Aug 8, 2014

Mid-Summer Racing and Training in California

Lex on the attack.  The San Rafael Twilight Criterium race started with 85 riders, and TWENTY16 made it so hard that 35 could finish ... Photo Credit : Garrett Lau
I've been on the road since early June, leaving Montreal to travel to Boise ID to cheer my teammates on as they raced and I recovered from being under the weather. We hit the road for Bend OR, to race the Cascade Cycling Classic. I ate my first and last Red Robin burger after that race. Never again. Then, my teammates and I trekked to Marin County, CA to race the San Rafael Twilight Criterium, where they blasted Notorious B.I.G.'s Hypnotize over the loudspeakers as they called me up to the line. With a welcome like that, I had to stick around longer.
Photo Credit : Garrett Lau
Marin County, on the opposite side of the Full House Bridge (the Golden Gate Bridge) relative to San Francisco California, is one of the world's road cycling paradises. As I sat outside of a grocery store one late afternoon, downing a bottle of ginger kombucha, I thought about how out of place I might feel in that particular instant had I not been a cyclist. Everybody either looks like a cyclist, is pedalling their bike at a given moment, or is cruising around with a bike rack hitched to their car.
Easy-day spin. Riding across the Full House Bridge with my teammate Allie Dragoo.  Because.  It's cool to be tourists.
And why shouldn't it be that way. Like I said, Marin County is a cycling paradise. The twisting roads offer ample climbing, and a good deal of spectacular views. Leaving the quaint town of Fairfax with its fair share of coffeeshops to climb up Mount Tam through the shady, humid forest of Redwood trees, across Seven Sisters' rolling golden hills (not yellow, golden, as I was corrected) that tower over a thick blanket of misty fog that often covers the Pacific Ocean at that area, before descending down the fast, curvy road to Stinson Beach, was one of my favourite rides. On Wednesday morning a large group of very fast, competent, and just-competitive-enough-for-a-group-ride road enthusiasts gathered to “drill it” for nearly 2 hours. It was a great training ride and a nice way to do some socializing. Two birds with one stone, you've got to love it. I was thankful they let me tag along.
The Golden hills of Seven Sisters, with the Pacific Ocean laying way down below, blanketed with a thick mist!
During my stay, I got pulled over by a cop for rolling through a few intersections in Ross, CA without stopping “enough” to his taste (I thought every state would adopt the Idaho Stop?), saw a few deer and wild turkeys, chatted with a Maserati dealer, drank enough kombucha at the grocery store patio that they were probably wondering when I was going to move in, and got motorpaced up a climb by Barry Bonds. I had to ease up because my Quarq Powermeter was telling me I was pushing more watts than what my coach wanted me to do. He's the boss, since he's pretty much always right.

Oh deer.  I saw this one in somebody's yard as I walked home from drinking a fresh kombucha on the grocery store patio.
Ross, CA is a good place to have an espresso...but if you're riding through, don't go skimpy on your stopping!  The cops are on the lookout ;)
Always looking to have fun, and ride hard!
And if that wasn't enough, instead of going home to Montreal right away, I hit the road to Tahoe, to explore some more new roads for a few weeks. I feel like I'm in a retreat. I have no cell access, have to pirate a wifi signal a few blocks away if I want to connect, and there's no TV to watch (my last resort for electronic entertainment). So between long hard rides, I've been reading (I'm on book #3), trying out new ride-food recipes, religiously taking an afternoon nap, and never neglecting my stretching and “foam rolling” with my Travel Roller. It's the perfect training environment ... and I haven't even told you about the awesome roads ... ;)!
Truckee River, Tahoe California.
The first view I have every morning when I roll out on my Felt road bike, ready to train hard on the roads of Tahoe.
I love riding my bike.  I matched my Modify Watches with the colour of the sky today ;)

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