(Car)e-free Lifestyle

I’m at a point in my life where I am faced with an above average amount of free time to myself. I am in between schools, I work nights, and four days out of the week at most. While everyone is off working their Monday through Friday jobs, I have most of the day to myself even if I have work that evening. If you were to ask me would I go back to the way things were at my previous job position and school schedule, I would probably say no.

These freedoms have presented a lot of opportunities for me to grow in a non-formal academic setting. I can come and go as I please, listen to my podcasts, read a lot of books, and ride bikes all day. I recently to a trip to La Jolla in between work days. Before I decided to go on this recent trip, I loaned mama my car so she could take her kids on their first San Diego experience. Ever since I finished the prerequisites for my major, and turned in applications for nursing programs, I’ve been thinking about what the best way to make use of all this time I have would be. I began reading more books, listening to the radio and podcasts, and with this new opportunity want to give going car-free a shot.

If all I had to do was to go to work (and presumably the school I wish to attend) I would say I drive about once a week. Everything around me is within bike riding distance and I have most of the stuff to take extended trips and to carry more things than what a conventional messenger bag allows. Since I am not racing bikes at the moment, not only do I save on gas and registration fees, but I can (and will be) expand my bike collection.

Right now I just have my nice road bike that I used for racing. It has devolved to my all-around, everyday bike. The commuter, the grocery getter, and the race bike when that time comes. The next bike on my list is to own a track bike. Without going into a long philosophical rant about fixed gear culture and the way I see things, I am very excited for this new addition. I have multiple plans for this bike, mainly to be my new commuter. If you saw the bike, you would think it’s main functional purpose would be strictly for the velodrome and this is arguably true. However just like the team machine I want the versatility of the road bike, but the convenience of a bike without a cassette, derailleurs, or brakes. I will try and keep everyone posted on the progress of the build. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say I will be rolling by next month. Way before my birthday of June 25th.

This new addition with my car not physically nearby is presenting an opportunity to go back to a lifestyle I lived a few years ago. Long story short, mama needed a car, and I was driving mainly for the convenience of owning a car. Not because I had to cross mountains to get to my job or apply for one, not because I had kids that needed to be transported in car seats. I was driving because it got cold in the mornings, and I didn’t want to change my clothes all the time once I got to where I was going.

So here I am now. I live within ten miles from work, less than twenty from my desired school, no significant other, and no real obligations. Riding everywhere keeps me punctual and teaches what little discipline I have. I am always early for work and make it to functions with enough time to change or freshen up in whatever Starbucks or gas station restroom I can find. Mama could probably use the car more than I do since she has two little ones to take care of, although she lives relatively close to her job, local grocery store, and schools her kids go to. Driving in Santa Monica, like most major metropolitan areas can be a total drag and can prove the justification of a vehicle purchase wrong. Lord knows I wouldn’t own a car if I lived there.

New short term goals

  • Build up track bike
  • Prolong the return of my car to my house as long as I can
  • Read a new book
  • Ride track bike more than my road bike
  • Buy less pre-made meals
  • Buy more raw ingredients that the pre-made meals have and DIY

If I had to summarize what my goals are for this next stretch of time, it would be to become a more well-rounded human being (what with the exception of not owning a car and continuing the vegan lifestyle.) Perhaps this sense of feeling more whole will help with the emotional issues I have and make me more outgoing. Okay I made that last part up about me wanting to be more outgoing. I know I’m not going to change that & I identify with my introvertive side on an intimate level.

The nomad lifestyle looks promising and enjoyable. Leaving an open slate to do whatever comes to mind has it’s many perks. Perks in which will lead to a more developed outlook and approach to the world around me. So without further adieu….

-dfj

 

Stay Classy La Jolla

“Hey, wanna go to La Jolla?”

“…. Mmk”

That was all the convincing it took for me to get out of my comfort zone and out of my normal routine of riding bikes and looking for new books to read. I joined a friend on an overnight trip to the coastal regions or northern San Diego county. After successfully closing a big business deal, she decided to relax and get away from the stressors that work can cause. One Tuesday morning I packed my things, baked cookies for the road, and two hours later (two and a half according to her) we (her and her dog) had arrived.

