I got to spend some quality RAAM time over the New Year - went down to Arcata to visit David Bradley. He coughed up (not literally, he's the picture of health going into his surgery next week) a BUNCH of resources to make my stay a mini training camp.
We arrived bright and early on New Years' Eve day. I'd definitely count 2AM as early, and we were as bright as anyone needs to be at that hour...Thursday's workout was a 2-hour spin courtesy of Jim Kern, followed by one of my favorite RAAM activities - listening to people heatedly discuss maltodextrin. Woo-hoo!
We were festive, within the limits of our advancing ages. It's only a matter of time until the US goes to Daylight Savings Time 365 days a year, so since ultracyclists are such cutting edge innovators, we decided to officially ring in the New Year at 11PM (PST), preserving an hour of sleep for...
...Vic Armijo's 9AM spin class. We took it over and more or less turned it into a RAAM reunion ride - a bunch of obnoxious RAAMsters filling the front row and making obscure comments about Wolf Creek, Yarnell Grade, and other RAAM highlights. Surprisingly, none of the "civilians" left in disgust. Vic held David and I after class an extra hour, just to make sure I was really feeling it before we headed out for our "recovery" ride.
Arcata is a pretty wonderful place to ride, really - a lot of pretty country roads (maybe a little weather-beaten in places), bike paths, and the like. On Saturday we made it as far as Clam Beach before I weenied out - ever since the chain breakage incident the week before I'd not been able to shift the front derailleur, and I was feeling a little sheepish about it, so we turned around.
And it was a good thing, too - on two counts. First, we got to help Cody fix his flat. I don't know Cody, and no one else on the ride did, either, but he was walking a perfectly good road bike, and it was threatening rain. He didn't have his flat kit with him, so we helped him out. While my Carbent was leaning against a fence, it drew the attention of the local herd. The Carbent Race Bag is Guernsey-Approved! I didn't quite know what to do with a cow-licked waterbottle (OK, I knew what NOT to do with a cow-licked water bottle..). Second - we got home just before the rain hit in earnest.
I'd love to say that when we got back I went straight out to the garage and fixed my front derailleur. But I didn't. I took a shower, and we played cards into the wee hours.
Saturday, Bill came over for a ride at a very optimistic 9AM. David and I were ready, but there was no sign of Adrienne and Robert, so we sent Bill out for an errand while I attacked my front derailleur (oh, yeah...). After my last experience, I'd dutifully hauled along my PT-MLP-1, figuring that I'd need to adjust the number of links in the chain once I was able to upshift. The problem turned out to be quite simple! The front derailleur had slipped on its mount and was too low - it physically couldn't make the shift no matter what I did. Easily fixed! And as a bonus, my chain length was just fine as-is - no PT-MLP-1 needed. I took it with me on the ride anyway. You just never know.
We rode one of David and Bill's favorite loops. I did okay on the climb - and had an absolute blast knocking out the slightly descending rollers on the way down. I think I gave Bill a decent run for his money, but he'd know better than me how much he was sandbagging.
After the ride, a little more card-playing, Chinese food for dinner, and a lot of war stories ("let me tell you about MY heat exhaustion..."), and we were off to bed.
Sunday we left quite early and drove straight up 101 to Florence before heading east on HWY 126.
The trip home got me thinking about a potentially excellent RAAM training ride - leave Bike Friday on a Friday afternoon, ride out to the coast, and ride through the night to, say, Brookings. Have to work on those logistics!
So - a good time was had by all. Not a mega-mile weekend, but a good one nonetheless. A lot of sweat and intensity, riding next to the ocean in sunny weather, and good friends old and new. Six weeks to Sebring! I've got a lot to accomplish between now and then. I'm looking forward to it!