Hello Kitty Envy and 12% +

The quest to keep my bike mine continues, as my friends are still bringing in stickers for Lutz and signing their names. It’s also become somewhat of a thing to write some kind of chemistry or physics equation on Lutz, such as the ideal gas law PV = nRT.

He’s looking pretty good now, as you can see here as he hangs out on the weightlifting platform.

Lutz spends a whole lot of time in this room.

Lutz spends a whole lot of time in this room.

I’m loving the reactions I get from people when they see my bike. When I’m waiting at a stop light and there are other cyclists there, they look sideways at it and can’t help but comment. Usually they’re surprised that I’m willing to do this to my bike, but they agree that it probably will keep thieves away. One group of lycra-clad cyclists with super skinny tires on their bikes turned to peer at me after I’d ridden alongside them for several miles, complete with non-lycra attire, panniers, and non-clip-in shoes, and asked how I’d managed to keep up. They guessed that the secret was in the Hello Kitty stickers and promised me they’d get some for their own bikes.

So these days I’m following a ten week training program put out by Bicycling Magazine that should get me feeling comfortable about riding 100 miles a day. I just completed my first week, which was pretty easy, but it’s going to get harder soon. The tricky part is pushing yourself to actually hit decent speeds – well, at least, that’s the tricky part for me. I think I can easily just chug along for hours and hours, it’s harder to get the ride done quickly. Anyway, most days the mileage is pretty moderate, and the long rides are saved for Saturdays.

Yesterday was Saturday, so it was a day to do a 30 mile ride. I have a deck of cards with maps and descriptions of rides to do in the Bay Area, and I hope to get through as many as possible. I pestered Brooks into joining me on the Hicks Road loop in Los Gatos, a 26 mile loop that has a monster of a climb. I don’t know what the grade was for the steepest climb on Hicks Road, but it was classified on the map as a 4, which means 12% or worse. And I thought Old La Honda Road was bad, and that only averages 7 – 9%.

And then there’s the downhill, too. I’m not a fan of downhill.

Hicks road

A quick break before attacking the steep climb (followed by steep descent) on Hicks Road.

Well, it turns out that if you just put it down into really low gear and block your mind from the pain, you can slowly but steadily climb Hicks Road. You can even gasp out a conversation while doing it.

Coming down is an entirely different story. Some crazy people love the downhill part. Others of us need to stop and have small panic attacks.

Delightfully, though, there is one last devilish climb to do on Shannon Road, which the map promised would seem easy after Hicks Road. And it was! So my plan is to ride Hicks Road several more times in the next nine weeks. Let me know if you’d care to join me!

This ride was hard. And I'm sure it's only a small taste of what the Rockies will be.

This ride was hard. And I’m sure it’s only a small taste of what the Rockies will be.

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