I survived "Climb Brutal"


I had my baptism into what Dan calls “Climb Brutal“, one of the shorter routes to get from the El Cerrito to Tilden Park.

Climb Brutal kicks off with a pleasantly winding route through the Sunset View Cemetery, which I didn’t even know existed.

Once you pass the eastern gate of the cemetery, you’re on to Sunset Drive, a fairly mild incline at 11.2%, which will take you to Arlington.

On Arlington, you have make a u-turn to get to the heart of Climb Brutal, Wellesley Drive, which kicks up to a gut-wrenching 17% grade for .2 miles, which doesn’t seem that long, but go climb it and it will seem like forever. I couldn’t make it and had to stop half-way.

After Wellesley, there’s a short chance to recover on Cambridge, but when you start climbing again after a left on Beloit and even though the grade is shy of 9%, I didn’t have anything left in the tank and I crawled up to Grizzly Peak.

Somehow I managed to recover from Climb Brutal and work my way around the Three Bears and then back home.

It was a shortish ride, but I felt I’d been through the ringer when it was over.

Thanks, Dan!

OYJ Zoo Ride 2011 (preseason)

The regular Saturday ride was rained out, but several people thought we should re-schedule the ride for today. I wanted to get some miles in and it looked it was going to be the only dry day of the weekend, so I went out to the lake. I knew it was going to be cold, but I didn’t really realize how cold. I was completely underdressed. I was wearing shorts, only two layers on top and, for some inexplicable reason, I left my full finger gloves in the car. Maybe it was sunny when I got ready to mount the bike and head for the start.

At the lake were about 8 people, mostly Humane riders, all bundled up against the cold and giving me a hard time for being so poorly prepared. I was fine when the sun was out, but when it drifted behind the clouds, I was shivering.

We went up Wildwood and Leimert. The strain of the climb kept me nice and toasty, But Butters Canyon was a different story. It was cold, dark and wet in there. By the time I arrived at Skyline, I was ready to head home. So I bailed on my fellow riders and headed down Joaquin Miller and Trestle Glen to return to the lake.

I was bummed that I only got about 12 miles in, but I quickly forgot about that when I got into a nice, warm shower. Next time, I’m going to bundle up and be prepared.

OYJ Tunnel/Grizzly 2011 (preseason)

Randy and Kyle and the bottom of Wildcat Canyon
Since this route makes a counter-clockwise circuit around the north part of the East Bay, I decided I’d ride to the lake and then bail out back to Richmond around San Pablo Dam Rd./Key Route. It was a beautiful morning, slight chill in the air, lots of birds around.

Tons of people already walking their dogs at Point Isabel at 8:30. I crossed over the Berkeley I-80 Bridge and then I made a fateful decision.

Instead of continuing straight on surface streets or winding through Aquatic Park, I decided to check out the road between the park and the freeway. I had never done it before. I was making good time this morning, so what the hell?

I didn’t get 100 yards down the gravel strewn path when I flatted. It was my flat in ages. I know I had a few last year, but this was first with the black and white Vittoria tires, so I know it’s been a long, long time.

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OYJ Dublin Grade 2011 (preseason)

This ride started off a little strange. I was late. Sort of. I parked near the lake and left my car at around 9:24. I rode like a maniac around the lake and down the Embarcadero trying to catch up, but I wasn’t catching up to anyone. I should have caught up to the Light and Humane riders already. I realized that the group must have been coming around on Bellevue as I past the Children’s Fairyland parking lot. Thinking I was late, I skipped Bellevue and just went straight on Grand, missing the pack entirely. Just about the time I realized my mistake and stopped under that little pedestrian bridge just before after the fish packers, up ride the Advanced group.
I continued with them over to Alameda and about halfway down Doolittle, but the pace was too much for me. I would suffer later for the effort of trying to keep up at 22-25 mph on the flats. Big mistake.
After the typical break at the gas station in San Leandro, I climbed Fairmont easier and quicker than I had on Lake Chabot two weeks earlier, which is to be expected. There was no wind on the descent and it was really quick. I topped 43 mph on the way to Castro Valley.

Continue reading “OYJ Dublin Grade 2011 (preseason)”

Morning Wind Sprints

Got out this morning for a short 20 minute ride. Managed to get in four little wind sprints. A little painful on the lungs with the cool AM air, but it felt really good to get out on the bike. I’m going to have to start getting up a little earlier so I can make it all the way to Point Richmond and find some hills to climb. If I could get in 2-3 hour long rides during the week, I think my fitness would increase in leaps and bounds.
I did have to carry my garage door opener with me which was a little strange. I bought a wireless keypad. I just haven’t installed it yet. It’s one of my projects for the weekend.