Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Have you ever received a 'sign' and didn't heed it, only to learn later that it was indeed a sign and you were foolish to ignore it? I believe in things like that...that we do sometimes get signs. And we just have to be open enough to see them. And then to understand them...that's the real trick. It can be very hard to decipher exactly what you are being told.

On Tuesday I got off work at 6am per normal (I am back on the graveyard shift, and it's going GREAT!) Had breakfast, then a few hours sleep, and got up around 10:30 and started loading up. A quick snack as I'm driving out to the trail head. Which in this case was just outside the village of Woodside CA on Kings Mt Rd at the base of the climb. It's a paved road, and on days when I'm feeling rather energetic, I will park at the bottom and do the road ride up, then do my mt bike ride on the other side which usually entails 2 full climbs back to the top (around 1600' per climb).

I was parked and ready to ride around 11:30am. SWEET! Only it was getting hot already. The forecast was warmer than it has been, but I never know how to figure out how warm it will be in the various places I frequent on my bikes. It's already in the 80's where I'm parked. It could be hotter or cooler on the other side of the mountain...that all depends on the day. So. Initially I put my keys in my pocket as I'm starting to get ready...only I quckly realize that I lost my sunglasses 2 weeks ago from the very same I stow them inside the zipper pouch in my camelback, which is sitting in the back of the SUV (I have a rental Hyundai Santa Fe on this trip). I finish gearing up, hit the 'lock' button on the passenger door and close it. Go to the back and helmet up, sunglasses, MP3 player (for the long climbs)...gloves ...yep, ready to ride. Close the trunk. And INSTANTLY realize my camelback is still sitting just inside the trunk. With the keys. And my cell phone. And my wallet. I am SO SCREWED!

The things that go thru your mind at moments like these....I was SO ticked at myself! HOW could I have been SO STUPID! I am SUCH AN IDIOT! And there I stand, on the side of the road, having a discussion with myself about just how many levels of stupidity it takes to do that, and just how I'm to get out of this dilemma I have so easily immersed myself in. I have a bike. My helmet. There is a town just a few miles away. But I have no wallet. My AAA card is there, mocking me thru the steel of the car. The keys are also laughing. Apparently inanimate objects have a very warped sense of humor. This is not funny in the LEAST I assure you.

I stomp around behind the truck cursing my bad luck, trying to come up with a plan. I left my windows cracked about an inch as it's in the sun and getting hotter by the minute. Maybe I can use that. Modern cars a bit harder to break into then the older ones where a coat hanger slipped down over the lock and pop it alarm...and bam, you are in. But breaking in is the only option I can come up with. So...I wander around and find a stick about the right size. The lock/lock button is facing up thankfully, so if I can get the stick pointing down I should be able to push it and unlock the doors. HA! What a simple plan! I am THE MAN! So..with said stick, I stand on the side of the road jiggling it around trying to get it in JUST the right position, and push down. It keeps sliding's very hard to keep on the flat rocker button (the front is lock, the back is unlock). I try and try, all the while cars are driving by and I figure if someone calls the police, well, that would solve my problem I can prove it's my vehicle once I get inside. I've heard they carry slim-jims and can pop the locks of most cars.

Turns out, the unlock button is disabled once the car is locked and the doors are closed. I guess that makes it turns out I'd been pushing the button down repeatedly. If I move the stick to the front of the rocker switch I can her the locks bump each time, but alas they are already locked. I just can't get them UNLOCKED! RATS. I am NOT the man! So much for that plan...maybe the police will show up soon. But I am not one to give up I stare thru the window, there on the far side of the car on the drivers door is the unlock switch for only that door...the manual lock switch. IF I can get a long enough stick that is skinny enough to get thru the cracked window, AND if I can get it all the way across and in JUST the right spot, I MIGHT be able to flip it backwards and pop the lock. It's worth a try. So I scour the area for a new stick. And scour some more. And then more...I'm a block away from the car (with my bike standing beside my locked car) when I find a dead tree in the middle of a bunch of poison oak and thistles and such. I wade in as I NEED that stick. I break off one that looks about right, and wade out with my treasure. My legs are chewed up a bit, and I also chewed up my hands some getting said branch free from the tree...turns out it wasn't quite dead yet and put up quite a fight.