The area in which we stayed resembled that of the Avalon area of Catalina island. A lot of costal attractions, shopping centers, beach activities, restaurants, bars. I should mention that La Jolla has got to be one of the most pet-friendly areas that I’ve ever seen. I don’t own any pets so when I found out she had brought her pet, I began to trap what It means to be a pet owner. The city couldn’t be a better place. Dog bowls in all the restraints, plastic waste bag stations everywhere, if you wanted to go somewhere to interact with other dog owners, this is the place.

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La Valencia

Our hotel had a Spanish theme with a visible view of the ocean from outside the balcony.

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Day and night from the balcony

Once we were unpacked, we decided to part ways for the afternoon. She had lunch plans with some co workers nearby, and I was down the street from a coffee shop I had been wanting to try for a long time. After being dropped off I ended up in the cute and crunchy little town of bird rock.

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Bed rock? No, Bird rock

Where I came across bird rock coffee roasters and can say that I tried the best Ethiopian cup of coffee thus far. Unlike most African region coffees, this particular batch was complex and incredibly balanced. It had a full body mouthfeel that Sartre right from the front of the palate and remained on said palate for an extended amount of time, changing between notes of summer fruit, with hints of bright and sweet intermittent elements the more it was consumed. When asked if I could buy a batch of beans, the barista kindly told me that they had at least five pounds of beans pre ordered online by customers and they didn’t have any available. Better luck next time.

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#KillMySelfie

Coffee was followed by a long walk, while stumbling across a small patch of a park with a rock garden overlooking the big blue ocean.

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On my way back I stopped to grab lunch at met a nice older guy named Steve. Steve had lived in the area for a long time and told me he goes to bird rock roasters almost every morning. He seemed down to earth (him and his dogs) and asked kindly asked me what my business was in the area. He came across like he had a lot to share with someone from out of town, but not in an intrusive way. This was out of the ordinary for a native Angelino. Normally people just say “Welcome” when people from out of town arrive and they’re left on their own. We chatted and I ended up making my way back to the hotel. I liked our interaction. I could have asked Steve to stay the night at his place and he probably would have agreed. Steve drove a nice sports car and owned two small dogs, I presumed he had a lot if free time on his hands and would be happy to accommodate. Needless to say I kept walking and made my way back.

On my way to the hotel I stopped by the museum of contemporary art, where I took some photos of the two galleries that were open and the sculpture garden that caught my eye.

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Nothing but thread

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I made it back in one piece. We reacquainted, got dinner at some brewery down the road. We were convinced that we would have done well at the trivia that was taking place that night, but decided to sit by the fireplace, eves drop on the players, and look at the art on the walls.

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I can make that

Long story short, I had way too much to drink that night (I had been drinking all day) and had an uneventful evening before bed.

Today is another day. A day to walk amongst the wealthy white folks along with fellow tourists like us. I have to admit that I find it uncomfortable to be catered to. That didn’t come out right, let me rephrase. The level at which the hotel staff catered to us was overwhelming for me. I’m bothered by valets that open doors for you, and by elevator attendants that think they’re doing you a service by pushing the button your room is on. It seems too synthetic and insincere. Perhaps a more subtle, but genuine approach is a healthier and humbling alternative.

Honorable mentions:

We were told to see the sea sows along the beach, so we did.

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Sea sow

We stopped by the Carlsbad flower garden where I was reminded that I am bad parenting material.

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During our trip, I learned a few things about the opposite sex. For one, women are completely aware that they make decisions based on emotions and not on rational explanations. They know they do it, and they continue to do it.

I didn’t get a straight answer as to why women go about problem solving in this way. Something along the lines of looking too deeply into what their perception of a message is. Guys do not try and sneak the meanings of their messages they want to get across by saying something other than what they do not mean.

That about sums up our trip. I’m glad I got out of the house for a few days and let loose for a bit. If asked if I would return, I would probably turn it down. There are other parts of that county that are unexplored. Parts where I don’t have to see sloppy moms tripping over their heels and having their teenage daughters holding them up as they drop their iPhones on the concrete.

