Month: March 2004

Bay Trail & Divisadero

I tried something different and took the Bay Trail today. It winds through Sausalito, then out around the Bay. It eventually must circle around the Tiburon peninsula, but I had no time to check it out.

I was early, but I saw a lot of cyclists. It is the most convenient way to get to Mt. Tam and the Point Reyes area, for sure, so I was not surprised to see a lot of bikers GATHERING there. They would then follow the trail to the North and somewhere cross over to Highway 1. I must do that, too, if one of the next few Saturdays is nice.

In any case, I had lots of energy coming back. I had outperformed a dude on the bridge, and he was one of those that take it personal, so he zipped around me as soon as we had gotten to the ramp to Conzelman. Not one to be easily stopped by red lights or stop signs, I had to give up on him. Then I saw him in one of the gathering areas down at the beginning of the trail. I got to where I wanted to turn around, and no sooner had I sped up to crusing speed that I see him rush towards me. I wave, but he must still have been mad.

So I am on the new Crissy Field, one of the most beautiful ideas that the Park Service has ever had (and what a shame it was so neglected under the military!). I get to the end and start thinking that the Embarcadero is surely going to be too much of a mess for me. Well, not one to be stopped by crowds, I decide to turn right onto Divisadero. The hill is beckoning like a 90 year old siren, and I can think only of turning around as fast as I can.

But no, I decide to ride it. Slowly, crawling inch by inch, with cars behind me carefully passing and somehow cheering the nut case. Some interminable time later, I am at the top. My legs are burning, and the last section felt as if I wouldn’t ever make it, toppling instead into an oncoming tourist minivan.

I am at the top. I do a round of honors, and descend towards Japantown.

I had fun.

Bidding on eBay

To each his vice. Mine are skinsuits. I find them much more convenient than any other cycling stuff, especially because they are pretty much the only thing that doesn’t double the fabric just right where you don’t need it, anyway: the mid section. Besides, they look good, no matter what you think.

Turns out that new skinsuits are prohibitively expensive. $150, sometimes. But there is an exceedingly good aftermarket on eBay. I just won a Castelli skinsuit for $20.50, and I am chasing a Voler for $43 currently, with 4 minutes left. But the Grand Prize is the Castelli Lemond skinsuit that is going to run out of time tomorrow at 6:30 PM. Right when I am supposed to be on a date.

If I complain that I never get a date, you know the reason… 😉

Sunday Was So Sunny

Ok, this Sunday beat them all. It topped a long week of sunny, sunny days, with quite the detrimental effect on my work ethics. And it should have been the first cooler day. Turned out not to be true.

I had a nice brunch with friends in the Castro, and then moved on across the bridge, then up Conzelman, down Point Bonita, and then up Mc… something again. It was a lot of fun, although the Sunday crowd doesn’t even remotely compare to Saturdays. On the bridge, the gawkers would stop in the middle of the ride and force all of us to stop abruptly, and then they would run right into oncoming traffic.

And yet exploring the North Bay has become quite pressing. I think next time on a sunny day like yesterday, I’ll explore the area around Bolinas. It’s beautiful, and I recall last summer, when dozens of cyclists were getting all the way there. Maybe a round-trip over Highway 1, then back to San Rafael? 30 miles one way, that doesn’t sound scary!

Marin Headlands

So this is what a wonderful sunny day looks like…

I headed out around 10a. A Porsche almost killed me while trying to pass a car that was turning left at an intersection, but from there on things were easy. I took the usual route to the bridge (see below), crossed it and got to the top of Conzelman. Of course, now that I am used to OLH, Conzelman is a warmup and no more. But it was fun, nonetheless. Plus, on the way down I met a guy that would sort things out on the bridge. Really good biker, he would lead me fearlessly through the traffic and play cop for me. Well, Mr. Cofidis jersey, here is one guy that has a high opinion of you!

The bridge on a nice Sunday is a nightmare. The biking section is tight enough in places that a standing tourist will block all traffic going in both directions. Add to that the slow bikers, those that ride in parallel, and the pylons, that force you to twist around. What a pain!

But it’s fun. And soon it’s going to be all the way to Mt. Tam, starting in the early morning.

Safe trip to the bridge:
Harrison to 16th, turn left onto 16th, go all the way to Divisadero. Turn left on Fell (cross the intersection and stop on Fell). Straight until you hit Stanyan. Stanyan to Geary, then left to Arguello. Arguello to the hill, then continue through the Presidio. Turn left on Washington, then follow until you hit the coastal road. Down under the overpass, then the second left, after the parking lot. Cross over and under the bridge, then sharp left turn and you are on the path.

Spring!

It’s official: this is the first weekend of the new spring. It’s been fun: I drove out from the city to the gym first, worked out a little bit, and then hit the road, following on the path of Spectrum. I met them up on Canada road. It was by far the largest group I have ever seen, probably over one hundred bikers. Pudgy all of them, just like me! 🙂

Well, California has decided it’s time to be nice to us again. Tomorrow, who knows, I may go across the bridge and hang out at the beach a while. Or maybe I’ll try Marin, and the famous ascent of Mt. Tam? Gotta find my camera in that case…

Oh, the Bay Area is just the most wonderful place on Earth for biking! You got it all: the steep ascent, the flat ride, and thousands of enthusiasts in all age categories!

Working out and Traveling – Spinning

Each day in a different spot. That’s the deal right now. One wishes it were easier to get bikes shipped around. Instead, all I can do is a bit of treadmill and stationary bike. Neither feels like the real thing.

I confess I haven’t been on the saddle in a long while. I moved, which drained a lot of time; the weather has been bad beyond normal; I moved over to more indoors exercise. Not yet at the point where I would join a spinning class. Close enough, though.

I would love to know what people think about spinning. It was vital for me in Portland, with its long winter nights. I didn’t lose any form, and we had an instructor that was at once fun, competent and highly sadistic. Perfect combination!