Wednesday, January 30, 2008

California - Day One

I spent the bulk of the day traveling. The prior evening I packed what I thought would be necessary. Since, as I pointed out to the missus, I'm not going to a place like Somalia, I'd leave a lot of "necessities" behind, planning to buy them once out here instead. Usually my method of packing is to get the number of days away, multiply by something at least 1.5 or higher, then pack for the resulting number of days. An overnight trip would warrant 3 days of clothes, so a 2 week trip usually results in emptying my dresser into a tiny Tumi. I can proudly say that I have about as many clothes as I normally bring on a two or three day trip.

About 2 weeks worth, in other words.

Flying from a small airport 20 minutes away from the house made the morning much less stressful. Nonetheless I was up at 3:30 (6:00 alarm), and read and ate and stuff until 6:15. Then a flurry of activity and we were off for the airport.

The flights went fine. I read 772 pages of a pretty well written novel about (what else) fictional current Special Forces folks. I felt a bit self conscious as there were a number of real military type folks on the plane (I could tell because they were dressed in military type outfits - I'm very observant) and I figure they probably look at me and think, "Oh boy, another wannabe yahoo."

The stop over in Chicago was brief and cold. The first time I ever saw snow inside of those umbilical cord walkways to the plane. Yes, there was snow seeping into the edges of the walkway. Zero degrees Fahrenheit, or "brisk" as our pilot said.

I slept whenever I felt like it, almost but not missing the first take off, and drifting off well before cruising altitude on the second flight. I fly for take offs and landings - the one in San Diego being especially exciting since you can look out the windows and virtually into buildings next to the flight path - and missing them is a big disappointment for me. My friend Rich picked me up at the airport in nice, sunny, 60 degree weather. Key thing I noticed - he was in shorts.

I knew I was in California.

On the way back from the airport, tired and hungry, I decided not to pressure myself too much to get a ride in before going to sleep. So we stopped at a food joint for some California food and then a couple bike shops.

The latter never ceases to amaze me. Triathlons are a big deal here so everyone has the newest, coolest TT bikes. They always look impressive even if I won't ever be able to justify buying such a creature. I saw my first Cannondale TT bike, very cool. Also Time, Cervelo, the Specialized Transition (which, painted differently, might look like a bike they'd ride in Aliens or Star Wars), QRoos, and a bunch of others. I fondled a $900 Zipp crankset and a $599 aero TT bar setup (I guessed it was $500, Rich corrected me when he checked the tag). And various bikes and frames mentioned above. I figure I ran my fingers over $100-200k worth of bikes and frames and parts.

I suppose it would be more efficient simply to lay a finger on a Ferrari or something but I didn't see one around.

I did buy a few things from the shops, mainly mix, gels, and liquids for "in-flight refueling" of the cycling kind.

We arrived at his place, which, to be honest, looks exactly like it did last year, the year before, the year before that, and the year before that. Same fuzzy grass, same perfectly paved road, same driveway, everything. Picture postcard perfect. When you don't have overgrowing everything like in Connecticut, frost heave, mold, burrowing creatures, deer, tons of moisture in various forms, etc etc etc, the houses stay sort of frozen in time.

Then, after seeing the kids again, saying hi to Julie, and assembling the bike (in fine shape, thank you United), we set off to CVS on a mission to buy things that the TSA don't want you to carry onto the plane. I figure when I leave, I can stash some of it away, and it'll be there for the next time we're out there.

My bike seemed pretty tame compared to the sleek hardware I'd seen just hours earlier, but it was fine by me. I really like the way the bike handles and this is the first time I'll be able to ride it regularly, outside, for a while.

Now for the hard part.



Hocam said...

Your liquigas cannondale with SRM and record is far from tame, so those TT bikes must have been ridiculous!

Rich said...

Yeah - Aki's being modest. Having seen the C-Dale in person for the first time last night, it's pretty awesome.

hobgoblin said...

Where are you training in CA? I grew up on the Central Coast and rode all over the Bay Area.

Aki said...

I'm just east of Carlsbad, a town perhaps 40 minutes north of San Diego.

Those TT bikes were totally off the wall. Totally insane. No SRM but with DA or Record or SRAM whatever, they were something. And it wasn't just one or two - it was like 15 or 20 or 30 bikes. I really think the Cannondale TT bike is a well balanced looking bike. The Transition is the most "weapon like". Since I don't know aerodynamics (other than reading catalogs) looks are about all I have to go on.