Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 178 - Calf Envy, Pedalers Fork and the White Buddha

August 3, 2013          241.4 lbs

Today I had my long ride scheduled for four hours and a thirty minute run after. My friend Kevin Tran has been asking me to ride with him for some time, so I thought I would explore the other side of the valley. By the time I was done with Fridays blog it was 2:30 am. I still don't feel really good with low energy so when the alarm went off at 5:00 am, I grabbed my phone and started to send a message that I wasn't going to make it. But as I began typing the message, I thought of how long Kevin has talked about riding together. So I snoozed for few minutes and got up. I realized I snoozed too long and didn't have time for my morning smoothy, as I rushed out the door. Big mistake!

We met up at the Porter Ranch Starbucks at 6:30 am. Kevin and a couple other friends had arrived at 5:30 am for a run. Our friend Romeo Victor met up with us and we took off towards Calabassas.

 Along the way, we came across a flock of peacocks stopping traffic!

I suspected that these two guys have just wanted to see where all this training has me at as they are both much more experienced.

Speaking of experience, if you are new to cycling, never ever trust an experienced hill climber when they tell you a course is flat. Their concept of "flat" will be much different then your own.

About halfway to Calabassas, we hit a small hill of about one hundred feet in elevation. Romeo took off like a madman, making sure everyone saw how intimidating his calves were. Up to this point and for three quarters of this ride, it felt mostly down hill. One reoccurring thought was, "What is the ride back going to be like if this is all down hill?" My lack of energy and poor fueling were getting the best of me. When we got to this small hill which was only a half mile long, I was huffing! I felt embarrassed for not attacking it more but I simply didn't want blow all my energy not knowing what was in-store for the rest of the ride. Looking at my metrics on Strava later on, I saw that my heart rate, though pretty elevated, staid predominantly flat during the climb. To me, this was a good sign of progress.

We arrived in Callabassas at what appeared to be a giant farmers market. After making our way through the stalls with our bikes, we came to a cool bake rack attached to a building that was so unobtrusive, I almost missed it. My first thought was, "Wow, this place really caters to cyclist.!"

Beside the free bike rack locks, I noticed there was free air and water.

We went inside were I was immediately impressed with the layout and decor. This place was very cyclist friendly!

There was bike stuff everywhere!

It ends up that it is a coffee shop and restaurant and boutique bike shop called Pedalers Fork. Created by cyclist for cyclist.

They have been open about three months at this point and seem to be doing well.

The layout of the place was beautiful including a small creek next to the veranda complete with a gold Koi fish.

Also out on the veranda was a small custom bike shop that apparently is the first only Moots boutique with full service bike shop. And even better, they had my beloved Skratch Labs!
This little bike shop is positioned so that patrons eating/drinking/chilling on the veranda can see into it and watch the custom bikes being worked on. And if you need something fixed or to purchase, you have it right there.

I was impressed. I'm planning to take The Boss out there one day soon as there were a couple of vegan option.

The boys and I sat down for a quick cup of joe or tea in my case and some quinoa bread.

I was kind of keyed up still when we sat down as I'm not used to stopping in the middle of a ride and chilling. But quickly enjoyed the nice morning air, tea and bread. Kevin took a picture to capture the moment.

After the break, we headed back. I mentioned to Kevin that I was dreading the ascents. He said he was to and then went and told Romeo I was complaining about riding uphill! So not cool, because at one point Romeo says to me, "This is a much easier way back.  .  .  but there is one hill.  .  ." What?! I kept telling them to not change the route for me as I needed the experience but it was too late. Branded the "weak guy."
Actually, that one hill was a monster for me and I quickly fell back. Once again, looking at the metrics, my heart rate was up but it stayed very level throughout the climb. About a mile and a quarter with up to 7.5% grade incline.

During the steepest part, Kevin passed me as if to say, "You cannot beat Ironman!" I overtook him at the top and made sure to touch his car first in the parking lot. Ha! We finished up, fist bumped and headed in our separate directions. I realized it was time for Kevin's restaurant to open, (Vinh Loi Tofu) so I headed there to get some food. I was exhausted and falling asleep just going the fifteen minutes to get there.  Soon enough, Romeo showed up there to so we had lunch. Kevin had a big catering order to get finished and was under a bit of pressure when an overweight, bald white guy came in and ordered soup with no spices. He kept reiterating he couldn't eat any spices in a loud kind of "give me attention" or "somebody please ask me why" kind of way. The soup came out and as is common for that style of soup, there was fried onion bits garnished. The guy immediately proclaimed, "I cant eat this!" and took it back to Kevin repeating he can't eat spices! To his credit, Kevin never said anything, just took it back and remade it. I was about to let the dude know that onions are vegetables and not spices when Romeo started conversing with him. He really wanted us to know he was a Buddhist for some reason. He was nice enough but exuded a very false humility that I found off putting. Now that I think about it, onion powder is a spice to be fair but maybe he should have said no onions or any spices. 

Anyhow, I went home and tried to nap but couldn't for some reason. Then The Boss decided we should go see This Is The End.

So we headed over to the infamous Sherman Oaks Galleria  to see the film at the Arclight theater. A first for us.

We had a good time even if our seats kind of sucked. Think front row, far right. During some of the panning shots, I was getting sea sick!

After the movie, we had a late dinner at PF Chang's, getting some vegetarian lettuce wraps and Buddhas Feast in honor of the white Buddha I met earlier in the day.

Until tomorrow my friends.

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