Monday, February 28, 2011

Mount Lemmon a Tribute

Many days in Tucson have I rode on Mount Lemmon.  This iconic climb is 27 miles long and ascends over 1800m topping out at over 2500m above sea level.  The climb is absolutely beautiful  the twisting road takes your breath away around every corner on the way up as well as the way down.  From bottom to top you travel through a spectrum of climate and foliage.  Begining in the desert at 30 degrees by the time you reach teh top you might think you are in the boreal forest and it is only 5 degrees.

Often my training dictates that I have business to attend on the slopes of Lemmon.  Unfortunately this mans that I am often ignorant to my amazing surroundings.  Instead electing to chew my handle bars until my heart beats like a jack-hammer.  Today I was out with my bike on the side of mount Lemmon and I worked up a sweat.  Maybe call it Stockholm Syndrome, but I have made some connection with this climb that is more than superficial.  Once finished with my masochistic task I cruised down hill snapping photos all the way.  At the bottom I stopped, gave the mountain one last look back and aloud I said, "Good Bye."

Note the following photo's are mostly scenic in Nature.

Big Mountain.

 Just after Windy point.  All Natural Sky Bridge.

I was way down there once.

 Windy View

Hoodoo View

 More Hoodoo View

 7 cataracts view

 Hmm looks like I broke a sweat.


That's Tucson in the back.

Self Shot. The road cuts the side of the canyon.



Mile Zero.  This is where you punch in for the day.  
The sign in the back ground says "Summerville 27miles."

 The view at mile zero.  Already high above Tucson.

The Cool Church.
I pass the cool church going to and from Lemmon.
I am curious what makes it so Cool?  I puttsed around but no one was home.

Lemmon, Tribute.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Random Thought Deserves Another

Last year I was living on the West Coast.  It seemed no matter where I went the rain would follow.  Apparently even after crossing the entire continent to one of the driest locations in North America the rain has finally caught up to me.  You guessed it.  Its raining in Tucson.

I could hear it last night.  I needed a moment to recognize the sound since I have not heard or expected rain for quite some time.  It came down good in the night and was still going when I got up this morning.  Thankfully I had no plans for a big day in the saddle.  With the comfort of knowing I could wait around for the driest and warmest part of the day there was absolutely no stress.  I can even say that the rain was refreshing.

Out of nowhere I got super motivated to do some thorough house cleaning.  Well the motivation is not entirely unknown.  We need this place clean before we move out, but the amount of motivation summoned was considerably more than expected.  I hit the kitchen and I hit the bathroom.  Two things stick in my mind as noteworthy.  First auto clean ovens are the shit!  I just hit go, and 3hours at 900F later and the oven is spotless except for a small pile of dust.  Second I think that the bathroom needed a barber more than it needed a maid.  Gross!

Coffee.  This day was made for coffee.  There was just enough sun peaking through to keep you cheery, a pleasant off and on rain, and an ambient temperature just cool enough to see your breath.  This gave the perfect excuse to slow down with a few cups of coffee.  One in the morning while I contemplate breakfast.  Another before I tackle the chores.  One more in the afternoon with my bike and a skype-phone.

Turkish Coffee.  I have been looking forward to this for a few days.  For most of my time in Tucson I have been getting my cup-on at Le Buzz.  They are good, excellent even.  In fact Le Buzz is the number three ranked coffee shop in all of Tucson.  Upon learning this several weeks ago I became curious.  I sought after the #1 ranked coffee shop.  Lo, it is 25min easy ride from my apartment.  Savaya Coffee.

Savaya Coffee is the best coffee I have ever had.  With limited experience that may not hold much weight, but I feel my bar has now been set very high.  Savaya is 100% organic, fair trade, and they only serve daily in house roasts.  Their selection is exclusive, but still covers all corners of the globe.  They know coffee and they want you to enjoy it.  This is my choice location.

Turkish Coffee.  Savaya's menu is simple just coffee, any kind anyway you like it.  The big chalk board said Turkish coffee well that peaked my interest.  Last year my Dad went to Isreal, he cam home talking of Turkish coffee and pronounced the best brewing method he has ever had.  I have never known any coffee shop to serve Turkish coffee so I promised myself I would have one before I leave Tucson.  Savaya did not disappoint.  They say Turkish is an acquired taste but I only needed one cup.  Dad was right.  The Turks make good coffee, I need to learn this one at home.

