"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Costanoa: 2 Day Training Ride

This weekend my coach had planned a 2 day group ride. The goal of the ride was climbing practice. I was more than a little apprehensive about this. I knew I would be do the long ride that had SERIOUS climbing with SERIOUS bad ass riders. I also knew I would be last and making them wait all day long. To be honest, knowing that ahead of time made it a little easier. I actually was pretty proud of myself for keeping a couple riders in sight for most of the day.

You take your victories where you can get them.

Day 1: (disclaimer: My pictures suck and there are precious few of them. I was a little busy all day trying to stuff my lungs back into my chest and hoping my quads were not going to spontaneously combust. I did steal some pictures from my coach's site.)

The ride left from Santa Cruz and then headed up to the top of the Santa Cruz mountains. Yes, MOUNTAINS not hills. Across Skyline, down Alpine then back down to Pescadero and over to the campgrounds on Hwy 1 by Ano Nuevo. (I don't know how to make the tilde (~) over the 'n' in Ano. I apologize.)

Picture my coach took on Hwy 9. Thank God I wore my Camelbak. I would have not been able to drink on those climbs!

For those of you that are not from Northern California, and have no idea what I am talking about, here is what all that means: HUGE LONG climb, screaming/scary downhill, another BIG climb, wind tunnel by ocean, done.


And a visual

Elevation for the first day of this ride

A ball busting 6899 ft of climb. Hmm... we were all girls, so I guess that would that be a labia busting 6899 ft of climb (Unnecessary, RBR. Funny, but unnecessary. Again, I apologize.)

We did regroups about every 8 miles. Which was nice. At least I got to see everyone then. Yep, I was dead last into every regroup. Unfortunately, this means the minute I got there someone (in a perky, well rested, cheerleader voice) would say, "let's get going."

"But, but, I just got my fig newtons out. Can just I eat one?" I would whimper.

*click, click*
*click, click*

I would hear the sound of riders snapping into their clipless pedals. And we were off.

But I must say, in stark contrast to my experience with the tri team (This is the third time I have linked to that post. Think I am still bitter?), Anyhoo... today I was well taken care of and supported throughout the ride. When I did finally arrive at each regroup site, I was treated like I had won the Tour du France and throughout the day I had several riding partners, including my coach, who provided lots of laughs and good conversation.

Only a true bad ass can pull off sparkly butterflies on her helmet. She probably rode three times what we did since she kept coming back to check on and encourage me.
Thanks coach! You rock!

Ok, 'conversations' is probably an overstatement. Most of these conversations were the other rider saying something interesting and/or clever and me grunting, in what I would hoped would be construed as, a suitable response.

Lying ass sign. Note that it says "summit". If it is a summit then you cannot go up higher, right? Alas, we turned out of the parking lot and UP another hill.

Here I tried to quickly snap a shot of the view, which was GORGEOUS throughout the ride, right after arriving to the regroup, but as you can see they are getting ready to head out so there was not much time to frame the shot. Does not even kind of do it justice.

The descent was scary! Beautiful, but scary. It was a steep narrow road and because the weather was GORGEOUS there were lots of cars and motorcycles on the road. Apparently, attempting to "enjoy the view" at 45 mph on a narrow switchback mountain road. Assholes.

Here is the entrance to the road were I was nearly made a hood ornament for a fast moving Mercedes that was cutting corners around blind curves and ended up and in my lane. I tell you what buddy, if you hit me you better make sure you kill me or you will find out what your scrotum tastes like.

The gal riding behind me (Yes, behind me! Big ass + downhill = momentum. And they said pie wouldn't make me faster! Ha!) said that she thought I was a goner and I let out a pitiful little yelp as it narrowly missed me.

Here is a picture my coach took of me moments after the near miss. Does this look like a road you drive 40 mph on?

We had one more big climb (steep, but not nearly as long as previous climbs) and then we stopped in Pescadero for a heavenly sandwich and much appreciated time with my ass off the bike. I actually got to rest a bit here because the one thing I do much faster than these people is eat!

From here it was only 12 miles to the Costanoa lodge where we were staying. We had some time to shower, relax and socialize and then had a big celebratory dinner. Lots of fun was had by all. I was honored to receive the "Git 'er Done" Award

My favorite model sporting my winner's gear!

Day 2:

Sunday morning was the ride down the coast, which can be glorious with a strong tailwind or absolute hell with a strong headwind. By some miracle, my bad weather ju ju did not follow me on this trip and we had a strong tailwind for the entire 30 mile trip back home.

Elevation profile from Sunday's ride

Here is me and Bad Ass Helen getting ready to head out on Sunday. I call her Bad ass Helen because she is amazing. Fast, strong, and at the same time humble, sweet, and amazingly supportive. She was my roomie for this trip and we had a blast.

Julia joined us for this part of the ride and was kind enough to hang with me. We had a great ride back and enjoyed a nice lunch by the pool afterwards.

These women were all hardcore triathletes. Most of whom have completed Ironman distance triathlons and I was honored, if a smidge underqualified, to be riding with them.


Aron said...

WOW that just all sounds crazy intense to me :) GREAT JOB!!!!

Aka Alice said...

HATE! A-hole Mercedes driver...

