Friday, March 30, 2012

Best ... Morning ... Ever!!!

I woke up extra early to ride with the 'Muy Buenos Dias' crowd, 5.30am at the church on Bolinas at Shady Lane.  The season is changing as it was 58 degrees at 5.30am this morning.  No booties, no beanie, no waffle shirt - just bibs, short sleeve T-shirt and a long sleeve layer.  We weren't setting any record pace this morning.  Just a leisurely spin and the typical stop a Poggio.

Drinks outside on Bridgeway, Sausalito, 6.30am
Since I don't drink coffee (I know, breaking 'The Rules'), I usually just chat through the pit stop and enjoy the company.  This morning, I was pressured to order something, so I went with the hot chocolate.  Little did I know that a hot chocolate from Poggio is basically twenty Hershey's kisses melted into a coffee cup.  Decadence in a mug.

After a 40 minute chill-out-session at Poggio, we jumped back on the bikes and headed towards the Alexander climb.  Feeling a little light on my bike (rare for this fat guy), I realized that I left my backpack at Poggio.  I broke from the pack, doubled back a half mile and grabbed my bag.  Given the typical slow pace of the MBD crowd, I was intent on catching up to them before the GGB parking lot.  I hammered the Bridgeway flats and powered up Alexander in my big ring.  I could not have been more pleased as I passed a guy in head-to-toe StudioVelo gear on the Alexander climb.  It is a rare occasion for me to pass anyone on any climb.  But a double treat to blow the doors off of a SV rider on a $6,000 Pinarello.  Hell yeah!!

The MBD crowd was waiting for me at the GGB parking lot.  We stopped for a minute and regrouped, then went back at it.  To my pleasant surprise, the StudioVelo guy had snuck passed us while we re-grouped in the parking lot.  Of course, this immediately put a target on his back, and I hammered to pass him again on the incline from the parking lot to the North Tower of the Bridge.  All four of us caught him before the Tower.  Double StudioVelo ownage!!!  Today is going to be a good day. 

In closing, still adjusting to the daylight savings time, we were treated to the first Golden Gate Bridge sunrise in recent memory.  Warm and now light?!?  This is the life.

Sunrise as we ride over the GGB.  Not a bad way to start the day.
Not bad for pre-7am.  This morning was so great, I think I will ride home.  Who's joining me?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Rules are clear ... I am a Bad Ass!

After yesterday's poor performance, I committed to riding today "Come Hell or High Water".  Well ... I got the later of the two.  Marin got 1/4 inch of rain from midnight last night until 8am this morning.  It seems that every drop of that 1/4 inch fell on me. 

The title of this post refers to a very funny bike blog called 'Velominati',  The site is a collection of funny thoughts by some super hardcore bikers.  As with any elitist sport, a set of unspoken etiquette develops which, to outsiders, can come across as snobbery ('don't talk during my back stroke',  'don't step in the putting line between the ball and the hole', blah, blah, blah).  The Velominati have memorialized biking etiquette into 'The Rules'.  I hope that the 'The Rules' are intended to be tongue-in-cheek.  Otherwise, I am in big trouble.  I probably broke a dozen or more of 'The Rules' on this mornings ride alone.  I will, however, benefit today from Rule #9. 

Rule #9 - If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weather Delays

After a Friday through Sunday vacation with no riding, my legs felt great on the commute to work yesterday.  I pushed pretty hard for a sub-1.20 ride and did the Ferry-thing on the way home.  Last night, with rain predicted for the rest of the week, I committed to ride in the morning regardless.  I slept in, no alarm, and woke ready to go at 6.40am (way late for me).  Looking out the window, it was bombing rain with no end in sight.  I pussed out and opted for a long hot shower and the 7.50am Ferry.  As an extra treat, I even got a hug from Max before I left the house at 7.30am.  The drive to the Ferry, which usually takes 9 minutes, was backed-up with traffic and took 26 minutes and I missed the 7.50am boat.  Rather than struggle through another hour of traffic in the car and pay $30 to park on San Francisco, I decided to park and read in the Ferry parking lot.  The 8.20am Larkspur Ferry arrived at the SF Ferry Terminal at 8.55am and I was at my desk at 9.05am.  Adding insult to injury, the rain had completely stopped by the time I landed in SF.  Doing the math, I could have left home at 6.45am on the bike, arrived at the office at 8.15am (at the latest), showered and shaved and been at my desk by 8.45am - still earlier than the boat got me to work.  Lesson learned - RIDE!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Change of Pace

Coit Tower, Downtown SF, The Pyramid.  Shot from Aquatic Park Pier.
We stopped this morning on the sea break pier that protects Aquatic Park.  While I ride by this pier every day, I rarely notice it as I pass.  It dawned on me that I had not been on this stretch since the ING Corporate Challenge run in 1998.  I remember that particular run for specific two reasons.  First, that was probably the last time that I ran 10K.  In fact, I probably haven't run 10K cumulatively since then.  Secondly, months after the race, I received a plaque in the mail.  It seems that I came in second place in my age group in the Clydesdale division.  Not knowing what the Clydesdale division was, I looked it up and learned that it was the 200 pound plus club.  So, great, I was the second fastest fat guy in the under 25 category.  I guess my other running mates were either older or much skinnier.  Talk about a back-handed compliment.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sometimes the birds that sleep-in get fed, too

San Francisco, Facing south from Bridgeway in Sausalito
I just felt like getting a few more minutes of sleep this morning.  I had my alarm off and woke up when the fates determined it was time ... 6.02am to be exact ... about 50 minutes later than normal.  I was rewarded with a warmer, brighter and absolutely windless ride.  Being solo this morning, I even got to listen to a few tunes on my headphones.  I stopped in Sausalito to take the attached photo of the City.  This, my friends, is an absolutely still, glassy Bay.  Not something that I have seen in the last few weeks.

Sunday Spin - Paradise Loop

GGB, facing west from Tiburon Boulevard
Gotta take advantage of the in-laws being in town and Amy having help with the kids.  No reason to sleep in.  Sunday, 7.30am departure from Agatha Court for the Paradise Loop.  I threw in a southbound trip over Camino Alto (finally got below 6 minutes on Strava - 5 minutes 50 seconds), then back north over Horse Hill before heading onto Paradise Drive.  I am not sure of the physics, but no matter which direction I was heading, the headwind was brutal the entire way.  I hammered out the flats just to keep the bike upright, while people flew past me in the other direction with 25+ MPH tailwinds.  Nuts.  The payoff was arriving home at 9.45am, opening the front door and (besides having my kids jump up to greet me) the smell of bacon coming off the George Foreman Grill.  Pretty much the best way to start any day.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The lights are on, but nobody's home ...

Actually, it was the opposite this morning.  Alarm was set for 5.19am and I woke up bright-eyed at 5.18am.  I immediately realized, however, that I had forgotten to plug-in/charge my head lamp the night before.  That meant that I would ride for an hour and a half in the pitch black.  Bummer.  Abort?  Never.  Luckily, I was able to ride next to Johnny most of the way.  The ride down Camino Alto is normally sketchy.  Add darkness, wet roads and keeping a proximity (but not too close) to my lighted partner and it made for a super slow decent.  The sunrise made the ride more comfortable by about 6.45am.  Now if we could just do something about the 41 degrees.  Sheesh.