Friday, December 27, 2013

No plan, no destination, no worries....

Weather in California right now is beautiful. Unseasonably and for some, worrisomely beautiful. It's been cool to cold at night but in the mid-60s, sunny and dry during the day. More like early Fall or Spring than winter.
The downside is that I still have new skis in the garage waiting for enough snow to take a day off work and go play. The upside is, it's perfect weather for a bike ride....which is what I tried to do on Saturday. Unfortunately I was too busy. (it is Christmas week after all) Sunday though, right after church, I went home, changed, loaded up the ipod and the water bottles and headed out.

I had no idea where I was headed other than a general direction, no deadline other than sunset and no plan other than get out, make circles and enjoy the afternoon.....and that's just what I did.

Most of my rides are either group rides where there's the whole dynamic of keeping up and not making other's wait, or on my solo rides where I have a limited amount of time or someplace to be afterwards which forces me to conform to some sort of schedule.
Very rarely do I get a day like Sunday. I rode as hard or as easy as I wanted letting my legs dictate the pace. I stopped and looked at the view a couple of times just because I could and there were several times where I wasn't quite sure where I was awesome.

The worst part of the ride is from my house south to the Dumbarton bridge. From there, traffic pretty much disappeared and although I continued heading south, the decision at every intersection was made by which road had less traffic. This continued with my mind on autopilot and my legs spinning along smoothly. My breathing was easy and the road continued to disappear beneath me until I found myself in a business park, somewhere south of where I started and north of wherever it was I was going.....

Eventually, as all things do, this mindless spinning came to a rather abrupt end with the sound of a pop followed by a whoosh and wrapping up with a wop, wop, wop as my rear wheel began wobbling. I coasted to a stop on the shoulder knowing immediately I had suffered a pinch flat going over the last set of railroad tracks.

Even this though couldn't ruin my mood. I sat for a moment on the nicely manicured lawn of some companies parking strip and enjoyed the sunshine, a gel and a nice long drink from my water bottle before beginning to address my flat tire. Evidently my relaxed state caused some concern for one of the few cars that drove by though as a lady stopped with a frightened look on her face and asked if I was ok.
It was only later, as I thought about it that I realized with my bike laying on it's side and me reclined on the lawn she must have thought I crashed.

Soon enough it was time to get my hands dirty, change my tube and start on my way home. As I turned around and began the trek home I again disappeared into my head, pedaled along making random lefts and rights until I got back to an area I recognized and worked my way back home.

It wasn't a long ride at only 26 miles and it wasn't a particularly hard ride having less than 400ft of climbing but even at what I thought was a nice easy pace, I was able to average almost 18mph. a decent pace on a beautiful day with nowhere to go and no place to be....California Dreamin, on such a winter's day...

Monday, December 23, 2013

DATMBA Revision 8..or is it 9?

We've been hosting a DATMBA (dayafterthanksgivingmtbikeadventure) ride for the last 8 years...or maybe it's 9, I can't remember. It's not only an excuse to skip the Black Friday shopping madness and ride, but it's an excuse to eat way more pie on Thanksgiving because you know you'll burn it off the next day.

We've done this ride in a variety of conditions including the first year where it rained so hard our bikes wouldn't even roll due to mud and we had to cut it short for fear of ruining the trails (and our bikes).

This year, it was cold as I loaded the truck.
37 when I left my house and in the high 40s as I waited for the group in the parking lot at China Camp. As soon as the sun crested the hills though, things got nice. Really nice. So nice in fact that most of us rode the majority of the loop in short sleeves.

China Camp is a great place to ride. It's got fun fast singletrack and none of the climbs are so brutal that I regretted being on my single speed (even though I'm way out of shape this year).
The other great thing about China Camp is that it's's lush and green and the trails follow the contour of the hill in and out and around never allowing you to see much more than just the section you're on. It really is a unique place to ride in an area surrounded by people....

There were a couple of decent switchback climbs which sent me into the red zone a bit, but nothing that I actually had to get off the bike for. In years past even the switchbacks were cake, but as I mentioned, there's a bit more of "me" riding with me this year than in previous years.

Once you reach the top of the climbs, the rest of the ride is an amazing swoopy singletrack that follows the ridges and really allows you to rail along and enjoy the previous efforts. There are enough roots and tight turns to keep it interesting and to keep you focused, but it's all pretty much slightly downhill which makes it a single speeders dream....

Eventually though, as all things do, we reached the bottom of the hill and the ride came to an end. Now it was time for post-ride festivities. In years past this has ranged from huddling under a popup avoiding the rain, to sitting near the vehicles shivering in the cold and even on some occasions enjoying the nice day....never though do I think it's been as warm as it was this year.

I know we need the rain and I know there are all the fears about climate change, but I really did enjoy sitting in the sun at the beginning of December and worrying more about sunburn and warm beer than shivering in the cold....