OYJ Calaveras (preseason 2010)

I’m still fighting the bike on all hills of any stature and it feels like a losing battle. That said, it was a nice change of pace to climb Calaveras in the spring. It was about 80 degrees instead of the normal 100+ we get in the middle of the summer. Instead of scorched hills and frying pan pavement, we have emerald green slopes and perfect roads.. We also saw a bald eagle roosting on a electrical tower near the summit. Too bad the battery on my camera died.
Along with the usual problems of fitness, energy and power that i’ve been suffering from, this week, allergies were thrown into the mix of maladies. I don’t usually suffer from allergies, but the massive amounts of pollen and flower in the air, especially on Redwood Road, were just killing me. I had trouble breathing. My chest felt constricted. It was really awful.
I did manage to hit a season high 44.1 mph coming down from Calaveras, which was pretty sweet. And Raquel came down to Milpitas to pick Dan and me up which saved us both the 6 mile trudge back to the Fremont BART and 45 minute train ride back to civilization.
It’s really notable to compare the first three hours of this ride with last week’s ride which were exactly the same from Lake Merritt to Sunol, about 40 miles.
palomaresVcalaveras.jpg
The first hour was really comparable. A little faster yesterday than last week, but not much of a difference. But there was a huge fall off for the next two hours. Part of that I can chalk up to the headwind that we fast going east and south that prevented us from descending Redwood Road and Dublin Grade very quickly. Some of it was due to the pollen, but when it comes down to it, I should be getting stronger and faster and I’m just not. That is a bit of a worry.
Miles 60:04
Ride Time 4:15:12
MPH 14.1
Max Speed 44.1
Elevation Gain 4,479 ft
Flats 0*
More detailed ride stats here:

Here’s the route map:

*Had to fix a flat tube before the ride. Must have had a slow leak.

OYJ Palomares (preseason 2010)

I was really looking forward this ride. It would be first time I’d done Palomares with the Yellowjackets when it wasn’t in the middle of summer. But right off the start, I was feeling weak and it was a long day of suffering in the saddle for me, again.
I feel like I should be getting stronger each week, and while the ride distances and climbing has certainly increased, my fitness seems to have decreased. Not really sure what’s going on unless it’s just a matter of getting a little older and not riding quite as much as last year. I have my first century in a about a month, so I better figure it out quickly.
I struggled up Leimert, BBR and Redwood Road. Dublin Grade was a slog and Palomares was simply a nightmare.
Sunol Steam Train
I bailed out at Castro Valley BART, but it was a wise decision. After 55 miles and 4000 feet of climbing, I started cramping up just after boarding the train. Never a good feeling.
Miles 58.13
Ride Time 04:02:48
MPH 14.4
Max Speed 40.9
Elevation Gain 4,388 ft
Flats 0
More detailed ride stats here:

Here’s the route map:

OYJ San Ramon (preseason 2010)

Felt pretty good the whole way on this ride. Norris Canyon was a bitch, but I plowed through it. This ride has some of the best descents, notably Happy Valley, which is just sheer joy, and Norris Canyon, which is a rocket ship. Plus rolling down Telegraph before the hippies have woken up is always fun.
Miles 65.33
Ride Time 4:38:34
MPH 14.1
Max Speed 41.9
Elevation Gain 3,323 ft
Flats 0
More detailed ride stats here:

Here’s the route map:

Google Maps for Cyclists

mapsGoogleCycling.png
I’m happy to report that Google has finally gotten around to adding directions for cyclists in Google Maps.

After a long wait and more than 50,000 signatures on an online petition, cyclists will be happy to know that Google has finally added bicycle routes to Google Maps.
In Google Maps, users can now find “Bicycling” in the tool’s “Get Directions” drop-down box. After choosing the option, bikers can input two addresses and find the bike route that will get them to their desired destination. Like Google Maps’ other modes of transportation, the mapping tool provides turn-by-turn directions and an estimated travel time.
The new Google Maps bicycling feature is available in 150 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. The tool boasts over 12,000 bike trails. When users look for directions, the company’s mapping algorithm weights trails more heavily than roads for safety reasons. If cities have bicycle lanes, those are also weighted more heavily than roads without them.

I tried a few routes and got mixed results. The route from my house in Emeryville to where I work in Hercules put my on the Ohlone Greenway bikepath, which is awesome. However, plotting a course from Emeryville to Mt. Diablo has me going over Shepherd Canyon, which has about 20% grade at the top—probably not the best route for most cyclists.
It’s in beta, so it’s no surprise that it’s far from perfect. I sent feedback into Google, as I suspect thousands of other eager cyclists will do. When Google Maps for Cyclists is ready, it’s no doubt going to be a fantastic and incredibly useful tool.
UPDATE FROM GOOGLE:

The directions feature provides step-by-step, bike-specific routing suggestions – similar to the directions provided by our driving, walking, or public transit modes. Simply enter a start point and destination and select “Bicycling” from the drop-down menu. You will receive a route that is optimized for cycling, taking advantage of bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly streets and avoiding hilly terrain whenever possible. Just like Google pioneered with driving directions, you can click-and-drag your route to customize it as you’d like. You can also access the other features in Google Maps, such as Street View, so you can tell exactly where you might need to turn on your route or preview how wide a bike lane is, and Local Search, so you know where you can take a water break or where the bike shops are along your route. Biking directions provides time estimates for routes based on an algorithm that takes into account the length of the route, the number of hills, fatigue over time, and other variables.

In addition to directions, a new bicycling layer for Google Maps, accessible via the “More…” drop down menu at the top of the map, will display an overlay of the various bike-friendly roads and trails around town. The layer is color-coded to show three different types of paths:

* Dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only trail;
* Light green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road;
* Dotted green indicates roads without bike lanes but are more appropriate for biking, based on factors such as terrain, traffic, and intersections.

Also, check their blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/biking-directions-added-to-google-maps.html

Pt. Richmond

Just returned from a great afternoon ride up the coast to Pt. Richmond and back. I was fighting a headwind most of the way north and west which kept me at a paltry 13.8 mph on the outward leg. But with the wind at my back on the way home, I was hammering down the coast at 25 mph. Super fun. Details to come soon.