Sunday, May 27, 2012

Morgan Territory - Training Ride 12

Distance - 12.22 miles
Time - 1.28.19
Average Speed - 8.3mph
Max Speed - 27.5mph

Another quick ride today. Two main goals. One... get my shoes even more set. Two... ride the Morgan Territory Climb faster and with less pain than previously. Both goals were met. Though, of course, the caveat is that the first time I rode Morgan Territory it was a 60-mile ride and I had gone about 40 miles with some previous climbing before getting to Morgan Territory. Bozo came along to SAG for me. I started at the Peet's Coffee in Concord and started out with some climbing right away. Bike lanes were great until I got to Marsh Creek Road. Bozo had stopped by the side of the road with Blue after I had been buzzed by a few cars already. Memorial Day Weekend and all. So I asked her to drive me to Morgan Territory Road where there would be much less traffic. That just felt like the safer decision. I had seen no other cyclists at that point and I wasn't with a group. I'd rather not be a Memorial Day road statistic if I can help it! So I jumped in the car with my helmet on and Bozo drove me up the road about a mile or so. There was VERY little traffic on Morgan Territory Road. It was as steep as I remember with all those fun switchbacks. But it wasn't nearly the same struggle and I definitely went much faster.

Bozo had planned on driving to the top and just waiting for me with Blue. But it was such a pretty area that she would drive a little ways and then wait until she could see me then drive up a ways again. I liked seeing the car, it gave me something to ride toward. She also protected me at one point from a car coming around a corner. They had to go pretty far out to get around her so they had to also slow down, which gave them time to see me sooner. The few cars and motorcycles that went by were mostly very respectful. That was good!

I had to stop twice throughout the ride to adjust my shoes. I think I may have finally gotten them right. And I have to say that the road pedals are definitely more stable than my old mountain biking pedals that I've been using for years. I got the Shimano 105s. The shoes, Giro Solara, are also very comfortable. I like the ratcheting system! Now I just have to be sure everything is lined up the way I need and I'll be good to go. My knees don't like it when things are not lined up so it's pretty important.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Causeway and Final Official TR - Training Ride 11

Distance - 33.71
Time - 2.31.18
Average Speed - 13.3mph
Max Speed - 24.0mph

One week to Day 0. I can't believe it's finally this close! My ALC team wanted to do a short (16-mile) ride to celebrate the end of training season. I've finally gotten my new pedals on my bike and need to get my clips all sorted out. So I rode from home, which added about 18 miles. I finally had the opportunity to ride the Causeway bike trail. I had to make a couple stops to work on my clips and then when I first got onto the Causeway, a semi went by a threw some dirt up at me. I thought to myself, "What? People ride this thing everyday for their commute??" The rest was uneventful and the trail was pretty well maintained so, aside from being right next to traffic, it was pretty good.

Once I got into Samantha's neighborhood I had to give her a call for the last few turns. Google Maps put "Turn Right" with no detail, which later I realized meant I was to turn in to the bike path through a park near her house. I had to make a few adjustments to my pedals so it was good that a couple of the other riders were late.

There were 7 of us riding. We crossed a levee, which I'm starting to learn are generally very windy. Or maybe that's just when I ride them! lol Once we turned off the levee, the wind was mainly helpful so that was fun. We stayed together as a group for that one turn then once we made the next turn, everyone split into their speed categories. It was actually pretty fun to ride with the wind! Then back to Samantha's for some grilling, salads, desserts, and drink. Oh... and the pool. A nice afternoon spent getting to know my teammates a little better. I didn't know any of them when I joined the team and we haven't done much to get to know one another since I'm not generally with them much on the training rides (I'm in the back by myself! ha!) And fundraisers are usually loud and we're trying to raise money so that's not the greatest opportunity either. Point is... this was nice!

So I guess we are officially done with ALC11 training. I do intend to go out again tomorrow but I guess that would be considered "unofficial training!" lol

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Monticello Dam and Cardiac - Training Ride 10

Distance - 33.31
Time - 2.45.00
Avg Speed - 12.1mph
Max Speed - 35.0mph

After the Delta Century, I ended up getting sick and missing a week of training. Not good timing! I also had a very important event at work that I was in charge of so my time and energy were both very limited.

So today I got back out on the bike. I rode from Davis to Winters and then up Highway 128 to the Junction with Hwy 121. On Putah Creek Road into Winters I got to see a Peloton of  Davis Bike Club cyclists. I love the sound of so many bicycles riding past at high speed! The Davis Double Century was happening today but I don't think they were part of that ride because I think they would have been elsewhere by that time of day. The ride up Hwy 128 was pretty standard. Most people made room for me and others did not. I don't know how anyone can get used to being passed so closely by a car. Especially one towing a boat or camper. I also don't know how to get the message across that we are very vulnerable and could actually die if hit by a car/truck mirror let alone the actual car/truck. And most people's lives would be severely impacted if they killed a cyclist for no reason except they were in a hurry or felt entitled to that small space of road.