There is an unmistakable sense of things winding down here.  Evan is leaving tonight, he will shuttle to phoenix and then fly to Toronto.  My mind swirls around with all the details of the trip home.  Travel plans and packing and the pile of little jobs to do before moving out.  The return trip is in three days.  It seems so far but approaching so fast.  I'm going to ride my bike a few more times and stop for a cup at Savaya.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Day at the Races

Today There was a small criterium at the University of Arizona. A number of Canuklehead-Snowbirds entered in the race. Since my racing license is back in Saskatoon I did not race. Instead I elected to ride the shootout in the morning and play photo-logger in the afternoon. I always find it interesting to be on the sideline of a bicycle race. I have to say that watching sure got me fired up. After only a couple laps I was itching to be in the race.

Here`s the catch of the day.

Julia Dictating the pace

 post race Julia, right Jiggered

Alberta Boyes

Brad getting pricked

Best ever helmet, glasses, jersey combo

pre-race Colt

 Cody Canning

 Cannucks on the Start line.

 Money shot.  These guys went right over my head.

 Wildcat second wheel

Colter's $100 attack

The shootout was fun but these guys sure got me itching to race.  Last time I ever leave my license at home.  Its good though, to get a small dose of motivation.  Too bad its still snowing at home.  I wont get my first race for another month and right now I just wish there was one tomorrow. 

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Friday, February 25, 2011

Broken Focus

Two months may be long enough to be considered permanent, but when you come to the end game it is just a long time to be away from home. As an athlete there is much to be said for doing everything you can “right.” In addition to training on the bike your focus must also extend to include core strengthening, flexibility, diet and proper sleep. It feels as if your whole life demands focus and discipline. I have done very well for my stay in Tucson religiously dedicating my time like some kind of pedal worshiping pagan. Only now with my remaining time in Tucson shortly numbered do I find my focus to falter.

It begins with fatigue. Heavy exhaustion drags everything down and you just want to slump. This is aggravating when you have no furniture to slump into. Then the cloths don’t quite get folded or put away properly. Things exist in either a clean pile or a dirty pile. You begin to seek the path of least resistance. Some things will get “put off until later” such as a core workout, cleaning your bike, or stretching.

Then the diet begins to go. Not that I am trying to lose weight. Rather I try to control the quality of what I eat. Well you begin to seek food prep with as few steps as possible. The result of which is a combination of cereal, pasta, cookies, trail mix chocolate,, granola bars and so on. This has been building to an apex last night though I did not realize until today that I needed a slap to the face.

Last night we went out to see a movie. We often need something to do to refresh. The problem is, I couldn’t help myself. I went straight to the snack bar for XL popcorn and drink combo. I thought nothing of it. The movie was awesome, popcorn delicious. When we got home I couldn’t sleep, probably the pop. So I sat up late and ate a half box of cookies. WTF that ain’t right. It seems the slope is slippery because at the bottom is a big bag of buttered popcorn.

Now when I was riding today it seems I could not even focus on the task at hand. With the return home in 4 days time my mind was wandering scatter of thoughts. Already I am thinking of packing and driving and getting home to see friends and family. As my thoughts drifted my legs slowed and I realized that I need a slap to the face. Two months is enough in this town, my focus is being tested. I gave myself a mental shake today. My mind rings with advice in an accelerated and gruff matter of fact voice. “Focus! Live like a monk. Do everything right.” I was doing so well but I strayed from the path, it’s time to bring it back.

“Focus! Live like a monk. Do everything right.”

Cuylar Conly

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Music or No Music

Music is awesome. Almost inexplicably so.  The right music can get you jacked up or can calm you right down.  We can put ourselves to sleep with music or we can get up on the beat.  I love music, all kinds for all different reasons.  Yet I would be hard pressed to name my all time favorite band, album, or song.  My taste in music is eclectic to say the least.  Thanks to the digital age that we live in I have a pretty vast collection of tracks (3925 songs to be precise).  The genre`s are as varied as that number is large.  I have songs to get me up, bring me down, to unleash the imagination, for getting pumped or calming down, for work, play and party time.  Music helps me to set the mood, enhance the mood or to change it all together.

