PHELAN like shit

We of vivid imagination are sick with concern that the American election will be stolen.


There’s a simple solution (well, there are two: voting goes without saying, since complaining without voting is the domain of dimwits)

I go out on my bicycle and take a breather from this infernal computer.  This time, the camera came for company.

I steered toward  Pine Mountain, where the steeps are so sharp, all worries remain at the bottom of the hill and by the top you’re free. The two mile climb up Bo-Fax road  sometimes wears me out, and I’ll turn around full of:

a) shame for wimping out on my ‘plan’

b) pride that I’m ‘in touch with my body’, which sez it’s too damn tired

c) confusion over which of the two above is the more accurate.

But the two-mile downhill run always restores the grin to my face.

Being fiftyish means managing one’s (diminished) energy supply.

Riding less, sprawling more.

Marin County sidewalks sport free couches  now and then. Never are they filthy, though a layer of dog or cat hair might be a why someone hurls a well-made (but seldom brushed off) sofa to the street-gleaners.

My policy is to  test every one of them for comfort.

On the other  hand, you can’t get TOO comfortable.  Let two weeks slide by without a hard ride and you’ll pay for it.  So between bedsores and saddlesores, I’m in search of the right balance.

You (or at least I) have to rage, rage against the dying of the legs. Maybe even race once a year!

This time, I felt alive and ready to climb. There is an energy bar (circa 2002) in my fanny pack. Those awful things are great for rides where you head out but forgot to have lunch first.  Hunger doesn’t speak to me directly. Even with another person, it manifests as irritability, rather than the urge to devour everything in sight. In a remote area out of sight of  humans and their doings, there’s no one to be irritable with. A global awareness of  food subsumes my physical hunger. Held together by will and mega liters of good fresh air,  I ride through a smorgasbord of native nutrients.

I think of the Miwok, then  try not to.

I’m on their stolen land!

I pick up the pace a little.

The mammals around here have an interesting habit: they lay their shite on a rock, usually smack dab in the middle of the trail. Since manzanita bushes are packed with fruit this season, the dried red berries figure prominently in the scat. In different animal’s scat, fur is the main ingredient. I like pretending it’s mountain lion poop, since I’ve seen cougar a dozen times.

It might have been something funky in the  batch of sauerkraut I’d had for breakfast, or maybe it was a sign. At the crest of Pine Mountain (which has two 15%  pitches), some animal lay a scat shaped like a fancy letter ” J” .

“Nobody will believe this” I thought while waiting for the spots in my visual field to subside. I took some time out to graze on the manzanita berries. They are dry, faintly rose-hip flavored, with a very big seed, and  barely any fruit around the seed, and hell to pulverize with your teeth. Like the animals, I swallow ’em whole.

Pushing on a few feet further,  another fecal arrangement begged for attention… a shit that had gone white in the sun. This one was sort of V-shaped.


O.K. it’s time for the camera to document my hallucinations.

The two and a half hour ride took five hours that day. October’s our best month; the sun is low in the sky but still warm, and the trees are turning colors, throwing leaves down, getting ready for the rains. The animals were speaking to me, saying everything might be shitty but shit’s natural, inevitable, and even nutritious for this  rocky serpentine soil.
Figured you’d get a kick out of it all.
I thought about riding further in search of an indication that the animal kingdom favored Mr. Obama.

But the sun was setting and I was starving.

~ by jacquiephelan on October 25, 2008.

7 Responses to “PHELAN like shit”

  1. Those were great photos. Thanks:)

  2. Those pictures, together, put a big smile on my face after a very long day. I didn’t really see what you had until I clicked on the picture to enlarge it. Well done Jacquie, and very clever as usual.

  3. ha ha – fantastic!

  4. “a) shame for wimping out on my ‘plan’

    b) pride that I’m ‘in touch with my body’, which sez it’s too damn tired

    c) confusion over which of the two above is the more accurate.

    Being fiftyish means managing one’s (diminished) energy supply.

    Riding less, sprawling more.”

    I’m close enough to fifty to have taken much comfort from this. Thank you.

  5. Raging against the dying of the legs — an apt analogy for where I am in my relationship with my body these days. On my best days, I almost forget I have Crohn’s, and sometimes I go too long or too hard (or both). On my worst days, I am paying for forgetting that I have Crohn’s, or worse — that I’m not 30 anymore.


    I am going long and hard this weekend. (I hope I can finish, because not finishing will make it harder to get home.) Happy riding –B

  6. a very enjoyable post indeed…. 😉

  7. In New York now. Missing hours spent riding on ‘Tam. Love to read you shit.

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