Bozo was going to follow me so that I could just go as far as possible and then stop without having to worry about riding back home. I kept thinking she would show up at certain times but apparently she left a little later than expected and I was definitely going faster than I expected. So I cruised up to Monticello Dam and then past Cardiac. Then I completed the constant but minimal climb after the Cardiac descent. I felt like I wanted to keep going up toward Napa past Hwy 121 but decided that was probably a good ride after coughing up a lung during the past week. So I hung out at the grocery store and restaurant that has closed down... much to the many people's chagrin who stop there for food and gas. Bozo and Blue eventually showed up and it was back home for a bit of rest for me!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Delta Century - Training Ride 9

Distance - 96.16 miles > my computer measured differently than everyone elses! /=
Time Riding - 7.02.30
Total Time - 9.38.21
Avg Speed - 13.6 mph
Max Speed - 22.5mph

I needed a Century before ALC. I missed the registration for most of those I had heard about earlier in the year. Earlier in the year when I wasn't sure I would ever be able to complete a Century again in my life. So Friday night I did some searching at the various bicycle clubs around the area. The Stockton Bicycling Club was hosting their annual Delta Century. Flat. No climbing. What's that even mean?? I contacted them by email and found out there was still room. So that was the plan. I took Saturday off from cycling and hung out with Bozo in the morning then we went to "The Hunger Games" in the afternoon with LJ. The only reason this is significant to the ride is that for some reason I totally strayed from usual pre-ride routine. I ate more than my fair share of the large popcorn that we bought. WAY MORE! I drank more than my fair share of the Coke that Bozo and I "shared." Then after the movie we went across the street and shared Veggie Nachos (I ate more than my fair share there too!) and I had a Margarita. A margarita! What?? Then we went home, I got my stuff ready, and went to bed. I did drink a ton of water before I went to sleep. But still.

We woke up easily enough at 4:45am... well, as easily as I am capable of waking at that hour. That's why I get everything ready the night before. I am not "with it" in the morning. All of that went mostly as usual. But then I requested no tortillas for my pre-ride eggs. I generally like the tortilla but before a ride I feel like I'm gagging it down. No big deal except that this was yet another change to my routine and also gave me fewer carbs before the ride. Again, I drank a lot of water. But I was also drinking some Heed Perpetuem when I probably should have just been drinking more water. I'm just not sure where my mind was.

Jessie's Orchard Winery is where the ride started. Very cute! Roosters crowing while they hang out on the wine barrels in the old barn at sunrise. Idyllic! Bozo was dropping me off so we got prime parking. I was having trouble deciding what clothes to wear but knew it would get warm quickly so opted for shorts, short-sleeve jersey, and arm warmers. All set, Bozo took off and I headed to the outhouse. When I parked my bike I realized I had left my bottles in the car. Where is my mind?? Bozo came running over with them. Oh! That's where my mind is! lol Phew! After the bathroom I came out and Bozo was back. But this time it was because parking was really easy and she wanted to watch me ride out.

The exit took us through the vineyard! SO pretty! It was a bit like mountain biking with some gravel-filled  potholes. I liked that!

The rest of the ride is a blur. It was very windy and riding alone was pretty difficult. If you have read my blog in the past, you know that I have a love/hate relationship with the wind. But when I decided to do the Red Ribbon Ride in Minnesota, I knew that I needed to make peace with the wind. And I have. Not that I love it but it didn't mess with my mind nearly as much during this ride.

On another note, my legs felt like CRAP from the very beginning. At about mile 1, yes ONE, I was thinking I didn't know if I could complete this ride if my legs didn't get with the program. They were saying to me something like, "Popcorn? Nachos? Margarita??" and I realized that my will just had to be stronger than their valid argument. So I pedaled. And pedaled. Oh... and pedaled!

I saw beautiful vineyards. Who knew the Delta had vineyards? Honestly, I didn't even know there was a Delta! lol So everything was new to me. We rode along a Slough(?) on both sides, looked like a river to me. At one point the wind was so strong to my side that I was literally leaning to the left into the wind and holding my handlebars so tight my hands began to ache. The gusts would take the handlebar easily to the right if I didn't hang on. I also thought I might have missed a turn at one point. Each ride seems to have those long stretches where I don't see anyone else and I begin to question if I'm in the right place. As we got back on to the regular roads, I began seeing people again. Phew!

The rest stops were well-stocked with foods I tried to eat to make up for the night before. This is an AWFUL feeling! To hope that what I eat now will help me now and also make up for my stupidity the day before. I also tried to release the muscles in my left calf, which had been painful from the beginning. After each rest stop, the pain was just a little less and I began to think that my will was actually winning out! Before the last rest stop, we had to cross the Slough from the island we were on (I didn't know we were on an island!) on a Ferry. That was a relief. I wish it had been a little longer!

The last rest stop left about 20 miles in the ride. At this point I knew I would make it. It might take me forever but I wasn't going to get this far and then stop. After procrastinating, debating drinking a Coke (I didn't), and going to the bathroom twice, I finally got myself back on my bike and out on the road. I told a few people that I'd see them when they pass me and off I went. Sure enough, the same people who had been passing me all day came along. The leader of the 2nd group told me to jump on the train, to which I responded that I would if I could keep up. She said they would drag me! lol So I jumped on. And they did drag me. It was the fastest 20 miles I did all day and it felt great. The benefit of having a group of people to ride with... and a tailwind! I definitely miss having people to ride with in a group!

Back at the Vineyard... Bozo was waiting for me where she had dropped me off. Not that she'd been there all day! lol She took Blue home and hung out there before coming back to Lodi. But we missed the turn. I guess we were just going too darn fast! ha! So we came in from the main entrance and I snuck up on her a little.

A quick meal of pasta, salad, bread, and cookies before heading home. A well-run ride I have to say!

I'm glad to have gotten the Century done before AIDS/LifeCycle. It definitely affirmed that a flat century can be much more brutal than climbing. There are no breaks like those in the descents and it's monotonous. Riding alone, I had a lot of time in my own head... with the wind. But it was definitely an achievement and I'm glad to have done it.