Pretty picture, ugly picture

skyline_05_24_16Even on a day when you look up in the morning and see Skyline shrouded in a heavy marine layer (dense fog), and you’re thinking what a mess it’s going to make of your bike (which it did; glad I haven’t cleaned it recently!), you can still look forward to something beautiful.

The ride itself? Surprisingly OK considering I ditched my bike on Sunday to watch a bike race. I expected the effects of eating too much and not riding would hold me back, but I got up Kings in a “competent” time of 28:16 (if Strava is to be believed, but if not, what’s left?). Kevin (pilot), Eric, JR… who am I missing? I think that’s everybody; smaller group than normal, probably due to what people saw coming over the hill (the fog). But this was one of those rides where you just felt better and better as you rode, which coincided with the weather getting nicer and nicer!

Kevin not pretending to be having a good time on his trainer.
Kevin not pretending to be having a good time on his trainer.

Contrast that to what my son, Kevin, was doing while we were out having fun. He’s got the coolest trainer in the world (Tacx Elite, so cool it even spins the rear wheel for simulated descents) but as you can see, it’s not like getting outside. OK, truth, he probably could have fun with it but this was shortly before the 40 staples were removed from his head and he wasn’t feeling great. The good news is that he’s been cleared to ride outside again! Nothing big for a few days; we’ll break him in gently. Then, 10 days from now, he’s back in for his final surgery and another period of time off the bike. Like I said, it can be a lot worse than having to ride in fog on Skyline.

 

One other thing to note. It’s possible I’m seeing some improvement in my breathing, as I’ve moved from Qvar to Singulair. A bit early to tell; I’ve only been on it for a week, but no scary side-effects so far, and it’s possible I’m breathing easier.  –Mike–

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A Sunday without a ride? Drove to see the final Tour of California stage in Sacramento

The Tour of California riding across the Tower Bridge in Sacramento
The Tour of California riding across the Tower Bridge in Sacramento
A Sunday evening without that feeling like you earned what you ate… it’s not something I want to repeat again anytime soon! Or the drive home in heavy traffic either. But since the Tour of California didn’t pass by anywhere close to us this year, we had to travel to see it. Tempting to give it a pass entirely, but needed to test out the camera gear (ok, more like test out my ability to use a camera), and my son’s girlfriend had never seen a bike race in person.

Got there early enough to see the pre-start roll across the Tower Bridge (seen in the photo above), spend some time at the Sacramento Rail Museum and grab a nice lunch in Old Town while the race was doing a 70 mile spin out in no-man’s land, and then take photos of the finishing circuit around the capitol.

I decided to try using my “Africa” 150-600mm (super-telephoto) lens for the first time at a bike race, with mixed results. Truthfully, it turned out to be the wrong lens for the day, for an odd reason. There was way too much atmospheric distortion on long shots… the lens could “get” shots way the heck down the road, but depending where you pointed it, particularly well-lit areas, you’d get fuzzy results. When atmospheric heating wasn’t an issue, the shots were incredibly sharp, but anything about asphalt was suspect. And that’s the problem with most bike racing shots. They’re riding on asphalt. The good news is that it means I don’t have to think about bringing that huge lens with me to France (even though I did figure a way to stuff it into my camera bag).

As for what happened in the race, well, not exactly sure! We couldn’t get too close to the finish line (about 500 meters out) so most of what we saw were the riders setting up for the sprint. Mark Cavendish won, but I can’t even find him in the photos I took. Sagan’s there, along with Kristoff (2nd & 3rd places) but Cavendish was pretty well hidden at 500 meters to go.

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