Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Change in the Weather

 I'm delighted to report that it rained today and my neighborhood became awash in color.

 Soon, the trees will be bare and I will be sad but today, they're lovely.

 Lookey what the rain did!  We have a river again.  Go Guadalupe!

 Every year I look forward to these trees turning yellow.

 The birds flew around in circles over and over again near my Mom's rosebush in the Heritage Rose garden.

 This tree seemed proud of itself.

A view of the metropolis.  I guess I'm all treed out now and ready for a nap.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bike Friday

Black Friday?  No thank you.  Not interested.  I'd rather be doing a club ride, and that's exactly what I did, joining Miss P's Hicks and Mt. Um ride, including Shannon and Kennedy in Los Gatos.  The morning was foggy and cold but sunny in the areas we were headed.  I knew I might be a bit zapped from yesterday's Mt. Ham ride and boy was I.  I had to walk sections of the climbs.  I felt like dead weight upon my bike and loopy in the head.  What's great about our club is that people wait for you and care about how you're doing.  I really appreciated the camaraderie of this particular gang and I had a swell time.  Now, if you'd like to take advantage of shopping days and buy me something nice ....  I like flowers, diamonds, and chocolate.  an iTunes gift card works, too.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

LKHC Mt. Hamilton - "The annual tradition cannot be stopped"

'Twas the night before, and all through the house, not a cyclist was stirring, wait a minute, back it up to the beginning.  Last night, I scurried over to the Caltrans station to pick up Dan the Man.  Except it was a Sharks game night.  Who knew!  Well, I did, about an hour beforehand, and boy was the traffic dreadful.
Dan and I got his bike on the Kuat bike rack in under a minute. We had a decent and inexpensive taco dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Can we say time for pajama party!  Mr. Kevin posted an "artistic" photo of bananas on Facebook which we interpreted as pornographic.  Then Google posted a turkey that I suppose was bobbing but in our minds it sure looked like something else, namely naughty.  Before we got too silly, we decided to turn in for the evening.  I had another wonderful night of sleep.  Boy, it does a body good to sleep.

I made Dan steel oats with raisins for breakfast.  We loaded up our gear in the car.  Thanks to Dan, we discovered that several of the bolts for the bike rack were loose.  I now know to check occasionally.  Dan tightened everything.  It made all the difference in securing the bikes properly on the rack. 

I started an hour earlier than the rest of the LKHC cyclists.  Why?  Because I'm so slow.  The weather was agreeable, wonderfully warm with no wind.  I kept thinking something was wrong because no one had caught up to me.  It was not until mile 12, past the bridge, that Mr. Bill tooted his horn.  I thought the Lollipop Man or an icecream truck was behind me.  At mile 14, the really fast riders caught me, including Dan.  Still, I was thrilled because I knew, for once, I'd be finishing with the pack.  I was kicking ass for me.  By the way, there were a lot of flats today, at least 7 that I remember.

For one brief moment, I thought I might shatter my record.  Dream on.... Alas, I finished the same time I did back in 2009 but still, I was thrilled.  Being able to ride with the pack was a nice treat.  I felt strong and I had a blast.   I may not have finished last for once.  We'll see.  I descended in an hour and 15 minutes, which again, for me, is darn good.  I bid farewell to Kevin and took Dan to the train station.  LKHC, Mt. Hammerton (as Kevin calls it), a fine tradition.  I enjoyed myself and I appreciate this series.  It makes Turkey Day memorable.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

And Then There Were Five

Miss P and I thought it would just be the two of us climbing Sierra Road but then, poof, five male cyclists appeared suddenly, eager to join her club ride.  I loved the French guy's accent.  And Dwight was a sweetie to wait for me when I didn't make it through the light at Piedmont.  Another rider was someone I met on the Eastern Sierras trip.

Before we knew it, we were at the summit.  Sierra Road didn't seem as hard as it sometimes does.  I got up in 55 minutes which is the same time I had back in 2007 for a LKHC event.  Not bad, eh.  We didn't stick around for long at the top because the wind was almost icy.  Doing the backside was chilly, too.  I managed a speed of 30.5 mph somewhere, probably because I was cold and wanted to get down to the bottom as quickly as possible.  Notice that the hills are turning green!  That was a nice change. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It was a Deer Day

For Miss P's ride today, we were all women ready to enjoy a casual Sunday ride doing Kennedy, Shannon, a bit of Hicks and Reynolds.  Clearly, the weather is changing and the sun seemed to lose its warmth.

We kept seeing deer everywhere.  I missed some good shots.  I also missed the shot of the coyote crossing the road.  Nice to meet up again with club members I haven't seen in awhile. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sashaying through Sanborn

After Miss P told me about her hike in Sanborn Park from Black Road off Bear Creek Road, I had to visit it, too.  What a treat.  The right park for a fall day.

My friend and I were short on time so we only did 5 miles.

