If you're new to Cycling-Through, please take a second and read some of the "Posts of note" in the list to the right. Then, if you see others that you appreciate enough to recommend for that list, let me know.
Also, please feel free to comment - even anonymously if you must.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pickles, Pizza, and Pancakes

What do you eat for lunch after riding up some of the Bay Areas most demanding hills? You guessed it...
Left over pizza from last night.
Left over pancakes from the girls' breakfast.
And, a half dozen pickle spears from the jar I talked my wife into buying - saying that I love pickles and she never buys them, yet thereafter allowing them to sit in the fridge for 3 weeks forgetting about them, but arriving home a bit saline deficient, and seeing the pickles, deciding I should have a few. (Possibly the most grammatically incorrect sentence I've ever composed)

(I also ate a whole bunch of jelly beans, but they don't start with "P" so they only get this passing note.)

Here's the climb.

Check out what others have said of this hill.




Vince and I threw this climb into the middle of our ride.

I think we were about 30 miles into the ride, going around that circle when Vince went bizerk and starts saying something about “we have to take this road!!” Turns out he knew what was coming. I remember at the bottom saying something like, "you could have warned me to shift gears," as I ground through the gears to something lower than were I was.

It was pretty unbelievable and pure will power at the top. I'm glad I didn't know what was coming.

Some sources say that near the top, the gradient is nearly 30%.

Um, that's steep.

My arms hurt at the top from the counter force I had to apply to the bike for .8 mile. The overall gradient as I figured it is around 17%. Some say 13% - but I'll stick with my figures. That's like climbing the "wall" at the top of Mt. Diablo 8 times, without getting to go back down in between.

Total ride was just over 65 miles.

Pickles, Pizza, and Pancakes. MMMMMMM!

What's for dinner? Pasta?

(The fonts on this posts have a mind of their own. Blogger needs a better user interface. If anybody who can do anything about this is reading - I would be glad to provide my short list of grievances. Life goes on...)

Sore Quads

Top of Cummings Skyway - Overlooking the Carquinez Strait.

I killed some time waiting for it to get at least a little light. By Highway Department standards it wasn't light enough to be out without a head light, but the first few miles were lined with street lights, so at 6:10 I headed out with just the red blinky.

My goal was Williams - approx. 120 miles away. I wanted to be close to there by 1:00 when Bec would hopefully slow enough on her way by, to let me throw the bike on the back of the Pilot. We would be on the way up to Shasta and a weekend with friends - and maybe my first time snowboarding. I was feeling great, and before 7:00 I was at the top of Cummings Skyway prepared to descend into Crockett and then across the bridge to Vallejo.

Carquinez Bridge - Looking west at 20 mph

I rode through Vallejo still feeling physically good. But, ever since my front flat a week ago, I've been a little paranoid about flatting. I've been carrying the patched tube as my spare - hoping I wouldn't need to use it before I got around to replacing it.

As I approached a set of railroad tracks just north of down town, I knew I was in trouble. I can bunny hop one set of tracks if I'm going fast enough - but two? I managed a double hop which kept the front tire intact, but the rear came down hard on one of the metal edges which make crossing in a car a dream, but on a bike a nightmare.
I immediately knew I had a problem but didn't stop to look for over half a mile. Finally, forcing myself to pull over, I surveyed the back tire and found what looked like a lock washer shape forming around the perimeter of my wheel. The tire itself had an offset of several millimeters and the offset was growing. I rode on hoping to think of some great solution. No solution came, but the inevitable did. With a snap the tube deflated and the tire bead released from the rim. I pulled into an abandoned Mervyns parking lot.

The tube suffered from double pinch flat (or snakebite) and the tire deformed after breaking several of the bias threads.

It was Friday, and my Project Manager, Rick was faithfully running the company, while his boss was off riding his bike around the countryside. I called Rick, and without much effort convinced him to drive to my house, remove the wheels from the Bridgestone, and deliver them to the far side of Vallejo.

An hour later, I was back on my way, an hour later than I wanted to be. I resigned to not making Williams, and communicated this to my wife. With the aid of Google Maps, she reworked my route over the phone, and set up a new rendezvous spot. It was a beautiful day for a ride, and I really was feeling great. No worries - Ride on.

Enjoying the sights along the Monticello climb toward Berreyessa.

My rest stop - just a couple miles before the Monticello Dam.
1 Snickers bar and a bottle of Coke

I came down out of the hills and rode toward Winters on Hwy 128, anticipating the connection with my team car in less than an hour. I called Bec again, and got word that It would be some time longer than anticipated. Bec reworked the route for me again, texted it to my phone - "89 TO 16 TO E4 TO INTERSTATE" - and I was off. More miles.

As I approached the left turn on 89 I was cognizant of the intense crosswind from my left. As I turned into the now headwind, I knew I was in for a rough ride. The winds were at least 20 mph sustained, and gusting to near 30 at times. I made just over 10 miles on a perfectly flat road in an hour. I was half way to the rendezvous, and all in. That was ok because Honda Pilots do better in the wind than cyclists, and the rest of my team was making good time.

The wind laying the grass over along Road 89.

I cleaned up at a small gas station at Road 89 and Hwy 16, ate lunch with the girls, and headed toward Shasta.

Nearing our destination

Mt. Shasta

Saturday morning dawned cloudy with a chance of rain / snow, depending on elevation. We hit the slopes just before noon after stopping at Snowman Hill to sled with Ella a few times. I'm new to snowboarding in spite of skiing on and off for over 15 years. I think I caught on pretty quick, and was having a blast after 2 runs.
My quads were disagreeable though. Skiing and snowboarding are both "bend at the knees" kinds of sports - and after 80 miles with a head wind grand finale my deep knee bends were strained at best. After 5 runs, I was toast. It got to the point where my greatest motivation not to fall was the pain involved with standing back up. No matter. I got the basics thanks to my great host and instructor Reese, and hope to make it out once more before the season is over.