Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tour of Vandenberg (South Base)

Saturday was our annual (or so) Tour of Vandenberg. My brother Greg and his friends Paul, Scott and Greg (the mighty Pez) drove up for some fun on our deserted roads on the base. Also attending was Xenia....I've ridden with her a few times. She is a powerhouse on a bike. Last weekend she did another double only took her a little over 14 hours. 14 hours on a bike. I can't fathom that. It would most likely kill me. She does them all the time, and this was one of her fastest (good weather conditions she said).

So...we all meet at the base main gate visitors center, so I can sign everybody in. We get our bikes ready and by around 9am we are off. And once again, we had AMAZING weather! Greg and the guys think I'm lying about all the wind and crappy weather we typically have up it seems every time they show up it's nice. Yesterday was no different. As we rode down the main blvd from the gate, all the flags were hanging straight down. NO WIND whatsoever. THAT is quite rare, even in the morning. Add to that fact that all last week I hadn't seen the sun before noon (usually later) due to the evil marine layer (and said layer re-forming over us by quitting-time, making any after work rides wet, cold and miserable)...all I can say is that it was a day to remember! They think I'm kidding when I tell them I can count the days on one hand we have like that in a year....but it's true.

We set off headed for the far reaches of Southbase, and we were planning on assaulting the evil Tranquillion Peak on our way to the far end of the base. The ride started off with a bang as my brother and his friends seemed to have heard a starters gun fire somewhere off in the distance (I did NOT hear it btw!)....and the race was on. THEY apparently have been hammering the big miles all year and are in quite stellar shape. I seemingly am the Anit-shape riding guy just now. My rides this year have been much less distance. I've only done one century this year.....that was the LiveSTRONG back in July. Other than that the longest ride I've done is my Saturday Tepesquet canyon (61 miles)...but it's been a few months since I've even done that. All the rides I did up in Sunnyvale were much shorter, and I also was riding alone so wasn't necessarily out for any speed records. My recent style of riding doesn't lend well to riding with my them. My only consolation was that the always mighty Pez (also named Greg) had broken his collar bone into THREE pieces in a Mt biking accident earlier in the year, and he has recently come off of a FOUR MONTH recovery (he had copies of his X-rays showing the before and after...looked VERY painful to me!) So his fitness is what he calls 'pathetic' (we'll discuss what HE calls pathetic and what I call pathetic later).

Here we are riding along the coast (about a hundred yards to the right is the Pacific Ocean). To the left is the old Titan IV Space Launch Complex (I worked there for 3 years). The tower at the far left of the picture is currently being deconstructed to make way for a new class of rocket. Also, you can see by this picture MY location in our little peleton of 6...yes....I am the Lanterne Rouge (dead last place). I was the LR for the VAST majority of the day sadly. Up front is my brother Greg (in purple), Paul to his immediate left with Xenia mostly blocking him from sight, Scott in Green to Greg's right, and the mighty Pez in red just in front of me.

Anyhow, it's a flat out BEAUTIFUL day on Vandenberg....sunny, and it's already warm enough that most of us have shed any arm-warmers and such within the first half hour of the ride. Life is good when it's sunny AND not-cold. Also of note is that we pretty much own the roads all over the base on any weekend ride. We can ride 3 or 4 across in a small mob scene whenever we feel like it, and throughout the entire day's ride we will see very few cars. SpaceX  corporation has taken over my old SLC-4 (seen above) and is slowly making it ready for the Falcon 9 rocket, which hopefully will start launching in a few years. Always exciting to have a new player in town! The road shown above rolls and winds along the coast for about 10 miles.

 Here we've begun the climb up towards Tran Peak. That's Scott just ahead of me looping back to see why I stopped...if you click on the picture and get the full size view, you can barely see Xenia all the way up on the turn barely visible in the picture.

 The road to Tran Peak continues it's long and brutal climb towards the sky. The grade on the 'lower' reaches where I'm currently at is just a lowly 10%. It gets worse as you can see.

