GPC President’s Column – February 2014

Widening the Lane
– taking the John Houseman Approach – doing things the Old-Fashioned Way!


New Year’s Day we had a great showing of Grizzlies on one of our favorite hills.  Thanks to Chris and Pat, and also to Chris Bailey, and also to the “bent” group, we were well represented … little streams of Grizzlies approaching the Junction (or in most cases, the Summit) from several different directions and distances.  Sort of a “fairyland” version of “happy” little High-Vis yellow two-wheeling bear-Orcs swarming all over the place…. A few years ago there was some dispute over whether multiple listings, start locations and routes was counter-productive to the concept of “unity” in the “Annual Club New Year’s Ride.”  At the time, I was more in the camp of “one club/one ride”…. then last year I was injured and discovered the happy occasion of being well-served in my injured state, and able to enjoy one of the “alternative” listings, a flat Bay Trail loop to Point Richmond.  So this year, when Chris and Pat and I and the other Chris all ended up proposing different New Year’s Day Mount Diablo rides, I decided that the mountain was certainly big enough for all of these choices, and embraced the multiple-loop option. I do think it worked out well – something for everyone!

Meanwhile, some observations noted during my first 6 months as Madame La Presidente:

While more than willing to bend a rule or authorize an exception to a policy when I feel it’s justified, more often than not, I find myself taking the more conservative line on most “new” proposals – in part due to a generally “traditionalist” bent, and in part due to a sense of community responsibility to not act too hastily.  Maybe I’ve also just been handling too many legal documents over the past 13 years in my work life, want to make sure all the homework has been done before approving something.

My somewhat cynical, sarcastic nature rises to the top and I constantly find myself needing to punch it down – like yeast-leavened dough – to keep all the hot air in check… mine and also when i feel it coming  from other directions.  This might be related to the fact that regardless of the disparity between the amount of “additional/extra” work and correspondence I was told to expect and the actual amount (LOTS more!), the level of involvement is more aligned with what i expected, and rather than be content to sit in the background, lead a few rides of my own creation, and come up with snide quips, I recognize that I have come to enjoy the slightly higher profile that comes with the responsibility of serving the club more publicly and in a more “official” capacity…. and it might just come to a long-standing 0-tolerance policy on what i perceive to be B.S.

That said, I don’t mind taking a hard line on some ideas that get flung around for consideration, whether it’s for spending club money, or putting forth an idea that will involve lots of work on the part of people other than the person/people putting forth the idea…. and I find myself not minding playing “bad cop” when I feel it’s called for….issuing out opinions and mandates about what’s gonna fly or not based on my common sense, often aided and abetted by an extra dose of additional info supplied by related “private” correspondence (that more often than not only reinforces my original sense of traditionalism on the issue), or whatever… sometimes, I just feel downright cranky and feel I’m starting to miss my carefree, fun side.

Is there room for change in the club during this term, given such a dinosaur with a stodgy, glacial approach at the helm?  You betcha.  So thank you, everyone, for continuing to offer up your ideas, and also for your support and patience during this process.  I do appreciate the inventiveness out there.  Keep those ideas coming… you never know…..


Keep riding and keep thinking –


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