Santa Cruisin’ for a bruisin’
Our annual Santa Cruise ride was successful. Since 1983, the first Saturday of December is given over to raise cash for women bruised not by themselves on their bikes but by their partners…
I had the usual trouble getting down to Santa Cruz: when i drive I doze within a half an hour, and despite the freezing temperature outside, I drifted off to zzland in the middle of heavyish San Francisco traffic. My co-pilot Heather C. took over and we were down by 9:30, only half an hour late.
“Why down in Santa Cruz?” people wonder.
“The pun! See how there is that two word possibility between ‘Cruz’ and ‘Cruise’?
I could see a Santa Rat on a fat tire bike , in fact I drew one and put it on a tee shirt the first few years…”
And STILL HAVE THE RUBBER STAMP (available for a mere 10 clams plus postage).
There were a dozen people milling about at the Forest Of Nisene Marks unofficial mud pit parking lot (now surrounded with cyclone fence, and a sad little toy armchair foundered in the shallow puddle like a drowned set property of a Katrina drama).
We pulled out bikes, and the other Marinites arrived and off we went, fingers frozen to handlebars.
The deep wooded ravine breathed foggily into our clothes and I re-learned how this ride plunges at first, then goes flat, then re-plunges to creek level and at last begins to climb the old narrow gauge Loma Prieta railroad bed (ties still in place here & there).
The fog piled in swiftly overhead, the narrow slot of sky was soon gray and I felt a few lone drops of rain, only on my eyelash. Just one, then another five minutes later.
Half the climb I had company and chatted away. The other half I let myself ride into fantasyland since the smooth, duff-upholstered roadbed begs to be ignored and unfeared.
Pretty soon I realized I wasn’t in California at all, and force-marched myself back into the Moment, to study major yellow palmate leafage from Acer macrophylla or is it macrofolia?
patterning the forest floor in thick crunchy curls, and paving the road bed in flat velvet palmprints.
The forest primeval was long gone, but this regrowth could fool a postmodern and did fool this one.
I was Evangeline
I was Puck on a bike
I was one lucky very un-battered (except by self) woman biking a ritual begun in 1983 to remember a non-survivor in the family warfare. Somehow I feared Mom would be paved over by time if I didn’t take some sort of action.
Up at the scenic overlook we intuited virga (rain that doesn’t reach ground) off in the distance, ate snacks, swung feet from benches which are becoming taller cuz the dirt underneath is getting scraped away…leaving everyone resembling a six year old.
Yakked about every little thing.
Were silent 1/10 the time
Happy the whole time.
And then spree’d downhill, me without my helmet.
At the sight of a bit of twisted green velvety Goldsworthy left-overs, I sprang into action and got some images of myself as the forest sprite from the Bent Twig Clan.
A long, gradual downhill, the Loma Prieta rail line swoops down without loose rocks and only a few soft roots reach across the road.. this surface lets one be a dreamer, and the revisit daydreams of previous rides .
There was the time Paul Sadoff told me of his upcoming wedding; what a feeling I got from hearing great news while flying at warp speed. MY warp speed. That’s right. Half of your warp speed. (Boy/girl exchange rate unfavorable at this time).
Then the time I first noticed the “japanese garden” (a huge road cut gone soft, twenty feet high, covered with moss). I was riding alone then. One sees more comme ca. Remember: it seems fast to me.
Aggregate memories disembed from the topography as I thunder by. This is reassuring, because I can then count on having a reasonable Place Memory when I return to some remote spot, with this shaky narrative memory. All I have to do is get on my bike and flow around the town, the river, the mountain and it will all come back because it was buried there the first time.
Then I recalled an alternate route threading alng the creekside high high above it, dodging redwood, maidenhair and sword fern, toyon and every other native plant that this particular morning was now outlined in pure clear silver light owing to the angle of the sun.
Positively giddy from a non-stop 45 minute descent, I zombied over to the parking lot where pot after pot of tea (THANK YOU CORA, and thank you TEA TABLE) re-calibrated our core temperatures.
Cora bustled about and after we few fat tire riders were tucking into the bread, cheese, jam, hummus, more cheese, peanut butter and sesame crunchies, then and only then did Cora present Laura, the representative from Women’s Crisis Support with a stunning orange commute Schwinn in pristine condition from the 1970’s…with a new basket on the front, and brand new bars, grips, and of course overhauled drive train, maybe even new wheels!
Picture to follow.
Then the road grouplets straggled in, more feeding frenzy, while in the background, the fastest joggers I’ve ever seen (there’s an Soquel track club doing winter run in the park) streaked by. It grew late, and we rolled out, having accumulated over $1,000 in checks for the charity.