Here you see us nearing the 'volcano cone' of Tran Peak itself. The road weaves back and forth on the front and then winds around the cone from left to right on the backside, finally coming up to the very tippy-top just at the trees you can see at the top of the picture. Only about a mile to go from here, but the road up and around the cone holds pretty steady at a 13% grade, with the VERY final 50 yards or so around 18% (just in case you've been slacking thus far).

 The view from the top. Here you are looking north over the top of SLC-3 (the Atlas V complex). All of the land you see in this picture is part of Vandenberg AFB. You can see the marine layer is lying right at the beach just covering just the ocean from view. To the VERY far north in the picture (barely visible if you click on it and get the full size shot) is Pt Sal coming down to the ocean in the mist just right of dead center. Near that spot is where our 'normal' Tour of Vandenberg would go to. But not today thankfully...we are doing an abbreviated version due to time constraints.

Here's a group shot (THANKS Scott!) of our little band of brothers (and Sist'a) at the summit of Tran Peak, or as I now lovingly call it, "the climb if death and humiliation". 
L to R: My brother Greg (or a cyborg, not totally sure...but at this point but I'm leaning towards NOT human), me, Greg (the Pez), Xenia, Paul and Scott. 
 This is the view from the ridgeline looking back up (as we are descending). That's my brother Greg coming up fast behind me (the only time all day I can say I was ahead of him!) You can see the lovely 13% grade road winding up towards the backside of the peak. It's the high point of all of Vandenberg, topping out right at about 2000' up from the coast road.

This is the view from the ridgeline looking down at the road we came up. It doesn't look like much in this picture, but the road just below on the right (going down to that tight left hand turn) is a solid 15% grade. It's a three mile descent to the coast road from here.

And finally, this is my polar profile of the days ride. Just under 50 miles and 4300' of climbing. That's Tran Peak in the middle, towering over all the other climbs of the day. The blue strip at the bottom represents sea-level. We weren't actually QUITE that close to the ocean though, I think my polar was off by about 30 feet or so.

OH...I wanted going to discuss the Pez's sad state of fitness. Well, let me tell you what HIS pathetic is. He rides a standard crankset (53/39) with I think a 25 gear as his bailout on his cassette. For the first time in MY knowledge, he USED his granny ring/bailout gear! Of course, I'm riding a compact crankset (50/34 gearing) with a 28 tooth bailout gear on the back. And for only the 2nd time since I've been climbing this beast, I had to ride a paper-route in the steep parts (a paper-route is where you go side to side in the road, being unable to push straight up). The only other time I did the paper-route thing was the very first time I rode it many years ago, and back then I had the same gearing as the Pez had yesterday. So...even in his sad state of fitness he pushed his standard crank/25-tooth cassette geared geared bike up the climb probably not very far behind my brother Greg and Paul (who raced to the top and finished side by side I hear). Scott, Xenia and I suffered mightily behind them, with me being DEAD last. I suffer HUGELY every time I ride this, but yesterday was a new level of hell on a hill for me. But I made it. Just barely. At the top I laid down on the road in the cool shade (still clipped into my pedal on one side). I was about as dead as I can ever recall being on a bike. And I still had to get home.

After the descent from Tran Peak we continued south for a few miles to Space Launch Complex Six (SLC-6) as everybody needed water. We ended up going inside a building I routinely work in and filled up our bottles from a water-cooler, saving the day. After that our choice was to continue another few miles to the south to Boathouse (the furthest we can go on Southbase), or to head back. We (mostly ME I think) voted to head back. You see, we had a lunch-date with the Jalama Beach Cafe in Lompoc. JBC serves a WICKED GOOD burger, and also has some WICKED GOOD beer on tap. AND it's on the way home for Greg and the gang. So for the entire return ride I was energized thinking about that burger and beer. Also, just knowing we are heading home really helps. Also of note is that we had ZERO flats or mechanicals during the entire day for our group of six. That is a new record for us (I mean Greg)!

