Brian, Jack and I were in Jen’s car on our way to Redlands by 530am for Breathless Agony, King of the Mountains Stage 2. Last year this ride was miserable, one of the worst days on the bike I’ve ever had. This year only slightly better. That time on the Great Divide, when Steevo and I were riding along the exposed ridge of the actual Continental Divide, in the rain with temperatures in the mid-30’s was miserable, but at least we knew why. Something about this ride makes my stomach unhappy. Is it because they have such poor food choices at the checkpoints? I probably did not eat enough.
This ride is 4 passes, the last one up to Onyx Summit at 8443 feet, at mile 74, where the clock stops. The last 30 miles are almost completely uphill (It’s 114 miles total after you ride back down). The ride started like this:
Brian (at mile two): Wow Jack, you don’t have a lot of stuff.
Jack: Oh shit I forget all my stuff!
(Jack turns around towards the start)
Brian was on it and we rode together till we caught a racer guy’s wheel. About 5 miles later I fell off. The route is beautiful, lots of pine trees and canyons. Trying to keep pace with them I could only stare at the wheel in front of me, riding alone I could actually look around. Kept thinking Jack was going to catch me. Apparently he got caught behind a train (??). The results are surprising. I took 45 minutes off last year’s time.
40 miles of descent in less than two hours. Fantastic. Like riding BMX trails (almost). After complaining about the beans having lard in them (again) and not being able to eat burritos at the finish, we were off to LA so I could get to the Earth Crisis show. Yeah, that’s right, reunion show! Call them cliche, call the music simple, but they are the reason I am vegan (that and a cute girl).
Sasha said, ‘I’ll wait for you if you are in LA by 4pm, not 5pm, cause that is too late.’ At 515pm we were on our way to Ventura. My bad. I decided to wear camo cut-offs cause I figured no one else would think of that. We only had to sit through four bands, which was four too many. I read every zine in the place. Apparently vegan-sxe is still a thing. 500 kids? Who knew? Lots of old kids like me, but lots of new ones too. Lots more females than I remember ever being at shows.
They played ‘Stand By’ second song in. Kids moshed. They did circle pits. Everyone sang along. Just like 1996. No bouncers, low stage. It’s not often for me to be so completely focused on the enjoyment or action of one thing that it transcends all other thoughts. To have it happen twice in one day is exceptional. Having my politics expressed through song and taking it in with 500 other kids is something I miss. On encore they played ‘The Order That Shall Be’ and “Firestorm’. Fuck yeah.
Home at 1am, dehydrated and starving. I missed the second round of the Wolfpack sprints, this time they were on the 6th street bridge. Jack took 3rd.