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Aaron Erbeck flew in from Seattle. Ryan Thompson, Ira Ryan and I from Portland. We just met Cole—who lives with his girlfriend—yesterday and with Trystan Cobbett’s combination apartment-compound-loft now completely under siege by amateur fine artists and their works, we’re left with only one option. Stay at the Standard, the downtown Los Angeles Standard, a $260 parody of a hotel. The atmosphere is tragically vapid but alluring at the same time, like augmentation and plastic surgery.
We check-in late after our hardman intercity century - Tour of Hollywood, Mulholland, the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu and Sunset. We are tired and dirty and wearing shoes that go clack-clack and draw too much attention. As if our bib-short shoulder straps spilling over the top of knickers and jeans and angry bee-buzzing King hubs weren’t enough. We make our way through the marble foyer where the six-foot black woman wearing a period correct afro and oversized sunglasses is languidly playing house records. She’s good. Between that episode and the next, is a gaggle, or is it squad, pod or troop, of 25-year-old Barbie-girls sipping $15 cocktails. Muddled and infused. I’m careful not to over-steer my Ortlieb and it’s hastily secured road riding bicycle helmet on the way to the counter where two alert-but-bored employees have seen it all before, even this. Ryan is already checked-in, he’s been here on business for the last three days, so he makes for his room and a costume change. He’s a local. So it’s just Brian Vernor, our photog, Ryan, Ira and me.
Trystan is about to leave, his delivery all but signed for, when Ira Ryan, in true Ira Ryan form, panics. It was too much for him. The 30-foot ceilings, the upholstered islands of various shapes and sizes bearing guests of various shapes and sizes floating in the large sea of modern colors and surfaces that is the lounge. The sublimely delicious lighting. The custom curtains, the security guards in headsets and black suits. He quickly organizes a plan with Trystan and they leave moments later, Ira muttering, like Rainman, his rationale—I need to clean the bikes and wash the bikes. Definitely need to clean the bikes and wash the bikes.
It’s now Ryan, Brian and I and the rooftop bar that’s a $20 cover if you’re not a guest. The light pollution and view of the city is spectacular; it’s exhilarating. The white plastic love-yurts and after-market outdoor fireplace is intoxicating even if my $15 drink isn’t.
The next morning is hard. My legs hurt from yesterday’s epic. Cole is fast enough to make Ira faster than normal. Which is too fast already. Ryan is hurting again. We’re both definitely sick with a cold. We leave the hotel and pile impossibly into Trystans’s BMW station wagon in which we snake up the 101 to Pasadena and the start of the ride.
Our first choice for breakfast is packed, it’s Saturday at nine. On our way back to the car, still hungry, Trystan calls our attention to the place in front of where we are parked. Seconds later, as if on cue, the owner is on the street— “whereareyougoingwehavebreakfasthere”. Her desperation and our need to eat find us in an establishment that Ira, clued-in by the décor—bad art and a flat screen—recognizes from a scene in Die Hard 3. The breakfast was bad but calorically on target.
Outside, Cole suggests we change at the Patagonia store down the street. Four bags with shaved legs head in that direction. I change in front of a security camera next to an old hairbrush in a dimly lit parking garage across the street. It’s 10:15 and we take stock. The weather is good, maybe 65 and getting warmer by the minute. It’s sunny with no wind. It’s perfect.