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melissam
04-19-2004, 07:22 PM
OK, I read Veronica's story with awe!! This is a story from a mere mortal.

Yesterday I rode the Primavera 100k route. Whew! 4200 feet of climbing, which was plenty for me. Fortunately, the weather held out -- didn't rain until I had checked back into the finish line and was eating lunch.

I must put in a plug for the Fremont Freewheelers, who put on this event. It was well-organized, the volunteers were very friendly, it seems that every time I looked up there was a SAG wagon, the routes were well-marked, and the rest stops were stocked with lots of food & water. The Sunol rest stop was dubbed the "Famous Homemade Cookie Stop" and it did not disappoint.

We started in Union City, and had a nice, 20 mile warm up down into Milpitas. Then the fun began -- we started climbing Calaveras, and took a break at the first rest stop at Ed Levin Park. They had the elevation chart posted at the rest stop, with a big arrow pointing "You are Here." Uh oh -- the chart kept going straight UP after the You are Here arrow.

The road climbed after the rest stop, and about a mile into, it got even steeper -- oh joy. Fortunately, it was short, steep and to the point. Then the jacket went back on, and we navigated the rollers by Calaveras Reservoir. Gorgeous scenery, not much traffic (except for cyclists), and smooth roads. My only thing is that I was hoping to coast more. ;) Oh well, after the rollers, we descended the other side of Calaveras, and motored into Sunol, where the aforementioned Homemade Cookie Stop awaited. Gotta load up on carbs, doncha know! The volunteers had a boom box, and when it played "Already Gone" by the Eagles, I figured that was my cue to get back out there.

We went up into Pleasanton via Foothill Blvd. Nice scenery -- past a golf course where some folks were out having a great time.

I should mention that I thought I was done climbing until the Palomares grade. Not so! There was a shallow but long uphill portion on Dublin Canyon Road, which paralelled 580. And then, there was the last rest stop. Standing between the rest stop and the finish line was the infamous Palomares climb. They had the elevation chart there, with another "You Are Here" arrow pointing to a line going straight up. But whacha gonna do?

I stalled.

Well, I refilled my Camelbak, drank some Gatorade, stretched, chatted with some of the workers, figured out how to get my bike off the bike rack (it was trapped by a couple of other bikes.)

That's when I noticed the guy selling bikes.

They were soooooo cool -- bikes made by twisting a section of aluminum wire. One piece of wire, mind you. The bike has a derailleur, seat, handlebars, wheels and everything. I had to have one, so I bought one of the little ones -- weight saving and all.

OK, stalling over, it was time to get back on the road. Stalling is not a good thing to do -- my legs were pretty tight. The first four miles or so after the rest stop were rollers, trending upward. Already I was in my little chainring. And then, there weren't any more rollers, it was just up. And up. And up.

I'm trying to do all the cool ascending tricks: spin in a low gear. Pace yourself. Breathe. Pull up on the pedals. Alternate between standing and sitting to use different muscles. Pick a spot to ride to, and when you get there, pick another spot to ride to.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering when this hill is gonna end. I figured it HAD to end at the next turn -- I'd been climbing since the Beginning of Time, so that HAD to be the summit. I reached the turn, and -- it just kept going up as far as I could see.

AGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

So I tried the ascending technique adopted around the world. I got off and walked. And you know what? I wasn't that much easier. But, as I said before, what are ya gonna do? I kept walking to the top -- trying to encourage the people who were riding past me. (Like THEY needed the encouragement?!)

Anyway, I got to the top, and I must say it was a piece of cake from there to the finish line. The descent was a blast -- I was riding with two other guys, and we were going fast enough that the car that was about a quarter mile behind us never caught up to us.

After the descent, we cruised thru Niles Canyon (a bit of traffic, and it was passing us), thru Niles and back to the finish line where a lasagna lunch with all the fixin's awaited.

Great ride -- if you're looking for a challenging ride next April and are in the area, this one is worth checking out.

-- Melissa

Veronica
04-19-2004, 07:41 PM
I've wanted to do Primavera, but it conflicted with the DMD staff ride. AND there ain't no way I could do DMD and then do Primavera! But the rumor is next year's DMD will be a week later. That would be cool.

Nice write up Melissa. Sounds like you had a great day!

V.

snapdragen
04-19-2004, 08:11 PM
Wow, sounds like a great ride! I'm going to do Primavera next year for sure.

I think walking a hill is harder than riding it. I usually stop and rest on the real toughies, and ride on. Of course, it's oh so fun to try and start up on a hill :D

melissam
04-19-2004, 10:03 PM
Veronica,

Given your latest ride, I think you could do the Primavera standing on your head!

Snapdragen,

Ya know, I figure that once I stop on a hill, I'll never get clipped back in again, but I think next time I'll try your method.

-- Melissa

aka_kim
04-20-2004, 08:32 AM
I had forgotten how bad Palomares is! How steep is that thing? And how long? It just keeps going, and going, and going, at what must be a 12 percent grade. It's much harder than the Calaveras wall, which of course on the Primavera you get to early in the ride.

This was a great ride, though. The riding around the Calaveras resevoir is beautiful, and so fun. And the veggie lasagna and brownies at the end were yummy!

Two thumbs up from me.

Kim