Friday, December 28, 2007

What a Climb

Behold Mission Peak Regional Park in Fremont. I pranced up it like the pretty young thing I'm not and suffered dearly the next day. So much for those Low Key Hillclimbs done in the fall. I didn't make it to the Summit due to high winds that frightened me from going further. Still, I felt like I could almost see the faces of people in airplanes flying over the ridge. I must return. Earlier in the day, there were these 6 firemen sitting in Starbucks and well, you know.... let's see, where was I, ah yes, I enjoyed the views and the scenery was mighty fine.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We'll Always Have Paris

The Boyfriend and I spent a week in Paris seeing the sights. Will leave out the mushy romantic stuff since that's just plain gross, like, while beneath the Eiffel Tower, he took her in his arms and .... puke, you know to hear. The last time I saw Paris was in the late '80s. Still didn't get up the Eiffel Tower but I did go up the one in Las Vegas awhile ago. I still find it, the real one I mean, to be prettier from afar. Versailles was a bit of a disappointment mainly due to the fact that there was Catapillar equipment scattered in the courtyard. Hmm, for some reason, bulldozers and the Sun King just don't go together. Below are photos of The Louvre and the Palais Royal.

Oh, on the way to London, The Boyfriend sat in business while I flirted in economy. Come fly with me. At Charles de Gaulle airport, there was a suspicious package and the army guys came with their AK47s along with the bomb squad. They blew it up. Boy what a loud noise. At Heathrow, a pretty young thing was frisked much to the delight of male passengers in line, including The Boyfriend. On the way home, we had one of those captains who takes long pauses while he speaks. He came on the air and said in a baritone voice, "This is your Captain. [pregnant pause]. I need to tell you something [pregnant pause while I'm thinking, "Oh my God, we're going down"]. And then he'd said something innocuous. Aghhhh.

We'll always have Paris and coffee on par with that we had in Italy along with darn fine curry at the Indian restaurant near Heathrow.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Aloha les Etats-Unis

So, let's see, when The Boyfriend said, "Want to go to Paris with a stopover in London to get a good curry (we have yet to experience Indian cuisine in the Bay Area like the kind in England) AND no cycling involved (doo dah doo dah) ...." -- um, what do you think I said? "Oh alright, if you insist."

Ah, what do you think the first thing my office buds said, "What, no biking! Is he going through cyclopause or bikeopause? Is he okay? Did he fall off his bike and hit his head?"

We're leaving this Sunday. We'll be staying at a family run hotel in Montmartre, you know, Toulouse Lautrec, Moulin Rouge, Lapin Agile. C'est tout pour maintenant.

Friday, November 23, 2007

That's All Folks

Knowing that LKHC volunteers would miss their Thanksgiving dinner if I participated officially in the Mt. Hamilton climb (the last event in the Low Key Hillclimb series), I ventured out on my own, starting 20 minutes earlier than the other cyclists and made it to mile 4.7 before the herd overtook me. A blink of the eye and the first wave zoomed past me. I cheered and waved and then resumed biking. A little while later, Adam, Marie and Pat sailed past me. As usual, I was distracted by the men I met, the cows I saw and the lovely scenery (the hills are just beginning to turn green). The day was clear and the view of Lick Observatory looming in the distance was stunning. Of course, it only loomed and remained in the distance for me....

I made it to mile 15.5 before I met The Boyfriend coming back down along with most of the other participants. In my mind, I finished ... in fact, I have so once before. Back at the parking lot, rumor had it that James P. was on his way to doing Mt. Ham again. "Out of shape dad?" I don't think so, Mister. Results and Ron's photos are posted.

Later, The Boyfriend joked that when we come back from our 2 week biking holiday next summer in the French Alps, I'll be buffed and no doubt will move up in the ranks to place next to last in the LKHC series. That'll be the day. Shed my weenie wings? No more weenie miles per hour? Turn into a speeding snail? We'll see.


