December 1, 2004: Putting in some road work

It was sooo cold tonight. Well, California cold. It was maybe 40 degrees, crystal clear, no wind, high humidity. It may have been 40 but it felt like 25. The house was about 50 degrees when we got home from work and all I wanted to do was make a fire and curl up in the beloved recliner. But no, I've got to get my work-week 20-miler in.

It was all I could do to strap on the gear and get out the door, but I was able to do so by bargaining with myself that I would do a mostly paved route: south down the coastal bikepath and out to the Purissima trailhead. 95 percent asphalt and one decent hill (the Grapevine). A ride like tonight is more for the psychological benefits than it is for the physical benefits. Any time I'm out riding the back country at night it always boosts my confidence because I know that the time I'm putting in now will pay dividends in June and July. You know you're hard core to be doing it, and you know you're getting a leg up on almost everybody else.

Rode the Hoo-E again tonight. After so many miles pushing the big rings of the Blade and Blue, it's tough to whip that little 44t big ring around fast enough to keep my speed up in the 20s where I like it. Consequently, I was having difficulties keeping a steady, aggressive tempo. I wanted nothing more than to jam out to Purissima and back as fast as possible, but I just couldn't find my rhythm.

My fingers got pretty cold tonight, but the rest of me was fine. By now, I've got layering down to a science, and tonight I was again perfectly layered, wearing a wicking undershirt under a wool long-sleeve jersey and a windbreaker vest. Using the zippers to fine-tune my temp, I was never cold on this ride nor did I even work up any kind of significant lather. In December, comfort is paramount.

As the year began, so it ended with yet another bobcat sighting. This big male was crossing the road about 100 feet in front of me when my headlight picked him up. At first, I thought he was a mountain lion because he was very large and his coat was quite blonde in the Xenon glare. But as he slunk off to the side of the road, he was flashin' ear tips and jowl fringe. I stopped to check him out. He was crouched like a big cat about 15 feet away just hanging out watching me. I would have stayed for much longer, but my headlamp was getting in his eyes, so I gave the old man a nod and continued on my way.

A quarter mile down the road, a truck went flying past me in the opposite direction doing about 70 on the rural backcountry road. I had a bad vision of the truck running over the bobcat because he had seen me and my light just a couple of minutes earlier and might not have judged the speed or indifference of the truck correctly. On my way back, I was relieved to not see his corpus pancakus littering the asphalt.

In addition to Mr. Robert Katt, I also saw a couple of deer grazing on the steep slopes of the south side of the Grapevine.


Mileage: 25.86 Time: 2:12:06 Avg: 11.7 Max: 32.0 Weight: 

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