Well - I am now about 9 weeks out from Ultraman and so it's time to really buckle down and focus. This weekends training was focused on a big ride. Over the past 4 months I have been doing the same boring rides over and over so I thought it was time to do something different. What might you ask.....? Well I decided to do a destination ride. On my past destination rides I have ridden to a place where I have met my wife and made it a family affair. Many times I have ridden from San Francisco to Monterey or Carmel and then spent the night there. This time I decided to do something a little different.
After looking at the map and using gmap pedometer (an online mapping tool for cyclist) I decided that a ride from Fresno to home would be ideal. I checked the bus schedules and found that I could not put my bike on unless I packed it in a box. Too much work..... I then tried Amtrak. Perfect. A train left from Martinez at 2pm on Friday which got me to Fresno around 6pm. My next problem was how do I get my clothes that I wear down to Fresno back home??? I decided to wear the oldest, rattiest clothes I had and just thrown them away. I tore my dresser apart and found and old pair of running shorts. I little too tight and showed a little too much, but they were perfect. I found an old shirt from a race I did long ago. The kind of shirt that had been wore and washed one too many times. The kind that you can see your chest hairs through. I went into the garage and found an old pair of running shoes and I was set.
My wife dropped me off at the train station just before the train arrived. Not knowing anything about Amtrak I was a bit nervous as to how it worked with bringing your bike on. As I boarded I saw the bike racks. Easy I said. After sitting down I began to wonder if I was getting myself into a situation that may not be good. What if I have a mechanical problem I can not fix? What if I get stranded in the middle of nowhere? It could be a 6 hour round trip for my wife to pick me up... Not good.
Arriving in Fresno, I asked where the Holiday Inn was. Lucky for me it was right around the corner. My old running shorts were beginning to act more like a Speedo and needed to get them off. After checking in I began to get my stuff ready for the next day’s adventure. My plan was to leave at 3:45am, so I needed to be ready to go before I went to bed. All went well and I was confident that I was prepared. My alarm went of at 3:20am. I change and had a cup of coffee hoping I could do my business before I headed out. No luck. As I enter the lobby to head outside, 4 German girls were coming in from what looked like a very fun night. Three of the girls where helping another get out of a cab. Talk about two extremes.
Well I was off - As I rolled through the streets of downtown Fresno, I thought of what lied ahead. Once I got out of town it became very dark. My bike light worked well. On the outskirts of town I was pedaling along when I head what sounded like finger nails tapping on a hard surface. I turned to my left and saw what looked like a bitpull mix with slobber flying everywhere chasing me with all his might. The determined look on his face was frightening. My heart rate went from 125 to 180 in a split second. I stepped on the pedals as hard and as fast as I could. I was able to out run the dog but it scarred the **** out of me.
The ride went well until a portion of Highway 33. At this point, the shoulder disappeared and had a near crash when I was run off the road by a truck. Not wanting to go out that way I stuck out my thumb. The first car stopped. A guy by the name of Jim said hop in. I put my bike in his van and we were off. Turns out he was a profession fisherman and just got done guiding a trip. Three miles up the road the shoulder returned and he dropped my off and gave me his cell number in case I need help along the way. What a cool guy...
At mile 117 I hit Del Puerto Canyon. This is a 27 mile stretch that is 90% climbing. Once at the top, there is a small country store as the reward. As I climbed through the canyon, my bike computer went from 99 degrees to 117 degrees. Half way up I ran out of water and was beginning to feel the effects. I tried to tell myself that I only had 10 more miles before the store. The goal on the climb was to try and keep a nice tempo and cadence around 80. Did not happen. I was good for the first part, but fell off big time at the end. As I rounded the last corner before the store, all I could think about was ice cold water. As I pulled in, I noticed no cars. The front door read "Closed" ****.
I was in bad shape. Nothing to do but keep going. The road pitched up for another 3 miles until the top. At the top it rolled down hill into Livermore, but it was still 3o miles. I struggled for the next hour and forty five minutes until I hit the 7-11. Victory!!!! The plan was to call my Mom at 1pm and let her know where I was. The problem was that I had no cell coverage until 3:30. I would now have to wait an hour for her to come get me or take a cab. I decided to take a cab and got $80 out of the ATM. I called my Mom to let her know my plan to find out that she was waiting for me in Livermore and was worried to death. Do I have the GREATEST Mom in the world? Total ride = 162 Miles
The ride was tough, but worth it. Money in the Bank. Next Weekend - Friday 5 Mile Swim then 75 Mile bike Saturday 150 Mile Bike - Sunday 40 Mile Run...... Should be FUN....