Monday, March 22, 2010

Can't judge a book....

Every creature learns from experience. We are not continually a blank slate experience-wise. Animals learn not do to something, and then don't. Eat that, you get sick. Don't go near near the yellow flickering stuff, it burns. Humans are no different.Experience is a short cut, experience something once, you can build on it. That's essentially what education is, building on our universal experience. So you can judge a book by looking at the cover. Well I am sure you will agree one can't always do so. Literature reinforces our own lives events. So, we as higher functioning creatures get to apply a little more judgement. OK, are you still with me? So, Sunday I am doing my bikecommute to work, a nice 12 mile route, not hilly and on Suday its especially quiet. I left home a little late so I am not dawdling. I just crest the one little bump on the route, when a group of riders roll past. I think, "I had better jump on that train" so I accelerate up and announce that I am tucked on the back. We go a mile or so and get held up at an intersection, another guy looks over and I comment that appreciate the draft. They are a serious looking group, me, I am in jeans and on my old 1991 Bridgestone MB-4 with a pannier and fenders. He commented they were turning off another two miles up but I was welcome to try and stay on. Well, I suppose he misjudged the cover on that book, because I stayed with them. Sure, they were cruising out at a rather relaxed pace, but.... We've all done it, misjudged someone or something by appearance, only to be shown - wrong. Oh well thats life, look around, pay attention Last week I hit the 190 mile mark for a week! I haven't done that in a good long while. That is hardly heroic distance out here with these folks. But I am happy. Above panorama is the view across the Santa Rosa Plain. Lower ridge separates us from Napa County, the mountain is the far side of Napa. Mt. Saint Helena. Fortunatly, there is no paved road, otherwise I guess I'd have to climb it too! Happy Springtime, I told you it would get here. It looks like many of us are getting some sun on our deprived arms and legs now. Even y'all in NC. Ride on folks, thanks for reading. HH

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happiness revisited

While finishing up a nce ride with my wife, Susan, on Saturday, we were assulted by a very unhappy person. Said person hurled a open commercial waterbottle at us. It sprayed me on its way to Susan, hitting both her leg and bike in an undetermined order. After coming to a stop to gather our wits and assess the situation, all seemed well. I had scanned the passing vehicles but couldn't even be sure which vehicle contained the unhappy being. Maybe they weren't even fron Sonoma County? But on top of being cowardly, they sure mustn't have been having a happy day. Anyway, just goes to show, folks are folks, even in the midst of happyland My Monday ride had four people join me for a hilly 45 miler. We got rained on about midway, spotty cold spring showers on and off the rest of the ride. They pretty much ripped my legs off. Fastest ride in months. Happy tho'! I hope y'all in NC are enjoying the sudden spring temps break out those bikes HH

Friday, March 5, 2010


OK a little cycling history. Paris- Nice, the so called "Race to the Sun" starts Sunday, see your Versus TV schedule! It is a week long stage race that often shows who is coming along for the year. Last year Contador blew-up, but we know the rest of that story. The race starts in dismal northern European weather and finishes up on the sunny shores of the Med, where the wealthy and celebs frolic. The king of P-N has to be Sean Kelly, who won it seven years straight 1982-1988. Also Andrei Kivilev died from head injury in 2003, prompting the UCI to make the final move to mandate helmet use. Many images of the race make up my memories, but the primary has to be a certain Frank Vandenbrouke in his breakout year, 1998. I had not registered his name before. The pic in VeloNews or some other mag shows him in dismal snowy conditions on his way to a win. He went on to many thrilling victories before celebrity and drugs and mental illness got him off the rails. He came through a several possible come backs but he always messed them up. He was the classics rider for the 21st century, or could have been. He typified the PRO look. This past year he came out with a very open and clear minded appeal to his fans and the cycling community. But he died of a heart failure while training in South Africa. Did drug use damage his heart? For all his flaws, he was a admirable man racing a bike. RIP Frank. HH

Cavedale Adventure

Before I get to yesterdays ride up Cavedale, let me ramble a little. Sonoma County is reported to be the happiest place in CA and the fifth happiest in the country. I didn't know such polls exist, I've never been contacted by a major polling organization, which is not to say that overlooking my opinion detracts from the veracity of the results. But anyway, the local paper featured the story on Feb. 16. It was a poll taken by the Gallup organization last year, it assessed the jobs,finances, health habits,mental attitudes and communities of 353,000 Americans. So apparently we in Sonoma County eat healthy, exercise regularly and don't smoke. There is a big impact of the local food movement here, not to mention strong emphasis on "green" and environmental issues. I would also say a certain "joie d'vivre" attitude is very prevalent. There's also a prevalence of ads for Medical Marijuana Certifications and "smoke shops"! Not saying there's any connection. Boulder CO was first and I think Raleigh NC was in there too, in the top forty. Now for a little anecdotal evidence, about a week later, a major rush hour pile-up on the freeway southbound to San Fran, stopped traffic for hours. The paper covered the accident and part of the story said drivers pulled over, got out of their cars and talked to there fellow strandees and finished their coffee in the morning sun. I'm sure not everyone had the same laid-back approach to the event, but I reflected back to the "happy" story. I think there is some real truth there. Come see what you think.
Yesterday, I did one of the standard climbs of note, here in happy land. Climbing seems to be the defining feature of Sonoma County riders. You may know I'm not one to seek out such features, but I've decided "when in Rome....", so climb I will. Cavedale Road goes up the mountain ridge separating Sonoma County from Napa County. It goes up 2000' in five miles. One probably should be warned not to descend it because the surface is very rough and mostly like a poorly paved driveway and one lane. But beautiful views await the adventurer and nearly no traffic. Above shows the start. Note clouds. I did begin with misgivings as the area is rather remote, and temps where low 50's. But the area to my back and elsewhere was sunny, so with a bit of 'happy' stoicism I soldiered on. This view is nearing the top. Way in the distance are the back waters of San Fran bay where waters from the Sierras finally end up (those that don't get sent to Southern CA anyway) Above is five minutes up, about a mile,views are out of order, sorry still figuring this blog stuff out Valley now, one small climb before home. Springtime!!!! Sixteen minutes Cave! is this what the road gets named from? View after the last climb. The Tour of CA comes over this coming into town. The hills are very different profile, aren't they? Last Saturday, I was off work and did a group ride over another climb of note, Sweetwater Springs Rd. (my second time) The first hour was a steady light rain. The views are a bit less dramatic, but the climbing! six miles and the last mile and a half went up 900' I saw 18% on my HMDR (handlebar mounted data recorder) my feet saw the pavement a few times to rest. Think Grandfather Mountain without the cheering, I was all alone at that point. But not last! Thanks for following, y'all. HH