Nigel (in town for the weekend), George and I met Kristi up in Fremont and ventured up Niles Canyon, through Pleasanton and Livermore, and onto the very quiet, very remote Mines Road, which winds up the back side of Mount Hamilton (the mountain of my birthday ride!).
Our last refueling stop before we headed into the boonies
The very beginning of Mines Road. From here it climbs into the hills and it's 28 miles to the next available food/water!
About 8 miles down the road and we've climbed a bit already
Looking ahead on Mines - it just winds up and up this canyon (road on the left)
Later on in the climb, the scenery changed a bit as we entered a pine forest and it looked more like being up in the Sierras. We were surprised to find this on the back side of such a dry mountain.
My favorite part of the ride - forest/trees, a narrow one-lane road and virtually no traffic!
The final steep climb before our descent to The Junction, our turnaround spot and the only source of food/water on this entire road (which continues another ~30 miles to the top of Mt Hamilton)
The view from The Junction, a tiny little biker bar in the middle of nowhere
"You're young and cute, YOU go ask the big mean biker to take our picture"
Climbing back out from the junction meant just a couple more steep uphills for the day, then we'd *mostly* be downhill going back to Fremont (but with headwind!)
It got really HOT at this point - phew!
The good news is, we kept our happy faces on a LOT longer than last week!
Finally equipped with my brand new COMPACT Quarq crank, I found it much easier to spin up the hills without destroying my legs. And as a result, I was able to hold a much more steady wattage throughout the ride, as evidenced by my TrainingPeaks data*.
Last week - watts all over the map (and too many above threshold!)
This week - a bit more stable!
In the end, we rode 109 miles and then ran off the bike quite comfortably! I was much less comfortable getting back on the bike Sunday morning for another 3 hours (it was a double bike shorts kind of day for sure) but it got done and another week is in the books. The countdown continues...just 2 more hard training weeks - separated by a rest week - between us and taper time!
*Don't forget, you can get 15% off a TrainingPeaks premium account and have all these cool data analysis tools too - just use code TPA14!