Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Found by Bike

Carrie and I took a little jaunt down by the beach this past Sunday. She's still getting used to her new fixed gear conversion, but is handling it very nicely. This was evident in our maneuvering through the Huntington Beach mess from the Newport line through Bolsa Chica. Neither of us got hit by another bike path user, nor did we hit any of the errant swervin' mervins encountered. Sunset Beach was the usual mellowness, save one aggro SUV operator that just had to get by us, only to get behind another vehicle that was traveling more slowly then we were. Some people's kids...

From Surfside to Seal Beach we had to ride the shoulder of the PCH, which was the first time Carrie had been out on that bike in a high speed traffic area. Her pace quickened and we made quick work of it. After passing Seal Beach Blvd, I got to show her a trick on how to quickly and easily get across a busy six lane state highway. The light at Seal Beach Blvd had just turned green, so instead of waiting for the left turn lane there I led us down PCH until the traffic behind us ran out, allowing us to zip a left turn into a quiet resedential to access downtown. It was almost spooky, going from that busy highway to a super quiet narrow resedential street. Two different worlds.

Our way was made down to the pier and then across town to see if a group ride that was supposed to be turning around in Seal Beach had arrived yet. By the time we arrived at their intended turn-around point it was discovered through a couple of text messages that they were already long gone. We were both hungry, so seeking out some good food that wasn't going to break the bank became a priority.

After tooling back to Main Street and taking an initial look-see, we turned around just before PCH. The first place on the right-hand side of the road was this little place with a bunch of whole chickens cooking on an open grill. I asked Carrie if chicken was ok and she agreed, landing us both at Charo Chicken. A couple of burritos were ordered up and were ready in about three minutes. That was when we discovered that we had hit the food jackpot because those chicken burritos were fantastic. Since Charo is a small chain out here in SoCal, now we know where to go if we have a chicken burrito craving.

The ride back and through Huntington Beach seemed to be a lot less crowded. It was either that, or the goofiest users of the bike path had already departed. Once we got back onto the Santa Ana River bike path, Carrie opened it up a bit and we hauled back to where my truck was parked up-river.

We had succeeded in enjoying a nice afternoon together, going for a good bike ride, dodging the dangerous traffic on the beach bike path, beating the inland heat and also finding great chicken burritos! It's doubtful that we would have hit Charo Chicken if we had been in a motor vehicle. Having an unfettered view of those chickens on the grill and catching a big whiff of them cooking while making our u-turn is what sold us on stopping there. We always find the best surprises by bike.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Angels Baseball x 2

Last week was a good week for me and riding to Angels Baseball games.

Rebecca, my friend Mark and I got a chance to spin over to The Big A on Saturday May 9th to see Joe Saunders and Zack Greinke go head to head in a classic pitcher's duel. Initial consideration was to get some View level seats, but the prospect of two of the American League's best hurlers going at it made the decision to splurge for some Field level seats and easy one.

Joe Saunders

Zack Greinke

The duel was as advertised. The only run of the game was gained by a fine piece of hitting, followed up by base running to match performed by Gary Matthews Jr.

Gary Matthews Jr about to smack a double

Gary Matthews Jr changing directions to tag up on Chone Figgins' sacfrice fly ball to right field

Joe Saunders pitched the game of his career, going all nine innings to get his first MLB complete game shutout.

Joe Saunders post game interview

The following Thursday's duel with the Red Sox was of a different flavor. A see-saw afternoon weekday battle was enjoyed by 35,000 at The Big A. My work counterpart/bud Marvin and I managed to fanagle a couple of company seats to this match-up.

I had to wake up early after working all night, zip over to work, pick up the ticket, zip over to the ballpark, lock up the bike and find my seat. It wasn't too difficult, leaving my place at 1205 and being seated in the ballpark by 1225 easily outpaced what could have been done by motor vehicle. Marvin was already settled in with a beer and after that neither of us left our seats for twelve innings of being on the edge of them.

The game was twelve innings of excitement, punctuated by several fantastic defensive plays by both teams and the exclamation point being what turned out to be a game-saving catch by Torii Hunter in the top of the 10th inning.

Torii Hunter

Yeah, it was a great week to ride to Angels games.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cycling World Loss

I just found out tonight that my friend Anthony Sloan passed away in his sleep a couple of nights ago. The preliminary indication is that it was due to an enlarged heart. If there was one trait I knew about Anthony, is that he was at least figuratively a man with a big heart. He wasn't old or unfit, so it's shocking to say the least.

Anthony and I first met in Durango, CO where were both visiting to ride some of the famed singletracks in the area back in 2001. We "knew" each other from Usenet's infamous alt.mountain-bike for a couple of years prior and had both decided the other was an interesting enough character to meet up and ride some trails with someday. The trail we chose to ride the day we met was the southern terminus of the Colorado Trail. We had a great day and a ton of fun, especially while hauling ass and laughing all of the way down the trail. After that meeting it was obvious to both of us that we had "it" figured out and would ride together again.

Anthony eventually moved from Austin, TX to the Colorado Front Range, so our paths crossed a little more often. Seb Orrell Jones and I took Anthony for a singlespeed drag up to the top of Searle Pass from Frisco, CO shortly after his move, utilizing paved bike path and singletracks to accomplish this. He was still working on his CO lungs, but wasn't far away from getting them considering it was his first whole high country season there. One of the last times I got to ride with Anthony was on the infamous Fruita Fat Tire Festival Death March in 2004. After that ride was all said and done, there was a bit of grumbling from some of the other participants. During the grumbling of others and unbeknownst to them, Anthony shot be a big grin and gave me a thumbs up to accompany it. I never told anyone about that (and doubt he did either) until writing it now because it was something that just had to be shared between ourselves. That's the kind of man Anthony was.

The last time I got to visit with Anthony was at the Fruita Fat Tire Festival in 2008. He was busy running the Yeti demo fleet because that's what he did. We had spoken about riding together again after the festival, but it never materialized. I knew I was missing out by not riding with him, but had thought at the time we would have many more chances in the future. Alas, it is not to be so.

Ride In Peace, Anthony.

Hermosa Creek Trail near Durango, CO 04/26/03
Anthony Sloan

Colorado Trail near Searle Pass, CO 09/24/03
Anthony Sloan