Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So, maybe I bit off a little more than I should have…..

At least that was my thinking as we climbed the final hill before getting back to my truck on Saturday…..Li’l Evil is her name, wrecking tired riders is her game…..but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Last week, my buddy Jer was planning the Saturday group ride. It was to be a nice early season 24 mile loop out of Orinda with about 1800 ft of climbing. Should be no problem I think to myself…I know I’ve only been on the mt bike lately, but it’s only 24 miles and I climb almost that much on the SS mt bike every Thursday.

Then in a fit of genius (code for idiocy) I decided I’d ride to Orinda from CV which would add about 20 miles and another 1400 or so ft of climbing. I’d then get a ride back to my truck from Jerry. This would take it from a nice easy ride to a moderately good ride. Well, evidently my genius (idiocy) knows no bounds because I let Trace know what I was thinking and he upped the ante even more by suggesting we ride out there and back.

So, now we’ve gone from a nice easy early season ride to the toughest ride I’ve done in months….
And to make matters worse, Trace invited a guy I don’t know to join us. I don’t mind pissing and moaning in front of my friends, but a total stranger? It was here that I began to wonder what I had gotten myself in to….

Well, the ride started out cold. As we headed out through Redwood Rd there was actually frost on the ground. No worries though, the pace being set by Trace and Keith had me well into the red zone part way up the hill. While being a hindrance while climbing, my weight, combined with a lack of good sense, is a definitely benefit on the downhill…did I mention it was cold? I wasn’t actually worried about ice, but where I was warm and sweating on the uphill, the downhill was downright freezing…..that’s ok, it never lasts long enough to get really cold and soon enough we were headed uphill again and I was watching the other two guys pedal away from me as we headed up Pinehurst.

The route from Orinda out along San Pablo Dam reservoir, through Bear Creek and back past Briones Reservoir is a nice loop that includes a trio of climbs called the 3 bears. The climbs aren’t really that bad. The only problem is you can see the entire climb from the bottom of each one so it seems to go on forever.

After finishing the three bears and making our way back to the Orinda BART station we split off from the group in search of lunch. There was no way I was pedaling another 20 miles, mostly uphill, with nothing but a cliff bar in my belly. I needed REAL food. We rode into Orinda proper and found a hof brau where I proceeded to demolish the best roast beef sandwich and pasta salad I’ve ever eaten in my life. Of course, I’m pretty sure roadkill squirrel on a stick would have tasted amazing at that point.

Getting back on the bike after a nice lunch is always hard. I tried my hardest to convince the guys that since we were already right around the corner from a BART station, and there was another one a block from where we left the vehicles, there was really no reason to ride back through the canyon….unfortunately they weren’t buying it.

So off we went. Once again with me falling behind on the climbs and then passing them on the descents. At one point on one of the last climbs of the day, they even started circling back and offering encouragement…..come on Rich, you’re doing great, looking good Rich…, I hate those guys. How could they be so mean???
Now, I’m sure they thought they were being nice and supportive, but I really just wanted to stab them in the eye with my bike pump….

Well, after the last long downhill to the golf course we had a nice section of flat and then I had Li’l Evil to deal with and she almost did me in…..I never actually stopped, but I’m pretty sure there was a moment or two there where it looked like I was practicing my trackstands……all in all 64 miles and about 4800ft of climbing…..a perfect day!

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