Thursday, April 14

Up, Up, and down

31.75 miles; 3:52:30 time; ^2800 feet^

The forecast yesterday was for less than 40 degrees, and the spouse volunteered to drive me to Sonoma so I could just ride the warm leg of the commute; the return home.

I saw this as an opportunity to catch up on my elevation gain. The Hwy 12 route home can go past Cavedale Road which leads to Trinity Road which comes back to Hwy 12. So Be It!

The turn onto Cavedale came at mile 4.5. After a quarter mile or so the real climb started. About 90% of the climb was spent in my 3 lowest gears: 19, 21, and 24 gear/inches. Speeds stayed at 4.2 to 4.6 mph. (Any faster and I promptly went over my aerobic threshold.) Every half mile or so I'd stop and have a drink of water.

At my second stop a lovely updraft was supporting a group of vultures right next to the road. Seeing these superb gliders at 15 feet or less was a thrill. I doubt they would have stayed there for a car.

At mile 4.3 I saw a lady ahead walking up the hill. A moment later the first car I'd seen on the hill came past her. "Now there is a traffic jam," I called up to her. She nodded and kept walking. I caught up with her when she stopped to check her mail at mile 4.6. We had a good chat while we both caught up with our breathing.

"This is the end of the major climb" she assured me. She had trained on the hill for a charity bike ride and had hurt her knees. Well golly gee, I thought, what a horrid place to start training. We discussed the excellent wild-flower show. I mentioned biking up Trinity Road on my way to a Christian retreat when in high school. "Oh, I know that place. It was sold ten years ago and had been a place for drug dealers and a brothel at times since then. It is up for sale again."

The grade did ease off for a half mile but bit back just before the top. Normally I don't like to go into oxygen debt on a long climb but if a good stopping place is just ahead, I will. That happened just before the top at mile 5.8. I put on my sweater for the descent ahead. A drop, short climb and another drop brought me to Trinity Road. My front brakes may still be squealing but at least they work somewhat.

A mile down the hill a FLAGMAN AHEAD sign warned me of road work. The guard stopped me, called ahead, then said I could go but watch out for the Toyota. Around the curve I found another worker had stopped the Toyota to let me go by. At the bottom of the work zone the guard there had halted all traffic until the cyclist (ME) could go by. What service!! None of the motorists honked or shook their fists. Humor the loony cyclist perhaps or just a bunch of nice people. At the bottom a short semi trailer had pulled off of Hwy 12 blocking Trinity Road. I waded through the mud on the roadside and continued north.

I found that the climb had worked my legs to the point that I could not go much over 12-13 mph. Five miles later, in Oakmont, I started to recover. Took the long cut through Spring Lake and Howard Park for variety. Got home and took a long soak in the tub.


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