Sunday, May 26, 2013

May Update

I haven't been posting much lately because most of my free time has been dedicated to putting in miles. For most of my rides this month the goal has been to maximize my time, which meant leaving the camera at home and concentrating on turning the pedals. So far this month I have 611 miles, a little ahead of the pace necessary for the 700 I pledged for Bike Month.

With no Little League games scheduled because of Memorial Day, we decided to head for Tahoe for a little weekend getaway. Yesterday morning I started off with a mountain bike ride.

Knowing the family wanted to ride later in the day, I selected a short, 17-mile loop.

Conditions were bone dry with not a bit of snow to be found. There have been some years when I have waited until July for the snow to melt on these trails.

In the afternoon we headed for the bike trail. It was cool and windy, but not unpleasant.

We did an out-and-back to Squaw Valley, riding along the Truckee River, and finished up with 16 miles.

Today I did 25 miles with 2200 feet of climbing. Miles are much tougher to come by up here in Tahoe, especially on the mountain bike.

I must admit I am a bit worn out, and I will be happy when this month is over. I still have five more days to grind out some miles to see if I can solidify my goal of a top-five finish at work. We shall see.


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Early Bird

Today I rolled out the door at the ridiculously early time of 4:30 a.m. This was the earliest I had ever started my commute to work.

If you have even been up at 4:30, you may have noticed that big fiery ball is missing from the sky. It's dark. Really dark. This is especially true in my town where the invention of the streetlight has yet to hit the newspapers. I have a good light, though, and the streets are completely empty at that hour, so who needs streetlights.

That's El Dorado Hills down there where they have electricity and lights.
In previous years I always tried to time it so that I hit the dirt portion of the route as the sun was coming up. However, this strategy always made me a little late for work—a practice frowned upon by management everywhere—so today I left earlier.
The first stretch of dirt was the two-mile gravel road through Serrano, which wasn't tough to negotiate as long as I avoided the rabbits and hares that scurried everywhere. It started to rain a bit, but not enough to matter.
After that I hit the New York Creek singletrack, which is tight, rocky and rough. My speed dipped considerably here because I am not the greatest night rider. This fact became quite apparent during 24-hour races where my teammates were turning night laps only slightly slower than their day laps while mine were significantly slower. Maybe I didn't eat enough carrots as a kid.
The next trail was even rougher, with a number of steep, rocky dropoffs made slick from the increasing rain. I rode cautiously through here, and my speed suffered even more.

About halfway through the Brown's Ravine trail the sky began to lighten, which was welcomed relief. My speed picked up immediately.

Shortly after exiting the last of the dirt, I was on the bike trail. There isn't a whole lot of excitement there, but it continues my car-free route for another 18 miles.

I did see this guy strutting his stuff. The colors would have been much more vivid had the sun been up.

It took me 2:45 to ride the 39 miles. Kind of slow. Next time I would like to shave 15 minutes off that time so I hit the showers closer to 7:00.


Sunday, May 05, 2013

Miles in May

It's May again, so the time has come to get my lazy ass out and put in some miles. I pledged 700 miles this year, which I hope will get me a top-5 in the Technology Services Division at work. We shall see.

I swore I would ride my road bike this year so I could compete with the guys at work, but when push came to shove I still grabbed the mountain bike.

On Friday I did a 55-mile ride with 3,300 feet of climbing. It was a mix of dirt, gravel, road and bike trail.

Pissed off rattlesnake on the bike trail:

Saturday was a bit of a wasted day. We didn't get to bed until 2 a.m. after attending the Giants game Friday night. I was pretty much worthless all day and never did get on the bike.

Today I again grabbed a mountain bike and did a 42-mile mixed surface ride that felt just as hard as the Friday ride. After seeing the GPS output, I can see why: almost as much climbing as Friday in far fewer miles.

I am currently sitting in third place, but it's early yet. At some point I will have to ride the road bike if I hope to compete with the roadies.

Tomorrow my son has a baseball game and Tuesday he has a band recital, so I will have to get creative with my riding opportunities.