Monday, February 28, 2011

President’s Day Weekend….

Well, it’s starting to look like Spring which is both a good and bad thing….it’s a good thing in that the weather is getting nicer and I’ll be able to get out on the bike again. It’s a bad thing in that the weather is getting nicer and I’m way out of shape for the rides I have coming up…..soon…..

With it being such a cold, wet winter, I haven’t been riding nearly as much as I have in winters past and both the bathroom scale and my fitness will prove that out. Unfortunately, in direct conflict with my lack of fitness is a pretty aggressive Spring riding schedule…..The first of these challenges and the most pressing comes in about 4 weeks. A bunch of us are headed down to Death Valley for the Hells Gate 100….100 miles and 8500ft of climbing. I’ve pretty much already decided I’m doing the metric on this one.

With all of this in mind, and with 3 days off work, I figured I should get my butt in gear and get some exercise. Saturday was spent doing my chores, Sunday Deb and I had a great hike around Coyote Hills. The weather was clear and fairly warm and it was a really nice hike. Watching the hawks soar effortlessly over the hills was really cool....they were everywhere.

Monday, I got up early and headed out to do the Palomares loop. This is a great 30 mile loop with about 2300ft of climbing. The only problem is that it was only 40 degrees when I got to the start and got on the bike and I’m not sure it warmed up very much all morning. By the time I got to Sunol and the halfway point my toes were numb and although I have some really nice neoprene shoe covers…..well, they were at home.

The last half of the ride I don’t really remember the cold. Mainly because riding along Niles canyon I was so focused on not getting run over by the cars zooming by within inches that I didn’t think about the cold. Then once you enter Palomares Canyon proper, the climbing begins and I was pretty focused on keeping my heart rate under control and not blowing up. The canyon was beautiful though.

As you come down from the top of Palomares, there’s a steep, fast descent followed by great section of rolling hills and curves. The steep part is always good for some top speed and today was no exception. My gps showed 46mph.
The last rolling section really allows you to hammer along in the drops and focus on spinning the pedals. In addition, I kept getting glimpses of a group just a couple turns ahead of me and although I was giving it everything I had, I just could close the gap.

Eventually you come out of the canyon and I finally caught the group ahead of me. Granted they were all standing around chatting while I was trying to get my breathing under control so I didn’t appear to be dying. I’m pretty sure I actually pulled it off as I gasped out a “hey” and rode on by….

After getting back to the truck, getting home and standing in a hot shower till I could feel my toes again, Deb and I went and had a nice lunch then took a hike up at Redwood Regional Park. It was one of those hikes that starts up on a ridge and wanders up and down. We had a great time talking and looking at the views until we decided to turn around. It was then that we realized we had been going pretty much down for the last 40 minutes..….which of course leads to more than an hour of heading back up in order to get back to the truck….

All in all a great weekend and some tired legs on Tuesday….

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