Friday, October 24, 2014

Blinky Man Halloween Ride in Carson!

Put this one on your Calendars!  I'm seriously going to try to do it this year!

If you want to see a bunch of great pictures from last year go over to Bike Carson (click here) and check them out!  It will get you motivated!!

Reno to SF ride. Day 2.

After a night with owls hooting and coyotes calling, the increasing traffic noise was what roused us from our roadside camp around 6:30. Tents and tarps were grabbed and stuff back into bike bags.  With Cook's Station only 10-12 miles away, we weren't messing around with a camp breakfast or coffee at this point.  ** was more like 15 miles and it wasn't all downhill like we thought...go figure!**

Chia packing up the last bit of his gear.

What's that old commercial...."The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!"  Here we see Chia before the coffee has kicked in. 
 So, the internet doesn't always lie.  The breakfast at Cook's Station was absolutely great!  That and big mugs of coffee started us out on the right foot.  Also...they are totally set up for cyclists...huge racks of candy, energy bars, and coolers full of chocolate milk, Gatorade, soda....pretty much everything you need.  Oh, and they'll pack you a lunch to go if you want!

A crappy shot of the dinning room and bar.

The days riding was tougher than we figured.  You hop off 88 and start a back road tour on low traffic roads.  The problem/fun is they roll into river valleys and climb back out repeatedly at better than 7% grades.  A fun but taxing way to ride 4000 ft. of elevation before noon!

Eventually we made it in to Placerville and then via some no shoulder, high traffic roads into Sacramento.
 I guess it's worth mentioning that the section from Placerville to Sacramento was probably my least favorite.  It was friday afternoon and traffic was busy.  The roads literally had the white stripe pained at the edge of the pavement (and sometimes even in the dirt off the road), a.k.a. NO shoulder.  Drivers don't have much room to maneuver on these roads and didn't make much effort to miss us by more than a foot.  Definitely unnerving.

Once you get to Sacramento you can relax....great bike lanes and a section of 35 miles of separated bike path.
You might note the long shadow in this picture in Sacramento.  Yep, we were behind schedule again.  We were thinking Davis, but by the time we hit the bike path (American River Trail) it was already getting dark.  We rode until about 9:30 pm on the path with lights blazing.  There were a surprising number of other trail users out there along with plenty of deer (Chia almost hit one) and rabbits along the trail.  It was really cool except for the fact that we were tired....a little sore...and there's no stealth camping in the middle of Sacramento.  We finally gave up and found a motel 6 just off the bike path (with a Denny's) and called it an night around 10pm, having logged another century.  Sorry, no pictures on the night's just to sketchy to try while riding at night when your tired.

A little side story....about 13 miles before we quit for the night.  We were stopped at an intersection (in the pitch black) where the path split, trying to figure out which way to go.  Some guy out riding asked us in a nice thick Russian accent where we were trying to go.  We told him West Sacramento....maybe Davis (which was about 25 miles).  He flat out says "No....Really....Where are you going tonight?"  And you have to say it in your best Russian accent.  After he told us the right way to turn and we where pedaling away....we couldn't stop laughing about the total sound of disbelief in his question.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 1 Second Half....

Sorry, things have been busy and I didn't get back to this....anyway here's what happened between Genoa and Carson Pass.

Ahh, yes....confidence reigns supreme.  Only noon and we've made 50 miles out of a planned 112.  Have that beer, enjoy life, you're on a bicycle tour for crying out loud!

Departing from Genoa you head out on rural two lane roads.  There were bike lanes in some places and not in all cases drivers gave us plenty of room while passing.

We spread out a bit as our own personal paces dictated, enjoyed the pastures, and the perfect weather.

After picking up route 88 (to Kirkwood), we noticed two changes...pasture land replaced with beautiful mountains and streams, and that previously flat road had a distinct upward angle!

