I decided to go for a ride last Thursday, despite the smoke in the air from the Plumas and Coe wildfires. I resolved to stay out of the hills and keep it sorta long and sorta flat to mitigate the effects of the ashy air.
I drove over to Almaden Lake Park and set out toward Santa Teresa at about 440pm. I'd mapped out a modified version of the Bailey loop so that it was about 10 miles longer. I headed south out Santa Teresa for a long, flat spin to warm up my jello-y legs.
Now...Santa Teresa is notorious for becoming a wind tunnel in the late afternoon, but I can never seem to remember which way the wind usually blows. It seems like I battle unrelenting headwinds everytime I roll out there, whether it's north or south. I figured I'd be okay, since the last time I was out there the wind was markedly worse as I headed back home (north).
Holy shite. Whatta headwind! It was worse than the winds at Wildflower back in May...and I'm not even in long course shape anymore. Seriously, I was spinning along at a moderate-high gear, and I was making about 12 mph on flat ground. By the time I got to Bailey, I was feeling a little wiped. My right trapezius was screaming bloody murder, having not had much time to recover from shouldering a heavy backpack over Labor Day weekend.
I hunkered down into my drops to get as aero as I could and kept grinding my way forward, getting buzzed by the occasional jerkoff in a sports car or F-150.
8 miles...9 miles...10 miles...11 miles... I was getting a bit demoralized. Shouldn't the turn be coming up soon? The headwind was fierce, and I kept having to squirm around and rub my neck to make it feel better--it was STINGING.
Finally, I rolled up on the turn to Willow Springs Road. I pulled around the corner and stopped for a drink and to much a few sport beans. As I set off again, I sighed with relief. No wind here; I was headed between some hills. The climb up to Chesbro reservoir was winding but not at all steep. I was only passed by a few cars, including one of those stupid stretch Hummer limos. Huh?!? When I reached the reservoir, my jaw dropped. I could see why CaliMan had been cancelled earlier in the year...it was dead empty! Only a few puddles and there. Eek. I turned right and skirted the eastern edge of the reservoir, and then turned right onto Uvas road.
After a brief flat spin followed by a short climb, I was rewarded with a long, smooth descent. I relaxed and actually went kinda fast...for me, anyway. I looked up at the sky to the west. The sun was beginning to set behind the smoky haze, making a weird fireball above the horizon.
Uvas turns into McKean before it hooks back up with Almaden. At Almaden, I started to feel the right knee a little bit...but not so much that I was overly concerned. It was okay out of the saddle. In fact, it is the worst now when I'm getting started from a dead stop in the middle of the ride, but other than that it's okay.
I spun comfortably down Almaden back to the park and my car.
31.5 miles in 2:04:00. A bit pokey, but not bad.
And you know what? I didn't even need to ice my knee. :-)