So...back at my car, I take a moment to peer at my now quite uncomfortable socks...seems I've picked up about a thousand "Klingons" in the bramble (Kling-ons are what I call the stickers and such that get stuck in your socks and have to be picked out one by one before going in the laundry). No time for Klingons now...I have to break into my car. And so...yes, the stick is too fat at the one end. But it's the only stick in town. I pull down on the window and maybe eek out another quarter inch of will have to do. I jam the stick rough measurement was goes thru to the door and sticks out the window just a few inches...however it's REALLY wedged in the window as it's too big. It also has a curve to it, and is QUITE the job to maneuver the other end about 5 feet away into a tiny slot where I have a chance to jimmy the lock. And still cars are driving by. Maybe it's bike is lying there, and I'm dressed in cycling gear...and I have a giant stick inside my car as I invent new cuss words and try to get that blasted end in that tiny little spot.

But finally...I am THE MAN once again! I got it in just the right spot, and with a quick move I popped the lever and the door is unlocked! VICTORY! HOORAY! HALLELUIAH! I pull the stick out and open the drivers door. The alarm goes off. I don't care. I press the unlock button and the locks all unlock. YES!! I close the drivers door (as it's sticking out into the road) and immediatly hear the unmistakable sound of the locks locking AGAIN! The alarm is STILL going off (tattletale!)...and yes, the trunk is locked as are all the doors. DAMN DAMN DAMN! OK..I can do this. Under a bit more pressure this time as the alarm is still blaring. Jam the stick in, flail it around, and BAM I pop the lock once more...all in about 60 seconds this time (hey..I'm getting GOOD at this!) Open the door, this time I climb THRU the vehicle to get to my camelback in the very back....get my keys out...hit the remote and all is right with the world once again! The alarm stops, and the car recognizes it's master and is content.

WHEW! I'm BEAT! It's now been over a half hour, I'm sweating and mentally whipped! What to do. What to do. Obviously I've been given a sign. But what exactly does it mean? I ponder loading up the bike and going home, fearing the sign is that I shouldn't be riding today. So I choose to ignore the sign. I once AGAIN load up my gear, this time ensure my camelback is ON my back. Lock the doors. And begin my ride. I'm not even a half mile up the road looking at the climb before me, and I think to myself:

"I can't do's too hot. I don't have enough water for 3 climbs. I'm whipped. I need to drive to the top."

And so I turn around and go back to the car. Load up my bike and gear. And drive up the 4 hard miles, turn right, another quarter mile and I'm at the REAL trailhead. parked in the shadows of redwoods. Under the massive canopy. It's cooler than I was below. Shaded. It feels right. So I again unpack my gear, get the bike out, lock the doors, and I'm off.

Turns out I deciphered the sign correctly. I was simply being told that I wasn't going to make the 3 climbs. It was HOT HOT HOT on the backside of that mountain...on my first climb it registered 99 in the sunny sections. I went back down and did it again (as I usually do) and it was 101 this time. I slowly ground my way up the awesome singletrack, tunes from my MP3 helping dampen out the pain of long climbs. When I got back to the car and unloaded my gear, I had just a few ounces of water left. Yes, I made the right call. I salvaged the ride.  Honed my carjacking skills. Suffered in the heat and conquered the mountain TWICE.

However, I have to admit my trepidation throughout the ride, wondering if I ignored the sign I was SO PLAINLY given, and was going to suffer some terrible fate because of it. A bad crash. A tree falling on me. A meteor strike. The door from an airplane falling from the sky. Goblins jumping out from the forest, peeling away my skin from my bones for a meal. Ok, maybe not goblins. But any number of other equally horrendous situations. But no. I ended up having a great ride and a great day. And a story. Survival against all odds. Ahhhhh yes.

I am SO the MAN!


