Friday, May 19, 2017

Out and about on the bike -- Together!

This last week, Chad and I got out for not one, but two rides together.  Most unusual, given that I usually ride during the week and he rides on the weekend. (that whole divide and conquer thing that parents have to do...)

No pictures from the first ride, but suffice it to say it was a 50+ mile ride up and around the ridge above the South Bay.

Gorgeous weather, entertaining people (it was organized by the folks who did our bike tour in France a few years back, and they still remember a much younger Nim dancing in front of the castle!),  and a nice route with views out to the ocean.  I'm reminded that we need to do another European tour with them one of these years...

A couple of days later, the Tour of California had a local stage finish, and Chad was lucky enough to be able to take the day off to ride and spectate with me.  We drove down to South San Jose, and took the scenic route down to Morgan Hill, around the reservoir, and back up steep Metcalf Road to the finish line area to spectate.

I wasn't sure how many people would be at the finish area and wanted to get a good spot to watch from, so we carried a picnic lunch up in handlebar bags and went up early.  After doing a loop around the reservoir in the wind and climbing up Metcalf (steep!!), we were definitely ready for our sandwiches, cherries, and sparkling wine.
(Isn't the small can of sparkling Trader Joe's wine cute?)

In retrospect, we could have just gotten a burrito at the taco truck up there, but the moral victory goes to those who are self-sufficient :)  We did concede principle enough to treat ourselves to iced coffees from the Peet's truck, however, and then went to find a warm sunny spot from which to spectate.

I've watched a stage finish here before, so knew to climb up the hill to a point where you can be out of the crowd, look down on the finish line, and still be able to see the big screen on which they show the race footage as it happens so you have something to watch while you wait/nap in the sunshine.  It is always distinctly odd to watch pro racers ride roads with which you are familiar -- "That looks like the back of Hamilton, but they are going way too fast to be climbing, right???"  The pros ride up these hills two to three times faster than I do.

There were a few other jolly folks who also watched from our perch on the hill,

including a bona fide cowboy

and a healthy-looking coyote.

No, please don't eat our bikes...

You can always tell when the racers are approaching because the helicopters start swirling above.

Zoom!  The riders zip by, and all the team cars get to the top, bristling with expensive bikes.

We noticed while watching the the podium ceremony that the coverage was lagging reality by a few seconds.  It's sort of funny to have the big screen right next to the actual happenings, but does help people see.

After the festivities ended, we picked our way down to the road and rode back down.  The endeavor was made more entertaining by the fact that shortly after we started down, all the racers came zipping down from behind us on their way back to the team buses parked at the bottom.  Even in relaxed race-is-over mode, they descend unbelievably fast.  Very entertaining to try to identify people by their jerseys and race numbers.  
(I just tried to maintain a predictable line and stay out of the way over to the right while they all passed going jaw-droppingly fast.)

After we got home, Chad looked at the footage of the race online and and was amused to note that you can see us in our green and red jackets behind the results (between the flags and times in the chart.)  All in all, a fine afternoon!

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