February 23, 2019

Spin, Dry

So much rain.

So much cabin fever.

So little fitness.

A modest route drew a good-sized group today, despite the chilly air. Uncharacteristically, there were more gals than guys on the ride. Lots of pink (bikes, accessories, jackets, jerseys).

We started with a visit to Alum Rock Park. The water was flowing well in Penitencia Creek.

Our destination, San Felipe Road, is a welcome rural respite along the southeastern flank of San José.

Streams coursed through the fields: water finds a way.

Cyclists found a way, too—though we constrained ourselves to paved roads. There was ample cardio challenge for me over 37 miles and 2,305 of climbing, though my legs felt stronger than I expected.

Dividends from just a couple of rowing machine workouts on rainy days. There will be more of those.

February 18, 2019


There is likely a new tradition for our club to ride the hills south of Hollister on this day, for it was on Presidents' Day in 2018 that a beloved member was struck and killed here.

Our tradition represents an adaptation of yahrzeit, which marks the anniversary of a death. Our multicultural minyan (of cyclists) gathered at the ghost bike to remember Jon with a recitation of the Mourner's Kaddish (English translation).

We adapted the custom of placing stones at the grave, to place them at this memorial site. And some of our club members had clearly learned more about this tradition. One had chosen a rock at the top of one of the most difficult climbs in our area (Bohlman Road), then carried it in his saddle bag for 200 miles of riding before placing it here. (Jon had completed nearly 50 double centuries.)

Another cyclist (who could not ride with us today) came prepared with a spread of brushes, jars of bright enamel paints, and an assortment of smooth rocks. I was drawn to a particular stone, immediately. “Never Forget Jon” was the message from me.

Afterward, we were left with our thoughts as we pedaled along the back roads. Knowing that we were seeing some of the same sights that Jon saw, that day. Blue skies, green hills, the light of the sun in winter. This year, some of the higher peaks were dusted with snow.

A wild sow and her little brown piglets streaked through a field and across the road in front of me. We abbreviated our planned loop to an out-and-back (24 miles, 1,150 feet of climbing) after hearing that a key connector was flooded.

May the tradition of this day be carried forward in memory of Jon, even past the time of those of us who once rode alongside him.