Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Challenge

You probably think I'm going to talk about the challenge of doing the Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge today, as in by mile 10, we'd already climbed 3,500 feet. Good Gosh no, people. The challenge had to do with how many male encounters I could possibly have, in which I did nothing along the lines of encouragement over a 62 mile course. The odds were stacked in my favor given that this ride is dominated by the opposite sex.

Oh alrighty, let's talk about the biking but only for a moment. We were enveloped in the dense marine layer for the first few hours; the temperature chilly and the air heavy with mist and big juicy rain drops. My glasses fogged up quite a lot thus causing me to stop frequently and thus, you guessed it, for men to behave gallantly and offer assistance.

At times, the sun and blue sky would appear and off came my layers, thus causing me to stop, and you guessed it, for men to behave gallantly and offer assistance.... Oh my Gosh, a woman ahead of me on Jamison Creek stood the whole way on the climb. What a babe.

Even at the end, in line for the fabulous burrito, the server told me that he recognized me from Rest Stop #2. So, how many men did I meet without really trying? Let's just say, I lost count. This is a challenge, I mean the route of course. You will be tested but if I am able to do it, year after year (and it was certainly somewhat easier this year on the Specialized Ruby compact), then, I ask that you think about it next year.

Guess who I saw at the end of the ride. The Boyfriend! He completed the 100 mile course. He is of course the only man I really noticed and the only encounter I wanted. Still, everyone on the course from the volunteers to the riders were super.

Just the Stats:

7,823 ft of climbing
62.72 miles
32.5 mph max on descent
9.8 mph avg
6 hr 22 min

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Going to the Garlic Capital of the World

Sometimes nothing special happens on a bike ride (rarely of course in my case) but you still feel that it was remarkable. Perhaps it was because of the friendly club members or because everything went smoothly and we lucked out with the headwinds dying out on the last leg of our journey. Today, we rode to Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world! I love the stinking rose. The route consisted mostly of rollers with just 2 climbs (Buffalo and Croy).

Miss P captured The Shot -- a bed of flowers (a farm) bursting with color on Hecker Pass Highway. Stunning. Me, I only took one photo of the group. The Boyfriend, who didn't join this outing, expects me to ramble on about all the men I met. But no, I am saving myself for next weekend's outing -- the Santa Cruz Mtns. Challenge. Hold on, I did pass 9 male cyclists stopped on the side of the road fixing a flat. Well, hopefully it didn't take all 9 of them ... naturally they noticed me. Where have you been all my life, they no doubt wondered.... Oh, and I stopped traffic on Hecker Pass Highway -- thus, allowing me to cross safely. Wasn't that swell.

Just the Stats:

65.75 miles

13.4 mph avg

26.5 mph descent

4 hr 54 min

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hiccup on the way to Hicks

The route planned by Miss Millie, one of our club leaders, was to go there (Mt Um above).

But first up Via Santa Teresa/Scenic Vista, a 640' climb in 1.1 miles with Mt. Um once again in the distance. New climb for me and for The Boyfriend too who came along for the ride. Scenic Vista was a bit of struggle but a nice club member helped me get up it. Note to BF: ahem, keep that in mind. Next up -- over to Hicks Rd East (1,120' in 1.7 miles), a climb I have not done in quite some time.

Left on my own after descending Scenic Vista rather slowly, I once again proved that you should not leave me on my own because I promptly got lost. I meandered around and took the time to smell the roses. I figured that if I got hopelessly lost, I'd surely meet a man who would show me the way. Eventually I made it up Hicks where The BF was waiting after having already done Mt. Um. The cooler temperature meant no flies buzzing around one's head as one sweated up the hill. On the way down the other side of Hicks, I hooked up with Dr. G and before we knew it, the ride was over. Short but sweet.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My First Time

Another hot day here in the Bay Area; tomorrow reaching 100 in some cities. Today was about celebrating the 4th of July cycling with club members.

First though, Pancake Breakfast with the club. The Boyfriend is shaking his head over there in Tuscany wondering where does it all go. In my tummy, Mister.