It’s been fun La Jolla. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

-dfj

Rekindling an Old Flame

Just last week I had made the decision to get back together with my previous significant other from which I’ve had a long history. We have been together for five years and recently ended things last November. We took some time apart for some figurative fresh air at being single. This would prove to be the ultimate test to see if we were meant for each other.

After about five months of being on-and-off, still hanging out in what felt like a relationship with a lot less pressure to use terms of endearment and to include titles. We have been reduced to being friends with benefits. This came as a shock to me at first. Seeing as we have very little in common I figured the first chance she would get to be with someone (or no one) else would be snatched up immediately; this was not the case. Things never got weird between the two of us. There was a very good understanding between us due to our long history together which made things more natural. I will say that I thought this was going to be a temporary thing that lead up to either us getting back together or us finding someone else. I then decided that during this next trip I would confess how I felt, and suggest we get back together as an item.

Our time spent together mainly consisted of staying at home, cooking, listening to music, the farmers market, drinking, and watching television. Everyday boring stuff that gets better with company. I had begun thinking about when the right opportunity would be, and how I would word my message.

Instead of me making a big scene and confessing my undying love for this person, I decided to take things with a more laid back (and IMO, a fairer) approach. The last thing I would want to do is to swamp her with all of these strong emotions and make her feel pressured about feeling the same way towards me. Since I was convinced that I was willing and able to get back together, I had to first see if she was willing to do the same before sharing my feelings. This had to have been the smartest decision I’ve made the entire trip (that and bringing breakfast over to cook the morning after. It came out fantastic BTW.)

When asked about how she felt about us getting back together (mind you, this is before I revealed any personal emotions I had been feeling as to not spike the punch) she thought about it for a second, then confessed that she liked what we were doing now, and didn’t wish to get back into a relationship with me. She said she preferred our casual encounters without the anchoring titles or obligations to give the other copious amounts of attention that she felt the other deserved. I’ve never wanted to capture a photo of a reaction so badly in my life (of course I’m referring to my own reaction to her response.)

Once she said this my ego appeared out of nowhere and caused my initial reaction to be that of a vain prince being denied someone’s hand in marriage. My soliloquy would have read something like:

“You mean you don’t  want to get back together? With me?!

After finishing my glass of prosecco, then refilling it a second time, I began to realize that that was it. The decision had been made for me. It didn’t matter how I felt anymore. She had already made up her mind about our relationship. She clearly enjoyed the casual approach more than a more serious one. After knowing this person for so long and to watch her mature and finally reach a point in her life where she came to that decision on her own, I had nothing left to say except to agree with her. In the end, it’s the other person’s decision that matters the most. It was how our relationship was conceived in the first place.

Her being the new girl at work, there were two other co workers who wanted to be more than just friends with her. Having known that it is ultimately up to her, I yielded the first opportunity to approach her and let the other two give things a try. They went out on dates, but ultimately the mutual feeling of attraction was not there for either of the two. To my surprise, there was an attraction for me, and the rest is history. Having referred to this after five years of being with the same person, it finally sank in that things were not going to work out.

Once this rug was swept from under my feet, I did not feel sad. There were no tears on the drive home from Anaheim. For the rest of that night (up until now) I continue to be in a state of shock. Not entirely at her for making that choice, but more for my arrogant and vain presumption that she will always be there and that it was only a matter of time until we got back together. I even told my closer friends that it was a matter of time before we would be together again. Boy was I wrong.

At the end of the day I am back to square one. I was beginning to feel like I was wasting my time and I should end up making a move before it’s too late. Having realized how she felt, there is even less pressure to make an advancing move. I can continue to live the way I do without feeling the need to reacquaint with a long lost relationship. I am freeing up my schedule even more and am struggling to find things to fill it up. This is nothing I am not willing to give a shot and explore my options. Until next time.

-dfj

Whats in Your Cup: El Ingenio

Greetngs and welcome to another coffee review. I would like to start by mentioning how excited to be writing about this particular batch considering the news that is going on about a recent coffee purchase, and the different types of language being used to express the same decision. I am unsure as to whether Tonx will keep their name or not. This could be one of the last batches with their brand name on the label.

