Thursday, March 06, 2008

Daly City

So, work brought me down to the Bay Area this week. After a morning in Gilroy (where last year I spotted a half dozen Team CSC PRO's on a ride during their training camp), I headed up to my childhood home in Daly City. My parents still live here, in the house I grew up in. DC is a very foggy city. Foggy to the point that it drives people mad. I hated it in high school, but kind of like it now.

Near my childhood home is a place called The Hill. The Hill is about an 8 acre patch of weed covered sloped dirt, bordered by bunch of row houses, a hospital, and the "sports" field of my elementary school. The Hill holds many of my best childhood memories. It was where as 10 year olds we would apply ski wax to scrap cardboard and have cardboard sliding races down some gnarly steep pitches. At 11-12 we would catch toads, western fence lizards, skinks, and garter and gopher snakes. At 12-13 we set up BMX race courses and jump tracks and blew up lots of illegal fireworks (the kind that came from Chinatown). At 15-16 we used the The Hill for more nefarious activities, then would bomb down the BMX runs and jumps in compromised mental conditions.

The Hill used to be a pig farm, and the concrete foundations are still there. As kids we used to find all kinds of pig bones and pretend we were archeologists (then try and freak out our parents by coming home with them stuck out of our sleeves...)

I visited The Hill today, and it made me sad. It is now surrounded by cyclone fence. To keep kids from getting hurt, and maybe sueing somebody, I suppose is the reason. I remember getting hurt as an almost cool thing (not REALLY hurt, you know, just broken arm kind of hurt). I hope my play with my own kids can reflect some of the devil-may-care attitude that I once had, but it seems so hard sometimes to let that happen. I think I've been partially conditioned by the Nation Of Fear syndrome that mass media has bombarded us with. Scary and disappointing, but I think true.

Anyway, after checking out The Hill, I rode out to the coast on an absolutely beautiful 65 degree partially cloudy but mostly sunny day. A light breeze smelled of salt air, turning to Eucalyptus as I descended Skyline to Lake Merced. I headed left up to the Great Highway and down along Ocean Beach. There weren't too many surfers out, but a handful of other cyclists and a few weekday beach people. Ocean Beach is nice, because it's rarely over 70 degrees (when the inland part of CA is baking hot, the fog is sucked right up to Ocean beach and it stays cool. It's not really a swimsuit type beach at all, kind of like the Oregon beaches are for 11 months of the year.

I had a beautiful ride on my trusty lugged steel Schwinn Daly City bike, and got an hour and a half of much needed fresh coastal air and sunshine. I forgot my camera though, so pictures to come on my next SF trip.


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