Monday, November 20, 2006

Holy City

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

No no, I didn't zip off to Jerusalem for a bike ride, though I once lived there. As the sign says, I'm in Holy City, California along with The Boyfriend. We learned about it through a Western Wheelers email. The town of which I'm standing in front of (seriously) is for sale. Lovely bike ride starting at Lexington Reservoir near Los Gatos and going up into the Santa Cruz mountains.

It's the Blog Lady

Saturday, November 18, 2006

As some of you are aware, I deleted my blog and started anew. Going forward, in the words of the opening narration to Dragnet, "The story (blog) you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." To my surprise when I arrived at the parking lot for Week 6 of the Low Key Hillclimbs, people asked about my blog. One of the top female cyclists said, “It’s the blog lady!” Yes, well, what can I say. Oh, I know, I like my gatorade shaken not stirred. The attention caused my ego to grow. Now if only my leg muscles would as well.

Today’s ride up Page Mill Road (8.7 miles, 2130 feet, 7 % avg. grade with some killer sections) starting from Arastradero in Los Altos Hills was an individual time trial, with riders beginning at 20 second intervals. I wouldn’t be able to pull the old “Hey, wait for me” routine. As we stood in line, 43 men and 10 women, I began talking with a fella who told me his strategy was to start out slow. My strategy? Hmm, let's see. I think you know what’s coming. Start out slowly and continue going slowly. A woman standing near us was wearing a WordPerfect jersey. Wow. I mentioned that I used to use ClarisWorks. The unicyclist was a few people behind me. He said he had his work cut out this time since he’d be starting after me but somehow I suspected he’d pass me again along with most of the people behind him. Sigh.

As we approached the starting point, we could hear a volunteer counting down for each rider to head off. It struck me as ever so serious, kinda of like when you’re about to go under for surgery, you know, and the anesthesiologist makes you count backwards. “Okay, Ms. Giggles,” the volunteer said, “It’s your turn. 10, 9, 8, … Oh dear, I better stop laughing and get going.

Off I shot and sure enough, cyclists who started after me, passed me and eventually the unicyclist did as well. Sigh. I was alone with no one to play with unlike the time when I rode up Page Mill Road for the Tour de Max. At mile 5, there was a sign for Happy Elves. Okay, I made it this far, so where, I ask you, were they? I got off the bike and looked around. I began to question the existence of Santa Claus, Rudolph, the Snow Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy and of course, the elves. Lest you think I’m missing a few marbles, I do acknowledge and accept that there is no tooth fairy. Let me also remind you that you can visit Santa Claus in his village at the Artic Circle in Finnish Lapland. I even have a postcard from there with a Santa Claus postmark.
It took me 1 hour 15 minutes to finish. Yes, once again, I managed to finish last among the women and of course, the unicyclist got to the top of Page Mill before me. There’s an art, you know, to being slow. It takes real talent and skill. Anyway, I truly enjoy reading the results of the other cyclists; it's darn impressive but more importantly, everyone appears to be having a good time. This is a fun series. Thanks again to the volunteers responsible for these rides and photos.
Oh yeah, The Boyfriend, pictured above, also attended. I accepted his offer to escort me down since the elves weren't available.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Should I Stay or Should I go?

I awoke to overcast skies and the threat of rain. "Should I stay or Should I go? This indecision's bugging me" (The Clash). Off I went to bike Highway 9. I arrived to blue skies in Saratoga!

This time there were 62 men and 7 women. I was rather enjoying the view especially since The Boyfriend wasn't present. I looked at the men, sizing them up, noting their muscular legs. I looked at my 26 inch legs. I looked back at the guys' legs realizing that some of them had calves bigger than my thighs. I was beginning to feel small and intimidated until I realized that I have a bigger chest. Yeah, take that! I met a woman shorter than me. She was driving a custom built purple colored bike, smaller than my 44 cm. I felt big!

I was at the back of the group talking to a woman about something when 67 cyclists shot off. Yes, once again the group started without me. Hey, wait for me.... Yes once again, the unicyclists pedaled past me. Sigh.

There was some road work being done and the construction workers waved us along making sure that we were safe. As I passed the guy in charge, he asked if I was the last one. I believe I could hear snicker snicker. Sigh. I put on my Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) Sunset Boulevard face and replied, "Listen Mister, I planned it that way." I believe he got small before my very eyes.

I did the 6.8 mile climb, 2090 ft, 5.8% grade in 61 minutes which is impressive for me. Would you believe that some woman had the audacity to usurp my position of being the last woman to finish. The nerve!

Once again the event organizers, the volunteers, photographers and participants were fantastic.

Oh, before I forget, I received the distinction of "most improved rider." Of course when you're pretty much at the bottom, where else is there to go?

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

So, all 54 of us were at the start line for the Mt. Diablo Low Key Hillclimb when I, fiddling with my computer clock, toppled over, unable to clip out in time, resulting in a very red, bloody and bruised scrape on my knee. Brilliant, eh. While I was still trying to get my computer clock to work, the timed ride to the summit started. Hey, wait for me.....

There were 10 women on the ride, including the women who had responded to an email I sent earlier to the Velo Girls list. Take a look at the results to see how hot these women were! But so were the 2 unicyclists -- they stole the show. This was one fit and fabulous group. The event organizers and volunteers were encouraging, funny and just downright super; I look forward to attempting more of the rides.

The weather was clear, sunny and quite warm as we climbed a total of 3,849 feet and 10.9 miles, affording us scenic views of the Bay Area. The final 250 meters tested all of us with its 15% grade. See more photos of the event and commentary of a past ride by a few Chain Reaction cyclists.

I finished just under 2 hours with an average of 6 mph, a good time for me, though I was the last of the women to finish. There were cyclists, female and male, who had to walk that final stretch. What about me, you ask? Well, there was my knight in shining spandex (aka The Boyfriend) waving to me as I stayed on the bike all the way to the top.

Naturally I smiled for the camera.

Turkey Trot

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I'm sweating and I'm freezing while biking Sierra Road at my usual speed racer pace of 4 mph when I had to break for you guessed it - wild turkey. Not one, not two, but 12 of them crossing the road. Where I ask you was the school guard with the little red stop sign? They were adorable, shaking their tushies, and walking single file. Around another bend, I encountered a deer who took one look at me and darted off. Librarians can be frightening I suppose....

Sierra Road is nestled in the foothills of Milpitas. It is a steep climb (about 6 miles of 7-10 percent grade). Flying down Calaveras would have been a thrill except my teeth were chattering from the cold and somewhere on the descent, The Boyfriend got a flat.

But it was all worth it because of those wild turkeys. I may have to eat something else for Thanksgiving.