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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Best Laid Schemes...

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.

Robert Burns "To a Mouse"

That was my ride Thursday. Not that it was fraught with grief and pain, but it certainly didn't fall out as I had planned.

I was fitting in a ride between a 3/4 day at the office and an appointment to introduce Dave to Kipp, so that Kipp could work on Dave's bike. I wanted to summit Mt. Diablo, and needed 3 hours to do it. The 3/4 day turned into the whole shebang including finishing a half dug trench (some employees haven't heard the last of this one!) on a job in Walnut Creek, and before I knew it I was an hour late for my ride, sporting a new blister, and still trying to get home.

So I hit the road anyway and made for the mountain as planned knowing I might not get past 1000' if I even made it that far. On the way, a long stoplight convinced me to make the ever tempting right hand turn to keep my rhythm and sent me on a detour that just wouldn't quit. I corrected my course by turning left and then left again, but found the road didn't go through and pushed on through Pleasant Hill neighborhoods. I wandered several miles at nearly 20 miles an hour till I came across one of the many canal trails and succumbed to the temptation - no stoplights. This should have taken me all the way to the final stretch before the climb, but of course the trail was closed for repairs just as I was entering Walnut Creek. Back on the road - not even trying for the mountain now.

One of many redlights I chanced upon

I then wandered toward the very popular Danville Blvd. where one can find dozens of cyclists at all times of the day. On the way there I turned right on Arlene - the cut through to South Main St. - right? Nope. With great charisma I tore around this circle like I belonged there, got back on Lilac, and kept looking for the correct right turn. Danville Blvd. is a long stretch of road with wide shoulders and relatively affluent commuters. But it's flat. It climbs maybe 20 - 50 feet per mile as it stretches to the south. This was no good, as I was really supposed to be climbing, so guilt forced me left at Livorna Rd. I climbed Livorna, realized I was now going to be late, and enjoyed the descent back down.

I took the most direct route I could think of to get to Kipp's house, knowing it was not likely the most direct route. Even then a series of phone calls left me propped against my bike on the side of the road eying the clock. I soon found myself on South Main in the heart of Walnut Creek (the result of another elective detour as a result of another long light) monitoring a red light at the front of a line of cars. Motivated by passing shoppers and the relative low speed limit, I left the light as if entering the Champs elysees on a warm day in July. I sped ahead of the entire line of cars for several blocks, to the cheers and applause of the crowd. Stymied and awakened by another red light, I glanced over my shoulder to gloat in the face of the vanquished - and realized that they were, in anticlimactic fashion, all still sitting several blocks back behind that first car trying to turn left.

I was late to meet the guys, but that was no surprise. I had a young cyclist pick up my draft on the final stretch, which again elicited a short burst of adrenaline. He was pretty strong and I wasn't going to drop him. We chatted at a couple of stop lights, and may be able to connect again for a ride in the future.

The only thing that really went as planned, was that Dave got a new wheel and much needed tuneup on the bike. And, I got in a ride. Not the climbing I had intended but 30 plus miles nonetheless.

Vuelta Ciclista a la Regiona de Murcia - Final

HTC Colombia leads the peloton, and eventually the race with Frantisek Rabon winning overall.

Vuelta Ciclista a la Regiona de Murcia is now over, with names foreign to me listed in most of the top slots. Lance Armstrong finished comfortably in 7th place, about a minute and a half behind Rabon.

Armstrong (seen above in gray and red) seems dissatisfied with his performance at Vuelta, and has talked of adding some time among the peloton to his spring warmup to the Tour De France.
You can read about his plans here.

George Hincapie is currenlty in Italy riding the Tirreno-Adriatico - Stage 3 is Friday.

Levi Leipheimer rides stage 5 of Paris-Nice tomorrow with fellow American Chris Horner and 5 other Radio Shack team mates - not including Lance.

Though I'm not choosing to follow him closely, Alberto Contador is looking strong again this year.
Ok, so I am following him a little. I would really like to see a showdown between Contador and Armstrong at the Tour in July. I would really like to see it not be embarrassing. One more time Lance.