Tag Archives: bike ride

Hot shakedown ride in France

Mont Ventoux from afar. Today we admire it, tomorrow we die!
Mont Ventoux from afar. Why do we admire something that’s going to try to kill us tomorrow?
Kevin recovering from a rough first part of the ride with a coke.
Kevin recovering from a rough first part of the ride with a coke.

First real ride in France down, and a very good thing we got out there. Can you say HOT? This is the South of France, and it’s both hot and windy, the sort of conditions that suck the moisture out of everything, especially you. Which was a bit of a problem for the first half of our ride, because I didn’t think about the fact that Kevin drinks water on a “schedule” which normally means he drinks a lot more than me (I typically don’t drink enough). Today, I went through water almost twice as fast as Kevin, and didn’t realize it until we arrived in Orange, where he felt really bad and had his second seizure of the ride (he’d earlier had one on a not-much-fun busy 4-lane highway where there was fortunately a guard rail that he could hide behind so people didn’t think he was injured and start pulling over to help).

Hot enough that even our bikes needed a break!
Hot enough that even our bikes needed a break!

If it’s hot, drink lots of water. If it’s windy, drink lots of water. If it’s both hot and windy, you really need to watch things carefully and plan on some extra stops along the way. In the SF Bay Area, these aren’t conditions we see very often, if ever. Very good thing we saw them here, today, before taking on something really challenging and stupid, like Mont Ventoux tomorrow. 🙂

Aside from the water issue, which we addressed appropriately on the second half of the ride, it was really nice getting out there today and seeing some different things. I’d wanted, for years, to see the Roman amphitheater in Orange, so that was our destination. Of course, I didn’t think about bringing a lock & cable for the bikes so we could actually see it; we just got to tour the outside. It looks impressive though, so I guess we have to come back here sometime. Orange actually seems like a pretty nice place to stay, definitely preferable to a crowded place like Avignon that isn’t so easy to get around and is kind of industrial once you’re outside the old city walls.

You see it, you just gotta go see it close up. Early remnant of Borg cube?
You see it from a distance, you just gotta go see it close up. Early remnant of Borg cube?

If you look at the Strava map, you’ll see an interesting little jog which was not intentional, but a result of misreading (or not really being able to read at all) my Garmin’s display. Not a bad diversion though; pretty countryside, nice roads. There are definitely more-scenic and less-busy routes to & from Orange than we took though! Specifically, avoid D907 if at all possible. There’s nothing nice to say about it, and there are plenty of alternatives in the area. In our area, the closest thing to it might be Central Expressway. Sure, it will get you there, but it’s not something you’d ever look forward to unless you were in a real hurry and had to take the shortest route. But if life is that much of a bother to you, something you have to hurry through that much, I suspect you’d be in a car and not out riding a bike. 🙂

3 Days of riding in a row- Yipee! (But watch out for the Sheriff; they’re targeting cyclists again)

Bracket the usual Tuesday & Thursday rides with today’s spin to the coast, care of the July 4th holiday, and you get my first back-to-back-to-back riding days for quite a while. And just in time, since my son and I leave for France a week from tomorrow, where we’ll likely have 5, maybe even 6 good days of riding in a row.

The Sheriff’s dept was out in force today, cracking down on cyclists in Woodside. They were catching quite a few, probably for not stopping at stop signs.

Just me today; Kevin went off paintballing with his friends. The way he’s been riding lately, I need the extra miles a lot more than he does. Besides, it’s not so bad for me to ride solo once in a while, see how well I can motivate myself and climb at my own pace, whatever that pace is.

Back in the day, I could have used a ride like this as an easy-going joy ride, without trying to redline it on the climbs or push so strongly into the wind. That was before Strava. Now, with every aspect of every ride recorded and scored for all to see, the temptation is always present to give it what you’ve got. Today was no exception.

Two women asking for directions at the western base of Old LaHonda. Women may have outnumbered men on the road today.

I chose what’s commonly referred to as the “Coastal Classic”- Woodside, Pescadero, San Gregorio, Tunitas. Also known as “the usual.” A good barometer of your present shape, with some good climbs and just enough distance to test your endurance a bit. I think I passed the test. My Old LaHonda time was 22-something; sure, I wish it was fster, but that’s where I am right now, particularly on the first climb of the day. I felt slow on Haskins but my time fortunately said otherwise, and I got a recent personal best on one of the Stage Road climbs, as well as Stage Road from end-to-end. Tunitas? About 4 minutes off my best time, but I’m OK with that.

Am I ready for France? Bike-wise, sure. But tons to do at the shop before I go, making sure things can run smoothly for 11 days. And it’s just a week away.