July 17, 2011

Training Buddies

Anticipating that a mellow recovery ride would be just the thing for today, I had volunteered to help with a training ride for the upcoming Best Buddies Hearst Castle Challenge. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Audi and support from the Woodside Bakery, cyclists and other patrons were happily surprised to find that coffee was on us: we were working to recruit new riders.

Our plan included a 20-mile training route for registered and prospective riders; this being Bicycle Sunday, I presumed we would head for CaƱada Road. [Wrong. But I did head there later, for good measure.]

Being familiar with the area, the staff appointed me leader of the pack. We had a range of abilities, they noted. I surveyed the crowd. About two dozen riders, some from Team Tibco. [Yikes.] I looked at the tiny scrap of paper that described the route. It didn't make sense.

Oh, the first turn is wrong. It's fine after that. With the exception of the second turn, which was also wrong. But I got the gist: we were meant to do the Portola Loop.

We streamed out of the parking lot, heading gently uphill. I pushed the pace and they were right with me. Recovery ride? What a quaint idea. I did manage to split the pack, but I wasn't concerned because a staff member was riding sweep. A buddy riding with us was thrilled when he caught up to me and stayed on my wheel for awhile, the other riders cheering him on and dubbing him "Speedy."

The first real climb on the route, a foothill near the bottom of Page Mill, loomed large. My legs begged for mercy. I waved everyone past, then easily caught them on the descent. [Whew.]

As we waited for a green arrow to turn left onto Junipero Serra, we were confused by a vehicle to our right. Despite having a green light, the vehicle had stopped and the left turn signal was flashing. The driver was not responding to us. I walked over, motioning to roll down the window. Politely, I pointed out that it was a straight-through lane, and that one could not turn left from there. No response. Your left turn signal is on, I added. I know, said the driver.

The arrow turned green. We turned left. The driver turned left, too, nearly running into left-turning cars from the opposite direction. We stayed safe. Most egregiously, this was a car-for-hire that was transporting a passenger. That company, and the CHP, will hear from me soon. I have a photograph to share.

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