Friday, March 2, 2012

Why the rest of the world hates California........

Got out today for a 5 hour ride after working a bit this morning. Computer troubles put me a bit behind my desired starting time which wasn't all that bad, it allowed the temperature to get a little above freezing by noon, whoohooo! I bundled myself up for the ride to town, we've had snow and a decent amount of rain this past week so I knew I'd be off to ride the canyon dirt roads instead of trails today.

 I settled into a reasonable pace on my way to town, I was supposed to keep the heart rate at a mid tempo rate on the climbs  which was not a problem since I'm a bit tired. I made my way to town and headed down Yankee Jims Road, the original 49er route from Colfax to Foresthill. At Shirttail Canyon I made the right to head up towards Iowa Hill, I knew there would be snow towards the top but figured I could make it most of the way. At about the 5 mile mark I hit snow, muddy and slushy was the theme for the next mile or so. As I approached the top of the dirt road I came upon a mini-van sideways into the ditch, not good....

I made my around the van as it was mostly blocking the road. As I came around to see if anyone was inside, the sliding door opened up and two very relieved ladies stuck their heads out. Turns out they had been there since yesterday morning and were not relishing the thought of spending another night in the cold. As they opened up the door I could see another gentleman in the front passenger seat, turns out he is an 80 year old blind paraplegic.

O.K. now it's a bit more serious.

I check to make sure they have water and the car will run and has gas, all is good on these fronts. They want me to get them a tow truck, but I'm not real comfortable with leaving and hoping some tow truck driver saves their ass. I tell them I'm going to ride back down and up to Colfax and give the Sheriff a call and let them figure out the safest way to deal with the situation.  We say our goodbyes and I assure them they will not be spending another night out there and head off down the slippery slope.

As I get out of the snow I see an approaching SUV. I flag them down and explain the situation.

Me: There's three older folks up there stuck in the snow and someone needs to call the cops to help them out.
Him: What, there's cops up there?
Me: No there's some folks up there blocking the road and they've been there 30 hours and they are blocking the road.
Him: Well Fuck, I'm not going up there, they are not going to ruin my fucking day!
Me:Stunned......I don't need you to go up there, I just don't want you to not be able to turn around, could you go to Foresthill and call the Sheriff?
Him: I'm not calling the fucking Sheriff, fuck I can't believe this!
Me: More stunned..... Look asshole, karma's gonna be a bitch if you ever need help.....
Him: Wait, what,  listen you fucking.......
Me: Look I'm gonna go get help, I'm out of here.

So there you have it, perfect Californian, can't go out of his way to help three 80 year old people who have spent 30 hours in the cold in the middle of nowhere. I really was stunned and couldn't really believe I was experiencing this, it felt surreal almost.

So I busted my ass down Shirttail knowing this asshole was trying to get turned around and had time to get more pissed about his lot in life and likely run my ass over just for the hell of it. I knew I was safe going down, I've gapped dual sports on this road, but I had a 1200' climb on the way up to Colfax. I'll tell you what, I was surely out of my heart rate zone trying to get to the pavement before this asshat decided it would be fun to pinch me off in the ditch, or something even worse. I generally feel really safe on my mountain bike, but I had a really bad feeling about this, even if he didn't care about me, he seemed the type to be hauling ass around blind corners without any regard as to what was on the other side.

I finally made it up to cell phone service and got a hold of the Sheriff, let them know the situation and they were on it . A call awaited me when I got home, apparently someone must have come along and pulled them out as the Sheriff was unable to locate them. I had taken a picture of their license plate so I passed that along to the Sheriff so he could check to make sure they were O.K.

I finished up my ride out onto Ponderosa Road and down Drivers Flat to McKeon Ponderosa, saw the river 4 times today which is always a tough day. 52 miles with 7,700' of climbing in 4:26 is a good day!

This is my second bad experience in the past year. Last fall I blew a bearing out on the front hub of my road bike about 15 miles out Mosquito Ridge Road. Mary was with me so she took off towards home to get the car and come back and pick me up as I walked back towards Foresthill. I walked for 8 miles and was passed by over 2 dozen cars, only one stopped....... a couple of really nice old hillbillies in their Ford Explorer loaded to to roof with firewood, man the bumper was just about dragging. I was passed by Suburbans, $50,000 dollar Ford diesel trucks and all sorts of other nice cars, not one stopped or slowed down. I think the worst part were the  two roadies who came screaming down and didn't say a word or stop either.

Now I wasn't waving people down or jumping in front of cars to get their attention, had Mary not been coming for me perhaps I might of, but I cant count the number of times I've turned the car around to make sure someone was O.K.

Karma isn't working for me on this particular item......

So there you have it in a nutshell. I think this is a perception that many outside California have of us. Too many news stories of people walking by looking the other way while someone is robbed, beaten or worse...I guess they may not be that far off:(


  1. Wow. That is crazy and scary. Thanks for being the one that will help.

  2. Sean, Keep living like your living, You know it is right to stop and ask if someone needs help. I do it all the time on and off the bike. "WE" can out number "them" if we keep at it. Good Karma is contagious.