Four weeks ago, I went on another official AIDS LifeCycle training ride, and rode about 75 miles total that day, including riding to and from the starting point in the Golden Gate Park.
Of the five official training rides I’ve gone so far (two written about, here and here, this one, and two not written about yet), this has been my favorite! We went South and so I didn’t have to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge in the afternoon, and didn’t have to negotiate the tip of the peninsula to get home from the bridge late in the day either! Instead, we headed from the Golden Gate Park to Woodside and back.
This training day is dedicated to Carol from toastmasters. Thank you, Carol for your support, inspiration, and the snacks!
I am going out of order with my thank you ride write ups here. What happened was, on Wednesday before the Woodside ride, Carol donated to my AIDS/LifeCycle fundraising campaign, gave a speech about completing an Olympic triathlon, and brought performance snacks to our Toastmasters meeting to make a point about the triathlon. I ended up taking all the leftover snacks on my Saturday ride, so of course the ride had to be dedicated to Carol!
The day started precariously. It was gloomy and raining slightly. Even on the way to the meeting place I was startled a few times by how hard it was to break on my light road bike. The rain picked up during our sign in and briefing, and continued as we rode through the park toward the Ocean and then South along the Great Highway. Thankfully though it stopped sooner rather than later, and then there were some hills to climb, so we warmed up fast. Here are a few handlebar cam pics from the beginning of the ride, getting drier and less gloomy.
Another aspect of this ride that I liked was that I was familiar with its first and last parts, having explored them on my own recently. As I’ve written before, I waste a lot of energy on these rides worrying about random stuff; knowing the route alleviates some of that.
After a while, we stopped for a snack at a deli in San Bruno, then made our way to San Andreas Lake. We rode a little bit along the 280 highway, and then for a few miles on Sawyer Camp Trail along Lower and Upper Crystal Springs Reservoirs. The skies cleared up, the air warmed up just enough. I could barely contain my excitement yet again, just thinking how lucky I am to be doing this in such a beautiful place.
San Andreas Lake and the Reservoirs mark the San Andreas Continental Fault line. Despite their inherent danger to those of us living nearby (or should I say, because of the danger?) the fault lines are exciting, and it was cool to ride next to one of those for miles! Besides, with all the rains we’ve had, the park around us was brilliantly green, even more so after the morning rain. Just look at this!
I also liked feeling empowered. Since I don’t drive these days, this beautiful area feels off limits to me, normally. And yet, apparently, I can get there before (late) lunch just by cycling, if I put my mind to it. Who knew!
My pictures look deserted, and the trail was indeed lightly travelled, although not as empty as I portray it. I guess I tend to select pictures without the people in them. I assure you, there were people! In fact, most of the time heading South on the Sawyer Camp Trail, I rode with another woman training for AIDS LifeCycle. She told me she had worked in AIDS-related fields for 30 years and was doing the ride to celebrate the milestone!
The furthermost part of the route took us to Cañada Road, which was pleasant and uneventful, except there were horses!
We stopped for lunch in Woodside and headed back almost the same way. This being my third ride with this group, I began to get to know people, so I chatted with a handful of them while we were sitting on the curb eating our sandwiches in Woodside.
The training ride organizers plan the routes in such a way that we have regular stops where we can get something to eat and drink. Still, it’s comical that until that day I didn’t even know a place called Woodside existed, and now I knew, and it’s as if I went there only to eat.
Speaking of eating and snacks… After this ride, I found something else to worry about! Gaining weight… Especially with all the eating-centered stops and snacks along the road. I definitely gained a few pounds, and I don’t like that at all! But then again, at my weight and speed, I would burn close to 3000 calories by riding 80-ish miles, and that would explain the eating. Perhaps it is the muscle I am gaining? Is it though?
I got rather busy since I started working again in November after the sabbatical, started teaching yoga, signed up for 150 hours of more yoga teacher training, assumed some responsibilities with toastmasters, and all this cycling, too. While I chose all this enthusiastically, “busy” is a four letter word, and the current situation is not sustainable in the long term, not for me. So am I getting healthier and stronger and more muscular or am I overeating for comfort, because I am stressed out and, with all those activities piled up, don’t make time to eat mindfully? Perhaps, a little bit of both.
But then again, you don’t get to explore and to have these wonderful experiences without getting uncomfortable, and scared, and stressed now and then. I can rearrange life to a healthier shape in June. Meanwhile…
The route back retraced our steps more or less all the way to Daily City, then weaved through the parts of it which I had never explored, and which were blissfully quiet in the now sunny afternoon. Then I found myself at the familiar South edge of Lake Merced, heading toward the Ocean, to the Park and back home.
Thank you, Carol, for your support, inspiration, and the snacks that literally fueled this ride! I am fortunate to know people like you who take a challenge with joy, perseverance, and humor.
Thanks to all my readers for joining me on this ride virtually. I dedicate a training ride to each sponsor who contributed at a certain level to my fundraising campaign for AIDS LifeCycle. If you haven’t yet, please consider contributing: it’s a great cause that saves lives.