This passed Tuesday was the first shipment of my upgraded amount of beans and let me tell you, I’ve been very excited to finally get these in the mail. So much so, that when I finally received them. I’ve ended up giving more of it away to share with others than I have consumed myself.

New bag

New bag

Before I share my sharing experiences, on to the review of the bean. On a side note, I have to find something to do with all these cute labels that come with my coffee. Perhaps I’ll make a collage of some type. They’re staring to pile up.

Pretty colors

Pretty colors

  • Brewing method: Chemex
  • Coffee:48g
  • Water:710g
  • Bloom:100g for 90 seconds
  • Brew time:5:30 including bloom

Before the beans were grinded you can make out the scent of sweet caramel. The roasting profile is medium to light with 99% of the beans showing one crack along with a light brown hue. The result is a light to medium body that sits on the middle of the palate for the longest duration. The Chemex tended to zap out most of the rich notes of caramel and chocolate and left the elements of an apple cinnamon tea. Not the best brewing method for those with that central american sweet tooth like myself.

This type of batch would best be enjoyed through a French press. Before trying this through the Chemex, I French pressed it and loved every drop of it.. I found myself stirring the grounds and the sediment at the bottom of the cup to not let any go to waste. The Chemex filter is a very powerful thing; batch is a perfect example of it’s ability.

I normally receive my beans every other Tuesday afternoon with the rest of my mail. Given the time of day, I like to save it for Wednesday morning when I do my long ride through the Santa Monica Mountains.

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The previous week I kindly asked my local coffee shop if they would be offended if I brought someone else’s coffee to share with them. To which they enthusiastically said, “Please do. We’re that kind of shop.” Not only did I get my first bigger batch, but I had enough to share with other who are able to comprehend the quality of beans I enjoy so much.

I love my local shop

I love my local shop

Once half of my ride was over, we squandered over to 10 speed coffee for an intermission and where I gave my gift.

Still warm from the morning ride

Still warm from the morning ride

I’m still waiting to hear back from them on how they liked it. Whether they love it or hate it, I was able to show how much I appreciated them as an establishment; that’s all I could ask for. The gesture of giving something that means a lot to you is sometimes greater than how well that person appreciates the gift.

This morning I French pressed some beans for a supervisor of mine who has never tried any coffee that doesn’t come out of a pre-grounded jar at the grocery store. To no surprise, he loved the coffee. My only beef was that as I was getting my things in order to leave work, I caught him filling his mug up with cream and sugar. Not even liquid creamer. A little part of me died inside. I don’t think I’ll be making him coffee any time in the near future unless he promises to drink it black.

On that note I am very satisfied with this current batch and look forward to seeing what the future has in store for Tonx. I trust that they will continue to make exceptional coffee and keep their customers (myself included) happy. As for me, I’ve got some packing and shopping to do. I’m going to make a big breakfast tomorrow that is going to include El Ingenio for refreshments. Until next time.

-dfj

 

School Night

Often times we hear of people coming down with a case of the Monday’s. A natural apprehension towards getting back to the work week. My work schedule exempts me from this mentioned condition. Mainly because I work every weekend, and even if I do end up working Monday, I have all day to sit around to get ready for another day in the office. Were undergoing some transitions here at work. As a result, my schedule and number of days got moved around, giving me Monday off (an unusual circumstance.) In between the naps and the weight gain, I made the decision to go out, on a school night.

There was a free event at some club in Hollywood so appropriately named, “It’s a School Night.” I went with a friend from high school. Probably one of the only people I still acquaint with from that setting. We took the metro over the hill to a dead Hollywood (we could have easily found parking anywhere nearby the venue; neither of us minded the underground commute.) We walked in, and the mood resembled that of my February outing at Akabar with the strangers and the typewriter.

Intimate bar

Intimate bar

The setting was dark, but lit in the right places. There was a lot of arbitrary paintings that caught my eye. That and the architecture gave off the feel of a museum after hours (which is now a new short term social goal.)

