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Ride report: Death Valley Spring Century 2011

The first warning signs for the Death Valley Spring Century came nearly two weeks before today's event: Early weather forecasts called for a possibly historic winter storm moving across the West. Depending on the day and the source, the forecast for Death Valley called for anything from rain to snow to cold to cool to wind.

And after the ride organizers sent out a warning-laden email a few days before the event, nearly one-fourth of the approximately 400 registered riders didn't even bother to show up Saturday morning at Furnace Creek Ranch for the combined start of the 100-mile, 150-mile, and 200-mile events. But I was there to attempt my first century of 2011.

As Adam and I descended into Death Valley on Friday afternoon, the storm-whipped southerly winds increased strongly and were easily gale-force if not stronger. Opening the car doors at photo breaks was a challenge. Dust and even small rocks were being flung through the sky as we watched the sun set over Zabriskie Point.

After dinner, the winds subsided somewhat, and we went to bed hoping that today would be better.

Alas, when we awoke at 5:30 a.m., the winds had increased ever so slightly and were coming out of the south at perhaps 15 to 20 mph. This wasn't a good sign. But we suited up anyway and made our way to the starting line for a 6:50 a.m. ride-out.

As I've pointed out in previous ride reports, Death Valley is most certainly not flat at all. The first 17 miles of today's ride were a copy of the route to Badwater that I most recently rode in December. The difference this time, however, was the wind. As soon as we turned onto Badwater Road, the headwinds began, and they did nothing but increase hour after hour all morning long.

Check that; we had a few miles without headwinds. Instead, when the road turned, the headwinds turned into even more annoying crosswinds. The winds were steady at perhaps 30 to 40 mph, if not more (it's not like there are any weather stations out there to let us know for sure), and I was able to easily pass more than a few riders by just doing 7-8 mph on gentle terrain. Any breaks? Not likely. Almost every descent required steady pedaling just to keep going forward at a single-digit speed.

The result was that I reached Rest Stop 2 at Ashford Mill (mile 45) with an average speed of 9.8 mph and about 5.25 hours of elapsed time -- which put me more than two hours ahead of the "official" rest stop closing time. The closing times were, quite fortunately, discarded by saner minds.

The final leg before the turnaround point is a gradual but very long climb from about sea level to Jubilee Pass at about 1,300 feet. I was fortunate to have a moderate tailwind up the hill, which allowed me to cover about a mile at a time before having to break to exercise my lower back, and I reached the turnaround point in reasonably good shape. The route back to Ashford Mill was almost entirely downhill, so even with the now-headwind, it was relatively quick and uneventful. In fact, the headwind helped hold my speed down so I didn't have to ride my brakes.

So now I was headed back north. And given the strong southerly winds of the morning, it seemed logical that I'd have a much quicker return, perhaps allowing me to make up time and finish before sunset.

As I left Ashford Mill, the wind did indeed slowly turn to my favor. Soon, I was cruising up hills at 22 to 24 mph and coasting on level terrain at 25 mph without even pedaling -- a wind experience even more fascinating than any of the notable tailwind days of AIDS/LifeCycle. Within just minutes, I had covered 12 miles, almost half the distance back to Badwater.

And then all hell broke loose. The wind turned, swiftly and suddenly.

The tailwind became mostly the crosswind from hell (actually, from the west), punctuated by occasional bursts of the headwind from hell. And my speed went right back down to 6-7 mph, if not even slower ... this time, the wind was even stronger than it had been in the morning.

As I leaned to the left to avoid being blown over, I pressed forward mile after very slow mile. I started doing the math and realized that, if this wind continued, there was no way for me to make it back to Furnace Creek before sunset. And, since I didn't have a headlight with me, riding after dark was both illegal and against the event rules.

So I started working out the options in my mind. If I could make it to Badwater, I could ask Adam to come retrieve me, assuming I could get a cellphone signal. Or I could ask him to bring me my headlight so I could continue riding. Both of these options assumed, however, that Adam had safely returned to Furnace Creek. Because cellphone signals are but a dream anywhere south of Badwater, I had no way to communicate with Adam or know whether he was still riding. I could flag down a SAG vehicle and get a ride, presumably all the way back to Furnace Creek. But if Adam had gone out to look for me, then he wouldn't find me -- and he'd be out of cellphone range.