  1. Oh - you are THE MAN! I'm laughing my butt off while everyone else in my house is sleeping. I love your stories and I can just picture you through this ordeal. Can't believe you actually got the stick to go across the entire truck to unlock the door -- TWICE. LOL

    Gosh, I've been super busy with the beginning of the school year and realized I haven't stopped in here in awhile. I have to go back and see what's been going on tonight :)

    Wow - Tony Martin is on fire this year! I didn't have a chance to watch the TT, but it sounds like he didn't just beat everyone (including Fabian), but STOMPED on them. Once again I think to myself "how in the HECK could Highroad not get a sponsor". Beyond me. It will just be downright weird to see Cancellara not riding TTs in that rainbow jersey next year. Wonder if they had to scramble to get one in Martin's size? ;)

    Looking forward to the road race! Wondering if Gilbert is SUCH a fave that everyone will be marking him, letting someone else get away. OR, maybe they can watch him and he can just leave them in the dust anyway. That's the kind of year he'd had.

    Saw that Levi is indeed going to Quickstep for the next 2 years. Quickstep??? Really?? why??

    Gotta run - hope all at the IA are doing well. Matt, I hope that you are still taking your little satellite tracker along - you worry me!

  2. Yep, you are the man! The man who locked his keys in the car--TWICE! bwa-ha-ha! Actually, I've done the same when getting ready for a ride--but I was still in Mt.Vernon & rode my bikeover to a garage for help!

    I am really looking forward to the world's road race! I don't really think this is a course suited to Gilbert, otherwise it would seem to be a shoe-in for him (by the way,did you see the "interview" of Phil-Gil by Taylor Phinney, on his blogg? Cute!)

    Sorry to say,I don't think our American team is a threat. Especially if they intend to lead out Tyler.

    I saw a pic of Thor, and he is skinnier than I've ever seen him be. Would that be good or bad for his sprint? I am sure that he is very motiviated to repeat but wonder if he teammate Boasson-Hagen will be working for him, for himself (he is a legit threat too) or for his teammates on Sky?

    If Sky-- errr, Great Britain, doesn't control the race for a bunch sprint (and if they do can I really expect any other winner than Cav?)then I wonder if we might see Cance try to upset the apple cart? He has had a quiet summer and fall so far, maybe he was aiming for this--remember what he did in Beijing?

    Levi at QS-OP makes sense to me, if they want to have more of a presence at week long races after the spring. They also signed Tony Martin who seems to me geared for the same and the Velits brothers. I just wonder how well he will do there; with Martin there, he won't be top dog (maybe good for him, he has done his best when NOT the big dog on the overall team I think) Well,he seemed to like Bruyneel's style, perhaps another Belgian will ring the same bell.


  3. Well it was a great race, and I hope that you manage to see some of it on youTube or Universal or somewhere!

    I was trying to watch live before it started on Universal, then couldnot get in to Universal so went through 5 english language feeds that stalled or were yanked before wathcing the last 10K on Sporza (Belgian, you should have heard those announcers yelling "go johnny, go johnny" when Hoogerland attacked!)

    SPOILER ALERT if you happen to be hoping to watch still--

    I was sad for Thor, what bad luck! but his own fault, he says, for fetching his own can of cola (I wonder why Coca-Cola doesn't sponsor a a team as it is clearly the favorite of the peloton?)

    When TommyV attacked my heart was all aflutterj--I love that guy and thought it would be so cool if he could win--but knew that wasn't realistic, and so it proved. Likewise with Nick Nuyens and Johann Van Summeren (although I am sure they were all in for Gilbert). Also in the long shots but wishful thinking category--Oscar Freire (what a way that would have been to close out his career with a record number of WC wins!) and Greipel (who I think is still smarting from Cav's dissing last year). I also was cheering for Matt Goss,just because of the impression I got of him out at the ToC this year--seemed so nice.

    Well, Fabian, Greipel, Gilbert and Goss did make a race of it, but of course Cav managed to show that he is STILL the best sprinter! Very close over Goss, I do think that his mental determination makes the difference for him. (In interviews,more and more just in the way he talks, he reminds me of LA) Fabian was just pipped in a photo finish for thrid by Griepel. Tyler did manage top ten, so good for him!

    AND did you hear? The WC is going to be in the USA in 2015! Four years to wait..but what fun that will be!!! HOw soon can I make my reservations?

    ps Typing on a laptop is NOT EASY, I keep hitting stray buttons and the touchpad when I don't mean to!