Thursday, October 11, 2007


Our beloved Velogirl has asked for an update...who am I to disappoint?

Been a little out of it and apologies to those of you who depend on me to keep the NCNCA CX site fresh. It seems just relaying info that people are sending me to the site in a timely is proving to be cumbersome, and for this, too, I must apologize. But alas, I don't get paid to do it and honestly it's hard for me to be on the sidelines. There are few things harder than watching a race (or a whole season) you'd much rather be riding in. I try very hard to hide it but on the inside I'm ashamed to say I am a bit too competitive to be a good sport about it all - which is why, when I can't race, I do my best to just stay away from it all.

Still, I schlepped Liam and Rowan down to the Pilarcitos opener because Tom graciously asked me, as last years champion, to send off the Elite race and to receive the honorary #1 plate. BTW "sending off" amounted to firing off a mini cannon with a shotgun shell in it (and setting a small grass fire in the process- Alec and I quickly jumped on it tho). It was great seeing some of y'all and it looked like some fine racing. Looking at the course I would have loved to race it - my kind of course for sure. Hung out near the S/F in the sun for an hour, chatting with a few folks and watching AJM ride away with the race. Liam sat patiently in the stroller (he's always found bike racing a bit boring) and Rowan spent his time trying to walk out onto the course and playing with 'lil Jade Robinson's tricycle.

Then I got the hell out of there.

Two years ago when I hurt my back, as a distraction I tried my hand at surfing - I found that paddling felt really good and it was much more interesting than swimming laps. But I was learning at Ocean Beach in SF, which is one of most notoriously difficult places to learn. The waves are fast, heavy, and on some days the paddle is so difficult many surfers never make it out to the lineup. Needless to say I didn't make much progress, but I had a little fun trying.

Right now, my back is feeling ok though there is still a bit of pain and sciatica - I can ride a bike ok but even thinking about a dismount still hurts. So, here I am again, in the same boat, as the saying goes - I'm back in the water. This year I have to admit I'm having a much better time of it, and I'm absolutely hooked (also stoked, pumped, and jonesin' for more).

Late Monday I surfed for a couple of hours and caught only 3 waves, yet somehow, I had a blast. I can't explain it, but just being out there in the lineup, watching these rollers come in, guys and girls getting up and carving up and down these beautiful waves...

A small serene pod of dolphins came by - one surfaced just a few feet from me. Another leaped out of a breaking wave and soared about 8' in the air in an arc past the setting sun.

I thought how fortunate I was to bear witness to such beauty in my everyday life.

...and, for the moment at least, I didn't think about anything I may be missing this Fall.


Alden said...

didn't make it out to the pilarcitos race, but will certainly miss seeing you at the races. it's always fun to watch you race, and you have a great attitude. the cross scene is a blast, and it's a drag that you won't be a part of it this year.

i lost an entire road season to a broken scaphoid several years ago, so i know the frustration you're dealing with.

enjoy the ocean. sounds like you're really getting into it. while i'm a wimp and would never get caught in the water here in california (i'm a spoiled, temperature sensitive hawaii native), i know of the pleasures of being in the surf. catching three waves might not seem like much, but sometimes just being out in the water can be (pardon the pun) just what the doctor ordered.

maybe you'll bump into chris isaak (i've seen him strapping his longboard to the top of his car in the outer sunset before).

either way, enjoy the ocean. fingers crossed that many great swells will roll into town for you.

velogirl said...

yup. we miss you, John, but I can complete relate to how you feel about being on the sidelines (when you don't want to be).

don't be a stranger. update the blog once in a while, even if it's not about cyclocross.

twinkiepatissier said...

fall is the best time to surf here!

i always thought crossers will be good at riding the waves...if they can paddle long enough.

pura vida.

lauren said...

i've never been a surfer, but last summer in hawaii we took some boogie boards out and did some body surfin' with the kids.

the 9 year old got hooked and spent all day, waiting for the right waves and jumping on them and swimming back out waiting for the best one.

after a while we got him to stand up on the board, while we'd ride in next to him.

what a great feeling! the day passed in what felt like a matter of minutes.

was neat seeing you sunday!

you're very "handsome" in real life! if i can say that without sounding like a dork.

Anonymous said...

Hey John:

Sadly, I understand your frustration after missing the last two seasons of cross myself, but I have to say it was really cool seeing you at Pilarcitos, and I hope you find the need to keep coming to the races. Heal up quick my friend. Your boys are the best! And the cannon wasn't that loud after all.

Thank god for surfing to help ease the cross jones.

Julie Bates
Roaring Mouse Cycles

Brent said...

I remember hearing about your back in past couple of years. Felt bad for you.
I been fighting a weird back issue for a few years and this year its become just a bit too much. I have to limit my bike riding days to days that I feel really good.

Hope you keep feeling better.