Monday, April 14, 2014

Tour de Reservoirs

Saturday's ride consisted of 81 glorious miles with a tour of three beautiful reservoirs. This is my longest ride to date, and to top it off, I hit an AWESOME average speed, 15 mph!

The day started out fine, I woke up, got all my gear together and hit the road. I got to the meet up point and started to get my things in order. I looked into my trunk and realized that I didn't have my front wheel. Of all the things to forget, this may be the worst. I can ride without gloves, shoes, or various other things; it is a little hard to ride without a front wheel. I thought that I was going to be dead in the water and end up driving all the way back home without having done a ride. Thankfully, one of our amazing TRLs came to my rescue. He was able to find a wheel for me to borrow for the day.

So my bike was patriotic, red, white and blue. It was weird to look down and see a blue wheel, but I was thankful to have it.

We also got our new SBB t-shirts that are for our group photo in camp on Day 5 of ALC. The shirts look pretty good and I can't wait to wear it. I'm going to keep it all nice and new until the photo.

As soon as the announcements, stretching, route review and safety speech were done, everyone hit the road. I really need to get my butt in gear because I swear that as soon as the safety speech is over the majority of people are on their bike and heading out of the parking lot. Last year there would be a couple minutes before everyone started rolling. I don't want to keep heading out towards the back of the pack.

Anyways, I made my way down to Saratoga. It was nice not to be climbing up Mt Eden and Piece on the way. As I got to Saratoga where our first rest stop was, a group of us decided that we were going to skip the first rest stop. We were only at mile 8 and we felt that there was no need to stop yet and the next rest stop was at mile 18, so we only had 10 more miles to go. We made our way down to Los Gatos and over to Almaden Expressway where our second rest stop was.

At the rest stop I found out that my friend was going to be hanging back to ride with the sweep riders. I didn't think that I was going to wait, but in the end I decided to wait. While we waited at Starbucks for all the riders to come in, I joined out team captain in a conversation about AIDS LifeCycle and the South Bay Blaze with a nice older couple. It was fun to talk to someone about what we are doing and I even learned a few things myself. Thankfully I had one of my ALC cards handy, so I gave it to them so that they would have the ALC website and our team name. Then a few minutes later, a woman came up to me and my friend and asked if we were with the group that just rode down Camden about an hour ago. I told her we were and gave her one of my cards because she was asking who our group was.

Once the last rider came through the rest stop we gave them a half hour to forty five minute head start. We all knew that we ride at a faster pace than the last rider, so we didn't want to make them feel like we were rushing them and we also figured that we would be able to ride our own pace. Starting out again after such a ling wait makes it feel like you are starting all over again. I needed to get my body warmed back up and muscles loosened up. Not long down the road I needed to stop and stretch out because one of my muscles in my leg was starting to ache. After a quick stretch break at Celero Reservoir, I was good to go. Not a bad place to stop.

We made our way along Uvas Road towards our next reservoir, Chesbro. As we were riding along on Uvas I noticed some cones and started to see some roadies flagging down riders. I didn't realize at the time which ride they were apart of, but now I believe it was for the Terra Bella ride. My ALC tent-mate was doing that ride on Saturday. As we made out turn onto Oak Glen, my friend lost his route sheet. We happened to be passing another rider at the time and he pointed it the dropped route sheet. I told him thanks, but no worries as we were riding together and I still had my route sheet. When I caught up with my friend, I gave him my spare route sheet that I had grabbed that morning. I grabbed it because I figured it would be a good idea with the way my morning started. I also found out that my friend's front derailleur cable had snapped meaning that we was stuck in her smaller chain ring in the front. Luckily it wasn't a big hindrance; it would just mean that he wouldn't be able to go as fast downhill. We kept on going and finally made our way to rest stop 3 in Morgan Hill. We actually missed the turn for the rest stop but were able to back track a little and find out SAG car. We soon found out that the two sweep riders ended up missing a turn and were already at the Lunch stop.

We had one more reservoir to hit before Lunch, so we quickly moved on. We made our way across Morgan Hill, over the highway and towards Anderson Lake. It is quite a climb to get up to the Dam but it is so worth it! The view is gorgeous at the top.

 Looking out over Morgan Hill. 

 Anderson Lake.

Our bikes at the top of Anderson Dam. 

After a few photos, we headed down and back into Morgan Hill. We pulled into the large shopping plaza on the east side of 101 looking for Erick's Deli. This plaza is where we had lunch the last time we did the Anderson Dam climb. However, we started to realize that this wasn't the plaza we were going to be having lunch at this time. The plaza we needed to be at was on the other side of the highway. We crossed over 101 and joined the group at the correct lunch stop.

After refueling we took a look at my friend's bike before we headed back on the road. We determined that his derailleur cable didn't actually snap, it had pulled out of the derailleur. One of the TRLs was able to secure it in place so that the cable wouldn't scratch up the paint.

We got back out on the road and headed north. Despite the headwinds that we were facing, we still managed to keep a great pace of around 20 mph. I love cruising along a nice open flat road at 20+ mph. I still smile thinking about it. It gives me such a sense of freedom and relaxation.

We had one more big climb of the day and at the top of that large climb was our 4th rest stop. Knowing that I was going to slow down on the climb I told my friend that I would meet him at the top. I had to stop a few times on the hill and at one of my stops I saw a flock of turkeys. I noticed that one of the large turkey's had an arrow stuck in its back. I ended up having to walk a portion of the hill because I was just too hot and tired to keep slowly chugging up the hill. I finally made it to Santa Teresa County Park, but realized that my friend wasn't there. We also realized that some of the other riders that we not too far behind our little group hadn't arrived yet either. We sent the SAG car to find them and discovered that they had missed the park and had kept climbing. I refilled my water bottles, applied more sunscreen and headed down the hill.

There was only one more rest stop to go. After the last rest stop I ended up riding a couple of miles on my own since my friend had gone on ahead after our confusion at the last rest stop. On Santa Teresa Blvd I caught up with some of our TRLs. After stopping at a red light with them, when the light turned green I headed on forward and was almost side swiped by a USPS truck. That mail truck came within inches of me. Thankfully I didn't get startled and was able to hold my line. I hate crappy drivers who don't have the decency to give cyclists space on the road. We are human beings, who have families that we would like to safely get back to. It really doesn't take that much time to wait for a safe opportunity to pass a cyclist.

Another couple miles down the road I caught up with my friend. He was riding with some slower riders, which I thought was strange. Then I found out he had lost his route sheet again, so he needed to stick with someone so that he would know where to go. We picked up the speed and headed to our last rest stop.

There were only 15 more miles to go till the ride was finished. Those last miles were pretty uneventful, and thankfully not difficult. We made it in by 6:10 pm. Another long day out on the road, but a great one!

The Starbucks Soy Chocolate Milk with protein powder tasted amazingly after a our ride!

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