Saturday, December 9, 2017

Um, you know

It was 43 degrees this morning but the day promised warmer temperatures and as long as one wore wool, then, a bike ride seemed possible.  The Boyfriend and I agreed to skip a club ride doing Mt. Diablo, preferring instead to have another go at climbing Mt. Um, this time from Hicks West.  Here's me at the intersection of Mt. Um and Hicks, proud that I got up Hicks without having to walk!  Of course that meant the rest of the ride would be exhausting but still, I relished the moment.

There goes The Boyfriend.  He too felt the sting of this climb combined with Hicks but he still steamed ahead of me.  I had to stop a few times, first to enjoy the scenery but mostly to take a break.  We encountered only a handful of cars and that was appreciated.

On and on I went getting closer to the top.  Along the way, I chatted with a female jogger as well as a few male cyclists -- I don't think I looked my best, I mean, let's face it, I was sweaty, snot was probably coming out of my nose, and I was drooling at their fine physique.... still they provided encouragement....

On and on I went taking in the stunning vistas.  Alas, today, we felt the air quality was poor and I do believe it had a negative impact on our stamina.  Sure, Hicks took a bite out of me, but, I felt off the entire time.  Still, I love this climb.  It's quiet, scenic and calms the soul.  Though, I was surprised by the whirring sound of a helicopter circling for a bit but it soon disappeared.

I had about another half mile to the top when I came across The Boyfriend coming down.  I was done.  I was okay with turning around; there'll be another day to make it all the way to the top.  We had amazing views including seeing the coast and Mt. Hamilton. 

Look at this photo.  Puts things in perspective.  A beautiful 30 mile ride and in December.  I look forward to returning when the hills are green and the air a bit cleaner.  Meanwhile, a great ride that fired both of us up.  I'd rather be doing this then stuck in traffic or holiday shopping!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fire Up the CO2 cartridge

For today's club ride in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, it was bikini weather despite the beautiful colors of trees changing as Fall descends upon us. I think it hit around 77 degrees.

Only in California -- Palm trees dotting a vineyard!  Here we are, or more accurately, just me, as I was incredibly slow compared to everyone else, on Watsonville Road.  Try as I might, I could not catch up to Miss P and the rest of the gang. I was also slowed down by lovingly admiring a peloton of male cyclists storming past me (still, they asked if I was okay... hmm) as well as some guys on motorcyclists.  I am easily distracted by the male persuasion.

More vineyards.  Our ride today encompassed Redwood Retreat, climbing Mt. Madonna as well as a couple of zingers Miss P suggested we do.  I finally met up with Miss P on Redwood Retreat and we climbed the challenging Mt. Madonna together.  Redwood Retreat was pretty.  Most of the ride, minus Santa Teresa, was lovely.  Santa Teresa is full of glass and potholes.

Right before we conquered the two extra climbs Miss P. suggested, I took a moment to enjoy this.  The hills are beginning to change to green.  As we approached the fancy neighborhood, I was reminded of the Amgen TOC Solvang time trial - breathtaking scenery and climbs.  This place though had street names like Bluebell, Strawberry and Daffodil.  Our two climbs involved Bluebell and Mantella, challenging but short and a great descent.

About 15 miles or so before returning to our cars, we stopped at the Morgan Hill Public Library because I needed a restroom.  Is this sweet or what! She is sitting on a mushroom.  As we left, all of a sudden, we heard a loud hiss.  Oh oh, something blew.  We stopped to inspect my front tire. Something odd happened, maybe due to the heat. The tube was coming out the tire!  Miss P. got the blow torch, oh alrighty, she let out the air of the tube and then fired up the CO2 cartridge.  We thought we were good to go.    And then, about 3 miles to the end of the ride, on Santa Teresa, my tire went flat again.  This depressed me to no end.  What to do, what to do. Another rider came to my assistance.  Plus 2 more male cyclists offered to help. I said, "Well, would you mind calling the limo service?"  We could not find the puncture nor any debris.  It was a mystery.  We pumped up the tire manually (who knows what the PSI was)  and I was able to return to the start.  I took it easy. Miss P came back to find me as she wondered what was what.  Sweet!   When I got home, I put the tube in the tub but still couldn't find a puncture.  I then pumped it up and could hear where the air was leaking.  The puncture was soooooo tiny.  I remembered what I learned in an HR class recently, try to laugh and be calm and think it through later and be thankful.  No need to get all stressed.  I am thankful to all who helped me out today. 

