Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween rides can be killer!

Sometimes I try to goad some of my coworkers into riding to work.....and sometimes I get a few to do it.  This week I think they are trying to tell me I might have ridden them to death.

Fat Bikes and Ebola...a national news story!?

I'm sure everyone knows something about the whole Ebola issue and the related quarantines certain states have set up for returning health care workers.  You can all have your own take on whether or not it violates civil rights to quarantine a person who shows no signs of a disease.

What you don't get to dispute is that the Maine nurse enjoys a bike ride, and that her partner rocked a Fat bike (Surly Pugsley?) on that ride.  My take on the whole thing for today...if you're having a stressful day and the world is on your shoulders, take a bike ride.  And if you can do it on a fat bike and make national news....even better!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Open Streets Reno!!!

There's a new idea (well, new to Reno) being floated around by a couple of fantastic people I happen to know.  It's the idea of closing down a series of streets...along a defined route....and letting people take them back from cars!  Doesn't matter if you want to ride your bike, roller blade, walk, run, host a pick up game of ultimate frisbee.  It's a chance to remind people that streets are for everyone. 

In a total coincidence, while I was in San Francisco a few weekends ago, we just happened to run into exactly this type of even.  I threw up a few pics of the SF event to get you excited and hopefully involved in making this happen in Reno.

Not even a closed street....just tons of bikes!

The actual event in SF.
I said anything goes didn't we have modified Jazzy scooter jousting!  Tell me you wouldn't try this!
The street also just happened to be the same street as one of my favorite bars in SF.
Here's a little panorama to give you a better view.
So, with this in mind, below is the proposal for the Reno event.  And if you think we can't close a street in downtown Reno for a special event, just remind yourself of Hot August Nights, Street Vibrations, the Italian festival, the wing cook-off, or any other one of a million events in Reno.  So let's make it happen!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

San Fran ride day 3.

Yeah, yeah, sorry it's taking so long to get to this.  I just haven't been feeling the whole blogging thing these days. 

Anyway, this is what the profile looked like for day 3.

It was really the easiest day in terms of both distance and climbing, but after Day 1 (7200 feet climbing) and Day 2 (4000 feet climbing) proved to have some significant challenges late in the day (2000 feet climbing).  It didn't help that I had a pretty sore knee and back and that Chia had some seriously sore Achilles.  On the up side, there were wide shoulders and bike lanes for much of the day.

Bike path West of Sacramento.  Nice...but it does run right alongside 80 so it's a bit fumey.

Chia conquering a big hill just outside Vallejo.  Fortunately, for me my sore knee had resolved itself before this hill.  Chia's heels however, were not loving this climb.

A view of Vallejo from the hill top.  We foolishly thought it was all down hill from here!

Chia standing on yet another hill top about 10 miles later....surely there couldn't be that much more climbing....we're trying to get to the ocean for crying out loud!

And....luckily, it there wasn't that much more.  We made it to the docks with an hour and a half before the last ferry!

After changing in to some less smelly clothing..... was time for a celebratory beer!!  And yes, it tasted really good!

Then it was time to load onto the ferry....and yep, that's another beer on the table. 

We pretty much had the whole boat to ourselves.

And if completing the trip itself wasn't a reward....San Francisco set off some fire works for us as we arrived at the docks!
 I realized that this isn't an amazing write up.  But, it definitely gives you the gist of it.  I'd encourage anyone to give the ride a go....although I'd recommend 4 days if you want to enjoy the experience a bit more....rather than feeling like you need to push along all the time!

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.