You Go Girl

You Go Girl

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There wasn’t much space in between the stage and a set of stairs that lead to these bars and lounge chairs & booths. Nonetheless, it got people to get close and keep the vibe nice and cozy without being a sweaty nightclub playing top 40 at high volumes.

Mad Hatter(s)

Mad Hatter(s)

The music was loungey with a few eclectic curve balls that kept things interesting. I wanted to get a photo of this lady who really wanted to be a famous hip hop/ pop celebrity who is known for her blonde wigs, bright colored lipstick, and mix of high pitched cheerleader singing, with lower toned rapping at fast tempos, but I chose to take a break and get another glass of whiskey instead.

Folk on a School Night

Folk on a School Night

Our conversation was nice and enjoyable with a drink in hand. We discussed our lifestyles of working nights and weekends and being allowed the freedom of having weekdays off. Both of us seemed pretty comfortable although I have to admit, I had gotten used to the transition sooner than my friend did. She still hasn’t quite adjusted to the change. As it stood, we both were working and at that point where we we’re trying to figure out who it is we are as individuals. There was a lot of talk of things we already knew about each other and mostly agreed with (boring.) To my surprise there were a few things that were brought up, that my friend was bothered by, and felt like things needed to be changed.

For example, when discussing relationships and goals she couldn’t wrap her brain around how certain couples our age stay together for such a short amount of time, then either move across country to live with one another, or get engaged and married. This conversation was followed by examples of how her friend moved to San Francisco for a guy after knowing him for about two months. Mind you she is in the same twenty-something bracket as us. It was then I realized some new things about myself.

  1. Whether it’s tales of love gained, lost, or ambitiously attempted to grasp, I love a good story
  2. Whiskey isn’t something to be afraid of. It gives hugs

I can’t seem to track when this first happened, but my elitist attitude towards social concepts has become dormant and allowed me to have a more relaxed approach to hearing what is going on in other people’s lives. I can remember a time when I too would have felt the need to immediately share my opinion on the subject, and vicariously lecture her friend through her like we as a society love to do (and should stop it as soon as we realize we’re doing it.)

The melancholic hermit was kept under control. The night slowly turned into an active listening exercise and after two drinks, I decided it was time to leave.

These recurring lounge outings are becoming a preferred way out going out over the late nights of heavy music, and being packed in dense crowds of sweaty teens singing and screaming along with the singer, trying so desperately to get to the front of the stage. Weeknights at cozy bars when the rest of the world is going to bed early for the work day ahead is my type of scene. Come to think of it, I was never good at going to bed early before a big day. Whether it was school, a race, or work, lack of sleep never seemed like that much of a loss and still stands today. As long as by the end of the week, your hours of sleep average out to normal amounts, all is well.

That about does it for me. Another night spent out for writing material active listening practice, and storytelling. I feel like Taylor Swift, only not as attractive. Time to keep up the high milage on the bike, and work off this weight I’ve gained since my hiatus announcement.

That and I got to meet a hero of mine.

Love you Buddy

Love you Buddy

-dfj

Intervals: A Misunderstood Practice

In the Science fiction story of, “Ender’s Game” a kid is chosen to lead the human race (through a group of elite students) to battle an potentially deadly alien race. Through his cunning abilities and heightened sense of awareness Ender is able to study and understand his enemies on such a deep level of understanding that he is able to find their weakness and exploit them to become victorious. While he is moving through the ranks and training to become the leader everyone wants him to be, he begins receives subliminal messages from alien race and begins to question the motives behind the decision to exterminate this unknown species.

*Spoiler alert

In the end he realizes that this alien race was misunderstood from the beginning and thanks to Ender, they have become a victim of genocide (or as future stories in the series call it, “Xenocide.”) Due to the misunderstanding of the alien demeanor, they are seen as enemies and must be removed as a threat to ensure the safety of humankind.

After some deep thinking and some reading, including this article  I then noticed a resemblance to Ender and I. I’ve had the exact same relationship with intervals as Ender and the alien species. A basic misunderstanding has classified this concept as a despised enemy in my eyes. This is an ugly quality I have seen not only in myself, but of our society as a species. What a self-destructive way to inhibit growth and understanding to further prosper in our own success.

