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50 miles, uncaffeinated, before 10am

April 7, 2013
The TransForm Carbon Crushers in action.

The TransForm Carbon Crushers in action.

Okay, almost.  I was at about 47 miles at 10:20am when I arrived at Wheels of Justice Cyclery for a team fundraiser – bike-powered smoothies for sale at the Farmers Market – but by the end of the day, I made it to 60 miles.  Wow!

Today’s training started before dawn because of the fundraiser.  Sundays are my training day, so I had to figure out how to fit in a 50-mile ride around our 10am-2pm event…not so easy!  I was on the bike at 6:05 a.m., five minutes later than planned, but for a Sunday morning I think that’s pretty darn good.  I got a little caught up in the New York Times over breakfast but that gave me something to think about as I rolled solo for 4+ hours.  No time for coffee, though – eesh.

My ride began up Spruce and then over Grizzly Peak, following a self-selected route created with the goals of (a) completing 50 miles and (b) arriving in Montclair by 10:00 a.m.  Lesson learned: Don’t try to come up with a long bike route at 9:00 p.m. the night before you’re aiming to be out the door at 6:00 p.m.  I hadn’t quite thought through the whole adventure, and I definitely didn’t calculate in any breaks when I was planning this one.  Oh, well.

I also created a route where I looped back and repeated the same terrain, a stretch that took about an hour the first time.  So out of four hours, I spent two of them doing the same thing.  Not ideal, especially when there is so much road biking paradise in the East Bay.  Oh, well, again.  You can check out my route on this Google map.

Nonetheless, by 7:00 a.m. it was light out, and I had my first snack at 7:30 a.m. looking down over Oakland from the foggy hilltops.  I had a flat tire again yesterday – luckily right out of the stable, so I was able to fix it with my standing pump – so I took the descents cautiously.  By about 8:00 a.m. I was in Moraga after a really beautiful climb over the first Pinehurst pass and a deja vu moment on Canyon Road.

It’s literally been almost 10 years since I’ve ridden some of these roads, and my brain has forgotten which ones are which.  But when I hit a spot that jogs my memory, it makes me so happy.  Today, I turned right from Pinehurst onto Canyon and saw green hills with cows to my left, just as I remember them.  I couldn’t have told you that I was going to see this view before I went.  Yet I’ve ridden this stretch dozens of times before and it’s moments like that where I am so grateful to be riding again.

After the gradual uphills and downhills on Moraga Way/Camino Pablo, I took my time ascending Wildcat Canyon, trying not to dread the imminent repeat hour awaiting me at the top of the hill.  I was also running late (shocking!) but that seemed to help me stay focused as I went over Grizzly Peak a second time.  I wish I had an altimeter so I could see how much climbing I did today.

Finally, I reached Shepherd’s Canyon Road again, and started down the steep and winding road to meet my crew.  Still paranoid about bonking, I immediately dropped my bike at WOJ and set off in search of some sort of egg/cheese/bagel sandwich and some coffee.  Whoever created hazelnut coffee should be punished.  I mistakenly filled my cup with awful flavored coffee, but I was kind of desperate so I drank it anyway.

And then I jumped on the stationary bike to get our event started…but not for long.  My legs were tired!  We had limited success with our smoothie stand due to a competing bake sale staffed by cheerful high school girls who seemed to know everyone, but at least we got to snap a team photo.   I left early to relieve Peter from parent duty, clocking in at 54.7 miles – but I biked to and from another activity later on my commuter bike, adding a final 6 miles.  It will be good to get back in the pool tomorrow.

Total riding this weekend: 66 miles on my road bike, 6 on my commuter, and 4 on the cargo bike.  Woohoo!

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