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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fall Riding

Today, I had a hankering for a decently long ride. I went up Page Mill Road in the morning from Moody Road, and the weather was very nice. Near the top, I ran into someone riding up the hill with no shirt, flat pedals on an old Trek 1000 bike. He was incredibly strong, proving once again that equipment is no match for great legs and lungs. At the intersection with Page Mill road, I eschewed mixing with Wes's group, however, and headed up to the true summit on West Alpine road, where I pulled off and enjoyed a cliff bar with a view of the Ocean.

Descending Alpine road, I soon overtook the tail end of the group and road along the cold Redwood forest. It was gorgeous. Sunlight came through little spots in the trees and gave the road surface a dappled look. Leaves came down from the redwoods above me, and the air smelled like fall. Turning left onto Pescadero road, the wind picked up a bit and threw down more leaves, swirling around me and enveloping me in nature's glory. Wes passed me once again, and upon reaching the summit of Haskin's hill, turned right around and went back to pick up his group's stragglers. I rode on rather than mix in, since I enjoy descending by myself with no pressure behind me and no one in front to chase.

The solitude was broken several miles later as the lead group passed me and I hopped onto their wheels, as we pace-lined together towards the coast. The group turned off at North road while I kept going towards Pescadero and headed for Norm's market. There I bought a loaf of freshly baked (still warm) artichoke garlic bread, and went over to the benches at the back of the store just as Wes's group as they arrived from their detour. Not being able to eat the entire loaf by myself, I broke the bread and shared it with them, enjoying the unusually clear and lovely day on the coast.

After eating, relieving myself, and refilling my bottles, I left Wes's group behind and went on ahead. Soon enough, a cyclist on a GT bike passed me and I again hopped on his wheel. He was exceedingly strong but as we slowed down to chat I found out why --- he raced mountain bikes for GT, Oakley, and a few other sponsors. As stage road sloped up I was left behind on the climb but with such a nice day and the road being out of the wind once the climbing began, I did not mind at all riding by myself.

After the intersection with 84, I rode up next to a young lady on a Scott Contessa. We struck up a conversation: Stephanie was a mechanical engineer who worked on power-trains. We discussed training, traveling, and various events, and bone density --- she lifted weight so frequently that her bone density was off the charts --- clearly, I need to lift more too, though I am never motivated enough in the gym. She was recovering from a skiing injury, hence the riding.

Time passes fast when you have conversation on a ride, and soon enough we were at the top of Tunitas Creek. The descent down Kings was disconcerting, as I hit no less than 3 gravel patches on the way down. Both of us made it to Woodside with no problems, however, and from there we made it over to Sand Hill Road where Stephanie had parked. I said farewell to my recent companion and headed home the direct route, for a 76 mile ride in 6 hours.

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