Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Three Months and Three Days…..

It dawned on me last week, that I now have just over three months to get ready for the upcoming California Coast Classic Bike Tour. The problem is that I tend to be somewhat of a procrastinator. If you give me something with too much lead time, I'll assume I have lots of time to get ready for it and I'll put it off...up until the point that it becomes a crisis and all of a sudden I'm stressing because I now have this deadline looming over me and have to really crunch to get ready....

In this case, I'm really trying to avoid doing that but it's difficult for a couple of reasons....1 - I really have no idea how hard it's going to be to ride 525 miles over 8 days. It could be I'm already in good enough shape. (although I doubt it) and 2 - I've never tried to raise $5000 for a cause before.

When I was thinking about doing this ride, I thought about all the people in my family that have been affected by arthritis and how cool it would be to raise a large amouint of money for this....$5,000 seemed like a pretty ambitious number so I set that as my goal....is it realistic, am I out of my mind? Who knows.....

The Tour starts in San Francisco on Saturday the 3rd of October and ends up in Los Angeles 8 days and 525 miles later. 525 miles divided by 8 days is only 65 miles per day... I’m actually not at all worried about riding the 65 miles on any given day….it’s the 8 days in a row that concerns me. I’ve never ridden back to back long days before and figure I better start getting my butt in shape….and I literally mean my butt since saddle sores are a major concern on multi-day rides from what I hear….

So, this past Saturday I officially begain "training" for the Coast Classic. A couple of friends and I met in Castro Valley to do the Moraga Loop...of course it also turned out to be the hottest ride of the year so far with temps well into the 90's....All in all though, a great day with 45 miles and about 2800ft of climbing…just barely more than our shortest day on the Tour and nowhere near where I need to be, but it’s a start…..

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thoughts of Home-Made Ice Cream....

Tuesday night we had our usual Mt Diablo training ride. When we met in the parking lot in Danville, Lynn’s car was showing an outside temp of 92 degrees….oh goodie….won’t this be fun….Sree, Lynn, Gary and I took off….

We start at the Walgreen’s parking lot on Diablo Rd. This is for several reasons. It’s easy to find right at the bottom of the offramp, parking is free and, it allows us a nice flat warm up as we spin through Danville and the Diablo Country Club before we have to start the climbing.

As we ride through the country club, I’m always struck by just how incredible this area is and how low key, yet obviously expensive an area we are riding through.

You know you’re in the country club because you ride right past a sign that says so, but it’s not like Blackhawk where everything is behind a huge gate and perfectly manicured. The roads are narrow, there aren’t any street lights or sidewalk, but the homes are huge!

Most have a gate of some sort and several have bridges over the creek that runs in front of their home and there are giant trees everywhere. (You know the trees that in my neighborhood were removed so the City didn’t have to fix the sidewalks every year…)

The other thing that strikes me is just how nice everyone seems to be when you ride by them. Many are out walking and will respond cheerfully when you say hi… I’ve ridden through Stonebrae Country Club up in the Hayward Hills and everyone that you see looks at you like you’re trespassing….which I guess I was since we had to sneak in around th eback fire road and not through the main gate... but that’s beside the point. They didn’t know if I lived there or not….

Anyway, now that I’ve totally gone off topic, let me try to get back on track….so we were riding up Diablo and it was hot….did I mention it was 92 freakin degrees when we started? Anyway, it was, and a majority of the climb up Diablo is in full sun….between the sun beating down on my head and the heat coming up off the blacktop…it was hot….we hadn’t even climbed 1000ft yet and I already had sweat running into my eyes…(did I mention it was like a bazillion degrees outside?)

By the time we were half way between the first and second ranger station I was pretty much totally soaked with sweat and my mind was starting to wander….and, as I usually do when I’m miserable, I went to my happy place….which in this case, was to thoughts of homemade ice cream…..why? Well, as I’m sure you can see, it’s a perfectly logical place to go….its hot and what’s the opposite of hot? Cold….and what’s really cold (frozen, actually) ICE CREAM!

And not just any ice cream….I was thinking of the ice cream we made over Memorial Day which is the best thing in the ENTIRE WORLD!!! (sorry about the shouting, but you had to be there to understand….it was AMAZING!!)

As my mind continued to wander – actually it wasn’t wandering, it was totally focused, unfortunately it was focused on the ice cream and not on the ride – it dawned on me that I really like ice cream….but I like homemade ice cream different than I like store bought ice cream. With the store bought ice cream, I have to have some texture. I like rocky road ice cream or cookie dough ice cream or just about anything with texture. Chunks, chewy pieces, anything except plain ice cream. (I actually made a mental list of my top 5 favorites, but I'll save that for another post....)

