Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Four Backward...

Ride 215: An hour and a half outside for the much-liked and seldom ridden Tilden golf course lasso loop:  going out on Tunnel, Grizzly, down Golf Course, up Shasta and back on Grizzly, Skyline and Snake.  I rode hard, enjoyed the effort, and was happy to have broken 15mph, doing it in 15.1.  This got me to thinking again about motivation.  When I ride alone I ride harder than I do with friends and I like it when I am riding harder.  Yet when the group raises its speed from conversational -- to, for example, the speed I rode today -- I grumble, maybe because someone interrupted my conversation.  Maybe it's a control thing and I resent having to ride at someone else's pace but don't mind going at that pace on my own?

Ride 214: Half an hour in zone 1 at the gym, though still broke a sweat.

Ride 213: Redwood-Pinehurst with Howie in the big ring.  Decided that Sunday ride would be a big ring ride and I rode it not just in the big ring, but also in small cogs.  The big is a 48 and the smalls were in 13-16 range, except I had to shift into 19-ish on North Pinehurst to avoid stalling and toppling over and a new entry for the "Crash!" post.  Having made it up North Pinehurst in 48x19, riding the flat portion of Skyline in that gear felt sublimely smooth and easy.  Maybe that's the purpose of big ring training?

Ride 212: Redwood-Pinehurst without Tunnel, climbing the Oakland side of the ridge on Butters with Paul's Saturday group.  Did not go to Moraga with the guys, turning back toward Oakland at the Pinehurst/Canyon intersection with Arnie.  We had a mellow-paced and chatty return leg and I discovered that Arnie is a neighbor and a nice guy.  Will likely see more of him on the road in the future.


Friday, January 27, 2012

What's the 211?

The 211 was 75 minutes at Velo, doing climbs alternating with steady state efforts.  Climbs felt almost easy -- yes, I my tire pressure and trainer calibration were fine, thank you -- while the steady state efforts felt easier as they went along even though I pushed the last one well into zone 4 for five minutes.  I am sure that these good sensations, as the Euros call them, had much to do with the lowest classroom temperature I've experienced in my 13 months at the club.  Very excited to have ridden so strongly.  A bit disappointed with the realization that my body is not great at temperature regulation and I probably need to wear less to prevent overheating -- brrrr.  Cautiously hopeful that the club will keep temperature down at its new location around the corner and up two blocks, starting on day 214.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Inside and Out

Inside (ride 209) was nothing much, just a 35-minute spin at the gym.  I tried to keep my cadence up and power down while others in the class worked hard.

Ride 210 was memorable, however.  For some time, I've admired this Palmans-Collstrop jersey.  I've looked for it half-heartedly from time to time, never trying terribly enthusiastically.  It's obscure enough that it was never available widely and when I saw it, it was priced silly high.  Last week, I googled the jersey for some reason and found it available in my size, steeply discounted.  I pounced and it arrived yesterday.  It fits perfectly, it's lightly fleecy, making it warm but not too warm, just perfect for riding almost year-round in the Bay Area, which has no winter and no summer.

I wore it this on this morning's very foggy, not wintry ride, and I will say unabashedly that I looked mahvellous.  Perhaps inspired by my dress blue, I rode mahvellously.  Yeah, it was so foggy that it drizzled and visibility stunk, but I just spun up hills and took it REALLY easy on descents, which I could barely see.

I had such a good time that I really wanted to ride more today, seriously considering going to the gym for an interval session, but decided to abstain.  Better to have a good ride and want more than do too much and be wasted.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Hey, a consecutive day with a post!  Woo-hoo.  Ride 208 was 90 minutes in class that included a 70-minute continuous working interval with a few brief rest periods thrown in.  I did high zone 3 efforts in very low zone 4 just for the hell of it, focusing on spinning big gears to the extent I could and breathing VERY deeply.  These tricks seemed to work -- there was an epiphany moment when hammering suddenly became much easier for the last two minutes of the final hard effort.  About 7.5 on RPE scale.  Supposedly the week's next workout is harder.  Stay tuned for report of ride number 210.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Two oh Seven

207 and counting.

Ride 207 was 40  minutes on the trainer with a hard 20+ minutes in there.  This was the hardest I've ridden the trainer at home in the last 207 days.  Focused on spinning a relatively big gear.  It worked well and I felt pretty good and very sweaty.

Ride 206 was a half-hour recovery on the trainer at home from ride 205. 

