loaded and ready for flight
I love riding bicycles. I can count the things I like better on one hand’s fingers. Sometimes I don’t want to ride, sure, but when I do and can’t, shit hits the fan. This has been the case since the middle of January, as knee troubles have resulted in nonexistent or short and inconsistent riding. Being the dork of human anatomy and physiology that I am, my inability to diagnose and remedy this situation frustrated me to a further extent. Bike fits, countless foam roller sessions, massage, self-massage, ice, heat, ice, heat, biofreeze, voltaren, ice, heat. Feel better. Try to ride. Feel worse. It seemed I was no good at the things I enjoy. (Euro english:) “Oyyyyuggghhh Amateur.”
Any pro (other than ) or coach you ask will tell you the importance of measuring performance on the bike. There are hoards of articles, books, seminars, webinars, and real live people that will tell you all about the many aspects of training. There are top secret methods that only top level athletes get to use. Only recently has Allen Lim exposed and explained a few of his on and off the bike strategies, and popular cycling websites have documented some extreme measures being taken during the grand tours.
The thing is, you don’t need to drop thousands of dollars on a human-sized -150° C cyrotherapy chambers or space boots to have your hands on the most important performance tool. In fact, the most well kept training secrets (other than the white lunch bags) involve parameters measured, displayed, or analyzed by a cycling computer. My favorite is the Garmin Edge 500. To avoid going into full-on, gushy fanboy mode, I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite things about it.
While I don’t really ride my bike in many other places, it sure seems like we’re spoiled here in the Bay Area. Four out of five out-of-towners will confirm this.
Nowadays, most of the hills I ride are in Marin county. Before this, I lived a few miles down south on the peninsula. I would regularly train on Old la Honda and King’s Mountain and all of the gorgeous roads between the bay and the ocean, pretty much all of which lead up to Skyline.
A couple weeks ago I had a weekend day off with no race on tap (whoa!), so I decided to drive down and ride my favorite roads. Yes, I drove a truck somewhere to ride my bike. It was worth it.
First, I buried myself up my absolute favorite climb ever, Old la Honda. I set a personal record and finally managed sub-eighteen minutes. I then flew down 84, took a detour over Pescadero Creek Rd. and Stage Rd. (the same route of a certain state championship road race), and rode up 1. I hit the best pre-Tunitas road, Lobitos Creek, and then settled into a (slow) rhythm up Tunitas Creek Rd. Here’s a video of about .75% of that climb. Try to spot the red flowers on the right.