Today Ben and I joined Rouvy’s challenge in Honor of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II…… a flat 11.2 km around central London with 50 meters of climbing (0% avg, 3% max gradients; elevation gain mainly crossing bridges). For me a quick 23 minutes… it was nice to be back in London after so long. The old sights and landmarks are still there, but so many new, interesting skyscrapers in the city since my last visits.
I chose one of our club’s jerseys from the 2010 Grizzly Peak Century; I’ve always loved the bright, cheerful color scheme and design with the rider summiting a hill in triumph, with arms raised to clear sky and rays of sunshine inside a shield motif. Today that seems like the right mood for honoring the Queen.
Today I took a short walk for an errand after breakfast, then got back to finish a yogurt-making task, do my Pilates, then jump on the bike for an indoor bike ride workout with Ben… I knew the ride was part of La Vuelta a España 2022, but I also knew it was Stage 3 which took place in Breda – yes, in The Netherlands! So, what to wear, what to wear??
I settled on my Tehachapi Gran Fondo 2016 jersey, less “sunny” than my yellow & red tropical flower kit I like to wear when I’m in “Spain”, but still a jersey appropriate to honor a pro-race stage (even if only 31.45km of it!!)
The ride is quite flat (only 70 meters of elevation gain: 0% avg, 3% max gradients), and the “bumps”, such as they are in this ride, come earlier than later in the route’s elevation profile. There are two splits, at 12.21 km and 20.89 km along the route, respectively. My cell phone did not want to cooperate with me on attempts to capture screenshots for either one of the Split finishes!!
My time for the whole banana was just over 1 hour: 1:01:05.2, with a normalized power output of 126 Watts (2.118W/kg) and an avg pace of 30.96 km/hr, finishing just 10 seconds behind Ben. It was fun!
Overall review for the Rouvy route: GREAT! Fast, fun, and motivating…. Good scenery, mixing fields, nice architecture in both town and suburbs; enough turns to make the riding interesting, even though the course is flat. The two Splits help motivate, too!
Today Ben and I hit the Bay Trail for a late-morning bike ride …. destination tbd as we progressed…. so first we went straight along the bike path adjacent to Buchanan and turned left, to take the little riser up and over Fleming Point, past Golden Gate Fields, Gilman, the Tom Bates Sports fields etc… hung a right onto the dirt shortcut to César Chávez Park path, following a counter-clockwise loop along the waterline, then back to the Bay Trail, and on to Emeryville Marina before doubling back the way we came. A cool 25km ride, short, sweet, no stops except for stop signs and traffic signals. This small distance feels longer on the heavy mountain bike with thick tires I’m using for outdoor rides these days; and with flat pedals, not clipped in, my thigh muscles feel the work! Started 10:30am, back by lunchtime. Enjoyed the sea breeze and bright skies. Bonus – even for outdoor rides, I earn a few Rouvy “coins”!!
I had passed up an opportunity to join our club’s Wednesday Ride group who were riding from Bear Valley (Olema) to Drake’s Bay to celebrate Pat’s BDay… unsure whether I was ready for 1900′ climbing in the real world yet, and still working out the kinks of start/stop skills (still in “baby steps” mode getting back on the road after so long being off the bike!), and wary of inserting that into a group ride scenario.
Even with what I consider temporary limitations, and missing the camaraderie of club rides, I’m happy to be back out there in the real world and sunshine with my bike!
After breakfast and core workout/floor exercises (and prepping a new batch of milk and starter yogurt for incubation), I kitted up and joined Ben down in the coolness of our pain cave for an indoor bike ride. Thought I might end up in Spain, so I put on my sunny hibiscus-flower pattern jersey… but since the Vuelta ride Ben was doing was over 40km and I was running quite a bit behind him for my start time, I decided to do a shorter route, the 4th and final route of Rouvy’s challenge in the high desert of the American Southwest in Canyonlands, Utah.
Canyonlands National Park | Utah | USA is 29.60km long with 355 meters of climbing (1% avg, 11% max gradients). I removed two of my Rouvy “Ghost” riders (Peter & Lauren) from the roster, sticking with just Will and Emma; added two of my favorite real-person virtual partner rabbits (Ben and Tabby) to give myself some additional challenge; then mounted up. Giddy-Up!!
This route is in the north-south pathways between Green River to the west and the Colorado River to the east, traveling mostly in the tumbleweeds, sagebrush, juniper and piñons of Grand View Road. We start in the general vicinity of Mesa Arch with two spurs, one northwestward past Whale Rock to Syncline Loop Trailhead, the other to westward Green River Overlook before returning to Grand View Road, the second 1/2 heads southbound, a continuous roller-to-death uphill-trending gradient, finishing right before the parking loop road at Grand View Point. Two Splits, placed at 9.4 (Syncline Loop Trailhead) and 19.8 km (after Green River Overlook on way back to the main road), provide some additional motivation along the way.
