Upcoming rides I'm leading:
Nothing on the schedule.

Show blog entries about: Upcoming rides | Ride reports | My own training

Ride report: Cat-3 Distance Training #2

Go, riders!

What an intrepid group you are. Despite an uncertain weather forecast, 31 riders showed up this morning for our 45-mile ride into the Peninsula hills and the Pulgas Water Temple (pictured at right), marking the western end of the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct. We braved light mist, a few sprinkles, a few minutes of almost-rain, and (depending on your pace) even a few minutes of sunshine. And by my late count, we also braved at least 11 flat tires during the course of the day!

As miserable as today's conditions were at times, this ride was actually good practice for ALC. Many years, the beginning of Day 1 is almost exactly like what we encountered today. The ride from Daly City up to Skyline Blvd. is often chilly and misty, and there's often a light drizzle as we head down the Peninsula. (We'll be riding this part of the Day 1 route later on this season as part of Ride 7 in our set of 10 rides.) Today's conditions certainly weren't my favorite conditions for riding, but it's important to get experience with this type of riding because, sooner or later, on ALC or somewhere else, it'll happen again. (And just think of our ALCers in less temperate climates who deal with snow at this time of year!)

Although we had 31 riders start today's ride, we had two DNFs (cyclingspeak for "did not finish"). Ride leader Ken had two of the forementioned flats in just the first two miles, so he returned to the start and very graciously became a SAG (cyclingspeak for "support and gear") driver for the rest of the day. That became very important when one of our riders fell while cycling on CaƱada Road. Fortunately, the rider only had a few scrapes (and a mangled leg warmer), but his bicycle didn't fare quite so well, and he wasn't able to keep riding. Ken brought him back to Mountain View, so we were very fortunate to have Ken's services today. On my longer rides, I will have at least one SAG driver for just such eventualities, and I'm trying to get some drivers for our upcoming "shorter" rides (i.e., less than 100 miles) as well.

After riding in today's conditions, your bike was probably as dirty as mine. If you haven't done so already, take some time to thoroughly clean your bike, including the chain and gears. Water often is acceptable (but not in a high-pressure car wash!), and bike shops sell various types of cleaners that often work well on your bike's components. I use a "citrus-based" cleaner that wipes things down rather easily and also serves as a good chain cleaner.

A few notes from the road:

Today's route traveled roads that are popular with many of the area's high-end cycling and racing teams, and we saw several of those groups today. I'm sure you noticed that they usually don't ride according to the same rules that we do! While many team riders are generally law-abiding, some are not, giving cyclists in general a poor reputation in communities such as Woodside. (We could go on for hours about the pros and cons of large racing teams on rural Bay Area roads, but I digress.) For us, the best strategy usually is to give the team riders a wide berth (they'll usually be passing you, instead of the other way around) and allow yourself plenty of leeway in case one of them does something unexpected -- like nearly crossing the center line, as one of our riders saw happen today.

One thing that disappointed me a bit today was that I didn't hear "CAR BACK!" as much as I would like. In general, you should call this out whenever a vehicle is approaching from behind and you're not riding in a bike lane or on a wide shoulder. Even on city streets with a 25 mph speed limit, "CAR BACK!" is important so that we can co-exist with the other users of the road. If you hear "CAR BACK!" behind you, you should call it forward, all the way to the front of the line. Sometimes you should wait a second or two before calling it forward, depending on how fast the vehicle is moving. Otherwise, the person at the front hears "CAR BACK!" so early that there's a long time before the vehicle actually reaches them, and they don't know when the "CAR" is really "BACK!". And if you didn't figure it out, I put "CAR BACK!" in all caps because you really should use your "outside voice" on this and all other verbal alerts to other riders.

And for those who are wondering about the amount of climbing in today's ride, most of the remaining Cat-3 Distance Training rides don't get much more hilly than this, at least in terms of feet per mile over the entire day. Sure, we'll have some bigger hills -- and Ride 6 to the coast is a very hilly ride -- but all you'll need to do for most of the rides is be able to sustain today's pace over a longer distance.

That leads us gracefully into our next ride. On Saturday, February 7, we'll do a 50-mile ride that will take us to the very same grocery store in Woodside that we went to today. But we'll take a roundabout route: We'll start by going to Santa Clara and then back up the Peninsula through downtown Palo Alto. The first half of the ride will be nearly flat, but all of our climbing (almost as much climbing as we did all day today) will be packed into the second half of the ride. This will be an interesting exercise in learning to pace yourself and, for many of us, forcing yourself to ride at something less than 100% intensity for the first half of the ride so that you have the energy to ride the hills of the second half -- another skill that you'll find very handy to have in June. Details and RSVP are here.

Don't forget to do other training rides in addition to the Cat-3 Distance Training rides. It's time to get in the habit of riding on at least two consecutive days. Depending on where you live, consider the Sunday Cat-2 rides in San Francisco, the East Bay, or Sunnyvale. Cat-3 and stronger riders are always welcome!

Thank you for being part of AIDS/LifeCycle.

1 comment:

osg said...

Thanks, Chris! The temple was the highlight and I felt like I was on vacation for a few moments. :)