Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wisconsin to Long Beach

Fellow Mouse PPH was driving us to Leesville on Friday. Despite our 5:05 am departure, it was getting warm in the car as we passed through Vacaville on I-80. I checked in the back for my bag, in which I'd stored my water bottles for the day, jammed in there admist my ride clothing, shoes, and food. No bag. Whoops. I'd left it at his place when I'd gone in to use his toilet. I'd be doing support duties for this race... Which turned out to be a lot of fun, and useful on a course where flats are common and the feed zone is essential. If nothing else, being in the feed zone meant I could hand-pick which of the reused discarded bottles the neutral feed was handing out I could give to my teammates. Maybe save them from swine flu. No complaints about the neutral feed, BTW: nobody forces any rider to take neutral water. Beggers can't be choosers.

So while the day was productive, it didn't do anything for my fitness, obviously. Unless sweating in a hot feedzone induces adaptations to the heat. If it does, I squandered it the next two days in fog-plagued San Francisco and Marin. My goal for the weekend was to get in some solid miles: make up for the lack of riding at Friday's race. And I succeeded: 87 miles on Saturday, 83 on Sunday, with plenty of Z5-Z6 climbing efforts in the 4-5 minute range. I managed to toss in a few hard sprints, as well.

As I returned from today's ride I crossed paths with two riders loaded down with panniers and gear. I asked where they started. "Wisconsin," one replied. Wow! They'd started there only three weeks ago, doing around 100 miles per day. They wanted to know the way to San Francisco.

I led them through Marin Bike Route 20, which Henry Kingman calls the "Bicycle Highway". We stopped in Larkspur at the park off Magnolia. Along the way I'd asked them where in San Francisco they'd be staying. "We're going to San Jose" was the response, "Do you know the way there?"

Wow -- San Francisco to San Jose is far from trivial. When we stopped, I drew it on the map, a route which dances around and sometimes on CA-280 to Highway 92, then Canada Road, Foothill Expressway, and eventually Saratoga Road. Too many details.

Luckily one of them had an iPhone. I pointed him to SF2G, which describes the San Francisco to Google bike commute routes. This substantially facilitated them following the complex route.

And so I hope they made it to San Jose. From there: eventually Long Beach, then eastward. Really cool.

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