Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winter Wonder Land

I know it’s been forever and a day since I last made any sort of update to the site, and for that I apologize. I’ve had some pretty epic adventures and a whole heck of a lot of other exciting stuff going on over the winter months. Here’s a brief update:

After the Knickerbocker 8hr, I was unsure of whether or not I wanted to do another race in November and I took a couple of days off the bike before getting back in the swing of things. I decided that I was going to try to actually take an off season this year and so I cut my training back to about half of the normal volume for the rest of October and through November. I decided that I wanted to head down to the 12 hours of Temecula race in mid November, originally with the intention of racing on a two man team. By the time the race rolled around, I was signed up for another solo event and unsure of my fitness level due to the fact that my training volume was not the same as it normally is during the season.

The race went very well and I had a great day on the bike, completing 13 laps on the course, the only solo rider to do so. I wound up with as many laps as some of the top 3 man teams…. Definitely a good day! Then, it was off to San Diego for a midnight snack(literally) at my favorite taco shop and after that I crashed for the night with a buddy near Balboa park. Another successful trip to SoCal.

I returned home and resumed my off season program of rest and recovery but started logging the miles again during a training camp in Borrego Springs(SoCal, middle of nowhere) in the first week of December. It was freakin nuts. The first day’s ride was mid thirties with torrential rain and wind, oh and a few thousand feet of climbing and descending. On another day we were greeted with snow and ice at the top of Montezuma(13 mile continuous climb with 3500 ft) accompanied by wind gusts of over 40mph. Myself and the rest of the riders at the camp huddled up inside a tiny country store at the top to warm up. The outdoor thermometer read 26 degrees, so the store’s 42 degree powerless interior felt like a sauna. Shuttles from the hotel were called to rescue most of the campers, but a brave few continued on with the planned ride and I simply couldn’t live with myself if I threw in the towel and let them go on without me. So, I saddled up and continued on down the road. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the conditions became much better, nearly enjoyable, a few miles down the road. The climbing and scenery were epic, the riders were some of the best people I’ve ever met and overall it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had on the bike.

I tried to keep the momentum rolling upon my return to Norcal and I rode many many miles in rain and snow through the month of December. I had nearly made my peace with the weather when right around Christmas I was presented with an offer that appeared to be highly beneficial for me both in terms of my racing career and from a financial standpoint. The only issue was that it would require me to relocate to SoCal once again. Since I had not quite made my peace with the crappy weather yet, the idea of moving to a warmer climate wasn’t really too much of an issue as it turned out….

So, I said my good byes, packed my things and on Jan. 2nd, I set out for Socal once again. This time though, I was taking the scenic route. I had made friends with one of the cyclists at camp earlier that month by the name of Summer, who lived in San Diego and when she heard that I was moving down, she came up with a super fun idea for the trip. Summer decided to fly up to Sac with her bike and then she and I would cruise out to the coast and do a series of super fun and epic rides along the coast as we made our way down to San Diego over 3-4 days. Certainly a lot more fun than driving down I-5 as fast as you can for 8hrs!

I took Summer on a cool little ride out of Folsom up through the foot hills and we stopped by Sutter’s Mill for a photo op before cruising up to Placerville and back down the hill. Having grown up in California’s gold country in a small town that was huge in the mining days, part of our everyday school curriculum had to do with the history of our state and of our particular area’s role in that history. It’s sorta cool to be able to take people on a ride and tell them a little about the history of the region you’re riding through.

After our Folsom ride, we hopped in the car and headed for Big Sur, where we spent the night and met up with some friends for a ride down the coast the next day. Amazing views and absolutely incredible weather. We were really taking our chances when planning a cycling trip on the northern California coast in the first part of January, but somehow we lucked out and we were greeted with the best weather that I’d seen in over a month. We got back to Big Sur in time for some chow and loaded the car once again for our journey down to Solvang, where we planned to ride the following day. And ride we did!

We plotted a course through some beautiful country surrounding Solvang and made our way up Figaroa which is a pretty damn tough climb. I loved it. After the day’s ride, it was time to complete our journey down to San Diego and get back to the real world. Summer had to go back to work and I had to figure out where I was going to live. Over the next couple of weeks, more epic miles were logged and I helped out at a Cycling Camp San Diego training camp outside of San Diego in the town of Alpine where I met a group of wonderfully enthusiastic riders and went on a series of great rides.

Meanwhile, I was getting situated at Big Ring Cyclery in my new management role and I was also getting moved into my new living space. I had brought very little with me on my initial trip down south because I didn’t want to carry it all the way down the coast, nor did I want to drive around with everything that I owned in the back of my car while I looked for places to live. So, once I found a good spot, it was time for another trip to Norcal to fetch all of my things. I went something like this: up and at em on a Thursday for a four-five hour ride. Upon completing the ride, hop in the car and head for I-5. Drive for the next 8hrs more or less nonstop and arrive in Nevada City at about 10pm. Get up on Friday, pack all of my things and get back in the car around 2pm for the return trip to San Diego…. I was pretty tired on Saturday.

So, here I am. In San Diego, managing a shop, working with CCSD cycling camps every chance I get, attending a Tuesday/Thursday evening spin class and leading a Tuesday/Thursday morning spin class and even racing bikes now and again. Actually, that last part isn’t happening quite as often as I’d like right now. I was supposed to race today, but I’m sick and I have been for some time now so I didn’t figure that a bike race was the best medicine. It’s alright though, I always plan a lot of races for Feb. and March and very few of them really ever pan out. I’m more of a summer time sort of guy anyway I suppose. I’m still planning on pursuing mostly endurance events, but I’m hoping to throw in a few XC races here and there and I keep on saying that I’m going to start road racing at some point, but the idea gives me a slightly queasy feeling in my tummy, so we’ll see if it ever comes to fruition.

I’m looking to branch out a little this season though and I was just accepted to race at the Furnace Creek 508 road race in October and I’m planning on attending a 24 hour road race in Davis in early April in hopes of qualifying for Race Across America. Beyond that, I suppose you’ll see me at a lot of the same events as in years passed, still riding my Cdale, still wearing pink, and still rocking my Giraffe on the bars. Even with everything that is sure to be different this season, some things will never change….

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