Sunday, February 15, 2009
To be at Val Vista and Hermosa Vista by 6:30 I had to be on the road at 6 which of course meant a 5:30 am wakeup. It was pretty early and it was cold, very hard to get out of bed but I did it. I got on the road at 6:05 and even though I mistakenly got on Greenfield and overshot Hermosa Vista I pulled up right as they were leaving so I didn't even have to cool down. I hung out at the back figuring I would be able to fall off if my knee complained. We had around 20-30 cyclists and as we made out way out to the beeline people rotated back I I moved up the line. Gilbert road was a pain as a sidewind means everyone works as hard as the guy pulling so it was pretty ruthless for a few miles. Back on the Beeline though things got a bit easier until we were climbing. by the time we hit the hills I was the 6th or 7th cyclist back in the line. We almost got gapped once but pulled it together. I had to keep telling myself I would hold on until the next hill with every hill. I was extremely pleased to find that although I had not ridden with them for nearly 3 months I was still holding on. In fact, aerobically I faired better than my muscles which started to burn as we got further along. On the last hill my knee twinged slightly but we were within a quarter mile of the hilltop and I was so close I determined I would hold the mob over th hill.
Going down the other side a cyclist near me observed her thermometer said 31 degrees. Consulting my own I found it at 28 degrees. That's pretty cold. I had been working hard enough I hadn't noticed other than numb fingertips. They did not stop at the gas station so after we crossed the verde I had a short conversation with Chris (the other guy at the back) about bike commuting and then I dropped off.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Turning up onto some of the trails higher up on the mountain my lungs are burning and I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. I am working hard and for the most part I nail every ascent getting tripped up on only one. It never ceases to amaze me how you can work so hard and spend so much time and yet not have ridden many miles when you are riding single track. Of course many of the grades go up over 20% at times and hopping over piles of rocks and crags can slow you down as well, especially without suspension.
I want to ride the saddle trail today but I take a wrong turn and take the long way up to it. I remember this trail from many years ago when I first rode out here. I am happy to report I made it up the hill that gave me trouble last time. This time I also decided to ride the mine trail on my way back.
Of all the trails I near had a cactus lunch more times on this trail than any of the others. The trail switchbacked up over the hill and the back side was steep with switchbacks and the trail though steep had a funny habit of launching you off knee sized cliffs so you had to sit way back to avoid doing an endo. Many time I was unseated but there was only once I had to stop and walk down one spot. If I had had suspension I might have been able to pull it off. Anyway, that's another topic entirely. At the end of the mine trail I looked up and saw I had to climb all the way back up to the car. The bright side was that some of the hills I had never climbed without putting a foot down I was able to pull off today. It was a good ride. 7 miles, 950 feet of climbing.
On a side note, I am happy to report that I have gotten my weekly mileage up above 100 miles and the knee is holding out. Saturday I want to ride a 40+ mile ride. I am being careful to follow the 10% rule even if it is annoying. I want to be all set for the 300k they are doing in May from Miami to Payson and back.
I am back! They shut my blog down for a bit because they thought it was a spam blog. I can't figure out that one. Biking to work and randonneuring just doesn't seem like the subject of spam somehow. Also as Bruce's work has done, mine has blocked blogspot.com too so it is a little harder to post now but stay tuned! I will be updating it still.
This morning's commute was much better than Monday's. I discovered the tire I had patched last night was flat when I entered the garage at 6AM. I figured it had to be a slow leak though as I thoroughly listened to the tube and only heard one hole. That last hole (which was indeed slow) will have to be discovered in a wash basin full of water I am afraid. I had the tire pumped up and after I reset my bike computer to mph instead of kph (I don't know how that happened) I was off into the night with a brief adjustment of my hub light.
It was not too cold this morning with a temperature of 50 degrees and a wind out of the NE. It would be a pain on the northbound parts of the route but nice for the eastbound. I kept up a good speed but not as good as I was before the knee thing. It will take time. In the meantime I am just happy I can do 2 40 mile commutes within a week plus a Saturday ride. I am not too broken up that the ride across Mesa is in the dark. The stretch on Val Vista is unusually warm in the Orange groves for some reason.
On the reservation I turned on Oak street instead of going North on Extension. It was not devoid of dogs, neither was it as bad as Extensiont though. I ran into 3 dogs working together on Oak but they weren't very fast and gave up quickly. On Dobson I ran into another set of dogs and a large old white dog that was pretty slow and gave up quickly. I did not run into any pitbulls or feral packs of dogs so I think this might be the better route. The parts without dogs are wide open smooth pavement so It is definitely a keeper I think. Perhaps I'll take up Bruce's suggestion on Doggy Treats (I wonder how they make your jersey pocket smell?). I could also use them as opportunities for Interval training as well I guess.
I still can't get over the fact I get to commute through the mountains in Paradise Valley to get to work. This is just cool even if I have to put up with some traffic on Lincoln. I realized this morning that this section is the middle of the GABA mummy mountain saturday cycling route I used to ride in yesteryear. On top of the beautiful scenery I cut 7 minutes off my ride time from Monday.
I missed the bus by seconds so I decided to ride downtown and catch the next bus there. Here are some photos I took while I waited and before I realized I had sat down in somebody's yogurt they had left out.
I wonder how they built that skywalk.