Category Archives: 30 Days of Biking

It’s April and that means #30daysofbiking

It’s spring time, and arguably one of the best times of the year for bicycling.  April is here, and that means 30daysofbiking once again.  This is a pledge, to be on the bike every day for the month of April.  It doesn’t have to be long … it can be just a corner jaunt to the grocery store, and it can even be getting on Zwift for a few minutes.  The point is, to be on the bike.

Hopefully I can spend more time on the bike than I have so far this year.  It hasn’t been great.  With a combination of family issues, work on call duties, and  weather (it has been raining a lot in California, and we have even claimed the drought is over), I haven’t been doing my normal amount of riding.  I was lucky to get a double metric century out a week ago … so the longest this year was 1 50 mile ride, 1 129 mile ride.  To this point, I’ve gotten 941 miles for the year.  I’m hoping to ramp that up these next 3 months.

To learn more about this pledge, go to http://www.30daysofbiking.com.  Pledge, share pictures and/or video .. it’s all about the bike!

7 Days in to #30daysofbiking

It is April, and that’s the 30 days of biking month.  Every year, all cyclists, who sign up, pledge to ride every day in the month of April (http://www.30daysofbiking.com).

So far, doing pretty good … although I did miss one day (weather forecast was for rain but it was dry, up until the evening commute.  I guess it was a good decision, but man, for the rest of the day, it looked like a missed opportunity).

Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 8.21.04 AM

We’ve been lucky, in that when it does rain, it’s typically before or after work, but I do at least prepare with fenders, rainwear, etc.  How’s everyone else doing this month?  I made the pledge (although I already missed one day) .. How about you?

April’s a Wrap #30daysofbiking

Another April it’s done and another 30 days off biking is in the books.  It was also the month for Strava’s Classics Challenge, which was to see if you could ride 1319 km in the month of April.

The challenge of 1319 km seems daunting, but I figured if I ride every day, at least the distance to and from work, I might stand a chance.

As it turned out, I finished the challenge on the last weekend in April by doing a double metric, l’etape du California, which put me over the edge. Up to that point, I missed 4 days, but kept at it. After completing the challenge, I needed a rest, so I missed a total of 6 days. But the goal is to get on your bike, and that’s what counts anyways, right?

Now onto May, national bike month, and bike to work day. I just love this time of year, where the excitement of bicycling is in full bloom.

Earth Day and Day 22 … what was your green activity #30daysofbiking

April 22, 2011 is earth day. This is the day everyone is supposed to do their part to improve the environment, so what did you do?

The most obvious thing for me is to ride my bike into work, and that’s exactly what I did. Actually, I didn’t realize it was Earth Day until I saw several tweets referring to it. What struck me as odd was my company didn’t have any type of electronic recycling program. In the past they would have large blue bins, where we would all take our unused routers, switches, keyboards, etc, and dump them in the blue bin, to be later taken to a recycling depot. But on Earth Day, I saw no evidence of that. Strange.

I did sign up for one web site, www.drivelesschallenge.com. This is a site devoted to logging a challenge to drive less between April 22 thru May 5. I think more people will do this as the gas prices reach $5. So for my first couple of entries, I logged in my biking mileage, 7 and 21 miles. They have an interesting calculation to tell you how many pounds of CO2 have been saved. I have no idea how they are able to calculated. So for the first 28 miles, I 23.6 lbs CO2. Whatever.

Days 18 through 21 #30daysofbiking

Been slacking off on the blogs on the 30daysofbiking, so here’s a quick summary.  30 days of biking is a great goal, but I found that when you have to get on the road by 6 am, every day, it does take its toll on the body (even if it’s flat and only 20 miles, give or take a few here and there).

I did drive in to work a couple days, but don’t worry .. I did get on my bike in the afternoon, after work.  I did my quick errand to the market, and to El Pollo Loco, so I did fulfill that obligation (and that does count for the day of biking).  I got back on the bike and commuted to work on day 20, but damn, the headwinds are still there.  I did find that if I didn’t have my morning coffee before the commute, my power seriously is lacking.

I needed to get some mileage in, so I decided to ride out to Shoreline after work.  That was really nice.  Even though there were threats of showers at 6 pm, it didn’t materialize.  Good for me … I’ve had enough wet riding for a while now.

When you see a picture like this, doesn’t it make you want to get on your bike and ride?

