Four years in I’m still learning the back roads of Contra Costa and Alameda counties. November and December were really wet months. January was cold and I was traveling for a good portion of it. Come February we’ve had a brief bump in warm weather and with an impending surgery, I wanted to get out on my bike and ride.
I woke up to fog and cold – not what I was expecting to get on what was supposed to be a really warm and lovely day. Normally I would be dreading putting on the layers and praying to the gods of Aerostich that somehow I could compress myself in a couple of the layers of clothing into my suit and not look like Randy from A Christmas Story as he’s walking to school in the snowsuit. I’ve lost about 10 pounds and I was excited to see if and how much looser my suit would feel. While it’s not as loose as I would like, I noticed a significant improvement in my ability to move within the suit and zip the zippers down my body. I’ll call it a win!
We met at a local coffee shop just down the way from my house – another reason to join the group ride. I didn’t have to track all the way across the Bay Area!
The surgery was called Tenex – it’s a new minimally invasive procedure that uses ultrasound to dissolve disease tissue. The removal of the disease tissue is supposed to spur healthy tissue to grow and reduce pain. I have the same surgery on the other arm with good success. I knew I was going to be off the bike for at least 4 to 6 weeks so I wanted to get this ride in. That being said, I didn’t know how far I could push it before making the situation worse.
What I didn’t expect was Morgan Territory Road during the winter. It’s not my favorite stretch of pavement as it’s narrow, bumpy, and for this wintertime road – slippery. With my relatively new bike, I knew I was going to sweep this ride just so that I wasn’t feeling like I was pushing the envelope. I just wanted to ride my own ride.
Once we got to the Morgan Territory Park, the sun came out! I was ready to get off the bike and stretch my arms as honestly I just wasn’t feeling that section of pavement. During the four years of living here, I’ve written that section of pavement exactly once. From Morgan Territory Park down to Livermore the road was lovely.
I was expecting us to start heading back towards the bay after getting to Livermore but our ride lead did just the opposite – he turned left towards the Central Valley. In the back of my mind I was thinking this is more miles than I really wanted to ride but hey, what the hell! I remembered the small roads north and south of Interstate 580 being difficult to ride. As we approached the top of North Flynn Road I was shocked how beautiful the windmills were amongst the newly green grass.
As South Flynn Road wound back down to Livermore I again was expecting us to turn back towards the bay. Our ride lead did the exact opposite heading back into the hills separating us from the Central Valley. Once we reach to the top of Patterson Pass Road we stopped with an outstanding view looking east!
Having solar panels on the house reminds me the benefits of renewable power. These windmills generate much-needed power at night when my solar panels go off-line. I’ve ridden the Altamont Pass many times at night often times getting tossed about by the wind swearing under my breath. I now see the benefit of that wind.
I’ve looked for a nice version of Skyline Boulevard – a favorite road of mine living on the peninsula. I hadn’t really found a good replacement until today. Altamont Pass Road has a lovely set of curves that just let the bike flow. It’s not too technical and the turns are generally honest.
I’m glad I went out for the ride. It was a welcome injection into my Saturday with good roads in good company. It’s given me motivation to keep on my new life choices with regards to eating. Hopefully in a few more months my Aerostitch will fit like it was new again with a lot more miles of wisdom baked into the fabric!