Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mighty Not on Montebello

Starting from The Boyfriend's bachelor pad, the two of us headed towards Foothill Expressway and onwards to Montebello. I wanted to time myself once again on Montebello since I won't be there for next Saturday's first Low Key Hillclimb. I'll be in Sonoma somewhere on a date with Levi L. doing his GranFondo ride. I say date because the man keeps sending me emails about the ride so clearly he wants me there with him....
The day was not as hot as yesterday (poor P suffered in the heat on her ride down south Saturday) but it was still too hot for me. I got through 4 bottles of water by the time I arrived at the top of Montebello (21 miles from start of ride) but no hottie flashes! There is a God ....
Last year this time, doing the LKHC, we were being rained upon and freezing on the way down. This time, I had to stop three times to cool off and I knew that I'd blow the attempt to do better than last year's LKHC results. And well, there were the usual attractions, I mean distractions.... Men, men, men, must they soar down the road looking mighty fine while I try not to look. Such games they play, in their tight spandex shorts and jerseys unzippered. And then there was the woman who wanted to chat with me about Dr. Seuss and how if I ever felt a need for shelter, I could go to her home on Peacock. The BF, too, distracted me, looking quite handsome and hence, the photo of him, an oversaturated exposure to keep him out of my thoughts and increasingly lame attempt up Montebello.
About a half mile to the top, I came across more men. Sigh. Well, not really.
Men: He's waiting for you at the top.
Me: Clive Owen!
Men: No, The Boyfriend and we should have waited for you, too, hot sweaty babe!
Me: I know, I know, men, they seek me here, they seek me there, they seek me everywhere....
Well, needless to say, I blew it in terms of beating last year's LKHC time of 55 minutes. 1 hr 9 minutes. I actually felt strong doing the climb but the heat blew it for me as well as my overall stats.
40.27 miles
31 max
11.3 avg mph
3 hrs 33 min.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hiccup on Hicks

Get this -- The Boyfriend and I began today's ride around 10am! No crack of dawn start today! I got to sleep in and I got to watch a t.v. episode of Julia Child roasting a chicken.

Certainly, the weather was more agreeable today than yesterday. We did the easier Hicks loop. "Easier" just means I probably won't topple over.

I so wanted to get up Hicks without getting off the bike. Halfway up, those horribly annoying buzzing flies descended upon me, no doubt I was an easy target given that I was only going 3 mph at the point when the climb becomes difficult. Buzz buzz buzz in my face, my ears, my mouth. I couldn't take it anymore and had to walk part of Hicks. A cyclist stopped to ask me if I was okay. Boy, I must have looked pathetic!

The BF also did Mt. Um (photo above). What a climber. I tried, I didn't conquer, I'll try again.


23 miles
11.8 avg mph
23.5 max descending
1.57 hrs.

Friday, September 18, 2009

As the Wheel Turns

Resisting the temptation to lounge about in my boudoir, I decided to behave, be disciplined, and go for a bike ride on my furlough day. The Low Key Hillclimbs are starting soon and golly geez, Dan and Ron still want me to be part of their team and that just made me want to get out and train. Sort of.

The plan was to do the Metcalf loop in both directions. I climbed in gears other than Granny, forcing myself to endure the strain, the pain, the flies, and the cries of Weenie Woman, remembering, as my wheels turned rather slowly, that I don't want to come in last for any of the LKHC that I do this year.

The day heated up much quicker than expected and after descending Metcalf, I didn't have it in me to continue the reverse loop, back up Metcalf to San Felipe and beyond. I simply wilted after feeling so good about my progress. Even the 4 male cyclists coming my way, with their damn fine bodies, couldn't persuade me to get my act together and carry on....


21 miles

31 mph on a descent

10.3 avg mph

2 hrs

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weenie Woman does Wacky Weather

This morning, The Boyfriend called to cancel our ride to the coast. A business trip left him feeling a bit under the weather. Ah, the life of a world renowned whatchamacallit.

