California Dreamin’: On Video
Ironically, one of the big things keeping us in California while we talked about the possibility of moving to Portland someday was Sal’s insistence that he "had to ride". His insinuation in making this statement was that the weather was so bad in Portland that he would not be able to ride as much, and as comfortably, as he wanted to.
This seemed like a logical and fair argument at the time, and I accepted it.
Sal is a California boy – born and bred in the arid hills of San Jose. He learned to climb in those south hills and he cut his teeth in competitive cycling riding for the San Jose State University team. He knows the roads around here better than he knows himself.
It’s hard to argue with this weather. Here’s what I mean:
This is me on Long Ridge Road during our Thanksgiving Day ride. I could see all the way to the coast. All the way to the coast!
Long Ridge Road isn’t really a road – it’s one of the most rutted, sketchy, rocky, dusty fireroads I’ve ever seen. To get there, we parked at the top of Highway 9 (one of Sal’s favorites climbs, but since it’s 8 miles and 1500 feet of climbing, we decided to start our cross ride at the top instead of the bottom) and took some single-track trails over to the start of Long Ridge.
The single track we took was a route that Sal used to ride after he got off work at the bike shop. He and his shop buddies would strap on big lights and night-ride – in his memory, the trails were pretty tame. Perhaps they were, but on cross bikes they were significantly challenging. I sucked it up, focused, and navigated the winding, rocky, root-strewn switchbacks all while glancing over the steep hillside to my right and wondering if this was Sal-the-Sicilian’s modern day interpretation of cement boots. Is he trying to kill me?
He promised he wasn’t. And the payoff was worth it:
"Sal, quick! Take a picture. I’m doing my best Curt Schilling impersonation!"
(For the record, Sal didn’t get the joke. But at least he took the picture.)