Sunday, September 30, 2012

Levi GranFondo 2012

 Saturday, September 29th

Notice how I deftly maneuvered myself  into a crowd of men at the start of Levi's 2012 GranFondo.  Then again, with 7,000 participants, this wasn't exactly hard.  Can you spot The Boyfriend?  He's the one in cycling clothes.  While we waited in the chilly foggy early morning light, I met 2 guys (geez, what a surprise you say) from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA.  People come from all over for this wonderful event, including some celebrities, like Patrick Dempsey and The Fat Cyclist.   Let's get started. 

Oh my God, what a challenge it was to bike with hundreds of other cyclists at a pace of 16 mph for over twenty miles until the first rest stop.  I was on the 62 mile course and it was a very different experience to always be biking with other cyclists.  I was exhausted. 

Our morning began in mist until mile 42.  Love the signs in Sonoma County, like "Born and Grazed here."  Adorable.  

I'm on Highway 1 now and it's still misty and chilly but beautiful.

And romantic.   The route is spectacular made even more so by the spectators cheering us on everywhere. 

I met these guys (geez, really, you say) and they took a photo of me.  I was bundled up.  The hottie flashes leave me cold and damp.  Sigh.

Ah, Coleman Valley Road.  Our big challenge.  I zipped up this baby despite my high blood pressure.  I met this guy (geez, really, you say).  This was his first time.  He did the shorter route last year.  He was obese but the man was a clear winner, giving it his all and I was so proud of him.  Especially after seeing all these other guys dressed to kill who were off their bikes, walking the hill.  You rock Mister, whoever you are. Finally, blue skies, a great descent into lovely Occidental. 

Anyway, I had a swell time.  What a day.  What an event.  Interestingly, my time was exactly as it was for 2009. 

Just the Stats:

62 miles
12.9 avg mph
33 mph descent
4 hr 47 min

The Night Before

Friday, September  28th,

On the eve of Levi's 4th Granfondo, The Boyfriend and I attended the premiere of The Levi Effect in Santa Rosa.  Guess who showed up?  Patrick Dempsey.  He's just as handsome in person as on screen.  He's participated in previous Granfondos and he also has his own charity event in his hometown in Maine, called The Dempsey Challenge. 

And of course, The Man, himself.  He's nice on the eyes, too.  I told The BF that I only have eyes for him.  He's stud enough for me.  We enjoyed the documentary and panel discussion afterwards.  Tom Danielson was a scream.  The film focused on Levi's desire to give back to the place he calls home, to build a better community.  We all can do that in our communities, give a little or a lot of ourselves to make a nicer, caring, loving place.  At the end of the day, I'd like to know that I did something that had a positive effect on someone else.  Wouldn't you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whitney Portal

Tuesday, September 18th

Like the end of a fireworks show, I'm sending you a blast of photos of our last ride:  Whitney Portal (el. 8,371).  The route starts tame and ends up tough with an average grade over 9% for the last 5 miles. 

Me:  I don't see why I'm doing this, after all, I could be lounging poolside next to that lovely german boy, the one dressed up hot leather on his motorcycle.  I think I shall call him Dieter.
The BF:  Really woman, this is our last ride.  Make it epic.
Me:  Oh I can make it epic Mister, lounging poolside, in my bikini, with Dieter.
The BF:  Get on the damn bike and if you're lucky, I might wait for you at the top.
Me:  Oh sure, promises. 

I try to remember their names but so many men, so little time.   I must say that I was perhaps somewhat prompted to pedal a wee bit faster.  Listening to music from James Bond films helped.  Goldfinger....

Omg, this is frigging painful.  Had I not had Janet the last few miles to keep me in line, I'm not sure that I would have kept going.  It was far harder than Onion Valley.  Release me, please.  I had to get off the bike to pop my back several times.  I practically begged for mercy except even Mercy knows to beg me.

Ooh, lookey there's The BF.  Then again, at this point, any man would do....

