I Can See Now

Last week, for whatever reason, I could not find my glasses. That just spells trouble, because I don’t have any backup glasses, and no contacts either. So I had to pull my monitor close enough for me to see (I’m near sighted).

So I made an emergency appointment with my eye doctor. I decided to only check for new glasses, and not for contacts.

I needed to have the optometrist do a rush order for the glasses, since I am just about blind without them. My eye doctor was able to give me a weeks’is worth of disposable contacts. That helped, as it gave me distance focusing, but I could not see anything close up, with contacts on. At least I could use them for rides.

Finally got the glasses on Thursday. I told the optician I’m pretty active with my cycling, so she suggested the titanium frames, lightweight. How do I look in them?

Now I can see, and no more squinting.  Lesson learned … Keep old glasses in case you lose your good ones.

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Chimbfest on Grizzly Peak

I had to skip this week’s LKHC up Welch Creek (maybe it was on purpose), because I lost my glasses on Thursday night, and I had to make an emergency appointment with the optometrist on Saturday.


So Sunday I went with my friends John and Ben riding around Grizzly Peak, 3 Bears, and Pinehurst.  I haven’t done this in a really long time.  I had forgotten how much good riding there is out here.


Ben was out there with a new saddle bag … This is going to make me hungry on the whole ride …


The route started out with a climb, right off the get go.  It basically starts by Tunnel Road, and we climb up to Skyline, which then gives a great view of the bay, overlooking the Bay Bridge.

We then went up Grizzly Peak Blvd, and headed over to Tilden Park, and then onto Wildcat Canyon. We descended South Park, which is the same road that killed one cyclist, trying to get a Strava descent segment KOM … something I wouldn’t even try to do.  That descent has some tricky sections on there, so I did not even try to get down into a tuck.  Better to be safe than sorry.


They have one stop called Inspiration Point.  Looking at this, does it give you inspiration?  I just consider it a nice scenic view.

We continued on Wildcat Canyon, which has a nice descent, not too technical, but enough where you have to pay attention.  I didn’t have cars breathing down my neck, which is nice.  Wildcat Canyon becomes Bear Creek, once you get to the bottom.  This is where the famous 3 bears climbs are … but when papa bear and mama bear begins, I have no idea.  Maybe someone from that area could tell me, but all I know is that it is a climb, and a descent.  It’s nice, because it is fairly wide road, and fairly straight, with just a few switch backs here and there.  Very little car traffic coming through, which means you can just concentrate on enjoying the ride.

We continue on to Happy Valley Road, which gives us a whole bunch of rollies.  Some are punchy, short steep climbs (~10%), and after a while, it can wear on you.

One stop by Orinda for lunch, and then we are on our way again.  We head south to get onto Pinehurst Road, then climb our way back to Skyline.  Pinehurst is one beautiful road to ride on.  It is covered by all sorts of Eucalyptus trees, and they form a canopy over the road, and keeps it cool.  Sometimes, it’s hard to tell it’s the middle of the day, due to the tree coverage.  The total climb is ~ 4 miles, with the meat of it being the last mile.  Once you get to the second hairpin, you know you are just near the top, and time to kick it into high gear.  The last stretch is a half mile sprint up to the top at Skyline.



From this point, it’s retracing our path from this morning, so it’s all downhill from here.  Once again, we have some nice views of the bay from here.

The rest of the ride was pretty much downhill from here. Great ride with great friends. At least it breaks the monotony of doing the same rides along the Peninsula all the time.

Stats: 42.1 miles, 5240 feet climbing


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LKHC #2 Sierra Road


Second on the calendar is Sierra Road.  I ride to the start from home, and that gives me a nice 13 mile flat warm up.  When I left the house, it was actually a bit chilly, so I had to come with light vest and arm warmers.  Just as I thought, the sun would come out when the actual ride starts.  Oh well, off with the vest and arm warmers.


Sierra starts off with a visually insane road.  It just has the illusion of the road going vertically to the heavens.  It actually is not that bad, but it is a tough way to start the climb.  Everyone was really eager to attack, and I know I’m not going to keep up with that, so I just let them all go on ahead of me.


Once you get to a left turn bend, then road actually pitches up more (believe it or not).  That’s when even more people pass me up.  This is one of those climbs where you don’t care what’s around you, and you just concentrate on turning the crank and it’s just your own personal journey.


