I love this video!
LAKE TAHOE. I’ve been on vacation since mid-May, and it’s been a good one. I actually can’t remember the last time I took two, whole weeks off at one time. This block of vacation was actually saved to go to Ireland but I had to delay the trip until this upcoming Sept. Anyways, took off for Tahoe last Monday and spent a glorious 4 days there. We didn’t really have the luck of the Irish with us as far as weather was concerned. Spatters of rain began within a 1/2 hour into the drive. Rain continued to increase as we reached the Sierras and as we passed the summit on Highway 80, it was a serious downfall with temperatures registering 40˚F. I worried a little about camping in the snow, I mean, it was only midday and it could easily drop to freezing by nightfall.
First we had a lunch in Tahoe City, did some grocery shopping, and headed for our campsite. Set up tent, get all the logistics in order (had to use a bear box for food and aromatics) and make a fire as soon as I could. It was cold ( a lot of layers under that coat)!
A misty rain was off and on the rest of the afternoon and we actually cooked dinner and stayed outside until a little after sunset until the rain returned in earnest. We packed everything up and headed for the tent; K, myself and my dog. I was looking forward to my new sleeping pad, really a backpacking air mattress made by Big Agnes, the insulated Q-Core Superlight. The last few trips I’d been experiencing hip and back pain with my old pad and was hoping for the best with my new one.
We just made it into the tent, convinced the dog she’d be more comfortable at the end of the tent instead of on top of me, when it really started to pour. My tent is also a Big Agnes and I’d really never tested it in heavy rains. Well, tonight was the night. It rained steadily throughout, but we were dry and “snug as a bug” all night long.
No rain upon awakening but heavy clouds, and I checked the weather report to discover there would be intermittent sun and showers. It was also cold, so I set about making a morning fire before we cooked breakfast, and had some downtime drinking coffee, reading, and picture taking.
This trip was a hiking one. The last few times to Tahoe we’d brought the mountain bikes. There are lovely trails where dogs are aloud just above the campsite in a State Park. But, we’d been doing so many miles on our road bikes and completed the Permanent just a week ago, so we left the bikes at home. Today’s plan was one of two hikes around Squaw Valley; we chose the 5 Lakes Trail, not far from Alpine Meadows ski area.
We started too late to make it to the lakes; they would be another 1-1/2 miles. So we stopped at a switchback with a wonderful view and a place to sit for a snack, and some rest before we headed back down.
This hike was listed as moderate; the first half was much steeper but we climbed about 2,000 feet in a mile and a half. We really liked this trail and hoped we’d get back to it vowing to start earlier so we could get all the way to the lakes. Here’s our route, you can see the lakes to the left:
To be honest, we were tuckered out, including the dog. We stopped to replenish our ice, but other than cooking dinner and having a evening campfire to sidle up to, we hung out at our campsite the rest of the day. Look some shadows!
The next day’s weather report said no more rain, with temperatures predicted to be on the rise. We awoke to sunshine but all of us were feeling a bit weary from yesterday’s hike so we decided to head to Truckee River for the day. Chloe’s favorite thing (besides the frisbee); water! We packed an excellent lunch and found a perfect little spot, with great access to the water and a good amount of stick throwing material.
We’d been cooking in camp for all our meals so for our last night’s dinner we went out. Nothing fancy but they had really good beer. As usual, I made an evening fire and we relaxed and read, and talked until the evening cold drove us to the tent. On our way out we stopped for a late breakfast in Tahoe City. The restaurant was filled with old bikes; here’s one.
Long as in the time it took from start to finish! I took K up Tunnel Rd. today; her first time. She did great and it wasn’t long because we were so slow but long because we had an intermission with less than 4 miles to the finish.
We’d planned to stop for coffee because we were cold from the downhill and found a wonderful restaurant and decided to stop for a meal. We’re both on vacation and no rushing necessary. So we tried this French place and all the food we ate was fantastic (there’s something about how food tastes after some miles behind you). We got a seat right near a window and in the sun with a perfect view of our bikes. Lots of hot, wonderful coffee, and excellent jam for croissants or pancakes. Good service too.
Sometimes when you’re putting in the mileage you forget to be flexible. It was just nice to play it by ear.
I’ve been on vacation for a week now. It’s so wonderful being able to plan a bunch of different rides. I have until Mon. to ride when and where I want and then I’m off to Tahoe for a few day of camping and hiking. Today I decided to go up Tunnel Rd., something that I have not attempted since last Feb. I did ride up Tunnel Rd. then, but it wasn’t easy. I believe last time I had to stop to rest and had a short patch of walking. Today I experienced neither of those events; no walking, no resting, straight to the top! Not only that, but last time I had to use my lowest gear all the way and today I only used it a couple of short periods. It’s so great to feel the difference in your efforts when you’ve been working hard.
Here’s the route; not a long ride today, 18 miles.
The goal today was hills.
I literally have not ridden this whole route in 20 years. The road seemed to be a little more tore up than I remember. Sure was glad I was on those 32 mm Gran Bois’. And, of course, I don’t remember as much of it being uphill once on Grizzly Peak. Being a weekday there was not horrible traffic and most cars were very curteous and passed with plenty of room. Here’s looking east from Grizzly Peak.
Looking out over the bay.
