Beat the Heat solo loop, Albany-Stop Sign Route-El Sobrante-SPDR-Wildcat-Spruce (Sunday – June 30, 2013)

"Guess Who?"

“Guess Who?”

i wanted to do Steven Louie’s Lafayette-Livermore slow-paced 51 miler today….. Coach Ben (still not on the road bike) counseled against it….arguing better to just take it easy, not try too many miles right off the bat, and mainly, too much HEAT inland/East of the Hills. But maybe i should try out one wee hill… so a quick Dam Road/Wildcat ride was the training Rx for the day.

So i geared up, sleeveless,  shorts and lightweight socks, filled my little CamelBak with a tray of ice and topped off with cold water, stuck that in the freezer for a bit and made our morning oatmeal with fruit and nuts, a pharmacy’s worth of daily vitamin supplements, and a pot of green tea.

Retrieved my cold Polar bottle from the fridge, and CamelBak from freezer, then i was off, tentatively on the Stop Sign Route out to Dam Road. Only 8:15, so still early enough to catch Steven’s ride, but passing by both BART stations (El Cerrito Plaza and El Cerrito Del Norte), i guaged the way my neck was feeling (a bit stiff), and decided i’d better not complicate that with excessive heat and more miles than i’ve been used to for a while.

Sunday mornings (Saturdays, too – for that matter) around here tend to be deliciously calm, almost languid on the roads until about 9:30 or 10:00, traffic-wise. So getting out to Dam Road was quite enjoyable.

Once out past Appian Way, even bicycle traffic seemed sparse. Like a ghost town. OK, i get it….. most folks had the sense to stay COMPLETELY out of the heat. But i’m relishing being out on my bike, anyway.

By May Road, the sweat is already pooling under the bottom rims of my bike glasses…. by Kennedy Grove it’s 9:03 a.m. and the air feels like an oven on low.  In the shade.  I’m thanking Coach Ben in my mind for swaying my choice of rides today, and consciously keep my pace reasonably relaxed.

A few cyclists now heading northbound and a stretched out pod of 5 “big & talls” (think of Cancellara plus about 4 inches and 50 lbs of muscle) stretched out far and all riding singly except the first two, pass me easily on the little roller stretches, until a few miles up, where they are now all gathered together under the shade of an oak tree. I continue on, it’s in the faster section, and i’m allowing my legs to spin easily in my “glide” around 18-19 mph as i pass them.

Wildcat climb up to El Toyonal proves comfortable, not just with its anticipated shade, but my legs and neck seem to like it too. So that’s good, maybe i can think about some hills in my rides now…. the caveat being that my toes are still sore from hiking Mount Diablo the day of the TdC stage, and in fact are still bruised, so it hurts to stand in the pedals for too long!

Sore Toes!

Sore Toes!

I’m also noticing that the rest of the local cycling world has opted to route their ride in the opposite direction, and there a ton of cyclists eastbound on Wildcat (and also later UP Spruce), as opposed to just myself, the lady on the green recumbent, and the single dude in the red jersey heading toward the Berkeley direction.

i stop in at Inspiration Point and quickly use the loo, but don’t double back to take advantage of the photo-op at the overlook….. but would have been a nice shot, skies so clear and blue today! (here’s one from last September)

Mt. Diablo to the right...

Mt. Diablo to the right…

I noticed on Wildcat they’ve ground out some of the more offensive bumps between Inspiration Point and Island in the nice, fast section before South Park/Shasta/Brazilian Room, but the pieces north and west of that are as dicey as ever, craters and cracks … so my concentration is more on the road surface than on the scenery (although that is also nice, when i allow myself to look eastward and down canyon at the Meadow.

Reaching Grizzly Peak Blvd, i continue down Spruce and am so happy on the glassy pavement (and remembering how horrid it was for several years). Very little traffic, so noone playin’ chicken, hardly any excitement in Marin Circle, and i opt to head home going straight down Marin for a change (usually i favor a counter-traffic short block on lower Los Angeles, to connect to The Alameda, then go across to San Lorenzo before heading down to the flats)….

and i’m home after a few hours, feeling fresh, showered, drinkin’ my smoothie and glad i’m out of the heat. (but i missed the social occasion of the Livermore ride, and hope everyone had a great time out there on that one…)

23.62 miles
11,2 avg mph
26.3 max mph
Saddle-time: 2:05:59

Still the whole day ahead for chores and chillin’
Stay safe, stay cool.

Sherie

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