A roundabout way to the gym

Posted by Ted on May 22, 2010 in Biking

In two weeks I’ll be biking a century around Lake Tahoe again, this time with a partner in crime and a support crew of a number of our friends.


(Click image for full route map)

Having only done 45 miles during training thusfar, I was determined yesterday to up that number and so I combined not only the Tunnel/Skyline/Pinehurst and San Leandro Bay loops, but I added on a new spur out along the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail, coming in at just over 55 miles for the day. Predictably, the Oakland side of the hills were mostly cloudy, while the Moraga side was mostly sunny. While short, the trail wound through rolling hills and people’s backyards, birds flew overhead, and squirrels ran across the path.

The day before we’d had a hard workout at the gym and my legs were already sore when I headed out, but still I managed the 55 miles and could have done 20 more. On a better day, as I hope two weeks from now to be, I’m sure that the 100 miles will be hard but surmountable. When I reached the gym via my roundabout way, the hot tub was a much welcome reward, as the hot tub at our weekend vacation rental will surely be.

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Skyline to Alameda

Posted by Ted on Feb 18, 2010 in Biking

I took advantage of the beautiful 68° day that we had on Tuesday to go on an afternoon bike ride.  Have I mentioned that I can now say that I love February?  Raised in Cleveland and then moving to Boston, it’s never been a particularly enjoyable month.  Here in the Bay Area, the magnolias and cherry blossoms are in bloom.


Tuesday’s destination was the Harbor Bay club where we pay more money than we would like to for what is a pretty awesome gym. Situated on the edge of Bay Farm Island, the swimming pool overlooks the bay, they have a lot of equipment, and great classes. However, the best part about the gym are the hot tubs, steam rooms, and showers. These are a great motivator. When we go to the gym normally, it’s our reward for working out. We make it a rule to not “just go use the spa” without doing some sort of exercise.

Since I’ve been applying that logic to bike riding, it has turned out to be a great destination. The ride home is easy and short enough that I can bike home after a long relaxing celebration of water. Adding this stop onto my Bay Farm Island ride is trivial. However, it’s in the opposite direction of Tunnel/Skyline, so I had to modify the route to combine the two.

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December loop

Posted by Ted on Dec 1, 2009 in Biking

Living in Boston, I got used to putting the bike away sometime in early November. Sure I know people who bike through the New England winter, bundled in layers, bulked up like Charlie Brown on the coldest days.

But I’m a wimp. As soon as it starts to get into the low 50s, I’d call it a season. I’ve managed to ride in December before on a freak warm day, but it would be very rare. Today’s Boston high was 46, and would not have been such a day. (The record of 71 degrees was in 2001, so it does happen.) Here in Oakland however, it was a very nice 61, and so I decided to do the Tunnel/Skyline loop.


When I biked up College Ave in Berkeley, I was caught by the smell emanating from Zachary’s Pizza, and I decided that a slice sounded way better than the Clif bar in my pocket. Normally we avoid pizza in favor of the “too unhealthy” response, but I figured that I’d work it off. At a rough guess it was 215 calories. After a slice of veg, I continued on my way.

As I started the ascent up Tunnel Rd, I wondered how the climb would be. Of the 3 or 4 ways to get up to Skyline, it’s the easiest – a long, slow, 5% grade – but it’s still more than I’d done in months. No problem. It was a great ride. It felt like fall with the occasional Japanese maple still red or yellow, and the air was crisp. I saw a low sun reflecting on the bay and San Francisco was barely visible in a misty shroud. When I passed into the shadow of the hills on Skyline, I was glad for the mid-weight long-sleeved and long-legged gear that I’d purchased in the spring. Too warm during the climb in the sun, they were just shy of perfect in the shade and as I soared down Joaquin Miller road at 35 mph.

I can’t describe how pleased it makes me that I can reasonably expect the same chance of weather and temperature on January 1st, February 1st, and March 1st. I still bike less overall than I did in Boston, but being able to bike throughout the year, comfortably, without bundling up like Charlie Brown, makes me very happy.

Oh, and that slice of pizza? Dwarfed by the 2738 calories that I burned.

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2600 feet

Posted by Ted on May 17, 2009 in Biking

Gorgeous day for a ride.

Today’s extended the mountain loop that I’ve been doing by adding an awesome tree-lined ride through Canyon. 2600 feet of total climb (up and down several stretches) in almost 3 hours. 30 miles and a fastest speed of 33 mph, which was totally limited by my comfort level; my riding partner hit 50 on one of the downhills.

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Only 9 miles today

Posted by Ted on Mar 19, 2009 in Biking

However, today I decided to head for the hills. The Oakland Hills, to be precise. I drove up to the top of the ridge, and parked the car at the summit parking lot for Roberts Regional Recreation area. I then biked down Skyline Drive, painfully aware that each hill I went down was one I had to bike back up. I finally stopped in front of 14330 Skyline Blvd.

I looked down at a blimp hovering in the Bay, with San Francisco barely in the background, with the peaks of the Bay Bridge poking up through the haze. I passed not one, but two different families riding down the median on horseback. I love Oakland!

At that point, I turned around and headed back. I was actually surprised when I made it back sooner than I’d expected, and could probably have gone another few miles, but decided to head for home. My top speed was 36 mph.