Archive for May, 2009

Memorable Memorial Monday

| May 25, 2009 6:49 pm
Memorable Memorial Monday

It has been a delightful Memorial Day.  This morning we got up and watched the TV with some of the feature stories on the sacrifice of our military men and women over the years.  A touching story was about an organization that had made it possible for many of the WWII veterans to travel to Washington DC to see the monument devoted to their comrades who had died in the war.  It helped us appreciate the sacrifice of so many for us and our children, and their children.

After cutting the bike ride on Saturday short due to the cold weather, we wanted to get in a good long ride today.  We decided to go 64 miles and do the Canada Loop, then head up and ride up to the Henry Coe State Park headquarters.  It was still overcast in the morning so we kept waiting.  We thought that once it reached 55 degrees we would head out since the forecast was for a nice day.  We had only gone one block before Anne decided to add the sleeves to her jacket because it was still brisk.

By the time we made our way to Canada Road, it had warmed up to about 60 degrees and we could see that the sun was attempting to break through the over cast.  We quickly warmed up during the climb and by the time we reached the summit the sun was now shinning.

We went all the way down Roop Road, up a short hill and down a descent, past some very nice homes then on through the back roads up to Morgan Hill.

Before we started to make the big climb we stopped briefly while we shared a sandwich we had brought along.  We no longer needed our arm warmers or vest. The weather was absolutely perfect for cycling.  Part way up the climb we stopped to enjoy the view.

We were glad when we reached the end of the road.

We didn’t stay at the top long because it was now mid afternoon and we had not eaten much yet.  It was a moderate paced descent down to the valley.  Franz was doing much better braking with his left hand and the drag brake on the tandem really helped.  After we made our way over to Erik’s Deli, we shared a sandwich, sitting on the patio area.

From there it was 10 miles back to our house.  We had timed it it just right because it was now starting to cool off a bit.  We finally made it home after 5:00 pm, with a total of 64 miles and nearly 5,000 feet of climbing.  It was a very nice day.

Cold and Foggy May Day

| May 23, 2009 10:26 pm
Cold and Foggy May Day

For the ride on Saturday we were considering doing the 77 mile Long Distance Training club ride but we were concerned about the traffic on that route.  So instead we went on another club ride, near the same area but on some back roads.  In the morning we checked the weather forecast and it looked like it would be cooler than it had been but still in the upper 50’s and low 60’s.  Never believe the weather forecast in this area with all it’s micro climates.

As we left our house at 8:30, the sun was just about to break through the overcast sky so it looked very promising for a nice sunny day.  We headed by car over Hecker Pass Highway toward the ocean.  As we neared the summit, we saw the thick fog and the temperatures were dropping.  As we descended down towards the coast, the fog became thicker.  The ride started in Corralitos.  About 6 other people were there but they had been smart enough to wear tights.  Ann had brought her jacket and arm warmers but Franz had only brought along a vest and arm warmers.  Neither of us had tights, knee warmers, long finger gloves or an ear band.  We could have used all of those.

We headed out with the group for the easy climb up and over Hazel Dell.  The temperature was about 51 but with some moderate climbing we seemed warm enough.  Then we made the tough climb up Mt. Madonna road, which climbs over 1,500 vertical feet.  The road was wet from the heavy fog and we knew the decent would be difficult and cold.  We were the first ones to the top but only waited a short while, figuring it would be warmer at the base so we headed down.

We stopped half way down to get a bit warmer.  You can see the fog was still thick.

At the base we stopped only briefly, then it was back over Hazel Dell.  Near the summit, one other rider had a flat tire so we stopped while he was doing the repair.  It was now 49 degrees and we started to get real chilled.  There must have been a slight wind because we were definitely colder than earlier.  Then we had to do the descent back down to Corralitos.  When we got there we felt cold, too cold to be having fun.  We went into the store and Anne bought a hot chocolate but Franz was so cold he went to the car to warm up.  It was probably 15 minutes before the rest of the riders showed up.

We got out of the car and headed back over to get on the bike to go up Eureka Canyon.  It was now past noon and the fog was still thick.  It was looking like it was not going to clear today.  We remembered how it was going to be sunny back home.  So we decided to go back home and bike there.

When we did return home we felt so tired.  It was coldest we had ever felt in late May.  After getting some recovery we decided to go out on a run instead.  But we vowed to get in a long bike Ride on Monday, Memorial Day.

Salt Lake City Century

| May 18, 2009 3:19 pm
Salt Lake City Century

It has been a few weeks off from cycling, starting with Franz breaking his hand in a cycling accident and then us traveling across the US from the Northwest corner to the Southeast corner. We tried to get in some exercise most days, but mostly it was running with some time on an exercise bike. When we returned from Atlanta to our Utah home on Tuesday, Franz’s younger brother called and asked if we would join his team to do the Salt Lake Century ride on that Saturday.

