It felt almost tropical this morning; mid to upper-40s, a good 10 degrees warmer than usual. And yet, just a few of us on the ride. Todd at the start, joined by Chris on the way up Kings. It was a pretty slow ride up the hill, as Kevin (my son) hadn’t taken a hit from his inhaler and his asthma was holding him back quite a bit. So much so that he said no way was he going to do the whole ride, heading back down the hill with Todd at Sky Londa.
Of course, that wasn’t going to happen! He got feeling better up on Skyline, just like I told him he would, as he got above the dirty air below (all those lit fireplaces despite the spare-the-air warning due to atmospheric conditions that keep all the bad air down close to the ground). It wasn’t a pretty ride, but we still felt a whole lot better at the end for having ridden than we would have otherwise. Which is always how it works out!
December 22, 2011. First day of winter. I could be sleeping in, or I could have a job that requires that I get to work so early there’s no way I could do anything beforehand other than getting up, taking a shower, getting dressed and joining the ranks of 8-to-5ers. And I’d miss mornings like this. Air so crisp & clean that you should be able to see Hawaii from Skyline. No clouds to be seen, just a strongly-cast shadow that keeps you company even if those you’re riding with have dropped you (or, the far-less-likely event that you’ve dropped them).
Was it cold? Well sure, down to 29.something according to my Garmin computer (my Trek Node computer said 33, but you get more credibility at 29 so I’m going to assume my Garmin is more accurate), but you can dress comfortably for that. Besides, it gets warmer as you go, right? All the way up to 39 degrees at the end of the ride! It’s actually kind of remarkable that we can ride in such temperatures without excessive bundling up… the miracle of modern lightweight fabrics.
Who rode this morning? Myself, Eric, John, Karl, Karen, Todd and Shane. Neither Kevin today; one was working (flying), the other not feeling well. Both missed a very nice day.
If the first day of winter, one of the coldest mornings of the year, can be this nice… how can I not want to be out on a bike enjoying it?
On Caltrain to bart to walnut creek. Then ride up Diablo and home via dumbarton bridge. Kevin’s first time up Diablo. Should be fun!
Interbike, our industry’s trade show, is big. Really big. Multiple floors at a huge convention center in Las Vegas, and I had less than one day to take in what most deal with in three. Less than one because, while the show opens at 9am & closes at 6pm, I had two hours NBDA (National Bicycle Dealer Association) booth duty, greeting possible new members but mostly telling people where registration was.
Most years I have more time, and usually go out to lunch with some dealers that I only get a chance to spend time with once or twice a year. This time, I didn’t have a chance to get away for even a short period of time. Lunch was simply not on option, but you gotta eat if you’re gonna keep moving. What to do? You’ll find the answer below.
The Interbike Cafe! One lap around nets you the equivalent of maybe 2 energy bars. Would they notice if I did 2 laps? Nope!
Most people would think that just climbing Alpe d’Huez itself is a good day. But we’re not most people. I’ve visited Alpe d’Huez a number of times and always been fascinated by a cliff road on the opposite side of the valley (d219). So today we drove to a spot a few miles outside of Bourg d’Oison and, as a prelude to the main event (Alpe d’Huez) rode up the side of a cliff on a narrow little road that actually has a waterfall cascading over you at one point.
This road isn’t for the timid; it’s steep, scary, has two long unlit tunnels, and a liberal scattering of some type of rock that is designed to destroy tires (good thing I carry a spare!).
The rewards are saying you did it, viewing a spectacular waterfall that can be seen no other way, and a cool little bar at the top where cokes are only two euros but you’d pay 5. Nice little terrace with an incredible view. Too bad we couldn’t stay very long; the plan was to head back at noon, whether we had made it to the top or not.
The only thing not so enjoyable was getting the flat (actually two because the first tube I used had a valve problem, and if anybody’s keeping track, they know I have zero spare tubes or tires left), and having to keep Kevin to the inside with me alongside, ready to quite literally push him into the wall if he were to have a seizure at an inopportune time. Thankfully, no seizures. Part two next.
It is really dumping outside as we sit in our car outside a laundromat in LaGrave, waiting for our clothes to dry. We had planned a short ride today but not in this muck and certainly not on one of the “cliff” roads with sheer drop offs! Thankfully this rain is a one-day gig; it’s going to be pretty nice for the three stages in the Alps and the Grenoble time trial.
After yesterday’s ride, we feel like a day off the bike won’t kill us.
Update: In Bourg d’Oisons at the foot of the Alpe d’Huez, shopping for supplies for next couple of day’s rides. It’s cleared up and now we wish we had our bikes! But we can still get in the ride on the cliff road the morning of the Alpe d’Huez stage. We can still hit all the items we’d planned.