Sunday, February 23, 2014

Half Century of Awesome

Today I joined up with a different South Bay training group, Awesome Ahead, for a 50 miles ride.

My morning started at 5:30am when I got up and dressed for my ride. Oh how I just love leaving my house at 6:00 am on a weekend. All for the love of cycling! It was really foggy out there this morning. I drove through a white haze practically the entire way down to Sunnyvale.

I got to the meet-up point pretty early and just hung out in my car to keep warm. I was starting to regret not bringing any leg warmers, but in the end, I didn't actually need them. It was kind of nice not to have to be covered from head to toe. As people started to show up I figured it was time to get my but moving and start getting my gear together. I did decide to wear my wind jacket as well as my arm warmers. That was a good decision because the fog didn't really start to burn off until after riding about 20 miles.

After gathering for stretches, route review and the safety speech we headed out. Since I had pre-loaded the route onto my Garmin I didn't really pay too much attention to my route sheet. Also I slipped in with a group so I just followed the leader and didn't have to worry so much about where I was going. Its nice to just ride and not have to pay such close attention to the route. After a couple of miles I ended up just tucking in my route sheet in the leg of my shorts to get it out of my way. Normally I clip it onto the break line in front of my handle bars. When I arrived at the first rest stop I realized that wasn't a good idea. The ink from the route sheet came off on my leg. I had to scrub it off when I got home.

Since I hadn't paid that much attention to the route sheet I didn't note how many miles it was before our first rest stop. That was probably a good thing. We ended up riding 20 miles before coming to the Starbucks in Newark. I think that is the farthest I've gone before needing to stop.

While I was at Starbucks I hit up the bathroom, chowed down on a Cliff bar and had the barista fill up my water bottle. I headed out after a short break with a couple that seemed to riding my similar speed. We had another 15 miles to ride until we got to the next rest stop. Things were going pretty well and I was able to keep a good pace. We made out way down to Fremont and road though the auto mall. It was interesting to see a different part of Fremont since I used to live there. About 5 miles out from the last rest stop, my luck started to change. As I was riding along, heading toward an interestion where we were going to be making a right turn I thought that I saw something out of the corner of my eye. At the same time, I felt something hit my hand. I look over at my left hand, and low and behold, a bird had pooped on my glove! :( NO GOOD! I guess, it could have been worse, could have hit me in the face, or elsewhere on my body that wouldn't be as easy to clean. Once I got to the stop ahead, I grabbed my water bottle and squirted off my hand. Definitely need to wash those gloves!

About another 5 miles down the road we had to cross over the highway to get on a bike trail. We turned onto Dixon Landing to cross over the highway. This road is always a little tricky because as you cross over the highway you have to get over to the left two lanes, which puts you smack dab in the middle of the road so that you can get out of the two right lanes that turn onto the highway. At the end of Dixon there is a strange traffic light where you make a left turn onto McCarthy Blvd. I say the intersection is strange because there is a light there, but the only way to really go is to the left. I believe that the reason there is a light there is because straight ahead of the end of Dixon is the entrance to the Newby Island Landfill. Anyway, as we were approaching the light, it turned yellow. We were going at a decent speed, however the girl in front of me decided that she was going to stop and not go through the light. I realized too late what was going on so I had to perform an emergency stop. Unfortunately I didn't get enough of my weight transferred onto my back tire, so my rear wheel started to fish tail a bit as I applied the breaks. I managed to get by her without running into to her, but with all the craziness, I couldn't get clipped out before falling over. So down I went. I ended up hitting my left knee on the pavement and my right knee on my bike (I think). My left knee was scrapped up (about the size of a quarter). I was ok, other than a little blood. Thinking back on it, I should have probably just kept going, because I could have made the turn without having to deal with any cars and I probably could have gotten by her safely. Oh well, with only second's to make a call, I did what I could. I was glad that I didn't take anyone else out with me. I'd rather just injure myself than end up taking out other with me. I got up, dusted myself off and kept on going (once the light turned green, of course).

We only have a little over 5 miles to go before the next rest stop. Those 5 miles went by safely, as we were mainly on designated bike trails. Our rest stop was at a plaza on North First Street right off of 237. There were many choices for food at the plaza, but I opted for Chipotle. I didn't even think about the fact that a burrito may not be a good idea (could be too heavy), but I did think enough not to put cheese or sour cream in it. For the most part, my lunch was somewhat healthy in my book at least(chicken, rice, pico de gallo and corn). But, enough about my lunch.

By this point, we had about 15 more miles to go. I headed out of the rest stop with the same group of people. We had one little snaffu right away. We missed the turn onto the bike path and ended up going a little further down the road and had to make a U turn. It wasn't a big deal, just a little detour. The bike path took us over toward the new San Francisco 49'ers stadium in Santa Clara. I think that due to the stadium construction there was a detour on the path for bicycles. The detour was really odd, but it ended up taking us around the stadium. As we were riding though the residential area behind the stadium we caught up with some other ALC riders. Unfortunately, one of the women in the group ahead of us got too close to another rider and bumped into her bike causing her to go down. It's never fun to see another rider go down, but luckily she didn't take anyone out with her. She did hit her head on something causing a small cut on her eyebrow. We weren't sure what hit her face, but she seemed to be ok and the bleeding stopped pretty quickly. One of the other riders checked out her bike to make sure it was fine and the shifter was still working. With the A-Ok we all kept on going.

The last 6 miles seemed to take forever. Probably because I was tired. It was such a rewarding feeling when we finally pulled into the parking lot at the meet-up location.

The ride went really well, despite the bird poop and my fall. I was able to get an average speed of 15 mph with a moving time of 3.5 hours. I think that is pretty darn good. I know the ride was flat, but it is nice to have a ride where you can focus on speed instead of climbing. Next week's ride will be more climb intensive.

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