Friday, January 27, 2012


With the exception of last week’s rain, this year’s winter weather has been mild to say the least. It seems more like Fall is 6 months long. Which should be a great thing for my fitness level since, were I so inclined, I could probably ride 7 days a week.

The reality though is that I think my body knows it’s winter and despite the clear skies, has decided it would be better off hibernating. My motivation level is at an all time low, my eating habits are at an all time high and my waistline and weight are at record levels….levels not seen in years.

Normally, this isn’t such a bad thing. During a normal winter, most of my riding friends are in the exact same boat and we all use the same “weather sucks too bad to ride” excuse. This year though, I fear it’s just me. Most of my friends are actually taking advantage of the mild weather and riding as much as they can.

I have gotten a couple of rides in though. Two weeks ago, my buddy Chris and I played hooky from work and took the mountain bikes down to Santa Cruz and rode Demo Forest. The last time I had been here was back in 2008 which is crazy since it’s an amazing place to ride and only an hour from home. This time though, the results were much better than the last time we rode it.

The nice part about mid-week rides (and mid-week ski days for that matter) is that the places you go are usually pretty empty. Thursday was no exception. There were two other cars in the parking lot with the people from both those cars pedaling off in the opposite direction as we pulled up.

Chris and I got set and headed out pedaling up the road and around the backside of the park to the top of the hill. The funny thing is this is supposed to be the easy way up and due to my “winter” fitness level, I was breathing hard pretty much right out of the gate.

Eventually my heart rate seemed to settle down and as we got to the top we got ready to enjoy the fruits of our labors with some nice singletrack downhill. The funny thing was the fire road just continued down and we didn’t see the singletrack trail that we were expecting to see.
Well after heading way further down the road than we planned, we realized our error and turned around to head back up the way we had come…..good thing I LOVE climbing….except in winter when I’m fat and slow and lazy….

Eventually though, we did reach the bottom of the downhill, which is actually about 3 miles and several hundred feet below the parking lot we started in…..funny I didn’t remember this part being ALL uphill last time….

At this point, it was about 1:30 and having had breakfast at 5:30 that morning, I could tell I was nearing the “completely outta gas” stage. I had a granola bar in my camelback, but didn’t want to stop to eat, I just wanted to get back to the truck….unfortunately, my body DID want to stop and since I ignored it, it decided to shut down on me. I continued riding and making circles with my legs, but there was nothing in the tank. Every incline reduced me to my granny gear and as Chris continued to pull ahead, I could do nothing to catch him.
Thankfully we eventually made it back and after chatting with the other 3 riders who also made it back around the same time, got on the road and headed home. 1 gatorade a banana and 2 granola bars later, I almost felt human. So human, that when I got home, I grabbed my lights, refilled my camelback and headed over to Chabot to meet the gang for the Thursday night ride.

It quickly became apparent though that I’m not nearly the macho, 2 ride per day stud that I thought I was. I barely survived Brandon, doing the whole thing in my granny and pulling up to the top well after the rest of the group. It was there that I actually made a good decision to take the short way back and let the group continue without me. (see mom, I do make good choices once in a while)

All in all I ended up with about 23 miles and almost 4000ft of climbing for the day….needless to say, after a shower and some grub, I slept like the dead…..

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