Monday, August 15, 2005

North Shore bike trail and sunset surf sesh

Unlike many of the places I have been to in my travels over the last decade and a half, the North Shore has a cool bike trail (runs from the Backyards point break to just past Shark's Cove). Ojai, my home, has one as well. The lack of safe bike trails around the USA is one of the many shortsighted shortfalls of civic planning that suggest incompetence at the least and corruption at the worst. The importance of alternative transportation like bicycles or even simply running are completely missed by most civic planning. These acitivities reduce pollution and increase health. It make economic sense to me.

Meanwhile the North Shore trail needs a trim as many of the plants and trees that line it are making a narrow trail narrower. For me, biking and jogging on this trail has become quite exciting because of the seeming lack of awareness of many who utilize this trail. For instance, today, while I was biking back from a jaunt to Shark's Cove, I saw 3 young women biking towards me. One of them was in my lane. It seemed as if this girl had pleny of time to get out of the way. After all the shenannigans I have seen on this trail over the years, I anticipated her incompetence and easily avoided a head on collision. She smiled and said: "Sorry."

I smiled and said: "No worries."

Further down the trail, I see several people on it so I get on to the road that runs parallel. Soon, I come upon 3 tourists walking along taking up the whole road, a white lifeguard pick up truck is backing up towards them, I cut in just in front of the tourists and cruise alongside the truck, suddenly out of nowhere, there's another white pick up backing up - but this one is moving perpendicular to the road - closing it off. On a dime I swerve to the left, completely avoiding it, never slowing down, never looking back. Yesterday, while biking on the trail in front of Sunset Beach, a teen-aged girl stepped in front of me out from behind a car, she never looked, typically oblivious. Even though I have been using bikes with hand brakes for the last 3 decades, my left foot knew what to do and slammed down the foot break - I once again avoided a collision.

When I spoke with Liz she agreed that many people seem to be clueless and that you have to expect stupidity. She related a story of a woman who was sitting in her chair on the middle of the bike trail with her cooler and dog next to her. Liz actually even told that woman that she'd get hurt sitting there that it is a bike trail. When Liz looked back over her shoulder, the woman had moved.

After the quick obstacle course bike ride I ended up hopping in the ocean with Roberto's 9'6. Liz joined me after I'd already caught 2 waves. Ben and Luke were out there already. They must have had a 3 hour surf sesh today. After those first two waves, I had some trouble catching another one. Then I caught one that got bigger and faster after I had stood up on it. The wall sprung up to shoulder height and it made the sound: "PHHHHHH". It is a sound that I love.

The sky turned tangerine, clouds became purple and I stared at the crescent Moon and the white dot that is Venus. Waiting for the right wave which did not seem to come. I caught a mushy push in that I still stood up on, found the sandy trench that is the way out if you want to avoid the reef and soon stepped on sand.