Back in the bay area last weekend….Saturday was the most grueling day of riding. It was 37 degrees as I started out on my 1 minute commute to Peets dressed in my mismatched cold weather cycling apparel. Seriously, with my gaper-ific outfit, I might as well have been sporting a camelbak. I’m fundamentally opposed to buying fancy cycling specific clothing which always seems to be marked up about 10x because it’s for “cycling.” Normally, I can ride fast/well enough that my clothing choices get overlooked….
The good part about starting a ride when it’s 37 degrees is that it doesn’t feel so awful after downing a latte and taking off with a big group of people. It warmed up quickly as we cruised along. I dropped a water bottle as I bounced over a pothole on a descent and suddenly I was wishing I had that camelbak. I’ve never bonked while riding before (only while skiing) and I wasn’t about to on this ride so I focused on eating enough to fuel the scheduled 93 miles.
Ever since the Mt. Tam race was cancelled last season due to a fire, I had been itching to ride up it. I didn’t really think through how it would feel to ride up Tam after 55 miles on Friday and having already ridden almost 80 miles on Saturday until I was starting the climb and wondering why I felt so heavy. I have never felt so crappy about a hill climb. Ever. Even on my worst days, I’ve managed to eek my way uphill at a respectable pace spinning along in my smallest gear when necessary. But on this day, I was disappointed and angry that I couldn’t seem to move faster than 3 miles per hour (possible exaggeration- my computer wasn’t working). How was it possible that every single other person on the ride was able to go faster than I was up that hill? I was annoyed and hated being on my bike at that moment for the first and only time all weekend. After a few minutes, I pulled out a cliff bar, slid forward on my seat, and let go. I realized that the only person judging me was me. And really, that wasn’t going to help my get up the hill, I was already carrying enough extra weight! I decided to make the most of my ascent and to take plenty of time to look around and soak in the beautiful scenery. I think I got my money’s worth of humble pie. Before I knew it, the main climb was over and it was on to the rollers. The descent was fun and by the time it was over, I somehow completely forgot about wanting the ride to be over. I spun around town for another 7 miles until my Garmin said I’d ridden 100 miles. Yippee!
By the time Sunday rolled around, my legs remembered how to ride and I felt like I was starting to get back in the groove. I’m always amazed at how with cycling, you can destroy your legs one day yet feel okay the next. After I finished the ride on Sunday, I packed up and headed home feeling fulfilled and inspired. I still think Mill Valley is sort of strange, but I had a great time and will probably be back.