Saturday, December 27, 2008

Along the Coast

A lovely sunny day (finally) for a visit to the coast. Here I am driving on 92 to Half Moon Bay. The kind of day when you want to drive with the convertable top down and feel the wind in your hair except of course, I drive a Toyota Corolla.

I've arrived, happy and all smiles.

Princeton by the Sea, in the distance. People wanted to talk to me. An elderly gentleman closed my car door for me.

Along Pillar Point. A surfer boy stopped to talk to me. Oh my God, I can't believe I giggled like a schoolgirl. Wet suit -- it does a body good.

A long time ago, a wasp stung the bottom of my foot here.

Above, Fitzgerald Marine area. I couldn't find the tide pools.

I took a lot of photos and it was hard choosing which ones to post.

Tomorrow, the rain may return, so, I'm thinking a day at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University viewing Durer to Picasso among other exhibits will do nicely.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

A photo essay of Christmas in the Park in downtown San Jose. A winter wonderland brilliantly lit but hard to capture on my digital camera.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2 Days Before Christmas

One of my favorite scenes during the holiday season is a block of Victorian offices in downtown San Jose; each year, brilliantly lit.

A scene inside the House of Siam, a lovely Thai restaurant in downtown San Jose. FYI, my brother was born in Thailand.

The pink duck is a gift from The Boyfriend. It flashes a variety of colors. Another toy for bath time!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Whirlwind Weekend

The Boyfriend returned home after being abroad for several weeks in countries with little sunshine. We spent the weekend in Pacific Grove biking 17 Mile Drive, Highway 1 and Pt. Lobos State Park, among other things....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunbathing on Sierra Road

It was so hot climbing Sierra Road today that I should have worn my bikini. I had to unzip my jersey to my belly button. Did I mention the number of male cyclists who stopped to take in "the view?"

I discovered that listening to classical music while doing a difficult climb is wonderful. I struggled but I did not feel the usual frustration.

Oh dear, even the Moo Moos were faster than me.

Oh dear, even the turkeys moved faster than me.

Oh dear, even the lone turkey who took the road less traveled was faster than me.

At the top, documenting a red and sweaty face. Alas I needed to stop several times as I climbed but I could tell that my miniscule muscles are gathering strength.

One last view before the descent. Despite the haze, I could see Lick Observatory atop Mt. Hamilton though I didn't take a photo. Flying down Calaveras, sometimes at 33 mph (no doubt others would go even faster) is worth the pain of Sierra! I misjudged a corner, badly, but you should have seen the tank tires in action. I could feel them gripping the road and self correcting what might have been a rather horrible mishap. I fell in love with them.
The 17 mile loop took 2 hours. I know. Sigh.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mickey at the Airport

I didn't have anyone to play with as I rode along the Guadalupe Trail to Alviso until I came across Mickey at the San Jose airport! Alas, nothing else to share except some pretty photos.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Rides

Thanksgiving Day. Mt. Hamilton (photo shot by Stephen Fong), the last ride in the Low-Key Hillclimb series. Oh, I got up the mountain alright -- in a car. A lingering cold prevented me from participating as a rider but not as a volunteer. Next up is the LKHC series party. As I told the event organizer, "Yeah, so, you can climb, but eh, can you party!" For sure, I will take first place. What is always funny each year is whether we are able to recognize one another without our helmets and biking clothes.

Come Friday I was better so I joined friends for an ACTC ride in the Los Gatos hills. It was rather cold with a heavy fog layer. We rode 17 miles including: University --> Shannon -->Hicks West --> Reynolds --> Shannon --> Kennedy --> parking lot.

Above: A short stop on Shannon in Los Gatos vicinity.

Documenting the pain of riding up Reynolds (off Hicks West), a short but steep climb. A good ride to ease me back into cycling after 2 weeks of fighting a cold.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Metcalf Loop

The telephone rings. It's The Boyfriend skyping me from another continent.

BF: Whatcha doing?
Me: Reading.
BF: Proust? Hegel? Aristotle?
Me: Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave. They forgot to include me.
BF: Sigh.
Me: I'm going to do a bike ride today and then it's "Men in tights, men in tights!"
BF: Try to behave at the ballet.
Me: Oh, I'll behave alright. I'll be on my best bad behavior.
BF: I'm hanging up now.

I did a 20 mile loop beginning at Metcalf but not up Metcalf. I biked on roads that were uphill or undulating for the most part, starting with Basking Ridge/Hellyer. Exact route: Hellyer -> Silver Creek -> Farnsworth -> San Felipe -> Metcalf and some other road as well.

Silver Creek above and below.

Quite a pretty ride. Below is Metcalf.

And Metcalf again.

