Monday, December 21, 2009

Palm Canyon Trail Epic

Palm Canyon Trail Epic. Obvious, no?

Rugged country, that desert is.

This past weekend, the boys and I drove to the Palm Springs area to hit a point-to-point trail in the desert mountains. With the exception of my crash, that occurred 20 minutes into our 5-hour ride, it was a spectacular day. I sideways endoed (would you call that a sidedo?) down an embankment. How was I rewarded for my acrobatics? A nice little cactus. Bum, meet cactus. Cactus, meet bum.

All-in-all, beautiful day. The trail was far more technical than I had anticipated, but I was proud of myself for shutting off my brain enough (Brain: What the F#*%! You can't go over those rocks! Me: No cognitive processing today, brain!) to get through all the rock gardens un-scathed.

Enjoy the pics.

P.S. For Christmas, I would like some sharper tweezers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A beautiful weekend.

This past weekend, Southern California got rain and more rain, and did I mention lots of rain? But, my, did we need it around here. Northern California should offer loud clap clap claps for the 1 less inch of precipitation So. Cal will need to rob from them this year. So, anyhow, despite the rain, I made my way up to SLO for the Winter edition of the Little 500.

To truly share the experience with you, I made a home video for you.
I'm very proud. This is my first effort at movie making!
BTW, stop adjusting your volume. There's no sound. It's my first effort.

What you just saw there was an attempt by our tandem Jazzercise! team to get started in all of the mud. It's difficult sometimes.

So besides the fun time at the Little 5 oh oh, the crew and I threw together a spontaneous meal that consisted of the following:

Squid stuffed with chorizo, queso fresco, and roasted red peppers

Mushroom risotto

Calamari* soaked in lemon juice and red pepper flakes, lightly grilled

Purple and white steamed cauliflower

Marinated mushrooms

Margaritas with freshly squeezed lemons

Goat leg, grilled and stuffed with garlic and rosemary

Pretty fantastic, huh? Now you see why I take so many trips north.

The next day, we burned off that fabulous dinner, and our hangovers, with a beautiful ride through Montana de Oro. The sun came out, rainbows appeared**, and the sparkling ocean was visible from the trail.

It was a beautiful weekend.

* Sometimes it's squid. Somtimes we call it Calamari. It depends on how Italian we're feeling. But the soaked version definitely seemed more Italian.

** Sadly, there were no unicorns frolicking about.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The San Gabes

I've mentioned that the riding here is stellar. The climbs are endlessly long. The descents are a total bomb. What still blows me away is getting back into the San Gabriels, or the Santa Anas, and you completely forget you're 40 minutes away from 11 million people and endless concrete. I've found some guys to ride with who figure out the route, the ride logistics--all that--and who don't mind if I join along. Below are some pics from this weekend's ride where we explored some trails in the San Gabes.

Maybe I just belong there.

I’ve lived down in Orange County now for six months. I’ve tried really hard to like it here, but it’s as though every fiber of my being is resisting. I’m reluctant to make friends and form relationships. For the first time in years, I consistently feel like I'm not figuring it out. I am no longer confident in who I am.

I moved here because I found a job, and my parents were here, and after being in NC, it was a job in California, where I wanted to be anyway, so I took it. And really? It’s not that bad. The riding is pretty awesome. The weather is super bueno. My job’s okay, even though the pay is shitty. I can drive to SLO in 4 hours from here. But yet. Half the time I feel numb—like I’m just getting through each day, and that in itself is sometimes satisfying.

But I ache, as always, for SLO. I've also learned, the very hard way, that it is extremely difficult (visual: picture rug. Pull rug out swiftly beneath feet. Crash hard) to go from being a very independent girl, living across the country, figuring it all out, to living back with family and trying to make decisions that are good for the family. Some days I don't know who I am anymore.

My argument, upon taking this job, was thus: At least I’ll be driving distance from SLO. Surely I’ll meet people here. I’ll like it eventually. I’ll make friends here. If I move back to SLO, I won’t have a good job—here I can continue on this advertising path I’ve been on the last three years. It’s the most practical decision.

But you know what? After 6 months, I’m tired of being practical. Well, let’s be honest—after 3 ½ years, I’m tired of being safe and constantly chasing the responsible decisions. I’ve resisted that town and thrown myself into new places because I wanted to step out, and have a good career, and have new adventures, and all that.

Quite honestly, I’m glad I left SLO. I think I needed more texture in my life. But since I left, I have never found that deep happiness, that pure contentment, of living in a place I absolutely adore. But beyond the town, I miss my friendships there. I have certainly formed other relationships in other places, but I miss those crazy people there whom I would give anything for.

There’s something about the bond you have with people who you've been through the very formative decade of your 20s with. We grew up together, essentially. I moved to SLO an unsure, insecure person. Six years there taught me to fall in love with life. I'm fortunate that many of my friends still live there. In my wanderings and travels these past few years, nothing else has filled that void left by leaving them behind.

But because I’m still half-practical, my plan is to stay here until July—make it a full year. I’ll be able to save up some money (oh—ha ha! Did I mention I live with my parents down here?) and then I’ll find my way back to that town that I’ve had a solid love affair with for the last ten years. I don’t know what I’ll do for a living anymore—that’s where I’m throwing out my conventional side and am finally ready to start listening to my heart. Or maybe my low serotonin levels.

Anyhow, I’d rather be poor and scrape together a living and live where I really want to live, around the people I want to interact with every day*, than live in a place where I can continue on this career of convincing people they should buy more things.

*Not that I don’t want to interact with you every day, M&D—you two should move the Central Coast, too.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A road trip and the grateful holiday.

The T-giving road trip was wildly successful. It included 6 days of awesome mt. riding on new trails in various towns, 1/2 day of skiing (thanks, Paul!), a run with my dear friend Ryan, a lovely (albeit too short) visit with my family, a delicious T-giving meal, grateful Thanksgiving tears for all of our blessings, and a brewery/winery tasting tour through Oregon. Oh, and about 2,500 miles of driving.

Singletrack in Bend: Smith Rock State Park.

Skiing at Mt. Hood

The family meal.