Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smokey and the Doughnut

With all due respect to that epic Hollywood film masterpiece, I feel compelled to share a recent experience while training in the hills of southern California. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of my favorite rides is up to Lake Matthews Dam. This is a 40 mile round trip ride which involves about 3400 feet of vertical climbing on some rather isolated out of the city roads.

This particular section of the ride is a 3 mile, constant 6-8% grade so as you might expect the cars tend to really fly down the curvy road. Naturally, the police are often waiting to reward those drivers that seem compelled to push the limits of the legal speed restrictions. 

Anyway, one recent day I was climbing this particular leg up to Lake Matthews Dam on a beautifully overcast and quiet morning. At the section shown in the photo on the right, there was a County Sheriff sitting in his car with the radar gun at the ready.

As I passed pitifully slow up the hill he dropped the gun on me and said in a good humored voice…’7 miles an hour….’ Shaking his head as he beamed a broad smile.

Now only separated by 30-40 feet, I passed in the quiet morning and responding in like humor: ‘You should put down that doughnut and try pedaling up this hill……’

I continued up the grade and echoing behind me in the still morning was the wonderful good-natured laugh of a friend I’ll probably never meet again. This is the kind of fleeting encounter that I’m looking forward to on the cross country ride, with people, with sounds, with sights and smells. Close and intimate; you can only experience on a bicycle. Experiences I plan to cherish.

1 comment:

Jim said...

We have a "donut" ride around the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Whether the ride is called that because we stop for coffee and sweets, or because it's a loop around the hills is open for discussion.

Only eighteen more days until Manhattan Beach. I'll be there to see you off.

Jim Lyle, XC09 & ES11