Category Archives: Tues/Thurs 7:45am ride

Endless ramblings regarding the every Tuesday & Thursday-morning bike ride, leaving Olive Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am, rain or shine

This is summer, right?

As we’re watching the clock run down on time left to get ready for our annual trip to the Tour de France, we have to wonder… is riding in cold muck preparing us for what’s coming? Hope not! But it’s not as if we haven’t had some epic weather days on the bike. Two really stand out; first, going to bed in Lourdes to a raging thunderstorm, the morning before riding out to the Tourmalet stage. Fortunately no thunderstorms while riding, but we did get a fair amount of rain. But nothing compared to the torrential rains we had descending from the Galibier to Bourg d’Oisans (base of Alpe d’Huez), half an hour of insanity, could hardly see the road, just following a ton of bikes ahead of you and hoping other bikes didn’t run into you. I pretty much destroyed my front wheel, grinding through the rim. Later that day, someone responded to my Strava post that, just 10 minutes behind us, two landslides cut off 400 cyclists from the rest of the world. They were stuck for two days, staying in churches and schools, no clothes or supplies. Dodged a close one!

Of course, last year I broke two ribs sliding out in the rain (yeah, while carrying a pizza, I know…), my most serious incident to date. Maybe 10 years ago I was climbing near Foix and a rider descending lost control and clipped me, putting us both to the ground. I didn’t think much of it when it happened, but looking back, and how I rode the next 5 or so days, it’s possible I might have done more damage to myself than I thought.

Thankfully, I’ve not practiced crashing (away from France) for several years.

So how did this morning’s ride go? Well, pretty slow. Kevin and Kevin showed up, with Kevin (ex-pilot Kevin that is) finally slowing down a bit as he’s gotten older. I’m ok with that. Kevin (younger) rode on ahead, and I’m ok with that, too. A bit annoying that we had to go long sleeve and leg warmers again; it’s only been three weeks, I think, that we’ve been able to ride without them.

Am I in shape for France? I figure I’ll ride myself into shape while there. Yeah, right. We’ll be starting out pretty hard the day after we get there, staying in Grenoble for the Alps stages. Then we take a few trains from Grenoble to Lourdes, to see a couple stages in the Pyrenees, before flying home. We’ll be missing both the final time trial and Paris, but staffing at the shop is very tight and missing two Saturdays didn’t seem like a good idea. Also, it wasn’t practical to spend a lot of time in the Pyrenees because there are really just two stages there.

Flying won’t be nearly as easy as last year; planes and airports were pretty empty, with upgrades easy to come by. This year, we’ll be in economy plus, no chance to upgrade even to premium economy, and the flights were expensive! We did get smarter and won’t be connecting within the US like we did last year, flying SFO-Newark-Paris, getting delayed in Newark 4 hours and missing the only possible train to Lourdes. Had to stay overnight in Paris then fly to Toulouse, via Munich I think, where Lufthansa lost some of our luggage. Not great memories. Hope for better ones this year!

I can artificially slow down rabbits. Nothing artificial about me, just slow.

A couple of slow days up the hills, both Tuesday and Thursday. At least it’s been getting a bit warmer, but not quite enough to abandon leg warmer and sometimes base layers. Thursday was a bit odd; besides seeing a whole lot of rabbits (Kevin counted 10) on West Old LaHonda, it also felt a lot cooler than the temp showed.

But hey, I’ve got two cool new bike toys to play with! First, the Garmin Varia radar, that shows moving blips on my computer, where the cars are. You can see how many, and how fast they’re coming up on you. Kind of like the tracking gadget in the first Alien movie, when the Alien was in the air duct. Second, the new Garmin Edge 1040 computer. WAY faster, better screen, and a cool new feature that tells you how much you’ve got left in the tank. Basically, how many miles you can keep riding until empty.

Why so few diary entries though? Mostly stress. It’s getting really difficult finding enough staff for the shop, which is putting my France trip in peril. Mentally, that trip, thinking about it, it’s something that hold me together. Something I really look forward to. My annual home away from home for 11 days. The intense logistics that go into it that are somehow fun. Makes no sense really. After breaking two ribs last year, well, maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to it this year… I didn’t get to do nearly as much riding as I would have liked to, and missed two big stages.

This year’s trip will be quite different from past; Kevin and I will be seeing stages in both the Alps and Pyrenees, staying first in Grenoble, then taking a few trains to Lourdes. No finale in Paris; that’s a bit over-rated anyway. Just hoping we can pull it off.b