I tested my latest SmartWool jersey and it was just perfect for the somewhat chilly weather.  We encountered several mtn. bikers and one road cyclist (I don't recommend this), plus a happy dog who left paw prints on my jeans.  We particularly like the sounds in the woods, from the leaves shaken by a gentle wind and twirling like snowflakes as they landed softly on the ground to the delicate noise of a small stream as it quietly flowed.  You could feel that the woods were alive. 

Lookey who we met.  Isaac Newt. Okay, bad joke.  I look forward to returning sometime and going further.  We're lucky to have so many parks in the Bay Area in which to explore and have adventures. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Standing on a Cliff

It seemed like a beach sort of day today, so, I drove over to Half Moon Bay.  Of course there was no sun.

And poof, it was sunny.  Just like that.  I enjoyed being a people watcher.

And poof, the sun disappeared.  I watched birds frolicking in the water.  I watched surfers waiting for decent waves.

A lovely day spent at the beach. I watched fishermen chop up freshly caught crab. Not quite as romantic as standing on a cliff waiting for some English character out of a Bronte novel. But more  importantly, I stood at the edge of a cliff and wasn't scared. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Up and Down and Then Some

Today, I returned to Felter and Sierra Road, having missed out on doing both for the Low Key Hill Climbs series.   Donny's club ride had us going up Old Calaveras and into the park off Downing.  We stuck around for awhile watching the hang gliders doing drills.

Next up, climbing Felter to the summit on Sierra.  Look at all the calves.  Sweet.  I had some issues with my lower back.  Good thing I'm doing sit ups again because clearly my core has gone softy.

Ooh goody gum drops, a new climb for me.  Suncrest.  It's off Piedmont, and the other side of Berryessa.  It's half the distance of Old Calaveras and it seemed nastier or maybe it was because my lower back was screaming.  No problem with the lungs or legs.  I was only going 2.8 mph in some stretches.  Sigh.  That's just the beginning of the climb, by the way.

Last stretch was to go in reverse, this time, climb Sierra and sail down Felter back to Cardoza Park.  I didn't have it in me, so, I bid adieu to the group.  And wouldn't you know, I got a flat in my rear tire on Piedmont, about one mile from my car.   I do so love a new climb, thus, I'm happy.  Looking forward to doing it again with my abs of steel....

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rancho Revisit

Earlier in the week, I decided to take the plunge and do the LKHC Felter Road time trial knowing that I would most likely place last.  The slowest riders were put first in the line up.  Oh my Gosh, I'm #1.  Yay.  But you know what, I signed up for me, to challenge myself.  And well, yesterday, the weather was iffy (possible thunderstorms) and I don't do iffy, nor being miserable, so, I bowed out.  And then, it didn't rain.  However, I still bought myself a bouquet of roses congratulating myself....  ha ha.

 Meanwhile, tomorrow (today) is another day and we had wonderful weather for a walk in a park I've not been to in a very long time.  Rancho San Antonio.  Very little has changed and that's a good thing.

At Deer Hollow Farm, we watched two goats in love.  It was a sweet sight to behold.

Our hike eventually led to great sweeping views, this one of downtown San Jose.

And swell interior shots, too.  Marvelous time appreciating an open space preserve and each other.  It's a lovely 6.5 mile hike.  Where does the time go when you're having fun ... and boy did I enjoy the hike and my friends.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Time Trial Test Ride

I was alone until I met you ... ha ha ha.
Omg, this horse wouldn't shut up.  I think he was crazy.
So what was I doing besides meeting wildlife (wasn't able to get shots of the goats and deer).  Well, I did a test run for next week's Low Key Hill Climbs - a time trial on Calaveras-Felter to the top of Sierra.  Today's conditions were not ideal.  There was a wind.  I was sloppy, not particularly aggressive, but, I got a good sense of strategy, yeah, like that's going to make a difference.  Still on the fence as to whether I'll participate. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Look What the Cat Dragged In

What a lovely day for a bike ride.  Been a long time since The Boyfriend and I have been able to do a ride together, the last time being Horseshoe Meadows in the Eastern Sierras last month.  But today, we got together to do the Sunol ride, starting with going up Old Calaveras.

I said to The BF, "You know, absence does not make my heart grow fonder.  It simply allows my eyes the opportunity to wander."   Speaking of which, earlier in the week, I had a different dentist attend to me, and I must say, I fell in lust, as much as one can do given that one is in a chair having one's teeth worked upon.

Oh goodness, I guess I've wandered again.  The BF no doubt is sighing that I haven't stuck to the topic of biking.

One of the reasons we chose to do Calaveras, Felter and over to Sunol, besides doing Old Calaveras and The Wall, both challenging but short climbs was that we hoped to encounter Low Keyers finishing up LKHC Welsh Creek, and sure enough we did!  I saw Mr. Bill in his yellow banana electric hybrid and other cyclists.  The BF saw Dan C. freshly back from his European adventure including Paris and its Velib

It was a treat, both to be biking with The BF again and to be back on the bike.  I gave myself two weeks to get over some recent health stuff and I think I did swell.  Til the next adventure!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

LKHC Week 2 - Sierra Road

Health issues prevented me from participating in this week's LKHC event, Sierra Road.  Oh phooey because I was so looking forward to finishing last.  I helped with registration and taking photos.

