Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Road Trip
Niko and I are back from our southern sojourn, our jolly jaunt to San Diego County for my sister Liz's wedding . We drove 1,100 miles in just over four days, did a night-before-the-wedding party, the wedding, Legoland and I snuck in a 9-miler on foot and a 40-miler on the bike. It was all grand, even the 400 miles of I-5 that we conquered Monday evening/night. Fellow cyclists will want to know I found the ride on the excellent website of the local Sierra Club chapter and while it was never stunning or even lovely, it provided plenty-interesting exploration. It seems so obvious but it bears repeating: You see so much more on the bike than you do in the car. What stood out most starkly about this harsh and brown part of the world is how relentless, god-awful and phony the development is. I noted this as well on my long run, conducted in post-noon blazing heat up in southwestern Riverside County, in Murrieta -- everywhere you turn you find a new housing development going up with some cheesy name intended to suggest that the tract is unique from the one to the north, south, east or the west. Rancho This, That Bluff, Some Crest, Quite-A Canyon.... It all just reeks of cheap, stupid marketing. But I guess in California, you don't have to market a housing development well, do you? There are plenty of prospective buyers making the rounds in Lexuses and BMWs, not troubled at all by signs that say, "Starting in the low-800s."

Back to the ride: Mostly it was on wide roads snaking their way through the canyons, softened by grading. Bike lanes and wide shoulders everywhere -- good. Aggressive drives and lights always turning red every mile or so -- bad. I made a wrong turn that added a few miles to the trek, but no big deal. I got close enough to the ocean to enjoy the seabreeze and I went hard at the steady climb up Pomerado, well into the ride. Good stuff. Thanks to the grandparents and great-grandma for watching Niko while I played!