Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sammy Hagar weekend, 2010 version

Annie's up north, Grand Marais environs, teaching something. Girls went to their g'mother's place for a double-header overnight (poker and small weapons smuggling were on the docket). Oh, and Shrike's out west getting some training before I fly out on Weds. I was putatively free. Free. I had to feed/break Vargas, plus the kitty and the goldfish--but not to each other. Otherwise, my time was my own.

Friday, after driving the kids out to granny's car, I checked out Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I've read two of the trilogy. Movie was really good. Must have been a shock for those unfamiliar with the book. Honest violence, if there's such a thing in a movie. The ending seemed a bit off, perhaps they're hedging bets on sequel. Nice lack of polish in the cast's appearances. Only ripped stomach muscles in movie belonged to heroine.

Saturday, I joined in the Slick 50, a non-race group ride spearheaded by Tom E. from Cars-r-Coffins in S. Mpls. He's a good guy and very welcoming. I had no idea what the pace would be nor how I'd fare. Too much biking alone makes it hard to estimate what others ride at. Weather was better than initially projected, sunnier and less windy. Still, a brisk 23 degrees riding to Cuzzy's for the 10:00 start. No, the 10:15 official start. Which departed at 10:58:59...

About fifty or so folks showed up, predominantly men, with five or six women. A range of cyclists and bikes. Starting to ride more seriously (whatever that entails) at 43, I'm a bit behind on the skill set, the learning curve, and the historic experience. It was a blast, one long dense pack rolling up the river road, through the overflowing Big Muddy at one point, heading further north than I've ever biked, then moving west to the Grove de Maple. We stopped at The Lookout, which my mother-in-law informed me used to be a roadhouse, practically, when she was a wild child in the mid-60s. I'm 2/3 straight-edge (don't drink, don't smoke, love to fuck, but hey, two of three ain't bad), and non/anti-drug to boot, yet it amazed me how fast and long these inveterate smokers and drinkers can motor their pedals. Skills learned, acquired, or inborn. Impressive all the same.

I ran into a nice guy I'd had in a fiction-writing class at The Loft, and then a really good guy I'd met dog training about five years ago. He seemed a bit too normal and emotionally grounded to be a serious dog junky. He lost his dog to sudden heart failure and stopped training--wholly understandable. Turns out he is/was a serious cyclist before that and still, so it was a nice crossing of sub-sub-cultures.

I rode my geared cx bike rather than the single, as I didn't want to embarrass myself calling for a cab in Osseo after getting dropped at mile five. It wasn't a race, and for the most part no one got dropped or abandoned. I was happy with how I fared, in terms of a general assessment of riding in a pack of bikes, reacting in a group, turning, passing, braking. It was a blast. I'm looking forward to the Almanzo 100, as well as the homegrown Dirty Benjamin in June. The final five miles or so, the horses of testosterone started bucking against their traces, finally accelerating and turning up the speed. I kept up. Which, as I've learned from watching bike racing on tv..., means very little. Any number of the guys and dolls could have been pushing 3x as hard as I could muster for the first 55 miles, so how I did in those final 5 is misleading or inaccurate. But, it was fun to find energy in the legs to press it down the backstretch. Bunch of single-speeders were flying it. I'd have been toasted by their pace.

Did the North Star roller derby with Tbell, Betsy D, La J. Jo, and some other ladies, plus a classmate of Flann's. Roller derby is fun to watch, for about 90 minutes; the scenery is both diverting and depressing--well, as seen through the eyes of single lesbians, it is. Some hard-looking boozy broads sauntering through the corridors, plus the non-self-identifying-but-identifiable-all-the-same-as hipsters with full sleeves of Sailor Jerry vintage and full cans of six buck Pabst. Conceptually, it's a great event. In practice, it's a bit wearying.

Got home, walked big head, got annoyed by the kitten, and tapped the fish's glass. Missing Annie and the girls. They are more fun than anything else.

Read some paper, got furious at the Pope's bullshit, then went for a ride. Brisk and windy, albeit sunny. Fought wind all the way east, then enjoyed its buffering on the return. Between river paths and greenway+, I did 37+ almost entirely off the streets. I appreciate that about the cities. It's cool. Saw Tom from the Loft on his sunday group ride, and then Dan the man chugging back to his place from his g'friend's: timing is everything. Funny coincidences of space.

Got home and was more beat up than after Saturday's ride. Easier in the group, I expect, plus worse wind today and single speed. My toes were burning even after a shower. Body tired as hell. Got the girls, pointed toward where I'd been yesterday--multiple perspectives on the gravel pit 'mountains' of Maple Grove--then enjoyed them as they played in the sun.

Dog world beckons. Weds to SF, then driving to LA for Mondio championships. Looking forward to it. At least it won't snow.

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