Goodbye Stranger
It's been nice
Thank you Dan, Kevin and all for the LKHC
I'll be seeing you

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mysteries of Life

There are many mysteries in life. The sudden extinction of dinosaurs being one. Figuring out who will finish last in a Low Key Hillclimb event is not one of them. Sigh. Week 8 featured Sierra Road for the next to last Low Key Hillclimb. Results and photos are posted. When I arrived at the top, the nice volunteer said, "Are you the last? Is there anyone behind you?" Oh, he must be new ... sigh. What can I say. I fell behind, way behind. The photo below of me is classic -- a behind shot. Still, the event was wonderful with 104 cyclists participating and yes, that means I was the 104th person to finish. The Boyfriend (who looked mighty fine) was waiting for me at the top. Sweet, eh. The pain, the agony of defeat and all that other blah are worth it for the descent down the other side.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gearing Up

Did the Earth move for you, honey? If you were in San Jose on October 30, it sure did! After the 5.6 Earthquake, doing Week 6 Low-Key Hillclimb Welch Creek Road seemed almost anti-climatic. :)

Lots of banter on the LKHC listserv about gears and schmears, compacts, triples, cranksets, aftershocks, ratios, cadence, cows, and road surface. Speaking of bikes and gears, The Boyfriend informed me that my 2005 Bianchi Eros Donna was designed with me in mind. Somehow I don't think that's a compliment.

The weather today was absolutely delightful. My assignment as volunteer was to stand at the intersection of Welch Creek Road and Calaveras. I know, tough going but someone's gotta do it. As I waited on the side of the road, I met lots of male cyclists wondering what I was doing. I often wonder what I'm doing, too. There were numerous offers of assistance. Ah, chivalry. Keep it up. In the nearby field, I watched two cows get on their hind legs and lock heads and shove each other. All this entertainment and the event hadn't even begun.

Eventually, the gang sauntered over from the school in Sunol to the start. What a brave lot! When Adam honked his horn, some of them shot off at a furious pace (Hello Tim Clark). Made me feel small. Wait, I am small. I was impressed that the tandem couple was doing the ride today.

I wasn't able to watch the gang do the climb nor arrive at the top due to logistics. I hope a good time was had by all. Thanks to the photographers Kwan and Pat.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Some commentary from A "Less Speedy Rider"

This week's Low-Key Hillclimb took us from the San Gregorio store on Hwy 84 and up West Old La Honda for a total of 14 miles and a relatively easy climb. The sky was blue, the air warm, the road lined with redwoods and the fields dotted with pumpkins. Simply put, a beautiful route to ride. There were a number of mishaps which resulted in people having to drop out early on. One man forgot his shoes, another guy's cable snapped and some other man's tire blew.

Dan suggested that "less speedy riders" might want to start first. My cue to go to the front of the line for the time trial.... see me in photo above.

I shot off expecting everyone, and I mean everyone to pass me. I harbor no illusions of grandeur. Sure a few guys overtook me quite quickly and easily but there were stretches when I was alone and felt like I was in the lead! Dream on, I know. I sped along on the flats going between 15-20 mph with a cadence of 86. Grand illusions began to loom on the horizon. Mighty Mouse! Wonder Woman! Faster than a speeding bullet! Was there a chance I might not finish last? Did I dare to dream!
I met The Boyfriend who was coming back down at around mile 13. I think he said something like, "Oh you made it or oh there you are...." Very funny, Mister. When I arrived at the top, after taking in the pretty scenery and lovely smell of earth and wood, there were cyclists standing about -- a rare sight and treat for me. Alas, as I later learned, the thrill of victory (or in my case not placing last) was short lived.

My personal trainer (that would be me) came up with a few possible reasons (aka excuses) for being a "less speedy rider":

1. I don't eat red meat?
2. I lost time waving to other cyclists and cows?
3. If I had legs like men, I wouldn't look hot in high heels
4. I don't wear those helmets that make one look like one belongs on the set of the movie Alien

Once again, a well organized and fun event thanks to the volunteers and participants. Thank you Ron for taking fantastic photos and video of this climb.

If I may borrow the category name of one of the female Western Wheelers: Slow but I think I'M fast. Thank you. As Arnold would say, "I'll be back."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mt. Diablo and the Beastie Boys

Once again, I found myself in the back of the line as we assembled into small groups to take on Mt. Diablo (Week 4, Low Key Hillclimbs). I invited people to join our exclusive club (we're part of that slow movement -- check out the World Institute of Slowness). We had some takers. Never mind that I went 80 mph to get to the event on time....

This year we tackled the south side (3170 vertical feet in 11.7 miles) and it afforded spectacular shots of the valley as we climbed and snaked our way to the top. You know when you go slowly, you have a chance to see the world. I met some men working in a garden. I spoke with some man training for the Solvang Century. There were rock climbers out and about. Amy and I duked it out for awhile before she got the upperhand.