But, with homemade ice cream, I really just want plain vanilla ice cream without all the stuff….nothing to take away from the creamy goodness….(goodness being a flavor description and not in any way a good for you connotation…because anything that starts with 4 cups heavy whipping cream and 2 cups of sugar can NOT be that good for you)

Anyway, as the ride progressed and we got closer to the second ranger station, I made the mistake of asking Lynn how we were doing on time….at which point it looked like we would make the station in under an hour….our best yet. The reason this was a mistake was that it somehow motivated her to increase the pace….Now, I was already not having fun…I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, I had sweat running in my eyes (did I mention it was like riding inside an oven set to broil?) and I was busy thinking of ice cream recipes and the bags of frozen Olallieberries in my freezer….anyway, we made it to the ranger station in just under an hour where I used the excuse of having to use the restroom to take a few minutes to shove my lungs back down in my chest…..evidently, I’m not really accustomed to the heat just yet.

After a brief rest we started the last leg to the top. Partway up, Sree made the comment that he was only going to the top parking lot and wouldn’t be doing the last 1000yd section…and I jumped on that bandwagon like a supermodel on diet pills...

Well, just before we got there Lynn started making not so subtle suggestions that since we had done the majority of the climb we might as well do the last leg as well….and, after all, she said, Jack would ask and we couldn’t really lie to him….Of course we could… he’s sitting on his butt on a Mexican beach somewhere right now drinking a fruity drink with an umbrella in it.…I could totally lie to him and not even feel bad about it…..

Eventually, I realized she was right and it really was silly to pedal all this way and not finish, so up we went…..that last 1000yds is a booger….(not at all the word I wanted to use, but hey, this is a family oriented blog)

The best part of doing Mt Diablo is the 10 miles of downhill….and it didn’t disappoint. The weather which was miserable on the way up was perfect for a fast descent….the hot smooth asphalt that cooked us as we climbed made flying down the hill pure joy….the corners were clean and fast, the straight-aways allowed us to crank in the big ring and the home-made ice cream that dominated my thoughts on the way up didn’t have a chance to compete with the little kid screaming in my head on the way down….

What a great ride…..now that it’s over anyway….

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Berries, sand, kites and a nap…..

This past Saturday Deb came up with the idea to go berry picking with the kids and the grandkid. We did this once before when our kids were still pretty young and had a really fun time.

There’s a place in Pescadero called Phipps Farm and I can still remember them working their way up and down the aisles of Olallieberries, raspberries and blackberries with their little buckets…..one in the bucket, one in their mouth, one in the bucket and so on….At the end of the day they had purple fingers and purple stains around their mouths…

This year, I think we were still a little early in the season as Olallieberries were the only berries ripe enough to pick. It actually worked out better though since the hunt for the perfect berry is really the best part. If it had been any easier, we would have filled our buckets too quickly and been done in less time than it even took to drive there.

Besides, with Christina and Michelle treating it like the ultimate berry picking championship – not sure where they get their competitiveness - we soon had all 4 of our buckets full to over flowing.

So, with 10lbs of berries paid for and packed away in the back of the truck, it was off to the beach to fly Caleb’s kite and have a picnic.

The weather so far had been cool and cloudy. Usually June is a pretty nice month on the beach, but so far it was still sweatshirt weather. It obviously didn’t keep anyone home though as the beach at San Gregorio was busy with families picnicking, barbecuing and playing in the water….

After a nice little picnic, Chris and Caleb flew the kite….Caleb thought it was really cool for about 2 minutes….afterwards Chris was left to deal with it while the little guy went to make sand castles…
The sun finally came out a bit, so as I normally do when at the beach, in the sun, after eating…..I took a nap…

A little while later, the sun went behind some clouds and the wind picked up so we decided that was our cue to head for home…..

What do you do with 10 lbs of berries you ask? Deb made cobbler of course!!! Mmmmm I love cobbler….

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Determination Defeats Diablo…..Darkness Dominates Descent

Last night of course was Tuesday, and Tuesday of course that means the Diablo training ride….

We had 5 riders, 4 of whom have made it to the top and 1 that is still working towards that goal…

Lynn, Jack and I took off and Jerry and Gary followed. Gary is a fairly new rider and on his first attempt at defeating the devil last week, made it to the 2000ft mark before calling it a day. This week, his goal was the second ranger station…

The weather was definitely warmer than last week which was a double edged sword. Yes, it’s nice not to be cold, but it didn’t take too long before I was sweating like fat lady in an aerobics class….