For one brief moment, I thought, I'm off the hook, I can spend the day lounging by the pool, sipping an alcoholic fruit filled concoction topped off with a pink flowered umbrella, watching strapping young men clean the pool. Alas, the fantasy faded as duty compelled me to go out on my own. Afterall, I had played the lounge lizard all week long ....

As I ate a bowl of Kashi cereal (which The BF refers to as twigs), I decided to meander up Felter Road and monitor the rather strange weather. You see the threatening clouds in the above photo. The BF mentioned rain and thunder and lightening up his way.

Gotta love that Felter Road. As I climbed, I noticed the air was dead calm. I thought I felt rain drops only to realize that it was me, sweating profusely. Gotta love those hormones. I think maybe I was having a hottie flash. It was muggy but one has to wonder if one thinks it is raining ... and it's just you swimming in big drops of sweat. I just know that right about now, The BF is realizing how my prose is downright romantic and seductive.

Oh, which road to take -- the one less traveled -- eenie meenie mynee moe, I'll go straight on Felter rather than turning on Calaveras. I began to feel like the swan in Swan Lake, dying as I climbed. Not. Oh my Golly, while I was still in weenie gears, I felt stronger than I have felt doing this climb in the past. Though I did have this odd ache in my right tushy that irritated me beyond belief. There she goes again, The BF is thinking, ever so romantic with her writing.

I reached Sierra Road to be greeted by clouds hanging in the valley. What a sight. And the men at the top. But they were just the icing. Let me tell you about the real sight.....

But first, San Jose, looms in the mist. Neato peato.

As I descended Sierra Road, men appeared, one after another, climbing up. Did I make the right decision in my choice of which road to take earlier in the day? You bet your sweet touchie I did. There must have been 75 of them waving, smiling, saying hello to me, and ha ha, asking me about getting to the summit. Oh the advice I gave, having nothing to do with biking....

Strange weather. It never did rain and the temperature went from chilly to muggy to sunny. I'm glad I kept it short and sweet.


16.5 miles
25.5 max speed
8.8 mph avg
1 hr 50 min.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 7 - The Last Day

Saturday, Sept 5
Cedar City to St. George
2580' feet of climbing

Sigh, the trip is coming to an end. But on an incredible high -- Snow Canyon.

There was some concern that the controlled fire that was actually no longer controlled would prevent us from cycling the last day. But rain and wind the night before cleared the way!

The BF snakes along. Notice how small he is in the first photo. Ah, the landscape.

More of the park. The day was becoming increasingly hot as we made our way back to St. George but apparently, below normal temps.

As we left the incredible Snow Canyon (believe me, the photos do not do justice), we entered the burbs and it was a beautiful way to end the trip.

What I learned:

I'll get there eventually.

Thank you Deb and Brian of Planet Ultra for organizing this tour. Thank you The BF for supporting Weenie Woman. Next year, we may do the Planet Ultra Northern Rim tour that includes the Grand Canyon.


84.5 miles
30.5 max
13.1 mph avg
6 hrs. 26 min.

Day 6 - It's All About Altitude, Baby

Friday, Sept 4th
Panguitch to Cedar City with Planet Ultra
4710' feet of climbing

Get out the oxygen masks! No not really. My cycling budette A asked about altitude sickness. Not a problem for Weenie Woman. Probably because in general, I am one dizzy woman (according to others) so the altitude did not faze me. :) Our climb was gradual. There was a point where my legs felt heavy but that was the extent of it. Far more important is that the last few hotels did not have clocks nor conditioner. Hello, how do you expect me to continue without proper hair conditioning?

Me at a high point. A bit cold and windy and clearly there had been some rain. But, you know what, I survived the 30 something degree weather of the Cinderella tour in Livermore, California, with my regular cycling budette P and so, this part of the ride was nothing. The Boyfriend and I were joined by S, a real hero, in my book. S, once weighed a great deal but he took it off, and then, unfortunately, was struck down twice by cars; he gained some of the weight back, but he is still out there, going strong. What a man.

Oh my, the view.

Cedar Breaks Summit. We made it to the top!

