Thursday, December 23, 2010

Photo by Sam Chin

Festive 500 - The Prologue

The rain that turned Los Angeles into a reasonable facsimile of Portland or Seattle has stopped.

Of course I didn't have my camera with me when the most spectacular rainbow I've ever seen lit up the eastern skies of Los Angeles this afternoon. (Luckily, Sam Chin didn't make my mistake. I'm guessing that rainbow was a signal from the Big Man in the Sky that he finally remembered to turn off the tap to the holy water that's been running for the past seven days. Either that, or the rainbow was a symbolic portrayal to the end of the U.S. military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

Family obligations during this holiday season, including the fact I haven't finished shopping for gifts yet (OK, I haven't started shopping for gifts yet), old age, and my inherent laziness, are going to seriously erode my ride time for the Festive 500. I need to be a thief of time.

That's why, starting at midnight, I decided to ride a celebratory prologue to mark the beginning of the event.

I rode alone – but I was not lonely – through the deserted streets of Los Angeles. The few people I saw were mostly asleep, slumped on bus benches, or against walls, or flat on their backs, with concret sidewalks for their mattresses. Others cursed the darkness, or cursed me. On the other hand I felt, if not festive, a certain sense of exultation at being so alive.

About to leave Reid's house for the ride home - I don't look too festive, do I? (Reid Bogert photo)

With the roads still wet from six days of rain, and under a bright moon that poked through clearing clouds, I rode through iconic sections of Los Angeles, including Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Thai town, and over some iconic boulevards: Hollywood, Melrose, Sunet – before stopping for a visit with my good friend, Reid. He lives in a beautiful home beneath L.A.'s intellectual eye on the sky, the famed Griffith Park Observatory, in the Los Feliz district of the city. After Reid recovered from his surprise at seeing me at his door at 1 a.m. (he's always up late), and he'd helped refuel me with some toffee-covered peanuts, dried pineapple, and conversation, I retraced my way home. The first 27 kms out of the 500 are in the can.

Later today - it's now about 3 a.m. and I don't plan on rising too early - I'll challenge myself again, in pursuit not just kilometers, but myself.

Care to follow my route? Click here.

No comments: