Monday, April 23, 2012

Time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me…

It’s fitting that this old Rolling Stones song is in my head since I’m now just over a month away from riding my bike from here to Tahoe to “celebrate” my 50th birthday and I’m in the worst shape I’ve been in over the past few years. Normally, by this point in the year I’ve done a couple of metric centuries and the Sea Otter Mt Bike race.

I realize the Sea Otter isn’t really training for a long ride, but the fact that I didn’t race this year is indicative of my current level of fitness….or lack of fitness would probably be more apt….

It’s funny that in year’s past I’ve blogged about being too busy to ride and always thought at that point, that I had never been busier in my life. And I probably hadn’t been. Unfortunately, in retrospect, those years past were actually less chaotic and less busy than the current year seems to be. I’m not sure if this is just things looking better in the rearview mirror or whether life really is more chaotic and busy than it has been.

Regardless, the reality is that I’m fat and out of shape and I have just over 30 days to get back in shape… problem right? My buddy Jerry has mapped out a route for us to Tahoe that will start in San Francisco and heads north…yep, north. I know, you’re thinking, like I did, that Tahoe is east, but we’re headed north to Guerneville then east to Winters, Winters to Folsom, Folsom to Blue Cyn then finally Blue Cyn to Tahoe.

I actually wasn’t too concerned figuring we only had about 350 miles to go and 5 days to get there. Average 70 miles a day. My longest ride this year is 58 miles which is almost the same as 70. And, maybe the route would start out easy and I could actually get in shape during the ride….um…yeah….not so much. Jerry’s first day is 95 miles…..the second day is 94 miles AND there are a bunch of hills in between the coast and Winters which is right on Hwy 5….

As far as days 3-5, well, I’m really not too worried about those since I’ll probably be dead by then….hopefully they donate my bike to someone deserving…

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring is HERE!!!…nevermind….

During the winter months, I can (and regularly do) use as the excuse for my added weight and lethargy (or do I have that backwards?) that it’s winter and thereby the “off season”.  This combined with an innate ability to procrastinate my way out of anything has allowed me to maintain one of my highest weights (and largest waistlines) in several years.

The reality though, is that by the time winter rolls around, I’m ready to be off the bike and on the couch a little more than I am during the nicer months. In season’s past I’ve used skiing as a lame attempt to stay fit but this year it’s been so crummy, I haven’t even been motivated to do that.

Oh sure, I’ve gotten several rides in and for the most part they’ve been “ok”….I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie and on a few the weather has been good and the scenery even better, but to be honest, the passion for the ride just hasn’t really been there. I would have been just as happy hanging out with those same friends at a restaurant over lunch and a couple beers…

This past weekend though, all of that changed. Jerry had scheduled one of my favorite rides. The Morgan Territory loop. This 50+ mile loop heads out of Danville, through Concord and around the backside of Mt Diablo into a little known and lightly traveled area of the East Bay Regional Park district that seems so remote it could be in another state.

This Saturday, unlike the past 3 weekends, held the promise of a beautiful Spring day and although we started out cold, the day quickly turned into one of those clear, sunshine filled days that make you want to work in the yard, barbecue, go to the beach or even….ride your bike.

You could tell we weren’t the only ones recovering from long-winter-itis too as San Ramon Valley Blvd had about 10x as many cyclists as they did cars and the section of the multi-use trail that we rode was like playing a video game of "dodge the jogger-walker-runners".
In addition to the beautiful weather, the challenging route and the complete lack of vehicle traffic for a major part of the ride, I have another motivator for getting back on the bike….I’ll be turning 50 next month. And, while achieving the half-century mark is a milestone in and of itself, I have decided that in order to celebrate said event, I and several of my friends, are going to ride our bicycles from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe over a period of 5 days.

Granted, for a lot of people this sounds more like a torture test than a celebration, but personally I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate an important occasion like this than to go out and do something most people think is REALLY stupid….afterall, you only turn 50 once right?

If you take the combination of the beautiful weather and the great scenery combined with the knowledge that I’m nowhere near in shape to ride from here to Tahoe …you get one of the best rides I’ve had in the last several months.

So, having had a great first real ride of the new season and fired up to get back on the bike in a big way, I was stoked to try to get out of work early a couple of evenings this week and get some more seat-time… least I was until I watched the news Sunday evening and saw rain predicted for the entire coming week……oh well, guess I need to stock up on cookies and figure out where I put the TV remote….I guess I can always get in shape while riding to Tahoe...