Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still on the steep part of the learning curve

and that's good.

Shortly after the MDR I went on an SF2G Skyline ride, and the pace was certainly difficult, and I handled it fairly well. The next week we went out and did an attack on a set of Strava sprint segments on the Bayway, despite a headwind we almost took a couple, and I was able to contribute.

More measureable is this segment.

Jefferson via Highland

Right after the MDR I chopped off 40 seconds. I took another 11 off today and thought during the climb that I "didn't feel too fast today". Might have taken off 11 seconds just due to better pacing. Who knows. All these climbs done with a messenger back but no bike lock.

Sooner or later I might actually ride up to Skyline. For now, I settled on a shortish climb last weekend where we went 2.5 miles up Pine Flat, with me towing an extra 30-40 lbs.

And to think I hated stopping to change a flat tire in the mi... on Twitpic

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

MDR report

I was picked up at 6 AM in SF by my friend Troy to go to the start in San Jose - aside from the fact the only feasible Caltrain to the start was at 4:50 AM or something, I was toting luggage along, so we carpooled. At 7:15 AM, I ran smack dab into a truism - the only sure way to make sure you remember all your key on-bike gear is to ride your bike out the door. I had forgotten my shoes in San Francisco.

After a quick call to my wife to verify they weren't buried in a bag somewhere, I started to think about my options. The obvious answer was "buy a new pair of shoes". Someone said something about a Performance bike nearby that opened at 9 AM - of course the ride started at 8 AM so there would be the little issue of how to get from San Jose to anywhere near my riding companions. I remembered the last time I had forgotten my shoes, a similar situation where I was in the South Bay, and my shoes were back home in SF. I ended up buying a new pair of shoes, using that opportunity to upgrade from SPD to Shimano's new road pedals.

This reminisence triggered a thought in my brain - the old pair of shoes was currently sitting in a box in my office in Santa Clara, 6 miles away. I had brought them down to use for a couple of spin classes and never brought them home! We threw my bike/helmet/etc.. in Troy's car, my bag in the SAG van, and I headed off to work, giving Troy the instructions that he should try to scrape me up some SPD pedals. When I got to work, I called him and he said "no dice, they all have Time pedals on their MTB's". I said "What about road cleats, does anyone have a spare set?", and got back in the car. Just before I got back, the phone started buzzing, I pulled over and Troy said "We have cleats, on a pair of shoes leaning on the garage. Do you have an allen wrench?" I said "see you on the road".

I got to the start at 8:05, just in time to catch the last SAG van. I told the driver to put my bike on the car, and grabbed the shoes. My old shoes were ancient, the kind with a faceplate required. While the faceplate holes matched the cleat holes, they were too recessed for the cleat screws to thread into! I took a quick look at the faceplate screws - they were just a bit longer. I MacGyver'ed them in, and was good to go! 10 miles in the SAG driver pulled over, dropped me off, and I managed to get back into the peloton, with the audible of the year.

The first day - San Jose to King City - went good, but the wheels sort of fell off towards the end, not enough long rides. Amusingly, I did end up with a Strava KOM on the Bitterwater Climb, only because the very strong rider with Strava on the trip - Dave Rossow - sat up on that climb. He pretty much took every Strava KOM segment defined on the entire route except for Cinabar Hill outside San Jose, a segment which he didn't know about and which gets a lot of Bay Area action. There are some very obscure segments out there and I figured I'd end up owning a few of them unless we had a monster, Dave has a 19:03 on OLH from the bridge to the stop sign so he was the man.

The second day - King City to SLO - was rough. I was pumped up for the "Quadbuster" segment, a climb I know well out of King City, but my legs were dead from the day before. Luckily I did manage to get in front of the tandem before the top and draft them to Lockwood, allowing my legs to warm up. The segments near Lake San Antonio and Chimney Rock road beat me up pretty badly, and I chose to skip Old Creek Road, getting in the van with my buddy TJ. In doing so I missed some pretty sweet riding, but my legs appreciated it.

The third day we did a loop out of SLO including the climb up Prefumo Canyon. Great climb. Very scenic, you can see Morro Rock from the top as if it isn't really 20+ miles away. There is a 1 mile or so rideable dirt section at the top, then a nice descent down to Avila Beach where we had lunch. My legs opened up on the climb a bit and I felt ok.

The fourth day - SLO to Santa Barbara - I actually felt pretty good. I had a decent run up Harris Grade, and felt pretty solid on the long long slog from Lompoc to Gaviota. Overall, it was a very good trip.