Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Ride to the Cemetery

Happy Halloween!  My favorite holiday of the year.  I think adults should be allowed to go trick or treating ... just saying.  Anyway, today I joined Donny's ride in search of dinosaurs and a cemetery in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  We began on Old Santa Cruz Highway and snaked through Redwood Estates, where we encountered our first dinosaur of the day.  Had I stopped to take a photo, I would never have gotten back on the bike.  I climbed most of the steep pitches save one where I had to walk.

We went under and then over Highway 17 to Summit Road where we explored a number of hilly side roads.  It was ever so fun descending but climbing was ugh, ugh, and ugh.  There were bits where I dropped below 3 mph.  I had dressed in black wool and that was so wrong.  The day heated up quickly and I was roasting.  Easily in the 80s.

After climbing out of Wrights Station, we found the house on Skyland Road,  decorated for Halloween, Another climb.  Ugh.  I was spent and could not do the few remaining miles to visit the dinosaurs.  I turned around and while passing the Summit Store, what do you suppose I saw.  Wait, wait for it, yes sir, a firetruck.  The firemen waved me to pass them.  I think they just wanted to watch me bike... they got their treat, alrighty.  As did I.  I did 25 miles instead of 30 and close to 4,000 feet of climbing. It was a spooktacular ride!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

LKHC Mill Creek Road

 (photo Bill Bushnell)

This week's LKHC event  was a new one for many of us, a beautiful Bay Area backroad -- Mill Creek Road, complete with a resident who has a helicopter.   Today's ride - a time trial.  Battling a cold that wouldn't die, I was determined to venture out because I couldn't pass up on the chance to explore a road not done before.  Guess who showed up as a volunteer, I know, I know, this will mean nothing to most of you, but, it was swell to see Howard again. If nothing else, I know how to look good....

Oh lookey, I appear to be racing and with a male cyclist.  Look at his face of pain.  Look at mine.  Clueless.  We were close to the finish line, a 4.34 mile time trial of rollers and a few steep pitches of 8 percent or so.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, the weather was perfect, the volunteers super but we did have a run in or two with local residents (can someone say sour puss).  Honestly, we behaved, we left no carbon foot print, but, alas, some people were disturbed by our presence.  Such drama is simply not called for especially given much more serious events in our world that demand our attention.

Meanwhile, how did I do?  First off, I was third to go in the time trial before a cast of hundreds.  Or as Miss J. says, "It's because you're social."  Ha ha, you crack me up.  Well, I didn't place last for once.  Get out of town, you say. And according to Dan the Man, I'm up there with most consistent and improved in overall rankings.  Again, not sure this is anything to be proud of, but, one thing for sure, I had a swell time. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Out Without The Boyfriend

At Happy Hollow Zoo (thanks to Elena) for the Heart of the Congo fundraiser supporting the Virunga National Park rangers who protect mountain gorillas.

 I held a lemur's delicate hand, soft like velvet. Exquisite.  Dare I say it, better than dark chocolate, and maybe even ... well, you know. 

Mingled with cockroaches and hung out with a rodent, also known as a porcupine.

Chalk drawing on the sidewalk.  Wonderful event with staff sweet to answer my numerous questions.  No doubt I missed a lot since I was only able to stay a little while (the lingering cold exhausting me).  Til next year.

Out With The Boyfriend

Guess who's in town!

The BF:  I don't care if you have a cold, we're going for a bike ride.
Me:  Why must you torture me.  Listen Mister, if I'm forced to ride in my condition, then, I want some nooky afterwards.
The BF:  What!  You're sick.  I don't want to catch whatever you have.   I won't allow you to germinate me.
Me: I'm going to fire you as my boyfriend.
The BF:  And then you'll hire me right back.
Me:  I'll think about it.  Ooh, we're going to pass firemen on this ride, aren't we.
The BF:  Sigh.

Odd weather.  Heavy overcast, a bit chilly.  Never burned off.  Off we go, starting in Palo Alto along Junipero Serra to Foothill to Stevens Canyon and onto Redwood Gulch, a climb I haven't done in awhile.  Ouch.

He's so handsome.  I stayed behind him so I could stick my tongue out at him as I climbed and sweated buckets from the cold I've had for several days now.  We continued up Highway 9 to Skyline.  Sweet surprise on Skyline, a section that was exquisitely paved, allowing me to simply coast like I was on ice.

Taking a break coming down Page Mill.  Whew, on the home stretch.  Boy, I saw 4 dead deer today.  Yucky.  The weather worsened but we were able to get in a 38 mile ride.  Til I see you again, Mister.

