Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A hilly ride, and an unexpected celebrity encounter

Rode some hills with Randy and Mike on Saturday. Not too fast, it was a nice day out and we enjoyed the climbing at a more-reasonable-than-usual pace, probably because Mike had just done the Leadville 100, and both Randy and Mike are getting tuned up for their upcoming giganto-ride to Vegas.

I managed to forget my Garmin GPS/bike computer, which was both a blessing and a curse. I've gotten so used to having my heart rate displayed, and I really gauge my effort by that -- I know exactly how hard I can go before switching from aerobic (e.g. sustainable almost indefinitely, as long as food and water keep going in) to anerobic (e.g. really not a sustainable effort for very long.) Without the computer, ignorance is either bliss or incipient doom, depending on how accurately I can judge my effort.

The computer also gives a nice post-ride summary of the distance and elevation gained; without it, I'm forced to turn to the various on-line widgets, like gmap-pedometer which lets you draw out your route on a map, and then gives you an estimate of the distance *but* doesn't give you the elevation change in a useful way... you must then export the data (using the gmaptogpx bookmarklet) but that only gives you latitude and longitude, so you then add altitudes to the data using the very-handy GPS Visualizer. Oy, it should be simpler... next time, remember the computer, dummy!

All that work to get this: 10770 feet of climbing, and the profile below. I think that the climbing estimate is a bit high, but not hugely -- it was a ride with a lot of long climbs!

Coming out of Big Basin park, at the intersection with Highway 9, we caught up to Jobst Brandt. Jobst is a cycling legend, author of the seminal book "The Bicycle Wheel", creator of the slick tire for Avocet, and long-standing de-bunker of myths about bikes and cycling propagated by those who know nothing about physics or engineering. In short, one of my heroes! He's 74 now, and still cranking away on long rides and setting a very respectable pace up the hill -- in what I think of as a crazy-huge gear, and on seriously "old-school" equipment. Style, the man has style... I will never again complain about not having a low enough gear.

That 6-mile climb has never gone by so quickly. Jobst gave us a rolling lesson on the cosine problem of dual-pivot brakes, the history behind each address along the road, honking etiquette (or lack thereof) on the part of car drivers approaching from behind us (less than 1 sec is intended as a polite "coming up behind you"; a blast of more than 1 sec is "get the F*&% off my road!") Great fun.

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