Sunday, October 21, 2007


The correct name for the wind is Santa Ana, but no saint has a guitar as scorching as Carlos Santana’s, so I call the burning hot wind a Santana.

For the first time in quite a while, I had the free time this weekend to do some proper cycling. With days getting shorter, I can sometimes squeeze in a quick half-hour workout before or after work, but nothing that really stretches the legs or gives the eyes much new to mull over.

So if you have the chance to go riding, what’s a little 20-m.p.h. wind?

I took the same route today that I took yesterday, and it took me about 25 minutes longer to ride 30 miles. It felt good, though, because all the rough plowing into the wind was on the way out. Normally the wind whips me along faster on the way out, and only on the way back do I find out what a serious mistake I’ve made. Today I knew from the start that the road home would be easy and fast.

I took the pictures above to record those beautiful sights for posterity. I almost never get to see these flags and windsocks blowing in this direction.

I let Photoshop do a standard white-balance on the second shot, which makes the sky much more blue. The comparison gives you an idea of how yellow the sky really was today. There’s a lot of dust in this wind.

I should also note that further west of here, the wind is also carrying a lot of smoke. Malibu is on fire, again. But where I was riding, I think most of the yellow in the sky was desert sand blowing in from the east, not smoke. [10/22 add: Later on in the day (around 6 p.m.), a fire started in Orange County, to my east, but by morning the Long Beach sky still wasn’t filled with smoke.]

Windy days make for good beach riding. Not many people have patience for sitting at the beach getting sand blown in their faces, in their sandwiches, in their suntan lotion. So the beach bike path is almost deserted.

The down side is that the same blowing grit can get in all your exposed, greasy sprockets and derailleurs and chain links. Life is a compromise.

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