Monday, June 22, 2009

Cycling down memory lane

This Saturday was a fairly nostalgic one for me from a cycling perspective. So much so that it inspired me to ride hard during our weekly ride as well as finally getting my butt in gear to post a new blog. Hopefully, this new found inspiration will last and I will start writing a little more frequently then every other week.

This was the longest Saturday of the year in terms of daylight and that can only mean one thing in the Sonoma County cycling world. It was time for the Terrible Two. This is a 200 mile ride with 16,000 feet of climbing. The winner finishes in just over 11 hours while most folks finish in the 14 - 16 hour time frame. The ride comes within 100 yards of our house, so Sherry and I went to the corner Saturday at 5:45 am to watch the race go by. And that's where the nostalgia began.

Last year I attempted this ride and was forced to resign at the 110 mile mark. The reason? Extreme heat! Last year was arguably the hottest Terrible Two on record with the predicted high temperature reaching 108. As the riders came into view, I was remembering my suffering from last year. I remembered that by the time I reached the lunch stop, where I missed the time cut and called it a day, I had already been riding in triple digit heat for over 3 hours. The projected high for this Saturday's ride - 78. I was grateful this year's cyclists would have a better chance of completing such an epic ride.

After the peloton rode by to our early morning shouts of encouragement, we went back to the house. I had some time to kill before my ride so we enjoyed our coffee while also enjoying the little slice of heaven that is our backyard. My trip down memory continued while I sipped coffee, enjoyed the view, and remembered why I live in Sonoma county. Finally, it was time to quit thinking about cycling and actually go ride.

I picked up Sarah and headed to Windsor to ride with people from our Velo group and a few of Sarah's friends from Berkeley. They were all up to ride the Vineman Triathlon course where they would be competing in a few weeks. As we began to ride I was remembering it was the Vineman that started by "career" as a cyclist. It was during my triathlon training that I discovered the joy of cycling. And while my triathlon days are long gone, it's hard for me to imagine a weekend that I don't ride.

I was also remembering my very first ride in training for the Vineman. It was with my brother-in-law Mike. We left from his house in Windsor and rode almost the exact same route that we did on Saturday. So there I am, my first ride on my new road bike, going almost 50 miles and climbing the infamous Chalk Hill. I remember getting into the absolute lowest gear I had (a 32x25) and still barely making it over the top. I almost had to call Sherry because I didn't think I had the leg strength to drive home. This Saturday, after 45 miles of attacking and taking huge pulls on the front, I went over Chalk Hill in the big ring (I was pushing a 52x21) for the first time. There's nothing like reclimbing that first hill to help you see how far you've come.

I really enjoy days like last Saturday. They remind me of where I came from, where I am today, and provide sneak peaks of what the future may hold. I am certain the future will continue to provide ample opportunities for cycling adventures and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Until then . . .


P.S. I would like to add more pictures to my blogs but everytime I upload a photo it absolutely jacks up the formatting. If any of you fellow bloggers have tips on how to prevent this I would love to hear about them. Thanks.

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