Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A blog for cycling and kitty photos and an occasional cycling report

Sulfur Creek, on Geysers Road (Sonoma)

I am lying around at home, off of work due to a migraine, and had three things on my mind:

1) my ride in Healdsburg a couple of weeks ago. One of those rides that reminds you why you like to get out and ride. Such a fantastic ride.

I headed out to Sonoma on Friday night with the boyfriend. He was to do Ross' Hillclimb on Saturday morning, I was planning my own ride for the day. The BF suggested the Geysers climb, one of the big climbs from the Terrible Two. I was waffling-- at 9 miles of climbing with 9.5% average grade, 3500 vertical feet of sustained climbing, this would be the hardest sustained climb I've done. Would I be able to manage it alone on a hot summer day?

We were lucky enough to stay at John and Jill's vacation rental place-- very luxurious and in a wonderful location down the street from vineyards in Healdsburg. So much nicer than home!

Saturday morning, it was up early and off to the race. I decided to give the geysers climb a try. I took an extra water bottle, loaded up some food and headed out. I was pleasantly surprised to survive the climb, grinding up slowly but surely in my 28 cog in the rear. The road felt steep, but nothing that wasn't manageable, and I enjoyed the view of vineyards and ranches as I slowly made it up the hill.

After the double summit, there's about 15 miles of mostly downhill. The descent is gorgeous-- you wind down through an amazing canyon, passing geothermal works and more ranches-- but it is quite challenging due to blind corners and terrible road conditions. I had a small panic during one of the many small intermediate climbs that I was out of food, but found an ancient powerbar in my saddlebag, saving the day. I rolled into Cloverdale, then back to Geyserville via a rolling road. What a wonderful ride.

2) Preparing for the death ride. I impulsively signed up for this back in January, along with the BF. My goal-- four passes (of five), at around 88 miles and 12000 vertical feet of climbing. More than I have ever done in a single ride.

Much time passed, with me riding a lot, but focusing on shorter rides with limited climbing, weight lifting, intervals, base. Good to build my cycling strength, but perhaps not so good for the longer distances and climbs of the death ride. Not to mention the heat and altitude.

Come late May, I decided I should train up a bit for the Death Ride. I rode my legs off over the memorial day weekend on the Memorial Day Ride-- 320 miles in 4 days at a good pace. Then added climbing, lots of climbing, to almost all of my normal rides and bumped up the mileage of the weekend rides.

Next up on the program- the Tollhouse century, sister event to Climb to Kaiser and sharing many of the same roads. 95 miles, 8K feet of climbing, decent amounts of heat, but only limited altitude as I will climb to just 5600 feet. My goal- ride steadily through the climbs, which are concentrated in about 35 miles of the ride. And to beat the BF by a bigger margin than last year. It's not really a fair competition, as he is doing the full Climb to Kaiser, 156 miles, 13K feet of climbing, while I am doing a century. But I'll take it!

3) Loaded touring in the Canadian Rockies in early August. The plan: ride from Jasper to Banff on the Icefields Parkway, with seasoned tourers Sue and Bill. I'm getting the bike and gear together now. Can't wait to try my first loaded tour.