August 5, 2004: Heisman time
It's Thursday, so it must be road ride day. But I've grown weary of the routes available from the back door. At the eleventh hour last night, I decided to take The Blade to work and do a ride out at Crystal Springs.
As I mentioned the last time I rode the Springs (See May 27, 2004: Cannonball breaks through), Cañada is somewhat of a local cycling mecca. You're always going to see lots of other cyclists there, ranging from Bob and Marge Turlock over from San Bruno on their high-rise Sunday strollers to sponsored team riders practicing their speed intervals on the rolling straightaways. This works nicely for me because I love to pass people and try to hold off people who want to pass me. On most rides, I see few other riders, and most of them are closer to Bob and Marge than to someone with shaved legs.
There were a lot of people out there today. It was a sunny, warm day, but the wind was gusting heavily. Gusting is my least favorite type of wind, which is my least favorite type of elemental variable. The gusts were pretty strong, and in a few places, like the causeway over the earthen dam that makes Upper Crystal Springs, I could really feel its broadsides pushing me around. The last several rides I've had on The Blade with virtually no wind have really paid off, because even though there were a couple of sketchy wind moments today, I remained relaxed for the most part and did pretty well. Of course there were no real steep hills on which to really try my mettle, but patience, patience, I'm getting there.
From the Edgewood/Cañada T, I headed north up to Sawyer Camp Trail, which I followed to its end at the Portola Bay Discovery historical marker in Milbrae. From there, I bombed back downwind to the Edgewood/Cañada T and past on to Woodside. U-turn at Woodside and back to the T.
So about a month ago, my Dad and brother B visit, and B's got this wracking cough going. He's had it for a few weeks, but is otherwise not sick. Nobody knows what it is or what to do about it. They leave and sure enough, about a week later, JB has a wracking cough and accompanying schleppiness. A chest cold and/or cough is the last thing I want to get, so JB and I took precautions to keep it contained. A few days ago we decided the quarantine period had been sufficient and relaxed the precautionary measures. Sure enough, yesterday my throat starts to feel scratchy and my chest feels tight and constricted.
Not feeling 100 percent, I mostly took it easy today, focusing on spinning the pedals and not completely letting up. Further contributing to the middling pace was the fact that I just never came across anybody that motivated me to elevate my effort. All the way up to Portola and back down to Edgewood I was looking for challenging other riders to try to track down or fend off. Nothing -- until I got to the Water Temple on Cañada.
As I rolled past the temple at about 20 MPH, I sat up in the saddle and relaxed a little bit, getting ready for the next few miles of rollers down to Woodside. I spun easily for about a quarter of a mile and as I settled back onto the hoods, I looked in my glasses-mounted rear-view mirror and noticed a roadie coming up on me. He was still a decent distance back, maybe 100 meters, but clearly taking aim on me and gaining. Without snapping my head around and letting him know that I was aware of him, I clicked up a gear and picked up the cadence. He was still gaining.
At the bottom of the next roller, he was only about 50 yards back. I got out of the saddle and hammered up the first half of the hill then used that momentum to go flying over the top. I looked back, he hadn't budged. Uh oh, I think I'm going to get passed. But I wasn't going to just give up, so I put my head down and just starting spinning like a motherfuck. Spin, spin, spin, finally enough speed to upshift a gear and start spinning again. Another check of the mirror. He was only about 20 meters back and it seemed like maybe he was resting for a stretch before making the final assault.
I saw another longer hill coming up and determined that I was going to make my stand on this hill. I picked up the cadence and again hit the hill standing on the pedals, hammering away in a heavy, heavy gear. I figured I would get a little bit of space on him just from the element of surprise, but I was also hoping that the last mile and a half or so of reeling me in would have put him into enough difficulty that his response would be muted. I didn't look back at him the whole way up the hill. It didn't matter what he was doing anyway, I was pedaling as hard as I could.
At the crest, I dumped it into 3:6 (3=big ring; 6=sixth cog) and it was off to the races. From the top of the crest to Woodside, a slight downhill of about 1.25 miles, I did not fall below 30 MPH. I was fucking flying. I checked the mirror. He had fallen back to about 40 meters but was holding steady. I flicked it into 3:7 and put my head down to hammer. And hammer I did. It was beautiful man. Spittle was spraying across my chin, my eyes were watering, and my chest felt like someone just dropped the 9-11 Commission report on it, but I couldn't give up, I couldn't let myself get passed. As I approached the 84, I slowed for the Stop sign and checked the mirror -- he was gone. Must have turned off onto one of the side roads in the last quarter mile. I had held him off with my best Heisman stiff arm for about the last three miles. Mission accomplished.
Feeling pretty good and as I tacked around into the wind for the ride back to the car, I bastardized the Beasties in self-aggrandizement:
They call me Cannonball
|Mileage: 31.33||Time: 1:45:44||Avg: 17.7||Max: 35.0||Weight: 172|
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