Just the Stats:

59 miles
33 mph on a descent
10.7 avg mph
5 hr. 28 min.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Chacagua Road Loop

Sunday, November 19th

Where does the time go?  Our last day, we must make the most of it. Seemed like we just arrived for our biking getaway.  Time is truly precious.  Anyway, as previously mentioned, The Boyfriend suggested that we spend Sunday doing a ride we have not done before -- Chacagua Road Loop.  After breakfasting in Carmel, we drove to Carmel Valley Village and set off on the ride, hoping to do about 25-30 miles before going home. Whoa, Chacagua Road at the onset was like doing our local ride Reynolds Road.  Quite a climb. Work those thighs and buttocks! Within minutes, you find yourself high above the valley.

But, oh oh -- we could go no further.  Road closure.  We agreed that we simply must return and see what we missed!

Meanwhile, a view from Carmel Valley Road. Would love to see this when the hills are green.

Another view of Carmel Valley Road.  It was mostly rollers.

There goes The Boyfriend.  So, our ride ended up only being 15 miles before we packed it in and left.  A weekend getaway that was much too short.  Til the next time!

Nightlife - Cannery Row, Monterey

Saturday, November 18th

Freshly showered after our bike ride, The Boyfriend and I headed off to Cannery Row in Monterey for dinner and a stroll.  I was also keen on capturing the pink sky!

Taking in the scenery and figuring out where to eat.

Ha ha, gotta love California -- the palm tree and the Christmas tree.

We eat fish at a pubhouse, had coffee at Starbucks, window shopped, and took in more scenery before calling it a night.  Nice way to end the day.

Yay for Potato Chips

Saturday, November 18th

After The Boyfriend got us coffee from Bookworks on Lighthouse Avenue, we set sail on our bike ride.  Leaving the Inn, we saw a deer meandering through the neighborhood.  Sweet.  We relied on two websites (thank you!) to figure out routes -- Local Rides from Velo Club Monterey and Top 10 Bike Rides in Monterey.  Of course we had to include 17 Mile Drive but we were looking to do something a little different having done rides in the past together as well as for me, with our bike club ACTC.  See here in 2010 and here in 2013 and here in 2007.

Wow, the sea was so blue.  The BF put together a route that included 17 Mile Drive as well as the Chacagua Road Loop in Carmel Valley Village.  It was perfect cycling weather and traffic was fairly minimal.

17 Mile Drive is one scenic photo op over and over; I present the iconic Lone Cypress Tree. 

Somewhere in the Del Monte Forest.  I just love that name!

The beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  While The BF took a bathroom break, I lovingly gazed at male surfers changing into their clothes ... a most pleasant sight.  But I digress.  Off we went, leaving 17 mile Drive and the quaint downtown to Rio Road, onward to Carmel Valley Road and to Carmel Valley Village.

There's The BF somewhere on Carmel Valley Road.  By the time we reached Carmel Valley Village, he made a strategic decision to curtail our planned route and head back to base camp (aka our lovely inn in Pacific Grove).  Not like I was going to argue....  And let me tell you, I was zapped energy wise.  Weenie Woman was dreaming of a glass of wine and bon bons and wondering why no firemen had appeared like they tend to do.... Returning back on Carmel Valley Road, I was wiped until I stopped at a deli (by the way, the entire route has plenty of places to stop for food and drink) to buy a bag of potato chips.  I sat on the roadside feasting on the chips.  It did wonders.  The BF circled back to find me, worried that I had a flat.  Nope, just stuffing my face with glorious chips.  It was a super ride.  We were both pleased.

Just the Stats:

50.76 miles
10.7 avg mph
31.5 mph on a descent
4 hr. 44 min.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Here in Pacific Grove

Friday, November 17th,

Arriving at the inn in Pacific Grove on Asilomar Drive in Pacific Grove.  A much needed getaway.  It's been too long since The Boyfriend and I were last here.  It's a bit on the nippy side, but the weather is clear for the weekend with plenty of sunshine.  I have my woolies to keep me toasty.

The Boyfriend found this inn and it turned out to be a charm. Oh my God, the bed was super.  I mean, some mattresses at some hotels simply suck and give me backaches.  This one was just perfect.   We're right near the beach and the start of our ride for Saturday.  It's quiet and peaceful.  Just what we need.  Thank you Mr. Boyfriend.

Before going into Carmel by the Sea, we stopped off at Point Pinos Lighthouse.  It's the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast.  It was around the corner from the inn and I'm glad we stopped to see it.  It was very windy and chilly.

The BF drove us to Carmel by the Sea through the Del Monte Forest.  Like being in a fairy tale.   On another trip, long ago, we ate here.  We snapped a pic because it captures the essence of this quaint village.  However, we ate at a pubhouse that played music from the 80s.  Ha ha.  I picked up the local newspaper, "The Carmel Pine Cone".  How funny is that!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pedaling Panoche in Paicines

Club ride today starting in Paicines to do Panoche Road.  Goodness, it's been years since I last did this ride.  Seems like just yesterday.  It was chilly and overcast but this quickly changed as the day wore on, to our delight.