Monday, October 12, 2015

LKHC Page Mill Road 2015

                                                (photo taken by Frank Paysen)

Saturday, October 3rd

Ring, Ring (I'd know that ring anywhere; it was The Boyfriend calling)

BF:  How'd you do on the LKHC Page Mill ride
Me:  Well, hello to you, too, Mister.
BF:  Give me the low down!
Me:  Well, the weather was ever so weird, a dense fog requiring car lights on Hwy 280, I had to wear my cycling woolies and wipe down my wet bike before biking from Shoup Park in Los Altos to the start.
BF:  Who cares.  How'd you do!
Me:  I saw a deer with big ears on Purissma before reaching the registration location.
BF:  What part of "who cares" did you not grasp?
Me:  Listen Mister, I'm telling the story from start to end.
BF:  Yes, Ma'am.
Me:  Biking in the Los Altos Hills was like I imagine a fall ride on the East Coast to be.  Fallen leaves, colorful Autumn foliage, damp, quiet, mysterious.
BF:  Oh for Pete's sake.
Me:  Alrighty, I thought if the weather doesn't clear by the time I get to registration, I am so not doing this for safety reasons but Cara was informed by residents that Page Mill was clear and good to go.
BF:  Go on.
Me:  Rather than be in the last group of the day, Dan the Man said it was okay for me to start by myself and self-time.  That way I could see some action for once as riders caught up to me!
BF:  I'm listening.
Me:  You should be.  So, I started at 9:45am.  The first wave of riders were scheduled to start at 10:10am.
BF:  And.
Me:  I put my head down, stared at the ground, zoned out listening to music, and shot off.
BF:  Go Girl.
Me:  At around mile 5.98, the national champion who joined our party passed me but he also said something to me.
BF:  He did!
Me:  Yes, and that's between him and me.
BF:  Shut up.
Me:  Then Mr. Bill passed me and Miss P in the car going to the top.  Or maybe they were first and then it was the national champion.  I can't remember.  And then more riders and Dan, too.
BF:  Go, go, go.
Me:  Guess what!  I got to the section where the two parks are on either side of the road, and someone shouted, "Green Ninja!"  I practically peed in my panties.  It was EC, a professor at my university who is part of the Green Ninja project.  I am a climate action hero, or at least I try to do my part.  That made my day and how I fared in the "race" didn't matter.

                                            (photo taken by Bill Bushnell)

The stretch between Gate 3 and 4 is, how should I put it, a bitch.  I am a recreational cyclist (get out your hankies).  I do Page Mill Road maybe once or twice a year. I don't train like many who showed up today (impressive cyclists!).  It is something I do because it allows me the opportunity to help my heart, be with friends, and appreciate the beauty of the Bay Area.   I forced myself to get through the difficult parts and to simply keep going.

How'd I do?  Well, of course, I placed last but ... in 2006 (different bike), I timed 75.34, in 2011, I timed 66.54 and today:  66 minutes. 

My secret:  mixing tofu with one egg and one egg white scrambled for breakfast plus sheer determinism. 

The BF was proud and supportive.

I am a Green Ninja super action hero cyclist.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

LKHC Montebello 2015

Hmm, I was tempted to go to the wedding.  But no, it's that time again to kick off the Low Key Hill Climb season!  Here I go again ....

Ring ring from somewhere on the East Coast --

The BF:   Did you start the season off with a record breaking ride?"

Let's discuss.

Do I train for this event?
Do I just show up and hope for the best?
Do I generally finish last?

I rolled out of bed like I do most mornings, thinking about doing yoga (not), wondering at what hour I may have chocolate (yes), hoping I see firemen (yay) ... okay, last month I did a practice run (surprise) to get a sense of when I would wimp out, fatigue, whine, wish I was somewhere else, la dee dah.  It actually paid off.

 (photo from Wink Saville Media)

We had a good turnout, the weather was perfect (hello, we live in California), 14 women registered this year (yay), a couple of runners, a boy (he's going places), some newbies (wonderful) and a few tandems.

It's Hammer Time.  No time for me to be weenie.  Give it my best shot. 

To answer The BF's question.  Well, hot diggity darn.  Why, yes, yes, I did.  Sort of.  Some stats:

2008:  55.58 (different bike)
2011:  54.53
2012:  51.05 (whoa, who was that chick)
2013:  53.05
2014:  57.47 (sigh)
2015:  54.54

Not earth shattering but frigging way better than last year.  The newly paved road surface might have been a factor.  I ought to get an award for most times finishing last!  And damn proud of it.  I do it because it's fun, it's challenging, and it makes me feel alive.