Sunday, November 29, 2009

Break on Through to the Other Side

The light bulb came on. Weenie Woman is in training.
I returned to Mt. Hamilton. The goal was not to slug it out and get to the top but to climb strategically and practice technique. Like I said, uh the light bulb finally came on.
Not many cyclists out. It was a bit windy (but not like yesterday's gusts) and chillier than the LKHC event last Thursday. No one to play with but that'll have to wait for another day.
In any case, I had too much fun playing with gears and taking corners. This little gear will get me up, this little gear is tough going, this little gear will cause me to topple over, this little gear feels just right. Cut off point was mile 9 to give me some numbers to play with for all the next times. And I'll keep at it until I break on through to the other side.
Meanwhile, please keep your giggles to yourself. :)
18 miles, climbing 7.3 mph avg.
1 hr. 12 m (next time I will shoot for a faster time) to reach mile 9
24.5 max one way, 30 mph max the other way on descents

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mt. Hamilton -- The Final Frontier

(photo by Josh Hadley)
Mt.Hamilton, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Low Key Hillclimbs. Its 9 week mission: to explore strange new climbs, to seek out new roads and new gradients, to boldly go where no cyclist has gone before....

I took it as a sign when Captain K told us to “haul our ass” up the mountain. And that I did along with 171 other LKHClimbers on a warm sunny Thanksgiving Day.
I met a guy around mile 9 who decided to push me up for 5 minutes or so. And now I know what it feels like to go 12 mph up an incline. Beam me up, Scotty, the rest of the way, please.

As I closed in on the finish line, I shouted, “Eh, Mister, here comes my ass!” Of course hardly a soul was around by the time I reached the top. Sigh.

Thank you P and D for encouraging me to do this climb and for being there at the top waiting. Thanks also to my other teammate R for turning around at mile 17 and climbing with me for a few minutes. Thank you Captain K for waiting for me to finish and for a wonderful line: We know it’s over because you’re here. And to H for recording times. And to M for riding down the mountain with me.

I finished 172 out of 172, climbing 18.4 miles (4300+ feet). Second highest turnout in the history of the LKHC! And yes, last again but my mom is still proud of me.

And so our 9 week mission comes to a close. Until the Mega Monster Enduro in February. See you there. Maybe I’ll come in second to the last….

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Anyone for Alba?

Apparently so, since 82 of you were gungho to climb Alba Road in Ben Lomond in 39 - 44 degree weather! Amazing. Me, I was gungho to stay in my bed, under the covers. Instead, I climbed, I mean, I drove up and down Bear Creek Road to the start with my ears popping and the car windows steaming up.
Before we could see the first batch of riders come across the finish line, we could hear them breathing and panting hard. It was an incredible sound.
As our other photographer quipped to someone, "Wait, let me get a photo of you puking." It was a funny line at the time. Our humor is shameful!
We had an impressive turnout given the location and the temperature. You were fantastic! One more climb to go -- Thanksgiving Day -- Mt. Hamilton and once again, our swell series will come to an end.
Anyone for Alba? You betcha.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Doing the Diablo

(photo by Brenda and Ron Brunner)

Low Key Hillclimbs, Week 7, Mt. Diablo, North Gate.

You know that you've arrived too early when you spot the ride coordinator having a coffee at Peet's. No no no, I shan't whine about how The Boyfriend forced me to get up at some unheard of morning hour, thus, not allowing me to dream of men, I mean sheep. No, no, no, I won't whine about the lost beauty sleep, nor being so tired I had no desire to flirt or snap photos of fellow LKHCers during registration. Our drive from the South Bay began with a light rain, forcing us to cover our saddles with grocery bags. As we came into Walnut Creek, the sky turned blue, the sun appeared but the cold November day remained.

(photo by Carl Butler)
Today though was memorable because slower riders got to go first for the time trial up Mt. Diablo. Yes, for once, I was out in front, ahead of everyone else, Leader of the Pack, smelling the thrill of victory, for, wait, wait for it, all of 2 minutes before being overtaken by other cyclists. It was sweet while it lasted.
I had the rare opportunity to see everyone in action and that was truly enjoyable and something I will treasure. As people passed, they talked to me, some briefly, some for a few minutes. Then of course, there were the drivers who flirted with me. I swear, I do nothing to instigate these things. "The girl can't help it." In fact, with all these people vying for my attention, and the interference it causes, why, it's no wonder that I tend to finish last. :)
In 2006, my LKHC time was 116.44. Today's finish was 113.55. Perhaps a mass start vs. a time trial explains the difference. This year, I had to get off the bike to finish. Sigh. Note to The BF: I would like a boytoy, I mean, personal trainer for Christmas. A special thank you to my teammate for cheering me on to cross the finish line.
Ah, the piece de resistance: of the 137 riders who rode today, I placed 137th. Please, please, I don't think I'm up for autographs....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bohlman Busters

On the way up, in the car, we volunteers looked out the window to be greeted by sweeping views of the valley, so incredibly high above that it was like being in airplane taking off at SFO, and that prompted P to quip, "Duck for airplanes." Need I say more?
Borrowing from Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, a tribute:
Climbing Is a Burning Thing
And It Makes A Fiery Ring
Bound by a crazy desire
LKHCers fell into the BNKQOOB Of Fire
LKHCers fell into a Burning Switchback Of Fire
They went up, up, up as the road went higher
And Bohlman Burns, Burns, Burns
Their lungs on fire
Their legs on fire
The Taste of Bohlman is Sweet
At 2110 feet, it’s very steep
The previous climbs now seem mild
As BNKQOOB becomes more and more wild

Oh, but The LKHCers went wild
They went up, up, up and higher
Despite their lungs on fire,
Their legs on fire
And Bohlman burns burns burns
Along with Norton, Kittridge, Quickert and on Orbit
One continuous climb of fire
That the LKHCers conquered
Through sheer determinism and desire
Amazing how fast they all came across the finish line! Wow is about all that I am able to say.