Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thoughts of Home-Made Ice Cream....

Tuesday night we had our usual Mt Diablo training ride. When we met in the parking lot in Danville, Lynn’s car was showing an outside temp of 92 degrees….oh goodie….won’t this be fun….Sree, Lynn, Gary and I took off….

We start at the Walgreen’s parking lot on Diablo Rd. This is for several reasons. It’s easy to find right at the bottom of the offramp, parking is free and, it allows us a nice flat warm up as we spin through Danville and the Diablo Country Club before we have to start the climbing.

As we ride through the country club, I’m always struck by just how incredible this area is and how low key, yet obviously expensive an area we are riding through.

You know you’re in the country club because you ride right past a sign that says so, but it’s not like Blackhawk where everything is behind a huge gate and perfectly manicured. The roads are narrow, there aren’t any street lights or sidewalk, but the homes are huge!

Most have a gate of some sort and several have bridges over the creek that runs in front of their home and there are giant trees everywhere. (You know the trees that in my neighborhood were removed so the City didn’t have to fix the sidewalks every year…)

The other thing that strikes me is just how nice everyone seems to be when you ride by them. Many are out walking and will respond cheerfully when you say hi… I’ve ridden through Stonebrae Country Club up in the Hayward Hills and everyone that you see looks at you like you’re trespassing….which I guess I was since we had to sneak in around th eback fire road and not through the main gate... but that’s beside the point. They didn’t know if I lived there or not….

Anyway, now that I’ve totally gone off topic, let me try to get back on track….so we were riding up Diablo and it was hot….did I mention it was 92 freakin degrees when we started? Anyway, it was, and a majority of the climb up Diablo is in full sun….between the sun beating down on my head and the heat coming up off the blacktop…it was hot….we hadn’t even climbed 1000ft yet and I already had sweat running into my eyes…(did I mention it was like a bazillion degrees outside?)

By the time we were half way between the first and second ranger station I was pretty much totally soaked with sweat and my mind was starting to wander….and, as I usually do when I’m miserable, I went to my happy place….which in this case, was to thoughts of homemade ice cream…..why? Well, as I’m sure you can see, it’s a perfectly logical place to go….its hot and what’s the opposite of hot? Cold….and what’s really cold (frozen, actually) ICE CREAM!

And not just any ice cream….I was thinking of the ice cream we made over Memorial Day which is the best thing in the ENTIRE WORLD!!! (sorry about the shouting, but you had to be there to understand….it was AMAZING!!)

As my mind continued to wander – actually it wasn’t wandering, it was totally focused, unfortunately it was focused on the ice cream and not on the ride – it dawned on me that I really like ice cream….but I like homemade ice cream different than I like store bought ice cream. With the store bought ice cream, I have to have some texture. I like rocky road ice cream or cookie dough ice cream or just about anything with texture. Chunks, chewy pieces, anything except plain ice cream. (I actually made a mental list of my top 5 favorites, but I'll save that for another post....)

But, with homemade ice cream, I really just want plain vanilla ice cream without all the stuff….nothing to take away from the creamy goodness….(goodness being a flavor description and not in any way a good for you connotation…because anything that starts with 4 cups heavy whipping cream and 2 cups of sugar can NOT be that good for you)

Anyway, as the ride progressed and we got closer to the second ranger station, I made the mistake of asking Lynn how we were doing on time….at which point it looked like we would make the station in under an hour….our best yet. The reason this was a mistake was that it somehow motivated her to increase the pace….Now, I was already not having fun…I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, I had sweat running in my eyes (did I mention it was like riding inside an oven set to broil?) and I was busy thinking of ice cream recipes and the bags of frozen Olallieberries in my freezer….anyway, we made it to the ranger station in just under an hour where I used the excuse of having to use the restroom to take a few minutes to shove my lungs back down in my chest…..evidently, I’m not really accustomed to the heat just yet.

After a brief rest we started the last leg to the top. Partway up, Sree made the comment that he was only going to the top parking lot and wouldn’t be doing the last 1000yd section…and I jumped on that bandwagon like a supermodel on diet pills...

Well, just before we got there Lynn started making not so subtle suggestions that since we had done the majority of the climb we might as well do the last leg as well….and, after all, she said, Jack would ask and we couldn’t really lie to him….Of course we could… he’s sitting on his butt on a Mexican beach somewhere right now drinking a fruity drink with an umbrella in it.…I could totally lie to him and not even feel bad about it…..

Eventually, I realized she was right and it really was silly to pedal all this way and not finish, so up we went…..that last 1000yds is a booger….(not at all the word I wanted to use, but hey, this is a family oriented blog)

The best part of doing Mt Diablo is the 10 miles of downhill….and it didn’t disappoint. The weather which was miserable on the way up was perfect for a fast descent….the hot smooth asphalt that cooked us as we climbed made flying down the hill pure joy….the corners were clean and fast, the straight-aways allowed us to crank in the big ring and the home-made ice cream that dominated my thoughts on the way up didn’t have a chance to compete with the little kid screaming in my head on the way down….

What a great ride… that it’s over anyway….

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