Twenty To Go

Yesterday we did 45 miles, essentially flat and mostly along the SF Bay Trail. Pretty much uneventful; other than my crash. I was riding parallel to the curb/gutter. They’d just resurfaced this street but did not make the asphalt even with the concrete. Their work created a lip of concrete that apparently was like a magnet for my front wheel. I guess the closest comparison would be riding parallel to train tracks and your tire getting stuck in the space of the track; your bike goes one way and you the other. Luckily no serious injury.

This is the last big week of mileage with 50 on Sunday, then the following week we’ll be tapering before the Permanent May 19. I was going to do a pretty hard ride as far as elevation on Sunday but we decided since the Permanent is virtually flat we wouldn’t punish ourselves. I have a partner to train and ride with, but after the Permanent I think I’ll be on my own again as I try to prepare for a Populaire the end of June. I’m still not sure I’ll be ready for it. Not too worried about the distance, more worried about the mountains. So after May 19, I’ll probably do some shorter, hillier rides to try to get ready. Pretty excited as I go on vacation for the second half of May. I’m hoping to do some new rides in the area.

Here’s yesterday’s route, an out and back:

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Nice Little Loop

I planned a 15 mile ride this morning; wanted it to be nice and easy. I didn’t map it out and played it by ear. I rode through Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley and Albany. It came out to only 14 miles but tomorrow’s our 45 miler, so it was ok. I started on the San Francisco Bay Trail, cut up and over Highway 80 via that cool Berkeley Bridge, rode through the shops of 4th street and headed for the Ohlone Parkway. I had a really nice ride. It was cooler than I expected; probably could have afforded another layer. It was really nice riding in the sun when it finally came out. As mentioned, tomorrow’s a 45 mile training day, but no mountains. I planned a route mostly along the San Francisco Bay Trail with a few miles inland through Oakland and Berkeley. Here’s today’s route:

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The Lost Ride

A week ago Sunday we rode the Tierra Bella and we didn’t skip a beat as we planned a 40 mile training ride yesterday. We’re getting ready for a 105k Permanent in May, so we continue upping the mileage and the amount of climbing. We were well prepared for a hot day, with both water and nutrition while on the bike. However, as I swung my leg over the saddle I noted NO gps on my handlebar. I’d left it at home! Though I knew the route by heart (getting lost was not a worry), I depend on my Garmin for so much more than just directions. While riding I like to know speed and of course distances as I’m calcuclating upcoming turns. After the ride I’m analyzing moving time, caloric output, and elevation gain. Well, we weren’t going to have any of that, but at least K had a cyclometer; we’d know distance, time, and speed in real time. Then at about 10 miles into the ride, K’s cyclometer just stopped. No data to display for this ride, just experiential memory.
This morning I mapped the route out on the computer and it was closer to 42 miles. We’d planned on a very hard climb at the beginning of Bear Creek Rd. (and it was),

at the top of the hill
at the top of the hill

but it’d been many years since I’d ridden this route, and I couldn’t really remember how difficult the hills would be. Honestly, it was a hard day in the saddle. Mapmyride says only a little over 2000 ft. of climbing, but I don’t know how accurate their tools really are.

looking back down the trail
looking back down the trail

We did finish our ride, though at times I felt like I was barely limping home.

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Tierra Bella

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Saturday was our 60k ride in Gilroy, the Tierra Bella. We had excellent weather and a fantastic ride. Just a little over 2000 ft. of climbing, mostly rollers, around the Uvas reservoir; these were great country roads. The organizing group, the Almaden Cycling Club hosted a super event. Lots of great food at the rest stops and they had a hot lunch for us at the end of the ride. The route was well marked with volunteers at most of the intersections requiring a turn. Of course I had a cue sheet and the course wasn’t particularly confusing, but I appreciated the support. There were additional distances; 200k, 100 miles and a metric century.

getting ready
getting ready

 

just before the start
just before the start
first few miles
first few miles

Speaking of cue sheets, I used ChaisingmailboxesDC‘s method for a cue sheet holder. Used a zip tie to attach a clasp to the stem with a piece of old inner tube underneath. The cue sheet is inside a plastic cover (like the ones to protect pages in a notebook) and folded in half. At each rest stop I would fold the cue sheet so the next portion of directions were visible. You could also laminate the cue sheet, and I know some who use clear shipping tape to reinforce it. Plastic wasn’t really necessary since we had fantastic weather, but a good practice for any rides one might do in inclement weather.

first rest stop
first rest stop
taking a picture of the Sam at the last rest stop
taking a picture of the Sam at the last rest stop

 

 

 

The First Time

I fell upon Mad Alchemy, a company in Colorado that specializes in natural creams, lotions and embrocations. I was intrigued by the embrocations because in my morning commutes (it’s very early, cold, and dark) my legs were feeling quite heavy the entire ride to BART. I thought I’d try an embrocation to see if it helped.

Anyways, I ordered the Russian Tea Warming Embrocation and I like it quite a lot. Not too hot. The only trick is, since I wear knickers, is getting the embrocation rubbed into your thighs without getting any on your chamois. Easy to rub down your calves, just pull the lower parts of your knickers up. Mad Alchemy has lots of other products; check them out.

I know there’s gads of chamois creams for men, and over the years I’ve seen maybe one other for women but I can’t even remember the manufacturer’s name. I’ve never used a chamois cream but there’s been rides where I wished I had. So when I saw the cream specifically for women, I ordered that too. It’s called LaFemme Chamois Cream. I used it for the first time in yesterday’s 60k and I really liked it. Most (maybe all) of their products are natural and some even vegan.

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Road To Off-Road

If you’ve read some older posts you may remember I sold my Lemond last January. This was the only bike I had with road pedals. All of my other bikes have mtb pedals, specifically Crankbrothers. Both my Pugsley and my Vaya have Eggbeaters, and my Big Dummy has Candy.

Crankbrothers Candy
Crankbrothers Candy

Having road and mtb pedals necessitates two different types of shoes and cleats. My road shoes happen to be Sidi’s; which I love, and for summer riding weather are wonderful. When I got my Sam Hillborne I knew I wanted to use Crank Brothers pedals, not only because I like them but also my winter, wet, cold weather shoes had these types of cleats. I stole the Candy from my Dummy and put them on the Hillborne (now my Dummy’s shoeless) and rode this winter with both my Lake winter cycling boots and my Pearl Izumi Alps.

Now it’s warmer riding again and I want to wear my Sidi. What to do? Enter Crankbrothers again with their Quattro 3-hole cleat. This little gizmo allows you to convert a 3-hole cycling shoe (road) to a mtb shoe. Voila, I now can wear all of my shoes on all my bikes. So the Sidi’s are getting the call for this Sat.’s 60k. Interesting how the weather has jumped 20 degrees in the last couple of days; looks like it’s time for summer weather riding kit.

Quattro 3-hole Adapter
Quattro 3-hole Adapter

Sum It Up

This is the title of the latest book I read and I couldn’t put it down. Of course, Pat Summitt is truly one of my idols (and I don’t have many). Just in case you don’t know who this is, Pat Summitt has been the head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee for many years. She has won the most NCAA basketball games of any coach, male or female. Her team has won eight National Championships and has participated numerous times in the tournament. But this book isn’t just about basketball. In 2011, Pat Summitt was diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. In about one year after her diagnosis she chose to resign from her head coaching position. This book is about Pat, her early years, a basketball player who by the way went to two Olympic games and coached an Olympic team, a mother, and a coach. Most importantly, Pat’s story of how Alzheimer’s has effected her life. A must read.

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