Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

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.


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