We finally finished our Tour of Southbase around 2:30pm back at the main gate. What a joy to pack the bike into the car and drive to the Jalama Beach Cafe! I was so hungry I think I could eat roadkill! But thankfully I didn't have to. The Jalama burger was as good as I remember, and the Dogfishhead 90 minute IPA beerwas about as good as beer can be!

And so ended another successful Tour of Vandenberg.

Today (Sunday) is work around the house day, and tomorrow (Monday) I fly to Colorado Springs for the week (work related). I fly home on Friday, and then drive BACK up to Sunnyvale the following Monday for 2 more weeks. No rest for the weary.

Have a GREAT week, and a very happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Not too awfully much going on just now to write about. However, last Thursday I had a MASSIVE rear tire blowout on my after-work group road ride. No idea what caused it, but I actually suspect a bad tire. It had just under 500 miles on it, and was rated to 160psi...of which I only had it filled to about 105psi which is my usual. Here are some pics after the fact:

That's a nickel for size comparison, and then my finger poking thru in the photo below. Both show the HOLE in the tube.

The blowout was like a gunshot. Gary and Eric were in the process of dropping me, and were about 20 yards or more ahead and they BOTH instantly turned wondering what they heard. I didn't run over anything as far as I know, it just WENT. We all stood there a few moments looking at the damage, and wondering now  how I was going to get back as we were still 11 miles from our start (and on a nearly deserted road, and nobody had a phone with them). I always carry a few chunks of old tire tread, cut into rectangles for just this purpose. I replaced the tube with my spare, and then slipped in my 2 pieces of tread between the hole and the tube, finished seating the bead of the tire and then pumped it up to about 40psi. That's not very much for a road tire, but the rubber held the tube inside the gaping hole and I was able to ride (albiet felt like I was pedaling in sand). And I did made it back without blowing my spare tube! It's the strangest (and largest) blowout any of our group had ever seen. The first picture was actually taken after the ride, you can clearly see the cords are gone and the tire pieces I slipped in showing in the hole. I was amazed but VERY HAPPY that it held!

That was about all the excitement I've had in my life lately. In other news, someone we all USED to root for (and believe in) is actually going on trial in France THIS WEEK for computer hacking. But he won't be there, and there's pretty much nothing they (the French) can do to him unless he were foolish enough to set food on French soil. Here's the article link if you are interested:

Rant has discussed this on occasion and I'm sure it will come up again now that the actual trial is happening. Just what the endgame is here for whoever is actually pushing this trial is anybody's guess. It's not like anybody can get any money from the man. I have no idea what he's doing to survive the last year or so. Also being as they came up, I have to admit I'm wondering where the Lance witch-hunt has gone. They held the Grand Jury and had testimony from pretty much anybody who ever knew Lance. So what's the deal? Do they have ANYTHING substantial at all, or is the utter silence indicative of nothing more than 'he said, she said'? I'm afraid the old saying "no news is good news" doesn't' apply here. The man running the investigation is the one who went after Barry Bonds, and doesn't appear to be the kind of guy who backs down from what he believes is the truth. Based on that alone I fear we will be hearing more on this in the near future....that he has NOT given up. But truth be told, I've rather enjoyed the last half-year or so of almost NO cycling related doping scandals.

And so. I fly to Colorado Springs on Monday for a week, come back and then drive BACK up to Sunnyvale for 2 more weeks, come home from that just in time to fly to Hawaii for our Thanksgiving vacation. I'm just a busy guy I tell you! No rest for the weary I tell you.

Have a great week, get out there and enjoy the fall!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's a heat wave!

