Monday, April 11, 2022

Primavera Century 100K 2022

Holy smokes. I rode my first 100K in quite a while. I haven't been riding enough. Between teaching, visiting New York and just being busy with moving, my time on the bike hasn't been what it's been in the past. If nothing else, I'm missing my daily bike commute to work. All this means my simple 100 K ride was completely and totally exhausting. It took a lot out of me. I feel a little silly about that but at least I got it done.

Tricia and I had signed up for the Primavera Century two years ago. But each year it was postponed  due to COVID-19. Now that they finally held it they used our old registration payment so we could ride. Alas, Tricia is in New York while I'm in California. Instead of letting it go to waste, we gave it to our good friend Dan, a.k.a. Lanceoldstrong. He and I wrote it together, me riding as hard as I could and him riding at a very social chatting pace.

I was surprised that they had changed the route this year. We rode out toward Calaveras road from Fremont just as we had in the past, but rather than heading up the access road along 580 and climbing the relentless Palomaras Road to the terrifying no-room-for-bikes Niles Canyon to finish, we instead rode the route as an out-and-back. I'm not normally a fan of out-and-back back rides but getting to ride along Calaveras Road twice made it OK. Although Calaveras Road is weird. It seems like it's uphill both directions. If it wasn't so beautiful it would be downright annoying.

We had great weather, and as always, the support was perfect. But holy smokes was I hurting by the time we got done.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Trek 520 Grando

I installed two panniers on the bike with a temporary rear rack  just to see how it looked. Yes, the bars are rotated up too much. I'll fix that. And add water bottles.

Tricia and I have two self supported rides planned this summer. We've done a couple of rides with just panniers, but not carried food and such. This time we're going full tilt and wanted front panniers as well. 

 I took my gravel-esque titanium bike into a shop near where we recently moved to see about a front rack. (Shout out to Trek Bicycle Geneva NY) and was told "Nope. you don't want to put a front rack on a carbon fork." 

 I lamented that I'd feared that, and told them I'd done research and had thought I'd like to buy a Trek 520 if I could find one, but in these pandemic times I've read tales of people looking for months and then driving states away to get one. I figured I had no chance and that I'd better start working on a "Plan B. "

 They told me I looked like a 54cm size guy and that they had a 520 Grando that would fit me that arrived two hours before I got there. TWO HOURS! 

 So, BOOM, I bought the bike. Right then. 

 I know it's not the usual for touring, but I love brake shifters, which this bike comes with, so I'm thrilled already. Plus, check that crankset. 42-28. An actual useful double! I may see if I can stretch to a 40 tooth max cog in back to replace the 36 it shipped with. I hear it MAY work. It doesn't ship with a rear rack so I ordered a Tubus Logo Evo. I've already swapped the pedals. 

 The rest of my tale is that I got the bike in the Finger Lakes region of NY and promptly flew back to California where I have to finish teaching this semester before permanently moving to Watkins Glen. So I have a new home, and a new bike I can't ride because it's at the new home. It's just sitting there waiting for me until June. 

 But when I do arrive home Tricia and I have planned several rides: The Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany, the C&O and GAP from DC to Pittsburgh and a week in Cape Cod. Can you tell I'll be fully retired in June?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Bonus non-cycling East Coast cold photo

After a lovely dinner at The Graft Wine and Cider Bar in Watkins Glen we strolled down to the Seneca Lake harbor on our walk back to new home. It was a bit chilly for this newly-arrived Californian, but not too cold to appreciate the beauty and wonder of my new village on the Finger Lakes of New York. It's been in the 20s and I'm too wimpy to ride for fun in this weather. I've been Zwifting in the unheated garage, which is hard enough.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Spring in February on Diablo

Tricia and I are getting as much cycling in as we can before she heads back to New York State. It's been stunning here this February, so we got a short ride in on our favorite mountain, Mt. Diablo, complete with flowers

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Mr. Steve’s Mystery Route to Danville

Tricia rides through the mystery tunnel under Ygnaico Valley Road.
I'm enjoying getting to ride with Tricia, who's back in sunny California for a month before returning to our new home in Watkins Glen, New York.
Today we rode "Mr. Steve’s Mystery Route to Danville," a route through the rich folk neighborhoods in Walnut Creek, Alamo and Danville ending up at Peets Coffee. I'd have never found it again without loading our previous ride into the Garmin. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Once around Diablo


I'm back in California under beautiful skies while my family is in 11 degree weather and snow in New York's Finger Lakes area. I should feel guilty, but, well...