I, Miss P and Dr G did another Donny ride from the church in Campbell over to Montebello. I knew I would not be able to do the entire route which also included Stevens Canyon, Redwood Gulch, Hwy 9 and Bohlman. The heat was intense. I finished the climb up Montebello 5 minutes slower than last week (65 minutes). Along with fantasizing about beverages waiting for us at the top. Not gonna happen. Talking to this male cyclist:

He: Shall I order room service

Me: Only if you indulge me

He: You strike me as someone who should be indulged

Me: Well ... yes.

Alas, there was no room service waiting for us at the top. I snapped a few photos of Miss P and then we parted ways (after she showed me where to get water at the base of Stevens Canyon).

Despite Miss P giving me explicit instructions as to how to return to the church on Hamilton and Leigh in Campbell, I deviated. I like to say "deviated" instead of I blew it and got lost.

I found myself on Hollenback/El Camino in Sunnyvale. I met a fella. Geez, really, you say. It just so happened he lived in Campbell and told me how to get back (Matilda over to Stevens Creek where Apple Computer is, then to Winchester and finally Hamilton).

And then, the unexpected happened. What I dread. A flat tire.

I knew with my tank tires that I might be able to pump the front tire and get by before the flat really set in. That worked for about 2 miles. What to do when you have never changed a flat by yourself and you are in Sunnyvale!

My options:

1. Call The BF in Tuscany and tell him to come get me. Not going to happen.

2. Use the mobile to call your friends. They are all out biking. Not going to happen.

3. Take the bus. Not going to happen because you forgot to bring money. Dumb dumb dumb.

4. Walk back. Not going to happen with the psoriatic feet.

5. Change the flat. Not going to happen with the arthritis in the hands.

Well, of course, having contemplated said options, I knew I had to change the flat. Okay people, I have no recollection of what I did and whether or not it was kosher, but, I changed the frigging flat in 10 minute! No doubt the lessons given by The Boyfriend paid off. He's quite the task master.

The tire pressure though was at 40 psi as I was afraid to use the gas cyclinder so I was stuck with the low pressure. There was a gas station across from Apple Computer on Stevens Creek but I could not figure out how to get the air into the tire. Sigh.

Let me tell you, the cars on Stevens Creek got out of the way as I made my way back to the church in Campbell. I must have looked determined, as in, don't mess with me, Mister. Even with a tire of 40 psi.

Being the 4th, I am reminded of the freedom and peace I have in my small corner of the world. I am now celebrating with lots of liquids and happy to be home safe and secure. One day I hope this is the same for everyone. Happy 4th of July to you!

Just the stats:

42 miles

28 max

10.5 mph avg

3.59 hrs (the flat, and low tire pressure)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pedaling to Pescadero

Not 5 minutes into our club ride led by D & J, I met a man. Surprise surprise, I know. We're talking really handsome. He wanted to know what the ride was - there were 25 of us cycling away. After I managed to stop drooling, I told him all about the club and suggested he join us. Alas he had other plans. Of course no one blows me away like The Boyfriend does. Alas, he is in Tuscany.

The route:

McKenzie Park-->Foothill -->Junipero Serra -->Sand Hill -->Whiskey Hill-->Woodside-->Kings Mtn-->Tunitas Creek-->Hwy 1-->Stage-->Pescadero Rd-->Alpine-->Page Mill-->Moody-->Foothill College path-->El Monte-->Foothill-->McKenzie Park

And this was the day to do such a ride given the mini heat wave. We had a bit of cold spell once we hit Hwy 1 but the rest of ride was full of hard work and sweat. Lots of sweat. Dripping in it. I managed to stay with the group or keep them in sight to my delight.

While on Stage, I met a couple from France now living here and tried to recruit them into our club. They loved Stage Road. In Pescadero, we all split up and I was left riding on my own. Pescadero Road was absolutely breathtaking yet I took no photos. Once on Alpine, I bonked big time. Sigh. I had to walk on and off for about 2 miles, and my stats reflect this. I thought I'd never get out of there. Still, a wonderful outing and I'm pleased.

Just the Stats:

68.32 miles

6700 ft of climbing

48 min up Kings Mtn (my best being 45 min)

9.5 mph avg (sigh)

29.5 descent

7 hr 9 min