Well, I've been home since last Friday (and to be sure, it's GOOD TO BE HOME!). The usual weather down here...chilly, windy, foggy. But TODAY, the winds shifted. We have offshore winds. Offshore meaning coming off the Mojave desert. Even early this morning it was fairly warm out. By this afternoon it was in the 90's here in Santa Maria. You can count the days on one had (seriously) in a year that we hit high 80's and above. Quite rare...but windy. Just hot windy. All around I think most everybody enjoyed it, except maybe our babies. I took them to the park and they were really lollygagging around at the end, and Sydney was WAY behind on the way home...her tongue hanging out about as far as I've ever seen it. And since we've got home they are all lying about in their special places, panting it up. I'd say I feel their pain, but I like it. I MISS being warm, or hot even. I really enjoyed the weather up in Sunnyvale for most of my recent trip. I didn't wear a jacket ONCE the entire time...going to work at 10:30pm or even getting off at 6am. It was T-shirt nice.

I haven't ridden since I got home fact, since my wet mountain bike ride a week ago Tues up in Sunnyvale. Seems I hurt myself after all on my 'near miss' crash. The one that didn't quite happen. I had a good adrenaline rush after nearly going over the edge of the trail nearing the end of the ride...and when I got up after an evening nap for work that evening I knew something was wrong. My neck was SORE! Neck, upper back..something was tweaked or out of whack. I ended up pumping motrin 800's the entire rest of that week...and it still hurt to even turn my head to look in the side mirrors as I drove. We had a pretty nice weekend here in Santa Maria and I skipped all of it and mostly sat on the couch with a heating pad on my shoulders and neck. It's much better now but still a little sore. I HOPE to ride tomorrow (Thurs) as it's supposed to be another banner day (the projected high is 88 and only 8 mph of wind, which would also be quite rare). Can't pass that kind of day pain or no I'll get out there and see how it goes. We're supposed to be down in the 70's by the weekend, which is STILL above our normal and will be an amazing weekend if it happens. I sure hope so, as I'd like to get out on the Mt bike this weekend and try out my new tires. You see, I treated myself at the end of my month long trip and got new rubber for the mt bike.

New tires on the bike is like new tennis shoes as a kid. You run faster and jump higher. It's the same on the bike. New stuff makes it BETTER. And BETTER is really something, as it's ALWAYS good!

And's October. Halloween is coming quick. Leaves are turning. Fall is here, and soon enough we will once again do the dreaded time-shift. I HATE that time shift. That always signified that winter is at hand. It gets dark early. Yuk. What a waste. Go to work in the dark, and barely have time for an hour ride before dark after. That just STINKS! And it's coming fast. But it's not here yet. So I will do my very best to enjoy the daylight and warm days we have coming our way.

I hope you do the same. Get out there and enjoy. Life is GOOD!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The fat lady sings in Sunnyvale

Well. I've now been up here in Sunnyvale for a month now. Living in a hotel. But the light at the end of the tunnel is shining bright and strong. I have ONE MORE shift at work. Wednesday night (which counts as my Thursday shift). Woo-HOOOOO!

Not that I haven't had a good time up here....I do my best not to be the kind of person who sits around doing nothing and complaining. That's why I bring my bikes. And I've done pretty good this trip. I think I managed to ride every other day the entire month. That's a really good average. For some it might be too much, for others too little.

I have found that for me, cycling is my 'life-medication'. And like any medication, there is a 'correct' amount. Too little time in the saddle and I get cycling anemia. It makes we weak and lethargic, and if the condition continues without prompt medication it causes personality disorders and will severely affect my mental outlook. Jeannie can tell if I "took my meds" recently, just by how I act. And in being a wonderful wife AND a nurse (as all wives are) she can instantly diagnose my anemic cycling condition and prescribe the cure by simply saying: "why don't you go for a ride?"

It's really that simple. And as a good husband, I'm pretty much obliged to follow her direction, because that's how good marriages work: the husband does that the wife says. Yes, I freely admit it. Any guy who says otherwise is not being totally honest. Or is married to an alien of some sort. I'm quite certain that all women from Planet Earth are born to be in charge. It's just how things work.

But I digress at the original intent of today's post: my LAST ride of this trip. I hadn't intended for it to be the last ride, it just looks like that will be how it ends up. You see, it started raining last night. Lots of rain I think. I came out of work this morning into a pitch-black parking lot trying to find my car, and walked thru some pretty deep puddles. And there is more forecast for today.

