First ride of the year! Out Ridge road, back Hartford Tpk and one time up East Rock. Was good to get out, but I felt really slow and weak. All that time without exercise and the surprisingly cold winter (no January rides this year!) kept me off the bike. Still, it was nice to see things a bit green outside. Single time up East Rock was about 6:15, so not great, but not terrible.
Out around Wintergreen Lake, first MTB ride of the season. Felt pretty slow for the first half, and had lots of trouble ascending anything. The return wasn't quite so bad, with climbs handled a little better, but still not great. Definitely feeling out of shape after winter, and the crazy 5 weeks of travel w/ no exercise. Time to put the hammer down! Stuff was mostly dry, so maybe I'll bring a group ride out there soon, like I've talked about.
Rode out to Branford along the coast. Today was beautiful, but the temperature dropped noticeably when I got close to the shore (Lighthouse Point area). Bit of wind but not too bad. The worst parts were the climbs on 142: I constantly ran out of steam before the tops of the hills. This is going to be a continuing refrain until I get back in shape, I think...
Whirlwind Hill loop, except I ended up coming back via 80 (partly). I should have just stayed on 17, but switched to 22 which put me on 80 well before town, and added a bit more distance. I had wanted to get home earlier! Was originally planning to join the 9am yale ride, but wasn't ready in time. It was a great ride anyway: Whirlwind is just long enough that it's really hard, but not so long as to be completely disheartening.
Had to get a short ride in before a chamber music concert. Easiest way to burn a bunch of energy in a ~1 hour ride? Intervals. Of course, I only managed two (and the start of the second felt pretty bad), but they were faster than I was expecting: my first ride this year, the single time up East Rock was 6:15, which sucked. Few more rides, and I should be able to do a third climb here. I didn't feel completely smoked this time, so there is hope.
Had to get in a last ride before a week at APO: probably won't get a lot of exercise there. Up into West Rock, past the lake, up white then a bit of purple, down white and around halfway on the fireroad and back on white and red. Most important part: I made it up the stairs just after the road! That was pretty neat. Of course, I didn't make the subsequent hill. Small victories, I guess. Also made it up the hill on the way back after the pines, but I've gotten pretty consistent about that one. There were a lot of gnats out that I rode through; a way to tell I was going too slow was when they hung out in front of me!
Joined the Tuesday group ride from Cafe Romeo. I kept pushing on the uphills and such, to keep from ending up as the caboose (like happened most of the rides last year), but the ride was slower, so I just looked like an ass riding off the front all the time. Oh-well. Some combination of the ride being slower and me being in better shape than I thought. We rode up East Rock at the end, and I kinda fell apart there: 2 hours of rolling hills before climbing East Rock makes for a difficult climb.
Another west rock ride, this time focusing on climbing. I went up the blue trail, instead of the red, without much more success than in the past. Crossed the saddle and then along on the usual red-to-white, but reversed onto the purple for a bit more climbing. Felt pretty good in general, except for my not being able to ascend the rocky/slickrock bits. Oh, and that place where my tire slipped and I whacked my sack on the stem. That was kinda painful. Plus, a knuckle scrape on a tree. Worth it though: cool day and a good ride on some trails I don't usually take.
Not bad for a 3x East Rock interval, though it's basically the same time as a month ago. I was able to do 3 of them, so that's something I guess. Out to 15 on Ridge, back on Hartford Tpk is a good 45 minute warmup, though I probably shouldn't push so hard on the Hartford Tpk return hills if I want to have more juice left for the East Rock climbs. Also, some guy caught me on my last run, just cruising up. I did my best to pull off of him to improve my time (I was ~20s off most of the last run), but he clearly could have creamed me without breaking a sweat. Made it back in time to prepare pea shoot pesto for Alina and Eric, who came over to swap tunes. Sad that's he's graduated!
Hoped to catch the 6:30 group MTB ride out of the Nature Center, and I did! I wasn't sure if it was 6 or 6:30, but it's the latter. It's quite a fast group, so I was pretty beat by the end of it. I turned home early, as they do a further north section (after climbing the trail on the north end: ARGH!), and it was getting dark and stormy. Brought the new light with, and it worked pretty well strapped to the handlebar. Apparently there's also an 8am ride on the weekends: I'll have to find out more about that.
Intervals at Tweed airport, after a ride past Lighthouse Point and most of the way to Branford on 142. Turns out that the place I where the sound system for the contra dances is stored is just off my usual 142 route, but it's at night so I didn't notice. It's near the Hospice there. The intervals were ok, except for the last two, where I kinda fell apart about 35 seconds in. My last intervals were 2 months ago, so... At least I've been climbing since then!
Did airport intervals with Catherine. Fell apart on the last one, so I gave up. Took her on the usual route, past Lighthouse Point and to the hospice by Branford, then the intervals. Helps that I put a bunch of air in her tires before we started (they were around 30psi, I took them up to ~80). She asserted that if we were doing intervals, I had to take her to the Latino bakeries on the way back, which I did. She was extremely excited to try a guava pastry: it was a hit.
Got out a bit late trying to catch the Tuesday group ride. Thought I saw them on Orange st., but I got caught at a light and didn't see them again, even though I was riding hard. They either took a different route, or were much faster than me. So I climbed Orchard Hill twice (it's about a 4.5 minute climb), and then went around the north side of Sleeping Giant: the road that hugs the north edge of the park is now paved and smooth! Don't know when that happened, but it's much more pleasant now.
