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!

Friday, June 3, 2011

50 Miles of Hills

Gray clouds skirted across the top of Mt. Diablo obscuring the twin peaks yet adding emphasis to its dramatic prominence amid the green hillsides slow to tan in a cool wet spring.

Briones hillside confused by lingering rains.

In June the Bay area hills glow golden brown under azure skies. The infrequent foggy dawn is dispatched early as the long days of late spring fairly burst over the eastern horizon. The rain ends in May so June in northern California is the beginning of carefree picnics, long bike rides, and explosive gardens.

Except when its raining - in June.

Today is the 3rd of June and it will rain again tomorrow, like it rained on the 1st.


So I pedaled away from the daily grind in the early afternoon and headed for the hills under lowering skies. With the Death Ride looming only a month away, my training rides are becoming a recognized though easily distracted priority. With only a few hours available I decided to pack them full of hills. In under 4 hours I managed at least 5000' of climbing in 48 miles.

Pig Farm, Bears, Wildcat Canyon, South Park, back to Happy Valley - up and over, and then back up and over, Bears, Pig Farm hill, home. These hills are so steep that the descents flash by and you're climbing again before you can gulp two bites of a Power Bar and a swallow of water.

I started out strong and fast, and paid for it at the end. With my route never more than 20 miles from home or a few miles from cell phone coverage, I pushed hard knowing I could blow up and call for SAG if necessary.

Just before blowing, I remembered the gorp (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, or Gobs Of Raw Protein) in my jersey and downed the mix greedily. The recovery was obvious, and I remembered what I had learned about long rides. If you get hungry - you're toast.

Goats along Happy Valley Rd., with the long ascent of Papa Bear seen between the trees.

With any luck I won't have to work my long rides in around the weather much longer. My schedule is another story.