The stone mind

Way down there somewhere is the Duke City.

My Bicycle Retailer and Industry News column may be a thing of the past, but I still have deadlines, and Lord, how them sumbitches can fill a feller’s dance card.

I’ve been burning daylight over the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1, exchanging emails with former VeloNews comrade Andrew Juskaitis, now senior global product marketing manager for the Big G, and after an extended stretch of demonstrating my profound ignorance I decided yesterday that it was time to ride one of my own damn’ bikes for a change.

It had to be steel, of course, with drop bars, rim brakes, and tires with inner tubes. And with the weekend promising congestion on the trails I thought it might be nice to get a quick off-road ride while the gettin’ was good.

When is a rock not a rock? When it’s a Buddha.

So the Voodoo Nakisi and I set off for the usual casual loops around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Well, almost the usual.

Our local trail network is well marked with signs for people who like to follow maps (Trail 365, 305, etc.) and for those who don’t (Trail Closed for Rehabilitation). But there’s the occasional unmarked stretch that makes you go “Hmmmm.. …”

On a whim, I followed a couple of those yesterday, just to see where they went, and one of them meandered upward until it became frankly unrideable (by me, anyway). So I got off and wandered around for a bit, assuming I was more or less up against the wilderness boundary, taking snaps with the iPhone and just enjoying being away from the office.

I looked down at the Duke City, and snap, and then looked up at the ridgeline, and … holy shit! Check out that rock formation. It looks like a Buddha sitting zazen with his back to all of this.

Well, it does to anyone with an overactive imagination, anyway. It seemed too heavy a stone to carry around in my head, though, so I bowed to it, left it where it was, and got back about the business of avoiding business.

• Editor’s note: Further bows to “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings,” compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki.

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19 Responses to “The stone mind”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    We have a cool set of rocks up here that also bring on mystic thoughts.

  2. Libby Says:

    Amazing vista. Here’s to overactive imaginations!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      These trails are super flowy and big fun to ride on a cyclocross bike, Libby. A mountain bike is more sensible, of course, but I’ve never been sensible.

      Well, OK, so even I get sensible from time to time. I skipped a couple sketchy descents on this ride. “Nope, not gonna do it,” I thought. I’m slightly over trips to the ER.

  3. Sharon Reed Says:

    Finally warmed up enough to start riding this year…good riddence to 20 and 30 degree, cloudy and damp weather! Would much rather ride when it’s 100.

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Looks like the Buddha to me. Skipped the ride this morning to have a leisurely breakfast and just as slow walk with the Duffy. I was returning to my true nature, a lazy dolt. But the Saga and I have a date together scheduled in the morning.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We walked El Boo-oh this morning and he was in fine fettle. He’d been shedding weight and acting feeble, so we tried him on lean ground beef and that seems to be making a significant difference. Auld fella had a smile on his lips and a song in his heart.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    Of course if that HAD been someone sitting up in the wilderness above the Duke City, the SWAT team would have been called out to shoot him.

    • khal spencer Says:

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I love those little speed radar trailers the police sometimes put on surface streets. If the limit is 25 MPH, I try to sprint faster than that to get it to flash “SLOW DOWN.”

        • Stan Thomas Says:

          Yeah, I sprinted towards a cop with a hand-held radar gun. He looked down at the display, looked back to me and slowly shook his head. Some of them have a sense of humour.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      This is quite the little Western community we have down here, K. Everybody’s shooting everybody else, if only for the target practice.

      You see someone set a speed-enforcement van on fire the other day? The authorities are not amused.

      And no, it wasn’t me. I think someone should start setting the speeders on fire. Or at least shooting them.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Perhaps instead of a flashing SLOW DOWN on the speed camera van, an M134 Minigun instead.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Just back to the frozen plains of Iowa (thank gawd only for a few days) but the sign talk reminded me of a flashing message I saw in SoCal “ZERO TOLERANCE LOUD MOTORCYCLE EXHAUST” at the top and bottom of the Palos Verdes East road a few days ago. And then there are the “SLOW BIKES KEEP RIGHT” signs which are about as dumb as “SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT” for motorists. Don’t they know the average motorist feels he or she is going as fast as is safe and anyone wanting to pass must me a wild-eyed maniac?

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          They put up those “SLOWER TRAFFIC” keep right signs for me. Seems that everyone drives faster than me, and I take 5mph over the speed limit for granted on most roads.

          • khal spencer Says:

            I was doing 30 in a 25 yesterday on the K1100RS, headed back from a trip to Fanta Se. I was on one of the little back roads headed to the highway. Some guy in a Mustang passed me on a curve, over a double line, at about twice the speed limit. At least he didn’t shoot at me….

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            What I wish they’d put up (and into driver’s ed classes) is “DRIVE RIGHT, PASS LEFT” on any multi-lane road.
            They put a lot of effort into this in Europe so it’s rare to run into the classic “left-lane bandit” droning along in the far left lane oblivious to those trying to pass. Even the cops in the USA seem ignorant of this most basic road courtesy.

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