I remember thinking last weekend "Oh, we're not going over the bridge? Huh, I must have misread the route sheet." Nope - I had last week confused with this week. Which meant that I would get another crack at the hill I so did not enjoy the first time for the second week in a row! Oh lucky me! Oh happy day!
I was taking no chances this time. While Tom was not SAGing for this ride he was SAGing for me. And since I was still feeling my cold a little bit I was reserving the right to bail if I needed to. I asked him to come along more for piece of mind than for any other reason. Also he was going to meet me at each rest stop and I would be reapplying chamois cream each time. It was an experiment to see what was causing my butthurt. (I ended up using WAY too much this time, but hey no butthurt! Yay!)
The route this time did go over the bridge. That part was familiar from the last time I went over the Dumbarton. However, what I was not prepared for was the road work in process. Which turned out to be a lot. It even gave a few people flats. My quote was "Hey, what's up with all this cyclocross shit?" And the road after the bridge was crappy as usual. It gave the COBL GOBL-R a good workout.
The first rest stop came quickly, but sadly it was the slowest Starbucks known to man and waiting for bottled water put me way behind especially with spending extra time putting on the cream. While in line I chewed on some Perpetuem Solids. Someone's gonna have to convince me that they're worth it - they were nasty and I think I'll go back to Shot Bloks. (The Endurolytes worked though.) When I came out Andrew (my favorite TRL of all time - my two favorite TRLs are named Andrew) was waiting for me as the sweep and we had to book. It turned out that Niles Canyon Road was closed due to a car crash. We missed a turn but Garmin let me know eventually and we caught up with everyone as they were waiting where the road was closed. Just as Chris was going to explain an alternate route they opened the road so off we went! The police even held cars for a few minutes to give us a head start. Thanks so much!
So the good news was that we didn't spend nearly as much time on highway 84 this week. The bad news was that it was because we were climbing Palomares, the ride that one of my compatriots last weekend pointed out as an epic climb. Yeah, it kicked my ass pretty hard. I was starting to worry if I'd have the juice to meet the challenge of Calaveras again after that bit of fun. We had caught up with the other TRL Andrew and eventually made it to lunch. I got a sandwich from the Bagel Street Cafe. Turns out they make a really good sandwich! And the fruit cup was great! I only ate half of it and sent the other half with Tom to meet me at the last rest stop.
After lunch it was time for Calaveras...again. This time I decided to not be in a hurry. I took many rest stops. I had a gel. I drank LOTS of water. And you know what? I survived. I may have been faster the previous week (when I felt the sweep pushing me on) but I made it. And that's what matters. My final speed for this longer, harder ride was faster than the week before, so maybe going easy on the hills is a good thing.
The downhill after Calaveras seems way too short. But while on it I had a run in with a cranky motorist. Since I was doing 35 mph (or...uh...maybe slight over), which was the speed limit, I had every right to be in the lane. The fellow in the sporty beige Camry behind me seemed to disagree and leaned on the horn a lot. Then he unsafely passed. What a nice guy!
The next rest stop was a welcome sight. Only 15 miles to go and I had no specific complaint other than fatigue! Tom was waiting again, and after the second half of my sammich and a cookie (my only "cheat" of the day) and a quick re-apply of the magic cream, we were off. Similar to last week, but this time past the new stadium and up to Great America Parkway. (Last week we rode by it on the outbound leg.) There was a tailwind on GAP so I was happy with that and making good time. Then up Central. We were supposed to go all the way back to the starting point but I live on Central Expressway and didn't feel I needed the extra mile. So a quick 5 miles and I was back home.
At this point I am pretty sure I am in shape to do any one day of the ride. It's doing all 7 I worry about. I went out for a short ride today and it was fine, but we'll see what happens next weekend.