Sunday, January 10, 2010

Down into the cold then up out of it...

The ride yesterday was as great as I anticipated. I left home about 11:45 bumping out over the dirt road for the first 2.5 miles. By the time I hit pavement, I was already removing my windbreaker and ready to enjoy what seemed like an unexpected warm day.

Almost immediately I looked back and saw three other cyclists behind. I freewheeled a bit and they caught up. It was three guys from a Livermore team that mainly do mountain bike and cross racing. We had a good chat all the way down into Livermore, exchanged contact info and now I have some new Mt. bike folks with whom to ride in the future (when these damn wrists finally heal up).

Meanwhile, as we descended into town the temperature got chillier and colder and finally, once in town and on my own again, I realized I was going to have trouble with my feet if I was going to be spending time up on Mt. Diablo later. So I detoured through town and stopped at the bike shop where I quickly purchased a set of foot covers and some warmer socks. Back on the road, I was quickly happy with this purchase as my feet stayed nice a toasty over North Livermore and Highland cycling through the cold foggy misty hills around me.

I hit Tassajara and then turned up Blackhawk road. This stretch was longer than I remembered (it has been 14 years since I've gone that way) and I began to doubt my navigational skills. But I stuck with my instincts and soon enough, about 2 hours and 45 minutes from when I left home, I finally hit my favorite stretch of road, Mt. Diablo.

I love climbing Mt. Diablo. I don't know what it is but it just suits me. I'm certainly not fast up it but I never seem to find the 60 to 75 minute climb a chore. As I climbed I snaked up out of the fog layer and was treated to warmer temperatures, a glimpse of blue sky and fantastic views of the surrounding valleys with their little hills poking up out of the ocean of creamy fog. What a gift the altitude brought!

I don't think I've ever spent more than enough time at the top to slip on a wind breaker, maybe put on something to keep my head warm, open up a clif bar and then get on back down. But yesterday I took an extra minute to look around and pose my bike for a picture.

Partner in Crime for the day: My Soma Smoothie ES.
Ain't fast. Ain't clean. Ain't light. Ain't a problem.

The descent was not as cold as I expected and the roads were pretty dry so I made quick work of it. Good thing, too since I rolled up to my in-law's house to meet up with Kris and Jasper with only about 15 minutes of daylight to spare.

WHAT A GREAT DAY!!! I've been grappling with what to say to encapsulate a day like yesterday. It's a religious experience. It's good clean fun. It's a small adventure. It's something that makes you feel like you're living your life instead of sitting on the sofa watching someone else's.

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