Normally we would not be too concerned with that since we had been on club rides this year already over 100 miles and Franz had already finished two double centuries. But during the past 6 weeks we felt we had lost a lot of conditioning and so far Franz had not attempted to get back on the road bike with the splint on his left hand, keeping to riding only the mountain bike on pavement.

But with 3 days left to get in some training, and one day to rest, we felt why not? So our “getting back in shape” training was 25 miles on Tuesday, 35 on Wednesday and 55 on Thursday, with taking Friday off, before the Century ride on Saturday. It is not the training program we would ever recommend, any more than cramming for final exams is very helpful. But we needed to get some confidence and Franz needed to learn how to ride the road bike with the splint on. We did not have our tandem, so that meant single bikes.

The Salt Lake Century is an interesting century. It gets about the same number of riders as the Tierra Bella and also offers short options of 35 and 70 miles.  The proceeds go to assist the Salt Lake City Bicycle Advocacy Committee to build and maintain bicycle routes and trails and promote cycling in Utah.  Unlike the Tierra Bella, it has one mass start at 7:30 am with police escort blocking all the traffic so this massive peleton could cruse through the streets through the stop signs and traffic lights. We kept our pace up during that stretch, going over 20 mph with a slight tail wind, but keeping plenty of space between us and the riders ahead, especially since Franz was mostly limited to using the rear brake with his right (and good) hand.

After about 6 miles, the riders were much more stretched out and we were no longer with a police escort. The first rest stop was at 17 miles, but we thought that was a bit too soon so we blew by that rest stop and eventually reached the 2nd rest stop at 35 miles. This was the point where we were going to decide to turn around or go on. We both felt fine so decided to do the entire 105 miles.

whiterock_bayThat extra portion was an interesting one because it takes you out to Antelope Island State Park, an island in the Great Salt Lake.  The largest of the Great Salt Lake’s 10 islands, Antelope Island is part of the Utah State Park System. Visitors can reach the park by boat or as we did over a 7 mile long causeway.

Biking along the causeway was interesting because you are surrounded by vast water on both sides of the road and where there is water there are bugs, and we mean a lot of bugs.  We wanted to get through all those bugs as quick as we could so we kept the pace around 20 mph.  One group we passed must have thought an older couple should not go by them, so they passed us but eventually they could not hold that pace so we ended up passing them again.  This time they were content to draft behind as Franz pulled the rest of the miles to the island, with Anne right on his wheel.

Anne at finish of Salt Lake Century

Anne at finish of Salt Lake Century

Once we reached the island, the route took us several miles on a road that circled the island.  This route served as a time trail course in the Nationals a couple of years ago that some members of ACTC participated in.  The weather was now perfect cycling weather, in the low 70’s.  On the far side there was a water stop where we made a brief stop.  Then it was to continue around the island and then, yikes, we had to go back across that causeway with all the bugs.  So we did the same thing again, keeping the pace over 20 mph to get through that section as soon as we could.

At mile 70 we stopped a the lunch stop where they had all the fixings to make a sandwich.  We saw Franz’s younger brother there.  His team was leap frogging us all day.  They would go past us between rest stops but they were taking longer stops than we were,  so we ended up seeing them at every single stop.

Franz after Salt Lake Century

Franz after Salt Lake Century

After resting for awhile, we headed back over the 35 mile course we had taken that morning. But unlike the morning we did not skip the rest stop at 17 miles from the start. But there the stop was brief and then we finished the 105 miles.

It was a great century ride and one we really enjoyed. We averaged 17.8 mph for the 105 miles. That was not as fast as we have done on the tandem, but a pace we were very happy with on single bikes.

Fun in the Sun at Destin Beach

| May 11, 2009 2:02 pm
Fun in the Sun at Destin Beach

After being in Atlanta for a couple of days, we headed to Destin Beach in Florida with John, Amy, Kyle and Natalie.  We were kind of surprised that we went from Eastern time zone to Central time zone.  It just seemed we should be headed east going to Florida.   But if you take a look at the map below you can see that Florida extends west under Georgia and even part of Alabama.  Out destination was indeed towards the west of Atlanta.  It doesn’t look that far on the map, but with the highways we had to travel it took about 6 hours to drive.

route2destin

We arrived on Wednesday and the kids went straight to the beach, which was right in front of the condo units we were staying at.

The next day it was back to the beach for more fun.

In the afternoon we headed over to see more of the sights of Destin Beach area.

As night came on, we could see the moon over the ocean from our balcony.

On Saturday we headed down to Panama City to watch  a triathlon there and check out the beach in that area.

Sunday was Mother’s Day.

We enjoyed a brunch at “Another Cracked Egg” restaurant.  Then it was back to the condo and to the pool.

All good things need to come to an end but before we left to drive back to Atlanta on Monday, Franz took a couple more picture of where we had stayed.

Chasing after the Grandkids

| May 5, 2009 10:37 pm

On our vacation from the Northwest corner of the US to the Southeast corner, we have finally made it to Atlanta to visit John and family. The day after we arrived in Atlanta we were able to go to Kyle and Natalie’s track practice.