Tonight we've got the grandkids so I won't be able to do the weekly nitedawgs ride. Instead, I decided to ride the lake yesterday and invited my buddy Angel to join me. Angel in turn invited Mariano and we agreed to meet and start pedaling by 4:30.
Our goal was to do the loop in the daylight, but knowing how things can and sometimes do go wrong, I brought lights just to be safe.
For the middle of November it was surprisingly warm, almost 80 degrees, and it didn't take long for the sweat to start running in to my eyes. Surely it must be the heat and has nothing at all to do with my current level of fitness.
Brandon, as it always is, was tough but do-able. As long as I took my time, kept my cadence consistent and my pedal stroke smooth, I was fine. A couple of times though I'd circle back to check on Angel, who didn't appear to be having fun, then in an attempt to catch back up to Mariano, I'd find myself pushing harder than planned and would quickly move in to the red zone.
As we continued on around, we got to the half way point and ran into a younger guy that had stopped to read his map. I asked if he was ok and in broken english and with pointing at the map, he explained that he was doing the rest of the loop. I tried my best to explain that he still had over an hour ahead of him, several confusing trail intersections and that it would be getting dark soon. I asked if he had lights and I'm pretty sure he said yes...although my spanish was as bad as his english so at least I hope that's what he said.
With that, I pointed him in the right direction and we parted ways.
About 10 minutes later, we ran into 2 other young guys on what appeared to be brand new bikes and after explaining that this was their first time out there, they asked how much further to get back to the marina. We again explained that they had over an hour of riding, a decent amount of climbing and that it would be dark soon. They said they'd probably turn around after going a little further, and I really hope they did. Being lost out there in the dark would be no fun at all.
One thing about the Chabot loop that always amazes me is how peaceful and serene it is. Especially considering it's less than a 10 minute drive from Oakland. A town known for being neither peaceful nor serene.
We finished the loop in plenty of time beating the sunset by a long margin....all in all a great ride with good friends and just the right amount of suffering to wash all the weekly garbage out of my head and put me back in a good place.
Exercise really is the best therapy....