Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, July 13, 2009 10:00 PM

Fourth of July and Beyond


As the weak heads towards the three day 4th of July weekend I keep feeling better and better. I'm lifting very heavy with intense workouts and I just collapse and die into bed at night for sleep. The heavy lifting really gives me deep sleep.

The 4th of July weekend starts on Friday the 3rd with a long road bicycle ride. On this day O head north on the Los Angeles river, go up and over the Whittier narrows dam, and back down the San Gabriel river trail for 40 miles. During the ride a bug gets in my right eye and I notice it throughout the ride until the end. In the afternoon Ralph brings his dog, Strider, over and it feels good to play with a dog again (even if Strider doesn't chase down the tennis ball or bring it back). After they leave I mow and fertilize the lawn and have dinner at Del Taco. My right eye is bothering me again and when I get home I am finally able to get the bug out from this morning's ride.

On Friday night I'm headed to a club or two in West Hollywood to hang out. I get a wirstband from one clb and head to another to listen to music. The music is good at this club and I run into an acquantiance or two. Before midnight I head back to the wristband club and run into more acquaitances. The wristband club typically plays a lot of hip hop and top 40 music but tonight they mix it up a bit more than usual. But, unfortuantely, they also play music of the recently-deceased Michael Jackson. After the club closes I hang out later than usual until about 2:30 as I let traffic die down. And then rush on home to turn out the lights for sleep at 3:30 am on Saturday morning.

On Saturday I'm out of bed at 6:30 am to take care of the neighbor's cat (as this should be the last day), water the lawn, and get out riding. As I'm down near the aquarium on the bicycle at 8 am there are already people staking out their turf for the Queen Mary fireworks show in Long Beach. They will be spending all day at the beach for a 30 minute fireworks show. After the ride, during which I feel surprisingly strong despite yesterday's 40 miler and only 3 hours of sleep, I do the laundry and have lunch. On Saturday evening I watch a rare telecast of MotoGP qualifying from Laguna Seca. For the last week and at the beginning of the qualifying I keep having premonitions that two of the three championship leaders are going to crash and possibly not race on Sunday. During the qualifying one of the championship leaders crashes and has to be stretchered off the track and one of the other championship leaders crashes twice and finally has to be stretchered off (though he still got the pole via an earlier lap time). I have no premonitions for the Sunday race yet.

On Sunday I go to the grocery store to get muffins and a diet Coke and the guy ahead of me is buying a beer. He smiles at me and makes a comment about my diet Coke and we have a little laugh. He has a round face, a mustache, and long hair. After some at home errands I get out for the extended aquarium bicycle ride. As I'm finishing the last mile up the Los Angeles to my exit at Del Amo I see the guy from the grocery store walking towards me (down the Los Angeles river). He smiles at me and says, "Good morning", and I note that he's carrying a beer (either the same one or another). I don't know if he recognizes me from the store but I respond with a smile and a quick "Hi" as I go by. Eventually the MotoGP race comes on and it's not really a thriller - typical of most races at Laguna Seca. But I'm excited and addicted nontheless. The rest of Sunday is fairly slow as I'ms till physically hungover from the three bicycle rides and the clubbing.

On Tuesday I start another set of heavy lifts. I know I'm going to be sore for the next few days as I grunt and groan and struggle with the heavy weights. But it feels great and I know I'll have extra deep sleep. Except that I don't. I lift heavy on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and yet Tuesday night and Wednesday night are difficult nights of sleep.

Friday starts with a 40 mile bicycle ride on the road bike. Though I don't feel as good on the bicycle during this ride, I feel better afterwards then I did following last week's 40 mile bicycle ride. I relax and do paperwork for some of the day and finally get out to mow the lawn late in the afternoon. Today I act my age and go to sleep early. Before going to sleep I put the fan in the window and have a good night of sleep. Maybe this week's not so good sleep is because my room was a bit too warm.

Saturday starts with a phone call to my friend Tree in Thailand and then I get out for the extended aquarium mountain bike ride. Because today is supposed to be fairly warm there are a lot of people out exercising early. After the ride and a shower I do the laundry and grab lunch. In the afternoon they have closed a street near my house for a dragster expo so I pedal the mountain bicycle over and cruise around and mingle.

Late in the evening I get in a good supplemental workout for triceps and biceps, grab a shower, and head for a club - this being the club that I never made it to last time. Traffic is very slow so I don't get to the club until 11:30 pm. I run into a number of acquaintances throughout the evening a make a new friend from Guatemala. The music is pretty good and I don't really want to leave, but I do at 2:30 am. And, of course, the freeway exit ramps are closed on the way home so I am diverted way south and have to hook back up north to get home. The lights go out for sleep without reading at 3:30 am on Sunday morning.

Sunday is a slow day. After getting up near 7 am I mill around and decide that I had better go ride before it gets too hot. So I do the extended aquarium ride and finish as the morning is already heating up. I go get some food for lunch, watch the German Grand Prix at the new Nurburgring, and then turn on the air conditioning to get down for a one hour nap. The mid afternoon heat is blazing so I just hang out. Late in the day I realize that I can barely walk from the three good rides, the clubbing until late on Sunday morning, and the heat. So I just limp around the house like an old man.

Monday is a slow day. When I get home I don't even get a workout in. It's the first day off of the month of July. But missing a workout comes back to punish me as I wake up at 2:30 in the morning and cannot fall back asleep for more than an hour.