February 29, 2020


Back to the scene of the flat ... this time, with my eyes peeled for puncture-perfect debris.

What a nice, social group assembled today—including some new faces! I had a good time chatting with one guy who slowed to my pace. He's scheduled to leave on a trip to Italy [uh-oh] that starts with a cruise [uh, no] and then some cycling. Earlier this month, I had been researching options for a European cycling adventure; no longer a viable option, this year.

Off the back as usual, I snapped only one photo when we regrouped on San Felipe.

I expected an easy ride today; instead, it felt hard. Less climbing, more distance, and ... a cold headwind. Those 36 miles (and 2,475 feet of climbing) wore me down, more so than last week's taxing climb. [Headwind, I tell you. Headwind.]

February 22, 2020

Roadside Picnic

The acacias were in bloom, offering an occasional spot of cheer on today's climb.

It's been nearly four years since I paid my dues on this road.

A wary doe eyed me before sprinting up the hillside, but otherwise I was the only creature in sight after most of the group passed me.

Did I really climb this, once, in less than 63 minutes? [Yes.] That was then, this is now (94 minutes), including 2+ minutes of walking. I wasn't really suffering—the grade isn't steep enough for that. But after the first 3+ miles (and 1400+ feet of ascent), a lapse of attention brought me perilously close to the edge of the pavement. Getting my concentration back, by walking for a stretch, seemed prudent.

Someone with a sense of humor tacked a sign to a tree. [In truth, you're not “almost there,” but it made me smile.]

I was surprised not to see the rest of the group descending long before I reached the top. I hoped they weren't waiting for me. Or for our birthday boy, the ride leader, who trailed somewhere below me. [I did wait for his triumphant arrival.]

With the top at 3,045 feet, it was chilly. [Duh, it's February.] The wind picked up speed as some fog rolled in, making for a cold descent. If only I'd thought to bring long-fingered gloves ...

The desent is a quick one; I had deliberately chosen not to bring the fast bike today, with this descent in mind.

The ride ended where it began, at the side of the road, but now with a pop-up picnic to celebrate our leader's milestone birthday. As he lamented what he's lost as he's gotten older, I reminded him that precious few of his age cohort could even consider biking up Soda Springs Road. [Or any road, for that matter. Seriously.]

I rode 17 miles, with 3,020 feet of climbing. When you consider that this route is an out-and-back, what came down must have gone up ... that means I climbed 3,020 in 8.5 miles. How slowly I did that, matters not to me.

February 19, 2020

Up the Hill

Consider it a walking meeting, with the added bonus of occupying our full attention (no distracting phones or laptops). Two of us ducked out of the office just early enough to hit the trail by 4:45 p.m. Enough daylight for a short—sometimes steep—hike.

It's been rather a long time since I've trudged up the Kennedy Trail, which is silly considering how nearby it is. (Thankfully, dry today.)

Up the hill, and back down: about 3.5 miles and maybe 700 feet of climbing. Highly recommended as a way to de-stress at the end of the workday.

February 15, 2020


If I could bike 37 miles in a day (albeit in two sittings), I should be able to do the flat version of the club's beloved “Bici” ride. Its namesake bicycle shop closed several years ago, but a suitable gathering place for the start was found nearby.

Prepared to go it alone, off the back, I set out on my adapted version of the route—which avoids a formerly desolate stretch of road, a freeway interchange, and (more recently) a busy Costco. I think the crowd was somewhat puzzled, as they waited to turn left at a traffic signal, when they saw me sail ahead on the road they were about to join.

They waited for me at the tops of the climbs, and I was surprised that most people would be skipping the hillier variation of the ride today. Eventually off the back, I expected to capture a photo of the reservoir I would pass; but that was not to be. A strong rider caught up to me after fixing a flat and slowed to my pace, to chat.

We regrouped at a coffee shop, and when it was time to leave I found myself leading a small posse. I alerted them that I would be deviating from the “official” route near the end, to avoid that same unpleasant stretch of road. They endorsed my variation, which wends alongside a “linear park” through a relatively new neighborhood, and encouraged me to recommend it to the ride leader.

I was gratified that 38 miles and 765 feet of climbing didn't wear me out. It was a treat to have company for almost all of the ride; after all, that's why we show up for these club rides, isn't it? And who knows, maybe next time I'll find that my twist has been adopted for the traditional route.

February 11, 2020

February is Feasible

The unseasonably warm weather was irresistible.

There is just enough daylight to make it home without ducking out of work too early.

I had debated pulling the headlight off my helmet, as I haven't really needed it for the short rides home from the shuttle. Leaving it in place was a good call, as the last couple of miles turned legitimately dark.

A little over 37 miles, with 780 feet of climbing for this flatter version of my round-trip commute.

The next morning, my body reminded me that I haven't been getting enough exercise. [Must work on that.]

February 8, 2020

A Flat Ride

When a yellow sac spider settles in for a nap on your downtube, it's a sign that you should be getting out more. (I used a twig to peel off the sac; the spider, I imagine, will be surprised to wake up many miles from where it fell asleep.)

I was looking for a short and easy ride, but not quite so short as it turned out ...

It was a chilly and overcast morning as the group gathered, discussing the pros and cons of tubeless tires. A couple of us felt that they seemed like more trouble than they're worth. I rarely get flats; I suggested that some tubeless riders end up with more trouble because they think they're invincible and stop watching for debris in their path. [We joked that now I'd tempted fate ...]

We turned out of the parking lot and ... immediately stopped, as the leader's Garmin was finicky. A little bit ahead of the group, I waited for her to pass. I had my eye on the other riders as I started to roll. I did not have my eyes on the road.

Wait, I said; there's something stuck to my front tire ... no, through my front tire.

We had not even traveled one-tenth of a mile. Feeling as deflated as my tire, I told them to continue without me; I was just going back home. I didn't feel like fixing it in the cold, and I didn't feel like making the group stand around even longer than we already had.

I collect road debris whenever I can. Preferably, with my hands.