I don’t wanna be a candidate for Viet Nam or Watergate

Miss me? I’ve missed me too. I have four or five subjects backed up ready to go. We’ll start with the easy one today and move through them. Yesterday’s ride.

I took off at 7:30 yesterday morning. The theory being I knock this ride out in 6 hours and I’m back at the house between 1 and 2pm. Click on the elevation button. I’ll wait. This ride had 3402 feet of climbing in it. I’m an ok climber, but I’m working on being an excellent climber, which I’m not right now. I may be a better climber today. Or not. The ride started innocently enough. I’m supposed to be spinning it out around 80rpm average. Heading down Ygnacio and out to the bay that was no problem at all. Then I started through Martinez, rolling hills, still no problem. Out Franklin Canyon on a steady ascent that went up the Cummings Skyway. Not bad, just steady. Then down into Crocket. I hate those kinds of descents because it feels like the weight of the bike on the brakes is just going to cut lose. And I’m going to die flying off a mountain. Must check brakes later today. All those skinny little cyclists that pass me on the uphill watch me fly by on the downhill. Never underestimate a fat chick on the downhill. From Crockett I headed out Carquinez Scenic View. It’s a windy (both words work) narrow and treacherous. It’s closed for several miles to cars because the road fell off the cliff. At one point it’s so bad I had to ride on a dirt path which reminded me of a bad dream I had a couple of weeks ago. I was riding on a dirt path and fell of the cliff. That was not lost on me at that moment. Then I dropped into Martinez and had a long flat spin out until I got to Alhambra Valley which began a long ascent, to Pig Farm Hill. Now I’ve had my ass handed to me before on Pig Farm Hill. For those of you at home following along with the elevation charts, we’re at mile 41. It’s around 11am and it’s gotten hot. Really hot. I’ve gone through over half of my Accelerade, and two bottles of water and I’m working on my third. I’ve had two Powerbars and three gels and I should be fine, but I’m not. It’s hot. And it’s time to ride Three Bears. The Three Bears used to be the end of a loop that the Olympic Cycling Team used for time trials. Time trials are still held out there. I am not an Olympic cyclist. I got my ass handed to me. I don’t like to stop, ever. I force myself to get off the bike every hour and a half. I had to stop three or four times getting up the Three Bears yesterday. The last hill is not one of the bears but it’s a final screw you from the mountain. It nearly killed me. I was out of water, no civilization around and 18 miles from home. I’d quit sweating so I knew I was in trouble. I was in the left turn lane on to Camino Pablo with another guy but the light wasn’t turning. I told him I’d go over a click the button. There was shade under the light standard so I thought it was a capital idea. I’m standing there waiting for the light to change and here comes my friend Javier. Javier and I went through the Morgan Stanley stockbroker training program together back in 2000. Of our class of 700 only Javier got a better mark on the Series 7 than I did. He’s a great guy. He still handles my stuff and the Old People’s money. And we ride together now and then. He stopped to chat. As we talk I think he figured out I was in trouble. He says “I’ll ride with you for a bit, maybe we should go to the Lafayette BART Station”. I mumble something, he gives me all of the water in one of his two bottles and off we go. We cut off part of the initial ride and snuck along the 24 on a frontage trail. We got to Lafayette and I needed to stop for a bit under a shade tree. And then something happened. I got it together enough to get back to the house. I told Javier I thought I could make it back to the barn. So away we went. He rode with me to Olympic and then he headed up Pleasant Valley. I went through downtown Walnut Creek (on a Sunday afternoon no less) and headed up the trail to Treat. Snuck through my old neighborhood and finally got back home. By the time I got to the house I had chills and hadn’t been sweating for over an hour. It was 85 degrees. I went straight to the shower. I started with warm water and then slowly brought it down until I finished with a cold shower, which strangely didn’t bother me. I put away a couple of huge glasses of water and called it a ride. A tough ride.

Javier was telling me that he’s tried the Grizzley Peak Century twice and never been able to finish it because that weekend is usually the first hot weekend of the year. He said that what happened this weekend is about two or three weeks early. I probably wasn’t the only rider who get owned on the hills yesterday. Just the only one that lives at my house.

The beauty of a ride like that is the beauty of the ride. Franklin Canyon is all horse properties. One of my pals’ ex-husband lives out there. I couldn’t remember the house but a couple of years ago he was out of town and their daughter’s horse got out and went on a horse bender until the neighbor got him and called. I went up there with her and her father. I remember driving up and there’s her Dad leading the wayward pony back home. Cummings Skyway is gorgeous rolling hills and the Carquinez Scenic View Road overlooks the bay and the delta. The back portion of the ride is out in farming country. There were herds of cattle out there and for a good portion of the ride I could hear them baying. At the corner of Alhambra Valley and Bear Creek some guys were branding some cattle. The ones waiting to be branded were on the other side of the fence talking cow smack. It was kind of funny. There were horses sleeping under shade trees and younger cows prancing and running in the fields. At one point I saw a red tail swoop down and get something. I decided it was a hawk pocket. He was gorgeous to watch. He was close enough that I could see his eyes and his markings and his talons right before the strike. I’ll have to do this ride again. By then I’ll be used to the warmer weather and the days will be longer and I’ll be able to start at 6am like I originally planned, until I realized it was still dark yesterday at 6am.

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