Towards the end of the first book and towards to the beginning of the second in the series, Ender finds one last fertilized alien egg with a queen that is able to reproduce on it’s own and vows to find a suitable planet for it to live on (since he blew up their home planet) and finally understand them and form a relationship. I have decided that I will go this route and attempt to understand the purpose of this training technique.

First I had to realize and figure out a genuine reason that made sense to me as to why I was going to incorporate intervals into my riding. After reassessing my riding, there was a sense of isolation and disconnect with my reasoning to do intervals. I thought it was what got people to win races. That is was the key to success and as redundant as they may seem, they kept the fast twitch muscles conditioned for the arbitrarily fast then slow pace of a race. What I failed to do was to include myself into the reasoning. The zen side of me is perceiving intervals as a way to further progress in self-awareness and being aware of one’s capabilities for the future.

I still want to ride fast, which is what enticed me to further explore the missing links in my lack of progression over the past years of racing. For those of you who I’ve broken my racing decision to fact-to-face, this is the biggest reason why I am choosing the hiatus rate. To include my, “Ride everywhere” philosophy, I tend to favor longer, sustained efforts over that of explosive sprinting, which would be justified through my interest in incorporating climbing into my riding as much as possible.

After reading the above mentioned article multiple times, I was able to not only identify what my strengths were, but what my weakness were. From there I was able to piece together just what it was about intervals that I thought were not necessary. After my ride on Tuesday, I was able to sustain an effort for an increased amount of time leading up to a short but steep hill climb. I had timed things so that once the hill got steep, I would break off and try to recover on the downhill. This never happened. I ended up getting dropped from the pain pack and latching on to a group that was almost one minute behind. On top of that, I ended up taking multiple pulls beyond my threshold just to close the gap I myself had created. This entire 10K stretch was spent anaerobically to which I had never fully recovered from until the last quarter of the ride. The article has made it clear that I need to work on the speed at which my body is able to recover from oxygen deficit.

After identifying what my strengths, weaknesses, and goals are, I am slowing considering getting back into the more focused aspects of bike riding. I never realized intervals worked for both rider types who had more of one muscle type than the other. I just thought they were for meat-head sprinters who mostly rode the track and criteriums that were pancake flat. Which also explains why I showed such negative feelings towards that type of training. I’m beginning to realize that it wasn’t the intervals themselves that got on my nerves, it was the personality types tied to the intervals. The arrogant racer types that love bragging and boasting their training plans their coach has put them on. Since I have taken up racing I have heard at least one hundred different training itineraries from a large amount of racers and can’t seem to remember a single instance in which I asked what their secret to success and progress was. The point I am trying to make is that not everyone wants to hear your workout routines, bro.

You can share with me riding recaps of how you scaled some mountain that was so steep, you went through the atmospheric layer and the Earth’s gravitational pull to get some rad shots for your collecting.

Like the one's I got today

Like the one’s I got today

On the other hand, I don’t want to hear how you did one 2x3x4x5x6 and the rest of your week’s schedule your coach has planned out for you. I want the story, not statistics. I want a learning experience, not binary code and numerical values.

Getting back on topic, I have a few short term objectives I will be incorporating into my weekly routines instead of just trying to ride at a sustained pace through out the entire ride. Don’t get me wrong, I still would be found driving to a remote location to ride for a hour, only to drive back home and be done for the entire day. I still will commute to work and don’t plan on decreasing my riding time very much. It keeps what little discipline I have alive. If a ride/route has an average gradient of 8% or more, or is pancake flat, I will consider that an opportunity to do oxygen deficit training of short efforts with short recovery time. If there is more personality to a route, I will consider this an opportunity to strengthen my aerobic intervals. With the overall goal to have the short efforts compliment the aerobic intervals by trimming down the time it takes to recover from said efforts.

So that is my plan. This seems to make the most sense to me so until otherwise mentioned, please keep your advice to yourself. I am not saying don’t chime in with your thoughts, just think a little more about the message you wish to present and what it is I am asking of the reader (to listen.) That’s all I got for now. The next time you see me will probably be on two wheels trying to figure my life out. Until next time….

