Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Monday, December 19, 2011

Too Busy Riding to Blog?

Not really.  Well, maybe yesterday.  I'll get to that.  First, there was 70 minutes in class on Wednesday, another 90 minutes in class on Thursday, and half an hour in the gym on Friday.  I really enjoyed the Wednesday-Thursday class because it was really like a bike ride.  I use singular because it was the same class, essentially.  I rode hard on Wednesday and didn't intend to ride hard on Thursday, but I felt good, so I went at it.  The class consisted of climbing/muscle tension intervals followed immediately by a base-speed/cadence steady state ride.  We did this three times for decreasing duration with increasing resistance, with two minutes of very easy pedaling in between.  Just like outside: a two-mile climb that plateaus into a flat ride.  Two minutes to descend, then do it again.  We closed with a cadence build to flush out the legs.  None of 5 over base business.  Yes, I understand it is designed to make our pedaling more efficient, but unless I descend on a fixed-geared bike (and I don't), I see little practical use for that exercise.  I go along, but I don't like it and don't think anyone else likes it much either.

The real ride of the week was yesterday, when David and I rode around Mt. Diablo over Morgan Territory Road.  We had about five and a half hours of riding and twenty minutes of not.  We left at 6:00 and by the time we got to Orinda, it was mid-30s and butt-cold.  I was wearing two thin wool base layers, a long sleeve jersey and was fine above the waste.  I was wearing DeFeet Blaze super-thick wool socks and the toes were OK too.  The fingers weren't doing so great even with a pair of long-fingered gloves and glove liners.  After half an hour of this, I lost feeling in my right pinkie.  I thought I'd pull the finger out of the glove's finger and tuck it with the palm to warm it up, so I grabbed the gloved finger with my teeth and pulled, but the glove refused to come off.  I pulled and pulled harder.  Then I realized I'd bitten so hard that my teeth grabbed the finger too hard and I didn't feel it.  Wow.  I let  go of the finger and decided to leave it alone, looking forward to warming up the finger on the climb.

It was cold and thickly foggy from Orinda all the way through Clayton, clearing only as we approached the Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory intersection.  The last time I rode Morgan Territory I thought that about two-thirds of it is doable in the big ring.  So, I did two-thirds of it in the big ring -- OK, the 46 that passes for a big ring on my Spectrum -- and just kept going.  What the hell, if the road forced me to shift down, I'd shift down, but as long as I could keep going, I was going to keep going.  Well, I kept going all the way to the top, even sprinting up the last steep bit before the parking lot/trail head/bathroom stop/water fountain at the top.

That was a pleasant surprise.  We refilled the bottles, emptied bladders and began the descent.  The descent is narrow, steep, and windy, so we took it easy, which was a good thing, as there were a couple of trucks coming up and it was important to have the bikes firmly in control on this dangerous descent.  We met Gary at the bottom and turned west toward Danville.  There was periodic hammering, but the legs were good, hard efforts were interspersed with recovery behind David and Gary, so by the time it was my turn to pull again, I felt good again.  We made good time into Danville, where we turned north to Walnut Creek, climbed Hillgrade, on to Lafayette, where we climbed the always too steep and too long Reliez Station Road, which I rode aggressively, into Moraga, again more hammering up a slight rise, then by the time we left Moraga and turned onto Pinehurst, I was pretty well legless and had very little left for Pinehurst.  I plodded up it aggressively and descended home.

Don't know how far it all was, but I was gone for six hours.  Legs felt horrible the rest of the day.  Then, today, December 170, they felt great, but all I did was pretty easy 30 minutes on the trainer.


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