We all made it to the top.  Yay.  And The BF waited for me at the top.  Of course, he did.  After all, I'm worth waiting for.   And then the grand descent.  Loved it.  

Hard to believe that only a few hours earlier, I was on that road.

Oh, look, Heaven.  My reward.

And then, thanks to an ACTC rider, we were treated to the beauty of the Alabama Hills, an unbelievable treasure.  My photos do not do justice to this tranquil road of delight. 

 Alas, our journey came to an end.  29.63 miles of sheer joy and pain.  I averaged 5 mph to get to the top.  And it took 3 hrs. and 41 min. to finish.  Later in the afternoon, The BF treated me to a date at the movie museum in Lone Pine.  Do go.  Many a western was filmed in this area along with contemporary films, such as, Tremors and Iron Men.  One last happy hour and farewell until next year.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Onion Valley Road

Monday, September 17th

"In just 13 miles, we'll climb 5,200 feet to Onion Valley Road (el 9.200)."  Oh alrighty, if you insist....  The start of this climb began in Independence, CA. 

Altering the lyrics to Cracker's Teen Angst:

I don’t know what the world may need,
And I never grasped your complexities.
I’d be happy just to get up this frigging road...


Again, as my back twitched with pain, I relied on Cracker's Teen Angst to keep me going:

And, I don’t know what the world may want,
But your long, sweet body lying next to mine
could certainly raise my spirits.

Okay people, my kind of ride.  Rugged.  Manly.  English accent.  Oops, I'm describing The BF....

It took 3 hrs. 29 min. to do 26 miles.  4 avg mph to get to 9,200 feet.  Wonderful descent.  Loved it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lovely Lake Sabrina & Sensual South Lake

 Sunday, September 16th

 The Boyfriend and I thought we'd do Lake Sabrina and South Lake (a ride we missed having arrived when we did) while the gang did a hike or took the day off to rest.  It was 51 miles with 6,900 feet of climbing.

Lake Sabrina sits at 9,138 and the elevation for South Lake is 9,835.  This was a major climb, and scenic.

 Okay people, we did 5 miles and that was that.  Please, hold your applause. Shortest ride ever for both of us.  Lesson learned -- when you're in the Eastern Sierras, you will learn quickly to just hang out.  

On top of us both bombing, I was stung by a bee.  My hand ballooned, resembling the Pillsbury Doughboy.  The BF got the stinger out -- my hero. It was fun playing doctor....  later, I spent the afternoon shopping at The Mall, this being the middle of nowhere, meant, K-Mart.... still I found a great push up bra for future rides.  Yay, time for happy hour ....

Why do Waucoba Canyon?

Saturday, September  15th

Today's Eastern Sierras ride with the gang was a true desert route to the top of Waucoba Canyon (elevation 7,670) starting from Lone Pine (4,000 feet elevation).

 Honestly, except for this canyon, it was a boring ride in which we endured the heat.  Probably would have been a good first outing to acclimate.

Let's talk about the town of Bishop where we stayed.  Interesting place, full of SUVs and great restaurants (2 Japanese joints, a Chinese restaurant, one nice bistro, super pizza place, Erick Schat's Bakkery - a must for sandwiches and a lovely independent cafe for coffee lovers).   Not my kind of ride -- dry and dull for the most part.  But, I suppose, a good recovery ride after Bristlecone Pine Forest.  I did 33.50 miles in 3 hrs. 51 min at 9.5 avg mph.  Yay, it's time for happy hour at the lovely little creek next to our hotel....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bristlecone Pine Forest

Friday, September 14th

After driving across the spectacular Sonora Pass, The Boyfriend and I finally arrived in the thriving metropolis known as Bishop (CA).  Just in time for the daily happy hour! We're here in the Eastern Sierras along with other Western Wheelers and ACTC cyclists.  Our hosts Dick and Donna have been offering this 3 week get together for the last several years.   We did a different section last year.

The BF:  Ready to do some serious cycling!
Me:  No, but I'm ready to do some serious socializing during cocktail hour.
The BF:  Sigh.