-dfj

What’s in Your Cup: Cotecaga

Just this morning I was surprised to find two new objects in my possession. One came by mail, the other was acquired after a stroll around the neighborhood.

Number one

Number one

And number two

New reads

New reads

When you get used to working nights, you appreciate the day time a lot more. These two things were how I spent my afternoon.

The coffee comes from a farm in Rwanda, Africa. Immediately after receiving it in the mail, I opened it up and proceeded to taste. I haven’t been buying much beans outside of my subscription from Tonx. Frankly, I haven’t been motivated to venture out and pay for coffee per cup, or to travel across Los Angeles to arrive at a shoppe only to be apprehensive and end up getting cold feet on a bean purchase. This subscription takes all the apprehension out of the equation. Needless to say, after my dive back into the second wave coffee attempt with my tribute to a tribute blend I was eager to see how my palate would adjust back to a roast that hadn’t been burned to a crisp and had only the natural caffeine that came from that particular batch.

1st Brew:

  • Method: Press pot
  • Coffee: 34 grams
  • Water: Approximately sixteen ounces
  • Brew time: Four minutes

After trying this particular batch I began to realize a number of things. I’ve received about ten different shipments of coffee and not been given the same one twice, not even from the same regions. The coffee belt may seem a little restrictive, but there is a lot of variety out there. Another thing that came to mind was how much these third wave coffees exceed my expectations with the flavors they have. I’ve tasted all types of flavors (from previous batches) from peanut butter, passion fruit, to dates, cognac and cigars, to honeydew, lemons, with a honey finish.

This particular batch had one of the most mild tastes I’ve tried thus far. Africa is known for their brighter, more fluorescent outcomes of coffee. When I use the word mild, I mean the mild flavors you get from sparkling water. With subtle notes of bright berries. It has a full body that sits on the front and middle of the tongue the longest. The subtle notes make the finish almost transparent when finally swallowed. Even with the press pot, the oils and sediments were at an all time low although they showed not the slightest bit of buttery notes. The terms sharp and mild come to mind when paraphrasing this into seven words or less. New coffee never seizes to surprise and intrigue me.

The book was referred to me by a friend when discussing my recent void from taking a break from bike racing. This is a very short read with an introduction, preface, acknowledgments, and an appendix as long as the reading material. Right away I knew that I was going to have to read this more than once to fully grasp the concepts being illustrated; then probably go back to reading the into, preface, and other sections of the book.

The story talks about different strategies for success, much similar to that of bike racing. There is a lot of mention of only exercising efforts when you have one hundred percent assurance  that you will be successful. It talks a lot about the psychological knowledge one must know about themselves, and their enemies, otherwise you will end up with either a draw or defeat. Another point that stood out to me was that when it comes to battles, success is acquired by the quickest route possible. This stood out to me because when transposing this to the two-wheeled world, it goes against my zen-like riding approach. I like riding fast, and want to be good at it. I have yet to justify entering back into racing to seek such success, but the time will come. I’m hoping this book helps me cope with the lack of feeling I am faced with.

To get back to the coffee talk, I see myself increasing my subscription size to that of a twelve or maybe even sixteen ounce bag instead of my half-stacked eight ounce bag. These shipments last me no more than five days at a time. To be without coffee for about ten days between shipments can lead the mind to ponder strange things. Maybe it’s better that I take breaks when the beans run out. This can be a discipline opportunity and a chance to control the dependence while taking a different riding approach. For example, I am taking a break from my daily caloric monitoring and have had a more casual approach to my diet. This is a nice way to say I’ve gained weight over the last few days; It’s okay because I don’t feel the pressure and stresses racing brings about in me. My riding time hasn’t decreased a tremendous amount. I still drive my car about once a week and my enthusiasm to saddle up is still at a high level especially since the stress is no longer an issue. This mental recovery feels good despite the new pains I go through from time to time.

That’s it for the coffee & life review. I will try and keep up my number of posts since it is a therapeutic experience. Writing helps get my mind right and keeps away the loneliness. Until next time….

-dfj