My ride yesterday was hopefully going to be where I finally meet up with Jill Homer (yes, it would be she of the Jill Outside blog) and we would get to go for a ride together. I've been following her blog for many years now. Since before she entered her first Iditasport Trail Invitational (the race up in Alaska, in February, covering 350 miles of the same Iditarod sled-dog trail that goes from Nome to Anchorage.  Since then one of her many cycling accolades is she lined up at the start for the Tour Divide race 2 years ago, which is a 2700 mile race along the continental divide from Canada to Mexico. She not only finished (which is an absolutely astounding achievement) but she set a new women's record! And she has 2 published books, one about the ITI race and the 2nd about the TD race. I have both (autographed of course...via the mail). And now I was finally going to meet this Energizer Bunny on a bike in person!

Sadly, it didn't happen. She has picked up a nasty little bug that is going around....a head-cold that is preceded by a sore throat. I had it last Saturday, and many folk at work have been getting it and it seems to be passing around fast in this area. The morning of the ride I checked my email and she said she wasn't feeling very well, and I knew it was grim. But I slept a few hours and got up and ready to ride, and received the dreaded truth: she was out. Feeling horrible. AND she is supposed to leave today (Weds) for a Rim to Rim adventure of the Grand Canyon with her dad.

The ride we had intended to do was the Tunitas Creek road ride that I raved about 2 weeks or so ago. She had never done it and I was quite excited to go back. Well. After the light rains on Monday, I figured the roads would still be wet coming down thru the redwoods. Hmmmmm....lets see. Wet roads, the first rain in many months (meaning all the oil droplets and exhaust goo and such from the cars and motorcycles haven't yet been washed away), and skinny highly inflated bike tires trying to descend on the newly rain-slicked-roads. Not a good plan. So I called the audible and decided to re-ride the Saratoga Gap trail loop I had done 3 weeks ago, only this time I'd deviate and take two alternate trail portions during said loop. The trails were pretty wet but not muddy (as in: I'd leave tire prints here and there but nowhere was I sinking in leaving ruts...I won't ride if it's like that).

The Saratoga Gap trail on a wet, cloudy day. BEAUTIFUL, just BEAUTIFUL!

Being wet, lots of debris is flung up by my tires and clings to my legs. By the end of the ride I had little twigs, pieces of leaves, and mud-splats all over my legs (and also my backside I found when I took my camelback off after the ride). But despite all this, it turned out to be probably the most awesome of all my great rides this trip! Riding inside the forest just after a rain, well...there just isn't any fresher air than that. It was like one giant ever-changing concoction of herbal tea aromas. Each breath seemed to bring a different earthy scent. Every type of tree, shrub and plant I'd pass having different smells... the mixture was intoxicating. The trails were surprisingly firm overall. But the going was slower than in dry weather, as there are roots and rocks all over the place. And even though the trail overall was quite solid, the wet roots and rocks were something to be ridden over like eggshells.

 The trails are just so beautiful at any time deep in the forest canopy, but in the subdued light of a cloudy day, the moss on the trees, the leaves on the ground...everything takes on a new life.

I almost went over my handlebars on the return leg while going over and around a  tree-stump / root system in the middle of the trail. Had it been dry I would have easily just gone over, but it's at a funny angle and the best line is to take the side nearest the drop off. However, being at an angle, when it's wet your tires slide when they hit it (towards the aforementioned drop off). I gently lofted my front tire as I approached, but my balance was slightly off and it lightly tapped the root on the way over and slid, pitching me and my bike towards the steep embankment. As the front wheel went off the edge I was already unclipping and jumping clear. Had I been even a tiny bit slower I would have gone over with the bike. As it was I managed to jump off onto the trail and was able to grab the back wheel as the bike was going down, saving me from an ugly hike down a steep WET embankment to retrieve my bike. Turns out you get a pretty-good adrenaline rush from a 'near miss'.

