Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bike Like a Green Ninja

Given the delightful weather we've been having in the Bay Area, The Boyfriend suggested we do Mines Road in Livermore, knowing that it would neither be too cold or too hot.  I, of course, was concerned with the remoteness, you know, the possibility of The Aliens being in the area ....

But temptation persuaded me especially since the pros recently did this road for the Amgen Tour of California and I really do love the ride.  You climb for about 30 miles, sometimes gentle inclines, sometimes a bit steeper and then take a break at the Junction Bar and Grill, hanging out with motorcyclists. 

Plus, there's always these fellas.  Omg, we watched with fascination and disgust as the wee ones yanked on Mommy's teats.  Me, I was no kid.  I was no weenie!  How's that you ask?  Well, wait, wait for it .....

I am a Green Ninja! (a climate-action superhero from SJSU, well, in the making!)  I roared.  I soared.  Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but, I sure did blast away especially since we didn't encounter much wind, nor any aliens. 

Hard to see, but it says, "Bike like a Ninja" and that I did.  More information about the successful Green Ninja:  the laugh aloud and educational videos and the wonderfully inspirational team at SJSU

We had a great outing especially since we did not see any aliens but we did see lots of wildflowers and beautiful scenery, and I was on track again, doing 55 miles in 4 hrs. and 57 min.  Respect your environment.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Til The Next Time

Monday, May 18th

Our last day of vacation.  The BF decided we should try Figueroa Mountain from the other side despite the road closure sign he encountered the day before.  He figured he'd go as far as he could.  I figured I go as far as I could, you know, get out of bed, have a cup of coffee, and return to bed. Exhausting life I lead.  But no, The Taskmaster made me go out the front door, all suited up for one last ride.   Listen Mister, I said, I better not encounter any aliens.

Before we got to the start of the climb, we met some male cyclists from Canada!  They come to California fairly regularly for cycling trips.  Later in the day, we saw them again. 

There goes The Boyfriend.  Funny how photos don't always capture the steepness of a climb.  Believe me, this was not flat.  The mountain is a favorite for locals, for pros, and for hikers. 

Last time we did it, I made to the fire station, but this time, I turned back early.  I lost my nerve from the gusting wind and sheer drops in some places.  The BF made it to the summit.  He's a stud. 

We stopped for lunch at Panino in Los Olivos.  Good food, good coffee.  It's one of our favorite places.  Cyclists, tourists, locals also like it.   We had only done 28 miles at this point.  The BF suggested we continue on before heading back to the hotel for dinner reservations at the lovely romantic restaurant in Los Olivos.  He guessed it was another 20 miles of riding.  I was like, okay, as long as we don't encounter any aliens. 

Well, here's what happened.  That 20 miles turned into 37 miles, thus, making our ride today 65 miles.  We didn't realize this while we sauntered on.  Classic boyfriend moment - underestimates the mileage.  Classic me moment - health meltdown in which I bike 5 mph.  We'd be lucky to get back to the hotel by midnight .... We reached Los Almos, and yay, for smart phones because The BF changed our reservations.  While he was busy doing that, I shot off like a rocket into the canyon and flew as though I had wings.  One moment, I'm pretty much lame ass and the next, I'm soaring.  It took quite some time for The BF to catch up to me.  He was blown away by my sudden burst of energy.  Both of us blasted back with plenty of time for our romantic dinner.  Good bye for now Solvang, a favorite of ours for biking.  And whew, the aliens didn't get me this time....

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Games We Play

Sunday, May 17th

For today's outing, The Boyfriend planned to do Figueroa Mountain in Los Padres National Forest while I went towards Santa Barbara on Hwy 246 to Armour Ranch Road (pictured above) which becomes Happy Canyon and onwards to Figueroa Mountain, with the intent of meeting him somewhere, unless of course the Aliens got me first.  

Armour Ranch Road has got to be one of my favorite roads in the whole wide world.  I mean, look at it!  Like a rollercoaster.  Last time I was out this way, I got a rear tire flat and The BF had to rescue me.  So, I was ever excited to get to do it this time.

Along the way, I met other cyclists.  And then poof, The BF appeared.  He discovered that the route he chose was closed so he backtracked and caught up to me, quite easily since I was chugging along at some pathetic speed.  I should have taken photos of the horse farms and vineyards that dot the landscape of Happy Canyon Road, but, I was too busy taking care that the kamikaze squirrels didn't thwart my ride, and well, plus, the possibility of an alien attack also kept me on alert.

The start of the climb up Figueroa Mountain, the easier side, above.  Somewhat similar to Mt. Diablo.  Beautiful.