Another musical revolution of the digital age is The i-pod.  Can anyone even name another portable digital player?  I didn`t think so.  The i-pod allows anyone to carry their entire music collection in their pocket.  So convenient that you can keep your eats going from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed.  In fact I know a few individuals who in their waking hours keep no fewer than one ear-bud on at all times.  As much as I love music I`m not like that.  Something about 24/7 music just doesn`t work for me.  Too much all the time and music just looses its magic.  Maybe it becomes white noise, or redundant.  It might have to do with the ear buds, I always prefer music from proper speakers.  perhaps what it comes down to is that music has all these amazing qualities, but it wont substitute for good company.

As a cyclist I spend 2-7 hours a day training.  It is often assumed that I must have the ear buds in the entire time.  In fact, at least for myself, this seems to be some kind of mainstream misconception.  I think it must stem from "Oprah athletics."  You know those people you see at the gym or jogging in the morning and their only purpose for working out is just to be trim/fit/healthy etc.  Every single one of them it seems is incapable of breaking a sweat without their ear buds.  Many athletes prefer to train without music; either to focus or because their intensity is such that they will not hear music anyways.

I will take good company over good music any day.  When I am alone I may train with music from time to time but mostly I prefer to go without.    In fact there are times in the winter when I ride the trainer in silence.  Just me and the plain white wall.  When I do listen to music I make sure it pumps me up and keeps me going.  I often turn to music after several solo days, once I am bored with my own thoughts or need to amp my but out the door.  Today I considered the i-pod, but given that I had some specific intensities I elected to leave it behind and just to focus.

Now I`m sure your all curios as to what is on my top ten.  Well with more digital wonders I have consulted my iTunes music player for my top ten most played songs.  They are,

10. Meaning of Life -Disturbed
9. the ex - Billy Talent
8. River Below - Billy Talent
7. Hush Hush - Natalie Portman's Shaved Head
6. piano Sonata #5 in G minor - Mozart
5. Robot Boy - Linkoln park
4. 100 Degrees - Fort Minor
3. Out the Back - Fort Minor
2. promise - Eve 6
1. Satin in a Coffin - Modest Mouse

Hmm... not sure how accurate that is, but those are all good songs.

 Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bon Aniverse

Bon Aniverse!
Julia Garnette, Born February 29th, 1992
This year Julia is turning 4+3/4 years old

Bon Aniverse!
Bradley Clifford, Born March 12th, 1990
Brad is turning 21, legal everywhere.

Ok, so it is not actually anyone's birthday today. Many of us will be scattered to the winds in the next week.  So this is a good Wednesday for the celebrations.  We are getting all the Canadians in Tucson together for a double-dipper birthday pool party.  Bring on the cake.

pictures have followed


The Crew

More Canucks

The heater on the hot tub had been disabled.  Apparently no one pays for it and management shut it down.  Instead of getting wet we all just stood around munchin' and hangin' out.  Was a good time.  With three events covered it was probably the most time effective gathering ever.  We toasted to Julia's Birthday, Brad's Birthday and to Janness' farewell for Belgium.  pizza is good cake is good, but I better ride hard today.

 Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Good Explanation

6hrs, 180km, Climbed Madera Canyon.

I'm pretty tired and I can't think of anything original to write.  Instead I am going to share with you the thoughts of another.  This is a cycling blog that I follow.  Writen by a Canadian who is transplanted to Australia.  It is always filled with information, entertainment or a rational well informed opinion. 

This latest post is a good explanation for all the non-cyclists about the whole leg shaving thing.  Check out the latest from Cycling Tips Blog

I'm a dude, I shave my legs, and I'm proud of it.

Cuylar Conly

Monday, February 21, 2011

Grave Digging

If you dig deep enough you will come out the other side.  Training is all about pushing your limits in a controlled way, so that latter you can race uncontrollably.  In training you break everything down.  You stress your muscles, your heart, your lungs, your blood and even your mind.  Everything gets worked on, stomped on, fed and worked again.  Eventually fitness becomes drilled into you.

Training is no secret, the real trick is recovery.  You dig that hole as deep as you can and then you climb out and scramble to the top of the pile.  That`s your fitness, on top of a mountain that you dug from below.  What does all this mean?  This week is my last week here, and I am digging a grave. 

