Lovely day for a ride with friends. I dropped into the meeting point in Orinda a few minutes behind schedule after riding up and over Wildcat from home to the start (oops, got a late start out the door), but still in time to claim my ride-leader position from Eddie who had offered to step in should I not appear.
Estella and Scott lead out the group from BART along SPDR at a processional pace, affording the riders to chat it up at a downright leisurely conversational speed (some might say we might have elected to wear smoking jackets instead of bicycle jerseys, the speed was so relaxed). After the re-group at Castro Ranch Road, we split into our respective groups, and departed at various speeds, forming long rubber-band lines up and down the length of Castro Ranch Road. I had the pleasure of running into Dave from Alameda, whom Ben & I had met in the Dolomites in July (he also participated in the Maratona dles Dolomites). Since he was in the Presto group today, he lit out at his real pace, after a nice chat, in order to catch back up with the Prestos….. and then (I found out later) swapped Maratona stories with Ben on the climb up Pig Farm. My small T-ish paced 50-mile group of 6 (hummmph, i think Eddie and I would both argue there was in reality no “T”-paced ride today, as the core pace-setters were solid TM riders) started spreading out on Castro Ranch Road, and i savored brief company of Ivan and some others from the 35 and 65-mile TM groups to the next regroup point at PH Road/Olympic, where our little 50-mile group made a point of sticking more together to Danville and then again after lunch on the way back…. more or less. Eddie had announced after lunch that he may go the alternate route back to Orinda and to not wait for him, so our short Regroup at Happy Valley Road & Sundowner was very brief.
Descending Sundowner, a yellowjacket flew into my shirt and began nibbling and stinging. I signaled to the group to stop while I opened the jersey zipper further and gave the little critter a power-assisted boost out into fresh air where he/she belonged. Unfortunately, I’d already been stuck or stung or bitten 3 times… OUCH… so I held my pace down for the remainder of the ride (given my history with allergic, anaphalactic reaction to insect stings). On Miner, I sent Dave (Philly Dave, not Alameda Dave) forward to pull Ben back and stick around as I rode more slowly, consciously slowing my heartbeat and effort so keep the toxins from spreading too quickly into my system (yes i know this is probably complete nonsense, old-wives-tale approach, but in my experience, hammering at that point of time would have been a big medical mistake). Ben commandeered my intended return to BART and we made a small detour to Orinda Safeway where he purchased some topical Benadryl cream. We then headed directly back onto Camino Pablo (northbound) and climbed up and over Wildcat and home. (While waiting for Ben outside the Safeway store, I did spot Eddie heading toward Orinda BART along SPDR, so i knew he had decided to do the full route, after all… then later on he passed us (in his car) going up Wildcat, and slowed to chat and make sure all was fine. Thanks to all for a great ride and a fun day: Linda, Fil, Eddie, Dave, Ben. It was nice to have a strong, self-sufficient group to ride with and very congenial company. Stats for the day (from Ben’s VDO computer, including up and over Wildcat twice): 74.06 miles, 5hr:36 min, 13.26 mph, 4556 vertical ft. (my speed was slightly slower, probably between 11 and 12 mph avg (not exact, as my odometer is not reading accurately of late and keeps losing time/miles: time for a new one (aren’t the holidays just around the corner?), or maybe just a new battery, as my mileage reading was only 64+ and I know the actuals are represented by the numbers on Ben’s VDO.
It was a good ASSR turnout, too – maybe 50 riders all groups added together? Perfect weather (sunny but not too hot). Lots of brightly attired-GPC shirts and jerseys from other adventures.
See you all next month… or a lot sooner, many good rides listed this month!!
p.s. – took an Atarax once we got home, so my system is calmer but i’m feeling spacey. Feels like a stinger is still in my breast tissues, although Ben had said he couldn’t find anything when he checked in good outdoor light at the Orinda Safeway…..