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.

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