Monthly Archives: January 2012

Some of the best practices

Some of the best practices I’ve ever skated were the ones where I didn’t care about how fast I was going, how hard I was working, how far I was going, how technically correct my form was or how many calories I burned. In fact, despite being known as a sufferer of low grade narcissism, some of the best practices I’ve ever been a part of had nothing to do with me at all. They were about the people I was skating with.

Today was one of those days. Speedy Weezy and I geared up for a great skate on the San Francisquito Creek Trail. No time trials, no drills, no coaching, just skating. What a blast. We went out on the trail at the same time as our friends back in Colorado were in their practice. We were skating with them in spirit, and lovin’ every minute of it. We even wrote a joke…”Hey Speedy! Did you hear that new Hall & Oates song about constipation?” “No First Loser, what’s it called?” “No Can Poo!” I can’t go, I can’t go! I can’t go, no, no, no…

Thanks, Bud!

Trailway To Heaven

There’s a skater who’s sure,
All that’s paved’s made to roll,
And he’s buying a trailway to heaven.

And when he gets there he knows,
If the rinks are all closed,
With a word he can skate like he came for.

BLASPHEMER!!! Eh, I never understood this high-concept cover anyhows...

Laugh it up fuzzball. It may sound corny, but I’ve found skaters Nirvana. A place where the trail goes on forever, and the season never ends. I’m literally five minutes off my first trail skate as a resident of Santa Clarita, California. Without a doubt, this place was made for me. Seriously, made to order, as if directly from Buddy V. the Cake Boss himself. Imagine…

Triple layers of the firmest, smoothest sponge cake, held together with layers of chocolate ganache, dirty iced in butter cream and covered in smooth black fondant. For detail, we add yellow fondant dotted lane lines, pipe in some green grass, use a little granular brown sugar to create a dry creek bed, a little spun brown sugar to create some dry brush, and all along the path we put up white picket barrier fences, trail mile markers, water fountains, stop signs and cyclists, all made out of modeling chocolate. A slice of awesomeness. What you have is a work of art, completely edible and on your plate every living day. Yeah, being out on that trail, it makes me wonder…what have I done to deserve this?

"Mauro! NOT ONLY are these speedskates, NOT ROLLERBLADES, but geez man, this cake smells like the dump on Staten Island! Woah! Hot Ga'bage!"

Before moving out here, I’d only skated one trail that I’d found when searching the web for trails to skate. The only one I’d found was the Santa Clara River Trail. If it were the only one in the area, I’d be happy to have it. Smooth, black and long, just the way the freaky girl from Airplane likes her men. That aside, it’s good but not the greatest. Parts of it run along a pretty heavily trafficked road, and more than once I was fielding cat-calls from Chicano’s in low riders, which gave me a queasy feeling that made it hard to focus. I mean hey, I know, if you’re gonna wear spandex on public streets, this kinda stuff should be expected. It’s one thing to think you can handle the ridicule, it’s quite another to actually go through it. I ain’t going back on that trail in my skin suit, period. Ah hem…

So. That’s yet another reason why I’m glad I found the San Francisquito Creek Trail. It’s mile upon mile of interconnected skating bliss. More glide for your stride, baby. So good, only pictures and video can really capture the essence of how perfectly picturesque, hell, how absolutely pornographic, this trail system is. So close the door, put out the lights, light some candles and grab the Kleenex cause you’re in for some eye-candy…

Point of Entry. From desert plains I bring you love.

I sat in my garage and strapped up. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect as I ventured out to see this new strip of trail. I’d expected to make my way into this little park, find a feeder trail, and maybe find one skatable mile of good trail before hitting a crossover or dead-end. Or worse yet, maybe a crumbling, pothole laden, chip-seal patched rumble strip like what you can skate in old town Fort Collins, only there’d be no scenery to soak in to make the numbing in your feet more bearable. And hey, that’s not slagging my old turf. Not at all. I never liked the trails around old town Fort Collins, always opting for Greely to Windsor or Loveland.

At any minute I expected to see the cast of Grease cheering on Konicki of the big win.

Wow! Was I in for a surprise! What I found was nothing short of heaven. Freakin’ died and gone to freakin’ heaven I have. I tell you…it was so freakin’ good, I don’t ever say this but here I will, at one freakin’ point, after the first hour and a half of exploring, I found myself wishing it would end! No joke man, this trail, it goes on forever, in every freakin’ direction! You get to a major intersection and you got at least four choices to make. Should I continue straight on this side? Maybe cross the wash and head up the other side? Take the other side in the opposite direction, or head back where I came from? Any choice would yield a great skate experience. So, being a trail freak, I did it all.

What part of the word "perfect" do you not understand?

At one end, there’s Magic Mountain. You know, the real-life Wally World from National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Rusty, may I call you Rusty? I had a bad experience on this trail once. I threw up.

Truth be told, this is the end of the trail I’ll probably skate least, as it’s intended to loop at this point but the bridge completing the circuit is closed till March. So I got to that end of the trail and almost found myself on the ground, with the trail stopping abruptly underneath an overpass.

Oh yeah...the sign really helps.

Judging from the rubber skid marks, I can see I’d not been the first to almost find the end of the trail the hard way.

The skid marks are the only visible sign of empathy a cyclist will ever get from me.

Having made my way back to one of the cross streets, I decided to venture onto another section. Wasn’t expecting much till I got around the corner, then I found this:

Another slice of heaven.

When is this going to end? Seriously, it’s almost too much. But as I keep rolling, I develop the plan. I’ll break this trail up and use it to keep things fresh. I can skate all or parts depending on how much time I have. I won’t need to worry about getting a lesser workout on any route, as it’s got such a great mix of ups and downs, lefts and rights.

Rails to Trails converting an old trestle into a skate/ ped / and, ok, a bike path.

There are some really cool sights too. The mountains, the wash (dry riverbed that serves as a drainage ditch if it ever rains here), the cliffs, the trail itself. This is my new home.

Like the Grand Canyon, just not as deep or as beautiful. But the trail rocks!

Palm trees and cactus, sand and sod, there’s so much to see along this trail, but that’s not usually what I’m in it for. I promise, at some point, I’ll do a slide show of all the great horticulture and topography. The pictures here don’t really do that stuff justice. Because right now, for me, it’s all about getting to know these trails like the back of my hand, so I can know when to hold the speed and when to let up. One thing I’ll say for whoever built this path, they knew what they were doing with the lanes.

The worst part of the trail...I'll freakin' take it!

Skaters and cyclists get a dotted yellow line, joggers and walkers get the white. Plenty of room for everyone, and they all take their lane markings very seriously out here. Just like they respect jay walking laws. (Go ahead, dare cross between signals.) But all this to say, that means that so far, I’m getting along with the cyclists. But that’s only because I have my handy Five Guys Inline Speedskating Burger Bell, an early warning system I use to alert those skin-suited weenies that they’re about to be passed…by a speed weenie on eight wheels! Hells yeah!

Thanks Team Bosch - Works like a charm!

Yes my friends…welcome to paradise! OK, so who wants to eat some cake???

Team Mayan

The bad news: If you’re reading this, you lived through the Rapture of May 21, 2011. But there is a cloud at the of this skate trail…

I can’t reveal all of the details, but suffice to say, you’d better skate like hell between now and December 21, 2012, cause the Mayans won’t let you go to the hereafter with your skates. No, if you’re lucky, you’ll end up with a satchel full of private parts, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll never leave the house again. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

Wishing you a happy, safe and speedy New Year! May the season never end where you are,