I got in a classic Northern California ride with my friends Dan and Steve on Sunday — one lap around Mt Diablo via Morgan Territory. Even at a social party pace it's an effort, but it sure was fun.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Back in California for a while


No, this isn't California. It's from my last ride in New York before I came back.

I'd committed to teaching in the spring semester before we bought a house in Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes. So I'm staying here. I'll enjoy the warmer weather. It was 11˚ in NY and 50˚ here today. But I'm sure looking forward to starting my new life once the semester ends.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Adjusting to colder temps in the Finger Lakes

As I contemplated the new dusting of snow outside thinking how cold it is I saw a young lad cycle past my house. Apparently I am not a "hard man" at all. 

But there's Zwift! Lance OldStrong, master of route finding in the real world as well, organized a meetup in Zwift France with friend Monroadie and myself. That's me closest to the camera, looking in Zwift pretty much exactly as cool I must in real life, though I wear a helmet in the non-virtual world. That's Lance Oldstrong with the cool hat, and MonRoadie looking as calm as he really does. 

Bonus photos:
It really is somewhat cold. The nearby waterfall is growing icicles. 

We walked downtown to watch the 49er game (it wasn't on any TV I could get) and it started to snow. Even I had to admit it was wonderful.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Rural NY is different than suburban California

From my front sidewalk I can see seven American flags flying on neighboring houses, so I know I'm I'm still in the USA, but it's a different USA.

If nothing else, the weather is drastically different. Yesterday the skies were blue and the temps hit 50. I took advantage and rode the half mile to the check out the harbor on Seneca Lake before my longer ride up a local trail . Yet today it's supposed to lightly snow and rain. Photos on this date from last year show a winter wonderland. 

The Catherine Valley trail, which starts just a few hundred feet from my house is a delight. It runs through the forest on an abandoned rail line. But it has a few features different from any other trail I've been on. 
On my ride I met the landowner, Kirk, and his friend who were taking a break on a trail bench while out hunting. The trail runs through his property. He was kind enough to chat with with me and explain muzzle loading season. If I'd have come across guys with guns on my California trail I'd have been concerned. Here it was a opportunity to learn a bit more about my new home.
It's an adventure for me. But so far everyone I've net has been, from the postal delivery person to the hardware store folks, from the neighbors to the winery folks (this is a wine growing region!) , have been a pleasure to chat with, and have been generous in sharing their stories and their tips for the new guy.

Here's a non-cycling bonus photo of us wine tasting at Atwater Winery.

And another non-cycling photo, just because:

Monday, December 06, 2021

First ride from Watkins Glen house

Watkins Glen in New York is cold. Not cold enough to impress folks used to cold, but cold enough for this Californian. I haven't been warm since I got here. I did try a short ride, wearing fleece tights, several layers under my jacket, glove liners and gloves along with an under helmet hat. Not enough... And this is all before the clouds took the sun.
Today it's raining. It's supposed to snow later in the week. 
I bought a smart trainer, but the tools I need to get it up and running are in California staying warm. 
Oh well. So it goes.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Lance Oldstrong's tour of Concord and Clayton

After a great summer of cycling I missed several weeks getting ready to move. At last I'm back on the bike. To celebrate my friend Dan (AKA Lance Oldstrong) took me on one of his interesting routes. san's famous for finding hidden trails and surprise cut-throughs.

Today I saw parts of Concord and Clayton I didn't know existed, including a pioneer cemetery, hidden historic path, an 1800-era winery building and even a nature park and arboretum.