The weather was a bit chilly and a wind kicked in now and again making the ride a bit scary at times. I was going about 7 weenie average miles per hour. At about mile 6, I was quite alone. There was no one to play in the sandbox with me. La dee da. I thought about the first bike I ever owned, around age 5, a red tricycle that I rode while in Libya. La dee da I thought some more. Then at mile 8, my legs began to feel like cement (picture Lot's wife turning to stone). Hmm, I thought, this really isn't good, is it. I took a gel and started on my weenie way once more.

At around mile 10 (those last few miles are challenging), Low Key climbers passed me by on their way down. Some waved, no doubt recognizing Weenie Woman. One group said, "You go Girl." I'm trying, people! I ran into (well not literally) The Boyfriend who said something about it being too cold at the top to wait for me. Hmm, I don't recall seeing icycles growing out of his nostrils but I do know what it is like to become chilled during a bike ride. Next, I saw Adam the photographer leaving as well. Who was going to take my photo when I zipped across the finish line!

I came upon it, the last little nasty bit of challenge. The Beastie Boys began playing on my iPod Nano. Perfect timing. And yes, I got up that 150-yard stretch of straight 16% grade just as I did on last year's climb, thanks to inspiration from the Beastie Boys. Altering their lyrics a bit -- "You gotta fight for your right to come in last." I was so happy to see Amy, Pat, Marie, Dan and the volunteers waiting (and waiting) at the top as I crossed the finish line!

I flew down the mountain at around 27-30 mph. Okay, the slow movement does not apply on descents. I ran into those guys working in the garden. One of them said, "Hey, we remember you!" I said, "Of course you do, Mister."

Results and photos available here.

Next week, another climb, another challenge, another chance to perfect my slowness.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bohlman On Orbit Busters

Weenie Woman decided not to participate in the Bohlman On Orbit climb (Week 3, Low Key Hillclimbs).

I waited on the side of the road, not far from the start, for the gang to appear. What a sight! It was friggin' cool to see the group come up together. I was thrilled to see a number of women taking on the challenge.

I turned all girly when I saw The Boyfriend amid the wave.

I have no idea what it was like for the Bohlman Busters but I do know that it was sweet to see them at the start. Check out the photos from Clark, Joey, Calvin and Ron.
Next up, Mt. Diablo. If interested, read my report from last year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kings Mountain

Another post about last week's Low-Key Hillclimbs
(read last week's entry if interested).

Funny but I don't remember smiling while climbing
Kings Mountain for the Low-Key Hillclimbs. For this
event, we set out in small groups. I was in the last group
(a fabulous group I might add) and so I didn't have the
opportunity to check out the men. That would have been
cause for smiling, believe me. It's not about the bike.
It's about eye candy. Okay, dreadful, I know.
See more photos from John's Flickr album and video from
Ron Brunner. The Boyfriend's in the video. Now that's
reason to smile.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Escort - Low-Key HillClimbs Week 2

The 2007 Low Key Hillclimbs began a week ago.
The Boyfriend and I showed up for this week's ride
up Kings Mountain. Here are the results and photos
(Thanks Ron).

That's me on the right next to Marie. It was
wonderful to see women I met from last year's

Yes, we (women) were awash in a sea of testosterone.
I had a cold and it was painful to do the ride. As I
approached the last mile, I threw up! Who knew
that I had the skill to be sick and stay on the bike.
Shortly after, this male cyclist came out
of nowhere and escorted me for about half a mile.
He told me that I only had a little ways to go and
that I'd make it and then he turned around and left.
I thought he was off to help Amy who was somewhere
behind me. She never saw him. And he wasn't part
of the group. Weird, huh! Thank you whoever you
are and wherever you are.

Of course I finished near the bottom. It's a given, okay.
But hey, I made the Team rankings!

Til the next time!

Carmel by the Sea

A weekend ago, The Boyfriend and I found ourselves in Carmel by the Sea. We managed to do a bike ride along 17 mile drive.

Of course he woke me up at some silly hour to go biking.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Welch Creek Road

Weekend plans with The Boyfriend to Lake Tahoe for the Tahoe Sierra century were cancelled due to inclement weather. Spent Sunday biking along Calavaras Road to investigate Welsh Creek Road which is one of the planned Low Key Hillclimbs. Guess what, I don't plan to do it.

Saw cows, skinny brown tarantulas, a few
wild turkeys and a few cyclists. A cow wandered
away from its pasture and decided to hang out in
the middle of the road and stare at cyclists
passing by. Weird, huh.

Then again, I thought about hanging out on the
side of the road to stare at the male cyclists
speeding by ....

