Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Another week, another ride

Yesterday: 98 miles in the heat.  One could say "oooof"  I say "Fun!"


Since my goal was to check out the road conditions on Mount Madonna Road, which crosses the ridge from Gilroy to Watsonville, I left the house at 6:30 am in order to get there and up the climb before the temperature rose above 90.  I made it, just barely.

There were road closed signs both at the base of Madonna, and again just before the pavement disappears, but they didn't look too serious.  I'm getting very used to ignoring these this year.

By and large, the road was in pretty good shape, with a few minor obstacles.  Really all quite rideable.

There was, however, a pretty thick layer of loose gravel in spots, which wouldn't have been too bad except that it was steep enough in spots (over 10%) to make traction on the gravel difficult, especially given that I kept having to wave away a cloud of bugs that wouldn't stop stalking me.  At one point near the top I let out a big "Aaaaargh!!" of disgust and walked about 20 yards, hoping that the people I could hear in the park to my left didn't actually hear that utterance of primal annoyance.

However, I think they did -- as I was splatted under the big tree at the top for a snack, a couple of women on horses came out of the park from that side and said hi just as I choked on a big swig of water from my bottle.  I sputtered what I hope was a cheerful reply in response, but they just looked at me like I was a bug-eyed alien.

Thankfully, it was lovely and cool on the coast side of the hills, and for once the store in Corralitos was open.  Mmmm...ice cream.  I bought a big container of iced tea and what I thought was a mint chip it's-it and sat down for my snack.   Mmmm...cookie ice cream sandwich covered in chocolate...mmmm.... but wait, this doesn't taste very minty.  Oh look -- it's not mint chip, but green tea ice cream in the it's-it!  A delicious discovery.

The climb up Eureka Canyon was enjoyable, but bumpy, and it only seemed hot for the last little bit at the top.  And of course, the long slog through the suburbs on the way home, but it was (mostly) downhill.  Now I just need to plan next week's fun!

week of "Camp Ma"

Every summer, there seems to be a slow week where Nim and I just goof off.  The year, it was last week.  We managed to:

1.  Go to the climbing gym, only to find that it was infested with a large noisy kid camp.  Climbed anyway; Nim ended up going on some of the taller walls :)

2.  Take Sebastian (with Stephan) on his first-ever mountain bike ride.  He did awesome and reportedly told Stephan "Chasing a high-schooler up the hill will make you strong!"  Stephan now knows the secret dirt route down the train tracks to the closest park with mountain biking, so they too can ride from home.  A good piece of work.

3.  Mountain bike again at Arastradero in the crazy heat.

4. Discover that the new heating element that Chad put in the dishwasher is hotter than the old one.  Poor, poor plastic cutting board.

5. Mount a train expedition to San Francisco.  We walked about six miles from the train station through Chinatown and North Beach to the aquarium, and then back along the Embarcadero to the train after seeing the fishies.


6.  Pack and test gear for her backpacking camp this week.  It's very hard to catch a clear shot of a just-fed kid dancing around the block in the dark after dinner...


Now that Nim is off in camp, her cat is most unamused.  Don't worry, she will be back!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Familiar territory

Chad noticed the other day that he recognized the name of the start town of stage 10 of the Tour de France this year.  Perigueux is the town where we made the final train transfer onto the teeny-weeny local train that took us and our bikes to Les Eyzies for the start of our Dordogne bike tour in 2012.  Lo and behold, the riders will go right through many of the towns we visited.

Here you can see our week's riding through the same territory (in red) compared to the race route set for July 11 (in purple).  It'll be fun to watch the scenery go by for this stage, even though it is one of those relatively boring flat stages where nothing much happens in the GC competition.  The backdrop, however, isn't boring.  Too bad for the riders that they won't get to go to the interesting bits: the caves, castles, churches, fortresses, etc.  They probably also won't choose to consume the same amount of foie gras, cheese, wine, nougat, and absolutely delicious bread as we did!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Making fun of the teenager

I just ran across this graphic that Chad made, which sums up one of the kiddo's sentiments during spring break; at one point she referred to Joshua Tree as Nowifi National Park.  I can't wait to see how she copes with the summer's backpacking camp and our Tour of the Volcanoes road trip...

Last day of school today!