Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Morgan and Louise

The day started off with a hearty breakfast, some rocket fuel, and making a lunch.
Raingear? check. blinkies? check. coffee? check. gloves? check.
This would be a long day.

On the run out to Lord Stanley's park, I picked up some glass with my front tire. I first noticed it in chinatown, and thought we'd better book it if I wanted to make it across the downtown core before the tire completely deflated. So book it we did. I managed to make it to the ReThink Offic on Pender@Georgia before hitting rim. Close enough. I'll walk it.

No worries, because Adam and Louise weren't there yet. I laid out my stuff, and got to work patching the tube. Louise arrived, then Sascha and Rhiannon. A full crew!

Off we went up the causeway. At the top of the bridgespan, we determined that we'd need less rain gear. It was getting nicer out. Time to strip. ..and have a shot of fireball for energy.

We made it around the mall just at the North end of the bridge, and then onto Marine.
Ahh west Van traffic. Most Vehicles were over $40k, and most of the drivers were unsure what to do when passing a peloton of 5 cyclists.

Things got twisty and tight. There are weird driveways connecting to the main road. There was no shoulder. Sometimes you just have to assert yourself for your safety.

I took it upon myself to 'coach' the motorists into slowing through use of hand signals. Then when I felt it was clear for them, I'd wave them on. Most people are good about this sort of thing. Theres only the odd asshole that completely ignores your hand signal, and passes anyways when there's an oncoming car around the bend.

I'm not sure if it was advantagous or not, but our pack would break apart on the hills, due to our differences in gearing. I suppose having to pass 3 groups of cyclists is more stressful than one?

Morgan led us down a remote road to 'The Dale' so we could stop and check out the view of the ocean.
We took a few shots on the rocks there:

Once we we cooled down, we decided to continue onwards, and go to Whytecliff park.
This is where people go to watch the submarine races, and to scuba dive.

The ride out there took us through a pretty posh West Van marina. It seemed half the traffic that was passing us, were pool/spa trucks. Does everyone have a pool that needs servicing out here? I waved at the soccer moms in their SUVs. They looked confused.

We made it.
At the park, we rode past the people with their scuba gear, to the lookout circle.
It appeared to be a great place to watch the races from.

Rhiannon, blew me away when she pulled out a red and white checkered picnic blanket. I think I have a preparedness crush.
We laid out all the food on it. Fruit, lasagna, carub bars, walnut bread, turkey sandwiches, fireball, coffee.
Never have I been to such an incredible November picnic.
What else is in that Pannier?

At the park we met a couple roadies named Dave and Chris from Kits. These guys offered us some smoke, and some insight on staying young. "Just keep riding." Sounds like good advice to me.

We cuddled in the cold wind, ate as much as possible, and finished off the fireball.
Morgan put Louise's camera to work, for the benefit of the fixed gear gallery. We're all at peace. Bellies full, legs strong, nothing can stop us. Imagine getting to feel this good all the time.

Finally the cold gets to us, and we need to move again. ..but not until we practice skidding along the park drive first. The wrong way. Down a narrow street.
I practice my slaloms, Morgan does the no hands dance. Strike a pose. Vogue. Sascha is happy to just get used to his new frame.

The ride back was just as much fun as the ride there. It almost seemed like the descents were more intense. Was it because our legs were tired? Either way, the pattern was 'grind-grind-grind, take the lane, and spin-spin-spin'. A pool truck passed me dangerously cresting a hill, so I returned the favour when he slowed for the corners, feeling his fender as I did so.

On one of the faster descents, coming into the Marina again, I was completely spun out and hugging the yellow line coming around a left hand corner. All I was thinking about was how long I could maintain this RPM, when suddenly I saw an oncoming bus. His drivers side tires were completely over the line. I made eye contact with the driver, and saw right into his fear. A subltle weight adjustment, and my ride is a meter over to the right, giving me just enough clearance to feel the turbulance from the bus mirror. I feel like a gunslinger.

We're definately slowing down. Apparently these hills are getting to us. Its much harder than the Deep Cove ride. The West Van gas station is all sold out of water, so we get Gatorade. We stop again on the bridge, and decide that our departure point should be Robson square.

The trip East on Georgia is a delight due to the construction.
I caressed an Infinity with a sensual gloved hand, along its entire body. Notice how much better the vancouver traffic is at dealing with bicycles.

We break up, and make our way back to East van. I changed tenses to the past.
We broke up.

On union we ran into Lee (mentioned in the MC3 ride post). He had done a lap of Stanley park on his cruiser, and got 4 flats over the course of the day. Lee is known as the 'Fossilosopher', due to his study of the culture of fossil fuel domestication. Anyways.. after telling us about his flats, Lee offered us a poem.
I was delighted to hear it flowing from his mouth as we made our way East. 4 blocks. The poem was 4 blocks long, about the beauty of fixed gear riding. Thanks Lee.
I don't think anyone has ever recited such an incredible linguistic composition to me while riding before.

After grinding up the last hill towards Victoria, Louise invited us back to her place (3 blocks from mine) to relax and stretch. As a birthday gift, she gave Morgan an old school MTB jersey from Vail Colorado. I'm a little jealous of its old schooliness.

This has been a great day. My heart is feeling it.

Sidenote: Upon my arrival home, I checked my messages, and found that Nick had attended a 'China Creek Jam' on Saturday. It seems no one wants to see these bowls go. The next public meeting on the matter is Dec 5th. More info TBA.


morgman said...

I had a great time, as can be seen. Lee's poem was icing on the proverbial cake.

nikcee said...

yeah... i ran into nick, skylar and his roommate (another nick?) at CC. It was chaos with so many skaters and a few bmxers. Great turnout and lots of enthusiastic locals supporting the park. looks like you kids had a good ride too...