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Day at the Beach

Spent Sunday with a friend at a beach in Half Moon Bay. We wiggled our toes in the sand and walked along some cliffs.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Take me to the river

Delightful weather finally. I fired up the Hybrid and rode along the Guadalupe River trail.

Along the way, I came across a dozen or so construction workers with their Catapillars. I stopped to thank them for the work they are doing on the trail. I tried ever so hard to convince them to take me on a ride on a Catapillar to no avail. Sigh. Still, men in uniform, what more can I say.

Next, I came across a shirtless runner who looked remarkably like Mr. Big from Sex in the City. Sweet. Men not in uniform, a good thing, too.

I splashed through a wet and muddy part of the trail and had a ball. While I was on the upper trail, I saw cyclists on the lower. They waved to me. I waved back.

The trail is almost finished. This is the first time that I didn't have to get off the bike and walk through a rough unfinished section and I was able to loop back home as well. It was a blast. I finished by coming into downtown San Jose.

Tomorrow, another adventure I hope, perhaps on the coast.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Hot Child in the City

Danger Will Robinson, Danger! 70+ plus librarians, myself included, on the loose in the city Friday for a workshop on next generation libraries. I'm taking the bullet train along with some colleagues to San Francisco. The workshop is being held at the swanky hi tech AT&T Executive Briefing Center. I am the designated photographer for the event. Side note. I love trains and train stations ever since I lived near the tracks by our house in Israel. I used to travel between Munich and Brussels by train while in college. I've also traveled by train in Kyoto, St. Louis, Paris, and Italy. I arrived in California by train from Chicago in 1989. Now, where I live, there just happens to be train tracks and every once in awhile on the way to work, I must stop for the train. Saturday I'm off for another day trip. Til then.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Heat is On

To escape the heat, The Boyfriend and I went to the Marin Headlands and Sausalito for a bike ride. He was climbing that road when I took the shot. We enjoyed the fog from afar.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

I panicked on the descent that leads to Point Bonita Lighthouse and had to walk some of it. Too steep for me. Of course this afforded me the opportunity to meet three male cyclists who asked if they could be of service. Hmmm.... The Boyfriend is probably rolling his eyes and shaking his head.

Too hot to continue this blog entry. Til next time....

Monday, August 27, 2007

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Saturday, The Boyfriend and I did Hicks (South) again which includes going through New Almaden.

The most exciting part of the ride besides admiring The Boyfriend was the tarantula I spotted in the road. You know it's coming -- yes, the spider probably crawled along Hicks faster than I did. Sigh.

The effect of virtually no rainy season. We could see ducks wading in mud.

He's probably thinking, "Great, I'm stuck with her for the next 7 miles." :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

In Wine Country

The Boyfriend and I spent the weekend biking in the Napa Valley. Saturday we biked along Big Canyon Road which is in Middletown, Lake Country. We drove through Calistoga to get there. Beautiful country. The 30 mile route we rode is one done by Gary Erickson, Clif Bar founder. I learned about this ride in Weekend Sherpa.

Back at our cottage in St. Helena, The Boyfriend discovered a snake in the bathroom. Between the two of us, we managed to sweep it up with a broom into a brown paper bag and toss it into the vineyard. See, no snakes were harmed in the making of this blog....

Sunday, we left early (as in we watched the sunrise) to drive to Yountville for the Tour of Napa which begins at the Veterans Home.

On the way there, we saw lots and lots of hot air balloons either already in the sky or just about to leave the ground. What a magnificant sight! This year, we both did the Metric ride. We started off together riding through vineyards and gentle rolling hills but he left me after the first rest stop. This is a lovely tour with its lake views, the stretch along the Silverado trail and its wineries, and the awesome descent. The tour takes you past Litto's Hubcap Ranch, right before Aetna Springs Road. I surprised The Boyfriend when we ran into one another at the second rest stop. He didn't expect to see me again until the end. The food is wonderful too -- chunks of grilled tofu! Last year, I joked a lot with men and women but this year, much like Marin, the flirting and fun conversation didn't happen. So I had many conversations with myself because you know, I'm so fascinating. :)

Last year, while I did have a cold and I almost froze my buns off for the first 25 miles (it was a cold foggy start), I finished the 65 mile tour in 5 hours with 12.8 mph average speed. This year, my stats were considerably better with a finish time of 4 hr 38 m and 14.1 mph average speed. Descents were the same at 35 mph. The Boyfriend finished an hour earlier with an avg. speed of 17 mph. He amazed me more so when he drove to the Napa Valley Roasting Company Saturday morning to get me a cup of coffee while I slept in.