There is no such thing as over training, only under recovery.  I have been told this for years.  Now I think I am starting to understand.  This week its go big, big, BIG. Spelunking if you will, digging deep into a cave.  So what does it take to recover every day.  I get to eat almost anything I want; I nap in the afternoon, and sleep nine hours a night.  HAHA.  Grave digging is awesome. “light weight!”

 Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Sunday, February 20, 2011


What's in your diet?

Rest days give me the munchies.  Big time.  Like Harold and Kumar Big Time!

30 sliders, 5 french fries, and 4 large cherry cokes

OK so I think I make better choices, but man I could have gone for that today.  After several days of riding all day I guess I wracked up a pretty good calorie deficit.  Now on light day with sour weather I have nothing to do but have myself an all day buffet.  I knew this would be the case and I wanted  to distract myself.  I rode over to the University to do some shopping.  Turns out today is Sunday, who knew?  That means most stores are closed.  So I rode home.  U bought Groceries on the way and then ate most of them this afternoon.

So, what does a cyclist eat in one say?  Well since you asked, I kept track.  

- bagel with cream cheese, 2 eggs and a banana in a bowl of yogurt

- an apple and couple ounces of trail mix
-2 ounces of chocolate covered nuts.

- large chicken enchilada

Snack (non-stop all afternoon)
-4 granola cookies with a glass of milk
-2 handfuls of chocolate almonds
-1 tapioca pudding cup
- 8 licorice sticks

- two bowls of mushroom soup with added rice, fresh mushrooms and 1/3 pound of ground turkey

-bowl of yogurt with chocolate almonds.

Don`t you just care SO much?

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wind vs Hills

What is worse, riding up knee busting climb or boring into a relentless headwind? 

The question is interesting because you can work just as hard in either situation.  Weather you are on a climb or you are bucking a 40km/hr head wind you can find yourself begging for mercy.  On the climb you are fighting gravity, 9.8m/s^2.  If the climb is steep enough you find yourself grinding away your smallest gear and working way to hard for a speed of 14km/hr.  Riding straight into a head wind you are fighting the very air you breath.  If the winds are strong enough you find yourself grinding away your smallest gear and working way to hard for a speed of 14km/hr.  So how do you choose the lesser of two evils.

Now the answer may depend on your characteristics.  perhaps you are ultralight and you float uphills with angel wings, then your answer is simple.  Or maybe you are a big powerhouse envied by small cars but cursing the slightest rise in elevation, then your answer is simple.  I suppose I am something in between. And so, it comes to the mentality of it.  A psychological battle against a logical frustration.

When I am going uphill there is something that makes sense about how hard you work versus how fast you go.  Its simple and easy to wrap your head around.  When the road gets steep life gets harder and you ride slower.  Going uphill you can still feel the rhythm, there is rhyme and reason.   Everything still responds the right way around.  Harder equals faster, stand and sprint you go faster.

On the other hand. I love to go flat and fast, but start drilling into a head wind on the flats and nothing makes sense anymore.  The road is flat you should be going fast.  With the amount of effort you are putting into the flat road you should be going really fast.  Instead of fast, you ride as hard as you can to go just as fast as some people can run.  Everything is backwards.  If you ride harder you red-line for 0.5% increase in speed.  If you stand and sprint your body becomes a sail and you go slower.  The head wind is far more mentally taxing. 

I think my answer is clear.  Working equally hard in either situation, what is your lesser of two evils?

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blogger Block

I rode first thing this morning.  I had all afternoon off.  Everyone else was out riding all day.  I had the house to myself.  I really wanted to write something good.  I suck it didn't happen.

I stared at the computer.  I made tea and stared at it more.  Then I vacuumed, stared, scrubbed the stove top, and stared at the screen.  I searched for inspiration.  Read a book, read online, stare at computer.  Nothing.  Go old school read through note book.  Stare at blank page with pen in hand.  Fail.

Update resume, while Downloading movie.  Dog Day Afternoon staring Al pachino.  Good movie.  Stare at computer screen.  Eat cookies and drink milk.  I love cookies.  Stare at computer screen.  It's 9 o'clock, I am waking up at 5am to get to the shootout.   Stare at computer screen.  I am just giving myself a head ache.  Give up, and tell you all about it.

Maybe I was trying too hard.

Cuylar Conly

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Looking Ahead

Since I left home at the start of January I have managed to post a blog once every day.  I enjoy actually sitting down and putting some effort into writing a post.  Then sometimes, especially of late, I find its 1030 at night and I just have to smash something onto the web.  Lately I have occupied my mind with endless foresight.

