Great 50-Mile ASSR Ride Today!! (Saturday – March 8, 2014)

Today’s lineup leading the ASSR was:

  • Chris Witt leading the 23-mile Larghetto (L)
  • Jim O’Melia leading the 32-mile Andante (TM-ish)
  • Yours truly leading the 50-mile Allegretto (T)
  • Jim Scott & Kate Woodford on tandem leading the 65-mile Allegretto (TM), and
  • Mark Abrahams leading the 75-mile Presto (M)

I had originally wanted the 23-mile loop, thinking i might not be totally ready for 50 (and not fast enough right now for the 32-mile Andante)….but it was already spoken for, so i thought “ok, i’m ON!

Although i had wiped my bike down pretty well (I thought) last Sunday after the aborted, rained-out Century Prep Ride #1, I found this morning that my bike was FILTHY this morning when i took it off the hooks to set out toward Rockridge to get to today’s ASSR….. so i spent probably 15 minutes cleaning up the chain, jockey pulleys, wheels and frame…. then off across town(s) – Albany and Berkeley – to Rockridge.  Saw another Grizzly heading toward BART as I approached along Colby to my last turn before BART… ugh, i caught the red light, other Grizz (who WAS that??) kept going not only with green light but beyond BART to ???.

Of course, my train also was pulling into the station just as I was arriving at the outside steps from the street level up to the station… so, after fiddling around in my pockets for my wallet packet (lots of time now, since I’d already missed the train), i climbed the second set of steps, up to the platform, 8:23 a.m. with 17-1/2 minutes til the next train – and still plenty of time to get to Orinda before my 9 am showtime.

Sometime later up come several other cyclists (most of whom were going to either the Arthritis ride or the Aids Lifecycle training ride, also meeting at Orinda BART)… but also Grizzlies Bob Lynn and Chris Witt.  On the train we meet Ryan, trying out his first GPC ride on recommendation of his colleague from work, Chris O… so we chat up the club a bit and in a few short minutes were at our destination…..

I take the elevator down from the platform with Grizzly Tom from El Cerrito and two other riders who were meeting the Aids training group.  Head to from elevator to fare gates to process my “exit” ticket, then off to the porta-john before going to the Grizzly group forming…..

By the time we were about ready to make announcements and then get going, the group had grown to about 45!!  Wonderful for this grand day.  and about 6 folks experiencing GPC for the first time.

Had 8 riders signed in for the 50-miler, then after the usual horse-trading between Orinda and Olympic Blvd, fast Matt (one of two “fast Matt” guest Grizzlies who had schedule obligations to get home before the 50-miler would be finished) switched to Jim O’s 32-mile TM-Andante, and we picked up Bill and Rose from Jim’s ride, cuz Rose announced she had 50 miles in her legs (and indeed, she DID!).  So altogether, final count (Patrick, Philippe – uh, yeah, NOT Steve G as I erroneously imagined for the first 17 miles!! duh! — Mike, Greg (der Lutz), John A, Bob L – off the front, Eddie, Bill, Rose and myself) was 10.

Fast forward, Castro Ranch Road, Pig Farm and Reliez Valley all the usual sneaky steep fun torture.  Short regroup at Olympic, then on and away to the most boring road in the world, then finally to Danville Peet’s.  I snacked on my dried ginger, almond, blueberry, dried banana mix, downed the rest of the cold Coca Cola drink i’d bought at the Golf Club snack shop, and then filled the bottle back up with a large iced Mayan coffee to go from Peet’s, excellent and refreshing fortification for the ride back to Orinda.

In Lafayette, Mike and Bill peeled off with Rose, Patrick, Philippe and Eddie at Moraga Rd to go Hidden Valley Road the “flat” way back to Orinda (hah!  ain’t no flat way, as Rose discovered!), while der Lutz, Bob, John and I continued on our normal route along Happy Valley to Sundowner and the rest back to BART.  I almost kept up with the guys to the start of the steep curves on Happy Valley, but since there was “no waiting” at Sundowner, I had a lovely solo ride along my favorite Mr.Toad’s Wild Ride section through the neighborhoods to and including Miner.  

Reached BART, still in time for some final socializing with the group, admiring the new Lutz-mobile, then declined a few offers of motor-vehicle transportation back over the hill, as I had my heart set on Wildcat.

nice jaunt (ok, a bit slow, but still very enjoyable..) up Wildcat.  As I approached Inspiration Point, saw what looked like another Grizzly pulling out northbound onto Wildcat, I kept getting a bit closer, then he peeled off on the ‘gentler’ detour below/behind the Brazilian Room (who WAS that?  Maybe Tom from El Cerrito???), while I continued up that last steep section, grunting a bit the last 20 feet or so (and considered for about 2 seconds jumping onto the No. 67 AC Transit back to Berkeley, but then it was all flat and fun curves back to Spruce… and the final gliding descent homeward.

Continued after Marin Circle down Marin to The Alameda, then on to San Lorenzo/Washington back home.  Just coming up on 4pm as I entered the house.  Including the extra 6.5 to Rockridge and the extra 12 from Orinda to home, I got just about 70 miles today.  About perfect!  Tomorrow I’m off the bike, as Ben & I will go hiking, to complete the “South of Marin/West of Shasta” section of the Berkeley paths.  Fun and highly recommended!!

Ben had done housecleaning and grass cutting while I goofed off all day… but I prepared a nice dinner (roasted Brussells sprouts/carrots and a pork, ginger, fennel, eggplant, mushroom stir fry) and we caught up with some of the remaining episodes of the SOCHI games while dining.   BEIN Sports is about to start the Tour of Qatar.  I’m on it, and strawberries/chocolate await on my dessert plate.  Yum!

Thanks to all the Grizzlies and guests who showed up today in perfect cycling weather.  What a great club!!


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2 Responses to Great 50-Mile ASSR Ride Today!! (Saturday – March 8, 2014)

  1. jim says:

    Great write-up. Probably was Tom Cross on Wildcat. We DO have a great Club! jim

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