Sunday, February 27, 2011

Morgan Territory (from the backside or frontside?) in the snowstorm that never came-2011

(2/26/2011) Morgan Territory from Livermore-w/ Jack and Collin, 90 miles.

One of the great things in college is having the time to be up on all new music. Life seems to be continually filled with friends bringing over cheap beer, some funny cigarette that you shared, and a few LP's (ask your parents what they are.)Album art on LP's was a great bonus--made up for the skips and pops you don't hear on CD's or MP3's, and were able to take the seeds out of tobacco on double albums. Someone always hear of a new band at their college and wanted to be the first to introduced everyone to music (Zappa, extended cuts of The Doors) that wasn't being played on top 40 radio.

Then you leave college and people are locked into their jobs and the free flow of music information (pre Net') stalls out. I remember when the first Tower Pulse came out and didn't recognize half the bands. And a little snootyness slipped in--at the listening stations the whiny guys from Seattle or teen girls crowing about relationships didn't come close to the great 60's and early 70's music (OK, I easily forget about Seals and Crofts)

One of the great things about bike rides is that I can get a song in my head and it can play over and over at key moments. On long downhills Pattis Smith's "Dancing Barefoot" calms me down, on long uphills The Doors "When the Music's Over" is perfect. Took last year to yelling "hit me" from James Brown's Payback on every steep hairpin. But truthfully, all the songs I have stuck in my head are the same ones I have burned in different combos on 80% of the CD's I listen to while commuting, or the ones on MP3 where I have the studio version plus 6 different live versions and 3 covers. Back to my original lament-apart from Senagal music and Rusted Root, I haven't listened to much new since college.

Until now. Finally sick of my CD's, or hearing the Eagles ad naseum on commercial radio. I was trying to find a good Internet Radio when Musician Stephen (first friend who turned 60) told me about PANDORA--where you create your own radio station. You "seed" the station with songs/ artists you like and it plays old and NEW MUSIC, with the new music being similar to what you seed the station with. IT IS GREAT. 10% of the time I can't figure out why they are playing a song--but when I thumb down it I never have t hear it again. 40% is OK music, much new. And 50% is GREAT--either stuff I already like or lots of new gems. One morning I went into the shower thinking I should seed PANODORA with Neil Young--when I came out it was playing "Heart of Gold" covered by Johnny Cash, which I had never heard. How freaky is that.

In 3 sucessive weeks I've had 3 NEW anthems for the week. Very different. "Echo Beach" was perfect for a long ride and motoring. I love the song--later I found out PANDORA says its very similar to 'Dancing Barefoot," I don't see the similarity but what do I know. I dislike coutry (except for Johnny Cash,) but Lucinda Williams "Are You Down" is something I played over and over all week--she has the strange vocal quaility Patti Smith had at CBGB's when she almost lost her voice but belted out my favorite live version of "Dancing Barefoot." It is to slow for hard cycling--though would have it running through my head when I drifted to the back of the pack. And then "Paper Tigers" is a super hyped song--perfect for attack after attack.

All this going on when we went out for a ride waiting for the GREAT CALIFORNIA SNOWSTORM that never happened. It was FN cold (29 at wake up, 39 at the start of the ride, Het Volk weather) and the Club decided to avoid the scheduled ride--the East Bay Hills that are well shaded and might provide black ice. So we took a flat ride out to Sunol whereas Collin checked his IPHONE APP and saw that rainbows with pots o gold were forming uptop Morgan Territory, so he, Jack and I went up Morgan from the sunny, wide open, but windy Livermore side. (Dave thought we would become frozen food and didn't believe the pot o gold-rainbow app so he went to Mt. Diablo to freeze.

Collin's app was wrong again, no pot o gold, no rainbow (Jack disappointed) but it was sunny on the climb and very little wind for the downhill. ("Echo Beach" playing over and over in my head on the downhill.) Funny, on the climb Collin and I bs'ing the whole way up and I was surprised when we were suddenly on "The Wall." On the way back (probably to "Are You Down," I just stopped and pulled off my jacket and heavy gloves--it was actually to fn warm.

Next week a short (200k) brevet and week after OPENING DAY--the Diablo Cyclist 120 mile ride up Mines Road. Enough of winter, I need spring--now.

(Had to do this post in HTML--so it looks crappier than usual)

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