We seemed to be making pretty good time. Arrived at the first ranger station in an hour and were on top in two. Granted we’re not going to break any records (click here), but I felt like our pace was good and I was definitely working to keep up (Hopefully as time goes on I track these stats and see some improvement)

Just as we got to the upper parking lot and were getting ready to climb the last 1000ft section (which is 19% btw) a truck and trailer went up. We waited and started up after him. Now this section is really narrow and REALLY freakin steep. Most drivers realize this and will follow behind if a bicyclist is climbing it. Not so last night though….I was about 1/3rd of the way up when some goofball in an SUV decided he just HAD to get past me….whatever….

Well, when we got to the top, the truck and trailer, as well as the guy that had passed me on the climb, were there unloading bikes and teenagers….the adults were in scout uniforms so I’m assuming they were there for some sort of merit badge. Now, I may be an old fart, but I don’t see how you earn a merit badge for riding down a hill….I think that you should have to ride up to earn the badge and the downhill is the reward. Kind of like my mom giving me dessert only after eating all my vegetables….(the other thing I noticed was that the only guy not wearing a helmet appeared to be the scout master)

Anyway, we took off before the group of teenagers so as not to get caught up in the fray and about 2 miles back down the hill we came across Gary and Jerry making a run for the summit….Wow, I thought he was just going for the second ranger station, but he decided he was making the summit and would not be deterred….

You could see he was tired but determined….I guess once you get to a certain point, you might as well finish….

So, Lynn, Jack and I turned around and decided to ride shotgun back up to the top…bonus miles for us and moral support for Gary….it’s a win-win…

If suffering really does build character, then Gary must have a LOT of character now….through sheer determination he actually made it to the top.

Of course, now it was getting dark so we raced daylight down the hill….unfortunately we lost and by the time we got to the last ranger station on the way down, darkness had taken over.

We finished the descent and started out through Diablo Country Club riding by braille. There was one near miss when some idiot spaced bricks out across the road….not sure why anyone would do that and luckily no-one hit one although I did scrape up my rim when I clipped one as I went by…oh yeah, we also saw this guy starting his rounds at the second ranger station….

All in all, a great ride. I ended up with 31 miles and about 4500ft of climbing. A great workout for all and a huge accomplishment for Gary

Monday, June 15, 2009

The amazing pile of stuff…

This past weekend I helped my daughter and son-in-law move out of their apartment. The plan is that now that they’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, they will move in with us as they continue saving money and shop for a house.

The amazing thing was just how much stuff they have….now they’ve only been married about 3 years, but they were able to completely fill a large storage unit, one room in our house and a portion of my garage with their stuff. Granted a LOT of it probably belongs to that little person that lives with them… I’m pretty sure he has more stuff than them and us combined….

Anyway, by the end of the day yesterday, we had just about everything either in storage or in our house/garage…..and that’s kinda when my meltdown happened…..actually, it wasn’t really a meltdown, it was more of an anxiety attack….ok, not really even an anxiety attack….it was just a feeling of overwhelming despair and claustrophobia…..

It has absolutely nothing to do with them moving in with us, I'm sure that's going to be harder on them than it will for Deb and I. It has only to do with the amount of stuff in our house and in my garage....(yes, you'll notice I use the possesive "my" when speaking of the garage, but "our" when speaking of the house....that's on purpose)

We had been working all day Saturday and all day yesterday moving stuff and by the end we were pretty much just putting things wherever they would go. The result was, that last night when everyone was pretty well wiped out and tired, I wanted to sit somewhere quiet and read my book…..the only problem was there wasn’t an empty, quiet place in the entire house….every couch was filled with either tired bodies or stuff…..so I fled to my garage.

For a couple of hours, I puttered (and pouted) in the garage, moving stuff around, mumbling and muttering to myself about how much crap the kids have and generally being kinda grouchy….it was then that it dawned on me that there’s a very slim (but real) possibility that I too, have a lot of stuff….

The kids actually joked about it when, at their apartment, Christina mentioned to Michelle how much stuff they’ve accumulated. To which Michelle replied, at least it’s not like mom and dad’s house….could you imagine moving all their crap?

"All their crap"????

Granted, we do have a lot of stuff.....but we’ve lived in our house for 11 years... and I think there was actually a short period where we had Deb’s car parked in there... For the most part though, my garage has been used in the same way a storage unit would be used. I’ve built shelves all around the perimeter and even a shelf up above and I still couldn’t put a car in there if my life depended on it.

