Category Archives: Travel

Distance Cycling

IMG_0352Back from Sierra to the Sea Saturday afternoon, and just logged my ride data into the laptop. The ride is an organized tour for about 130 paying riders from Bear Valley in the Sierra to San Francisco, 420 miles over 7 days, for an average of about 60 miles / day.

My main response to the ride is mild surprise at how easy and straightforward it was. Granted- I did some training beforehand, with 60 mile weeks and as much climbing as I could fit in, and I have a pretty good bike. But it’s not like I was out riding 6 of 7 days for 150 miles, nor did I prep for more than a few weeks. I’d previously pictured trips like that as only for the studly. Who knew?

Am also a little surprised there weren’t any real issues. Got two flats from the same bit of glass (missed pulling it out the first time). Left my sleeping bag out too late the night of the wine and cheese party and it got wet with dew, so sleeping was uncomfortable. Had sinus issues the last night that made it hard to sleep as well, but not too serious.

Pictures are up on Flickr. Most of the images are of people — it’s not much fun to shoot scenery any more. Maybe the pocket camera doesn’t handle it, or maybe I’ve just taken too many pictures of trees and lakes.

My workout software claims I burned an additional 18,000 calories or so, yet I think I gained a couple pounds. I was intentionally eating more, but… almost twice as many calories as usual?

At Esalen for Patricia’s birthday

Patricia and I drove down to Esalen on the Big Sur coast for her birthday- left Friday, back Sunday evening. It was a good trip, including the Nepenthe gift shop (am three for three in finding interesting clothing there, plus a birthday gift for Patricia).

We just hung out for the weekend eating, sleeping, and soaking, no seminars. Met Wes Niskar (Scoop), teaching on Zen for Cynics, and Ayo from LA, doing a weekend on African percussion, with a side hobby of sitting through timeshare sales pitches for sport and profit.

Esalen is interesting- larger than I thought, more of a community (150 guests plus a reported 150 staff and seminar leaders), less new-age Californian. It doesn’t stand out as it used to; much of its sensibility has been absorbed into the general population. It feels like a summer camp for adults- a mix of 20-somethings working there, and older yuppies who can afford the seminar fees and like the subject matter.

The mineral baths are a much bigger deal than I realized. They have the coolest tub house I’ve seen- luscious smooth concrete construction, tasteful arches and shapes, infinity pools overlooking the ocean, tile floors heated by spring water. I’m not much for soaking, but this was cool.

Esalen has an interesting history, starting as Slates Hot Springs, their geographical name, though it looks like they have changes ahead. They have a named massage style (which everyone else in the world probably already knows). I found it much more stretchy and connecting than other massages I’ve had.

And… googling on another aspect of Esalen, apparently the #1 pickup line in the old tubs was “I really love your energy.”

The view down the coast from Nepenthe’s deck (or “view”, given all the coastal fog recently):