Ride 205 was a (sadly) rare outdoor outing, during which I decided to climb Manzanita Road three times from both directions.  Manzanita is about 0.15 of a mile and it climbs at ~17% above the top of North Pinehurst to the highest point on Skyline Drive in Oakland hills.  This hill may be the highest point in Oakland.  I peered across other hills on the ridge and it was close.  Diablo Drive at the Skyline-Grizzly intersection may be a smidge higher -- I couldn't tell.  Manzanita's north side is longer and steeper.  I could tell after a couple of attempts on each side.  After the second ascent of the north side, I felt as if I was in a good news-bad news joke: I was half-way done, but this sucker was really taking it out of me.  I managed to complete the workout, glad that the last climb was on the easier southern side.  That said, my 30-tooth chainring proved very handy, as I managed to remain seated and tried spinning for all six intervals.  So, legs didn't hurt as much as when I used to climb this road in higher gears, though I that cardiovascular quality of the workout did not lessen.

It had rained and the wind blew strongly the previous night.  There were TONS of crap -- gravel, leaves, twigs, needles, eucalyptus bark and acorns, and just plain mud on the road -- so I had to take my Manzanita descents carefully, picking my way around the debris.  The wonderful thing was that I had San Francisco frame builder Dan Nelson raise the brake bridge 7 millimeters and now crap did not get stuck under my brake bridge.  For the first time, the bike did not impede my climbing on crap-strewn roads.  I wore a big smile when I realized what I was missing.

Ride 204 was a 40-minute high zone 1 -- low zone 2 spin at the gym.

Ride 203 was a 50-minute ride at the gym, which included one 10-minute interval and then I had to go, so I missed the others, but that was OK because I'd done them during Ride 202.  

And ride 202 had three lengthy intervals with much time in zone 4 at low cadences.  I tolerated this pretty well.  Not sure if I was having a good day or whether my legs prefer lower cadences.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Sharks win their 201st shootout with me on the trainer.  I watched the third period and the overtime.  Sharks tied it at 1:1 in the third, then were robbed by the refs in overtime, but kept it together for the shootout, which they won 2:0 over the Flames.


Monday, January 16, 2012

200 Backwards

Today was ride number 200.  Jessica and I did 20 miles on the Bay Trail, round-trip from Berkeley-Emeryville border to Richmond.  Crystal-clear and a bit chilly day with light winds and gorgeous views of the bay, Marin, East Bay hills, Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco in wonderful company.  A great way to celebrate number 200.

Ride 199 was and easy half an hour on the trainer.

Ride 198 was a minor epic.  Jeff came to Oakland and we rode to the top of Mt. Diablo and back.  It cool leaving my house, then quite warm climbing Tunnel, the freezing from the foot of North Pinehurst to the foot of Diablo (north side), then we had good climbing temperatures.  I felt pretty good until the North Gate-South Gate junction, where my climbing legs deserted me and I slowed down.  Made it to the top without major problems and we retraced out steps to the house with a minor detour of South Pinehurst, Redwood, and Skyline.  I drank and ate inadequately and probably paid for it on the climb.  I only went through two bottles of fluids and one flask of gel.  Obviously, not enough.

Ride 197 was half an hour on the trainer on Friday.

Ride 196 was a leg ripper early Thursday morning.  Brian declared at the outset that he was feeling tired, then proceeded to attack repeatedly.  I had legs just good enough to follow.  I almost wish I'd felt worse and hadn't followed.

Ride 195 was a Wednesday class.  It was hard enough that I couldn't do the last interval, so I just sat on the bike and turned the legs enthusiastically, but much slower and at minimal resistance.  We did simulated climbs that became progressively harder and longer with very short breaks.  I think it was the short breaks that did me in.

Rides 194 and 193, were a class that's very hazy in my memory and half an hour at home respectively.


Monday, January 9, 2012


I need to post more often, as it is becoming harder to remember what the heck I've been doing.  I can recreate the last five rides, however.  Today's ride will be the subject of another post.

On Wednesday, I came into the club for half an hour on the trainer.  It was completely mellow and I read the Lava magazine's story of 2010 Ironman World Championship as I pedaled.  I had no idea there was a Lava magazine.  It was a mellow and informative way to spend half an hour.

On Thursday, I did a super-duper early morning ride from 4:35 a.m. to 7:00, culminating in 20 minutes at a very warm Montclair Peet's with Howie.  The five-minute ride home was freezing!

On Friday, I went back to the club and, as they say in Europe, I was having "good sensations" in my legs, so I rode hard.  I rode hard and riding hard felt fairly easy.  Everyone was sweating up a storm, while I was merely perspiring.  About 45 minutes into the 60-minute class, I discovered that my rear tire was soft, explaining everything, including why the ride felt easy.  I pumped up the tire, but it deflated to around 30 pounds within five minutes.  By then the class was nearly over and I got a workout anyway.

