Category Archives: 2013 Rides

Bay Bridge Out and Back

Since the new Bay Bridge has fancy new bike and pedestrian access, we figured we ought to check it out. It would be lame to drive up there just to do a six mile round trip on the bridge, so we decided to do the ride from home.

The morning was actually kind of cold, foggy, and intermittently misting and drizzling. I was a bit concerned for a bit — would the fog ruin the view? Would it turn into full-blown rain, stranding us without rain gear? It cleared up and turned into a pretty nice day.

We spent some time going along the Bay Trail in Hayward and San Leandro. It had some nice views of the bay, wetlands, inlets and birds. The trail surface varied from dirt to packed gravel to loose gravel, though, which made for a less than entirely pleasant ride.

Riding past the Oakland airport was neat. The road was in good shape, and Ruth was excited about the airplanes landing from up close. Then we started to get into Alameda and Oakland itself and it got a bit more hectic. There was more traffic, and more complicated traffic patterns. Bikes were randomly forbidden from certain bridges, but without clear signage as to what we were supposed to do.

We finally made it to the bridge itself. Turns out, we weren’t the only ones with this idea — it was crawling with people walking and biking. The path was wide enough, but people weren’t really staying in the marked lanes very well. Plus, people would randomly and without warning stop, or turn around, or shift from side to side. It made for a kind of treacherous ride. It was pretty cool, though, with the shiny new white bridge to the right of us, and the grungy old one to the left. The path doesn’t actually go anywhere yet. You can’t even get to Treasure Island until 2015, when they complete demolishing the old bridge. Who knows when you’ll be able to bike to San Francisco.

Then we retraced our steps for the return, with a few tweaks. Going back through Oakland and Alameda was a lot nicer this time, since we sort of knew what we were doing. We found a real road as an alternate for the worst of the Bay Trail.

Ruth was delightful all day. She resisted a little bit putting on the helmet after breaks, but in a playful way. She did pour out her water bottle into her snack cup, which ended up getting soaking her clothes.. but that’s why we bring spare clothes. She took a good nap in the afternoon, which meant she missed the Bay Bridge, but she enjoyed all the bumpy parts on the Bay Trail.

It’s nice to do these long rides from home. It means that we can roll right into the garage and immediately wash off the sweat. No loading up the car, no sitting through a drive while covered in road grime. This ride was very flat and urban, though, which is definitely less nice than the rolling countryside.

Tour of Napa Valley 2013 100 km

We’ve done this organized ride a couple of times, but this is the first time doing the metric century. We brought Ruth in the trailer, of course, which got us some nice encouragement from other riders.

It was a very hot day, hitting the upper 90s. This made the climbs pretty difficult. There was a SAG car driving up and down the main climb (Ink Grade) offering water and ice to people.

At the lunch stop they had a mist tent going. Ruth had fun running through it.

Towards the end I started loosing steam. Anne took the trailer, which made me very happy.

On the drive back, we stopped for a restroom. While I was waiting for Anne to come back, my leg started cramping really bad. I got out of the car and stood up. When the heat hit me again, I started to feel pretty weak. Anne came out just in time to watch me fall over. I’m still not sure if it was pain causing my leg to give out on me, or if I passed out briefly. Anne says I was talking immediately, though. A passerby came and helped me up. I felt much better, so Anne drove us home.

When we got home I took a long cold shower, which was very nice.

I think we’re done with super hot rides for at least a little while.

Cascades Tour Day Seven

Today was our last riding day. We took the McKenzie Highway from Sisters back to Rainbow – 2000 feet up, 4000 feet down.

The morning way fairly nice. We stopped at a grocery store in Sisters for breakfast and lunch supplies. Ruth and I hung out outside with the bikes while Anne got the goods.

Then on to McKenzie Highway. The climb started right away, but very gently. It was a big broad forest, although with lots of stumps. Chipmunks scurried about, threatening to jump under our wheels. We had the music going for Ruth, and she would occasionally sing along.

The grade slowly ramped up over about 10 miles, peaking at about 6%. Then it got a bit more erratic. The scenery changed, too. To the north was a lava flow, mostly without anything growing in it. It looked like a big pile of rubble. It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s a natural formation.

The lava flow kept flitting about on the right, until we got near the top. Then, the road was cut straight through the flow. It felt kind of like being on an alien world. Finally it opened up a bit, and there was the Dee Wright Observatory. This is a structure built at the McKenzie Pass summit out of rocks from the lava flow. It’s kind of a tower, with stairs (made of the lava rocks) and railings (made of the lava rocks and chains), with a room inside that has holes in the walls to view each of the 8 or so mountain tops visible. The whole thing felt like something that belonged in Mordor. We ate lunch in the observatory, since it was the only shade wert had seen for a while.

As we were leaving, we saw a supported tour group setting up, complete with a canopy and takes and chairs. I’m glad we did the ride self supported, but it sure would be nice to have other people carry all the water, food, and luggage, and have a hot lunch waiting for us after each climb. We saw a number of folks from this group climbing later, including one that was getting SAGged to the top.

Then, the descent. It started off pretty moderate and straight, but then got steeper and curvy, including several switchbacks. This was by far the most windy road on this trip, but we trained on much worse back home.

Near the end it started to level off, but stayed generally downward to our hotel where we had left the car. The innkeeper came out as we pulled in to saw she was glad we made it back safely.

It’s nice to be back, but I’m sad that we’re done with the tour. I know that Anne had fun, because she’s already planning the next one.

Overall, I think we prepared enough for this trip. None of the climbs exhausted us, although we were ready to get off the road by the end of most days. Anne pulled the trailer the whole way every day, which really impressed me. We had enough food and water every day. We never really got lost. Ruth was pleasant most of the time, and napped well in the trailer. The only things we brought but didn’t use were rain gear and most of the first aid kit. Those seem like good things not to need.

Now I just need to remember to stay out of the shoulder for the drive home.