The options weren't looking good, and as I very slowly passed mile 72 of the route, my mood was becoming quite foul. I was stopping about every half mile, if not more often, just to regain my bearings and take a break from the relentless crosswind. I saw ahead where the road would take a sharp turn to the left, turning the crosswind into a headwind. Would the headwind last? I had no way of knowing what the conditions were on the rest of the route. But what I could see, however, was the massive squall line over Badwater Basin. Was it rain, dust, snow, or something else? That I could not discern.

I noticed a car approaching toward me from the north. It looked a lot like my car. In fact, it was my car. With Adam behind the wheel.

In short (since this is my ride report, not Adam's), he rode about halfway to Ashford Mill but then turned around ... and got slammed by the leading edge of the squall line earlier in the day, complete with dust and rain. So he'd been off the road for a couple of hours, and he decided to head out to check on me.

As he slowed and rolled down his window, I don't remember exactly what I said or in what order, but I do remember the important part: "I'm done. We're going home." He pulled over, I loaded up my bike, and we headed south, on our way out of Death Valley.

First, however, there was a little business to attend to. We stopped briefly at the Ashford Mill rest stop so I could tell a ride official that I had bailed out. Adam was listening to the two-way radio conversations among the support crew, and he thought he heard an ominous suggestion: that the support vehicles start going out on the route to round up all of the remaining century riders and bring them in.

As of late Saturday when I'm writing this, I still don't know for sure how the day ended for the other 300-plus riders who began, but the official results site suggests that perhaps almost two-thirds of the riders who started didn't finish.

But the reality is that I indeed did not finish the big ride of my major-life-event weekend. And that made me both sad and angry. Adam's support and encouraging words (and his driving for the first 60 or so miles back to Barstow), however, made it quite a bit better, as did the deep-dish pizza back in Barstow as the local temperature dipped below freezing.

Word is that this was quite possibly the most unusual Death Valley Century in the event's 20-year history. I'll agree with that. I'm still disappointed that I came up about 30 miles short, but I also think I'm more than a little justified in saying it wasn't entirely my fault.

Here are some ride reports from other participants: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Distance Training #6: Calaveras Plus rescheduled (3/27/2011)


Date: Sunday, March 27
Meet time: 8:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 8:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Three blocks west of the Mountain View Caltrain and VTA station, in the overflow parking lot at the corner of Evelyn Avenue and Franklin Street. (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Heavy rain cancels
Category: 3 - moderate-fast pace (12-15 mph)
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with some steep climbs
Miles: 81

Description:
We're heading to the hills just east of Milpitas, where remote and very scenic riding awaits us around the Calaveras Reservoir. But to get up there, we will tackle the challenging climb up the "hard" side of Calaveras Road -- a 2.5-mile climb that ends with a final 0.1 mile that will truly test the legs of even the strongest cyclists. (But it's also quite OK to walk that part; many of your ride leaders do just that.)

Once we reach the summit, then it's mostly downhill or flat for about 30 miles as we pass through Sunol and Niles Canyon on our way to the Dumbarton Bridge. After we cross back onto the Peninsula, we've got a little more climbing on the agenda as we'll head up to Woodside and back through Portola Valley. But after you've done Calaveras, this will seem like nothing by comparison!

This ride features a mix of quiet rural roads and busy urban streets, a little bit of everything the Bay Area has to offer and a good sample of the many types of riding you can encounter in just one day during the event in June.

Total climbing for the day is about 3,000 feet. We'll have a SAG vehicle to provide minor services.

Leaders: Chris Thomas, Judy Gerber, Ally Kemmer, David Gaus, Linda Kemmer

RSVPs are requested but not required.

Cycling in rural Santa Clara County

Here's your chance to improve the roads on which we spend so many of our weekends. This info is from a PDF that's floating around, but here's the text:

Popular Bicycle Rides on Country Roads
VTA/County Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee Workshop

The Santa Clara County Roads & Airports Department is launching a study to identify the rural and mountain roads popular with bicyclists and to develop a list of potential improvements for these roads. We invite bicyclists to attend the kick-off workshop to mark up maps showing their favorite rides and identifying areas of concerns.

7:00 PM Wednesday, March 9, 2011
VTA Auditorium
3331 North First Street, San Jose, CA

If you are unable to attend the workshop and wish to provide input, please contact Dawn Cameron at dawn.cameron@rda.sccgov.org by Wednesday, March 16, 2010.