Rode into West Rock to finally check out the course that had recently been used for a race series. It was a relatively short loop, with 30 minutes to do as many laps as possible. I did one backwards (probably? I'm assuming "red=right blue=left" for the course tape), and two forwards. A neat, twisty course, but I'm glad I didn't try to race in it: I would have been destroyed. Still a bit muddy, with plenty of tire tracks. I'll have to try it again before I move away.
Finally made the Thursday group ride. Boy was it fast! I ended up leading B group up Gaylord Mt. Road, near Bethany (the incredibly steep, short hill), instead of getting crushed on a very sprinty extra 5 miles with the main group. As always, the Thursday ride was a humbling experience. At least I managed the Gaylord Mt. climb pretty well. Group B rules! Also, I'm a terrible sprinter, as proven once again by the final sprint past Edgewood...
Rode up to Wentworth's for ice cream with Alina. She was on her heavy city bike, so struggled with the hills, but it was our first significant ride together in I don't know how long. If she could get over her fear of her road bike, we could do some fun long rides. If I do another ice cream ride, I need to remember that Wentworth's "single" is rather large; I was a bit overfilled with ice cream on the return ride.
Thursday group ride from Cafe Romeo. Smaller group today, and it started out very fast. A bunch of us screamed uncle on the way out Ridge, and it slowed down quite a bit. Went up the Gaylord Mountain Road "Wall", which is always a good time. Christine got a flat near Woodbridge, so we all hung around while it was fixed, and I suffered on the rest of the ride (cold muscles/cramps). I learned about Gina's crash during this past Tuesday's ride: a car pulled in front of her on Ridge. She broke both legs (and her bike), but is recovering. Apparently there wasn't anything she or the group could have done differently to prevent it. Everyone was on extra-caution during today's ride...
Rode from Branford to Guilford with Alina (she on her city bike, me on my MTB), along 146 and a short section along the Branford Trolley Trail. Was a nice route, with some gravel along the trolley trial. Saw little crabs in the mud along the trolley section: the tide was still low, and they were out doing... crabby things. Passed by some people crab fishing as the tide came in: you lower a wire basked with a piece of chicken in it into the water, hang out for a few minutes, pull it up and hope there's a crab in it. Seems to require even more patience than fishing with bobbers! Brought potato salad and ate it ont he Guilford green, and had a "Lobster Tracks" milkshake on Thimble Island Road. The islands and their houses are pretty impressive.
Got in three runs at the Nature Center race course, two in what is probably the "correct" direction, and one backwards (which was much harder), and back in time for the 1253 contra. It's a fun course, but I'd never be able to run it at speed: too many rocks in the way for me to get caught on. Also, I still chicken out on the log pile they've put in, which I should be able to clear without trouble. Ended up chasing some deer back and forth a few times. They kept running the same direction I was headed. Also checked out Crackrock Corner on the way out: looks like the poison ivy didn't grow back. Stuff was really dry, though, as we haven't had rain for a while.
Rode out to Milford with Alina on her new Jamis hybrid. Stopped for Italian ice (plus softserve for me) at Rita's on the way out, and then had a little lunch in Milford and hung out on the beach. The tide was way out when we left, and came in as we returned, so we watched people fishing, and schools of fish coming into Milford harbor. Nice ride, and Alina wasn't to sore at the end, so the bike seems to be right. Surprisingly few people on the West Haven beach, considering it was such a nice day.
Rode with Molly (captain of the Yale women's cycling team) for a quick 8am lap of East Rock. She'll be doing more of these, so I'll try to get up and join in. Ride wasn't too fast (I was rather afraid at the start), and I did most of the hairy descent off the north side of Indian Head. Didn't get the beginning part though, with the bigger rocks...
Rode up to Wentworth's with Alina, via the Orchard Hill loop past the north side of Sleeping Giant. Alina handled Orchard Hill with aplomb, and we both enjoyed the smooth road along Sleeping Giant. I did, however, get a two scoop cone, which was far too much. I forgot that at Wentworth's, two scoops is actually ~4! We returned via the canal trail, which has some nice new features since the last time we were there, including a tunnel under one road where you used to have to go up and around on a narrow crosswalk.
First real not-trying-to-get-somewhere ride in Seattle, exploring around Ballard north of me. Rode along the water by Golden Gardens park (turns out: you can't get anywhere through the park, as it just ends at the water in the north from the parking lot), then kept as close to the water as I could while heading north and east. Got a bit north of 100th st. before heading over to Greenwood, and returning over Phinney. Also went up 56th from 3rd to see how it would work for intervals: it's about 3 minutes from base to top, with good timeposts in the middle (stop signs, etc.). Just need to figure out how to warm up before riding it. I mapped the ride (modulo incorrect turns) on Plot A Route.
Rode through Magnolia and Discovery Park on Christmas Day. Climbing up from the beach in Discovery is quite the workout. Also, descending Magnolia Bridge is not something I particularly want to do again. Climbed halfway up Queen Anne on the return, since I needed to find my way back to the trail (not crossing Ballard Bridge again!) and it let me skip some traffic lights. Jim called me just as I turned off of one hill! Got to chat with him quickly, while I was gasping for air. Sketched the ride online and it had >500m of elevation gain! Shouldn't be hard for me to figure out some serious climbing routes around here, though my average speeds are going to suffer badly...