Archives for the month of: February, 2009

the weekend before last i attended my first 24-hour endurance mountain bike race, 24-Hours in the Old Pueblo, which was a fantastic experience….a wee bit freezin’-me-buttocks-off-cold, but fun. i’m starting now to cull a team of friends to race next year. super duper cool shit.

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The road into 24-hour town (the skinny white line in the distance) led us to a village of tents, trucks and r.v.’s .

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Mark Mason is triumphant! We made it to the event location without losing my bike or his bike, which was fortunate because Mark was on a team with his brother. Mark, who is one of the nicest gents that I know, signed up for the crappiest shift – the 3am – 5am shift – during what had to be mid-20º temperatures. I didn’t hear him complain once…not once!

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If you happen to see these two fellas coming your way, be forewarned that they are nothing but fun! Matt Gindlesparger (the husband of my work spouse Katie) and Brendan Collier (right), the owner and designer of Siren Bicycles, were my new best mates at the race. When Matt isn’t the spokes-model for the Siren clothing line (hence the hip 1980’s collar upturn), he’s working on the U of A’s entry into the Solar Decathlon….he’s kind of a smarty pants. Mix these two gentleman, toss in an espresso maker sans tamper, add a great pot of chili made by Katie and finish with wee shot of bourbon as racers speed by…and you’ve got a fine time on your hands!

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The ever-lovely Mel Mason volunteered to d-jay for a six hour shift, keeping race fans rolling, despite temperatures that fell fast, fast! Mel has an amazing talent for music…she even played a song just for me! Brendan,  Matt, Mark and myself were Mel’s support staff.

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And I found a heart in the carpet inside the Siren Bicycle’s tent…a rugged heart.

I have a love affair with travel, flight to be precise. It must be connected to my nearly insatiable need to be in motion, in transit, leaving here, going there, moving forward – literally or figuratively. Blame it on my nomadic upbringing, but the curiosity of finding myself surrounded by unknowns is a challenge I seem to consistently be chasing.

I went home for the holidays this year. It had been two years since I was home last for Heidi and Jake’s wedding. It was a splendid and relaxing vacation. I played games invented on the spot by my older nephews, who also taught me how to play tennis on the aptly named Wii. I flirted with my younger two nephews who already have heart-breaker qualities and made it extremely easy for me to fall madly in love with them. My sisters and I had wonderful talks that I wish we could have more often, if only we lived closer to one another. I had great conversations with my mom that continue to play-back in my mind. How does a mother’s identity change after thirty years of active motherhood slowly moves a woman towards being the caretaker of one – herself?

When I do travel, I do my best to time my flights properly. It’s a science, really. I schedule outbound flights to correspond with the rising sun and I time the descent of returning flights with sunsets. I like the conceptual connection of the dawn of adventure as I depart from my hometown of the moment. I also embrace the abstract of my adventure coming to an end as the daylight descends into night.

On my flight home I found myself thinking about the “why” of my travels. What is it about leaving and returning that is so magical? Here are some pictures and some words I strung together during that return flight…landing at sunset, of course.

flight

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look with flight speed
way down and across
a curdled-milk contrail
diagonally cuts
the crossword quilt
sewn by her hands
to comfort the 4-year-old boy
crying in seat B, aisle 33
salt-watered tears
mimic erosion flows
imprecise, confused
direction(less)
into and over
their complicated neighbors

dense, red light
breaks snowed-starved mountains
into baby pink tips
sharpened, carved
by extreme extremes
paler, and paler pinks
as the aircraft falls
in tandem with the sun
I am anxious to reconnect
my feet with their walking path
because even from this distance
gated bedroom communities
have beauty.

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p.s. When I fly into cities I know well, I also select which side of the aircraft I want to sit on (go ahead, call me neurotic, I don’t mind). When flying into Oakland, I sit on the right side of the plane so I can peer down into Yosemite National Park as we pass over (sadly, it was clouded over this trip). I sit on the left side when flying out so that I can peer down upon San Francisco, where I went to university. We also fly over Candlestick Park, where I cut my teeth as a young photographer covering 49er’s games back in the days of Steve Young, Jerry Rice and a young kid named Terrell Owens.

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