I'm sure you can think of many roads that would fit this category. And the county has expressed their willingness to listen to us, so we should take advantage of the opportunity. I'm hoping to be there if my schedule works out.

Ride report: Distance Training #4 (2/19/2011)

Go, riders!

When our brave group of 23 riders unanimously decided to end today's ride at the 24-mile bailout point, it looks like we made the right decision. The radar image from just after the ride shows that nonstop rain was on the menu for the rest of the day -- far different from the forecasts from earlier in the day.

But we were all reminded of something important today: Yes, we can ride in the rain. Some of us might even like it, perhaps in moderation. And in this era where extreme weather of all types seems to be more likely, knowing how to ride safely in suboptimal conditions is a very useful skill. Rain during the ride in June is historically rare, but it's not unheard-of ... and given the weather extremes we've already had so far this year, it's best to be prepared for almost anything.

If you haven't done so already, clean and lubricate your bicycle. The mud, dirt, and general road debris can wreak havoc on your components. Here's a good list of 10 tips on "How to Ride in the Rain Without Ruining Your Bike."

In that list, tip #1 -- use fenders -- is one that I just started following this season, and I'm glad I did. The fender I'm using cost only about $13 (with my ALC participant discount, of course), it can be installed in about 15 seconds, it's easily removable, and it performs the vitally important function of keeping my butt somewhat dry and clean.

We didn't do any seriously technical riding on today's route. But if you do steep climbs or descents in the rain, be sure to take them very carefully ... and allow plenty of extra time for braking, just as you would in a car. And as a couple of our riders found out today, car drivers aren't always the most considerate or observant in the rain. Anticipate that drivers will do stupid things, and don't put yourself in a position where you have no escape route.

The other big factor today was the biting, finger-numbing cold, as temperatures never climbed out of the lower 40s, and there was a moderate wind out of the south for much of the morning. It's a little easier to deal with cold than it is with rain, because you can simply put on enough clothing of the proper type to deal with the cold. But if you're new to cycling (or just to cycling in the cold), the initial expense can be a little high.

My wardrobe today was a pair of lined, long-legged, heavyweight cycling shorts (bought about four years ago and used rarely); two pairs of socks; booties over my cycling shoes; a heavier-weight long-sleeve jersey; a sleeveless vest; my medium-weight (and very bright green) cycling jacket; a fleece neck warmer; water-repellent heavyweight cycling gloves; and of course my helmet cover. Averaged over many years, the cost of good cycling gear becomes less scary.

However, planning for weather during the ride in June can be more difficult than for a day like today when we knew it was going to start cold and stay that way. Morning temperatures in the 40s in June are quite common, but the difference is that the days can warm up very quickly ... to the 60s, 70s, 80s, or even 90s depending on where we are. When there's a 50-degree difference from morning to afternoon, you need to dress in layers so that you can add and remove (and perhaps even add back) clothing as the day progresses. Leg and arm warmers are essential for most riders, as is a lightweight jacket that can be rolled up and carried with you. (Remember that there's no clothing transport along the route in June -- you have to carry every item that you start the day with.)

The other factor in dealing with inclement weather is knowing when it's time for you to stop. Everyone made a good call today by stopping at the first bailout point. (If you were secretly wanting to go on, my apologies. But from the radar, it looks like things would have been quite miserable indeed.) Remember that your safety is the prime consideration, and if conditions are so bad that you're not feeling safe or healthy, then it's always the right decision to stop.

What's next? Normally after an aborted ride, I'd try to rerun it the next weekend. But many of us will be in Death Valley next Saturday to attempt the Death Valley Century (or, for some of us, the double century). There is, however, a challenging Cat-3 ride out of San Francisco on the official ALC calendar for next Saturday already. They'll be doing 74 miles to Point Reyes Station, including White's Hill and all the other interesting climbs of Marin County. Many of the same friendly faces from the Mountain View rides will be there; find out more and RSVP here.

And don't forget tomorrow's Cat-2 ride out of Sunnyvale. It's 35 miles up to Woodside and back, and the weather is looking much better than today. Faster riders are always welcome, and you'll recognize almost all of the ride leaders. Details and RSVP here.