Miss P and I arrived a wee bit on the early side.  By the time 9am rolled around, we were ready to go but our ride leader had yet to make an appearance.  Well, we took off anyway along with other cyclists, including those from Fremont Freewheelers.   They had also scheduled the ride.  The more the merrier, right.

What I love about this ride is that I expect to see dinosaurs.  Okay, I know they're extinct.  It just has that look and feel to it.  Okay, there weren't signs, windmills and cows back then.  Just go with it, okay. Meanwhile, sadly, I saw a few dead bunnies.  Yuck.  Here we are at the summit but we still have more to go before the turnaround point.

The ride was challenging because:  a) I've been sick; b) There were no firemen to gawk at; and c) No cutie fellas to flirt with.  The Boyfriend was traveling on business and couldn't join us either.

At mile 25, I'm like, um, so, where's Panoche Inn, the lunch stop and turnaround point?  Did it somehow move?  Or become extinct like the dinosaurs?  The road surface at this point was awful, too.  Jarring is a kind word.  A mile or so later, I came upon the rest of the gang and had a short break before turning around for the return trip. Guy was most gracious, biking with me for most of the way back.  Much appreciated as I tired.  He kept me going at a decent pace.  Miss P. was ahead of us.  We got back to the start and I was very happy that the ride was done.  Nothing particularly special happened on the ride.  But you know what, sometimes, it's a good reminder to recognize that you have your health, a beautiful landscape, and nice companionship. Be thankful.  I'm also pleased with my stats.

Just the Stats:

54.75 miles
33 mph on a descent
10.6 avg mph
5 hr. 8 min.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

For The Birds

Today's bike ride was a relaxing exploration of Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge. 

I was pleasantly surprised by this fella.  My, what a beak, what a neck. What an exquisite creature.

Best part of the ride besides enjoying the nice temperature was this sign!

I soaked it all in, appreciating the beauty of the area.  The stillness. The quiet.  The calm.

A nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Soothing.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A Day of Anticipation

Club ride going all the way to the top of Mt. Umunhum!  This jewel had its long awaited and highly anticipated grand opening in September.  Mt Um is located within the 18,000 acre Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve in Santa Clara County, and is one of the highest peaks in the Santa Cruz mountain range at 3,486 feet.  A nicely paved road made the climb very nice.

 First though, we had to climb Hicks East.  I hadn't been on the bike for 2 weeks due to illness. I hadn't gone on a bike ride with The Boyfriend in quite some time as well.  So, it was definitely a day of excitement.  And absolutely worth every moment. I'm at the top finally.  It was a thrill to go beyond the point where we had to stop in the past.  The few miles to the top is mellow with a flat section, too.

We worried about heavy traffic on the road but that was not the case.  In fact, car traffic was light and drivers were polite!  I, of course, was one of the last to arrive at the top.  Along the way, a driver stopped to say, "I am impressed."  Naturally, I thought he was referring to me.  Turns out he was amazed by Donny and Joan on their tandem.  Still, being the heroine of all my tales, I pretended the driver was in awe of me.  Ha ha.

Everyone else made it to the top a good 15-30 minutes before me but, being the heroine of my all my tales, I'd like to point out that I did make it.  And boy was it worth it. The views were spectacular.

I love this climb not just because of the views. It is challenging but somehow calming at the same time.  I asked The BF if rangers waved to him as he climbed.  No, he said.  Well they certainly did with me, Mister.  And male cyclists gave encouraging remarks as they sped past me.  What can I say, being the heroine of all my tales....

Felt like Mt. Ventoux or being on the moon or a scene from Planet of the Apes.  We are so fortunate that time, energy and money were spent to provide access to this wonderful natural resource.

It was chilly when we started, signs of Fall becoming apparent, and chilly on parts of the climb and descent, but, worth every minute for the stunning views.  The BF enjoyed himself.  I enjoyed myself.  I can't wait to do it again and take more photos. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

An Afternoon at the Symphony

Here I am at the California Theatre in San Jose to hear Symphony Silicon Valley.

Here I am hobnobbing with High Society.  Well, we're really just ordinary folks in San Jose. 

The California Theatre, once known as the Fox Theatre is beautiful.  A long time ago, it was almost demolished.  Now it is a venue for our symphony, our opera and other cultural events.

Warming up.  Omg, it was wonderful.  Watching the violinists with their bows, the flutists, all of the musicians with their instruments ... a live performance is truly a marvel.  This was opening weekend, so, apparently, they begin by playing the Star Spangled Banner.  Who knew.  The concert included Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture, Britten's Passacaglia & Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and finally, Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.  A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  On a date with myself.