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Sunday 2/20 3 Bears Ride
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20 Feb 2011 6:52 PM
Ride to the 3 Bears and Beyond
As Ride Leader today my day got up to speed at just before getting out the door. I was rushing around as usual getting my gear together when the side door started a'knockin. Who should be standing there in his cycling resplendency? If you guessed Ken requiring a rag to wipe his chain then you are correct. At the same moment I had turned on my cell phone to find a message from "Joe" saying he would meet us out there with his daughter. Joe who? Damned cell phone garble, oh well, I'd find out soon enough. Flashette came running downstairs with my ride PBJ sandwich, Ken was shuffling his bike out the door, where was my ride sign up sheet? Am I going to be warm enough? Screw it, I'm late out the door.
I rolled my bike into the side door, hooked it in its wall parking spot, took off my helmet and plopped into my easy chair. I closed my eyes and felt the world still rolling beneath me. Wow, my legs were cooked, my body undulating in waves, I knew I had given it all to the bike today. Now I had to triage my priorities: hot shower, food, maybe a cold beer and a nap, yes, but in what order? You know life has been good this day when these are your only immediate concerns.
(final outcome was: shower, food, beer, pass out on the couch
Having refreshed myself, I can commence with the actual ride report. A color guard of 20 strong showed up mostly all at the same time, although some met up with us in Orinda. We had Barry in an orange baggy top, Bill in red, Stacie in yellow, Rob in orange, Lisa in red, Stu in neon, Melne in orange on fixie, Diane in neon, Zrider in black, Rachel co-leading in neon, Lucy in baby blue, Admiral Nideker in neon, Sri in neon, Ralph in white, David in neon, Cynthia in purple, Mitch, Shel (who turned out to be the "Joe" above) and his daughter. I was looking somewhat circus-y in a yellow vest, orange shoulders, and red sleeves and all else black.
David suffered a flat just outside of the island so that took 10 to fix. Rachel owes me a coffee for demurring not to help him fix his tire, plus I got a free tube with a tiny hole in it to add to my collection. Not bad pay for 10 minutes supervision says Flashman. We continued our warmup ride to 12th st. BART downtown.
Fast forward to BART: A herd of us rolled into the BART car and a guy sitting there said somewhat irritatedly: "how many of you do they let on at one time anyway?" I said non-plussed "unlimited numbers, really". He looked away. Lucy sat next to a woman and soon they were chatting and I overheard them talking about bikes. Turns out this woman was a triathelete of the Ironman caliber! She rides in Marin a lot and informed me that the road work in the Headlands is finally complete, which was good news to me as this is one of my favorite places to ride and it has been offline for like a year. She had a delightful Down Under accent.
Then we rode the Bears. Naturally there were different pace groups. I rode the Dam road with Stuart, who took a nice long pull trying to catch up with the lead group who had gotten away due to a traffic light. We soon regrouped anyway at Castro Ranch, and I lead out from there. There is a climb that you feel over a smallish hill, where Melne, Mad Kow and myself overtook a trio and passed them on the downhill, except for the gal in green and gray, who was riding strong, and became my rabbit on the climbs. But not before I paced her and a few others along Alhambra road. I used up more energy than normal on this stretch, and when I got to the first big hill I felt it.
Just before that we caught up with Shel and his daughter, and she is a fine looking cyclist. Some people are born to be on a bike and she is one of them. I followed her and green/gray gal up the big hill where we overtook super low recumbent gal, I mean her bike was like 6 inches off the ground without the usual marker flag, so she looked like some kind of big, crawling black bug. Those are weird machines in my opinion.
Soon enough a the familiar sight of one Lucy Chu started filling my rear view mirror. She was pretty far back but I recognized her form. So I had a little game going of hold her off as long as possible, and that was fun until the last Bear when the old steam was running out and I needed to throttle back to save something for the rest of the ride. She came by in no time, passed green/grey gal, and I had the whole hill to myself. At the top I circled around long enough for the last of our group to ride by, during this time the weather had turned from sunny and mild to cloudy and chilly.
Melne chugged to the top on her fixie and looked peaked, as she had every right to, she contemplated flopping her rear wheel to coast down Papa, so I offhandedly mentioned that whatever she decided would end up in the ride report, so she elected the self-flagellation of fixed descending just so I could report it here. Admirable choice World Famous One. Lisa was in the rear and had the misfortune to throw a chain right at the bottom of Goldilocks where you can use momentum to zoom up the first part of the tortuous little incline. I think her knee took a hit today.
After a regroup at the light we made for Orinda, some people opted straight to BART, a group of us went to Peet's in town for some welcome hot drinks. On the way Lisa flatted, and Rob helped her repair, but it took a while and we were just about to roll out when they rolled in, so it was only good manners to wait for them to refuel after that, but it did add to the overall time out and thus the very late lunch for this scribe.
