Monday, October 02, 2006

Tour de Poway

After my bout of stomach flu/food poisoning on Friday night, I felt well enough to do our planned bike ride Sunday in the Tour de Poway. We did the 44 mile option, which is a long ride for me (I know--it's slim pickin' compared to you other IM addicts).

A bit nervous about how my stomach would react, we geared up. It was very foggy to begin with as we began a steep climb uphill for the first 5 miles (We ended up climbing a total of 2000 ft with the beginning 5 miles at an 8% grade). However, compared to climbing Mt. Laguna last weekend with strong head and cross winds, it felt very doable. Funny how those hills don't seem so bad after climbing a mountain! I saw a few cyclists get out of an SUV at the top of the hill and then start riding. WTF? Whatever.

At the bottom of the hill, we had to wait 10 minutes for road construction. Road construction? Hello! What did I pay my $40 for? That was kind of disorganized. Whatever. It was amusing to watch some of the other hardcore cyclists zip out in front of the cop manning the traffic as the cop yelled at him, threatening to arrest him.

After that, we rode through parts of Ramona. By this time, the sun had burned off the fog, yet, thankfully, it wasn't too hot. Lots of rolling hills, farmland, cows, and horses, horses, horses. It was beautiful. Gardens, vineyards, more cows. Llamas, goats, a Brahma bull (which are really cool-looking!), and a bison (we rode past the wildlife rescue center). I love animals so it was a real treat. I felt like we were riding through a zoo. Also, the cacti are really cool. I don't know the different varieties but the shorter kind that are more like "bushes" have little round red fruit atop them right now, which is really pretty.

We began a very deep descent for the next 7 miles or so. I love downhill as much as the next guy but not on narrow, twisty, windy backroads. Pretty freaky. A bunch of ambulances, fire trucks, and cop cars passed us soon after, and we had to brake almost to a complete stop as we descended around a particularly nasty, blind switchback. A cyclist had been hit by a motorcycle. Ugh. I think the injuries were pretty minor, thankfully.

Jason and I stopped at one of the stops towards the end to nibble on some cookies and take a bathroom break. I felt very relaxed. I couldn't believe how quickly the ride was going considering how "easy" it felt. Yet, we were still riding at about 18 mph on the flats, which is great for me! I was a little disappointed at how much traffic (and stoplights) we had to deal with the final 8 miles as we rode back into town (plus the last two turns were extremely dangerous!) but all in all, it was a great ride. We finished in about 3 hours, feeling tired but not exhausted. And it was only 20 minutes from home! We stopped off for our usual post-workout Sunday bagels and coffee and was home by noon. I love that.


Jenö said...

Great ride - well done! It's usually around this time of year that I begin to get jealous of people who live in warmer climates... sounds nice to be in the warmth of the sun. As winter approaches I end up living my life as a cyclist vicariously through Californians!!!

Fizzgig said...

Wow, congrats on the long ride, 44 miles? Ho-ley crap! You rock!

Triteacher said...

Good job on the 44 miles! You're ready for your half IM (yeah I read ahead). I just had to laugh at your enchantment with the animals - I was raised on a farm and still live in rural Wisconsin and see all of those guys on a regular basis. Still probably have a little cowshit under my fingernails, in fact...