Overall I was strangely weak on the climbs, and I'm glad Jill wasn't there to see it (something about showing weakness to a girl...especially one who can ride her bike 2700 miles over the course of 20 days or so). The final climb up Charcoal Rd I was barely crawling in my granny gear, and couldn't think of any good reason for the sad state of my climbing this day. My near crash was not long after this climb, and I think part of the reason I almost lost it was that I was just tired and being lazy on that one particular move. That's how most crashes let your guard down for just a few milliseconds at just the wrong time. I think that's how car crashes and probably most other accidents happen too. At least that's my professional opinion.
Overall it was just an absolutely awesome day. I OWNED the trails! Not a tire track to be found! There were however TONS of deer tracks. Pretty much anywhere there was a soft spot not covered by leaves (which are almost everywhere as fall has certainly hit) there were fresh deer tracks.  

There was also this little guy, just sitting on a sandy part of the trail, minding his own business. I'm not even totally sure what he's not a gecko, nor a salamander...maybe a newt?

Anyway, this is to be my last post from THIS particular Sunnyvale trip. HOORAY! It's been a lot of fun riding, and the work has been pretty decent too....but it's TIME TO GO HOME! I've been away too long now. I like my trips up here, but as always: there's no place like home. Home is where Jeannie and the babies are. Wherever that happens to be.

Mamma, I'm coming HOME! Have a great weekend everybody, I sure will!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mountain bike bliss

Every time I travel north to Sunnyvale to work, I am AMAZED at how much LAND has been set-aside (purchased actually) for the people. Beautiful land. Here in the Silicon Valley, south Bay area. MILLIONS of people live and work here. Traffic during any commute time is choked to a standstill. Yet I am still discovering new and awesome places to ride, both road and trail...and there are SO FEW people out there, it just blows my mind!

Last week I did an entirely new ride starting with the Saratoga Gap trail. It's all part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail system, which is a huge network of trails that runs all the way up to San Francisco and then around and down the East bay, over 330 total miles I believe. The sections I rode here covered just a bit over 10 miles (and then I returned the same way I had come). I had thought this ride would be an easy day, considering that I drove to the top of Skyline Ridge where I picked up the trail. I was wrong, and for two primary reasons.

Number one: it was HOT. I'm not real good at hot. I can endure it, but as I pedaled my way along the singletrack, the shaded areas under the forest canopy were quite warm (in the mid 80's typically) and in some areas felt like a giant stagnant sauna. But it was still very nice.

The Saratoga Gap trail

But there are areas of the trail that leave the comforting embrace of the forest, and in those areas the sun beat down from on high, and it felt like I might burst into flames at any moment. I kept thinking of the Vin Diesel movie where he and his compatriots are on some prison planet (Inferno I think they called it) where the sunrise brings temps that are literally scorching and burn a person into ash in mere moments.

 The Long Ridge trail (or as I like to call it, the Surface of the SUN trail)

At my turnaround point I had endured temps up to 106, but I miraculously did NOT burst into flame. I was however low on water.

When I started the ride, I had no agenda whatsoever as to how far I planned to ride. I was going to ride however far I felt like and then turn around. For some reason I like nice round numbers, and as I was riding along, each section you begin has signs posting the distance to the next section. My basic math skills showed that I would be reaching Alpine Pond just a bit past 10 miles, and that sounded pretty good to me.

Black Mountain above Stevens Creek (I climbed this last week)

I somehow made it past the hottest part of the ride, and somehow made it to Alpine Pond... and just after that the parking lot for the Russian Ridge Open Space preserve which was my turnaround point.

As I climbed and descended my way back the way I had come, realizing I was low on water, I had to laugh at my idea of an 'easy day'. It turns out riding a ridge trail means that you may not have any enormous climbs, buy you are however either going up or down the entire way. THIS is reason number two of my 'not an easy ride day' (thought I forgot to tell you #2, didn't you?)

