A summer of hard bicycle training finally paid off! I had done several metric century (65 mile) rides over the past decade, but both of my previous full century attempts had been thwarted. Two years ago, I overtrained and developed a tendon problem behind the knee that could have resulted in serious/permanent damage if I had pressed on. Then the next year, an illness in the family resulted in a logistical problem that forced me to do yet another metric.
This year, I wasn’t going to be stopped. Started serious training in the spring, ramping up slowly from 25 miles to 40, then 65, then a couple of 75 mile days toward the end of summer. Also focused on elevation, tackling both Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo in August and September.
Started to learn more about the importance of sodium and electrolyte replacement too, trying half of the ride supplement packets on the market. And I introduced a weekly time trial into the mix, doing exactly the same 8-mile, 1000-ft sprint after work twice a week.
Decided to take a mountain bike out to one of my favorite hiking trails in the Marin Headlands yesterday – the Coastal Trail from Alexander Drive down to the Headlands Center for the Arts. Recorded the trip with a helmet-mount GoPro and edited it down to 9 minutes (probably still too long, but I didn’t have time to make it shorter. Hopefully catches a bit of the feeling of being out there on a perfect November afternoon.
I’ve seen some of these done by hiking geocachers, but this is the first I’ve encountered at this scale (done by a cyclist, not a geocacher): Completely astonishing – from Cycling Weekly:
Salisbury rider David Taylor has created a stunning piece of Strava Artwork – a massive bicycle mapped out around the New Forest, Bournemouth and surrounding area. Taylor carefully plotted out a route in the shape of the bike and then undertook the mammoth 212-mile (341 kilometre) ride on September 20 that also took in 7,201 feet (2,195 metres) of climbing.
On that note, I’m a big user of MapMyRide, but am curious – do you prefer MMR or Strava? What are their comparative advantages? Likes/dislikes? I hear Strava is more conservative with battery usage, but that may just be anecdotal.
Just back from Tour de Fat 2014 @ Golden Gate Park, SF.
New Belgium (who make Fat Tire Ale) is an eco-friendly brewery that gets all their power from the wind, and who issue free commuting bicycles to all of their employees.
And they’re famous for throwing these huge annual bicycle parties all over the country. Starting with an anything-goes bike parade, followed by a full day of great food, music, stage performances, and bike stuff.
Hand-painted tent wall.
Me gazing out on the festivities through a steampunk periscope.
New favorite mountain bike trek in the east bay – our usual 4-mile section from Inspiration Point to the old concrete overlooks, then beyond on dirt along “Old Nimitz Way.” Bumping on down the Belgum Trail till my wrists ached all the way down to Wildcat. Heading back, branch off on Conlon for the insane diagonal back up from 400 to 1100 feet (I admit to walking the bike through part of that one). I’m spent! And blissed.
Not the main road you’re used to, but the old / abandoned one that runs down near the water. Not exactly easy to access, but blissful once you do. Combination paved/unpaved (you’ll want a mountain bike), and extends the entire length of San Pablo Dam, around 4 miles each way.
Doing a father/son ride with Miles on his 11th birthday.
A while ago, Miles and I discovered that the fire road leading from Little Farm in the Berkeley Hills led all the way to Alvarado Park (a wonderful old WPA park) in Richmond, near his school – around seven miles through winding, rolling hills. After working out a detour for the section that doesn’t allow bikes, invited a bunch of parents and their kids to gather for a multi-family ride, which happened yesterday in absolutely gorgeous post-Thanskgiving weather.
Generally downhill on the way there, generally uphill on the way back, kids only had to get off and push a couple of times – was so proud of them for having the gumption to go for it and complete the 14-mile RT. Wildcat Canyon Trail still a bit muddy from recent rains, but getting mud stripes up our backs just added to the fun. Such a fantastic way to start the day, and way more fun than fighting crowds in the Black Friday scene.
None of my photos came out that great, but did manage to capture a usable GPS track. Here’s the live version.
Note left on my bike by an anonymous admirer (OK, “Nick”) this evening. Apparently Facebook idioms have suffused our lives so thoroughly that we now need to get creative with post-its when Real Life is absent a “Like” button.
My introduction to distance biking happened Sunday on the 31st annual Chico Wildflower Ride, though I actually did the 65-mile “Mildflower” loop rather than the full 100-mile Wildflower. But given that my previous longest ride had been 40 miles around Wildcat Canyon, it was vigorous enough for starters (though not as intense as I had imagined it would be). I had blown it up in my head, thinking it would be one of the most physically challenging experiences of my life – but once you get into a rhythm, the miles fly by quickly.