Final Saturday ride!

Today was the last long ride before Waves to Wine, something I’m very glad about. (Probably you are too — it means the end of regular ride reports, except for Waves to Wine itself!) Something I’m not at all glad about is that it’s over 90 degrees outside today (the high in Menlo Park was 94, and in Cupertino 99; it’s about 91 now; my bike computer at one point reported 104). The riding was okay until about noon, but after that it slowly ratcheted up from uncomfortable to nearly unbearable. I stopped frequently to rest, usually somewhere air-conditioned where I could wander around, let my body temperature normalize, use the restroom, and get some food and/or water (both Roberts Markets in the hills, Trader Joe’s, Bicycle Outfitters, Mike’s Bikes — bike shops are great for refilling water and restocking energy food if needed!).

This ride was a near-repeat of the Tour de Menlo route from three weeks ago, and it’s helpful to have a comparison. The ride was two miles shorter (and a tad easier since I opted out of Foothill at Page Mill to go to Mike’s Bikes, and did not climb Montebello — that would have been insanity given the heat; I also used Mountain Home instead of Whiskey Hill for shade, thus avoiding the evil part of Sand Hill), and my performance was nearly identical: the same ride time, and the same total time, with (given the missing miles) a slightly lower average speed). Given that it was ten or fifteen degrees hotter today, that’s not bad.

DST: 66.6 (Ride of Evil, heh)
AVS: 12.7
MXS: Don’t know because my sensor was messed up by a detector, but it was nothing exciting, around 31-32 mph
Ride time: 5:12
Total time: 6:45

I did have a lot of trouble coping with the heat; I’m not normalized for biking in heat because it’s so unusual here. I wanted to start earlier, but I was slow getting ready and also had to switch from Maia (recovered from Palo Alto Bikes early) to Meg because, riding alone, I realized I needed to carry a lock. I mostly was able to and chose to stop when I needed to, which is something I like about riding alone. I just stop when I want to and monitor how I feel, no worries about anyone else.

I also like the meditativeness of riding — rather like playing music, it fills my mind pretty much wholly so I don’t really have any thoughts per se other than “Ugh, uphill” and “Ooh, pretty” and “Gosh it’s hot” and “Dude, are you completely oblivious”, the last when a motorist did a u-turn in front of me, ended up in a driveway area, and tried to re-enter the roadway, all apparently without noticing my existence. Minus the last type of thing, it’s pretty mentally restful.

I stopped at the foot of Montebello because the heat was just oppressive coming up Stevens Canyon, even though I’d only gone 3 miles since I stopped at TJs. I should have stopped on Foothill before reaching Page Mill, because by the time I reached Mike’s Bikes, I was experiencing weird temperature sensations in my body (feeling sort of cold and shivery instead of hot), not a good sign. I seem to be okay, but it clearly wasn’t a wise decision on my part. I did well with reapplying sunscreen and eating, but my drinking was more erratic, though I was careful to fill up on water appropriately and didn’t run dry like I did on the coast ride. I also forgot my chapstick and found that in the sun and wind it was not comfortable without it, so I bought some at TJs when I was there.

With the lower gears on Meg, I was able to climb Edgewood without stopping and dispatched Elena with only one break. It’s hard to know if this was just the gears (going slower allows greater consistency), or if my climbing has improved. I think it’s some of both. I’m more able to sprint up short hills like Arastradero’s first evil section and Summerhill as well. Overall, though, I felt tireder, a bit short of resources. Every time the road turned uphill I thought “Ugh.” But my breathing was less strained and my legs survived, so it seems like I’ve improved.

Given my tiredness (even despite being off-bike yesterday because I felt tired then), it’s definitely time to start tapering. This last week is scheduled to be the same as the previous one up through Wednesday, but it’s my plan to axe five miles from every ride starting either tomorrow or Monday and take Thursday off (and Friday only ride commute because I have to take Maia with me to SF in the evening, which will be close to what’s scheduled). I think that’ll suit me better. But I’m glad I went full out today; it’s given me greater confidence in my abilities. I just hope it isn’t 100 degrees next weekend. The 10-day forecast suggests not — it says mid-eighties for the overnight location, so that means even cooler on the coast. That’s not perfect, but it’s not bad.

Waves to Wine, here I come…

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