Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Art in Antioch, part 2

bike with water drop
I'd promised myself I'd create a series of entries about the public art the Antioch area that I ride my bike past. This is entry number two, so I have a long way to go before I can really call it a series.

"The Drop" by Barbara Grygutis is a 35-foot tall stainless steel piece just outside the Antioch Water Park across from Deer Vally High School on Lone Tree. I'd seen it at a distance and thought "OK, another nice safe piece of metal. At least it isn't a guy on a horse." But up close it starts to be a lot more fun. It really is monumental — it needs to be to visually compete with the nearby traffic lights. The reflected glare of the sun makes the surface shimmer in a fascinating way. The surface isn't solid, but you can't really see through it either. The curves are graceful, even though it feels overly "thick" to me. I enjoyed it more when I stopped thinking of it as a drop.  It's really it bit too weighty, massive and stable to conjure up "drop." Instead, just appreciating it for what it is, made it a lot more satisfying.

That's my Roubaix in the foreground, just for scale, and because this is a bicycle blog.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Photos between the rain

I wasn't feeling strong today, so I decided to make lemonade from my lemony self. Instead of a training ride, our ride would be a photo ride. The sun and clouds between the storms were just beautiful so I took advantage and actually stopped the bike to make a few photos. Between the green hills, blue skies the majestic white clouds and the snow on Mt. Diablo it was a photolicious day.

empire mine road, antioch

clouds and diablo from empire mine rd

Tricia with Diablo and snow

Cloudy day fun Empire Mine Road

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coach Troy is mean to me

cccorlew on his trainer
I have a solo day off, so of course it's raining. Raining hard. I'll bike commute in the rain, but the idea of going for a rain-ride just for fun seems like, well, not fun.

But I have a trainer, and it seemed like the proper day to fire it up. How long could that take?

• Find Tricia's spare wheel with the old tire on it
• Pump it up
• Replace the inner tube that was bad
• Pump up again
• Take Tricia's bike off the trainer
• Take trainer skewer off Tricia's bike and put the old wheel
• Remove my wheel, mount wheel on bike
• Find heart rate strap
• Look up how to turn off GPS on Garmin 305
• Realize there is no magnet on the rear wheel. Find. Attach.
• Find my "trainer bibs" (unraveling elastic too ugly for road use)
• Set up Coach Troy video on laptop
• Start
• Realize that I need to find that terry cloth drip catcher. Stop.
• Start again

In just a few minutes I remembered why I hadn't been on the trainer much. Riding outside is fun. There are downhills, vistas and views and wind and all sorts of nice things. The trainer is just pain.

I "worked" a Coach Troy video. At least I tried. I assume when he says "Big Ring, 16 tooth" he really means "Big ring, 24 tooth" and when he shouts "120 RPM" he really means "115, and not for very long." Coach Troy shouts a lot, and I can tell he's disappointed in my effort. All the people in the video are amazing. He introduces them with short bios, like: "This is Karen. She's an internationally ranked triathlete, a champion mountain biker, personal trainer, doctor, and in her spare time brokered a peace pact between the Crips and Bloods in LA." These are not my peoples. Coach Troy doesn't seem to understand, or care. He just keeps shouting impossible demands. "SPIN SPIN SPIN 50000 RPM!!!!"

About the only thing I bet I do as well as these folks: Sweat. Holy smokes. I drenched my sweat band and clothes, the "drip catcher" and a towel. I weigh considerably less than when I started.

I was toast in no time. There just aren't enough — or any — downhills. Oh well. Now I have to clean up this mess.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Back on the saddle, again

Trica on Empire Mine_psd
I got a ton positive comments after my last whinny post. I also got a few well deserved HTFUs. Lorri Lee pointed out that, if I quit riding "who would take sexy photos of Trish on her bike?", so when Tricia dragged my complaining self out for a ride on Sunday I made sure to bring the camera. Here she is on our beautiful California winter day, rolling along Empire Mine Road. Thirty miles, and a few choice words from my philosopher-friends did a lot to improve my perspective.

David Lowe-Rogstad helpfully pointed out "Rule #10 my friend. Rule #10." Tomas Ovalle chimed in with "I like rule # 5!" Thank you, gentlemen.

Pete, Joel, Chris, Jonathan, Laura, Veronia, Scott and Steve all sent some positive and hopeful words for me, and Mariel pointed out I was so old I should happy to be doing anything. At least that's what I think she said.

I think I learned not to post right after being disappointed.

Plus, I wasn't as far off pace as I feared. I was just so tired I was doing really bad math. So, plans for giving it another shot are in the works.

And hey, it's Valentines Day, so the whole world looks a bit brighter, even though it's raining.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Life is tough, and then you die

I ride my bike. Kind of. After completing five double centuries last year I was starting to think of myself as a cyclist. Apparently that's not the case.

The Devil Mountain Double Century has a couple of time cut offs. It's roughly 20,000 feet of climbing and 200 miles. There's a time cutoff at around mile 90. You need to be there 8 hours after the start or you can't go on. With my pals Dan and Steve, I decided to ride that first 90 miles to see if I could hit the cut off time. Kind of a test run for the "DMD." Starting in San Ramon, we rode to the Mt.  Diablo  Summit, through Clayton and over Morgan Territory Road. The route continues out to Livermore and over Patterson Pass.

I failed miserably. I did  6700+ feet of climbing and 63 miles in at such a slow pace — 11.3 mph average,  5:53:31 total time — that I bailed in Livermore and didn't even attempt Patterson Pass. I'd never have made it to the cutoff point in just two more hours.

It's got me rethinking this whole cycling thing. This isn't even a race, it's just a bike ride, and I can't even go fast enough to have a chance to finish. And it isn't even that fast.

Maybe I've deluded myself into thinking I could ride, or maybe I just have a faulty memory and think I used to be able to, like that old line "The older I get the faster I was."

In any event, today was a wake up call. Or maybe a go-to-sleep call. It's time to take stock and admit this whole cycling thing just isn't working out well. I've got a summer cycling tour planned, and I hope to be able to struggle through that, but after that, it's time to hang up the cleats, read more books, drink more beer and just take it easy.

Here's all my fail data, in all it's ugliness.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Superbowl Winter in California

BBM Superbowl Ride_mustard
BigBossMan on Bikeforums.net Norcal hosted a Superbowl ride and party. The ride was a California Delight. It took us through a bunch of suburbs, but in the end we climbed up the delightful Bollinger Canyon Rd. This week the rest of the country is in snow. We've had fog lately, but Sunday was about as perfect as a day can be. Condolences to the rest of the world.
2 5 11 BBM Super Bowl Sunday 45 mi. Dublin Bollinger 122
Bonus photo by Steve