Sunday, March 09, 2008

33% Grade

I've been awfully wrapped up in school lately, but I can't forget to tell you about this delightful Saturday morning event I witnessed two weekends ago. One of Silver Lake's attractions is the Fargo Street Hill, which happens to be the steepest paved road in California (or some superlative like that.) Fargo Street actually passes by my apartment, and I can gaze out upon the Fargo Street Hill from my front porch and think, "Gee whiz, that is one steep hill."

Well, it just so happened that some dedicated and certifiably insane cyclists had the same thought, followed by, "We should have a race up it. And up nine more really steep hills." So on this glorious Saturday morning -- perfect for riding and perfect for standing on one's porch drinking coffee in one's pajamas -- we watched riders cut back and forth across the street like downhill skiers in reverse, and when they got to the top, then they came screaming down the next street over -- Baxter Street, which must be the second steepest paved road in California (or something.)

I shouted encouraging words like, "That's totally crazy!" and "That really looks like it hurts!" while John snapped photos. The cyclists came out looking like ants, but if you look at a big enough photo, you can tell that they're really on bicycles.

It struck me as a particularly fitting day for riding up a hill with a 33% grade, since just the night before, John and I had celebrated our one-year anniversary with a late-night dinner at Yang Chow. I can't really write anything that won't sound mushy and trite, but I felt pretty damn lucky to be slurping up Slippery Shrimp across the table from one world-class guy. I know that there were days -- weeks -- this past year that must have felt like riding up the Fargo Street Hill. Here's to a year ahead of rides on 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard. (I'll ride in front and keep a lookout for potholes.)