Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Coming up for air

It’s been a while since I’ve made the time to post words or pictures here, but that’s life. Lots of long work days lately what with a major product dog and pony show here at the office and then a trade show coming in mid-February. It got so hectic for a while there that I opted out of a European work trip…to do more other work. I ain’t complaining…it beats the alternative...and life is good.

Anyway, here are some Cliffs Notes of varying length of things I may or may not post more about:

Bikes! Fast ones! Coming to a town near me!
-Tour of California, Stage 3 – Modesto to San Jose - Feb. 20, 2008
- While San Jose’s own Sierra Road was a painfully sharp stick in the eye at the end of a long day during the ’06 and ’07 Tours of California, the 2008 edition will undoubtedly be the most painful ascent of the slab yet. That’s because before they even get to Sierra, the riders will alreday have 80 miles and some 6,000 feet of climbing in their legs—including the gnarly steeps of Mount Hamilton’s back side. This hors categorie (so hard it’s not classified) grunt comes after a steady diet of uphill rollers that begins in the town of Patterson and does not relent. The descent should see some interesting tactics too, as the front side of Hamilton is 22 miles long and much more gradual than the back. It should lend itself to some powerful (and exhausting) chases, not to mention sketchy cornering.

The profile of Stage 3 looks painful with 7000 feet of climbing over 103 miles.

From the bottom of Hammy, it’s out to the Category 1 ascent of Sierra—3.5 miles of 10 plus percent grade fun. Having ridden Sierra a couple weeks ago, I can attest that it is still one tough bitch that feels even worse early in the season. I’m not anywhere vaguely near pro caliber, but this climb even made last year’s stage winner Jens Voigt hurt, and there’s not a harder man in the pro peloton.

Stage winner Jens Voigt launches the key attack up Sierra Road at the '07 TOC.

After cresting and covering a couple rollers over the top, it’s a breakneck charge to downtown San Jose and the finish line at eMocha/Broken Door Coffee, which serves the best coffee in the world and is across from some building...oh yeah, City Hall. I expect it will take the shattered field some time to all finish and that the pool of overall contenders will be quite select at this point.

One other factor that could add to the drama is weather. Aside from a little light rain on a stage or two of the first two editions, this has been an unseasonably balmy race, even by California standards. Should our current soggy weather patterns extend to race week, this could be an epic, epic stage.

Shoot me an email or call me if you’re gonna be in town or wanna come watch. If it’s nice, we’ll do a ride from Casa Palermini to somewhere on the route. If it’s crappy out, we’ll just go to Broken Door and pretend to be European. If I were a betting man, I’d tell you to brush up on an accent.


…Speaking of Downtown San Jose and City Hall
- Parking Tickets
– I actually usually walk or ride my bike to downtown San Jose, but when I drive, it seems like I get a ticket about 40% of the time, usually due to nebulous and unclear makings and signage...even though I check two or three times. And really, I'm not that dumb. Using the Freedom of Information Act I'd like to get the spot-by-spot statistics on which spots garner the most violations. I'm confident the highest earners (for the city) are these cloudy ones...I'd bet the city knows it too. Believe me, I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong, but this is BS and the last thing the struggling downtown business core needs is to chase people away and leave a bad taste in their mouth. But alas, it's like talking to the taxman about poetry...and I'll probably just pay the $35 and be done with it. Apathetically pathetic, I know.

…and speaking of bikes (again)
- History of My Bikes – This one I will get done. I’m going to put together a personal, online, bike-by-bike history, starting with my current bikes and going back as far as I can remember. I also hope to jog free some of the notable associated stories as well as find some classic photos. A nostalgic indulgence perhaps, but it'll be fun.

…and speaking of water falling from the sky
- Showering – I really am trying to be less resource intensive in general, but one area I fail miserably in is both lessening the length and frequency of my showers. Maybe it's not as good a topic as I thought.

…and speaking of falling…well crashing, actually
- Shannan’s Skiing Accident – Thankfully, my dear and schralptastic friend is expected to make a full recovery from the facial fracture that pushed her eye out of place and generally messed her up a bit. Typically, she downplayed her time in the ER saying, “There were guys with full on broken femurs and spinal injuries coming in left and right. All I had was a skull fracture.”

..and speaking of bikes (and again)
- Hmmm...

…oh and music
-Naked Raygun – So the NR show in San Jose was great and all, but it left me feeling sorta sad. There’s something wrong with frontman Jeff Pezzati…an affliction of some sort, I gather. And while he’s still the consummate showman, in that non-flashy, confident, Chicago kind of way...and the voice is still strong and good, you can sense the sadness in him. I'm sure part of it is whatever's wrong but maybe more. Poo.

…and what I’m not doing when I’m not doing work and should be reading something
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary
– I’ve returned to great adventure with my friend Lara Croft and am probably two-thirds of the way through the latest installment of the storied Tomb Raider series. I got stuck a couple days ago and had to look up a cheat and still had trouble. Stupid Centaur. Took me forever to get its shield.

…oh and music (again)
- CD – I’ve been working on my annual CD from 2007. I haven’t gotten far. But I’ll send you it sometime. Promise.

That’s it for now. I’ll try to be more Metamusil in the future.

PS - Oh yes! I changed the name of the blog...recognize the reference?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Burrito That Saved My Life!

Okay the burrito didn't really save my life, but after a nice, brisk bike ride up Empire Grade to Smith Grade to Bonny Doon Road, down the big hill and back on Highway 1, I was ravenously famished. The two salty urine-flavored Cliff Blocks—officially, margarita flavor—did nothing to curb my cravings. I needed food—real food—with gusto dammit!

La Cabaña is in a strip mall that looks nothing like this.

On the far west end of town is La Cabaña, pretty much the only taqueria in Santa Cruz I truly like. Convincing Sean to join me took exactly zero words, just a raised eyebrow in the right direction. The fact that he offered to buy me a birthday burrito made the sustenance thing even sweeter. Not just real food, but free real food!

I'd expected to order my old standby, the carne asada super burrito, when I saw the "California Burrito" sign I had noticed about a month ago. It's hand written and taped nonchalantly and near randomly under the more formal vinyl die-cut menu board. It seems like a more apt place for a lost dog or need a roommate flyer than an addition to the menu. And while I'm generally skeptical of culinary Californication (i.e., California Pizza Kitchen and the like), I literally started drooling as I re-read the flyer:

"New. California Burrito - guacamole, salsa, French fries and meat."

There is no punctuation, I added that part...but French fucking fries?! In a burrito?!! With Guac?!?!?!! Holy shit that's brilliant. Not traditional...and certainly not Mexican, but Mother-of-God that's genius!

I ordered one with carne asada (did I mention Sean paid) and was soon wolfing the thing down with a veracity that threatened my fingers. The fries, Dios mio, the fries! Perfection! Not too many, not too few, but just the right ratio in tantalizing counterpart to the carne asada.

So it’s like six hours later now and I haven’t eaten supper yet…actually still kinda full from lunch. And if I make myself burp, I can even taste it a little.

Mmmmmmm….California Burrito…..

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Too busy to write...

...but you're all invited to Pete-N'-Don's 1993 Halloween party. No slamming the stained glass window this time bitches.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

1989 called...

...they want their long lost junior college ID back.