Licata's beard, with man attached
Yes you can, proclaimed Outside magazine, run a Tough Mudder. Well, probably, I thought. I imagine I could slog through a ten mile pit of slop, and hopefully finish ahead of the Crossfit Endurance crowd. (As an aside, 200 pound men attempting to toe run, ala the Pose method, is great comedy. So thanks for that, Crossfit, if nothing else.) This was not a worthwhile goal for my break, if only because I'm already targeting a 50K.
I read Barista Magazine then, which included a profile and interview with Peter Licata, winner of the 2011 United States Barista Championships. Licata, a local barista made good, is noted for his successful competition record, his commitment to quality Hawaiian coffee, and his beard.
I went for coffee then, to another of Lawrence's downtown cafes. The barista, a careful and precise sort, had neatly groomed stubble. I walked for a bit, attempted some Christmas shopping, then stopped in to another cafe. The bar here was tended by less manicured stubble. In both cases, I enjoyed a well pulled double. The first round was richer, fuller, a robust 2 ounces of chocolate and cold suppressing comfort. The second was brighter, more acerbic and acidic, bits of black cherry cutting through the crema.
Caffeinated, I went home, and made my blog rounds. This includes a fair bit of trail/ultra runners, such as Anton Krupicka, Dominic Grossman, Nick Clark, Bryon Powell, Geoff Roes, and other beards. I mean runners. Or do I?
It hit me, then. Having barista'd for near on 5 years now, and run my fair share of trail miles (including one semi-botched ultra), there is a certain expectation I've yet to live up to. I have never, despite infrequent efforts, managed more than a lazy week's worth of not shaving. I have never committed to facial hair, and as such, it has never committed to me.
Well, stubble, it's time you and I spent some time together. I'm 23 years old now, a young man by most measures - but a man nonetheless. And sometimes, men grow beards. Baristas and trail runners do, anyway. Let's see if puberty stuck.