Our next ride is in two weeks on March 5 when we'll be going on a 70-mile ride to Coyote Valley, south of San Jose. This is a change from my original schedule because I learned last weekend that Niles Canyon is going to be closed that day for rockslide removal. (This is why ride leaders check routes in advance!) The Coyote Valley ride is a perennial favorite from past seasons, and we get to experience some of the open road south of San Jose around the Calero Reservoir. Details and RSVP are here. I'm tentatively planning to use Calaveras as part of our 80-mile ride later in March, but I don't have all the details quite worked out yet; stay tuned.

Special thanks to SAG drivers Dennis and Taryl for their outstanding service in difficult conditions today. And thanks to everyone for being brave -- and wise -- and thank you for being part of AIDS/LifeCycle.

1,115 days, 40,000 miles

With my 72-mile ride to the Calaveras Reservoir on Saturday, I crossed the magical (but highly arbitrary) 40,000-mile mark for cycling since June 1, 2004, the day I bought my next-to-current bike.

Out of those 2,447 days, I rode on 1,115 (45%) of them. When I did ride, my daily average was about 35.9 miles per ride. That seems quite high, and it's because the results are skewed by five ALC rides (35 days of huge mileage). Here's a chronological chart of the distance on each ride; you can clearly see the ramping up to several ALCs, and it's fun to see how the maximum distances erupted in just the past couple of years:



Or, in a table:

Ride distanceNumber of rides
1-20334
21-40453
41-60164
61-80100
81-10038
101-12021
121-1403
141-1600
161-1801
181-2001


(And if you're wondering why I've only got three rides in the 120-140 range, it's because I was an embarrassing DNF on the second annual Altamont Pass Double Metric in 2009.)

So, no great insights from any of this. But you'd think I would have mastered proper nutrition by now, especially having heard the same (quite good) presentation about half a dozen times.

Distance Training #5: Coyote Valley (3/5/2011)


THIS IS A REVISED ANNOUNCEMENT WITH A NEW DESTINATION.
Date: Saturday, March 5
Meet time: 8:30 a.m. Note the earlier time!
Ride-out time: 9:00 a.m.
Meeting place: Three blocks west of the Mountain View Caltrain and VTA station, in the overflow parking lot at the corner of Evelyn Avenue and Franklin Street. (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Heavy rain cancels
Category: 3 - moderate-fast pace (12-15 mph)
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with some steep climbs
Miles: 70

Description:
This ride gives you a vigorous workout with lots of gentle hills and just a couple moderate climbs to keep you on your toes. We begin with the scenic ride through Stevens Canyon and up and over Mount Eden into Saratoga and Los Gatos. After that, we'll travel around the south end of San Jose and gradually climb our way to the Calero Reservoir. Then we'll drop down into the north end of Coyote Valley and head back into San Jose for our lunch stop and our return through Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Cupertino.

Total climbing for this ride is about 2,700 feet, but most of it is gradual. Headwinds are possible on the return from San Jose.

Caltrain riders, please note: Sorry, but our start times are now too early to make the first train of the day. We still like you, and we hope you can make other arrangements to join us!

Note: The route for this ride is different from what I first announced earlier this year. Caltrans is closing Niles Canyon on March 5 for rockslide removal, so I had to shuffle our calendar. I'm looking at other possible dates for us to ride Calaveras.

Leaders: Chris Thomas, Ally Kemmer, Kathy Sherman, Thomas Fortin, Bob Katz, Amir Barzin, Linda Kemmer, Paul Vargas, David Gaus, Randy Files

RSVPs are requested but not required.

Hwy. 84 closure to affect Ride #5

Caltrans reports:
State Route 84 in Niles Canyon, from Old Canyon Road in Fremont to Palomares Road, will be closed for rock slide removal on Saturday, March 5, from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Because we were planning to ride down Niles Canyon from Calaveras that day, I'll have to revise our plans for Distance Training ride #5. Watch for a revised announcement when I figure out what we're going to do.

If you thought Saturday was hilly

Here's a route sheet from deep in my archives: the 2006 Le Tour de Menlo Half-Century. This was without a doubt the most challenging and painful half-century I've ever done, and if you're an advanced cyclist looking for a different local challenge on the Peninsula, this is the one for you. I've not felt the need to repeat this route in the past five years, although some of the pieces will be familiar to Peninsula ALCers.

