If I could choose to be any animal, I think I would be a bear. They have such a cool lifestyle. First of all, they live in the mountains and forests, which I love. In California many of them live in the Tahoe basin and the Yosemite valley, both places that I love to visit. Their days mostly consist of lumbering around foraging for food. Occasionally they have been known to swipe pic-uh-nic baskets from unsuspecting campers, especially the ones in Jellystone Park. Although the sight of a bear often brings fear to a camper or backpacker, most are actually shy and prefer seclusion. And although they’re respected by all for their ferocity (having no natural predators), for some reason they are beloved by women and children. So yea, bears have it pretty sweet. But the best part is, they get to sleep through the entire winter. It’s like they all decided, “Dahhh… foraging for food is hard during winter, I think I’ll just take a nap until spring…”
I guess I’m sort of like that too. I pretty much am dormant during the winter. I don’t really do much exercise at all during winter, but I continue to eat. So I guess it’s not really like a bear. They emerge from their sleep at the beginning of spring at their skinniest, I emerge at the beginning of spring at my fattest.
Spring brings biking season. Every year I do a few century rides, and this year my first is at the end of April. I used to try to get more people to ride with me on the century rides. I would jiggle my winter belly in front of people, taunting them and saying, “If I could do it with my fat belly, you should have no problem….” I’ve been able to sucker a few people into riding that way. Ahh pride, man’s downfall…
Nowadays I’ve given up on trying to find new people to ride with. So I just go with the people that I already ride with. Luckily Dan’s much better at recruiting people than I am. He got together a team of eight for the upcoming Diabetes Tour de Cure ride that we’re doing at the end of the month. I can never get more than three people. Today I met one of the team members.
We met him in Winters. He had biked there while the rest of us piled into Dan’s van and drove there. When we met him there, he was calmly eating an ice cream cone and suggested we do the same to fuel up. That sounded like a good plan to me. I could tell right away that Tam was a pretty hardcore biker. While we ate our ice cream cones, he rode around practicing track stands and hopping up curbs. I asked him if he mountain biked much, (those skills are much more useful when mountain biking) and found out he was a pretty hardcore mountain biker. He does Downieville every year, (a ride that I’ve always wanted to do, just to see how badly I get pwned), his wife shuttles him to the top and he rides the crazy technical rollercoaster trail down. His wife also camps and backpacks and snowshoes with him… Hmmm… I should ask him if his wife has a sister who’s single……..
My main training ride is on a road called Cantelow. Mainly it’s because it’s the only decent hill anywhere close to Davis that you can ride as part of a loop. This was Dan’s first time. Almost everyone fails their first time. I remember the first time I tried it, me and LKC rode the whole 60+ mile loop from Davis thinking, “It can’t be that bad…” I found it to be brutally demoralizingly difficult and it made me reconsider riding my first century ride.
Nowadays it’s not so bad. I mean it’s still tough, it’s just not brutally demoralizing anymore. Well actually sometimes it’s demoralizing because it exposes how out of shape I am. But on good days towards the end of biking season I’d actually do both sides of the hill, going up one side, riding down the other and climbing back up again. Today, since it’s the first ride of the season I thought I’d take it easy and just do the one side. At the top I met up with Tam and he said, “That was too easy…” So I told him to go down the other side (which is steeper) and come back up while we wait for Dan. Then I thought, “I’m not gonna let this new guy show me up…” And decided to ride down the backside to and come back up. I convinced Jiro to do the same. On my way back up for the second time, I could feel the beginnings of a cramp in my quads. What did I say about pride? Ahh pride, man’s downfall…
Luckily I made it to the top before cramping and was able to stretch it out and rest before heading back. The way back was nice and smooth with a nice tailwind almost the whole way. Tam was fast. It was quite a workout to try and keep up with him. That’s good. In my opinion the best way to get faster is to ride with someone faster than you. So I’m looking forward to riding with him more. Dan did pretty well for his first time on Cantelow, riding almost all of it, walking only the last few hundred feet of the steepest section. Which is amazing considering he rides a heavy recumbent bike.
So all in all good today was a good start for my first day out of hibernation. There’s three weeks left until the Tour de Cure for Diabetes ride. If helping to find a cure to diabetes is something you’d be interested in, please consider supporting me here: