Blogging 365, Day 53: Like It’s Dynamite

267947_10151465053925042_1930891769_nTomorrow morning I will be getting my first medal of the year when I cross the finish line of the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run’s 30-Mile Bike Ride. It’s my first time riding in this event so I’m pretty excited yet somewhat freaked out about it since I’m roaming into unknown territory.

I mean, I know L.A. but this is nothing like riding in Long Beach like I have for the past 3 years (and again this year): no street closures, a lot more hills, etc. But regardless, I’m committed to it and I can’t wait to see what challenges lie in store for me.

But what’s going to be great about Saturday’s event is what will take place before it: the lighting of 100,000 firecrackers right in the center of Chinatown. It’s a pyromaniac’s dream and something that can only be done legally in Los Angeles during events in Chinatown since fireworks are banned within the city.

What makes that so great? Well, who doesn’t like firecrackers?

And it just so happens that the organizers of the event held a contest on their Facebook page a few days ago that would give 3 randomly selected riders a chance to help light the 100,000 firecrackers before the event starts. All interested parties had to do was change their profile picture to this to qualify for the contest:


Oh, you know what the heck it’s implying and what it actually means. Don’t act like you don’t.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I went ahead and changed my profile picture.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I read one of their Wall posts that was congratulating the winners of the contest, one of whom was me.

Yes, that’s right, people. I was one of the lucky 3 riders who was selected to help light the 100,000 firecrackers and I can’t tell you how happy my inner childhood pyromaniac is. This is without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m completely honored and stoked to have been chosen.

This is taking tomorrow’s ride to a whole new level. I mean, come on. It’s called the Firecracker Run because the lighting of the firecrackers is a BIG part of the event, and I’m going to be a part of that opening ceremony.

This is nuts. How did I get to be so lucky?

Meh, I don’t care. All I know is that I’ll be 1 of the 3 lighting up those suckers tomorrow morning then hopping on the saddle to tackle almost 30 miles around Los Angeles.

Videos and pictures will be posted Saturday. Stay tuned!

(Posting this video to avoid the painfully obvious correlation between Katy Perry and the lighting of pyrotechnics)


Doing What’s Right

blackberryDaylight Savings Time came and went without a hitch. I was up at my regular Sunday time of 6:30 am and prepping for my weekly bike ride. Just to be on the safe side and to assure that I would be ready to go when I woke up, I slept in my cycling tights.

It worked as it was one less thing to do after devouring my bowl of Cheerios. Once consumed, I went into the garage, released my bike from its nifty hoist, threw my Clean Bottle on it, started my app and cyclocomputer, and was on my way by 7:00 am.

The ride was business as usual even if I am now cutting my distance from my usual 20 miles to between 12 and 14 miles. An occasional 20 miler is fine but for the most part, I’m comfortable with the distance I’m doing now. I reached the beach and took a break.

It was about 8:15 or so when I decided to start heading home. Before I left for my ride, Ann had told me that Anthony requested doughnuts for breakfast so I figured the earlier I made it home, the better for everyone.

To do this, I shortened my route by hopping the railing on the bridge that crosses over the San Gabriel River bike trail. I headed west on the bridge and because people tend to speed on this long stretch of road, there’s a digital speed limit sign at the bottom of the hill that displays your speed as you go by. I always get a kick out of pushing myself and seeing how fast I am going.

Today’s reading: 25 MPH. Not too shabby.

I continued to chug down this road, a road I never intended to go down today. I was in the bike lane and had just crossed the last major intersection before home when I saw something sitting on the asphalt. I gave it a quick glance then went back for it.

The object was a relatively new Blackberry Bold.

I picked it up and fiddled with it a bit in the bike lane before realizing how idiotic I must have looked standing there and thumbing through what passersby might think it was my phone. This, my friends, is how misconceptions are born as I am an extremely alert cyclist and follow all rules of the road but someone might see me as “one of those” and start trying to run the honest cyclists over. (The world of cyclists vs. motorists is very ugly, by the way.)

I figured that rather than stand there, I’d better take the phone home.

I took a seat in the living room when I arrived. Still catching my breath, I continued to navigate my way around the phone’s menus: it had 3 missed calls and 2 missed SMS within the last 12 hours. I came to the conclusion that whomever owned the phone was a) definitely important enough to have missed calls and texts and b) was probably going nuts looking for the thing.

I found the Contacts and within there, as is the case with most of us, was a number listed for Home. I gave it a call at around 8:30 am.

It was an awkward situation to say the least. How do I start the conversation? Do I introduce myself? Am I calling too early?

In the end, I simply told the caller that I found a phone that was presumably theirs and we could arrange a return if they wished.

I still had to go and buy the doughnuts for the family so I told the guy – we’ll call him Al – that I was heading out and could take the phone to his home. Al opted to meet me at the doughnut shop which was fine.

When we met he gave me a quick rundown of how his phone ended up where I found it, which involved a simple distraction that as a parent, I completely understood. The distraction caused him to place the phone on the rear of his car and once he thought everything was taken care of, off he went – with the phone sitting on the car’s rear hatch.

Al was glad to have his phone back even if it was a company-paid phone that could have easily been replaced. He also handed me $20 for my trouble which I insisted he keep but he was not having any of it. His reward money paid for the doughnuts and will put some gas in my tank.

Let’s just hope the rest of the week goes this well — for both of us.