This route has three very steep climbs that put Westridge to shame, not to mention countless other moderate climbs. In fact, I even had trouble keeping my balance on one of them! It's about 5,000 feet of climbing, so it's roughly like doing the second half of last weekend's ride twice in a row, but even steeper.

Again, this is for advanced cyclists only. If you don't know what you're doing on steep climbs or descents, this route can be dangerous, so be responsible. And because of the Crystal Springs dam closure, you'll need to improvise around the closure -- just go up Bunker Hill (ouch!) and then back down, or skip it entirely.

Here's the link to the route sheet (PDF).

See ... our rides are easy by comparison!

P.S.: For laughs, here's a ride report from that day by another rider, where my third-from-last time on the hill climbs is preserved for all to see for eternity.

Ride report: Distance Training #3 (2/5/2011)

Go, riders!

If this were June, we'd all be amazed that weather for our ride could be so wonderful. But here in February, today's official high of 76 degrees in Mountain View under sunny skies was nothing short of incredible. That brought out the riders, and today's group of 53 riders plus two awesome SAG drivers was by far the largest ALC training ride ever held in Mountain View ... breaking the record set just one week ago!

Perhaps the outstanding weather gave you something to admire while you were chugging up hill after hill after hill after hill after freakin' hill. I said to expect a hilly second half to this ride, and you quickly found out that I wasn't kidding. Westridge is about as tough a hill as I ever put on a training ride (well, almost), and a question that you might be asking is how Westridge compares to Quadbuster, the most notorious hill on AIDS/LifeCycle.

I looked up both climbs on the Strava online ride tracker, and I overlaid the two elevation charts on top of each other, adjusting for the difference in elevation. Purple is Westridge, and green is Quadbuster:



So, Quadbuster is certainly much longer than Westridge (indeed, about twice as long), but it's not as steep. If you didn't figure it out today, the key to happiness on such climbs is to pace yourself and take as many breaks as you feel necessary to keep your body happy ... and don't be afraid to walk (aka "cross-train") part or all of the hill. And if you had trouble with Westridge today, don't worry! It's only February, and the ride is still months away. In fact, use Westridge as a yardstick -- come back later in the season and visit it again on your own. (No more Westridge on this season's training rides from me ... I promise!) There's a lot of value in discovering your limits early in the season so that you'll have something to compare it to in the future.

Of course, Westridge wasn't the only hill in the second half of the ride. They just kept coming and coming! Is there really that much climbing on ALC in June? The answer is no ... not usually. However, the beginning of Day 1 does have this much climbing packed into such a short distance, although most of it isn't as steep as Westridge.

Using the traditional Day 1 route from recent years and allowing for the Crystal Springs dam closure, you're looking at about 2,580 feet of climbing in 23 miles starting at the intersection of John Muir Drive and Skyline Blvd. in San Francisco. By comparison, today we had about 2,100 feet in the last 24 miles of the ride.

On Day 1, however, your adrenaline likely will be in full force, and chances are that you'll find the climbing not nearly as difficult as today's. (You'll also be at the end of your training season.) You'll also be around 2,500 other riders all doing the same thing. And that's a huge psychological edge that you shouldn't dismiss.

When I did Westridge today, it was with many of you. When I did it a few weeks ago on my test ride, I was solo. Today's climb up Westridge felt a whole lot easier for me, even though the numbers say I did only about as well as I did when I was solo. But my mood at the top of the hill was much better. Don't discount the energy that you can receive (and reflect back) from the rest of the group -- it's a powerful force that can help you get to Los Angeles.

The climb up Westridge also came at about the two-hour mark in today's ride for many of us. Two hours also just happens to be the point at which most cyclists' bodies stop being able to run entirely on stored energy. On rides as long as the ones we're now doing, you need to regularly replenish fluids and electrolytes, and you need to take in a steady but manageable stream of calories.

Depending on your body size, a typical day on the ride might require anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 calories or more above your normal daily intake. And this can't be only junk food or pastries from the bakery case at Starbucks (but oooh, they're so good). When your body runs out of energy, you'll start to bonk, and the symptoms can be anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to quite serious and life-threatening. This is the time to be figuring out your body's needs (everyone is different) and learning what foods and liquids work best for you.

ALC is hosting a free workshop on "Nutrition for Endurance Cycling" at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17, at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's new offices on Market Street. At this workshop, you can learn a lot about what your particular body needs; it's part of the same training that many of our ride leaders get. Find out more and RSVP here.