After 20 miles of climbing a break was called....more cold pizza and some jerky was washed down with freshly filtered stream water.  **It's amazing how much water you can go through on a warm climb!**
 I had my own little adventure on this climb....I intercepted a bee with my face.  It lodged perfectly between my helmet line and sunglasses.  After processing what had happened amidst the angry buzzing, I frantically tried to get my sunglasses off while not crashing in the same motion.  I wasn't quick enough however, and the bee decided to sting the crap out of the bridge of my nose.  This does not feel good!  My riding partner Chia found it exceedingly amusing however.  I think he was just glad it made me stop and he could catch up.

This was the path that still awaited us after our break.

Unfortunately, this isn't my picture and by the time we were here the light was beginning to fade.  One does tend to forget the effect of an 80 lb loaded bike and average speed when climbing!  To make a long story short, there were a few more breaks....and some groaning about the continued climb.  I found the summit around 7 pm. 

It was fully dark for the last 40 minutes of my climb.  Luckily we both had adequate lights for some night riding.

Passive reflective surfaces are also a good idea if you get caught out late.

Chia joined me at the top about a 1/2 hour later.  A few minutes of map consultation relieved that there was still more climbing to come (like two 8000 ft did we not know that).  Mental images of a cold beer at Cooks Station were pretty quickly snuffed out

A stock photo of Cooks Station.....a location we would fall short of.
Anyway, after collecting our wits at the summit. We reevaluated our plan and decided that we would acquire century mileage and then duck off the road for some stealth camping.  Twenty(ish) miles later with some high speed night time descents (which is kinda nerve wracking) and a few more climbs we hit 102 miles and called it a night.  I don't have any pictures....but it took about 10 minutes to pitch camp, throw down a slug of bourbon, and both of us were snoring happily away.

We'll pick it up in the morning in the next post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reno to San Francisco Tour. First 1/2 of Day 1.

Ok, I'll do this by the day I guess.  Here's the overall route as recommended by Adventure cycling.

We were planning on making it in to Cook's Station.  A little gas station / restaurant / cabin rental / camping location.  By our calculations it would have been about 112 miles and ~8,000 feet of climbing.  Turns out this this was a little ambitious!

Everything started out as you might imagine.  I was up freaking early and got down to Chia's house about 6am.  He was less concerned about time....meaning he finished up packing, loading the bike, we had a couple cups of coffee and left his house a little before 8.  Just to make things interesting...we road a whopping 10 miles to south Reno and had a huge breakfast at the Squeeze In. 

We then hit the road in earnest and made it in to Genoa around noon.  He's a few pics of the morning.

Who frickin' knew there was a designated Bicycle 395!!

A gas station stop in Carson City....Gatorade refill.

Lunchtime in Genoa at the corner store.  Chia was smart enough to have brought enough cold pizza for both of us!

In a complete lack of coincidence we were also right across the street from the oldest bar in Nevada.

And lord knows you must make an effort to make yourself part of history!

If you haven't had a beer's worth a trip just for the nostalgia.
 A little note on the riding to this point.  There aren't any real hills (ok...there's one) and the wind was pleasantly non-existent.  You also discover that there are really nice bike lanes and shoulders for most of the trip....and even some excellent bike paths worked into the mix through some cute subdivisions I never even know existed along the northwest side of Carson City.

All and all we had 50 miles in by noon and were feeling quite confident of our plans.....

Ok, that's all I have time for right now.....tune back in this afternoon.  I'll try to have the "fun" second half of the day written up.

Monday, October 20, 2014

IMBA trail building at Keystone Canyon November 1,2!!

Come on people...let's get involved with this.  Click the links to get to the poedunks page and / or the IMBA page to sign up!!!  Please note the Trail building school and work is on Sunday, November 2nd.  There is a costume night ride / contest on Saturday, November 1st.

A quick preview of my weekend ride to San Francisco.

Ok, I'm behind at work due to this trip, but here's the dump of our tour to San Francisco.  Basically 300 miles over 3 days of riding with 13,000 feet of climbing. 

I'll do a real write up at some point shortly with pictures.  There are of course some good stories to tell. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014