All in all, a great way to get back in the saddle. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Foxy's Fall Century 2021

Tricia at the top of Heartbreak Hill
The 2021 Foxy's Fall Century in Davis CA was a weird adventure for us. And our first 100 mile effort in a long time.

We'd stayed the night at a low-end Motel 6 so we wouldn't have to drive, and could arrive early to get good parking and registered quickly. 

The Davic Bicycle Club made the morning easy with good coffee and pastries.
But then things started happening. Our friend who was supposed to meet us at 6 a.m. called to say she was having trouble getting the front wheel off her newish bike. She eventually did, but arrived later than we'd have liked. 

When I helped her put the bike together I realized she had a new-style semi-quick-release thru-axle and didn't need the wrench she thought she needed. All that waiting for no reason. 
But eventually we got started.

It was 40°, so I wore a lot of clothes and was pretty comfortable. It eventually got into the high 80s, so I was thankful the Davis Club's drop bag plan, where they take clothes from a water stop back to the ride start for you. I wish they'd have offered that at lunch and not just the first water stop.

Interestingly, the water stops were great. The last one in particular was well-stocked and friendly. Alas, something went wrong at lunch. Maybe it was because we were at the end of lunch time (but still within the "open" time) , but they were out of almost everything and downright stingy with potato chips. And a bit grumpy as well. Thankfully, the last stop made up for it. 

Our friend Kellie struggled with  knee issue, and we ended up waiting for her a few times before she realized she needed to stop making it worse and sagged back. Between the late start, the too-long break at rest stop 1 and waiting the day lasted a long, long time.

Still, we made it. It's good to know we can still knock off 100 miles, even if it takes longer than it used to.
Before her knee totally went South Kellie was lookin' good.

Tricia, Curtis and Kellie, hanging out too long Rest Stop One.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Goodbye faithful shoes

After years of commuting and a full summer of riding my Shimano SPD SH-M036W just dissolved. I'm pretty sure it isn't that I'm putting so much power into my stroke the shoes couldn't handle it. But I'm not sure what what the heck caused the sole left shoe, and not the right, to just fall apart.

So I got new shoes. Of course, these aren't made any more, so I got something different. I like the new ones, but I don't love them. So it goes.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Epic 2021 retirement vacation

  • Lasted 11 weeks
  • Drove 8484 miles
  • Visited (or crossed through) through 17 states.
  • Rode bikes 49 days
  • Rode 1427 miles in 9 states.
A few details
  • We rode in Idaho, then spent a week riding gravel along the Divide in Montana with Adventure Cycling's Cycle the Divide tour.
  • We rode the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota
  • We spent a day on car-free Mackinac Island in Michigan. 
  • We rode from Fairport (just outside Rochester) to Niagara Falls and back, carrying our clothes and staying in hotels B&Bs.
  • We took a lap around Lake Keuka, one of the NY Finger lakes. 
  • We rode the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, carrying our sleeping bags and tents our first self-supported ride. 
  • We spent time riding the Catharine Valley Trail in Watkins Glen NY
  • We polished it off with a week-long ride with Adventure Cycling around Lake Champlain and into the Green Mountains of Vermont. 
Where are all the photos? There are so many I'm intimidated. I hope to make a Blurb Book. But in a meantime here are a few.

Vermont, gravel roads, green and a bit of rain.

Actual, official Vermont bike trail
Most of our camping looked pretty much like this.

Farmland, Vermont

Causeway, Lake Champlain, Vermont

Great Allegheny Passage, Rails to Trails, Pennsylvania

849-foot Pinkerton Tunnel, Great Allegheny Passage, Rails to Trails, Pennsylvania

Katharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen, NY

Niagara Falls, 

Erie Canal Trail, New York

Lockport, Erie Canal Trail, New York

Seneca Lake, One of New York's Finger Lakes

They said Cycle the Divide was on dirt roads

Seeley Lake, Cycle the Divide Tour, Montana

Sawtooth Mountains, Stanley, Idaho