Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cry on the Couch

So. The week's flu-like symptoms didn't clear up in time for the Giro di Peninsula. Alas, there was no laughing on the battlefield this weekend. Instead, I made this track, which was equally inspired by "Battlestar Galactica" re-runs, Euro-cycling vids on YouTube (peep the 90s snare roll), and steady doses of multi-symptom sizzurp. I will name it "Peninsula". Listen here.

(Note: Some ads on the share site are NSFW. And, yes, I will imbed a media player for this blog in the future.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cry in the Dojo

Laugh on the battlefield. Fifty-five miles and 5,700 feet of climbing in near-record heat makes next week's Giro di Peninsula metric century seems like cake.

The idea behind this route through the Oakland/Berkeley Hills was to bust a series of evenly spread long climbs with some rollers mixed in. I suck at both. And it was hot as hell. So I found all those manly sayings like the ubiquitous "HTFU" and Armstrong's "quiting is forever" and the aforementioned "cry in the dojo" echoing in my skull.

Rest Stop 1:
Sibley Volcanic Range
Lower Pinehurst, Redwood
I was already a mess and breaking out my spare Accelerade mix. I would usually save this for a home stretch, if using it at all. But I'd already gone through four bottles of water at this point. HTFU!

Rest Stop 2:
Steam Trains
Tunnel/Skyline, Grizzly Peak, rollers atop Berkeley/Oakland Hills
A breeze on the ridge facing the bay helped keep the pedals turning. By this time, I had resorted to Flandis' pour-water-over-your-head technique to stay cool. The view from Skyline was phenomenal. The sun, however, was on blast. And as another rider reminded me, "It's only gonna get hotter." True. What am I doing out here? I could ride tomorrow. I decided to call it a day and ride back to BART.

Rest Stop 3:
Lake Temescal
Rollers atop Berkeley/Oakland Hills
The descent on Grizzley Peak and the breeze along the ridge kept my spirits up. I decided to take the long route back to Rockridge BART, heading back toward Redwood, descending Joaquin Miller and borrowing part of a Piedmont training loop from when I lived in Oakland. Before the turn into BART, however, Armstrong's "Pain is temporary," creeped in, "quitting is forever." The only place left to go was to the top of Skyline again. An out and back from here would make an even 55 miles - the original planned distance. I busted out my Endurox recovery mix. I usually don't even pack this on a ride.

Rest Stop 4:
Skyline at Grizzly
My legs were cooked and if it got any tougher and any doubt creeped in, I'd stop and turn around. On a solo ride, no one can hear you scream (or hear you mumble nonsensically before passing out). There's a memory that comes up in conditions like this: Last year during an ALC training ride, having finished 60 of the planned 70 miles; Four of us were returning through Redwood/Pinehurst. We settled into a quiet rhythm, almost resigned to the struggle ahead. The clink of a gear change. Rubber slowly peeled off hot blacktop like Velco. Blood pumping past the ears. Kryst. What are we doing out here? ... Then, "GO GO GADGET LEGS!" a ride partner yelled. We had a good laugh and the lightness of that moment carried through to the finish.

Inspector Gadget in cycling tights. Certainly beat HTFU.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Less Tinkering, More Riding!

I think I have the LeMond pretty much dialed in. Rode 50 miles with the Oakland Yellowjackets on Saturday and didn't feel any nagging fit issues. I could try some wider handlebars, maybe position my left cleat back some ... okay, enough!

The loop was Concord, Clayton, Morgan Territory, San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek -- an ellipses around Mount Diablo. I'd never been through Morgan Territory and my pics don't do it any justice one bit.

So I like these:

- This is how pretty it can be.

- This is how deceptively high the summit is, looking down at the Altamont Pass windmills.

- This is the best descent I've ever experienced. Nicknamed "The Plunge", from 2,000 feet up you can see the road ahead twisting back and forth downward to the valley floor, with the sprawl of Livermore and the Sunol Wilderness as a backdrop.

Pretending I'm not wheelsucking on Marsh Creek Road.
Dodging potholes on Morgan Territory's northern grade.
Morgan Territory summit before The Plunge, wondering, "Do I stop and take better pics?... Nah, I'm sure I can link something on the Interwebs."
Chasing Fred in the valley.