Monday, July 20, 2009

Cali and another good group ride...

Back from vacay and much to report.

First of all Becky and I had a great time in sunny California. We got back around midnight last night and were needless to say, whooped. Our trip started in San Fransisco where Becky has family so we got to see her Grandma, Aunts and Uncles and cousins. After one night in San Fran, we motored in our rented Jeep Wrangler to Santa Cruz for a couple nights in a nice little beach house. Becky's Aunt Laura happens to also live Santa Cruz and she also rides bikes. Jackpot. Not only were we able to beach it up, I was able to get the grand tour of Santa Cruz via two bike rides. One was about 25 miles and one was about 30, both were awesome and both were a tad on the hilly side. Not a lot of flat in Santa Cruz in turns out.

Laura Bontrager, me and her friend Stephanie before our first ride.

Laura's bike was made for a Team Discovery member a few years back. When he left the team she inherited a sweet ride, and yes that's me lifting it up with my pinkie fingers.

I was able to use Laura's husband Keith's bike which was pretty sweet. Full carbon frame, carbon cranks, carbon handlebars and great components. The saddle was better than I was used to as well. Turns out I have a pretty cushy, probably pretty heavy stock seat. Keith rides a pretty slim and hard, nearly weightless I'm sure, saddle. After two rides my butt bone was pretty tender. I brought my own pedals and shoes so I had to get Keith's pedals off. It took me a minute and some help from Laura to get them off but then we we good to roll. Our pre-ride breakfast was homemade organic oatmeal pancakes and the best coffee I've ever had. Laura then took us around Santa Cruz. The scenery and pit stops for wild blackberries were a couple of the highlights. Just riding around a different town is cool enough but Santa Cruz is beautiful. Having a local who knows her way around town is great too. Both rides were great and I can't thank Laura enough. Also, many thanks to Keith for letting me use his bike while he was out of town.

After Santa Cruz we headed to Yosemite for the rest of the trip. We camped, hiked, swam, cooked over the fire pit, took pictures and generally had an awesome time. If you haven't been, I definitely recommend it. I can't even describe the scenery. It's all so very impressive and it was great to see. Can't wait to go back one day.
Back in CT today, I headed out to the Pedal Power Monday night ride. I set out with the A/B group. We head out together but sooner rather than later the A group kicks it up a notch and leaves the B's behind. I'm naturally one of the B's left behind. I have ridden with the B group once before and tonight was another good one. We got in 30 miles averaging about 17.9 mph. A couple tough hills peppered in made it interesting and towards to end I found myself in a group that was breaking away from the rest. There was about six of us, about half the B's, and these guys started cranking. I was working pretty hard not to get dropped. At one point I was near my max and suddenly there was a pretty long, very visible hill right in front of us. I was just about to break when I noticed that we were taking a right hand turn right before the hill, total lifesaver. I didn't get dropped and soon we were pulling back into the shop. Just to prove that I'm a good Noncyclist, as I pulled up to a couple of the guys after the ride, we started talking and I forgot about riding.

Wait for it...

I totally fell over still clipped in. Here I am pulling up to talk about what a great ride we just had, and before I know it I'm on the ground. Real slick Mav. It happens so fast yet so slow. You can't lose focus for a second, I'm just glad I was back on my own bike, not Keith's. The guys, who I was really just meeting, were nice enough and did the whole, "Everyone topples over clipped in once in a while". Whatever, good for the ego to get slammed down like that from time to time. After helping me up, we did introduce ourselves, and talked about our good ride. Maybe next time it won't end with me on the ground.

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