 The Sunny Jim Trail

There are just very few flat areas on a ridge. I forgot this point and paid for it. In the 20.5 total miles of my day, I ended up with over 3200' of climbing. That's a lot considering I never had any climbs much over 100'. There are very few places where you get any rest shy of stopping to take pictures (hint hint).

Horseshoe Lake panorama

Even with all my pictures, I was EXHAUSTED when I finally finished and can't remember being OH-SO-HAPPY to make that last bend in the trail and see the car! Here's my polar file for the day...notice the conspicuous absence of ANY large climbs. It was a crushing (yet SUPER FUN) ride!

 My Polar profile for the day

 My ride on Friday was back to my old favorite Purisima Creek Open Space preserve. This is more like my 'usual' type of ride, where there are enormous climbs followed by enormous (and scintillating) downhills. Downhills are the reason we climb. The climb itself is payment, and the descent is the payback. This day I felt spunky and was going for the hat-trick. I consider it the hat-trick when I do all three climbs. I park in the village of Woodside and do the 4.2 mile road-ride climb up Kings Mt Rd (an awesome road ride btw), then turn right on Skyline Rd and .2 miles later I descend on Purisima Creek Trail. 4.5 miles down I hit the Purisima Higgins parking area, and there the climbing begins anew. I go left up the Whittemore Gulch trail which is all singletrack. The bottom mile of that climb consists of three leg-crushing pitches, one after another. After that the climb settles into a nice consistent grade that goes in and out of the canopy.

 This is the Stick I used to break into my car 2 weeks ago after I locked myself out (twice) while parked at the bottom of Kings Mt Rd (the gateway to Purisima Creek Redwoods open space preserve). 
I saved it in case I need it again. However, I tossed it in the middle of a BUNCH of poison oak. I didn't want it to be too easy.

 Purisima Creek, near the bottom of the first descent. 

The climb up Whittemore Gulch, about 2/3rds to the top.

The climb continues

Back under the canopy

The gentle giants of Purisima Creek Redwoods open space preserve

You can see why I love this has everything. And I never seem to get any pictures of the descents for some reason (GRIN!) By the time I get to the bottom of Harkins Ridge it would take surgical procedures to remove my smile. The day ended with over 5000' of climbing over 29 miles. Not a bad days work...I mean fun!

My Polar profile for the hat-trick ride of Purisima Creek (all 3 climbs)
I was PLANNING on doing another ride from my bucket list today (Saturday) being as I have the entire weekend off (as I was leaving work on Thursday morning I was told they didn't need my services over the weekend...meaning I now have Friday/Saturday/Sunday off...reporting back to work Sunday at 10:30pm). HOWEVER, I barely slept last night, something about my body wondering just WHEN normal sleepy-time is gonna be. And I had that nagging scratchy sore-throat all day yesterday...and I was in typical denial that a cold is trying to eek it's way into my system (the, uhm, excuse the pun...COLD hard facts are the cold is already IN your system when you get that sore throat I'm afraid).

I woke up and went to breakfast already feeling BAD. The cold was in. At this point it was minor...just a head-cold...but there was no doubt. My joints ached, I was blowing mounds of goo....yep. A STUPID head-cold. DAMN!! I'm not going to waste an ENTIRE DAY when I don't have to work! And so... I loaded up my road bike and gear anyway and drove to my starting point, full speed ahead, damn the torpedo's and all that. As I pulled into the parking lot atop Skyline Rd (to start a probable 60 or 70 mile day including my target: Bonny Doon Rd outside of Santa Cruz) I realized that I was kidding myself. I felt like crap. My neck hurt. And I hadn't even put a leg over the bike. Full introspection told me that no good can come of I begrudgingly turned around and went back to the hotel. Live to fight another day.

I HOPE to try again for this ride tomorrow, but time will tell how vicious this particular cold is. It was on the Bonny Doon climb that Levi launched his ultimately wining attack in the Tour of California in years past. I want to ride this climb. I WILL ride this climb! Mark my words.