Fall rituals. Scarecrow at the pumpkin patch at dusk.
So, I’m trying to name a new website, but I’m super the worst ever at naming things. Worst. Ever. It, the website, I mean, is about women’s surfing and snowboarding. Because those things are fun, and I want to write about them. But I need a name. Which is not as fun. I’ll so totally be your BFF if you name my new website. Words, so hard sometimes. Me, so desperate.
Yesterday, there was surf. I pulled my wetsuits out of the closet, dragged my stick out from behind the door, and headed downstairs to my… car.
What is this thing? I put my stick on the roof and my stuff inside. I sat down and reaquainted myself with my four-wheeled contraption. Found the ignition. Win! It started. Yay! I put in the clutch, put it in reverse, and backed into the driveway. Then, in one of those mind-blank moments where something completely obvious turns out to be totally opaque, I forgot where to find first gear. Oh, first gear, why must you hide from me? I tried second. That didn’t work very well. I tried third, that worked even less well. Finally, about four blocks later, I found first, up on the top left, where it always is.
After that, I drove to the beach. Also, the surf was good. And I didn’t forget anything else.
As I was walking downstairs at 4.00 am to inform the downstairs neighbors, that really, they needed to shut up, I got to thinking about what a great idea it is that UCSB wants to add 10,000 more students. I didn’t need that sleep anyway.
While I’m here, I bring you this bit of excellence from the rental listings. $6800 to move into a rental? Tsk, tsk, greedy greedy. At least you’ll be safe, because you will live right next to the police station. Sleep sold separately.
Sun out, go outside now. Bike, where are you, we’re going, we’re going now. Tires, why must you deflate? Someone, someone please invent the self-inflating tire. How hard can it be? We can go to the moon, but I still have to pump up my tires. What about my needs? No one is looking after my needs. But there’s sun so I must not complain. Complaining is bad. Shoes. Ziiippppp. Sidi sound. Ziiipppp click click. Click click click. Dialed like an old rotary phone.
Down the stairs, use the handrail, slippery when wet. Down more steps, finally, down to the road. Driveway, wheee! Oops, parked car, watch that corner yo. Roll, roll, no dumb car keep driving while I stop at the stop sign. Because that’s what I do.
Red light. Red light. Red light red light red light red light. Train tracks kerthunk.
Beach. Looks like a lake. Will there ever be surf again? Outlook cloudy. Pedal. Ack bus. Parked cars. Squish. Uphill, bumpy, million dollar houses, why bad pavement, why. Garbage truck. Big garbage truck small road squeeze. Hi garbage collector guys. Hi Gav riding by on the blue bicycle. Warm dry early fall so bright.
Hill! Warm sunlit. Fuck, wore the wrong sunscreen sweating it all off on the first climb. Wait, gloves, I thought I brought them, back pocket not so useful, hands slipping. Wait for the descent, no time to bother now. Descend descend descend. Stop sign! Gloves. Gloves now. Much better, no more slippy fingers.
Sharp corner, big pothole, missed it by a milli. Phew. Up up more up always more up. Into the trees, warm sun, cool shade. Switchback, ocean view, keep climbing. Chain creaks, need a new one. Oh bike parts, why must you wear out so easily? And could you cost a little less? Things to wish for on a sunny day. A chain that doesn’t creak. Simple.
Climb climb, always forget this one gets hard at the top. Steep around the corner, gawk the view clear day islands. Woosh serpentine corners no cars take the road bend the bike speed. Chain saws in the bushes, Cal Fire clearing brush, thanks Cal Fire. Feel the fire season coming, dry air parching grass brown. Right turn, where is it, the corners blur together. No, that’s a driveway, maybe the next one, there it is. Uphill again, but not for long.
Parked cars, dog on a leash, downhill obstacle course 14%. Maybe they could have made this one a little wider, but that would be far too easy. More down, more turns, on the way to more up. Because you can never have too much up.
No Mr. Bee, you should not fly in my ear. That’s a bad idea. Very bad. This pavement, why is it so slow and bouncy? Sticky wheels gravity’s bite. Now with more switchback. Creek crossing steep climb out, follow the dry lines between the car tracks. False flat fast. Could ride all day. 180, lean it over, bend it around, jump out the other side.
Swoopy lazy descent big wide corners. Left turn this time, it’s around here somewhere. Yes, I saw you not see me backing out of your driveway. But it was easy to stop for you. Really it was. It’s only 15% here, I can balance all day. Look both ways. Rollercoaster road. Angry Escalade, the speed limit’s 25, no you can’t pass. Okay, safe now, have a nice day. Really, is this the best road you could choose? Wheee, so fast.
Chip seal?! Oh government, I give you my taxes and you give me… chip seal? Where’s my rose garden? I think I want a refund. Chip seal, watch the corners, stay out of the gutters, deep like quicksand. Whose idea was this again?
Round the roundabout, red light. No Mr. Bee I’m not a flower. I don’t look like a flower. I don’t smell like a flower. Hurry up light change! Don’t like Mr. Bee. Oh red light, please change for me. Phew, bye-bye Mr. Bee.
Back to the coast idyllic ride along the beach. Headwind?! This was not in the brochure. Brochure idyllic beach side bike ride. Headwind, could you make that stop? Hunker down pedal hard headwind. Hungry now, almost there.
Town green light move car. Parallel parking, you’re so dreaming. Just pay already, you spent how much on that iPhone? More red light. So hungry, green light, please?
Uphill upstairs front door. The End.
I’m adding a Favorites category here at the Sandbox. Periodically, I will add writing here that’s been posted elsewhere. A few old stories will also join the Favorites category. These are just stories that I liked. Maybe because I really wanted to write them, or because they just turned out better than I imagined. When I read them back later, they made me happy that I’d written them. It’s all rather self-indulgent, but it’s my sandbox and I’ll play how I want to.
The first of the favorites is this story from Podium Cafe about the career of Gilberto Simoni.
Gilberto Simoni has started thirteen editions of the Giro d’Italia. He was won twice, retired twice, and has finished second or third on six occasions. He counts among his successes stage wins on top of cycling’s most difficult summits, including the Zoncolan – he won that one twice – and Spain’s Angliru.
Despite his successful Giro career, the Tour de France never treated him especially well. His only stage victory came in 2003 in Loudienville after a long escape. All the same, the climber, who shares a home town with Francesco Moser in Trento, remains one of the few active riders to have celebrated stage victories in all three of cycling’s grand tours.
Now at last, Simoni is riding his last Giro d’Italia, a finale that comes after fourteen years as a professional. He has spent the first few stages tail-gunning it, staying out of trouble and waiting for the mountains. For the past two years tell the tale quite plainly, Simoni no longer has the legs for the general classification.
The Giro has visited the steep slopes of the Zoncolon on two previous occasions. Simoni has won both times. Can he win again this year? It may be a big ask. If not the Zoncolon, a long escape over the Gavia or the Mortirolo would provide a fitting end to his career, dominated as it was by successes in the high mountains. In his day, Simoni climbed with the best. Read the rest…