This is the third time we’ve done (at least part of) this ride. The first time was before we had the kid, early in our bike experiences. We started in Sunol, going up Foothill. After a while, before what we would not consider any real climbs, we decided it was too much and turned back. The second time was more recent, when Anne’s parents were in town to do some babysitting. That day we had six flats (including one on the descent) and one bloody nose.
This time we started from home. We also approximated our full touring load — two big panniers on the back of my bike packed with food, a few bike tools, cold/rain gear, street clothes and shoes, etc. The big missing piece was extra water, since we don’t have the gear for that yet.
Anne took the first turn with the trailer, and pulled Ruth all the way up the big hill. It was a pretty hot day, but there was a far amount of shade. Anne managed to sustain a faster pace than normal — maybe these training rides are starting to pay off. There was less bike traffic than I would have expected, although there was one woman on an electric-assist bike screaming up the hill. We were not impressed.
At the summit, we stopped, caught out breath, and moved the trailer to my bike for the descent. It was fairly straight without many blind turns, so lots of fun. By the bottom, all my sweat had dried off.
I was just about ready for lunch at this point, but there really aren’t parks or good places to pull off on these kinds of roads. We made it up to the 580 frontage road without finding a spot, which was very sunny. Finally we found a big of shade and pulled off the road on a narrow strip of concrete between the road and some barbed wire fence. Ruth was very good and stayed away from the ouchy fence.
More sunny climbing, until we passed some ranch that was hosting some kind of rodeo, with lots of horses milling about. Then finally we made the turn back onto Foothill, with some shade. My legs and lungs were doing okay, but the heat made me feel a little lightheaded.
The rolling hills on Foothill were starting to take their toll, so at the Pleasanton Ridge park we switched trailers again (and refilled my nearly empty water). Ruth was napping, so she didn’t get to run around.
Niles Canyon is fun, and mostly downhill westbound. There was a pretty strong headwind, though, which slowed us down. It stayed as a headwind when we made the turn onto Mission, which was pretty disappointing.
The big panniers on my rear rack messed with my balance pretty bad, and made steering kind of twitchy. The descents were pretty straight, but I think it would make fishtailing with the trailer more likely. This will probably get worse once we add ~15 pounds of water for our days without any services. I think I need to figure out a front rack to get some more of the weight up there.
Animal sightings: Horses, squirrels, a goat trying to climb a fence, some dogs, and one deer jumping through a field.
Most interesting sports drink flavor: Tie between cucumber gatorade and some weird sports-beverage-in-a-tablet thing that Anne had from somewhere, that kind of tasted like watered down alka seltzer.