Crater Lake 2009

August 20th, 2009

We rode the rim of Crater Lake in 2007 as part of our “Work is Overrated Tour – 2007.” Crater Lake is the most beautiful place we have ever ridden and that is saying a lot when you think about all of the places we’ve ridden.  The lake is an incredibly deep blue, fringed with evergreen trees and every  glimpse of it as you cycle by is breathtaking.  When friends suggested we do the organized century ride with them this year it wasn’t too hard to  figure out a way to fit it into our schedule.

Over the years we have met several people whom we really enjoy riding with.  Unfortunately in the past few years some of these folks have moved away from California so this ride was a great opportunity to hook up with them again.  We stayed with two other couples in a rental house that was the central gathering place for about twenty riders.  We gathered together there for good food and conversation both Friday and Saturday nights.

The ride was on Saturday and we woke up to a temperature of about 33 degrees and frost on the deck of the rental house.   We had already decided we were not doing the full century because the first twenty miles or so were an out and back flat section through a  valley.  We had planned on just riding straight up to the rim, around the rim and back down for a total of about eighty miles and over 7,000 feet of climbing.  The cold temperature was definitely a downer.  It’s August.  I don’t ride in freezing temperatures in August.  Fortunately for us, one of our friends was planning on being shuttled to the rim and they had room for us in their car.  This meant we could start our ride at 10 AM instead of 7:30 AM.  It was loads warmer at 10 AM!  Just riding the rim is about 30 miles with about 3,000 feet of climbing.  We had a great time stopping at the overlooks and looking out at the lake.

The last twenty miles of our ride were mainly downhill with a flat section at the end.  As we started down Thom asked me if I wanted to coast or hammer. I answered that I wanted to coast and he whined, “Fine,” in an Eeyore sort of way.  So I hammered.  I don’t usually pedal when I’m going downhill unless I’m racing.  Downhills are suppose to be for relaxing, not for working hard.  🙂  I also don’t really like drafting, so I took the lead for about 17 miles, most of which was downhill with an average grade of about 3%.  We averaged over 22 miles an hour;  and it was a blast!  Thom took over the lead for the last three flat miles and we averaged just under 19 miles an hour.  Yeah, fast is fun!

We’ll definitely be riding the rim again.

  • Veronica is still sporting her race number from Barb's Race as she circles the lake.
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Tour de Cure of Napa

May 5th, 2009

We don’t usually do large organized bike rides. There are usually too many people on the road and long lines at the rest stops. Riders are often either “racer boys” – not stopping at stop signs, passing without warning, riding 3 abreast etc or they are novice riders – shaky bike handling skills, wandering across the road, riding 3 abreast. As a bonus, if the weather is bad you have to ride anyway.

So when a friend asked us to be Ride Marshals in the Tour de Cure, a fund raiser for the American Diabetes Association, of course we said, “Yes.” With our spiffy “Marshall” vests, we would be in a position to gently advise riders to ride safely (or else). (more…)


Happy New Year

January 4th, 2009

If we are not traveling and it isn’t raining, we try to get out to ride our bikes up Mt. Diablo on New Year’s Day. This local tradition brings all sorts of riders to the mountain on all sorts of machines. The odd machine this year was the rare carbon fiber tandem recumbent trike. When we stopped at the mid point to mingle with the crowds we happened to roll up next to a couple of other Rivendell bikes. It was amusing to have a stranger walk over and ask if it was a gathering of vintage bikes. “Yes.” I said. “Mine is vintage 2005.” and another rider said, “Yes, mine is vintage 2007.”

This year’s weather was complex. Winter around here can mean bright sunny days in the 50s or cloudy, dreary cloudy days in the 40s. We’d had some pretty steady days of living in Deary Town since mid-December and New Year’s Day was no exception. This is where it pays to be able to see further ahead than your nose. The dreary days are days of thick morning fog and a layer of low clouds the rest of the day. The trick is the remember that the clouds only go up to about the 2,000 foot mark. Mt. Diablo is over 3,800 feet tall. The view from the summit was worth the slog through the dull lower slopes.

  • Tandemhearts' photo
  • The road up slope on the left is in bright sunlight, while the road on the right is in thick fog.
  • Veronica takes a break high above the dreary land below.
  • From the summit of Mt. Diablo, the cloud layer below rolls in and out of the draw.
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Another Gorgeous Day in California

April 13th, 2008

  • Highway 1 is dotted with views like this; but we never seem to get tired of them.
King’s Ridge has been on my list of rides to do for awhile. It’s about a two hour drive north of us and there are no stores for about 40 miles of the route. Those two things made it logistically a little difficult. But everything I had read about the route made it sound wonderful: some tough climbing, some white knuckle descents and gorgeous scenery. When my friend Sarah e-mailed me that her Team in Training group was doing an informal ride up there and a friend would be providing SAG, I knew it was time to tackle King’s Ridge. This would also be my first long ride after having my bike fit done. Because I could not shake my nagging knee problems, I went to professional to see if my bike setup was part of the problem. It was. With some adjustments of less than an inch in various directions, my bike felt great and my knee was happier on the test ride. I knew King’s Ridge Road would be a great test ride with lots of climbing to test the knee and descending to test my nerves. Thumbs up to both.


Wind, Rain & Knees: 260 Kilometers

March 2nd, 2008

  • Bicycle lights are always just a little different color than a car headlight. Here the riders work their way acros the bridge as they begin the day.
On March 1, I rode the San Francisco 300 K Brevet (188 miles). I knew this ride was going to be a stretch for me since I have not ridden more than 63 miles since September. The ride started at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge at 6 AM. Thom drove me over and took some photos. The start was kind of cold and the bridge was very wet. Riding across the bridge is a cool experience, but every other time I’ve ridden it, it’s been a little crowded and I’ve felt rushed. We rode across the east side of it, so I had a great view of San Francisco Bay. I was hanging back from the bulk of the group, as going around the towers can be a little dicey and I wanted to enjoy the experience. There were no riders or walkers coming at me to navigate around, so I could enjoy the view. The bay was gorgeous. It was still dark but it was pretty clear and I could see lots of lights and the various islands. (more…)

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