As I mentioned during our orientation this morning, freeway cycling is a necessary part of getting to Los Angeles. Depending on the route from year to year, about 8% of the distance is on freeways or almost-freeways. Our rides in Mountain View this season won't be going on any actual freeways (in the past, we've gone onto I-280 for short stretches, but the Crystal Springs dam closure has changed some of our training routes), but we will be going back to Central Expressway a few times between now and the end of the season.

Although Central Expressway isn't legally a freeway, the part through Sunnyvale (from Mary Avenue to Lawrence Expressway) is very freeway-esque, complete with off-ramps and on-ramps, and rather high-speed traffic that often exceeds the posted 50 mph speed limit. We've decided this season that the ALC freeway cycling rules will apply on the freeway-esque part of Central Expressway. One of these rules that I mentioned this morning is that cyclists never can cross the white shoulder line to enter a traffic lane to pass other cyclists.

Unfortunately, some of our ride leaders saw this happen a few times this morning. That's bad for several reasons, not the least of which is that mingling with high-speed traffic can be deadly. Even when it seems like there's no traffic nearby, we still don't ever do it. Entering a traffic lane on a freeway is one of the few things that can get you kicked off the ride in June; the rules are so strict because the stakes are so high. Please get in the habit now of being patient on freeways. And if you're a slower rider who's delaying five or more riders on a freeway, it's your obligation to pull over safely at the first safe opportunity so that other riders can pass.

Another obligation of slower riders comes on descents. I'm usually one of those riders; I tend to take descents a lot more slowly than many other riders. I know that some of you live for adrenaline-boosting descents, and there certainly will be plenty of those on the ride in June, including the amazing 9-mile descent from the top of the Evil Twins on Day 4. But if you'd rather take your time like me and savor the descent, you need to stay as far to the right as safely possible so that faster riders can quickly pass you without any doubt as to where you're heading. Again, these situations can be very dangerous when riders (either slower or faster ones) do unexpected things, so ride as predictably as possible.

Also, please don't ride side-by-side except to pass other riders. Even though two-abreast riding on shoulders and in bike lanes is legal in California, it's against ALC rules. We need this rule because of our large group and the need for cyclists to be able to safely pass others without entering traffic. It's a good habit to get into now. (And yes, a few ride leaders were spotted riding two abreast today. The floggings have commenced.)

At the end of the ride today, all 53 riders were accounted for ... which made my afternoon and evening significantly less stressful, so I thank all of you for either signing out or communicating with our ride leaders or SAG drivers.

And I do owe a bit of an apology for the conditions at Rest Stop 1 in Palo Alto today. When I planned these routes a few months ago, I didn't expect to have anywhere near as many riders as we have, and we simply overwhelmed the place today -- especially the restroom. I'll be doing my best to plan rest stops that have better toilet facilities; for instance, the lunch stop on our next ride is in a shopping center with Subway and Starbucks next door to each other, so you'll have a choice ... and more than one restroom.

What about that next ride? Remember, it's in two weeks, as we go back to our every-other-week schedule for the rest of the season. And now that we're all warmed up, the distances start to go up significantly from here; we'll be adding about 10 miles on each ride from here on out. That means our next ride, on February 19, will be about 60 miles, and we'll head up the Peninsula to near the now-demolished Crystal Springs Dam. There's actually a little more climbing than there was today, but it's spread out over the entire day, so it should be much more manageable ... well, except for that one little hill I've got planned. We'll be climbing Alameda de las Pulgas southbound from Hillsdale in San Mateo, which is another 0.7 mile steep climb -- but on average, it's "only" about as steep as Quadbuster. Other than that, it'll be a somewhat mellower ride than we had today. Find out more and RSVP here.

On our "off" weeks, be sure to get out there and ride at least one significant ride. You can do this on your own or as part of any of the various ALC training rides that are offered around the Bay Area. Check the official ALC calendar to find rides in your area. There's considerable benefit in riding in new and unfamiliar territory and with different groups of riders. Our Distance Training rides will get you ready to ride 200 kilometers on May 14, but that's not enough by itself to get you ready to ride to Los Angeles.

Congratulations and thank you for coming to today's ride, and thank you for being part of AIDS/LifeCycle.