A weekend in Huntington Beach. A beautiful place. A beautiful time.
The weekend began for Californian Runnin’ and myself as we piled into the car and drove down
I-5 on route to L.A. The drive is basically 7 hours of dry grass and cow farms, but some good company
makes all the difference. DW and I listened to good music and laughed the whole way down. On the
way we made plans to meet Ocean_101 for a little run on the beach when we got there. Let me tell
you, after several hours of staring out car windows at nothing and braving L.A. freeways at rush hour,
Huntington Beach is PARADISE!!! The run went well and that Swiss gentleman is quite a nice guy. I
could feel that tapered nervous energy radiating off the guy, and it cracked me up. He was ready to
Right about then is when the feeling set in. A surfer heads to the beach, board in hand, not
knowing what’s going to happen but having a feeling in his gut that it’s going to be a good day. It’s a
feeling of anticipation and determination, of intending to give every ounce of effort to being present in
the immediate experience and expecting the experience to reciprocate by simply being awesome. The
particulars of the coming events may not be precisely known, but it doesn’t matter. This will be good.
This is exactly what I felt.
We headed to Bangle44’s house, where we’d be staying for the weekend. To be honest, we
were a bit nervous about spending the weekend with a Loop legend, but he was totally cool when we
got there. He’s a very funny guy, if you catch his under-the-breath jokes. We were given awesome
accomodations and went down to the beach to a very cool patio restaurant. I like novelty foods. I once
ate something called “Tokyo X”, a mixture of “seven kinds of belly meats”, and I couldn’t resist the
combination of three animals the MooCluck Oink Burger offered. It was beyond osom. Afterwards we
met “Mrs. Bangle”, laughed, and ate fresh baked cookies!
Later we all went and picked up the other houseguest, MILDSAUCE! She’s just as fabulous as
ever, and didn’t hold any grudges about the injuries she incurred in Sacramento last summer
Friday we were able to sleep in a little in order to miss the morning traffic and headed to AB’s
house. As soon as we hopped out of the car we were greeted from the doorstep! What a warm group
of people. The novelty of seeing these avatars come to life for the first time quickly morphed into
laughs and stories shared by close friends. There was just an unbelievable sense of goodwill which I felt
throughout the entire weekend. The pancakes were tasty, the conversation engaging, and the smiles
AB has a flat out smashing back yard.
With full bellies we headed over to Old Pasadena and killed an afternoon wandering. The sun
was shining and we were tapered, so we ate lunch just a couple hours later, lol.
This is probably my favorite pic of the weekend.
The shakeout run that night was really neat. It was the first time I’d seen everyone run and it
was fun to see how their actual form differed from how I imagined them. We took on pavement and
trail, passing through several neighborhoods and chatting the miles away.
Before the run…
After the run, the veterans show us how it’s done.
The expo was crazy! It was a madhouse, but DW and I scored some great deals.
It was osom to meet even more loopsters outside, and we all were JB’s subjects for a beachside photo shoot. I was
smart(read dumb) enough to hang off a lifeguard shack from my knees for a few pics, which gave me
some weird twinges when I hopped off. It turned out to be nothing, but gave me something to fret
about for a while!
The party at Bangles was sweet. More stories, more laughter, more groans(TO’s jokes), and
some tasty CARBS! Mrs. Bangle and AB contributed vittles and Bangle himself baked some mean Nutella
cookies. I could go on and on, but you get the idea: everyone got along and it was great!
A heated discussion between JB and Zombie Kid. Caption contest? Yes, in a separate blog.
The race was pretty much a no-go, as DW felt unwell early on and I insisted we step out. It was
hard at the time, but I still feel it was the right decision. It took a while for her to feel normal again, but
we were able to enjoy the rest of the day and have fun at Alice’s party.
The post-race party was awesome. When we first showed up we didn’t even know anyone
was there since it was so quiet, but we turned a corner and the whole living room was full of loopsters
watching football. Pretty soon the drinks were flowing and the food (expertly grilled by Mr. Alice) was
filling stomachs and replenishing lost calories. I really got to know nearly everyone better and found
them to be truly down-to-earth, sincere people with great senses of humor. It took a little beer to get
some to come out of their shells, but before long it was loud with bursts of laughter. We left before the
karaoke began but I hear it was sweet!
You saw it here first: JB’s a booze-hound. Hahahahaha
The next morning we had a final breakfast at the beach with Sir Bangle and headed out.
All in all it was a fantastic experience and a bittersweet weekend. Meeting these people was one
of the best experiences I’ve had the pleasure of having; it was like attending a family reunion. I made
friends I’ll have for years, I’m sure. I’ve never been in the presence of so many individuals who were
genuine and sincerely cared for others.
In the words of Dean:
Runners are the best friends.