And more of it.   I only climbed some of the mountain and then we sauntered on going to Hwy 154 into Los Olivos and doing a stretch on Ballard Canyon.  I managed 43.85 miles in 4 hr. 25 min.  And luckily, not attacked by any aliens or kamikaze squirrels.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Later that Evening

Ah romance .... having survived the possible attack from the aliens, we had a lovely dinner in Los Olivos.  Here I am, wearing my mom's pearls, in the restaurant that was featured in the film Sideways, drinking wine from a vineyard we passed earlier on one of our bike rides.
The vineyards in the area are simply breathtaking.  I think they are more spectacular than those in the Napa/Sonoma region.  We'd like to visit Santa Barbara on another trip and I imagine that we'll be in for a treat there, too, provided there aren't any aliens lurking about.....

Lompoc Loop

Saturday, May 16th

I'm pretty sure the aliens went that away .... 

We're doing Lompoc today.  Can't really say exactly which roads we traveled.  I leave that up to The Taskmaster, aka The Boyfriend.  I follow and suffer.  He ignores me.  I keep a lookout for aliens. 

What makes all of these rides we do in Solvang/Lompoc/Santa Ynez/Los Olivos/Los Alamos etc so special is the quietness of our surroundings, the scenic views of vineyards, agriculture and little traffic.  One can become totally unplugged from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and simply appreciate our beautiful state.  Of course, one must always be on the lookout for aliens.

The wind was fierce going into Lompoc but eased up as we made our way into the canyons.  Today we did 38 miles in 3 hours 20 minutes. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cat Canyon aka He Makes Me Do These Long Rides

Friday, May 15th

So, here we are in lovely Buellton and Solvang.  We could be touring wineries, sipping delicious wines but noooooo, we're here to bike.  The Boyfriend is a hard taskmaster.

The key to biking in this area is to start early (9am or so) to avoid as much as possible the afternoon winds.  Here we are in Cat Canyon. 

Here I come.  Certainly, the drought has left the area a bit browner than in previous years spent here.

We know of course that this is a drill, yes, but no ordinary drill  -- it is a drill looking for alien eggs.....

Meanwhile, we managed 60 miles for today's outing, for me, doing it in 5 hr. 45 min.  Keep in mind that the road surfaces in some areas are less than desired.  In fact, somewhere, perhaps crossing a cattle guard, I chipped my front tooth.  Can we say yay, I'm on vacation ....

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

in Solvang

Thursday, May 14th

Are we here?  Of course not,  much too romantic. Well, romance came later ... The BF knows how to make me happy.

We're in here in Buellton.  A bit warmer, and certainly warmer than Mt. Baldy, which we had to bid adieu as part of our biking trip -- who wants to bike in freezing temperatures with snow at the summit.  Pity though.  It is epic.  Oh well.  The weather been terribly off this month, even the time trial in Big Bear Lake for the Amgen TOC had to be moved to another location

Do I look like a cyclist?  Ah, my favorite exercise after sleeping, after eating,  after um, well you know....  Shoe shopping! ....

in Cambria

Wednesday, May 13th

The Boyfriend and I arrived in Cambria for the start of a week long bike tour.  Here I am on Moonstone Beach.  After we got settled into our hotel, we set off to do a short bike ride along Santa Rosa Creek Road.

We only did about 18 miles because it was frigging cold and I was tired.  The BF was neither tired nor cold but who cares about his feelings... it's my story and my blog.   It dawned on me that I'm probably in the worst shape I've been in years.  The BF of course turned a deaf ear to my whining.  See if he gets any tonight, if you know what I mean ....

The next day, Thursday, we set sail again, and this time, I had a wee bit more energy.  Santa Rosa Creek has a few steep bits.  Ouch, can we say ouch.  Oh, let us do say ouch again.  We got around to Hwy 46 for a fantastic descent except of course it began to rain and the wind gusted scarily.  But I was like, fuck this shit, oops, that is not very lady like, I was like, ooh, raindrops keep falling on my head la dee dah .... it was an adventure.  We did 32 miles.   We also, unfortunately, had to change our bike trip.  You see, we planned to drive over to Glendora and do Mt. Baldy with the Amgen Tour of California as we did in 2012.  It's an epic climb.  Unfortunately, it was also going to be 37 degrees at the start of the climb with snow at the top.  Well, we decided to pass and move along to Solvang.  I would like to thank The Boyfriend for his efforts in changing our itinerary. To be continued .....