The funny thing is that, at this exact time last year, I wrote a blog about how my wife and daughter had given me the best Father’s Day gift ever. They cleaned and organized my garage. I can clearly remember the sense of accomplishment and joy at having everything in its place and having my garage, neat, clean and organized.
It was perfect....a sanctuary if you will….a place I could hide out surrounded by tools, bikes, a small refrigerator full of beer and classic rock music playing in the background....

Now, one year to the week later, things are not as they should be….I’m sure when I wrote that blog, I fully intended to keep my garage neat and clean. I knew, that as frustrated as I was when we started cleaning that there was no way I was going to let it get that way again……yet, somehow it did…

Somehow, my stuff has been reproducing….spreading….expanding until this past weekend it again reached the point where my stuff has filled my garage….guess I know what I'm doing this weekend....

Friday, June 12, 2009

To the guy on the yellow bike….Thank you….

Last night was my regular Thursday, Lake Chabot ride. This is a great weekly event with really fun people, a relaxed but decent pace and a great bbq afterwards….

Last night started out the same as always, the ten-hills section got the heart going and the legs warmed up…this is followed by a fun little downhill section which is then followed by the worst climb of the night. The Brandon trail is a little less than a mile and a little less than 1K of climbing….it’s always a tough climb with some good natured pace setting and competition in our group to keep it interesting…..

As we gathered at the gate and removed our jackets, you, the guy on the yellow bike wearing your full “race kit”, were there doing some sort of stretching, yoga-type thing. I, the old bald guy on the single speed, pulled up with our group and said “hey”. You, surprisingly, barely acknowledged me in that roadie, I’m so superior attitude, and then you took off. Now I don’t normally run into guys like you at Chabot. It’s not a famous race area, we’re all on mt bikes and usually the people I meet are pretty friendly…..Oh well, I figured, maybe you had a rough day….

A few minutes later I and my friends started off up the hill…..now, I want to say right up front, I did not in any way or with any maliciousness plan on catching you….after all, I don’t know you and you had already proven yourself less than friendly….

But, after a few turns Paul and I had caught up to you….the trail was wide, and we weren’t really hammering, I just assumed you were taking your time. So, as I came along side you, I, still trying to be pleasant, gave you the benefit of the doubt and made some comment about the crappy condition of the trail. You, again in a less than pleasant way, responded bluntly and immediately jumped on my wheel.

Ok, fine….I’ve ridden with roadies, I’ve run into and survived their ‘tude and if that’s the way you want to be, here we go….

Just so you know, I’m not usually a competitive person unless I’m riding with friends. If we’ve never met, or I don’t know you that well, and we ride together, I tend to hold back... I sandbag, if you will.
I’m sure it’s from some deep seated insecurity, but I don’t like to go all out for fear that at my hardest, you may just pass and pull away from me proving me inferior…..but last night was different.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if it was your ‘tude or just left over bitterness from high school where I was routinely ignored by the cool kids, but I have to admit that, for the rest of that climb, I had pretty much decided I was going to die before I let you pass me again….oh sure, your bike had gears and you did have that ultra fast looking race kit thing going for you, but you don’t know me. Once I get it in my head that I’m going to do something, my Irish bull-headedness just won’t let go.

I do have to admit, I’m pretty sure I’ve never worked that hard going up Brandon. I have no idea what my time was, or what my heart rate was, but I can tell you, it took several minutes for my breathing to go back to normal once we got to the top of the hill and the bench.

The funny thing is, that at that point, I was actually thinking of thanking you for pushing me so hard as I really do appreciate the workout. I know for a fact that, had you not been there with your stupid yellow bike rolling on yellow tires and your roadie-snob attitude, I would have taken it much easier last night…..
But, in perfect, arrogant, lcyra-monkey form you just turned down the trail back to the campground without so much as a friendly wave goodbye…

So, to you, the guy on the yellow bike….thanks for a great workout and for forcing me to work much harder than I had planned last night….I hope you have a better day tomorrow and that your attitude isn't always that bad....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesdays with the Devil…..

No, it’s not some alternative religion where we offer up dead animals ….you should know me better than that….it’s a training series. (although, I did feel like a dead animal when it ended)

From now until the end of daylight savings time, we’ll be riding Mt Diablo on Tuesday evenings. The goal being that over the summer those of us that have made the climb before will get faster and stronger and those that have never made it to the top will, in time, work their way up the mountain week by week…..