The unknown.  That which is unknown causes human beings a lot of stress.  In fact it is often the unknown that is the source of a mans greatest fear rather than something he tangibly understands.  It is very comforting to know where you will be and what you will be doing in one week, one month, 3 months and so on.  As for myself in one month I know where I will be and I know what I will be doing.  I just don`t know where I will be sleeping.

Most of my free time of late has been devoted to shopping.  Apartment shopping.  Remote Apartment shopping, via the internet.  It goes slowly.  In April I will be moving to Ottawa and I need a place to live.  I have been perusing Craig`s List and various other classified adds in search of summertime sub-lease and room rentals.  So here goes the shameless Blog plug for somewhere to call home for 5 months.

I am moving to Ottawa for the summer.  I am interested in a sublet or room rental from April 1st Until August 31st.  I will be in Ottawa to race for the Fresh Air Experience/Ottawa Bicycle Club Elite U23 Cycling Team.  I am a student Athlete who is professional and goal oriented.  That being said I am a man of little means and I am seeking terms between $300-$500 per month.
I also have several Team mates who are seeking accommodations under similar circumstances.  Thus I am also interested in any information regarding a 3 or 4 bedroom sub-lease.

If you or anyone you know has information on available rental properties I would greatly appreciate the connection.  Contact cuylar(at)hotmail(dot)com

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


You gotta get out of the house.  If you don't you go steer crazy.  When your credit card is breathing fire you gotta do it on the cheep.  When you ride all day you gotta do it chill.  The perfect fit is movie night.  We found a dandy little secondary theater.  I paid $1.50 for a ticket and $5 dollars for a large soda.  We had the whole theater to ourselves.  Super chill, bit of a dive, but come on a dollar fifty.  That's unheard of.

We watched Unstoppable and  for a the price I paid it was awesome.  Based on "true events."  The plot followed the most predictable pattern of old dog/young buck, adrenaline disaster escalation.  But, it`s a formula that works.  Denzel is a BOSS!  I was totally drawn in to the desperation of the situation.  Bottom line good times in the cheap seats. 

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mount Lemmon photoBOMB

 photo's From the Mountain Side.  It took a couple days to upload.  Check it.

 Mile 20, School bus WTF

 I don`t know why this kid races in Belgium.  Janess just floats up hills.

 Evan, looking a little crinkled.  I asked him to smile and this what I get.

Wildcat and Springbok

 I just can`t take good pictures.  
But, can u believe there is a ski resort in Arizona

 Backside view.

After a big Day like that We meet the Alberta boys for "Family Dinner potluck."
So much good foodness!

 Tender pork (cody)

 Mac and Cheese (julia) to die for

 Beans (Colter)

 Garlic Bread (CCCp) prepared by julia

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

If you deserve it, then it's for you.

Happy St. Valentine Day

Cuylar Conly

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lemmon Crushes Back

Mount Lemmon is one of the most iconic climbs in the USA.  The climb is known nation wide not because it is incredibly steep but because it is incredibly long.  The road to the summit is 26 miles of nearly continuous positive gradient.  Between mile  zero and mile 26 you gain in elevation a total of 1700m topping out at over 2500m above sea level.

I have been meaning to cross this one off the list since I got here.  Although I have used the slope many times for drills.  Until today I have yet to ride all the way to the top.  Some days too cold, other times to alone.  I wanted to ride this one to the top and share with some pals.  Today a great group of Canadians where decided to ride'er all the way.  I was so ready to go.

Rout profile

Ride Stats,
5hrs, 136km, 2380m climbing, 2500cal.  $2 for a can of coke at the top so worth it!
I'm pretty bombed. Time for a nap.  Something like 8 or 9 hours ought to do it.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Today was pretty all right.  I did one of my favorite, and most effective training rides.  This kind of ride is fun, fast, long and not for the undetermined.  The best training ride is six hours long with a tune-up race in the middle and averages over 30km/hr.  Why is it the best?  You ride long, you ride hard, and racing cannot be replicated outside of racing.

So what is a tune up race?  Back home it`s a 55km handicap road race called the Tuesday Nighter.  In Vancouver it`s a 30min Tuesday Critt or a Spring Series Road Race.  No matter where in the world you are, if they race bikes there`s a weekly hammer fest.  No one holds back, no one conserves, and the glory is not so much in the win but in how much others curse your backside while sucking wheel.  In Tucson Arizona, its called the Shootout.