This sure makes me want to go to Shoreline every day after work.  Hmm … maybe I’ll take my fixie in to work, and do Shoreline again.  True, there is no climbing, but I’ll have plenty of opportunities for climbing later.

I rode into work on day 21, and I had lofty goals of climbing Montebello.  On my ride home, I had no zip in my legs, and decided to just go home, and rest my legs.  Yup, the consecutive days do catch up with you … or maybe I just need to HTFU?

Have I Found my Climbing Legs?

After focusing so much on double centuries, clearly my focus has been on endurance.  You’ve got to admit, being able to sustain 200 miles, no matter how hilly it is, is quite an accomplishment.  So recently, I have been noticing my climbing has not been what it used to be.  For example, on OLH, I just barely eeked out 30 minutes (and I was really going for it), and on Montebello, I was only able to muster 56 minutes (personal best was 44 minutes).  Granted, I was doing a bunch of DMD training rides, and some really hard rides.

This weekend, I decided to go back to my normal rides (not a DMD trainer ride).  Suddenly, I found myself getting PR (Personal Records) on Strava.  Saturday, I did Kings Mountain (36 minutes) and West Alpine (54 minutes).

Sunday, I did Redwood Gulch (16 minutes) and Hwy 9 to Saratoga Gap (54 minutes).

Granted, those times suck compared to the KOM’s on the climb, but still, the fact that I registered PB’s … are my climbing legs back?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Diablo, Morgan Territory, and Patterson Pass with wind #30daysofbiking

Another weekend, another chance for a DMD trainer.  Oh, BTW, I am not doing the actual DMD Double century, so why am I subjecting myself to this pain?  I guess I’m a masochist.  The route was simple, Mt. Diablo, then Morgan Territory, then Patterson Pass.  I’d get in another 100+ miles.

Michael was going to meet us at the South Gate entrance of Diablo, but it just wasn’t his day.  He texted me just before we were leaving … he had wheel problems.  So it was Bassem, Marco, Ramon, Donald, and myself on the ride.  I would be at the back the whole ride.

As soon as we got on Diablo, and the first hint of a hill, I lost visual contact with everyone.  Oh boy, this is going to be one loooong day.  It was an incredibly clear day, and I could see a green Mt. Diablo.  That’s a rarity, as it would be either all brown, or visibility would be so bad you couldn’t enjoy the scenery.  Today was crystal clear and everything was green.

I kept looking for the guys to see if they were coming down from the top, but never saw them.  I guess I’ll keep climbing.  I made it to the top at about 90 minutes.  Not a bad time for me.  I think that’s about my average.  I didn’t see the guys, so I just refilled water.  I think I was climbing the wall as they were descending the other side.  I started thinking, did they actually go down and didn’t realize it was them?  Well, no time to worry about it now, just descend down the hill.

The group was waiting at north gate … whew, back with the pack again, but then, once we got to a slight incline, the hammer went down again, and distanced again.  It’s lucky for us the DMD route is marked on the road, so there was no question about where the route should go … just follow the markings on the road.

Followed a Team-in-Training group who was going the same way.  Passed them up, without realizing, that was jonathanb in the group.  But I was so focused on catching my group, I didn’t stop to realize that and say hi.  Sorry Jon.

The group was waiting for me again at the turnoff on Morgan Territory.  Thanks guys.  On for the next climb up.  It kinda lulls you to sleep before the real part of the climb starts up.  There was unusually a lot of car traffic coming the other side (a lot more than I usually see).  I did see the Team-in-Training support car, ringing their cowbell for me (even though I’m not on the ride).

When I finally get to the park at the summit, I see the gang there, taking deep breaths, resting up from the big climbs we’ve done.  Team-in-Training had the support rest stop there, and I see PrincessZippy from bikeforums.  Then, I see Jobob and Leebob there.  Cool … great to see them out there.  They were kind enough to offer us food and water.  Thanks guys, even though we weren’t on the TNT ride.

Now for the “plunge”.  In other words, fast descent down the other side of Morgan Territory.  I was taking it easy here, as the descent can get pretty technical.  Despite that, I still topped out at a max of 42 mph during that stretch.  Crazy, isn’t it?

Altimont Pass

We zig zag our way over to Livermore, and here is where we first feel the effects of the heavy winds.  It was hard to keep in the pack, but luckily this didn’t last too long.  We continued onto Altimont Pass, and that had a really nice fast descent too, but not technical at all.  Plus, that heavy winds I was talking about?  Well, that’s on our back.  Just get into a high gear, spin away, and have fun.  Plus, the road surface is so smooth.