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

AmGen TOC Stage 3 - He Smiled at Me

We're here at Berryessa Community Center wandering around before the start of Stage 3 of the AmGen Tour of California.  Checking out bikes.  We ran into Dan C!

The Jelly Belly team!  I love them.  Guess what they gave us, yep, jelly beans.

Mr. Cavendish giving an interview.  He looked at me and smiled.  Omg, I practically fainted. The Boyfriend had to put up with me waving to everyone and probably making a fool of myself.  But, guess what, the tour cars, the firemen, the police, and other people in vehicles waved back.  I felt all girly.  I think The BF suffers a lot when with me....

And they're off.  Blink and they were gone.  Off to Livermore, Mines Road, backside of Mt. Hamilton, down Mt. Hamilton, over to scary Quimby (watch the highlights, amazing footage), eventually making their way over to Metcalf for the finish. 

The BF waiting atop Metcalf.  He figured out the route plan for us.  We parked near the Tully Library, got on the Coyote Trail and climbed Metcalf.  Ouch, haven't done it years but yay, I got up it!  And passed guys who had to stop and take a break.  We ran into Lane, Ahmed, Diane, Guy, and James P.  Yay again!

Here they come.  Omg, it was so exciting.   More to come.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Bunny on my bike ride

We all know what that stuff is floating atop the river.  Yep, signs of alien algae.

Lookey, bunny on my bike ride!  Where am I?  Well, I awoke this morning to grey skies and chilly temperatures.  The thought of joining a Mt. Hamilton club ride did not appeal. 

I jumped on the hybrid bike, pedaled along the Guadalupe River trail and proceeded to the Alviso Slough trail.  The sky turned blue.  Wildflowers and wildlife were everywhere.

Sudsy.  Foamy.  Probably where the aliens rinse off.

Turkey vulture!  Hopefully he'll eat any remains of dead aliens....

The trail goes on and on in a loop, offering views of Shoreline, Dumbarton Bridge, and of course our beloved mountains in the South Bay.  I was fortunate that there was almost no wind today.

I watched this big bird glide across the water.  I wanted to join.  A fun adventure and something different.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Isn't It Romantic

Omgoshy, I'm off to the big city aka San Franciso, taking BART from Colma station to Civic Center.  Brrr, rather windy and chilly today.  And get this People, on the way back, there were delays due to an earthquake (4.0)  and need to do safety checks.  Nobody told me that I would be assaulted by smells of urine walking along Grove Street.  Alas, I'm in the big city, I guess.

Lookey, it's the San Francisco Public Library!  No time to stop by and chat with kindred spirits since I'm off on my big adventure.... guess where I'm headed.

Thanks to a sweet and bestest friend, I'm going to the War Memorial Opera House.  Why you ask?

"Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean."  Omg, I'm seeing, for the very first time, SF Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet.  Here's a review.  Mind you, I still am enamored by my hometown ballet  and upcoming Cinderella

Oh how exciting.  I'm staring at the ceiling, and talking with the elderly couple behind me.  They are romantic.  They thought it amusing that I did not have GPS to get me to my seat.  And whoa, hello, great seat, thank you bestest friend.

Curtain time.  Time to savor the Montagues and the Capulets, the performers, the costumes, and the marvelous orchestra interpreting Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights.  What a treat.  I am blessed.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Trail Runs Through It

How to amuse myself today with options to do this and that.  Given the beautiful weather, I couldn't just stay in bed all day consuming bonbons and other delectables.  Well, there was one brief moment when I almost succumbed to the temptation.  I opted to return to Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. 

I got to test the trekking poles I recently purchased.  I find that they give me energy and balance.  I enjoyed being alone with my thoughts and classical music on my iPod Nano.  I recently watched the movie Wild (wrong actress and underdeveloped).  But, it was why I chose to go on a hike today.

I waited for a troll to appear but alas, no such luck.  I sauntered on.  Notice the hills remain green!

I walked here.  I walked there.  I simply walked and wandered.  I encountered two mtn. bikers who gave me tips on where else to walk.  Then, I gave them some tips too, having nothing to do with hiking.  Oh don't get me started on what transpired with that conversation. They were a treat.  I also met a ranger adding dirt to a part of the trail.  He said I passed.  I mean he said I could pass.  Oh don't get me started on what transpired with that conversation.

I watched a turkey vulture eye the remains of a squirrel and swoop down for lunch.  This shot by the way is from the road.  I ended up walking on the road back to the summit of Sierra.  I've biked it and now found myself walking it.  Back at the parking lot, at the end of today's journey, I met a man, no you say, who asked if I had a good hike.  I just smiled and walked away.