A seven-hour weekend followed.  On Saturday, I took a very pleasant one-hour afternoon ride up Tunnel, across Skyline and down Joaquin Miller.  On Sunday, we did a circuitous version of Fruit Stand.  We went up Spruce, down Wildcat, then climbed Papa Bear and Happy Valley.  We stopped for coffee in Lafayette, where David and Howie peeled of for home and Brian and I headed south.  The flat portion from Lafayette to San Ramon was nice and mellow.  It was getting warmer too and we enjoyed the pace and the weather.  I pulled medium to medium-hard on Crow Canyon from Norris intersection to Castro Valley.  We hopped over to Redwood and were climbing at a conversational pace, when a rider with full Webcor kit passed us.  I was content to let him go, but Brian was not and I followed.  The three of us jammed to the top.  At the top, we let him go and continued to South Pinehurst.  There, we turned right and climbed toward Moraga.  Half-way up, two guys caught up and passed and we went with them again.  One of them is Bart, a neighborhood master's racer, who was an age-group State Champion a few years ago.  Bart's friend went really hard with Brian on his wheel.  Bart and I rode and talked until a hundred yards before the crest, where Bart sprinted.  I chewed on my stem and hung on -- barely.  I'm in good, not great shape.  Bart is 70.

We descended together and parted at the bottom.  Bart's group was riding "around the world" and we returned to Oakland through Canyon and up North Pinehurst.  Brian suggested we not play puppy dogs and not chase anyone who comes in view on the climb or passes us.  I agreed that after nearly six hours this would be a good idea.  On the long false flat that precedes the climb we sensed someone approaching.  We sped up just a bit and he seemed content to hang there, using us to pace him.  We began climbing, with our shadow still behind us, but breathing heavier.  We refused to look back to acknowledge him.  The string seemed to stretch as the road steepened, though we still heard distant sounds of panting.  Completely abandoning our plan, we went hard at on the last steep bit when we saw two riders ahead.  Our shadow vanished as we passed those two.

As we rode along Skyline, we chuckled at our inability to not chase.  I wished Brian a good rest of Sunday, as I turned left and downhill, heading home.  It was a great ride and I felt pretty good the rest of the day.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to the Routine

Yesterday, I managed to get out for an hour as the sun was setting.  It was chilly, but pleasant.  Five minutes into the ride I caught up with my neighbor and occasional riding partner Chris.  Chris had a frightening crash two months ago.  His pedal spindle snapped and he went over the handlebars, landing on his head, or so he thinks because he has no recollection of the crash.  He only knows that he woke up lying in the middle of Skyline Drive at Thornhill intersection with people trying to revive him.  His helmet shattered, as it was designed to do and his body had nary a scratch, which is how he deduced that his head took the entire impact.  He spent three days in ICU and two months in physical therapy.  He had frequent headaches and dizziness episodes, which have waned somewhat recently.  It was good to see him, especially in light of what had happened.

Chris was on his cyclocross bike, which he took on a dirt path when we reached the Skyline Gate of Redwood Regional Park, so we said our goodbyes.  The clouds turned from white to pink to flaming red.  I turned on my blinky and my helmet light and descended Thornhill, Colton, and Mountain back home.

Today, I went to back to VeloSF for the first class of 2012.  Today's class was the first in a new 12-week training block.  Theoretically, blocks start out easy, build to higher intensities and taper somewhat at the end before ramping up again.  Maybe I haven't been riding enough or sleeping enough or had lunch too close to the class, but this class absolutely kicked my butt.  We did a continuous 70-minute ride broken into climbing and steady-state 8 to 12 minute intervals.  I managed to hang for an hour, but had to back off for the final 10 minutes, as I was completely spent.  No matter, I'm with Scarlet O'Hara, tomorrow is another (188th) day.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Six months and change down, a bit less than half to go.  It's been nine days since I last wrote, so I'll have to work backwards to recreate my riding.

Today, I did a neighborhood tandem ride with Sophie.  The ride was very nice, just as our rides at Disneyland over the last few days.  At DL, we did the Pooh ride four times, Tea Cups twice, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, Ariel, California Flyover (not its real name), Bugs, Matterhorn, Haunted Mansion, and a few others.  On Matterhorn, I figured out at least Matterhorn-caliber roller-coasters: lean into the turn and look at the car in front and the stomach and inner ear remain calm.  Very exciting, as normally, I am a weak-stomached, dizziness prone roller-coaster passenger.

Yesterday, I did half an hour on the trainer.

December 30, 29, 28, and 27 I did half an hour on hotel exercise bikes.  December 26, I did 45 minutes in Oakland hills.  December 25, I did a couple of hours with David in the hills.  December 24, I think I did half an hour on the trainer.

Math: July -- 31 days; August -- 31 days; September -- 30 days; October -- 31 days; November -- 30 days; December -- 31 days; January -- 1 day.  Total: 185.  181 to go.  There's a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!