Saturday, May 30, 2009

This is Not the Ride You’re Looking For

For my key-workout brick at the tail end of peak week, we thought we’d try a new bike route, mix things up a little, break the monotony. 

Note to self: Stick with same-old, same-old and boring.

Extra special for today’s ride, we got friend (and blog-reader-but-not-commenter) John to ride with us.  John was a dogpark/pub friend who left us in suburbia to procreate in Bend, Oregon.  John, his wife and the Golden Child are in town for the weekend and someone convinced him we’d be taking him out for an easy ride.  Oops.

And so we headed out on a chilly calm morning feeling good about the ride we had in store!  Jeff got this shot of Nigel, me and John cruising along.

2009_May30 004

Warning sign #1 that this might not be the ride you were looking for: It comes recommended as a fun, easy ride by someone who regularly rides with Chris Lieto.  Yep, I let that one just fly past me without considering it.  Oops.

Warning sign #2: All the fucking windmills.  I have driven this pass on the way to agility trials many mornings and they’ve been motionless.  We got an exceptionally early start today so that we would beat the heat and wind that usually comes later in the day.  Oops.

2009_May30 007

The first moments of concern came when I felt endlessly buffeted by crosswinds on a long steep downhill and started to worry about being blown over.  I had been several minutes ahead of the men up to this point and slowed so much to descend safely that they flew past me downhill and took off.

An aerial view of the pass so you have some idea of the scale of the windfarm. This is just a small piece of miles like this.  Our road was the one on the bottom.  You know, right where the wind has to blow through to get to the windmills?

The highlight (NOT) of the outbound trip was definitely when I got tossed around between the crosswind and the pull of a tractor trailer truck going by at high speed – the guys were all behind me and watched me get whipped back and forth before regaining control of the bike.  As we neared the turnaround point the wind got stronger and I got a little more nervous.

When we turned back, I discovered the full scale of what we’d be facing – 40mph headwinds, at least, going uphill most of the way.  I don’t mind the climbing at all, but I was nervous from the way I was getting tossed around in the wind.  I had to stop and take a little moment to consider my options – biking back was pretty much the only one (“can I just wait and have someone pick me up and finish this on the trainer at home? Nope.”).  Having just bandied about the big-girl-panties line over the mild hills, I had to put my own on to face the wind.  Thankfully Nigel pulled me on his wheel through the first part and then I was able to alternate holding my own with riding behind one of the men for a small bit of wind protection. 

Unfortunately I was not able to fully defend myself from the elements.  A little extra wind gust, a little squidgy bike handling close to my husband, and I went down.  Luckily, while going less than 8mph uphill into strong winds – it might have been my easiest crash ever.  The bike fell on top of me so I saved it from further injury.  The saddle did slap-chop my calf though and leave a wicked cramp that took a while to work out. 

Quick stop on a brief stretch with lighter winds

2009_May30 008

We ground it out mile by mile until finally we were cruising in the valley back to our cars.  I think it’s safe to say everyone was relieved to be done.  Except Jeff who thought the whole thing was fun and not the slightest bit difficult.

2009_May30 009

My workout was not completed though – I still had 30 minutes to run off the bike.  John and Nigel headed home; Jeff – always the saintly sherpa – sat in the car while I ran around suburban Livermore.  Given everything that had taken place on the bike, I was pleasantly surprised to have a nice run!

I have a great little egg on my left knee where it hit the ground.


I have no idea if spinach salad, hummus and pita, a handful of walnuts, and breakfast cereal (knockoff organic Lucky Charms) make for a good recovery meal, but that’s what I had.

And then we got all of our old dogpark/pub friends together for a little dinner reunion.  As usual, it did not disappoint.  My face hurts from laughing so hard and I’ve lost my voice.

Everyone got a chance to meet the baby.

2009_May30 014

And then Nigel’s Drunk Faces began. 

2009_May30 020

I actually really decided to edit down the photos I posted…you know, in the sense of fairness to intoxicated people and all.  He claimed he was feeling all-powerful in the presence of petite women…but what role does the baby’s toy play in it?  Hmmmmm.

2009_May30 024


Missy said...

What a ride! Does not sound like any kind of fun at all for sure. That's one of those where I can't stop cussing until it's over!

Love Nigel's 'toy!'

The dog pix below are great - what a pile of hair.

Larissa said...

You are a brave woman! The Altamont is a crazy ride and i just drive through it! But it didn't kill you which made you stronger right? So it was well worth it!

Stef0115 said...

Sounds like a harrowing ride -- getting bandied about by the wind next to a large vehicle would have given me pause.

Nice job getting through and having a good run!

Those pics are HILARIOUS!

Trishie said...

That sounds like one ca-razzzy ride !!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Man oh man--you and I need to drink and do windy downhills together. But maybe not in that order. Here's to pulling up the big girl panties and htfu'ing it!

Runner Leana said...

Holy smokes Molly, I am so glad you are okay! I hate riding in the wind, but it definitely does make us stronger. Remind me not to ride near any wind farms...

Sherry said...

LOL @ the windmills... I'll remind myself to stay far, far away from any that I might encounter.

You are a toughie!