BTW...funny is always necessary...no apologies necessary...EV-AH!

I just love your ride reports. I'm so inspired by them.

(Spring break is next week! Woot Woot!)

Coachhrd said...

Looks like beautiful country, but what a ride! Good work.

Kelly said...

I am in AWE of you!!!! You kick ass!!!!

Diana said...

Holy shit what a ride! Still laughing at the commentary....."hood ornament!" Crack me up.
I can't wait to kick some ass on my bike soon! I love fighting with cars for the "ruler of the road" crown!

kristen said...

Holy shit. That elevation chart was in *thousands*. Damn rbr - you rocked the hell out of that ride. Way to Get`er Done.

kristen said...

by the way, that's why I don't ride road bikes anymore. I was constanly afraid for my life. Assholes.

Jo Lynn said...

It's okay to whine! You bust your ass out there when you train. BTW - I love the pink top - it's my favorite at work. When I see it, it makes me want to start cycling. lol

Southbaygirl said...

what an amazing 2 day bike "trip" sounds wonderful! I'm sure you aren't always last! Don't be silly!!!

And whining is allowed-hell i do it alot...so if I can whine everyone is allowed to whine!

I hope you are having a great week!!!

ShirleyPerly said...

I must admit that I'm more afraid of downhills than I am of uphills. And NO, hell NO, that road does not look like cars should even be allowed on it.

Great job on those hills. Seriously, I don't think I've ever climbed even half of what you did last weekend.

Lindsay said...

good lord. hardcore ride! i can barely handle resistance level 2 on the stationary bike myself... so more power to you! i am always blown away by the multi-sport/tri-athlete folk. don't know how you do it!

Unknown said...

Holy smokes - Day one in particular looks cRaZy.

"Most of these conversations were the other rider saying something interesting and/or clever and me grunting, in what I would hoped would be construed as, a suitable response.' - Oh my gosh, I totally relate to that comment. LOL

Great job getting it done! :-)

Bootchez said...

That all sounds so intense! Doesn't it royally suck that when you're last in a group ride, you gaspingly arrive at the stop point only to have everyone be all *click*click* Let's go! while you're busy trying not to die . . . ugh! There's probably some french word for it. I am ALWAYS that person!

Ordinarylife said...

wow, that is so impressive. I do anything to avoid hills. Well done...

The Stretch Doc said...

great recap.. love the ball busting line..!! LOL..

that second profile reminds me of RAGE!. ugh..

see ya soon!!


Formulaic said...

Funny story:

So here I was in Cali (staying at the family vineyard) and I had just done my daily dose of coke and was spun out. What better way to come down than with a high-speed slalom up a mountain?

So here I was all coked out and trying to "commune with nature" when all of the sudden I see these obstacle course barriers on the road! These silly little people with only two wheels and no steel to protect them from the outside world

(I mean I want to commune with nature, but not actually ‘touch’ nature,. UGHHH!)

True story. It was great; there were moving objects all over the road. So I cranked the 300 hp Mercedes E class to 'god awful' fast. Turned ‘Highway to the danger zone’ up full blast and started weaving and wobbling up the mountain.

I tell you man, I was having a blast! There is nothing like watching these little people freak out as I pass within 2 inches of their bikes! It’s awesome; they scream, shout and fall over, like turtles or something.

Anyways, I must have been reaching for my next martini because I looked up and I swear this biker tried to attack me! The nerve of her! Her 15lb carbon frame could seriously scratch my car! Luckily, I think she looked deep into my coked out soulless eyes and realized that if it came to my car or her life, I wasn’t stopping and I wasn’t paying the hospital bills either.

So she swerved at the last minute, and narrowly avoided me having to sue her for hitting my car.

Only problem was the bitch spilt my martini!

The nerve of some people!

Aileen said...

Holy crap!!!! That sounds incredibly scary...yet another reason why I'm too chicken to ride a bike to work, etc.

Good work getting it done and not getting killed by asshat motorists.

Anonymous said...

This is intense! Great job!

Tina Mickelson said...

You are awesome! I'm jealous and envious and amazed by you! I wish I was riding with you then you could have been "not last" for the meet ups. I love the idea of hanging by the pool and staying in a hotel too. Maybe thats what I need to do to get my girl trip. YOU GO GIRL!

Calyx Meredith said...

Yay RBR - for a crazy hardcore ride and for not becoming a hood ornament. The labia busting comment made me snarfle my tea. You are going to be ready for IMCdA!!

audgepodge said...

Great job! I found your blog through Julianne - I'm doing the Cinderella Classic this weekend as well. And I can totally relate to being the last one on the rides... I'm the same way.

Julie said...

Oh, I know exactly where you were and can totally groan in sympathy over those "hills". But man, it is so worth it when there aren't cars around and you get the redwoods, ocean, view, and all that extra oxygen to yourself. Living in AZ now, I totally miss the ride from Santa Cruz up into the SC mountains.

My little town is even less cyclist friendly, and I've known multiple people to have died around here from being hit by a car (lotsa old people), so my cycling around here has been curtailed. Personally, I find screaming "asshole" at speeding cars to be greatly cathartic, but I'm always ready to jump off and start running if the car turns around.
Keep up the great work and great stories!