The first climb for us was Bristlecone Pine Forest, a 48 mile out and back beginning in Lone Pine, CA.  We started at 4,000 feet.  The temperature was 64 degrees but being the desert, the sun shone bright and hot and the air turned dry and tight.  The temperature quickly climbed and certainly faster than me.  If I had a hot flash, I didn't know it....

Not sure what the grade was but I do know by 9,000 feet, my legs said, "So long honey bunny."  I think there were pitches of 10-12% but mostly the road was 6-9%.  The BF and I both realized too late that we had not acclimated and this ride was really hard.  When's happy hour?

Above, what I missed since I did not make it to 10,000 feet.  The BF of course did.  It took me 5 hrs to do 42 miles.  Yay, time for happy hour ....  But first, from the Bishop Chamber of Commerce:

"The trees of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains 15 miles to the east of Bishop are the oldest recorded living thing on earth. A millennium older than the Giant Sequoia trees in the nearby Sierra, many are well over 2,000 years old and the "Methuselah" tree in Schulman Grove is dated at more than 4,773 years old." 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fremont Peak

Being a club ride led by Donny, who always takes me to places I've never seen, I shall refrain from sharing the conversations I had with The Boyfriend during this outing.  We began in San Juan Bautista.  Lovely downtown.  Do visit.  Especially if you are interested in the missions of California. 

First, we did an out and back to the tiny town of Aromas and along the way passed this pretty pond. We also passed several farms including Earthbound Organic Farm.

Next, the piece de resistance.  Climbing San Juan Grade to Fremont Peak.  11 miles of stunning views.

Definitely returning when the hills are green.  

Descending was fantastic -- essentially you just sit and go down.  My kind of ride.

I saw some dirt bike riders on the trails.  Super ride that calmed my blood pressure and chilled the hot flashes.  The BF was subjected to me rambling in the car, poor fella ....

Just the Stats:

40.24 miles
4900 ft of climbing?
32.5 mph descending
10.1 avg mph
3 hr 57 min

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Boy Toy Sighting on Mars

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The BF:  Time to do Del Puerto Canyon and the backside of Mt. Hamilton again
Me:  Will this be a catered event?
The BF:  Sigh. The scenery is like being on Mars.  Stark. Will that be the theme of your blog?
Me:  You crack me up, Mister.  The only scenery I ever notice are male cyclists in tightly clad spandex.
The BF:  There isn't going to be much about biking in this blog entry, is there.
Me:  You got that right, Mister.

Miss A joined us!  She got new gears, just like mine (11-32 cassette; 50/34 compact crank).  Not that she needs weenie gears.  She's so strong.  She backtracked a number of times to check on me.  We looked at The Boyfriend's gears.  Miss A observed that he has manly gears.  I can vouch for that.  Quite manly, yes.

While at the Junction Cafe, Miss A brought me dessert, assuming she cared to share.  A boy toy from Amsterdam!  Tasty treat.  He wanted to know what to do for entertainment.  Hmm, let me count the ways.  The Boyfriend sighs...

Last year when we did this ride (more photos if you're interested), I turned around at the junction while The BF went on to do the backside of Mt. Ham.   Remember, he's manly.  Hmm, let me count the ways.  This time, Miss A and I went 10 miles on the backside.  The plan was to go to the bridge, but, I was tiring.  Biking with Miss A kept me from weenie whining and to keep up momentum.

Yay, going back to Patterson.

We're going to return in the spring when the hills turn green and the wildflowers dot the landscape.  I hope male cyclists in tightly clad spandex will also dot the landscape.

Here I come.  The last 4 miles dragged.  My feet hurt.  I slowed considerably.  I waited for The BF at the end.  I calculated correctly that he was about 15 minutes behind me.  He was a welcome sight.  Manly, remember.  We had a super time and the weather was just perfect.  Til next year....

Just the Stats:

72.29 miles
11.7 avg mph
29 mph descending
6 hr 11 min