Took me 1 hr 56 minutes with an average speed of 10 mph and max. speed of 28 mph. I know, not exactly going to break any records. I'm going to enjoy the Spanish bullfighter tonight but I do miss my knight in shining spandex and wish that he could have gone on this ride with me.
Up next, the last of the LKHC for this year-- Mt. Hamilton on Thanksgiving Day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Metcalf Low-Key Hillclimbs Week 7

Metcalf Mission (otherwise known as Week 7 of the Low Key Hillclimbs series)
Opening Scene: Covert Ops
Tuesday was spent doing recon about the climb. While only 1.8 miles, I stopped 3 times to do: 1) intelligence gathering (would I or would I not get up Metcalf?) and 2) to contemplate life (whine, cry, rant, rave, sweat). Having accomplished #2, I would say the mission was successful.
Saturday morning: The Boyfriend skypes me from another continent.
He: Bear Gulch was the last time for me to score for this year's series.
Me: But not for me!
He: You're not talking about biking, are you.
Me: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me.
He: Sigh. Listen Missy, your mission should you accept it, is to get up the hill without stopping.
Me: Yes Sir!
Showtime: Mission (Im)possible
Volunteer: Name?
Me: Agent 99.
Volunteer: Let's try it again.
Me: Holmes, Christine Holmes.
Volunteer: Number?
Me: Double 0 27 and remember Mister, I like my gatorade stirred not shaken.
Volunteer: I bet your boyfriend sighs a lot, doesn't he.
Me at the top. Mission accomplished. Yes, I got up Metcalf without stopping by staring at the asphalt almost the entire time and let me tell you what a picnic that was.... Several of us continued on Metcalf, descending into beautiful countryside. I think I may do this ride again tomorrow but in reverse making it even tougher because you know, I just can't get enough.
I wish The Boyfriend had been with me on the ride.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

LKHC Bear Gulch

See the beams of sunlight in the photo above? When I was little, I would walk into the light believing it was God showing me Heaven on Earth. Bear Gulch is a beautiful ride and a slice of Heaven.

Well, I charged up the hill in the last wave, all gung ho, passing several cyclists, and prepared for the strain. (The Boyfriend gave me a debriefing earlier in the week about what to expect). And then the little engine that could (that would be me) overheated.

I had to clip out and walk a bit all the while thinking that you'd read about me in some magazine while waiting in line at the supermarket, you know, "Cyclist spontaneously combusts." If this is what I can expect when I get hot flashes some day in the not too distant future, then please, just shoot me now.

Once in the shade of the woods, the rest of the ride was a piece of cake. By then though, it was too late to catch up to anyone. Still, a lovely ride made even nicer by hanging out with the LKHC gang. See results and photos.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quimby Road LKHC Week 3

Weenie Woman (that would be me) decided to be a volunteer for the 3rd LKHC ride. A good sized crowd of nonweenies of both sexes showed up for the Quimby Road climb. Of course there was some drama (the weather being the case for the last 2 rides), this time in the form of not having the roster of everyone’s numbers. So we improvised with letters and whatnot.
Scene 1: Show me the Money
Me: Forgot your number, eh?
Cyclist: Yeah.
Me: That’ll cost you an extra $10 payable to me. You’ll be contributing to my financial bailout!
Scene 2: The Bag
Volunteer: Here’s the large trash bag to take clothing to the top.
Me: Uh um, you sure it's not a body bag to collect those poor souls .... oh I know, I'm dreadful.
Scene 3: The photos
We positioned ourselves on Quimby to take photos, aka different angles of pain. Nah, everyone looked fantastic as they came up the last leg of the climb. Wow, the first several riders to finish were breathing heavily. What a sound.
Me: Say Mr. Cyclist, do you suppose if I practiced some heavy breathing exercises, I might improve?
Cyclist: Is it a feeling of oxygen deprivation or am I speaking with a nut case?
Me: Hmm, let me think about that and get back to you.
Scene 4: The Tarantula
Volunteer: Look, a tarantula.
Me: The bugger keeps crossing the road back and forth, again and again. Too much EPO?
[Cyclists coming]
Me: Brake brake, don’t run over the spider!
[The cyclists who encountered the little fella deftly maneuvered around it. Amazing.]
Me: Do you think he or she is in search of its lover or perhaps it wants to join in on the fun?
Cyclist: Is it a feeling of oxygen deprivation or am I speaking with a nut case?
Me: Show stopper! Scene stealer! We should make it an honorary LKHC member!
Scene 5: My Car
Me: Those extra bike wheels in the passenger seat are getting in the way of the gear shift. Guess I’ll have to put it in neutral on the drive down Quimby.
Volunteer: Um, is that safe?
Me: Got me a backseat driver, eh? Wait, you are in the backseat. Buckle up Mister, you’re in for a ride. [as I hit the gas pedal]. Oh by the way, I only brake for tarantulas ....
I bow to all that rode today. It was a joy to watch and to take photos. Fantastic job.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

West Alpine LKHC Week 2

Last week we were caught in rain for the Montebello ride. This week, an icy wind greeted us for the West Alpine ride. I, along with 75 men and 19 women, decided to grin and bear it but more importantly “get over it.”

