Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interesting Day on the Bike

The five stages of Saturday's hill day.

5 flat tires

4 salt tablets

3 big climbs

2 crashes on Lexington (and 2 new climbs)

And a drug-addled autograph seeker

I will think twice next time I suggest we go over Lexington. On the way up, Loren came unclipped on the first dirt ascent and crashed hard enough to jam his wrist, scrape his knee, and twist his seat.

As we cut across the single-track, we were victimized by the first of many flat tires: Chris punctured in the dirt just before we got to concreta firma.

So far so good for me though, I was pleased to get up the dam without dismounting, though I was gassed by that climb!

Then it was up Black Road, first time for me. The morning was chilly and I was happy to have my microfiber jacket and knee warmers. Over the course of the day I only took in 4 bottles of fluids and four salt tablets, which is half of what I took in last weekend in the heat.

Up Black, and across Bear Creek in the dripping fog, passing a couple of great SC Mountain Wineries (Byington and David Bruce) before descending to climb Alba. I ran over a big piece of metal on the descent, blowing up my tire and dinging my rim as well. Hopefully no long-term rim damage there!

In Boulder Creek, the autograph hounds were out. I can't decide whether to feel guilty or pleased for making somebody's day. A guy approached us, certain we were professional riders. I thought he was putting me on but he looked just off enough to be serious, and what with me rocking my Freddie Rodriguez jersey I could see where he could get confused. So he got an envelope and I signed "Fred Rodriguez USA" and then handed the paper to Loren "Levi Leipheimer" and Chris "George Hincapie". And we were off like a flash... wait, no we weren't, we were fixing another flat tire. Where's that damn team car???

At the base of Alba, Chris flatted again, and I attacked! That is to say, I built up a little cushion so that they wouldn't have to wait for me at the top. The climbing was going pretty well. Having the 27 tooth sprocket was a welcome relief, and cooler weather helped a lot as well. The Death Ride is certainly seeming less ominous.

The last climb was Mountain Charlie's, since we had to go to Scotts Valley for more tubes, and thus skipped the tougher Zayante. No issues on MC, that climb isn't too tough. Chris flatted again somewhere, but I no longer remember where. Sucked for him, especially on a new tire, but at least it gave me some breathers every so often. We opted for the full descent down Old SC highway. I had planned to try running it without touching the brakes, but I scared myself early on when I hit a rock in a corner and nearly went down. After that I rode just a bit more conservatively, but only hit the brakes 3 times.

Sadly we came on another crash on the way down Lexington. Two guys (who we think were handicapped) were coming down, and one flipped his bike and hit his head on the big pipe that comes down from the dam. I think he was OK, and there was a good samaritan helping him out and calling 911, but it was a fitting end to a slightly off day.

Overall a fun day. I'm heading for 500 miles and 40-50K feet this month if I get in some decent rides this week.

Today we enjoy the weekend.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Gearing for the weekend

my 12-27 cassette is in! Let's see if it makes a difference.

Monday, May 18, 2009

you know it's hot when...

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...the sweat marks reach the bottom of your shorts.

When your water is so hot it's undrinkable

when you prefer having your helmet on for the shade it provides

When the squirrels keep running out in front of your bike tires trying to commit suicide (yes, that happened three times).

Saturday we started training for the death ride in earnest. 3 tough climbs, 9K feet and 90 miles. And if that weren't enough, Loren and I missed the Zayante Creek Road turn off and did an extra 10 miles from Felton to Scotts Valley and back (Mt. Herman road at noon on a Saturday is nowhere you want to be). But a great ride overall: the descent from 35 down 9 and through Big Basin is really nice, Jamison Creek is as steep as it looked on mapmyride, and we both agreed that Zayante Creek was tougher than we'd expected. Probably due to the heat (approaching 90 at 1PM) and the point we were at in our ride. The route was basically as follows: My home -> 9 to Mt. Eden over Redwood Gulch. then down 9, to 236, through Big Basin, up Jamison Creek, Felton Empire Grade over to Felton. Lunch. Felton to Scotts Valley. Scotts Valley back to Felton (Mapmyride gave us the wrong directions, neglecting to mention that we couldn't hit Zayante from Mt. Hermon). Up Zayante, then over and down Mt. Charleys and Old Santa Cruz, back to my place. I walked in, grabbed a cold glass of water, and laid down on the floor for 5 minutes, wrecked. I have decided that I wasn't dehydrated but I may have been over-heated, because after a cold glass of water I felt just fine. I'm going to invest in some lined water bottles for the Death Ride. Great ride overall.

This was my first trip up Zayante and Jamison Creek. In the past three months I've added the following rated climbs (5/6)to my Resume:

Mt Umunhum
Hicks East
Eureka Canyon
Mt. Charlie
Harwood/Santa Rosa

Along with a bunch of others including Overlook (with the dirt trail by-pass); Calaveras; Palemares;

Not bad. At this time last year I had only done Hicks East. And Pearce/Mt. Eden...

Friday, May 15, 2009

not a lot of writing but plenty of riding

I've been doing plenty of climbing in the past few weeks and have 90 M scheduled for tomorrow. This weekend I'll post all the new climbs I've gone up in the past two months. I've bagged quite a few.

I haven't run much, but was able to do an easy 5 miler at sub-8 pace. Next week I'll put in a few more running miles to gauge my current running form.