Another summit as we descend. It was an incredible descent, and not too technical. By the way, many of our routes ended with great descents to our lodgings. Super!

I stop along the way to capture the beauty of the descent. I felt like we were in Tahoe Country.

Oh my God people, my left ear got sunburned. What a day!


58 miles
32 max
10.6 mph avg
5 hrs 27 min

Day 5 - Alone Again on a Long Boring Stretch

Thursday, Sept 3
Torrey to Panguitch with Planet Ultra
3940' feet of climbing
106 miles of biking

The Boyfriend and I set off together. Today's journey involved a long mostly flat stretch and a lot of wind. Basically, a day to get us from Point A to Point B. We were fortunate though that the wind today was maybe 10 mph. For those of us who have biked South San Jose in the late afternoon, the Utah wind was piddly. However, I was cold and appreciated that The BF was out in front protecting me. What a way to keep the romance alive!

The BF joined the tandem at around mile 20 and left me. What a way to keep the romance alive.... nah, I wanted him to get a move on after babysitting me. [p.s. on one descent, somewhere on our trip, the tandem people hit 60 mph]. I make a tactical error, talking to S.A.G. support and soon found myself in the back of the pack. It is today on a long boring stretch in which I planned to do my first 105 miles that I suddenly feel alone, wondering where I am, what day it is, tired of consuming gels, PowerBars, and so forth. Okay, I was feeling sorry for myself having no one to flirt with.....

The ride leader told me that if I was too slow, they would have to pick me up and take me to the hotel. Well, people, let me tell you, I kicked ass. Yeah, I had a plan to Motor West and I got my kicks but not on Route 66. Well, not really, but I tried to keep my spirits up. The road was uneven and dull with a lot of farmland and an exhausting climb of 10 miles.

At mile 65, I hung up my shoes. The weather turned funny, once again, with threatening dark skies. I made a very wise choice. Almost all of the other riders got caught in the coldish rain and many got flats. The BF got two flats! But his slimy gel stuff sealed up the punctures and got him home. [p.s., he is now experimenting with tubeless tires]. Me, I enjoyed yakking away in the comfort of the warm van with the Canadian and the retired military man with the broken wrist who were providing S.A.G. support today.


65 miles
35 max
12.4 mph avg

Day 4 - Time to Climb

Wednesday, Sept 2
Tour of Southern Utah with Planet Ultra
Escalante to Torrey and Capitol Reef
6240' climbing

Once again, I start off early knowing that the gang will catch up soon. A few people leave earlier than I do. Like most of the trip, the roads are essentially free of automobiles. Today's ride involves about 45 miles of climbing but at a gradual incline (6% with a few steep bits). The photo above is around 6200 feet.

This section took my breath away. It was like the last bit of Mt. Ventoux. Shortly afterwards, The BF caught up to me. We ride together. We pee together. Yes, what a way to keep the romance alive.... :) It becomes a running joke with other riders that I have no issue pulling down my panties to take bathroom breaks anywhere I see fit. I am a wateraholic and this trip demands that I drink a lot. It is so dry and hot that often we show no signs of sweating.

I am no longer a dough boy! The swelling and rash have gone. Five minutes after this photo, I got a flat! No, you say, on your Specialized Armadillo tank tires! I was so lucky to have The BF with me to change it. What a way to keep the romance alive .... Of course, this delay means everyone catches up to me. Sigh. [p.s., the good looking retired married man from Los Altos has Continental tires. He never got a flat on the trip]. We head off on another climb and my chain slips. The BF, unaware of this mishap, keeps going and leaves me in the dust. What a way to keep the romance alive .... It took me 15 minutes to get it back on and on top of that, my hands were covered in grease and my water bottles tumbled down to the river. Let us just say I was not a happy camper.

Around mile 28, I slow down considerably and stop on the side of the road (yes, you figured correctly, another blood sugar dip). I meet some motorcyclists from Canada. Naturally I use the time wisely by flirting. Next up, the aspen forest but more climbing and I'm feeling a bit pooped. Suddenly, I hear a loud crackling rumble. Lightening strikes. The sky is black. I am frightened. I say to myself, "Yo Bitch, get a move on." Can we talk self-preservation! Before long, I see the cyclists who started before me! Wow, I caught up to them. This is around mile 40. I pick them off, one by one.

At the summit! It's cold and windy. Get this, the faster riders (as I learned later) were rained and hailed upon. Sometimes, being a slow rider has its advantages..... We descend but encounter only a few sprinkles.

The last 20 miles is mostly descending. The scenery changes again as I make my way towards Torrey and Capitol Reef.

The BF and a few others who still had some climb in them went into Capitol Reef. Me, I was just happy to get to the Rim Rock Inn in one piece. The photo above is just one of many of our views from the Inn.
66 miles
36.5 max
10.1 mph avg
6 hrs 35 min.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 3 - Bryce to Escalante

Tuesday, Sept 1
Tour of Southern Utah with Planet Ultra - To Escalante
1800 feet of climbing

Considered firing The Boyfriend because he wouldn't let me stay in and watch the James Bond marathon on television.

We begin the entry into Escalante. This ride started at noon after the hike in Bryce Canyon. It was a short route. Oh get this, one of the cyclists recognized The Boyfriend - what a star!

Blood sugar dipped, thus, I ended up biking about 8 mph on a flat stretch for a bit. The BF babysat/chaperoned me as I churned along at a pathetic pace. But I made it to the summit and beyond.


47 miles
33.5 max
14.5 mph avg
3.14 hrs

Day 2 - Bryce Baby!

Monday, August 31
Tour of Southern Utah with Planet Ultra
Mt. Carmel Junction to Bryce Canyon
3710' climbing

You know the drill -- The BF woke me up at some absurd hour. I left the Thunderbird Inn with the other slow pokes, knowing that the faster cyclists would easily catch up to us within an hour. Sigh. It was 60 degrees when we left. After climbing for a bit (elevation 7500 ft), a lovely descent welcomed us.

There's The BF and others on a climb.

The first of many rolling descents. Regrettably, one of our troopers, a retired military man, crashed and broke his wrist on this stretch. He spent the rest of the tour providing support for the rest of us. What a guy! Along the way, I saw 6 dead deer, all in varying degrees of decompostion.

The BF and I took a bus tour of Bryce after we arrived. It was spectacular.

The next day, some of us hiked in Bryce Canyon before heading off on our bikes to Escalante Grand Staircase. Still a puffy marshmellow waiting for the swelling to subside.


59 miles
38 mph max
12.4 mph avg.
4 hrs. 45 min.

Day 1 - The Heat is On

Sunday, August 30th
Tour of Southern Utah with Planet Ultra
St. George to Carmel Junction via Zion National Park

Arrived late Saturday evening to 104 degree weather after driving from Northern California beginning Friday mid day. In the evening, meet up with some of the group -- 20 of us; most from Southern California and I learn quickly that I'm in competition for being the slowest. Some things never change. Sigh. We have one tandem with us. Interesting and lovely bunch of cyclists. One guy originally from Poland, another from Austria, a local boy from Los Altos Hills, and one from Canada who is doing a John Steinbeck tour. Our tour leader asks that we all start off together the first day at about 8:30am.

The Boyfriend wakes me up at some absurd hour. Hello, we're supposed to be on vacation! I think about firing him as The BF but I refrain. We began our journey to a nice temperature of about 75 degrees. Along the way, I get honked at, waved at, and wooed. Some things never change. :) At this point, The BF decides to accompany me.

As the day progresses, so does the heat and the heat does not agree with me. My arms go numb. My feet and hands swell. I turn into the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I get a heat rash on my leg. But the scenery overshadows. Above is The BF. I have the first of my usual blood sugar plummets and bike at about 8 mph on a flat stretch for a time. This is when I appreciate that The BF is with me. But I finish.
70 miles
33.5 max
11.3 avg.
6 hrs biking
Yes, I am the last to arrive .... a recurring theme.