Hard to believe sometimes how far I've come in a scant couple of years.
Took me a year to get to where I thought I could tackle that first climb you see (I've reported on that probably too many times) and now I do it at least once a month. Way back last year, it took me over 45 minutes to climb the first (and hardest) mile with 5 stops to catch my breath and still my heart. I do it now in about 20 minutes with two stops. The only other measure I have is to count the lamp posts I pass between stops and Saturday I went two more lamp posts than I did a month ago. AND I'm not really sure I needed the first stop after I saw how close it was to the second. I'm just that close to one stop! As I said, I don't ride in spite of the hills, I ride because of the hills. They're a pretty true test. Once at the top, I didn't stop as I usually do, I just turned south and kept going. I headed down past San Andreas Lake -saw a couple baby dear and a huge cruising hawk who kept crossing about 5 or 10 yards in front of me- and found a MUP I had never been on. The north entrance to Sawyer Camp Road... I know about the south entrance, I never knew there was a north entrance. Anyway, as I cruised along, I hit a nice curvy bit that felt like it dropped like a stone (I was a little afraid of having to climb back up it on the way back) and ended up at San Andreas Dam at the southern tip of the lake. And there I stood on the San Andreas Fault, itself. A plaque there said so. It also said that, in 1906 (can't say just '06 anymore, I guess) the west side of the lake slid 9 feet. NINE FEET!
Here's a nice zoomable, movable Quicktime panorama taken from where I stood No, I didn't take this, obviously...
Stopped, ate my 1/2 a PBJ on bagel and started up the climb I just came down. Turns out to be a non-event as I smoothly went up, with a gear to spare, as I passed people walking their MTBs up.
Then I headed back north for home where I learned that the headwind I was riding south wasn't a headwind at all. No, no... that was waiting for me all the way home. So, all those uphill parts starting at the 13 mile mark? Into the wind and a pretty stout wind at that.
But then I had that nice downhill drop you see at the end. 30mph on the brakes! Yahoo! Not content with that though, I shot past my normal turnoff and took the next just so I could take one last short 7.5% climb before I took the last little climb home. I felt great.
Oh joy. However, once again, fear ruled my life. I was scared enough by that drop down to San Andreas that I ended up only doing 20 miles (though a pretty strenuous 20) and I when I got home, I knew I could have done more. When will I ever start to believe in myself?
To put it into perspective, I road south from the Hwy 1 mark you see in the map below, south to the long squiggly East-West line up to Skyline and down skyline to the southern end of the big lake you see there.
Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to ride. And, no... no pictures. Sorry
Where I was