Rouvy has made a recent update to the graphics in the software, and so when you’re in a turn on the route, the avatars actually look more like real people bicycling and “leaning in” around the corners! Way fun!!
I have enjoyed this area with Ben twice during vacations in recent years: the first time in early-November 2018 (motel 3 nights in Moab and driving our Jetta around to the various sites in Arches, Canyonlands and The Needles when I was still hobbling around post-surgery with a cane, gingerly and slowly); the second trip in late-April 2022 involving some great camping, hiking and touring around with our friend in his 4WD vehicle. The sights, sounds and smells in this beautiful area are highly recommended to adventurers of all physical skill levels… where-ever one happens to be on the health and recovery spectrum! Thankful now to Rouvy for giving me the opportunity to also enjoy return trips “virtually” while working out hard on my bike indoors!!
Heat advisory here locally today… so we’re keeping our athletic activities indoors… TommyDs followed by a short, fast Rouvy ride in “the Netherlands”: La Vuelta 2022 | Stage 1 – Utrecht | NL.
In real life, Stage 1 – Utrecht, NL was the site of the Team Time Trial of La Vuelta a España 2022, raced by the pros on August 19th, and the fellas on Jumbo‑Visma aced the full 23.3 km, 31 vertical meters version of it with a time of 24:40, and blistering fast average pace of 56.676 km/hr!! WHAT??!!
Rouvy’s version is a short 15.38 km with 38.2 meters of climbing…. Ben and I both powered along our earnest but feeble, aging, non-professional, recreational-cyclists’ best, and completed Rouvy’s shortened ride in under 1/2 hour (0:29:00.72 and 0:29:10.98, for Ben and myself, respectively…). My avg speed and power today were 31.68 km/hr and 135 Watts normalized (2.269 Watts/kg).
Then we cleaned up and I reheated some delicious home-made butternut squash sauce with spaghetti, served with marinated homegrown tomatoes and fresh cucumber. Now we’re settled in with the gentle overhead fan spinning slowly while we watch Stage 14 of the actual Vuelta a España, another brutal mountain stage. Go, you fellas, go!! As I write this, we’re watching them go up the final climb with 14.9km to go!
Another reality, today’s Stage 14 already finished, but I don’t know who won it, so NO SPOILER ALERT!!
Continuing the thread from yesterday’s Rouvy ride, today we rode from home out to Richmond Marina for lunch. Shortish, about 20 km total. Windy and sunny all along the Bay Trail, many opportunities for bird watching along the mud flats and marshes adjacent to the trail (pelicans, a great blue heron, and a lot of egrets, in addition to the mud hens, seagulls, grebes and pipers of all sorts.
Our destination was Tommy’s BBQ, operating on the backside of Assembly at the old Ford Motor Company plant at the end of Richmond Marina. Splitting a full rack, and small sides of beans and coleslaw, plus whole wheat bread and canned pints of East Brother beers (Red Ale for me, Pilsner for Ben). My tummy’s still full, so we’ll have vegetarian dinner!
The loop to Richmond Marina along the Bay Trail is a short and sweet, flat little local jaunt close to home… the only “hill” is getting up and over the railroad tracks on the bike/pedestrian bridge that parallel’s Buchanan Street. The bridge path then loops down and circles under the freeway before a final signal-protected crosswalk at the offramp to get to the Bay Trail…. just enuf up/down and squiggly, wiggly for getting my bearings back after being off the bike so long…
Always enjoyable to see the birds along the way and greet many folks on the trail…. as a “destination”, Tommy’s is a sure bet for perfectly cooked dry-rub ribs, but you can get brisket, pulled pork and other offerings, too….
Yesterday I rode my bike “indoors” on the trainer with the 3rd of 4 routes in Rouvy’s Utah challenge. Today Ben and I took rode from home and along the Bay Trail to Richmond Marina for BBQ lunch at Tommy’s, just outside the Assembly spot at the old Ford Motor plant where they used to make the Model A’s back in the day!
This post is for yesterday’s Rouvy ride. Beforehand, I’d done my floor exercises, even throwing in a “Bonus” routine, cuz I started my Pilates before I realized that, being Thursday, it was really TommyDs day… so finished the full Pilates, then did the scheduled TommyDs, as well.
The bike route in Rouvy is Colorado River: a flattish 30.80km with nice vistas of the great plateaus and buttes, with the river meandering on one’s right side throughout.
