Monday, January 12, 2009

Santa Clarita Another Day and the Road Less Travelled

I didn't have time to post this until now but last Thursday was my first swim workout in about a month, what with a sore shoulder and the pool closed for maintenance. It was pretty lousy. I could only get in 1200 wind-sucking yards. I suspect another workout or two and I'll be back in business. I'll find out tomorrow.

I started off Saturday's long ride on my usual San Fernando Valley 30 route. The wind started up out of the north just as I turned north, of course. There's a short, steep hill at one point and when I started it I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to stay in the saddle and actually made it (previously I could only keep the bike moving by getting out of the saddle). I made a left instead of a right about 20 miles into it--right after going up Balboa. This new route starts out on a hill that turned out to be the steepest and longest I have tried so far. I got out of the saddle and kept going and going. Finally, about twenty yards from the top, I couldn't keep the bike moving anymore. I wasn't able to clip out fast enough so I reached over and held onto the hill, which was right there. Did I mention that this was a narrow, two-lane road? Yeah, I felt pretty stupid as cars crawled by me. I also learned how difficult it is to clip in uphill. Definitely choosing the alternate route next time I try a trip to Santa Clarita until I know I can take this hill.

I rested up and finally crested the hill. I went another mile or so when a long, not-so-steep hill loomed. I was pretty tired by this point so I stopped my bike, looked at the hill, and decided I didn't have enough to go to Santa Clarita that day. I turned around and headed back but I sorta missed a turn and headed down San Fernando Road instead of Foothill Blvd. I decided to go with it. It was a nice ride--except for the dust storm (I need to find me some sunglasses). Too many stoplights once I got into San Fernando but a nice change of pace. 36 miles when I finished.

I decided Sunday's ride would be three times around the 10-mile loop in front of my house, which meant I could sleep in since I didn't have to worry so much about cars. First loop clockwise, second counter, third clockwise. We're having a bit of a heatwave right now so I could leave most of the cold weather gear home, though I did keep the long sleeves (turns out I could have gone sleeveless). They were nice laps but I was definitely spent by the third one.

What is it with cyclists not saying anything when they pass you. Not a "Hello." Not a "Good morning." Not a "On your left." Not a "You suck, pokey." Nothing. Two guys passed me towards the end and not a peep out of them. Bozos weren't even going all that fast. What's up with that?

Next Saturday I am going to take a more direct route into Santa Clarita, avoiding that first hill, and see what I have left when I come back to decide whether to take a direct route home or not.

The winner, so far, in the taste test department: Gu Energy Gel over Hammer Gel.

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