Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer's Slumber

It was 5:00 and 75 degrees yesterday. Yes, this is August in California. I checked my calendar twice just to be sure! So why wait for late when there is so much yummy cool air out there?

Taking up this theme I headed out the door ~ 5:30 and decided to have me an unstructured ride. OK, if you know anything about me by now, it's that I don't really do unstructured, but this came pretty close to it. I didn't air up the tires. I didn't eat first, and my route was made up of turns that called out to me as I approached them.

I ended up down at Guy West Bridge, mostly curious about the progress on the construction, and I was encountering a pretty stiff headwind of cool air and runners. I'm talking about in the hundreds. I guess Fleet Feet was putting on a practice run for an upcoming event. Anyway, it was pretty interesting, and somewhat entertaining to see all the peeps out running along both sides of the trail.

I chowed down on a PowerBar at the picnic table under the bridge, smiling and waving as runners of all skill levels trudged, floated, or something in-between, passed me, pushed along by the breeze. When I tried to clip in and shove off though I found both sides of the trail clogged with runners. Hummm, what to do. How about get out in the middle and clip in right quick?

Seemed like a reasonable decision, at least until one of the 'runners' gliding through the double S turn happened to be on a bicycle. :-O  I tried to get real skinney, right there in the middle on the road-kill line, but knew I'd be screwed in a few seconds as there was traffic coming in both directions that couldn't see me for the S turn.

Luckily, the woman on the bike behind slowed way down and used mental telepathy to indicate to me I should clip in, and right quick, before she fell over from doing .000001mph. Well, the seas parted, nobody crashed, and happy to report, no runners were harmed in the making of this post!

I caught up with the angel who spared me from road-kill-dom in a few hundred yards, and hung back just enough so I didn't suck on her wheel too much. We had a pretty good tailwind, but we were still only riding at 17-19mph. At some point she got down in her aerobars (the view from behind improved dramatically at that point :) and picked up the pace a little, so I cooled my jets and hung back.

Finally I could tell she was tiring, so I pulled abreast of her and we chatted for a minute before I told her it had to be my turn to pull by now. She said she didn't think she could keep up with me, but I assured her I was trying to take it easy and put in some longer miles, so I'd go slow enough. I did, for about a mile, but when I got to Watt Ave she was nowhere in sight.

It was such a nice day to ride, and I had plenty of time, fuel and water, so I rode right past WBP and on towards Sunrise. Didn't want to stop at Sunrise either. Although it was close to sunset by then, (there's a song in all this "Sunrise, Sunset" somewhere) I made the right turn for Hazel, and kept going.

At Hazel I turned right onto Gold Country for a block or so before turning into the long series of parking lots and connecting roads that comprised the recent detour used while the new retaining walls were being built last month. Less wind, less traffic, nice surface, what's not to like? Oh, and the new front brake pads are wearing in perfectly! A nice buttery feel with a great progressive pull.

Shortly after rejoining the ARPT, dropping into the aerobars (gear up, flaps up, full throttle), and hitting the power, who should I spot on the other side of the trail than my new friend on her beautiful white LiteSpeed. I made sure she wasn't in need of AAA or anything, and pushed off. It was getting late. I wish now I had gotten her contact info because we're close enough we could ride together, and she at least would really benefit from riding with a faster rider. Oh, well. Maybe another day.

I peeled off for Bannister Park and returned home with daylight to spare. Nice ride. A little over 30 miles, but a collection of waypoints I haven't gathered into a ride before. I just love that with the ARPT there just seem to be an endless number of permutations that make for interesting rides, and interesting people.

PS: More friends with broken back wheels. This time Forte, which is Performacebikespeek for 'Crap' to be sure, but still more evidence that most factory-built wheels will last 1-3 years for 170+lb riders. The replacement choice was Mavic Aksium. We'll see how long those last, if that was the right choice, and if I made the right decision going with custom OPs.

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