I made my way down Alpine from the Russian Ridge parking lot to the starting point at Sam MacDonald Park. Naturally, I missed the entrance.
The BF: How could you miss the big brown wooded sign?
Me: Socializing is such a distraction.

Truth is, I was zipping up the hill, going 6 mph (that’s racing for me) when a blur of white and black soared past me - Tim C. out for a stroll. Sigh.
I started in the back of the pack. Would I continue my streak of not finishing last? Having never done this ride, I had no idea how I would perform. Oh the pressure. But, I had a goal for this ride: to do it under 60 minutes. Within minutes, more like seconds, I wondered, “Hey, where did everyone go?”
Ah, the joy of cold air in one’s lungs for 6.5 miles. With less than a half mile to the finish line, I wondered, “Where are those frigging orange cones that James P. said to look for?” (a thought I imagine others had as well). Like the week before, I was the last to start but not to finish. And, I met my goal coming in at 59.25. Get results and photos.

Motivating factor during the ride: Bath time afterwards with my bath toys.
Thanks to the volunteers and for another LKHC adventure.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Montebello LKHC

As some of you know, what I see during a cycling event bears little resemblance to what others experience.
Thank you Dan, volunteers, and photographers. Also, great to see both regulars and new faces attend. Lastly, I'd like to thank myself for showing up.
Oh the drama -- would we be able to embark upon the first climb (results and photos) of the 2008 Low Key Hill Climb series? Would we "Get over It" if we didn't?
In the Beginning:
Woman: What's your name?
Me: Christine, aka the weenie woman who has the distinct honor of always finishing last.
Woman: Oh, I know who you are!
Me: Sigh.
Volunteer: Oh, a librarian! Will you be reading a book on the way up?
Me: Probably get through an entire 800 page Russian epic given the speeds of years past....
Joke of the Day:
Volunteer: You know, we can take your saddle bag to the top for you.
Me: Yes, that's sure to make all the difference. [nearby people laughing hysterically].
At the start:
Man: I like starting at the back of the pack.
Me: We get to look at everyone's tushies!
Man: Best seat in the house.
Panting like a German shephard though not with my tongue hanging out, I climbed, mostly alone, until I came upon the cute AT&T guy repairing a line. Naturally, I had to stop for a moment to admire the view. The Boyfriend, also on this ride, is probably shaking his head as he reads this. Focus woman, focus to which I'd reply, "It's not about the bike, it's about me, me, and me flirting, I mean, socializing.
With about a mile or so to go, a steady rain began to fall covering the hairs on my arms in a glistening mist, much like fine droplets of dew settling on flowers. At the same time, I said to myself, "What is this -- a wet t-shirt contest? Cyclists began to descend saying nice things to me. Thank you.
I was the last to start but not to finish, thanks to the boot camp (I mean biking holiday with The BF) from the previous week. OMG.
"Get over it." That we surely did. Until next time....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008 Lighthouse Century

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Boyfriend did the Lighthouse Hilly Century and I did the Lighthouse Hilly Metric, a ride organized by the San Luis Obispo Bike Club.

The photo above and below were taken in his car yesterday. Our weather for the Lighthouse Century was mostly fog fog and more fog with peeks of sunshine occasionally. When I started the ride at some ridiculous hour (Thank you Mr. Boyfriend), my body was covered in fine dew from the fog along with a constant drip from my helmet for the first hour or so. But it wasn't really cold.

The route took us on Hwy 1, an incredible 9 mile descent on 46 (I think), a bit of a climb on Old Creek Road, Whale Rock Reservoir (no view due to the fog) and past the towns of Cayucos, Morro Bay, Harmony and Cambria. The 100 milers went onwards to San Simeon/Hearst Castle and of course, the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, none of which were visible to The BF, again due to the weather. Of course the fog did not obscure visibility of all the boys who I noticed, talked to or flirted with. Nothing like having a hand made license plate (with my name) on the back of my bike to get attention.

Self portrait on Hwy. 1 around mile 50 or so. I believe I was having the following thought, "If one more frigging insect hits my face, I'm gonna ...." They felt like pellets when cycling at high speeds.

Both of us steamed through this particular tour. Though The Boyfriend did 30 miles more than me, he managed to catch me at the last rest stop around mile 52 or so. Wow! Someone took our photo and some chicks said we looked so adorable together. Gag me.

My time was 4h 45 min. with 13.6 mph avg. The BF finished before me! Amazing. I sped into the parking lot at the end, calling out to the BF, "Yoo Hoo." Cyclists turned their heads. The BF tried to hide but I just yelled louder, "Yoo Hoo." Teasing him is so much fun.

Thanks to the event organizers, volunteers and fine food at rest stops.

Next up, another season of the Low Key Hillclimbs with this year's theme being Get Over It.