Thinking about the good stuff

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Lots of thoughts racing around my head this week.  I think my mind is finally purging from the stress of the last two weeks and I have been given access to some rich memories of fun times and beautiful places.  Also, the relaxed and enjoyable pace of my commute by bike gives me plenty of time to think (between the pot holes…).  The radio has even been helping because it seems that our local stations and even my Pandora account are reminiscing about the 90’s and the Grunge movement.  It was all a part of the “experience” of living in SoCal in the 90’s.  But it stuck with me and it’s still one of my favorite kinds of music.

Even though this was “pre” iPod… (insert comments about records made of stone and dinosaur rock here), I still used to at least enjoy music when driving to and from some of my favorite runs and rides back in the day.  Bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Stabbing Westward, Stone Temple Pilots, as well as local SoCal favorites like God Lives Underwater, Raging Slab, 8 stops 7, Dishwalla, Blind Melon and many others were always with me.  Why I’m thinking about them now… I don’t know.  They have been getting a lot of air play lately which is just adding to the nostalgia I guess.

I do miss some things about SoCal dearly, like my friends, the SCA (long live CAID!), the weather and, most especially, the fantastic places there were to run and mountain bike.  I never really got into the whole beach thing.  Mostly because the water was so cold.  But if I ever went back… I might just go for a swim too!

I also had a recumbent bike when I was out there and I have really been missing it.  I had to sell it a while back and I regret that decision.  It was a Haluzak Horizon and Mr. Haluzak stopped making them in 2007.  A bike like that would be an incredible ride on the Katy trail.  You could go for hundreds of miles on it and never get tired.  I will have one again some day (or something very similar).  I’ve even gone so far as to set up a search on eBay for one.  Not that I have the money for one if it ever pops up… but hey… I could live on one kidney… right?  Anyway, Haluzak made 2 different types, both with under seat steering and the pedal on a boom out in front of the bike.  They looked ridiculous but man, they were fun…  *sigh*

I guess my re-found fondness for bicycles (with all the races, commuting and great places to mtb here in CoMo) just got me thinking about my favorite rides, which then wandered to favorite places to bike.  I didn’t ride much on the roads in SoCal (AKA: Suicide!) unless I was on the Horizon with a group of bent riders (which was usually accompanied by lots of gawking so I wasn’t too worried).  But I sure mountain biked a lot.  My neck of the woods was southern Ventura County, which has some awesome rides, as well as my favorite ride in Ojai (north Ventura County) which is just plain beautiful.  I have been seeing places in my mind like Overlook trail, Sulphur Mountain, Bulldog, Guadalasco and the Black Bitch when I think about riding, and I miss them.

There was a lot of good running too.  A 12 mile trail went from the beach in Ventura to downtown Ojai.  You could leave in the morning in 58 degree temps and fog so thick you couldn’t see.  Within two miles you were in bright sunshine and a nice breeze.  Two more miles and the temperature was 75 degrees and the onshore breeze was blowing up a steep walled valley.  The further you went, the warmer it got and the more you climbed.  If you timed it right, you could stop and eat in Ojai and then turn around for a downhill return trip that, in the afternoon, was accompanied by a tailwind as well because the wind switches (sometimes) in the afternoon.  And you could run right back down to that cool beach you started at.   Or if you were really brave you could RUN Sulphur Mountain.  Nine miles of… up.  Two thousand three hundred feet of up.  But the reward is two fold.  First, the ride is spectacular.  Second, there is a 9 mile DOWN hill trip awaiting you to get back to the car.  Imagine not pedaling for over 8 miles.  But be prepared.  Heading back toward the ocean means a temperature drop and fog.  Especially chilly when you aren’t pedaling…!

I know I should probably be focusing on my training and getting ready for Trizou this weekend.  But following along those “Why do I do this” lines I have been thinking on, the people and places are as much a part of the experience as anything.  I’m decent, but I’ll never be elite.  Might as well enjoy it…

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