Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blogworthy? I think so.

(Click on photo for detailed description of the climb)

A week and a half ago, on Saturday, Todd and I were noodling about "Lamorinda."  I attempted to climb Happy Valley in the big ring -- this was my big ring training ride -- and succeeded, climbing it from the easier Lafayette side in 53x19, shifting to 53x21 at Sundown Terrace.  We turned around and descended Sundown toward Orinda, where I suggested we climb El Toyonal -- Lomas Cantadas.  So, up we went.  Since I'd been in the big ring, I continued riding in it on the easier lower part of the climb.  Todd and I began discussing the wisdom of doing -- no attempting -- this climb in the big ring.  We agreed that completing it would be a blog-worthy accomplishment.

I didn't make it.  I was in 53x21 until the first steep ramp, then in 53x23 for a while.  When it got seriously steep and stayed seriously steep I was groveling in the 53x27, barely turning the pedals.  The infamous farm came into view and I thought, "if I just make it past the right turn at the edge of the farm it gets easier there and I just might make it..."  I made it to the edge of the farm, made it through the right turn, looked up the road and it didn't look any easier.  So, I unclipped for fear of falling over.  Dumped the chain into the small ring, remounted in 39x27, and rode that gear the rest of the climb.  And that last 150 yards was damn hard, even in the 39x27.

The next day, Brian and I drove to Fairfax, where we met Jeff and embarked on a "9"-shaped ride to Bolinas, down to Stinson, up Panoramic, down through Muir Woods, back up Highway 1 to Bolinas and over to Fairfax.  58 miles, about 7,000 feet of climbing, through redwood forests, eucalyptus groves, along the coast, over Alpine Dam...  Beautiful and challenging.  A fantastic ride.


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