We have one more snack break before tackling the climb up Patterson, and the headwinds.  This is the calm before the storm.  As soon as we made the right turn on Patterson Pass Road, the head winds really hit us hard.  I have no idea how strong they were, but I had difficulty in just pedaling.

In the past, when coming out to Patterson Pass, it’s either really hot (in summer where the hills are brown), or it’s really foggy, so you don’t get to see the green hillside, and the windmills.  Well, this time, it’s not foggy, and we do see green hills … but we do have the winds.  Can’t catch a break on this, can we?

I know there is one stretch at 20% near the top, which would be tough.  However, that was the easy part.  The tough part was the section right before that, and the winds were funneling through at such force, that the 12% climb was much tougher.  I actually had to get off and walk my bike for about 0.2 mile.  I just could not muster up any power to complete this hill.  You can hear the windmills spinning hard at this point.

Once I got over this summit, I see the next 20% grade I have to tackle.  The wind actually was calmer in this section, and that gave me enough respite to get my climbing legs up the hill.  It was still windy, but not as bad as the previous section.  I think it may have been because it isn’t funneling the wind through a pass like the previous section.

 

And of course, once I got to the top, we gotta take a picture of the windmill farm, right?

And just to prove I did the ride, Bassem was kind enough to take this candid shot.

From here, we head straight back to the cars, another 20 miles, but not all flat.  Some hills, and yes, the winds stayed with us all the way back till we got to Sycamore Valley Road.

I’m starting to wonder if this is normal for this area, at this time of year, or was it just that the weather forecast was for strong winds today?  Whatever it was, it made for a really tough ride, but it was a gorgeous day for it.

Day 3 – Nifty 1050 #30daysofbiking

Day 3 of the 30 days of biking … and there is a ride in El Cerrito, that aims to complete 10,000 feet of climbing in 50 miles.  Holy crap … sounds like just the stupid thing I would do.

On my way over, I somehow made the wrong exit, and wound up on the Bay Bridge.  No,no,no … oh hell, looks like I gotta go to Treasure Island then head back.  In retrospect, this is not a bad way to get lost.  Had a great view across the bay of the Bay Bridge.  Nice way to start the day, eh?

Ok, finally got on track.  There was a pretty group gathered for the ride .. approximately 20 riders.  I looked at the physique of the other riders, and I already knew I was in trouble.

They provided a Garmin gpx file where we could upload as a course.  With this, you can import a gpx file into your Garmin, and you could follow the course.  This is the first time I’ve used the course feature on my Garmin, so this should be interesting.

Onto the course, and we immediately are greeted with a 20+% climb.  Not even a warm up!  I was barely hanging on to the back of the main group, but that wouldn’t last very long.  Pretty soon, me, and this other rider from Palm Desert, Bob, wound up in the back, and we pretty much rode the rest of the ride together.  This meant I couldn’t follow the rider in front, and had to rely on my route sheet.

I read the route sheet wrong when we got to the traffic circle.  It mention to go through the traffic circle, then hang a right on Marin.  Well, I saw Marin, and hung a right.  Well, that took us towards the bay and into Albany.  We are way off course here … u-turn back, and getting back to the traffic circle, we were suppose to circle the traffic circle, and hang a right up …. emphasize UP Marin Ave.  This is the 0.75 mile, 28% grade.  Ouch.

I didn’t make it all the way up on the bike.  I had to walk the last several hundred feet.  My legs were fine, but my arms just was tired from all the pulling.

The picture doesn’t tell the whole story.  When you look at it, it doesn’t look all that steep.

Ok, back to the course.  There were so many turns on this route, I had to stop many times, just to make sure I was on course.  I still made a few wrong turns, and actually backtracking what we would do later in the ride twice.  We basically were looping around the same neighborhood in many different ways.

We had gone about 40 miles before our legs just had it for the day.  Even if I did continue on the route, we probably wouldn’t finish till about 7 pm or so.  Bob wasn’t feeling that great either, and he called his buddies to pick him up.  We stopped in Montclair Village for much needed lunch.  At that point, I decided to take the quickest route to Bart, in Rockridge, and rode back from El Cerrito Bart to the start.

I arrived there just about 10 minutes before the main pack finished the whole ride.

