I have no words………..
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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.
2nd UPDATE: More comfortable than my old saddle, but still having issues. Tried and bought a Brooks B17; heaven.
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.