Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wombats Ride - Aug 2008

I owe Bladium big time (Well I guess I do pay them, but still). 1 year of spin/RPM classes and now riding up Deer Park Road and Shaver Grade (in Fairfax), is pretty much entirely doable for me. Before I would have to walk a fair portion of it. Places where before my muscles would have hit failure I was able to work through - I had this sensation that my quads were able to get more oxygen even though they were working under load. I had this sensation when I was doing the quad strength test (see last entry) and I've often had it during the RPM classes. Either that or they are working anaerobically - I have no way of telling. Though they were not burning which is usually the indication for me that they're not working aerobically.

It was great to see Jacquie again, and I met a woman named Lisa who is out here visiting and is from Brooklyn. The day was filled with things not going as planned, but with just enough of things not going as planned that they meshed perfectly. First of all I was late and made myself even later because Tom and Ray of Car Talk were amusing me so much that I forgot that I was getting of the freeway at San Rafael and fell into autopilot going up to Santa Rosa. Fortunately I had got only a few miles out of my way and was able get back on track. At the same time, Lisa who was waiting for the Wombats in the wrong location, realized her mistake and headed over to Deer Park which was the correct location.

I finally get there and don't see Jacquie which I'm only half surprised about since I'm so late (though it's not like they leave right on time either). I get the bike out and changed shoes and I notice there's a woman riding a bike slowly in the parking lot. I finally ask her "Have you seen Jacquie?" (Amongst Fairfax mountain bikers it amuses me that I can do this to just about any person on a mountain bike and most of the time they know who I'm talking about.) She says "Well it's funny you ask that." Turns out she's looking for her too. I'm familiar with the first part of the route up to 5 Corners and I was betting that if we just hang at 5 corners we'll eventually see her. We have a nice chat while we ride up to 5 corners and we were just getting ready to sit down and settle in to wait when a polkadotted dreadlocked biker appeared. "There you are!" I say, and we were all reunited. Those sort of coincidental misadventures you can not plan.

We continue on up Shaver Grade to Sky Oaks [paved] Road. Ride past the beautiful Bon Tempe Lake and continue on to Lake Lagunitas (not to be confused with the one by Stanford). Circle the lake and then head back this time staying on Sky Oaks the whole way back down.

What was fun about staying on the road was similar to going down Mt Diablo Road you can really scream down the hill and you don't have to worry about running over a hiker (or getting a speeding ticket which, in Marin, they do had out to mountain bikers). And in the same vein of you never forget how to ride a bike, the muscle memory of how to go down a hill fast on a bike doesn't disappear very quickly at all. I may have had to spend a year getting back into the shape I was when I routinely climbed mountains on a bike, but I didn't have to spend a year relearning the go downhill fast skills. though the disc brakes help a lot with better, more efficient braking power and my hands are not horribly fatigued like they used to get.

And of course we had tea and much dish afterward. I always like to hear how the bordering on incestuous Marin bike community is doing. This isn't a gossip column so I'll skip naming names.

I really like how much time Jacquie takes teaching biking skills to women. It's fun to watch her work. One thing that I found fun was that I had headed off to charge down a hill (not a beginner skill) and she was going to hang back with slower riders and do some instruction, but just as I left, I found that she had easily caught up to me to give me directions for the bottom of the hill, once she had done that (which was done at not slow speeds), she was immediately able to send me on my way and ride back up to where she had started from. Pretty talented multitasking there.

She wants to write a book for women over 50 who have never ridden a bike before (or haven't for a long time.) Given the increasing interest in exercise and alternative transportation her timing sounds right.

I tell Jacquie that I want take her skiing this coming ski season and she's all for it. I keep telling her that skiing embraces eccentricity much more so than the mountain bike crowd. (I tell her that she needs to see any Warren Miller film to see what I'm talking about.) Well this should be fun.

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