My Garmin didn’t record the data accurately, so unfortunately I cannot give an accurate account for miles and climbing done.

http://app.strava.com/rides/387969

2nd Day of 30 and First Ride with Meetup Group

On the 2nd day of the 30 Days of Biking, I needed to go on a light spin, so that I can have enough energy for the Nifty 1050 ride (in Berkeley, 50 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing). I decided to go on a ride with the South Bay and Peninsula Biking meet up group.

I rode over from home to meet them in Palo Alto. As always, I mistimed my arrival and I got there way too early. So I decided to do a few extra loops around some of the hills, som I made the 30 mile ride into more of a 50 miler, but not enough to wear myself out.

It’s a nice social group (for me at least, but my definition of social may be much different from their definition).  There were a couple of triathletes in the group, plus a few that just love to ride their bike, but not at the beginner level.  At least everyone has good bike handling skills, which is a lot more than some other social rides I’ve been on.  It was definitely a social ride, but still one where you did get some workout.

We did a counterclockwise direction on the Portola loop.  We only got one flat on the ride, so the stops were kept at a minimum.  The group did get splintered a little bit on the climbs, but it wasn’t too bad.

I was first to get to the corner of Alpine and Portola.  I got a chance to take a few shots of the rest of the group (a rarity, as I’m usually the last one on my normal rides).  Everyone arriving seemed to have a really happy smile on their face (most likely because of the downhill stretch we are going to embark upon).

When I got there, I noticed the San Mateo Sheriff had a booth set up right at that intersection.  They were just wanted everyone to honor the stop sign, and just make sure everyone doesn’t just blow right past it.  They also wanted to pay homage to those fallen cyclists (like Kristy Gough).  One of the riders in the group, Michelle, visited the booth, and they were actually quite courteous to the cyclists.  Yes, they were there as a presence, and I recall seeing some cyclist riding down to warn the cyclists that there are sherriffs parked at the intersection.  However, they really wanted just to make sure the stop sign is observed, and just make everyone aware of general safety overall.  They even gave us wristbands (kind of like the Livestrong bands).

They also gave away a blue teddy bear … I guess that’s their mascot.  Here we have Michelle mounting him in a TT tuck position.  A cycling teddy bear … imagine that.

This is a fun group.  They also have Tuesday night rides … I think I’ll try to hook up with them on that.

Anyhow, wound up with another 48 miles, and 1773 feet climbing.  Definitely a mellower ride than I normally do.  Now to get some sleep, and suffer through 50 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing.  Why do I do such things?

Another 30 Days of Biking #30daysofbiking

The third revision of the 30daysofbiking initiated on April 1st.  So am I going to do it … but of course.  Part of this was inspired by podcasts of bicycleradio.  The concept is simple … get on your bike once a day for 30 days, and document it either through blogs, twitter, facebook, or any means, and post it onto 30daysofbiking.com.  It doesn’t matter how long, how far, just as long as it involves you on a bike.  I do it mainly to keep getting into people’s minds that bicycling is a valid means of transportation (even if you do have a car).

Early morning commute on San Tomas Aquino Bike Trail

So what did I do on the first day … well, of course, I rode into work.  It’s still dark at 6 am, so gear up with as many blinkies as possible, get my bright HID on, and ride the trail.

I planned ahead, and stored an extra pair of shoes in the office (so I wouldn’t have to carry them on the commute).  So I only really was carrying my work clothes.  After work, I leave my work clothes at the office (to be picked up later), then ride with just the jersey and shorts I’m wearing, and head off to Page Mill Road.  It was also a great day out, with temps still in the 80’s by the time I got off work.

There were a bunch more people out on the road, and that’s great to see.  In fact, at one intersection, there were 4 bikes waiting for the light.  I should have taken a pic, but they would probably think I’m some sort of wacko.

My destination was station 4 on Page Mill Road.  that is the steepest part of Page Mill, and I figure that should be sufficient (so that I could get back home without needing lights).  I did see quite a few cyclists bombing down the hill.  They looked too old to be Stanford students, but maybe they are grad students.  Anyhow, I waved to them.

There were a few that were still climbing Page Mill.  I didn’t get passed by anyone (surprisingly).  I took a picture of one who was behind me … I think if we started at the same point, we probably would have arrived at the same time, but I think he was going to make it all the way to the top.

It was a nice wrap up to a hectic week.  30 days of biking is in full swing.  One down, 29 to go.