So we (Rob, David, Lucy) took off for Moraga and had a nice sustainable pace going. On the downhill side we picked up a fifth rider, who was chatting up a storm with Lucy in the rear. This guy appeared to be a friend of hers, and he was with us until Pinehurst. Later, Lucy asked me:
"How old do I appear to be?"
I said around 25, knowing she is older, but she looks younger
Lucy said, "I asked that guy how long he had been riding, and he said
since before you were born!
"Just how young does he thing I am anyway?"
I had to chuckle as the guy was for sure smitten with her, but he really stuck his foot in his mouth with that one. The dude was like 40 and surely a bad judge of age and character.
Speaking of Lucy, its always a pleasure riding with her. Such a cute, friendly, ever-smiling young woman who can most assuredly kick butt up the hill. Today she did David and I the great service of pacing us up Redwood (as Rob was far ahead), I mean it was a metronome pace, rock solid, never wavering, just a little faster than I felt like going but still hang-onable. I imagined her pony tail growing six feet longer, rope-like, and wrapping itself around my handlebars and pulling me along. Imagery like that really works people, I learned that from Flashette, my
Then, as if the Universe was offering us up a reward, we had a perfect run down Redwood road, that is to say no cars, we made all the lights including the bottom one, it was a
41 mph plummet.
We finished our ride down 35th/38th/Fruitvale for a total of 46 miles and 3,850' of hills. My legs are saying we went twice that far for some reason.
We should commend ourselves for coming out today despite the sometimes biting chill, taking advantage of our weather window, doing great cycling work for this, still the wintery season. To say I had a great time is an understatement. Thanks everyone.
Last modified: 20 Feb 2011 6:52 PM | Deleted user
21 Feb 2011 8:00 AM
excellent report. sorry i missed the outing but next time
21 Feb 2011 12:38 PM
What a challenge! I can't believe I ate the whole thing! I'll add to this report, from the fixed gear perspective.
As you know, I'm new to riding fixed--I got a bee in my bonnet about getting a fixed gear last December, and within a few weeks, became the owner of a gorgeous Waterford track bike.
Since then, it's been the process of learning to ride it, which, although very similar to geared, is very, very different at the same time.
Last week, I challenged myself to my first climb up Tunnel--and successful, wanted to increase the challenge. So the Three Bears it was.
First I inquired with Jason, the fixed gear king (triple crown last year on fixed!), who advised me to "Treat it like it's SIX bears" and encouraged me to try it. I went over the route innumerable times in my head, thinking of each little rise in the road, how steep it was, how long it was... and although I considered bringing the Diva out instead, I left home with the Waterford. For better, for worse, for pain, for suffering... I had to try it.
First thing, of course, on the Bears is that speedy descent down SPD road. I'm not yet overly comfortable descending yet so I took it slow and easy. The main aim for me now is to keep from bouncing in the saddle, so keeping the RPMs below 120-130. If you bounce, you feel much more unstable, and that's scary. Oddly, it didn't seem as fast or as quick as normal (none of the descents did--weird--but good!).
After that descent, I felt a bit more confident about the descents ahead, and after our regroup at the end of SPD road, we continued on toward the climbing part--another test. Those little rollers on the way to Castro Ranch--The second one was pretty hard, and my legs were starting to feel it. Flash couldn't resist some in-jest snark "That looks fun!" as I struggled, standing, over that little rise as he spun comfortably in his low gear.
After the little descent there was nice recovery time round the backside of the loop, and some time to mentally prepare for the hard stuff. The first long, straight climb (mama bear?) That one was a grind. I had to stand the whole way, and just concentrate on rhythmic breathing and not blowing out. I kept looking up, and the top seemed no closer. (So quit looking!) At last, the grade let up, and I was at the top! I stopped briefly there, to contemplate the next bear. My legs were definitely tired now, I and began to wonder if I'd make it up Papa Bear. The climbs are stand-all-the-way. No way out of it, though, so onward and upward. I certainly couldn't "bear" the thought of WALKING my bike.
An easy descent down to Briones park, and there he was. Daunting, long, and intimidating. I got up as much momentum as I could and stayed seated longer than I thought I could, concentrating on a smooth, complete pedal stroke. Then it was stand up and WORK!
The false summit came and went, I cranked up the momentum for the real summit, and crested! That was that! The Bears were done! I couldn't cry success just yet--there was still that nasty little rise right before Camino Pablo. That last little bit was the hardest of all. I stood, I pushed, it was all I could do to turn the cranks near the top. But success was mine! Three bears, beat down into submission.
One gear to rule them all. ;-)
Much fun, thanks for the encouragement and the company! Great ride!
21 Feb 2011 3:25 PM
I feel very lucky to ride in the company of such creative writers. It somehow makes it SOOOOO much fun to read and to realize that I also participated in that wonderful story. Flash and Rachel thank you for leading a great ride in a sunny day.
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