The ride begins with a long descent, then has only 153 meters of climbing. Two Splits, at 1/3 and 2/3 distance markers, more or less. I guess I really powered along, my finishing time was only 4 seconds slower than Ben’s (and that’s factoring in about that many seconds of “technical glitch” time-wasting in my ride).
Feeling pretty good about this effort…. and tomorrow we’ll ride in the real outdoors (separate post for that)!! Hopefully soon I’ll be ready to join my old bike-club pals on the roads and hills I love so much….
Meanwhile, it was fun to just say “hi” to all the other cyclists and pedestrians on the trail and also chat with the nice couple from Berkeley who stopped at the marina on their way across the Richmond-San Rafael bridge with their cute little Australian shepherd dog in a Burley trailer.
After four days of earnest “moving” duty helping Ben and family, I was ready to return to my favorite little swimming cove in San Diego for a good swim. Today I got some bona-fide distance for a recreational geezer more interested in the relaxation of stretching my bones and muscles than several more serious lap swimmers at the cove today who were seemingly going for speed! Got to visit my favorite local pelican also (he was set up on the midpoint swim marker buoy until I accidentally bumped the buoy with my arm on my 2nd-to-last lap, and he flew off to the next buoy down the line about 50 meters off. I waited until almost done with my swim to take snapshots…
Basic stats for today’s swim:
Distance: 2.368 meters (a little over 1.47 miles)
Elapsed Time: 1:12:41
Moving Time: 56:58 (most of the “not swimming” time spent futzing around with cell phone camera (pelican & me)
Avg Pace: 2:58 / 100m
Calories burned: 383
The slow, steady pace of my swim cured all the ills I’d been feeling in my legs since the day before yesterday, through last night and this morning from too much sitting and yet many stairs (up and down) on hard concrete surfaces….
Joined Ben on an indoor bike workout today before lunch. Another ride in the Utah challenge (“EXPLORE THE NATURAL WONDERS OF UTAH | MED”), which started on my Birthday!!
Today’s route was “St. George 30km | UTAH | USA” …. it’s really 33.15km with 348m of climbing…. not ever really steep, avg 1% and max 9% gradients.
Three Splits adds a bit of incentive during this otherwise drab ride, and they are spaced out nicely: Split 1 10.79 km Split 2 20.1 km Split 3 29.76 km
To clarify, I do love the desert scenery, but then there’s too much occasional suburban sprawl along this stretch of roadway for my taste. OTOH, a few roundabouts with native vegetation are a nice touch.
The good news, as with the first ride we did of this series, I didn’t totally suck, and finished in in 373rd place of 405, so ahead of a whole bunch of folks… those rankings are “fluid” and will change between now and when the challenge ends 09/18/2022.
In this challenge, Rouvy promises: “Utah is a region full of natural wonders and unique geological phenomena. Enjoy these four routes that cover the monolithic arches in the Arches National Park with their towering sculptured sandstone formations. Explore the Island in the Sky, the tall rock pinnacles are known as the Needles, the remote canyons of the Maze, and the Native American rock paintings in the Horseshoe Canyon, with much more to see along the Colorado River in the Canyonlands National Park.”
Having explored several of these locations live and in person, some of them multiple times, I have to agree!! Looking forward to the next two rides to finish this challenge: Colorado River (30.8 km with only 158m of climbing at 0% avg, 7% max gradients); and Canyonlands National Park (29.6 km with 355m of climbing, 1% avg, 11% max gradients).
For now, here are the screenshots from today’s ride… and my results…
I was relaxing a bit after my long indoor bicycle ride and late lunch, and happy to catch some text messages while just missing a phone call – my two swim buddies, Francesco and Nick, plotting an afternoon swim to catch the high tide at 4:21pm. Warm water (72-74F), steady breeze off the water, and a really nice swell made up for wading through about 30-35 ft of gunky, broken up eel-grass at the shoreline to get past the shore-break far enough to be able to start swimming.
The water felt so good…. although late in the day, I paddled around for a bit over 40 minutes…. and Ben waited to make dinner until I returned home around 6pm. Tofu Tuesday (cuz “Weigh-In Wednesday tomorrow morning), and while I showered off the sea water and rinsed my gear, Ben prepared a tasty vegetarian saute in the big wok with cubes of tofu with fresh red chard and oyster mushrooms, served over steamed long-grain brown rice.
Left the phone on dry land, can’t risk the flooding inside the no-longer-waterproof pouch, so no swim pictures or videos, but I did capture one nice scene from the beach and and a quick selfie with Nick while we were gearing up.