Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How the Hell am I gonna do this?

A friend at worked persuaded me to do Foxy's Fall Century on the 18th out in Davis.

Did the Metric Century 2 years before. Wasn't bad at all.

But that was 2 years before, when I was a more dedicated athlete. And that was on 66 miles, not 100 miles.

Like the Tiburon Mile, I wanna do this to get back into doing the things that made me feel good about myself. I also haven't done a big bike event in a long time.

The past weekend's riding though, hit home how much my lack of bike riding could cost me.

Saturday went out with the Grizzly Peak guys on their second saturday ride. Wasn't hard, only 30 miles -- but on the toughest and most beautiful of the East Bay hills. Three bears, Pig Farm road, Wildcat Canyon.

When I've done these before it wasn't bad at all. Usually I picked a slower group or went alone. I made the mistake this time of trying to hang with the hammer group. I kept up -- but it chewed me up bad.

On the plus side of it though -- the three bears are such an incredible rush. Sure, mashing it up the hill without a granny gear behind guys stronger than me sucks. But the 3-4 mile long downhill descent at 40 miles hour, wind in my hair, bugs in my teeth, my specialized allez between my thighs...


That's a rush.

My legs were paying for it the rest of the day though. Started getting an odd feeling at different times in my knees. It was the distinct kind of pain that comes from cycling. Running doesn't do that to me.

I probably should get a new training bike with a granny gear. Mashing it up these hills with what I got now probably isn't such a good idea -- given the uneven training schedule I maintain. Can't even conceive parting ways with my specialized allez. Sure it's early 90's tech, and a source of trash talk with my brother. But it's served me well -- can't dismiss that.

Next morning I went out with the Sports Basement crew. Deliberately took the slow group. They took me on a 33 miler up the side of Mt. Tam via Mill Valley that I had never come across before. Lot of switchbacks through a residential area. They were merciful -- the ride leader was not seeking to destroy anyone even though he could of. Had a lot of stops to regroup, probably too many.

Amusingly, the best climber on the crew was this high maintenance woman from either the UK or Australia -- couldn't completely make out her accent. She got mangled on the flats -- from behind you could tell she didn't understand the value of high RPM & cadence. But being scrawny, she was a natural climber -- even as she whined about each of the hills we were knocking off -- she conquered them better than the others in our crew.

It was without a doubt, though, the most beautiful ride I had done in a while. There was one spot we stopped at, about 2/3 of the way of the mountain. It was just a rest area with a pair of outhouses and a bar/inn across the street. It was too tempting to stop there for a beer.

Back to the rest stop.

I swear to God -- it had the most scenic outhouse I've ever been to. You step out the door after doing your business. On your left -- you see the bridget that connecst Marin to Richmond. Ahead, is the Pacific. In between -- the foothills of Marin leading up to Mount Tam.

Also passed by this place which is the Austrian/German clubhouse that I had heard about so many times during the past 3 years. It's the spot where every 3 months they have an open house -- beer, sausages, music, and the lovely view. I guess it reminds them of Bavaria.

Even though I took it easy, the hill climbing still hit me. It was all down hill from Mt Tam down to Mill Valley, and flat as a pancake from Mill Valley to Sausalito. But it was on those flats that I began feeling the fatigue in my legs. It was hard to maintain the fast speeds comfortably. I'm also thinking maybe its not a good idea to get into a bad ass tuck and bombing it downhill. Your legs don't move -- they get stiff. The day before on the East Bay there were even moments during the downhill where I could feel my feet becoming numb from a lack of circulation.

It was worth it though, for the climb, and the view on the way home. Right on the Sausalito waterfront, there was a great view of the Fleet Week airshow. Some of the aerial teams flew in low over Marin after performing -- so I got treated to low flying antique jets in formation coming over me.

Don't know -- it's not very patriotic, but the Blue Angels F/A-18's don't do anything for me. Some of these older jets and foreign jets that the other acrobatic teams fly are cooler as far as I'm concerned. I think one group might have been flying F-86 Shooting Stars -- antiques, but classy in their own way.

Also -- since he loves to show off his ride, the Maltese Falcon owner pulled up to Sausalito's waterfront as well. So going along there -- I got jets, I got the city skylines, and I got a drop dead gorgeous clipper ship.

Maybe blowing out my knees was worth it.

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