Saturday, January 22, 2011

My California Trip

Flying into L.A. past the Hollywood sign and into green fields with flowers and palm trees was especially surreal after having just been in Calgary where it was 20 below and snowing. LAX looked like an enormous intimidating airport but somehow I met my ride, Matt P, and it was off to lunch -- typical LA I thought: a salad as big as your head (so awesome after nothing but bits and bites for 8 hours). Then we drove up the coastal highway towards Oxnard passing the mansions of Malibu, strawberry fields, and of course the Pacific. I pinched myself more than once.

The house is amazing, a short walk to the beach with a rooftop patio. I've got a king-size bed and my own bathroom and the last two times I've fallen into it, I've had deep, replenishing sleep, which I'm gonna need because today we're adding another four hours of riding to the three we did yesterday + two hours of surfing.

OMG Surfing. I booked a lesson with the Silver Strand Surf School and never looked back. Because Matt P and Peter both wanted to come, we got a "semi-private" rate of $75 bucks for two hours and all the required equipment. Totally worth it. Our instructor Chris explained the basics on the shore and before we knew it, we were catching totally tubular waves dude. Much to my surprise and GLEE, I caught my very first one and surfed almost all the way back into shore. I was so excited ... until I realized I'd then have to paddle all the way back out to where they were breaking on the sand bar. Paddling. Is. Hard. All of us consider ourselves fine athletes and all of us were drawing on our deepest reserves. Today my chest is so sore it feels like I had open heart surgery. But nothing compares to the feeling of the waves picking up the back of the board, then one two three hard strokes before you jump up and ride it til it finishes gently enough that you can just sit back down on the board. Then paddle back out there. All of us rocked it and the stoke was high on the drive back.

The riding was equally exciting. Matt P and I headed down to Mugu State Park for three hours of fun. We climbed two mountains, rallied a few amazing descents, and delivered a necessary shock to my system. I bonked, but I think mainly the problem was my body was a little confused as to how we went from snow to shorts in such a short period of time. I'm optimistic today will be a little more measured.



Peter's bike is in the shop after he hucked it off some sweet jumps, so he's doing a group ride on the road today. Hopefully he gets it back in time for the three of us to check out the Back Bone Trail together before I have to leave. For now, it's just me and Matt P. Today: http://venturacountytrails.org/TrailMaps/OjaiGridley/Map_NordhoffRidge2D.pdf

Looks like something I'll need some fuel for, so it's breakfast time. Later skaters.