Monday, April 5, 2010
A bit of a bipolar ride!
A bit of a bipolar ride! Well the day for my climb of Mt. Tamalpais came and when I woke up, the weather was actually not too bad! I checked online and it said the rain would be holding off until around 1PM, so despite waking up WAY too early considering how late I got to sleep last night, I got going right away, packing my bag and walking over to the bike shop. I got there a bit before they opened, but after a short wait, I got the bike fitted and I was ready to go. WOW, they rented me a Specialized Roubaix 52cm dream machine! Full carbon fiber, weighs 17 pounds! I felt like I wasn't pushing anything! Responded well, was extremely comfortable and with the compact chain rings and the 11-28 cassette, I was ready to go. The guy at the shop told me that approaching Mt Tam from Shoreline Dr wasn't too safe and suggested an alternative route approaching from the west. Effectively it should have caused me to do the route in reverse. Whatever. I started out skipping Lombard street, deciding hitting a big hill right out of the gates before getting used to the bike was a bad idea, so I took off for the shore and out to the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course, since I had officially paid, the rain no longer had to hold off, so I got soaked and with the winds and the 40 degree weather, by the time I hit the bridge I was freezing and it only got worse from the car splash as I crossed the bridge. The only thing that kept me rolling was the fact that I could see the clouds were open and it was sunny on the other side. Once I got across, the weather turned nice, but there was a ton of construction and I got lost, requiring me to take a couple wrong turns, retrace my steps, and then do it all again, before I finally found where I was supposed to go. The road took me through Salsalito, what a gorgeous area, then out Miller Road to the Mill Hill area. This was the start of my ascent, which now without the GPS course loaded due to the rental guys modifications, I was flying a bit blind and it showed... I found my way initially, then way overshot a turn, back tracked, tried to find the turn, couldn't, tried again, then said screw it and used the GPS to at least find out how to continue on. GOD BLESS the Garmin 705, I would have never gotten anywhere without it since the map the rental company gave was a freaking cartoon! So after about 4 additional wrong turns and a few additional miles, I finally got up and onto Panoramic Hwy. The climbing was really nice, but I started to realize that the slow was heading down. So I stopped again, looked at the GPS and realized, SHIT off course AGAIN!!! THAT MAP SUCKED! So I backtracked and took the road it said, which brought me to a fire station and a ton of gravel and dirt covered trails. I asked one of the guys there how to proceed to Mt Tam, and he said that I had to head back down the mountain for about 5 miles, cut a right and then restart the ascent! WTF!?!?!?! In addition, it started to rain once again! I quickly (ok so 'quickly' is arguable), got the hint and punted on the climb. I headed back down via Panoramic to Rt 1 when I came out to a T intersection. I discovered that I could take a left and head out to Tiburon, another area the rental guy recommended. So since his previous recommendations went so swimmingly, why WOULDN'T I listen to him. Did I go out to Tiburon? You betcha! I paid $70 to rent that effin' bike and despite tired legs, bruised pschi, a boiling temper and a grumbling tummy, I was GOING TO GET MY MONEY'S WORTH! It turned out to be a good choice, as the rain stopped, the sun came out and the ride was gorgeous, taking me along the river, giving me a view of Angel Island and throwing in a bit more easy climbing. Seeing the storm clouds a bit later on made me realize that I had clearly pushed my luck enough, so I took off back towards the bridge, which around that time apparently becomes a home for lunatics. I was almost hit multiple times, no not by cars, but by ra-tahds on bikes texting and talking on their cell phones! To the point that the daughter of one family after she almost knocked me off into the road required me to stop and 'politely discuss' the issue with her and her father. I am sure that my tact and debating skills got her to NEVER do that again :-) ! The bridge was also packed with pedestrians who felt it was necessary to walk 5 people wide, effectively taking up the entire walk/bikeway, and I didn't realize it, but "On your left" and "excuse me" apparently mean FU in San Francisco-ease. So I again called upon my tactfulness to ensure that I asked people to move appropriately in the future! I finally got back to the bike shop and famished as I was, decided to just walk back to the hotel take a shower, take in a couple talks (which I was a zombie for), then walk down to Whole Foods to get some stuff for breakfast and dinner tonight. Of course, keeping my lucky streak intact, the paper bag broke on the way back to the hotel, breaking 3 of the beers in my six pack, popping open my bag of Terra chips (I WAS SOOO Looking forward to those) and spilling chips and beer all over the street. To make matters worse, I didn't have another bag, so I had to carry all the beer soaked food and bottles in my arms as I finished the last three blocks to the hotel. I did enjoy the stares in the lobby as the onlookers seemed to believe my new cologne to be quite intriguing! Eu de la HOBO? Of course this sounds like I had a terrible time, which in fact I did not. I had a wonderful ride, it was quite a bit trying at times, but the riding itself was fantastic and now I know how I would go about climbing Mt Tam, so next time I come to the MRS I will be sure to do so! My average speed was terrible due to all the tracking, backtracking, stopping and fretting, but oh well, it was fun and I would do it again. However, the hot shower after the ride to warm me up, quite possibly beat out the ride for my favorite part of the day, although when I finally dip into one of those beers tonight, that may outshine even that!
This year, like last year, I will be riding for Mary Payton's Miracle - My friend Steve Kogos from Trigators informed me that his friend Joe's daughter, Mary Payton, was diagnosed a number of years back with Late Infantile Batten Disease. This is a disease with no cure, however, there are special experimental (and extremely expensive) treatments which have shown some significant signs of success! In order to assist with the costly treatments and research, Mary Payton's Miracle was created to raise money to find a cure, hopefully in time to save little Mary Payton as well as the many others affected by this terrible disease!