nekoballs

March 10, 2010

Riding Eastbayway to Mountain view with angry clouds

I was in Alameda on Sunday and I wanted to ride into work on Monday. Instead of wasting an hour BARTing back to Millbrae, I decided to just ride directly from Alameda to Mountain View. The ride distance was surprisingly short (38 miles versus 32 miles from Millbrae) so I wasn’t too worried about the ride. I WAS however worried about surviving both Oakland and EPA solo.  I headed out at 7:30AM and was annoyed to find that my Garmin was out of batteries, depriving me both the ability to monitor my heart rate and to upload my route post ride. Fortunate for me, I had been staring at my HRs all week long and therefore had a rough idea what zone I was in based on my perceived effort.

To minimize getting lost, I made myself a cue sheet:

and taped it to my stem.

Not having ridden in this area at all and having no expectations of the route, I was pleasantly surprised by how bike friendly the route was… up until Hesperian. Bay Farm Island in Alameda was very bike friendly and had plenty of bike lanes and off street paths. In fact, most of the time I was in a bike lane or shoulder until I got to Hesperian.  Hesperian did have some sections of bike lane, but a majority of the street was similar to el Camino – three lane wide with a 35-45mph speed limit.  I would definitely avoid that next time. If I was riding with someone else, I would have been open to do some bay trail exploring.


Before I got to the bridge, I stopped to blow my nose and take some pictures. I thought I was pretty much at the bridge and on my way to Mountain View. Little did I know! Going down Paseo Padre seemed a lot longer then it looked on the map and going up Marsh Rd. to the Bike/Pedestrian walkway seemed to take forever. The road was very bumpy and Marsh Rd. turned West, right into a strong headwind.


Those clouds were sprinkled in the sky all morning long, but the weather the getting warmer and the sun was coming out… until I got to Dumbarton Bridge. When I started climbing up the bridge, the sun disappeared behind the clouds. While the sun was gone, a single angry rain cloud decided try and stop me from crossing the bridge. So it pelted me with raindrops-icicle cold and sharp raindrops. The thick rain created standing water on the road and blurred my glasses and soaked my jacket. It wasn’t supposed to rain today! I tucked myself in and hammered to get off the bridge, and when I finally started descending, the rain let up. By the time I was off the bridge, it had stopped raining.

The rest of the route was the normal Bayway and since I took it easy most of the way, I wasn’t feeling fatigued or sore. Dumbarton was not fun, but I would do it again-rerouting around Hersperian.

Route via Garmin Google maps

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February 22, 2010

Race Report: Ronde van Brisbeen Criterium

Ronde van Brisbeen Criterium
Elite Cat 5,  8:00AM
Team Mates: Dexter, Dean, Martin, Brandon, John, Peter, Dan, Charlie
Place: DNF

I was reasonably prepared for my first real (USCF sanctioned, non Early Bird, and non twilight) criterum at Sierra Point/Brisbane. Last weekend, I rode out to preview the course. Even though I previewed the left turn after the hairpin incorrectly, I had an idea of the flow and bumps of the course, and I knew I would struggle from the hairpin and the two corners following it.

The Men’s E5 race started at 8:00AM, which, luckily for us, meant that we would just miss the rain. I staged close to the front of the start line near the other 8 PV members. Even though the field had a full 50 racers, it seemed small compared to the Sierra Point cross race field of 150 a few months back. The first lap was a rolling, mentor paced lap, and apparently the second lap was the first race lap. I was caught off guard by the acceleration and fell back slightly during the first race lap.

I was very uncomfortable during the first race lap. There were lots of accelerations followed immediately by decelerations, especially leading up to the hairpin and the following left turn.  During the first few laps, I was passed every time I came out of the hairpin. I also felt uncomfortable going through the narrow left-right section after the hairpin. Eventually, I was spit out the back, and I joined a ~5 man group. Shortly after officials pulled us off the course to (rejoin) restart with the pack.

I was not thrilled about the first restart. The officials did not give us the “go” to rejoin the pack until nearly the entire pack was past us. During the Early Birds, we were up to speed well before the pack reached us. The group of us struggled to accelerate enough to catch and stay with the group. Eventually, I was pulled to restart again, and this time I saw teammates Martin and Dan pulled aside as well.

The second restart, they started us before the leaders reached us. This was much better, except I had some trouble getting integrated back into the fast moving group. Although, I got better at hairpin turns toward the end of the race, I was still much slower than most people going into and out of it. I finished the remainder of my laps working together with a Folsom Bike rider.

Overall, I thought the course was technical, but fun. I felt I could have pushed (a lot?) harder, but I felt unconfident making the tight hairpin turn and riding more than 2 abreast through the narrow left-right section. I think I gained a lot of experience for next year’s Brisbane race.

Race mapped on garmin

More pictures on flickr

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