Today was my first time doing "back to back" rides. After all, ALC is not like a regular century or something - it's 7 days. Not 1. I need to get my body used to the idea of being on the saddle several days in a row. I thought starting with two would be a good idea. It just happens that we also have two days in the weekend. Coincidence? "I do not see coincidence, I see providence. I see purpose." (Oh wait. This is a three day weekend. Well, you get the idea.)
It so happens that my friend Bob runs a training ride series out of Sunnvyale that he's named Awesome Ahead. The first time I went riding with Bob he dragged my butt up Edgewood (which is a nice climb) and led me on what ended up being my longest ride to date. So if Bob's going to run a training series then I'm gonna have to check that out. The fact that my friends Jim, Wendy, and Per are gonna be there is more extra bonus.
But no, that wasn't enough, so I brought a friend. Ryan had been a co-worker and eventually boss (briefly) at Inktomi. He rides, and hadn't ridden with me since I started riding, so I threw out the idea to him that he should come out for this training ride and he took me up on it. A good idea, because the day was...wait for it...awesome.
One nice thing - the meeting spot is about 10 minutes away by car. (I'll start riding there, I think.) So I was able to roll out of bed at 7:30 and be on the road at 9 with plenty of time to spare. After some stretching Bob ran down the route and then we had the mandatory safety speech. (I think by the end of the season I will be able to recite it from memory.) Things were warm enough that I ditched the arms of my jacket (yay for convertible clothing!) before we even left.
The ride going out to Mt. Eden was nice. I rode Foothill Expressway for the first time. A good thing to know it's there - doing "laps" on Foothill would be a good way to get some intervals done. The ride to the bottom of the climb was a bit odd, though. I'm used to "false flats" - sections of road where you think you're going flat but you're actually slightly climbing. (This becomes obvious on a bike because you're sweating and only going 12mph.) This one was rather odd because it didn't just look flat, but looked like we were going downhill. Bizzare!
The we started the climb. It was actually not that bad. I never ran out of breath, and didn't get to my 170bpm "oh crap" heartrate. Oh, and did I mention the spectacular views? I had no idea that little park was back in there. Easy riding distance from home and all of a sudden you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. Most excellent.
The climb wasn't enough for some people - Bob, Wendy, and Per all did it twice. Wendy said she "didn't get it right the first time". They got extra badass points. I suppose I could have done it twice - but after Rheem and Happy Valley yesterday I was good on the climbing.
Also on the way up this guy yelled at me from his car. I was innocently pedaling along and I heard "Hey, pedal faster!" I looked over and it was Tom. That was so cute! And then he was waiting for me at the top of the hill. He got to meet Ryan and we chatted a bit to relax after the climb. Then it was back on the bikes for the descent which was much longer than the climb. (Which, of course, means I will need to come back and try the route from the other direction.)
At the bottom of the hill I was greeted with deja vu - we were at the same shopping complex as last weekend! Our one rest stop on this ride was the same as the second rest stop from my ride last Saturday. I did my "usual", grabbed some water and fruit, and then ended up being the last guy out of the stop, practically. (I need to work on staying focused at rest stops.)
On the ride back we hit EVERY FREAKING RED LIGHT, and so of course quickly lost touch with the main group. Fortunately I was on familiar ground, and literally rode by where I live. We finally made it back to our starting point and there was Tom waiting for me again. Awww. I loaded the bike back up and made it home fast enough to bother with stretching (yay foam roller and yoga strap) and have a recovery mocha shake.