Mt Diablo is probably one of the tougher climbs in the bay area. We start in Danville so the total route is 28 miles with about 3400ft of climbing. Granted, only the first 14 are hard after that it’s a piece of cake.

Last night we had 5 riders. Three made it to the top, and two were smart and turned around before the clouds. It was actually a nice ride for most of the way up until about half way between the 2nd ranger station and the top when we rode right into the clouds.

Then it became cold and damp with limited visbility. We would see riders coming down the mountain appear out of the mist like wraiths in some weird horror movie...

It seemed that every tree was holding it’s moisture right up until we would ride under it whereupon it would shake itself and give us a nice dousing.
Sure, you can try to tell me that trees can’t control that stuff and it’s just a matter of the wind and the moisture in the air, but hey, we’re on a mountain named The Devil so I choose to believe differently.

Actually, it wasn’t so bad going up since I was sweating like crazy, but coming down was less than fun. I didn’t think to bring long fingered gloves so my hands went numb in the first couple hundred yards. The road was slick and the visibility was terrible so the pace was very slow and by the time we got down to the second ranger station, we had to stop so I could bury my hands in my pockets to try to restore the feeling.
Once we got down near Rock City, the visibility improved and the pace picked up. After all, the best part of this mountain is the descent…..

We got to the bottom, through Diablo Country Club and were in the home stretch when I flatted. Still freezing, I’m pretty sure I broke some sort of record for changing a tube in an effort to get moving again and warm up.

All told, the trip was 29 miles, 3400ft of climbing and 3 hours start to finish. I think our time to the top was just under 2 hours. For me, this week was about seeing if I could make it to the top without dying. Next week, I’ll start actually keeping stats and splits on our time to the first and second ranger station and the top. Hopefully, I’ll be able to track some improvement as the weeks go by....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Fritter Defense…..

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the ones….something happens that sets off the day and you just know it’s going to be a bad day……

Well, today was definitely one of those days. Practically every morning, on my way to work, I stop by the Starbucks down the street. To say that I’m a creature of habit would be a slight understatement as, by the time I get through line and to the counter, they have my venti coffee and my apple fritter sitting there waiting for me…..

The first omen that today was not going to be like every other day was that when I got to the counter, the kid was standing there with an expectant look like he was actually waiting for me to order…..ok, fine….he’s new and hasn’t memorized my order yet, I guess I can let this slide…..so I ordered…. I’ll have a venti drip and a fritter please….
And then it happened…..my whole morning just went to hell in a handbasket when he said….I’m sorry, we don’t have fritters, would you like something else????

This phrase signaled the beginning of the end of my normal good day…..

Lest you think I’m putting too much emphasis on this simple phrase, let me explain just how that signified the ruination of my day….

Now, you wouldn’t think that 5:45 in the morning would be a busy time, but at this Starbucks, that is right smack in the middle of rush hour….So, when I, still half asleep, was asked to actually make a decision as to what pastry I might want in lieu of my regular fritter, it caused a backup in the same way someone missing their exit on 880 and trying to back up in the fast lane would….

I had to step out of line, look over at the display case, decide what I wanted and then tell the kid behind the counter. Each of these processes took upwards of 2-3 seconds which in Starbucks rush hour time is like 10 minutes. Remember, these are coffee-deprived, half awake, angry people that I was now forcing to wait for their elixir…..

So, after having been rushed by the angry mob (well, I’m assuming they were angry…they could have just woken up grumpy) to come to a decision, I decided on a blueberry muffin, handed over my well worn Starbucks card, got my goodies and went to the creamer/sugar section. Still totally rattled from the ordeal of them not having my fritter and hoping against hope, that the muffin would be an adequate replacement, I walked in a daze back to my truck, got in and started it up….

Well, obviously I was still battling with my forced decision and was definitely distraught that my routine had been broken because I wasn’t paying attention and pulled away from the curb and right into a passing truck!!!

Yep….my first accident since I don’t know when….the worst part was that as soon as I started to pull out I saw the guy in my peripheral vision, but was powerless to do anything…I was going to slow to swerve back and just flinched as my front bumper raked the side of his truck….

We immediately pulled over and exchanged info and I really felt bad for the poor guy. He had a nice older chevy truck and seemed like a nice guy. He was pleasant and polite and in no way did he express what could have been very righteous anger at Starbucks for causing the incident…..as for me….well, I’m sure once I get a lawyer that will take my case I stand to gain millions in damages based on my soon to be famous Fritter Defense….