A few days before our Permanent the owner (John) emailed to say he wished to ride with us. I was already nervous; this was the longest ride I’d done in the last few years. It was going to be my first ever RUSA event, and I was also worried we’d be too slow. I hoped John would feel free to keep his own pace and not worry about going along without us. John and Kimber, San Francisco Randonneurs, arrived a little before the start time and it was clear they had no intentions of leaving us behind. John rolled off in the lead and asked us to tell him if the pace was okay.
We were averaging around 15.5 mph. It was fun and no need for a cue sheet; I just followed John. We reached the first control, grabbed a quick bite and were off in a few minutes. It was a gorgeous day. Only a slight breeze and though a little chilly at the start I had decided to leave my jacket behind. We continued with good time along the Alameda Creek Trail, and at one point I worried a little about the pace. I wasn’t feeling tired at that moment, but it did cross my mind I might burn myself out. We were going to go 15 more miles than any of my previous training rides. We reached the 2nd control (38 miles) and stopped for a 1/2 hr. It was a good rest and I was still feeling pretty good.
Most of the ride as yet had been all on multi-use trails and now we were finally hitting a long section of streets. After the last control my legs felt a little heavy but then it seemed I just needed to warm up after the stop. Here’s where I started to lose awareness of where exactly I was. That is, what street I was on or city I was in and about then we hit a very steep, and confusing overpass which also served as a freeway on-ramp in the 2, right hand lanes. I remember the cue sheet saying, “DANGER.” After negotiating with cars and trying to zip up the overpass, my legs were spent. I prayed I’d recover after some flats, it wasn’t too bad for awhile, but then we hit the headwinds. I just kept the cranks turning, but no longer able to keep John’s wheel, I was in no-man’s land with Kate and Kimber somewhere behind me.
We finally rolled into Alviso (11 miles from the finish) and took a short break. At this point my legs had nothing left and I had to just grit my teeth and keep pedaling. Even though completely flat until the finish, there were some pretty good winds left and now I was trailing everyone (well, not Kimber, she stayed with me now). I knew I was going to finish, but I was not having fun anymore.
We finally reached Stevens Creek Trail, the first trail out in the morning ; it was cooler here and better protected from the winds. The trail crosses some highways and streets using bridges, and it’s like riding switchbacks to get up to the bridge part. These were killers! Just a mile or so from the finish our guardians stopped to give us some orange Stinger gummybear-like snacks. We must of looked horrible. Boy did they taste good.
We got to the finish in 6:01. I couldn’t wait to get off that bike, and did so immediately. Then I realized what a incredible gift Kimber and John had given us. They had showed us the in’s and out’s of our first event, and displayed one of those unique characteristics of randonneuring, camaraderie. Just what I had been looking for.
UPDATE: just completed a little 15 mile route with the new saddle. So far so good. I expected to be a little sore from the long ride Sun., but didn’t feel those sore spots on the Rivet.
I read a nice review of Rivet Saddles on “LovelyBicycle” blog less than a week ago, and since I’m having some saddle issues decided to post a query about these saddles on the SF Randonneur forum. I received glorius testimonials and an offer from the owner of Rivet Cycleworks, Deb Banks, to send me a saddle to try out. What great service! I received the saddle in a few days (with a pair of free socks) and today I’m slated to install it. This is the Pearl model in burgundy; it also comes in black, natural and white. I’ll keep you posted, though it’ll take a few hundred miles to break in.
• Is it
bad luck general protocol to wash your bike before a big ride?
• Nutrition will stay as is. I don’t do well with whole foods and in fact, rarely feel hungry when I exercise for long bouts. I’ve been using Hammer products for a few years now; Perpeteum for my food, Endurolyte Fizz for electrolyte replacement and a variety of supplements I take every hour. I’m using a 70 oz. bladder and 2 water bottles; one for water and a multi-hour bottle of Perpeteum. I might take some raisin/nut mixture for variety.
• I will have to stop for a water refill (I consume 24 oz./ hr.). Do people plan this ahead of time with regard to, say, filling up at a control even though your not on empty?
• I have tools (tire irons, tube,multi-tool, pump) I carry every day but usually don’t take a chain tool. This chain has maybe 500 miles. Take a chain tool? Any other “must-haves?”
• I’m carrying my Permanent card separately with a paperclip to hold receipts. I’m also putting it in a plastic bag, and then in my saddlebag with a pen.
• My kit: I’ve grown accustomed to wearing knee warmers with shorts. Never too cold here this time of year so I’ll take a vest (probably will reside in the saddlebag all day) and wear a wind shell. There may be fog in the AM, but most likely warm, even hot. 80° projected for Sun. Already have sunscreen packed.
K and I are doing this Permanent together. Yesterday we talked strategy. Time to arrive (8:30 start time). Check. Getting proof of passages. Check. Stopping only at controls except for 1hr. supplements (very short stop) or, you know, Mother Nature. Check. Interestingly, we’ve ridden at least half of this route before as parts of other day rides. That’s helpful in the navigation aspect, as in, not getting lost. Even though this is not a race, I feel a little nervous. This will be the longest distance I’ve ridden in the last couple of years. Did you know musings means meditation? Here’s mine.
“Fear to a great extent is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story……. I decided I was safe, I was strong, I was brave.” -Cheryl Strayed, Wild