Monday, December 17, 2012

Mt. Hamilton!

Pano from the top of Mt. Hamilton!  You can see the Sierras.  (Click on it for a bigger image).
This past Sat, I finally went out on a long bike ride.  With trips to Montana, unicycling (my new toy of the year), climbing trips (didn't do any last year), I hadn't gone on a 40+ mile ride since the Alt Ride... a long, long time ago.
So this past Thurs I went on a short night ride to see how what my shoulder could handle.  My shoulder felt fine, I just had to modify my ride as I couldn't really crank up the hills, I had to spin up them (I do have a triple....)  My light however wasn't fully charged, and had to do about 8 miles in pitch dark... kinda spooky, but very zen at the same time.  Good thing traffic was light on Pinehurst.
10 min later...
On Friday, I managed to finagle Sigman to do a long-ish ride (never too hard to convince that guy to go on a fun ride...).  We debated between Pt. Reyes, Cheese Factory, 7 sisters, or Hamilton... and decided on Hamilton.  The shortest route you can do the Mt. Hamilton Loop is 101 miles.... which looks like this.

So... I woke up at 5, picked up Sigman at 6, and we were on the road from Pleasanton at 7 am.  Pretty foggy start, but by the time we reached Livermore it had cleared up and the temps dropped a few more degrees.
The start shot with flash...
and without... heavy fog.  This is when having a partner is key to motivating.
enjoying the brisk morning air...
See the sunpillar?  Lovin' the atmospheric optics...
About 2 hours (30 miles) into our ride... frigid.
and puddles were still frozen.
We saw a surprising amount of wildlife on this ride... including a bobcat and a road runner.  Both firsts for me.  The bobcat was really cool, as we had just passed a lady crossing the street to feed her horses with her 5 dogs and a dozen or so kittens.  About a mile or so later, I saw a blur move about 10 ft away from me, then saw the bobcat springing away in the other direction.  We saw the road runner on our descent down Mt. Hamilton... on the west side.  Ran along side us for about 5 ft, then scurried away.
Since I didn't get a pic of either the bobcat or the road runner, here's a couple of cat's named bob from "the Oatmeal"
Oh and check out this camera trap pic of a bobcat from one of my ex-coworkers... out in the same area... (credit to A.Far)

And road runner, it actually does kinda like this... 
Self portrait on Hamilton
Sigman @ the top!
See the snow?  
I've recently been reading Eat and Run by Scott Jurek, the vegan ultrarunner.  It's a quick read, but full of insights and recipes from his findings using his body as an experiment.  Two tips I took from his book were: 1) I packed two rice balls (onigiri) for the ride and 2) breathing.  I'd like to look more into this, but he says he breathes through his nose.  This lowers his heart rate, and also allows him to eat while running.  During the ride, I focused on my breathing... trying to breath through the nose.  On the tough uphill sections I'd breath in through my nose, out through my mouth... and on the really tough sections I'd breath in through the nose, out from the mouth, in through the mouth, out from the mouth, and in through the nose... etc.  Dunno if it helped any, but something I'd like to try out.
not my fuel of choice...
From the summit of Hamilton the descent was probably the coldest I've been this calendar year.  I was uncontrollably chattering and had to stop twice as my forearms stopped listening to me and had a tough time braking.  Then... it started raining.  And didn't stop for the rest of the ride.  The forecast called for a 20% chance of drizzle... but it was 100% raining.  Despite the rain and the cold, we saw a surprising amount of cyclists out, which was really nice to see and kept our spirits high.  During the ride, we saw a club ride of about 10 riders near the Junction bar... they were coming from Del Puerto Canyon.  And probably a dozen or so cyclists on Hamiton.... most of them looked unprepared for the cold, wet decent that awaited them.  And even after the rain, we saw another handful of cyclists riding in the rain.  Really, Really fun.  Can't wait for more of these next year.  

too bad this didn't come out, as we were a soaking, dirty mess.

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