I have stickers in my butt!

14 09 2008

I didn’t do much riding this week. I decided to take a week off of the diet and training regimen to give myself a break before I start back up hard core on Monday the 15th (tomorrow). So it’s been a week since I got on my bike and yesterday we had our Academy ride, the first for BDII (Bike Driving 2). 

Last week and in an email this week, our new leader Steve told us many times how this weeks ride was one of his favorites and that it was a beautiful ride with only 6 stop signs and that it would be shorter than last week.

Um.. yeah.. it was shorter, 22 miles and we did 35 last week, but what he neglected to tell us that we would be doing almost 11 miles of climbing in the first half of the ride. UGH!

We met at the Lexington Dam and had a brief talk before we all started. Our group was a little smaller this time, only 10 students as opposed to 14, but we were all in relatively high spirits, ready to take on our next adventure. And then Steve told us about the climb…

I’m thinking that it can’t be too bad because nothing will compare to the BAO ride. I was right about that, but only because the BAO ride was 3 times as long and I was feeling stronger that day. I was not feeling at my best at the beginning of the ride. We started out and immediately as we turned out of the parking lot the road immediately started on an incline.

What a way to warm up! I think that set the pace for me for the rest of the day almost. It was a bear.. just hard work.. period. That being said there were also some pretty good rollers at the beginning of the ride where we were able to get some speed on a decent to carry us up the other side. As we climbed higher we were at times engulfed in shadows from the beautiful trees and plant life that surrounded us. At other times, we were launched out of the shadows into a gorgeous vista over looking the valley below. I so wish I had my camera with me. I need to invest in an inexpensive camera to keep on my bike.

I was with the lead group for the ride. Steve, his wife Karen and Marie Becker were the staff with us. About half way up, I was dragging behind the others. Marie took off with the 3 leading students and Steve and Karen stayed back with Sanjaya and I. Sanjaya was riding a pretty heavy mountain bike and feeling the weight of the bike I think for the first time. For me.. I just don’t think I had my rythm yet. I dropped my chain and that set me back quite a bit. I was having some serious issues with my gears yesterday. 

After a while, I found a pretty comfortable pace (that and the incline was at a lower grade) and Karen and I rode together for about 30 minutes and had some nice conversation. That’s one of my favorite parts of riding.. on a quiet beautiful rural road with good company.

anyway.. We regrouped at a store about 4 miles from the halfway point and Steve joked that it was easier from here on out.. ha ha Steve..  not so much.

Actually it was only like 3 more miles of climbing and then about the last mile to the store was pretty much downhill with one roller.

We stopped for lunch at Summit Market, a nice little store with tables and chairs out front to sit at. We had a short lecture on Bicycle Advocacy and Heart Rate Monitors and then we got back on the road.. oh yeah.. Thanks for the PB&J Merideth!

We were told that the rest of the ride was pretty much all downhill, but we had a mile or so of climbing and then at the very end a nasty hill before we were done. I took off with Gary and Charlie determined to stay in front on the climb out and I did pretty well because by the time we were decending I was still with them trading the lead with Charlie as we sped down the hills. 

It was so amazingly exhilarating to feel like I was cutting through the air with the wind rushing past me, leaning into the turns taking them as fast as I possibly could. What a rush! There were a couple times that the hairpin turns were a little tighter than I thought and I ended up in the other lane of traffic before completing the turn. That was a bit scary.

All the hours of climbing that road and it took like 20 minutes to decend.. but then we had the last climb back up to the parking lot. My legs had just about had it. I just didn’t feel like I had the strength to push up one more foot.. but of course.. I had to. I wasn’t going to walk. At one point about halfway up, I made a granny stop to get a breather and when I went to start out again, I dropped my chain, lost my balance and went off the side of the road into a small ditch filled with golf ball sized rocks and sticker bushes and crashed my noggin into the side of the hill. 

We’ve all seen the cartoons where the character gets hit on the head and you see stars circling the characters head and they shake their head to clear them away.. well I really felt like that. I remember thinking “Oh shit, not again” as I fell. I just can’t seem to get through a ride with this group without falling on my ass. Sanjaya asked if I was ok and I was too embarrassed to say anything other than “I’m fine”. I threw my bike off of me and scrambled to get up as quick as I could. 

I went to get on my bike, the first thing I felt when I got on the saddle was stickers poking me in the ass. I scrambled to brush them out of my pants and got back on my bike, riding accross the road so that I could get a little momentum going before heading up the hill and I don’t know what the hell happened, but I ended up on the ground again, this time there were 2 more riders coming up the road. Ugh.. so bloody and bruised (ego and body) I headed up the last 200 yards to the top of the hill.

It was done. Another ride down and even with the pain and sweat, every time I get on my bike, I love it more.

Today I’m sore and tired, but looking forward to my next challenge.


ACTC Academy BD1 Graduation Ride

8 09 2008

Saturday was the graduation ride for the Almaden Cycling Touring Club Academy Bike Driving 1 class. I’ve been taking this class for the last 7 weeks (including the labor day holiday) gradually building up endurance and skills riding in traffic, with groups on different types of terrain.

Saturday we rode from South Milpitas to Lake Elizabeth in Fremont and back, total miles – 34. something.. my cyclometer isn’t working (piece of s**t!). There was a lot of debate with our instructors as to the ride. The heat has been intense the last few days, but Thursday night Harry sent out an email to all of us letting us know the ride was on.

We met behind a shopping center at 8:30.. did some pre-ride chat and refresh of topics from previous days and then took off. What was interesting to me is that this is the first ride I’ve done of this distance with only one rest stop. We paused a couple of times for regroups after hills, but no resting. 

The weather on the way to the lake was perfect. Warm, but with a nice breeze and the sun was not yet intense. Most of the ride was relatively flat with some rollers until about mile 12 (I think.. again broken f**cking cyclometer) we hit a pretty nasty long hill. It was by no means as bad or intense as tunnel rd. on the BAO. I tried to use what I learned at the beggining of BAO and not take off too fast up the hill and burn out before reaching the top.  Slow and steady wins the race. 

The first hill was the hardest. We had one other pretty nice hill before the lake, but the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. We got to the lake and “rested”. Of course the nicely packed peanut butter sandwich and plum that I had packed the night before were nice and safe in my refridgerator at home. I’m such a dork.. I forgot to take it with me when I left.

Joann was nice enough to lend me a few bucks to get a hotdog (the best thing they had) at the snack bar at the lake. We all decided not to break too long because the temperature was rising quickly. We all finished our food, refilled water bottles and got on the road.

When we started out again, it was apparent that a lot of our group was very tired. We weren’t riding with the same speed or energy as earlier. However with the exception of one casualty (too much heat and exaustion), we all made it back to the shopping center where I proceeded to act like a 12 year old and try to swing my foot over the seat while I was still moving, forgetting I had metal cleats on the bottoms of my shoes, not so easy to stop with, I grabbed the brakes, lost my balance and ended up sliding to my car on my shoulder.

After the ride we all went to round table pizza for food and our last lesson of BD1 as well as our little “graduation” ceremony with certificates suitable for framing.. lol. 

Next week we start BD2 where we will continue to add to our mileage every week as well as learning more advanced skills. 

This week Joann and I start riding on Wed. evening and I will take a small ride on Friday evening.