January 10, 2016

Poor Pitiful Pep

The bad thing about promising to meet up with a buddy for a ride is that the weather might be less than enticing, when the time comes.

The good thing about promising to meet up with a buddy for a ride is that you need to show up, anyway.

Rocky cliff along Calaveras Road, Santa Clara County, California
And so it was this morning, gloomy and gray at home. But not so in the east bay, where skies were clear and blue. For a while, anyway.

Moss-covered tree trunks near a stream running above Calaveras Road, Santa Clara County, California
Winter rains have returned, at last, greening the landscape. In this break between storms, I was mindful of the road surface—pockets of wet lingered from yesterday's storm. This moss-wrapped tree was a sign.

So were the emergency vehicles, sirens wailing, that passed us on the climb up to the canyon. With no evidence of a car wreck, almost assuredly some cyclist had gone down—as had a veteran of our club, yesterday, on this very route.

The road surface was almost entirely dry today, with a few mini-landslides on the fringes. More roadkill than I've seen here before; skunks, mostly. With the low volume of traffic on this road, that's truly a puzzle.

We were headed for Sunol, but ominous clouds rolled in over the hills as we got closer. I had the legs for it, but not the toes. The wind picked up, and it was not a warm one.

Clouds gather beyond a sunlit hillside along Calaveras Road, Alameda County, California
We turned tail and hoped to avoid the rain that surely was falling on some not-too-distant hills. How fast that blew in!

28 miles with 2,550 feet of climbing tuckered me out. I'm in poor shape, a pitiful pudgy pep.

I took care not to get carried away on the descent. There is that stop sign, at the bottom, after all. Where's that clever electronic speed sign? [Ah, partially obscured by a bush, these days.]

36 mph. Oopsie.

January 1, 2016

Ham, or Turkey?

In 2015, I climbed more than 149,000 feet and pedaled more than 3,575 miles. Time to reset the cycle computer.

Sun rays break through the clouds over the foothills of Mt. Hamilton, Santa Clara County, California
It's a Bay Area tradition to climb Mt. Hamilton on January 1st. One of my biking buddies invited me to join her, and ... well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

It seemed like less of a good idea this morning, with the thermometer at my house reading 31F. In other words, -0.5C.

Why do this? Maybe she'll bail out. [Nope.]

Who am I to cancel, then? Some sort of cold-weather ultra-wimp?

The climb was comfortable enough; it's the descent you have to keep in mind. The road was wet, in places, just as I expected. My toes were numb, despite wool socks and booties. It was a challenge to brake with stiff fingers. I've come down from the top before, with teeth chattering.

A pair of wild turkeys strutting through the grass along CA 130, Santa Clara County, California
Sensibly, we opted for half-a-Ham today, declaring victory at the entrance to Joseph D. Grant County Park. The sun was determined to hide in the clouds; the summit was just not enticing.

Let's get this New Year started: 17 miles, 2,030 feet of uphill.