Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ride of a Thousand Turns

Ok, so maybe there weren't a thousand turns, but there were a lot of them, especially for a 64 mile ride. Our route sheet for Saturday's ride was a page and a half long. There was a good chance someone was going to get lost. Thankfully I only missed one turn and didn't go too far out of the way before realizing it.

I realized about a mile down the road, after turning onto Homestead, that I had forgotten to start my Garmin. I was glad that I only lost a mile, but i really need to get in the hang of starting it as soon as I get on my bike to start riding. I was riding with Scott, Jamie and Ken until we all caught up with the last rider. Jamie was on sweep duty for the first leg of the route and we had given the team a head start. Scott, Ken and I continued on ahead.

We thought that we might have gotten lost in this neighborhood we were riding in, where all the streets were named 'Something' Springs. It has to be hard to give people directions to your house if you live in that neighborhood. Anyway, it turns out we were going the right way after all. Just when we stopped to check the map to see where we were I saw our SAG car pull up across the street. He had gone to find someone who had actually gotten lost. We continued on, with the climb on Prospect up next. After climbing Prospect we rode past some beautiful homes in Saratoga.

I didn't eat all of my breakfast that morning and it was starting to catch up with me. Luckily we only had a little bit to go before getting to the rest stop and it was mostly flat miles. We made it to Starbucks and I grabbed a yogurt to eat. The Greek yogurt from Starbucks comes in a little plastic cup that has a smaller nested cup that has granola in it. My hand was so shaky that I couldn't get the little granola cup out. Thankfully, my teammate Merrill helped me out. Bad Melissa for not eating breakfast! I need to really be careful on ALC so that I don't let my blood sugar drop too low. I'm usually pretty good about it though.

After rest stop one, we headed out on Highway 9 towards Los Gatos. Instead of heading straight towards town, we turned onto Montalvo Rd and headed up to the Arts Center ( I had no idea that the Villa was there. I have seen so much more of the bay area since I started doing these training rides for ALC. I will have to go back there sometime, and check the place out.

We headed over to San Jose for lunch. When we pulled into the plaza we were strongly encouraged by Jamie to eat at Taco al Pastor. It was a good choice so we weren't arguing with his call. We enjoyed our lunch inside to escape the chilly air outside. It was nice to warm up for a little while.

After lunch we rode through New Almaden towards the Almaden Reservoir. The area was beautiful with all of the flags lining the streets and the old-timey buildings. However, not long after we passed the reservoir, the area got a little shady (and i'm not talking a lack of sun). We were warned that morning, that you do not want to continue on past the stop sign, because you would soon start to see signs about trespassers being shot at. As we rested a bit to catch out breath and regroup, we admired the little shacks on the other side of the road. Just kidding, they looked like a little meth lab city over there. We didn't want to hang around too long, so we were quickly on our way. As we retraced our steps (so to say) we blew past the rest stop that was at Quicksilver park because we had a good pace going and didn't feel the need to stop.

We made our way up to San Jose and ended up making our own rest stop at Greystone park. This was a rest stop on one of our rides a few weeks ago, but we had missed it last time. That is the one nice thing about riding on the same roads, you start to know where you can make your own rest stops if need be.

From there we made our way towards our last rest stop in Campbell (at Starbucks, of course). There was one turn we missed along the way, but as I mentioned earlier, it didn't take me long to figure out we missed it. There was only supposed to be a 1/10 of a mile in between turns, and since we had gone a little bit further than that, I knew we must have missed it. We decided to make a U-turn and we were back on route soon enough.

While we were at the last rest stop I overheard someone asking a fellow rider why she was only wearing one shoe. Apparently she had lost a screw in one of her cleats and it was causing her to not be able to clip out. So there was her other shoe, just hanging off her pedal.

(photo taken by a fellow teammate)

Thankfully this hasn't happened to me, but it reminded me that I need to buy a spare set of cleats for ALC just in case something like this happens. Better to be prepared and not need it, than out of luck.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. There were only 10 fairly flat miles left. We headed through Cupertino and over to the pedestrian bridge that crosses over 280. After arriving back at the car and signing out, Scott went and bought the gang our usual chocolate milks. Always good to finish a ride with a nice cold Soy chocolate milk. :) Yum!

I managed to get a 14 mph average for this ride. I'm very happy with the progress I have made over the training season and the past two years in general. When I first started riding with the South Bay Blaze, I was averaging around 10 mph. Now I am up to 14-15 mph. That is a great improvement that I am very proud of. Last year, I wanted so bad to be able to ride with a certain group of people that I had come to know. unfortunately they were too fast for me. Now, I can keep up with them and have been able to ride several training rides with them this year. I'm so happy with all that I have accomplished so far, and look forward to continual improvements.

This was a great way to end our official training ride series!

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos. I think I was just trying to keep moving to keep warm and stay with the pack.

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