Perfect weather and much cooler than last week's climb up Montebello.  We have several newbies -- never done Sierra Road.  They were in for a treat.  Ha ha.  It was low key and really fun today.  Guess what!  At the top, there is now a paved parking lot.  Opened August 2014.  It's part of the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve and Bay Area RidgeTrail.  Yay.  We lamented that they forgot to install an expresso bar....  There is however equestrian parking.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Smile

The BF calls this my Mona Lisa smile. I call it the smirk.  Imagine what I'm thinking.  Hmm, don't.  Ha ha. Usually the race ends when I cross the finish line ... occasionally I come in second or third to last. Don't everyone applaud at once.

From last weekend's LKHC Montebello ride.

Monday, October 6, 2014

LKHC 2014 - Montebello

Saturday, Oct 4th

The BF:  I am unable to attend the LKHC Montebello.  I'm doing another bike event.
Me:  You do realize that 150 cyclists, mostly of the male persuasion, have registered for the event.  And I will be there, unchaperoned.
The BF:  Oh oh.
Me:  You got that right, Mister.  Hardly Climb and Punishment (this year's tagline; love it by the way).  More like, a playground for me to flirt.
The BF:  Sigh.
Me:  You got that right, Mister.

As it turned out, it was dreadfully hot.  Having done nothing, other than flirt, I was already glistening in sweat.  I said to Mr. Bill, my teammate:  How about I sit in your lap (he has a hybrid electric) and we claim that we're a tandem ...  anything to get out climbing in the heat. 

And we're off.  Naturally, I was in the back at the start ... and naturally, all of the cyclists would beat me.  In my overactive imagination, I like to think that the huge turnout of male cyclists is because they are here to demonstrate their manliness to me.  Go on, go on, conquer me, I mean, the climb....

I was so impressed with myself.  When am I not.  Actually, I was really impressed with the women and the tandem riders.  Everybody rocked.  It was also wonderful to see friends I haven't seen in awhile, like Lisa and Dave and Adam Tow.  So, how'd I do.  Well, I thought I was steaming but I sort of blew the last mile and ended up being 4 minutes slower than last year's time.  My time was 57.47.

Ring ring

The BF:  How'd you get on?
Me:  Oh, I got it on alrighty, Mister.
The BF:  I don't even want to know the details....

Up next, Sierra Road.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hiking in Uvas Canyon County Park

What a gem, what a surprise doing the Waterfall Loop in Uvas Canyon County Park.  Biked along Croy Road (entrance) to the park many times but never hiked it.

My hiking companion and I worked up a sweat because the path is steep in parts but well worth it.

Road Trip to Monterey, part 2

Saturday, Sept 27th

While at the evening event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we took in the Jellies Experience.  Wow.

Wow, again. 

Check out the eel.  I really enjoyed the sea otter feeding time.  They were given blocks of ice that the otters smashed against the rocks to get to the shrimp, but, they also like eating the ice.  Apparently it's like soda pop for them.  Here's live webcam of them frolicking.

Hard to see but that's a shrimp.   We also watched a diver feed leopard sharks and other fish in the Kelp Forest, a true marvel.  Here's live webcam of the forest.  The Open Sea live webcam is not to be missed either.

Another highlight of the evening besides the dessert tray and cheese and nuts spread was the outstanding presentation by Dr. Stephen Palumbi of Stanford along with his son.  They co-authored The Extreme Life of the Sea.  They shared fascinating stories and why we must take care of our precious oceans and the life that life that lives within and beyond. The solutions are in front of us. 

After studying the flippers of humpback whales and expecting there to be drag (in which there isn't despite the enormous size of the flippers) eventually led to and inspired changes in the shape of ordinary fan blades; so, new fans coming out should be more efficient in distributing air flow as well being energy efficient.

There are fish that live in artic waters but their fluids don't freeze and they don't get ice crystals either.  They have an antifreeze protein to protect them.  Scientists were able to clone this protein using yeast and apparently it is why low fat icecream doesn't form ice crystals.  Wow.

My favorite story is about the hideous looking Anglerfish.  Scientists couldn't figure out where the males were. All of the anglerfish studied were female.  Turns out that the little attachment under the fish is actually the male.  Scientists originally though they were parasites.  Hmm, let's think about that for a moment .... anyway, the male is good for one thing only (reproduction) and after that, they just atrophy and become rather irrelevant, perhaps useless.  Hmm, let's think about that for a moment ....

Loved the evening.  Fantastic time.   I learned so much about ecological, evolutionary, and conservation issues.   Thanks to Miss P.  And to the wonderful Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Road Trip to Monterey, part 1

Saturday, Sept 27th

Oooh, I was treated by Miss P. with a trip to Monterey for an evening event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  But first we wandered around nearby on Cannery Row, taking in the scenery.

Can't go wrong in Monterey with its views.  

Time to head off to the aquarium to celebrate its 30 anniversary.  One of the things I've always appreciated about this aquarium and well there's so much to appreciate is the Seafood Watch Program.  Next up, photos from the event.