I've made my intro in the intro forum but thought I'd check in here as well. I live in the east bay area (Danville) and just started riding again after a little over 12 years off the wheels. I've been lurking around here for the past few weeks gathering up all the useful info flying around. Just picked up my first road bike (actually, second if you count the 10-speed I rode 20+ years ago) very recently and really enjoying it, although I did have my first newb experience yesterday falling over while still clipped in ! Hoping to get back into some kinda shape and see where it takes me. In the meantime... hello!
Welcome - I'm right down the road in San Ramon. I started up again this year as well, but I decided I really wanted to get in shape with some help/support, so I'm doing the Team in Training route. It's been great - I'm doing rides I never would have done otherwise (including Mt. Diablo as part of a 110 mile ride).
Stay with it, and check out the bike shops for group rides.
Thanks everybody for the warm welcome . I am just in awe of everyone's cycling abilities. I stare in amazement whenever I drive up to Mt. Diablo and pass up a cyclist (safely, of course). Hope some of it rubs off.
Johnathanb, I grew up in San Ramon up in the old Twin Creeks neighborhood back in the late 70's before Bishop Ranch was built. Wow, has that place changed!
I'm in awe of the unicyclers that do the Mt. Diablo challenge!
Seriously, the TnT coaches laid out a coaching plan that included lots of variety and lots of miles. In Feb., we were doing things like the House of Pain team route (the House of Pain refers more to the pace they keep, because the route is actually a pretty nice one through North and S. Livermore), Calaveras Reservoir and Palomares. As we got in better shape, we started doing some of the Berkeley and Oakland Hills and Redwood/Skyline. Lately we've been doing a lot down by Palo Alto - Old La Honda, Page Mill, Tunitas Creek, Redwood Gulch, Alpine. We've also done a few rides in Marin.
During the week, I've kind of treated Mt. Diablo as my personal gym - I started out going up to the Junction Ranger Station and turning around. As I got stronger, I would go to the top, but have to walk part of the way up the last, very steep section. Now I can do it even on a bad day, or late in a long ride. Hang in there, keep challenging yourself and you'll be amazed at how fast the improvements come. I'm at the point where I can make it up most climbs, but I'm slow - I make it through persistance as much as anything. It's a great feeling to be at the top of a climb that most people won't even try.
I'm sure I could have gotten into this kind of shape without doing TnT, but it would have taken longer, and it is nice to be part of a team.
Johnathanb, thanks for the encouragement. It's hard to think of making it to the top of Mt. Diablo as being in my realm of possibilities. I'm taking it pretty slowly for now . I get home pretty late and, after eating dinner, allowing dinner to settle in, and prepping for the ride, it's a little past 7pm, almost 7:30. So, I've only been able to do about 45 minutes or so round trip from my house to downtown before I start losing light and have to start heading home. On the weekends I try to ride one day with my wife and son so that's typically a nice leisurely pace and more for fun if nothing else. I plan to do more challenging routes the other weekend day if time allows. I am starting to notice some improvement in my strength/stamina, as slight as it may be, so I'm happy about that. But, today, I didn't tip over so I'm even more happy about that!
Just to give you another story ... one year ago, I ended a 2 year experiment, where I went carless. That's right, I was without a car in California! However, I lived in Mountain View, and it was very easy to get around using either public transportation, or by biking. I decided 2 years was enough, then I decided to buy a car.
Before buying a car, the only rides I could do were if it started locally. Now that I have a car, I can start rides anywhere I want. Ironically, I started riding a lot more after getting the car ... go figure. Anyways, a friend of mine, who I was riding with, started really motivating me to ride more. She set a goal for myself, to do the triple crown. This kicked my training into high gear, and after reading some of the ride reports, and stories in here, it motivated me even more. Now, I do things I never thought I would do before, like ride a century as if it was routine. I have maintained a century a month since February. So all it takes is a little motivation, and getting into the groove. Once you're in, it's hard to break that habit.