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Riding for a reason….

Earlier this year I committed to riding my bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation. I agreed to attempt this insane task for a couple of reasons…

One, my friend Jerry wouldn't leave me alone about it...

And two, and the real reason I'm doing this, is that this is a disease that has affected my immediate family.

For as long as I had known her, my mother-in-law suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis, a condition that caused her no small amount of pain and discomfort. My mom as well, deals daily with arthritis in her hands. And for someone that loves to work in her garden, this is a very frustrating and again, painful, issue to deal with.

We often associate a disease like arthritis with old people. We almost expect to get arthritis of some sort once we’re up in our golden years. The interesting fact though, is that arthritis is not an age specific illness. Juvenile Arthritis is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States and almost 2/3rds of the people that have doctor diagnosed arthritis are under 65!
(Look at
Also Touch , one of the teams doing the ride, for a very dramatic example of how arthritis can affect the young)

At first I wasn’t really concerned with the actual riding portion of the event. I figure I’m in pretty good shape, I ride pretty regularly, I’ve done several centuries or 100 mile rides….how hard can it be? My real concern at the time was whether or not I knew enough people to actually raise the $2950.00 in donations.

Well, this morning, in my email I received a link to a video from last year’s ride (
click to watch video) and as I sat there with my coffee, it dawned on me that while I’ve done several rides longer than any of the single days we’re going to be doing, I’ve never actually done several long days in a row. The realization that I’m going to be spending 8 days on a bike and actually riding 525 miles is starting to cause me some concern….

Granted, I have until the beginning of October to be ready to pull this off, but knowing my ability to procrastinate and my inability to focus on anything for more than a couple weeks at a time, I’m really starting to wonder what I’ve gotten myself involved in….can I do this? What happens if I can't finish? What happens if I dont' raise enough money? What do you actually bring for an 8 day ride? How exactly are you supposed to apply chamois butter? the questions just kept coming and the answers.....well, those didn't...

I may have to actually come up with a plan for both the training and the fundraising….ok you’re right…..better to just wing it and see how it works out.....that’s more my style anyway.....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A change of pace…..

So, this past weekend instead of riding my bicycle (which I guess I should be doing since I have the Death Ride coming up) I went fishing with my buddies for the annual boy’s weekend fishing trip – also known as the beer, cigar and darts fest….

This trip actually started 23 years ago for Mike and I. After meeting at a mutual friend’s house for dinner, we found we both had kids the same age, both enjoyed fishing and both had wives that would allow us to go fishing for a weekend unsupervised…..

Over the past years the trip has been based in different fishing locations and included different people, but it’s always been at least Mike and I….about 5 or 7 years ago, Jack became one of the regulars and that’s when the darts became a part of the tradition. (before it was all about the fishing)

Jack is one of those guys that’s just naturally athletic. He’s good at every sport we play. Golf, basketball, horseshoes, and darts…..he used to dominate at darts….

You’ll notice I said “used to” because as of this past weekend, Mike is now the “mountain champion” of darts. Now, granted, we don’t play for money, there’s no official dart championship on the line and compared to people that really are good, we probably suck…..but that didn’t change the fact that Mike beat both Jack and I to take the championship this past weekend…..a title Jack is not at all happy about losing…. and Mike, being the quiet, non-competitive guy he is took it all very gracefully and without any taunting or gloating.....

In addition to the darts, there’s usually a good quantity of beer to be drunk, a nice selection of cigars to be smoked and usually lots of fish to be caught…..and this weekend was no different…we caught fish in Red lake from the kayaks, in Kirkwood lake from the kayaks, In Kirkwood lake from the shore and in Silver river while hiking…..I think its safe to say there wasn’t any place the trout were safe from us this weekend…..

Of course, when you’re up at 7000ft in the early summer, the weather can be iffy….we’ve had years where it was 80+ degrees and years where it actually snowed on us….and although we didn’t get snow this year, we had sun, we had clouds, we had thunder and lighting and we even had rain…..big, fat heavy drops of rain that can soak you to the bone if you happen to be in a kayak in the middle of a lake….

The funny thing is I know this. I know that the weather in the sierras can be unpredictable. I know we can get rain…and yet, when I was packing, I looked at my gore-tex jacket and pants and specifically decided I didn’t need to bring them with me…..why I made that decision I’ll never know because I REALLY wanted my rain gear when I was sitting in the middle of the lake with my fleece plastered to me and my jeans soaking wet…..

Still though, you can’t beat the sierras for beauty…even in the rain....