Monday, August 30, 2010

Where did summer go?

Actually, some people might ask if summer ever got here at all! We've had one of the coolest summers I can ever remember having here in the Bay Area this year. Not that I have really complained much, I don't have air conditioning!

We've had a couple of hot spells, which have been great to simulate some warm weather training, but other than that it's been pretty mild!

The past two weeks have marked my build up for my first HIM in September. September 11th, to be exact, which is now less than two weeks away! did that happen?

Two weekends ago, my instructions were to do a long ride with long and steady climbs. My husband told me that Mt. Hamilton fit that bill very well. It's 19 miles of climbing with an average grade of 4-6%. You ride all the way up to the observatory. It's a mountain that I look at every day. David has ridden it before, but I have always gotten out of it. This time I figured, why not? The weather was forecast to be nice, and I knew it would be a great training ride.

Here's a good picture I found of the mountain:

You see those tiny white specks at the top? That's the observatory I made it up to! We set out about 11am from a near by park, as we didn't want to start climbing right away. About 45 min later, we got to here:

The climbing wasn't bad. I was very happy to have a triple! You gain about 1500 ft, and then you drop down into a valley, losing all that altitude which you then get to gain again. I hung in there okay until the last mile or so. The last part of the climb is full of switch backs, with the occasional teasing glimpse of the observatories. Here's what they look like as you get "closer":

I was pretty much cursing anything that moved by the time we made it to the very top of the switch backs.!

Finally, we got to the top where we took this picture:

We filled up our water bottles and then got to the part I was really dreading - downhill. I am terrified of going downhill. I tend to imagine how it will feel when all the skin and muscle has come off from sliding down the side of the road. Not great for your confidence, really. David was nice enough to hang out behind me and give me some really good tips about descending. It helped immensely, I felt like I had much more control around the turns and I wasn't nearly as scared.

About 5 miles from the bottom, my back started to scream obscenities at me. David had gone ahead of me as we were over the more technical part of the descent, and I was on my own. My back and hands just hurt like you would not believe. I was so happy to get down and to a stop light where I could unclick and stretch out my back.

All in all, it was a great day. 5:30 min in total. The summit is 4200 feet, so between that and then coming back down, garmin says we did a total of 6879 total feet of climbing. Crazy. Here's what it looked like after I downloaded the ride:

This past weekend we did another longer ride, but I will post pictures of that soon. It was a great day as well and I am looking forward to that magic word "taper".


  1. Hey, great ride -that is a lot of climbing. You will do great next week.

  2. Great work, Jenn! Almost there! hang in there .....soon soon soon! :)) You are doing super.

  3. The key to descending is letting the bike do what it naturally wants to do. You're just along for the ride. And when you roll through turns, just ask/suggest to the bike to turn.

    Piece of cake!