leave. So she happily accepted Red Tail’s invitation. “I’ll meet you under the Lemonade Berry Bush at 10am sharp,” Red Tail instructed. Ground Squirrel could hardly sleep that night as she stayed up thinking about all the lovely seeds and nuts and refreshing herbs that would be spread across Red Tail’s table. And she was also really looking forward to catching up with all her old friends. Ground Squirrel was bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning when she showed up early to wait for Red Tail. He showed up casually late as if he really didn’t care much. “Curl up into my talons and I will carry you to my brunch,” he rather gruffly squawked at Ground Squirrel. Just as she was rather uncomfortably settled into his talons Red Tail began to flap his powerful wings and they slowly began to rise through the branches of the Lemonade Berry. Just as they had broken free from the last rustling leaves Old Man came running down the arroyo past them. All were quite startled for a moment. Even Red Tail lost his normal cool and his grip on Ground Squirrel. As she fell a few feet back down to earth she suddenly had a flash of enlightenment. She was for brunch! She quickly spun around and scurried straight back into her burrow under the Lemonade Berry. Her heart wouldn’t calm down for quite sometime and she wasn’t even hungry anymore. She decided that from then on she would abide by her name and stay on the ground…

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tour of Cal No More

So the news is out there that the Tour of California week-long professional bicycle stage race will not be returning for the year of 2020 which in my mind puts it at extreme rick of never occurring at some future date.

It's a bit sad and surprising. It seemed to be well attended and sponsored. And there were some great stages over the years.

A couple of favorite stages that come to mind were both seen in person. It's still the only bicycle race I've ever seen from the ground. I remember George Hincapie crushing it on a breakaway on several loops around the Rose Bowl which also included a climb up and out and back in, I think up Holly St somehow. That was some great hard fought racing! I think that was the first race I ever saw.

And then one year a stage started right here in town. Which was lot's of fun. Mission Street was closed off all morning with all the team cars and bikes lined up for viewing and general swag and excitement all around. I even pulled my daughter out of school early that morning so we could soak in all things cycling for a brief moment. She was in Pre-K at the time so really big deal, I know! I wonder if she'll remember that.

In recent years I've felt a little overwhelmed with riding the mountain roads around here because of all the speeding cars and motorcycles. It hasn't felt safe up there on a bicycle for a long time but I do love those roads and those mountains. And that was one of the amazing side effects of Tour of Cal - it closed off roads to cars for the racers but fans on bicycles could still head up early before the race and enjoy the mountains car free - oh, and sure, the race... I'm realizing now that I didn't take nearly enough advantage of that loophole...

Thursday, November 7, 2019

sneak up on opportunities

When I was a kid, like, in my teens, I liked to work on cars. Tinkering, turning bolts, fixin' stuff... but mostly just hangin' around with other car people... There was an older guy, probably in his sixties or seventies back then, whose house we'd frequently hang out at - there were always a least a few old cars in various stages of repair lined up in his driveway.

He'd been fixin' stuff his whole life it seemed and pretty much new all the answers to our questions even if he usually tried to hold back his opinions and let us figure it out on or own. He mostly just sat around in a folding lawn chair nearby and drank. There's a certain kind of clinking sound that ice makes on those hard plastic tumbler glasses and that sound still reminds me of him. We called him Chuck. Not his real name. Not changed here for privacy, that's just what we called him.

To give you an idea of his ways, we were once trying to figure out why one particular car kept leaking oil on the ground. Chuck didn't tell us what was likely to be the source of the problem but rather suggested we just pour the oil straight on to his driveway instead of into the engine - "Avoid the middleman," he laughed and laughed...

And his advice for those tough to loosen stuck bolts, "Well, you gotta sneak up on 'em, ya see... Don't let that bolt know what you're up to until - Wham!" And, you know what, it often works.

And in that same way, we've sometimes got to sneak up on those moments in our day when we can get out and do our thing - whatever that thing might be... a run, a blog post... Things can't always be planned and scheduled. Sometimes we gotta just say, Hey, I've got a few moments here all of a sudden and - Wham! Get out there...