Saturday, August 28, 2010

Once Around the Lake

I took The Boyfriend out for a spin around Lexington Reservoir, giving him a treat --- climbing Soda Springs. He wasn't around last year to do the 5.35 mile climb (2368 feet) at 8.4% with fellow Low Key Hillclimbers. We also planned to do Black Road, another climb he hasn't done but I have with my buds S and P. We encountered wind and chilly temperatures and skipped Black. Once again, our strange summer.

The BF found the climb relentless. Me, just as with the LKHC event, I went up and up going la dee da la dee da. I don't know why but I find it an easy climb -- yet, the descent is tricky particularly this time as we biked in loose gravel. The road was recently repaved. And with my new Specialized Ruby, I felt as though I was on auto pilot.

The BF was so cold that he borrowed my arm warmers. Me, I was sweating it out thanks to another menopausal moment. I gave my saddle one last chance, breaking it in, you know, like I do with my men. Nope, will need to replace it, like I've done with many a man.

This is my last bike for awhile -- as some of you know, I am scheduled for surgery soon. I share with you a conversation I had with my doctor:

Me: Will you be using a big scapel or a little one?
Dr: Ha ha ha, for you, a power drill, honey.
Me: Will I have a big scar or a little scar?
Dr: You might consider changing your name to Frankenstein.

I probably won't be doing any of the Low Key Hillclimbs this year but I hope to be at some of the events taking photos! I am optimistic that I might get to do one or two rides. Anyway, I don't know that I'll be posting much for awhile ....

Just the Stats:

16 miles
27.5 max on descent
7 mph avg.
2 hr 15 min.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tour of Napa Valley

How I would have liked to have titled this blog entry "Naughty in Napa" but not so for this year's trip to Napa to do the Tour of Napa Valley. If you can't sleep some night, you might find that my 2007 and 2009 entries are far more entertaining.

The Boyfriend and I spent the weekend at our usual hideaway, a winery with some lodgings, lovely place near St. Helena. Saturday morning, the sky was overcast and the air rather chilly, as our summer has been this year. It struck me to visit the Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park on Atlas Peak Road where my beloved cat Cabbage is buried. It's off Silverado Trail. Lovely road for cyclists and we saw a few.

After the marine layer burned off, we did a portion of the 100 mile route of the Tour of Napa Valley. We climbed Mt. Veeder and descended Oakville Grade (photo above). 38 miles total.

For the tour on Sunday, the weather changed for the better and the marine layer burned off quickly. Above is my friend P along with The BF at the first rest stop. I saw her again at the lunch stop and then at a Starbucks on the way home. Pity we didn't bike together.

As for the Tour -- like my friend P, I first did this tour in 2005 on my hybrid. This year was the first time with my new bike, the Specialized Ruby. Okay people, no one flirted with me. Did my fancy bike scare them off? What's a tour without flirting! What was I to do? Oh my God, bike? Even my best buddy Lorraine at work said, "No flirting! What did you do for 5 hours?" Exactly!

I am convinced people, convinced that The BF who opted to do the 100K this time, was marking his territory with chemicals (pheromones?) that told male cyclists in some secret language hands off. The BF is probably shaking his head, wondering about my mental state.

At least I saw a pink cow on the Silverado Trail! So, how did I do? Well, minus the motivational flirting factor --

in 2007, I averaged 14.4 mph (probably because I consumed massive amounts of gels)
in 2009, I averaged 13.3 mph.

This time around, I had the new bike and my tushy was in pain. My friend P suggested that I get the Ruby saddle, and I will consider it. Later though, I remembered that I forgot to apply body butter to my bum! And I wore shorts that irritate me. Brilliant. The Tour of Napa Valley is a beautiful ride, the food is fantastic, the volunteers are super and like other tours this year, going green (recycling efforts).

Just the stats:

67 miles
13.2 mph avg.
31.5 max descent
5 hr. 26 min.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meet My Ruby

My 2005 Bianchi Eros Donna (aluminum triple) suffered an injury and the prognosis was not good, so, The Boyfriend and I went bike shopping. First though, he took my measurements (36-26-34). We were pretty set thanks to an excellent bike fitting with the old bike and the recommendation that I move from a 44cm to a 47 or 48cm frame.

What did I buy?

2011 Specialized Ruby Elite Carbon Compact
SRAM Apex (11-32 cassette with a 34/50 compact crank)

The Boyfriend bought the water bottle cages. I know what you're thinking -- a man who buys you bottle cages is a keeper! The sales rep. tried to convince him to buy me the bike as well.

We took Ruby for a spin on Sand Hill, Whiskey Hill and Canada Road. The BF was amazed by how easily I adjusted to the compact and the gearing system. That's because he gave me lessons beforehand. Jury is still out about the saddle but I'm pleased with my new bike.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Misty in Marin

I pleaded. I begged. I pouted. I jumped up and down on the hotel bed. I threw myself under a train. I tried to seduce The Boyfriend into submission, all to no avail, despite my shapely figure and shameful tactics. We started the Marin Century at 6:27am. It was barely light out! I was ready for my nap after riding a few minutes.

We last did this ride 2 years ago. My route, the 100K had changed, for the better. The BF, stud that he is, did the Mt. Tam 100M. We began in a thick and chilly marine layer that did not burn off until mile 45. I had to wear my arm warmers and jacket for most of the ride. The BF was rained upon in some forest.

Ah yes, back to the beginning. I got my revenge for the early start -- within a mile or so, The BF witnessed men already "chatting" with me.

Lookey, a giant marshmellow farm! How I wanted to roll in them and become all gooey and sticky. And meet the Jolly Green Giant and climb his stalk.

My entourage. Notice how happy they are. What can I say. I even had men in cars slowing down to chat with me. The BF shakes his head and sighs.

I love this ride despite finding the rollers to be more tiring than the Santa Cruz Mtns. Challenge. The descents would have been fabulous had it not been so darn cold.

I love the brie and figs served at rest stops. The cyclists were polite, calling out that they were passing.

Both of us banged it out the last 10 miles or so. The Boyfriend did about 9,000 feet of climbing to my 3,830. We'll be back another year, for sure. Thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors and police officers who make this a lovely ride.

Just the stats:

58 miles
29 mph max
13.2 mph avg
4 hrs 40 min riding time
(The BF finished an hour maybe after me!)