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.
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.
Time for an “ugly” ride, something not terribly long but far more challenging than the mere mileage or climbing would indicate. So last night, with Kevin’s help, I put together an “ugly” ride. Something tough to do on a warm/hot day (it was just under 100 much of the ride). Something I could program into the Garmin ahead of time so I would be less tempted to modify things along the way.
Today’s “ugly” ride had us going up Page Mill (Kevin’s idea) to Skyline, south on Skyline to 9 (and south on Skyline is so much tougher than going north, even though the elevation change isn’t much different), lunch at Mr. Mustard, then down 9, up & over Eden & Pierce to Los Altos, then a different sort loop through the Foothills, different in that I discovered new forms of torture on a hot day. I’ll post more details tomorrow.
Oh, the title. At the end of the ride Kevin’s computer flashed “Course complete. You win!”, apparently a message that we beat the time estimate. Rest assured, we were in fact beat by the end of this ride!
The plan? Kevin and I ride to Pescadero/San Gregorio/Tunitas and back. The usual coastal run. The weather? We knew it was going to be questionable at best, but we’re strong enough, we’re stupid enough, and we’ve got the gear for it. We got going around 9:50am (fairly early for us!) and headed out into a light drizzle, nothing nasty, just enough to make it not much fun. Almost nobody else out on the road; we saw 3 people on Canada, and not a single cyclist heading up or down Old LaHonda! A rare day indeed.
We weren’t burning up the pavement on the climb, but we weren’t slacking either, just a good, steady climb, knowing we had a long ride ahead of us. About 2/3rds of the way up Kevin’s dropped back a bit, and I look back on the last steep corner and he’s heading to the edge of the road and getting off his bike. Unfortunately I know where this is going; he’s had a bit of warning that a seizure is coming on, and the ones where he gets the warnings are the ones that tend to be a bit bigger. This was no exception; he was tensed up for about two minutes before coming out of it. We got back on and continued up the hill, delayed by no more than 5 minutes, but as the rain got heavier & the temps got colder, Kevin had lost his enthusiasm for the Pescadero Bakery so we scaled things back, heading down west-side Old LaHonda but then back up to Skyline and north all the way to 92 and back Canada. Even though significantly shortened (37 miles instead of 58), it still wasn’t easy, with the rain getting pretty heavy up on Skyline, soaking through our gloves, and the temperature holding steady at 45. At one point Kevin said, in a way that could have been mistaken for sarcasm, “This is what we do for fun.” But it wasn’t sarcastic; in our own warped minds, it was fun!