Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Found at last

When I was a kid it was a great joke to ask me if I was the Missing Link, so popular in everyone's imagination. So it was with great relief that I saw the news story today that the missing link has (probably) been found. Here's the scientific report in PLoS One.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hard work

On my way to Fairfax early this morning I stopped at Vista Point to see the Lone Sailor; he's still keeping his silent vigil.

I started riding up Mt. Tamalpais counter-clockwise from Fairfax, meaning to meet the Velo Girls who would be riding from the Presidio, through Mill Valley and over East Peak (clockwise), and then we'd ride together back to my car, which would then be available to sag back to the city, if needed.

Getting to the turnoff at Ridgecrest was definitely the most hill climbing I've done in one stint in a long, long time and it was very hard. For one thing, there was no warm up leaving from Fairfax before the unrelenting climb - and then after Alpine Dam, more of the same.

(The last time I went on this ride it was in the rain and fog and I missed the turn at Ridgecrest, ending up in Bolinas, adding lots of miles to get back via Shoreline Highway. )

I found the left turn from Bolinas Rd. easily enough (though I didn't see a sign for it), and I waited for them to arrive, but when they still weren't there by noon, I decided to ride back to Fairfax to get the car and drive back looking for them, a little worried, though mainly I was just tired of waiting.

I got an iced coffee, used the much needed restroom! and drove back up the mountain where I found them regrouping about 4 miles out from Fairfax. They'd had one misadventure when a bee went into a rider's helmet and she fell, smack in the middle of traffic. No one needed a ride so I went on over the mountain, taking an hour to get down to Mill Valley. Spectacular views along the ridge.

After my shower, Jill took me out to dinner for Mother's Day.

Good day.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Singin' in the rain

I knew no one would show up for the First Sunday ride this morning: it was, if not raining, very wet outside. But I just felt like getting out in it and so I put all my rain gear and my bike in the car and drove down to Burlingame where I started riding in the rain.

And if it wasn't on-the-radar-map rain, it was very, very heavy mist, because my glasses needed windshield wipers and I had a rooster-tail. Every once in a while it would clear up for a few minutes, but it stayed that way for nearly the entire ride.

You know that part of the Gene Kelly number where he's stomping in the puddles, singing in the rain? That's what I feel like every single time I get out in it. Like I'm for sure getting away with something deliciously wicked.

Pedaling along, with just Me, Myself and I for company, I started trying to remember the details of this or that days-long ride in the rain on my travel adventures.

I thought about my very first bike touring experience in early May 1984. I'd gone into the VVV in Amsterdam and within ten minutes they'd set me up with a self-supported bicycle tour, with vouchers for various hotels and meals, and directions that I swear were translated from the Dutch to English by Japanese---they made almost no sense.

Every day it rained and every day I'd be lost on some bike trail, too early in the season for the signposts in the shape of cement mushrooms to have been repainted, in a country so flat that there were no visible landmarks and no sun shadow to tell directions, and I'd laugh because I knew I would eventually run into a train station or a village and sort myself out.

Oh but it was so cold. I'd bought a Dutch rainsuit in Arnhem, but I finally shoved newspapers under my sweater to stay warm. Sometimes I'd come across a working windmill, grinding grains, and be given a tour inside. Every village had something happening, like a noon-time organ concert, always Bach, in the open church, or a farmers' market, or people sitting out with their coffee and paper in the brief break between rains. I paid extra for a 3-speed rental bike; on the last day I went up over a highway overpass and finally used a lower gear. Every day I'd say to myself, it's only fresh water (those were my sailing years; salt water is so much harder to deal with!).

And I was hooked. The next time I had my own bike and my own maps. It's all good, rain or shine.

Well, it was a good ride this morning, but afterwards I had all my wet stuff to hang up after a warm shower. And no matter how good your rain gear is, you will be wet inside it. Warm wet. Cozy wet.