The shootout is known world wide as one of the toughest "races" you can ever ride.  The reason for wide spread knowledge is the same reason for the notoriety.  Cyclists, including pros, from around the world come to Tucson every winter for warm weather training.  So the ride is filled with lots of fast guys who would rather work hard than "win" this one. 

The Shootout ride Begins at the University leaving promptly on Gord Fraser`s watch at 730am.  (no one breathes unless this man says it is OK).  A large group of over 60 rides real chill through town.  Chit-chat, gossip and speculation.  We pass through the last light on the outskirts of the city.  Gord says, "GO" and it's on.

The entire ride is a false flat uphill, with a few perceptible pitches, only the finale exceeds 4% (in excess).  The result is that you are working harder than the speed you are moving.  We race full boar, with a cross-wind to boot.  Attacks, scrum, gutter, scrum, echelon, scrum, gutter and so on.  This is my first taste of the Shootout.  I told myself I would just follow wheels and check things out. 

Fourty Five minutes and 30km later we had ascended 375m to an undefined yet unmistakable finish at the top of a hill.  I was very near to the front of the group.  Having not once looked behind me I now realized that our group was less than 20.  Hot dawg at least we done right.  Now the pace is chill, we loop around the quarry and the group divides.  Some go off to climb Modera Canyon, I and the other Canadians head back to town with a big civil double pace-line.  I think next week I will ride the Modera loop as well.

Next is the part we call training.  I ride home with the others, 4 hrs back to the door.  I lose a couple layers and off I go again.  Two more hours makes six, and a couple drills keeps the brain fuzz away.  Which brings me to today\s totals.  Six hours ride time, 189km, Shootout, Endurance, and Drills.  Cool.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Friday, February 11, 2011

what 9-5

Well, I don't know what to say.

Some days are just not all that extra-ordinary.  Compared to the events of yesterday, today was just another typical day at the "office."

My day.  Breaky.  Ride.  Lunch.  Internet.  pool.  Read a book!  Dinner. Laundry.  Blog.  Bed.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Stranger Encounter

Ok. This has to be told.

So today,  Lucas and I ride to Savaya Coffee, for straight up the BEST espresso I have ever had.  We are sitting on the patio "chilling out, maxing and relaxing all cool."  When this grubby looking Mexican guy goes strolling by mumbling to himself.  I could have sworn he introduced himself, to himself, as he walked past.  

The man made a quick hook and was standing next to our table.  He starts talking about tamales, and produces from no ware a bag with half a dozen fresh made tamales.  "Hey man.  Fresh tamales.  Not too spicy.  Still warm even.  I sell you half a bag for 7 dollars, huh?"  He looks from me to the tamales and back to me.  "What you think, huh? Seven dollars."  

For what ever reason I figure this guy is on the level.  I'll play ball.  So I offer him ten dollars for the whole bag.  He seems a little taken aback, perhaps because I am negotiating or perhaps because I need no more convincing.  "hmmm, yea OK. One bag $10.  Thas goood."  As I reach for my wallet he sets a second bag of tamales on the table freeing his hands for the transaction.

I only have a twenty on me.  I ask him if he can change a twenty.  "hugh. Oh yea twenty dollars no problem."  He takes out a wad of bills and flips through to find ten.  He puts the ten on the table and I hand him my twenty.  He flips through his wad of bills and hands me two fives.  I do a quick double take.  Before me on the table is two bags of tamales and ten dollars, in my hand is ten dollars.  I look for the tamale-man but he has already scampered off.  No where in sight.

I look at Lucas for the first time throughout this process.  His mouth agape he is staring at our bounty rather perplexedly.   Luc says to me, "I'm really confused... what just happened?"  I must have looked just as puzzled as he did.  We burst out laughing.  We sat with our coffee for some time trying to put an order on what just transpired.  I scanned across the plaza for my tamale-man, but he was neither to be seen nor to return.

What was there to do?  We rode home with a payload of  a dozen free Tamales!  I had some for lunch.  They were delicious and authentic.  Grifter-Tamales,  WORD!

 Cooking instructions.  Freez'em for later and heat em up.

 Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly