Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Processor, a Winery, or a Climb?

I'd rather have spent today sipping a glass of wine at the Montevina Winery in Amador County or typing up a blog entry on an Intel Montevina processor but no, no, no, time for another climb, this being Week 5, Low Key Hill climb up, you guessed it, Montevina! 9% grade and more for 3.32 miles. Okey dokey, no problem for the slow pokey. Though singing up this climb was a wee bit dificult. Nevertheless, I came up with my own lyrics to Cole Porter's Night and Day.

Like the click click of my shoes
as they clip into my pedals
Like the drip drip drip of the fall fog layer
Yay the sun finally peeps through
So a voice within me keeps repeating you, you, you

Night and day, Day and night, why is it so
That this longing to climb you follows wherever I go
as I spin on my trainer (not really but go with it)
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you, night and day, day and night (not really but go with it)

(the last steep bit of Montevina)

Like the spin spin spin of my tires
on the surface of the road, I hope not to fall
while in my granny gear
Night and day, Montevina, you are the one
Only you beneath my 44cm frame or under my crank
Whether near to me, or far
Its no matter where you are
I think of you Montevina

(Lexington Reservoir)

Night and day
Under my derailleur
There’s an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me
And this torment won’t be through (not really but go with it)
Until you let me spend today climbing you

Okay, so 2 or 3 guys after repairing their flats managed to pass me. But darn it if I'd let the kids on mtn. bikes get past me! And I had to run with the bike 50 feet or so up the last steep bit of the climb. But it was fun! And now I think I'll have that glass of wine ....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Putting some Spring in my Soda

A few hours after the Low Key Hill Climb series, week 4, Soda Springs:

(via email with The Boyfriend who is in another country)

Me: Guess What!
The BF: Do I dare?
Me: They picked me to be a volunteer!
The BF: They must be hard up.
Me: Listen Mister, I was the Hostess with the Mostess.
The BF: Sigh.
Me: I got to be the bank manager. I took their fees. I took their phone numbers.....
The BF: Sigh.
Me: I didn't flirt, truly.
The BF: You wore a tight jersey, didn't you.
Me: Maybe.
The BF: Sigh.

Me: Guess what else!
The BF: Do I dare?
Me: I sang on the climb. Want to know what I sang?
The BF: Please tell me it wasn't The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of Music.
Me: No, because I was doing so well that I didn't get to that song. I'll save it for Montevina!
The BF: Sigh. And you wonder why I'm in another country.....
Me: Here goes ---

I get no kick from champagne
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all
but I'm getting a kick out of doing this climb!
and well ...
I get a kick out you, Mister.

We had a fabulous turn out. The weather was wonderful. I positioned myself a short distance before Soda Springs to take photos of everyone before the start. Unfortunately, when the horn honked, I was not prepared to go, so, I started late and then, my chain slipped. But these mishaps fired me up, putting some spring in my soda, and I climbed on, alone, but eventually, all the handsome male cyclists descended, and as they passed me, they sang out, "Good Job." That was sweet. But the sweetest yodel came from Ms. J. Martinez, our star female cyclist. Thank you.

The ride wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. Of course, when you bike as slowly as I do....

Just the stats, Ma'am

5.35 miles

8.4 grade

1 hr 4 min (I think my official time will actually be 1 hr. 6 min). I expected to do 1 hr. 15 min. so I'm pleased.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Taking on Tunitas Creek

Earlier in the week, before Week 3, Low Key Hillclimb Tunitas Creek/Star/Swet:

The BF: I won't be there for the LKHC ride Saturday.
Me: Oh darn. What to do, what to do? [eyebrow arches]. Hmm. Flirt!
The BF: Not! Focus on the biking, on the climbing!
Me: So demanding. Bike NOT flirt. A boolean operator. I'm getting excited.
The BF: Stop! Focus.
Me: Yes, Sir.
The BF: You got that right, Missy. Sometimes a man has to put his pedal down!

Come Saturday morning, I had to tear myself away from chapter 3 of the book Stiff by Mary Roach -- she was at the body farm in Tennessee. Oh how I miss those days at university as an anthropology major lass -- well I only got to study Peruvian skulls at the Smithsonian. To study, to observe, to share knowledge. I digress. Back to the climb.

I descended Swet and Star and ran into men but alas, I had a charter, a boolean operator commanding me to behave. Naturally, having never biked either Swet or Star I felt compelled to catalog each road, giving them meta tags to prepare me on the return.

I met up with a friend who asked where The Boyfriend was. Well, I explained he was on a business trip and I was supposed to, you know, not flirt. She looked at me. Wait, wait for it -- an explosion of laughter from both of us. Then I ran into a team mate and well ....

[insert music to The Twist]

C'mon baby, let's do the climb
C'mon baby, let's do the climb
Take me by my little hands and go like this
Climb, climb, climb, oooooh, yeah, just like this,
C'mon on little miss, and do the climb.
My Boyfriend ain't around, he ain't around
We're going to climb and climb and climb
Until we tear Tunitas down

92 men. 16 women (well one was about 5 years old -- Thank God I beat her). Perfect weather. Another fun filled event led by a great team of volunteers. Being in the back, I missed all the action. Sigh. I was pleased with my time of 67:09 though when compared to everyone else's -- well, let's not go there. Next week, I'll try not to shake it up, nor twist nor shout on Soda Springs but well, you know, I'm me, what can I say....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making the Grade Up Old La Honda

Earlier in the week, before Week 2, Low Key Hill Climb, Old La Honda:

Me: Our ring leader, Dan the Man, needs someone to organize cyclists into groups for OLH. I wanna volunteer, pick me, pick me! Imagine the groups I might put together!
The BF: I am trying not to imagine...
Me: You've seen my closet! Clothes organized first by color, then by item type, then by material, then by season.
The BF: Sigh, you librarians.
Me: I could have a field day, I could write a referred paper!
The BF: I think that they just want the groups to be organized by speed.
Me: Oh you men, with your need for speed.
The BF: Well, Old La Honda sets the bar for measurement.
Me: Listen Mister, the only measure that means anything is whether a man measures up to me!
The BF: Am I going to make the grade?
Me: To be determined .... alas, I hear that they have enough volunteers.
The BF: Thank God for small miracles.

Oh my Gosh, oh my gosh, my first Low Key Hill Climb of the season. Old La Honda! A name by any other name -- Old La Civic, Old La Corvette, Old La Chrysler -- just not the same ring to it.

As I made my way to start at Windy Hill parking lot, I met a male cyclist. I know, I know, what can I say, I have a knack for meeting men.....

He: What's your goal?
Me: Do you want the 5 yr plan or just today's?
He: Uh, for OLH.
Me: Well, I believe I met today's objectives: wake up (check), do 5 push ups (check), do 3 sit ups (check), watch Dexter (check), read up on faceted searching (check), paint nails. Oh my God, I forgot to paint my nails!
He: Uh, for OLH?
Me: Oh, you know, get up it.

The biking, woman, the biking, The Boyfriend is saying to me. Focus on the biking. Oh alrighty. I was in the last group to climb OLH, along with my biking babes P and C and some nice people I met, along with some people I haven't seen in awhile -- Hello K. Okay, suppress your giggles, get out your pompoms -- I got up in I believe 33 minutes (unofficial until results are posted), shaving off 5 minutes from the last time I did OLH. When I got to the top, I expected The Boyfriend to be waiting with limo, chocolates, red roses, and champagne. Not. I think I will have to send him to remedial boyfriend school. Nah, he's a honey.

Results and photos are posted here. Thank you volunteers and everyone else for making this a swell event. Thank you P and C for riding with me.

This year's slogan: Make the Grade. And that we did.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Levi's Gran Fondo

Saturday, October 3, 2009
After staying the night before in a romantic B&B (aka Best Western in Rohnart Park), The Boyfriend and I arrived for Levi's Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa. The proceeds from this sold out first time event benefited the City of the Santa Rosa for a stage at next year's Tour of California as well as the Sonoma County Humane Society's Forget me not Farm. The media and pro cyclists were also in attendance.

3500 cyclists, including biking budette A and a guy we met on the Tour of Southern Utah shot off in waves at 8:15am. I got to be part of a pelaton for 10 miles or so, going at a fast pace, too fast for lazy me. Police officers were at intersections making our journey smooth and safe. I wanted to take them home with me. My friend A said I had a one track mind. Oh alrighty, today I was going to focus on my biking and not give in to distractions.... But it was hard with all the fine looking police officers and firefighters.

The 61 mile and 100 mile route took us through farms, redwood forests, Russian River and the coast. The 100 mile included Kings Ridge, a long long climb. The scenery was ever changing and lovely. The male cyclists were ever changing and lovely. Okay, I snuck a peek now and then. Several of them told me how much they liked my colorful leggings. Hmm, since when do men comment on your clothing? The BF said it was code for something else that I shall not include in this blog entry ....

We didn't have route sheets with mileage. Instead, we were directed by giant green arrows as well as by volunteers.

Ah the coast.

I wore my Amgen Tour of California shirt so that Levi could easily spot me. :)

The biggest challenge for the 61 milers was Coleman Valley Road. Quite a few cyclists had to walk it. Several of us stood around looking at the steepest part of the climb. I took the lead and prayed I wouldn't topple over. It was swell when the group cheered me. I caught up to a guy:
Me: Say, feel like racing?
Guy: Don't make me laugh! I need my air.
Me: I know. I can't believe how hard I'm breathing.
Guy: Pant pant pant. [heavy breathing]
Me: Say, do you breathe like that during sex?
Guy: Stop it, you're killing me with the jokes!
Me: Say, when we get to the top, wanna do it all over again because you know, once is never enough. Hee hee hee.
Guy: I'm giving it all I got. Nothing left over for more.
Me: Yeah, I've heard that before, Mister.... hee hee hee.
Nearing the top, suddenly 3 male cyclists whizzed by us in a blur. Whoa. They had to be pros. It was amazing. Kind of took the hot air out of me and made me feel small! At the top, the wind was so fierce that it blew me across the road and into the field. I nearly fell over. Definitely took the hot air out me! I proceeded with caution.

A shot of Occidental. At the rest stop, I met a woman who said she loved my voice and thought I sounded like someone on NPR. The people I meet....

Oh lookey who showed up at mile 45! He arrived with no fanfare and quietly proceeded to the food table to thank the volunteers. Levi then posed with cyclists for a round of photos. What a sweet fella.

Lookey who showed up at the finish with no fanfare, only 55 minutes after me and he did the Gran Fondo to my Medio. Yep, The Boyfriend. Thank you to the people of Santa Rosa for letting us descend upon your city and for being out there on the roads cheering us. That was unexpected and much appreciated. Thank you to the volunteers, firefighters and police department for working the event. And of course, thank you Levi L. We had a wonderful time.
61 miles
33 mph on a descent
12.9 mph avg
4 hrs 42 min.