I thought I was the last in the pack, but then I heard someone yell out “car back!”. I was eventually able to muster enough energy to pass a few people (how the heck did that happen?)


I got the sense that I was feeling pretty good at this point.  Sometimes it’s just hard to tell, but you know when you feel good, you might be putting in a good time.  I didn’t want to think about it, but that adrenaline does feel good.  I also seem to put in better times when I know a inch of people are climbing the same hill as me.

Being a LKHC ride, it’s great to hear the support folks on the side of the road cheering you on and giving you words of encouragement.  I also get to do mug shots … I wonder how they turned out.

Photo Courtesy Christine Holmes

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Pet Peeves of Multi Use Trails

I can only shake my head in disgust sometimes while riding MUT so here is my short list of my biggest pet peeves on MUT(in no particular order)

Talking on phone while riding
Walkers who hug the center line
Riders going > 15 mph
Riders with no lights
Walkers with no lights wearing dark clothes
Yelling on your left and walkers don’t move and you have to squeeze by
Walkers not budging and you have to stop so that reverse traffic passes by
MUT being closed for no good reason (49er game night before)
Riders passing you without calling it out
Riders passing you on your right
Crossing the street on a red light

Posted in cycling, Pet Peeve, Rants | 5 Comments

Please Wear Reflective Clothing on Multi Use Trails

OK, I admit, I am ranting … By the time I get home, it gets dark on the MUT … At least I think it does.  So why don’t more people wear reflective clothing or carry a little light with them?  There are some that wear black, and it’s hard to see them, especially when going thru an underpass. 

Until it does get really dark, I’m going to use blinkers on front and back.  I really don’t like blinkers on the front, but this seems to be the only way to get people’s attention.

I really don’t understand why people walk in the dark, with dark wardrobe.  Can someone explain that to me?  Because of this, riders should really slow down, especially those that don’t have adequate lighting.

Posted in Night Riding, Rants | 5 Comments

Montebello LKHC 2014

Thanks to Alexander Komlik

It’s that time of year again … start of the Low Key Hill Climb series.  It was a hot one for this ride … usually, you’ll want to carry a jacket for the descent, but not today.  At least I didn’t have to worry about stuffing extra clothes in my pocket.

This year, they’re using EventBrite, so we could sign up, pay donation, all from the comfort of our home and our PC and Internet.  Take care of all of that signing, payment stuff before hand, so that all we need to do is check our name on the sign up sheet.  Much nicer, and smoother.

I was realistic, I’m not going to be able to keep up with most of the climbers here, so I deliberately positioned myself in the back.  I also didn’t get too much climbing in before this weekend, so I wasn’t expecting too much.

Pretty quickly, the pack separated, and I was riding solo most of the way, which is fine by me.  However, I still had the edge in me, to avoid being the last person to finish the climb.  I think that kept motivating me to push forward.  What’s great about LKHC is that even though faster climbers will finish must sooner than me, I would see them come down the mountain, encouraging those still coming up the hill.  I heard a bunch of “you got it” and “good job, almost there”.  That did help.

The combination of the heat and the climb took a lot out of me, and by the time I got to the top, I just wanted to curl up.  I wasn’t expecting any water at the top, and there wasn’t.  Usually, on these climbs, when it’s hot, water is usually gone (mostly because some are filling up both water bottles).  But really, for this ride, it’s not really needed too much.  We’re completely descending from here anyways (no uphill climb, like on Hamilton).  However, it would have been nice to be able to top off my water bottle.  At least they had bananas, and peanut butter filled pretzels .. mmm

The shots from my Shimano Sports Camera came out pretty well.  I think it’s because I’m climbing, and not really going at any real pace, while if I was descending, I think these images would have been more blurry.

I looked at my Strava data, and found I did better than I thought I did.  My time was 49 minutes … although not my best, but at least I made it under that 50 minute mark.  I’m pretty happy with that.


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Damn How Did I Get Here?


I went out on my morning commute, hoping to get in a Mora hill climb today.  However, I noticed my phone wasn’t with me.  Damn, I gotta turn back.  On my way back, I must have turn one intersection too soon.  I had no idea where I was, and usually when that happens, I pull out my phone and check Google Maps.  But oh yes, the whole reason for this part of the ride is to go and retrieve my phone.  D’oh!

I must have been on auto pilot, and made turns without seeing where I was.  My excuse … It’s dark in the morning.  That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.

Posted in commute, cycling | 3 Comments