But first, an update: Last week I announced Kilian Jornet's attempt to break the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail circumnavigation record held by ultrarunning legend Tim Twietmeyer. Kilian didn't just break the old mark - he shattered it by more than seven hours; the new record is 38 hours, 32 minutes. You can stay updated on Kilian through Salomon's Facebook page, and catch up on a fantastic video series at Salomon's Kilian's Quest page.
Last week, as I was leaving the community college pool after a swim workout, I was surprised to see a crowd of about 30 people gathered on the curb, all looking very intently into the street, every one of them holding cameras.
Now, when you’re driving through Yosemite National Park and see a bunch of people like this standing on the side of the road, you figure there must be something pretty cool to see …
… like, perhaps, a bear. In my hometown of Carmel Valley, similar crowds frequently assemble when a local golden eagle decides to sit lookout on his nest that overlooks a cow pasture.
In Salinas, it’s an entirely different story. In this wildlife-deprived, trouble-plagued city, large sidewalk crowds typically trigger one of two immediate thoughts: 1) a horrific car crash, or 2) a gang-related shooting. Not necessarily in that order. (And yes, shootings happen in broad daylight sometimes.) So I had a sudden sense of dread approaching the group with their backs to me, fearful of what might be on the other side.
Upon closer observation, however, there was nothing to see; the people were taking pictures of cars and bikes that passed on the road. I hung out for a minute or so, and overheard the project to be some sort of class assignment to observe and capture everyday street scenes.
So naturally, I did the first thing that came to mind:
I took their picture, and went on my way … thankful that there was nothing else to see - because in some cases, nothing can be much better than something.