My health club team put on a century training ride so I joined them for 52 hilly miles.
Lots of people at the start, but only about 15 did the long route. Some turned around after the Pig, some took a shortcut back and skipped Wildcat.
It's been a long time since I rode Pig Farm from the east - definitely the easy side.
Then the Bears - and the requisite discussion of which hill was which. I'm going on record as saying there's only two Bears and the Three Bears thing is just kind of a cute name. I believe though, that the official designation comes from riding south to north - the opposite of what I did today. Now check out this profile showing Bear Creek Road from Wildcat to Alhambra.
|Mile 0 = Bear Creek Road at Wildcat Canyon. Mile 8.4 = Bear Creek Road at Alhambra|
So from the south (left to right) you have Papa Bear which makes sense because it's the biggest and baddest climb, but then you have a descent and then a couple little bumps along a more gradual climb for the rest of the way which is supposed to be Baby Bear in the middle and then Mama Bear at the end. I don't see it... there's just nothing "three" about it. From the north (right to left), Mama Bear is obviously the tougher climb but there's still not three distinctive peaks. So I always call this area just "The Bears" - everyone knows what I'm talking about and then next question is "Which way?" instead of "Which one is Papa and which one is Mama?" Of course someone has painted the names of "each bear" on the pavement on the shoulder so I'll probably get over-ruled... or ignored.
So we re-grouped at the bottom of Wildcat where there was a duathlon going on. Really really fast guys on time trial bikes had been passing us on The Bears, but we didn't know what was the event until now. Saw them again running trail in Tilden. I remember riding down Wildcat many times when I was at Cal and thinking it would be a really hard climb back up... but the first time I did it I was surprised at how "easy" it was.
Then another re-group at the Brasil Building.
Then the excitement. We were riding along Grizzly Peak as a pretty cohesive group since only the long ride people were left, when Morgan's had a blow out. After an inspection, I gave her the what-for about checking tires for wear - this could've been a serious injury. Somebody had a boot that they got at Levi's Grand Fondo and I managed to fix Morgan's tire well enough to get her to the BART station in Berkeley, and we dispatched her down Centennial.
|This is AFTER the repair. Seriously, check your tires people.|
More Grizzly Peak, a couple more re-groups and photo ops.
And then down Pinehurst, and then home. That was probably the longest it has ever taken me to ride 52 miles but it was fun and I got to know more of the people that I'll be seeing in Santa Rosa next month. Started to get some leg cramps in the flat fast sections near the end so I'm a little worried about that... guess I'll max out on e-Caps and GuBrew or something and hope for the best.