went up with shorts, came down with pants

sometimes thinking of the impossibility, drives it to be possible.
last weekend I planned a bike gang trip up Mt. Hamilton. it was so good to see my friends and meet the new people that came along.

after we gathered, hello'ed, and threw down some energy, we started up the mountain. immediately, I am alone and last - it's okay. this is a normal thing and I have memorized a lot of songs for this exact moment.

as I sing to myself, I wonder if all the wine I drank yesterday at a party is going to bring me to an early unexpected halt. how can I plan something like this with a big group of people, and then QUIT? I am an irresponsible adult that has candy for breakfast... when I even eat breakfast.
I can't quit.
that settles that: I can't quit.
I look up to see 2 of my buddies butts and realize, maybe I should be happy I'm last. let's go!

I catch up to everyone at our first rest stop. we happily chat our heart rates lower and have some snacks.

once we start up again, I am hanging with the new friends. our paces are pretty close and I decide to keep the company to help the time pass. I find out this trek is the first time up Mt. Hamilton for most of us - the few that have done it already, did it years ago. we exchange riding experiences and my anxiety and worries completely disappear. I am moving in to an apartment in a couple of weeks, and I couldn't care less about it at this moment.
not worrying feels good.
we can finally see Lick Observatory... trust me, it's there somewhere. my friends continually take pee breaks left and right leaving me jealous and full-bladdered. damn you female anatomy!

thanks to the additional buddies, replacing flats goes by quick. as you can see, I'm pretty helpful behind the camera. and I took photos of all 3 flat tires my crew got. useful is me!

the road seems to get more narrow the higher we ride, and that makes me a little paranoid when cars pass around blind corners. this is the first time I've seen cars not only yield to bikers but also rely on them to to communicate when the corner is clear of other cars for them to pass.
the hardest part of this ride was trying to enjoy the view while moving... you have to stop.

at this point, we can see the Observatory pretty clearly. while the guys were excited about it, I couldn't mentally get over how much HIGHER the Observatory was than us. it was close, but obviously included lots of climbing. I remembered my ride around Lake Tahoe months ago - it was so hot, direct sun, without any teammates, hard-steep switchbacks, and no map. surely this cannot be as difficult.
we turned a corner and could hear our friends yelling at us from the top. they had already finished, snapping photos of us, and were sipping mimosas. jerks! just kidding - they only sell Coca-Cola at the top. jerks!

the second to last road before the Observatory was all in the shade - which meant the recent bit of snowfall had not melted yet. it was exciting to see the snow going uphill... it was a different story heading down though.

once we got to the top and reconnected with the whole group, people immediately laid on the ground in stretching positions. this mountain is an 18 mile long climb of 3700 feet and allows for 2 one mile downhill breaks during the climb. suffice it to say, we were pretty ecstatic to be at the top.

heading downhill was NOT as much of a roller coaster thrill as I suspected. I LOVE downhills! the longer, the steeper, the BETTER. but not only was this a very winding and long downhill, it. was. COLD.
the faster I rode, the faster my temperature dropped. my poor decision in clothing didn't help - long socks doesn't cure everything. we stopped frequently to thaw our fingers in the sun. we were shaking so hard from the cold, that our bikes shook with us.

eventually, I had to tell my friends that I was eyeing the trucks going down looking for room in the back for my bike. I couldn't take it anymore. so, one of my nice new friends gave me his pants. that's right. his pants. normally I would want nothing to do with a stranger's sweaty spandex pantalones but, we were talking about a life or death situation here (not really).
I quickly put them on and felt TREMENDOUSLY BETTER. the bottom of the mountain came quickly after (thank goodness). we packed up our stuff and headed to Starbucks in clackity cleats, stinky spandex, and helmet hair.

I don't care what you think about me, give me a Grande Chai Tea Latte with Soy please.


The Lilly Head Band!

years ago, a group of friends and I hiked almost every Sunday - we referred to it as 'church'. we got to see some beautiful areas, all different sorts of weather, hopping bunnies, and sprinting turkeys followed quickly by sore thighs and calves for the next couple of days.
I specifically remember a hike up Mission Peak in Fremont... it was so incredibly windy at the top that our group very quickly jogged back down to the bottom where it was warm. it was not until the next day that I learned one of us lost a toe nail in the process : (

she is one tough cookie though... and recently contacted me to take photos of her second little girl, Lilly!

I give you a sneak peek of head-band wearing giggly-bundle of Lilly...


Lick Observatory should hand out lollipops

missing things sucks.
and I don't mean the kind of missing like "Oh I missed the Sons of Anarchy last night - don't talk about it!" I mean the kind of missing that is more of a "man, I miss pigging out on Saturday nights after an 80 mile super hilly bicycle ride and then falling sound asleep by 9pm".

I mean, I DO miss that and all my crazy cyclist friends that I would see at 8am when I am super grumpy and hungry but... I know what's really important... (grandmas, nieces, players' autographs etc.)

I ran in to a cyclist friend of mine outside Whole Foods the other day - his girlfriend is also a wonderful beautiful cyclist pal of mine - and after hugging him I immediately delved in to the Bay Area hills and what I am tackling next and what I just did and what race is he doing next and how is Jean doing after getting her wisdom teeth pulled and I am constipated and Mark is crazy and how long will it take me to go up Mt. Hamilton?

that's good.

by the time we were done happily blabbering at each other, my husband looked like me after he talks football statistics to the side of my wine-sipping face for 8 hours straight: uninterested and admiring homeless people.

next weekend I am sleep-driving to the bottom of Mt. Hamilton in San Jose while sipping the greatest Bean & Body (coffee and energy) drink from a can, and slowly rotating thighs and tires up 18 miles to Lick Observatory. it will be the longest constant incline I attempt - with just 2 one mile downhill sections - but not the steepest. so hopefully I'll show it who's the boss (is it Tony? or Angela? I still don't know).

wish me luck.

in other news...
...cholesterol is one thing I am not thankful for any longer.
...downgrading to an apartment after a house - no matter what age - stinks.
...I am sorry you have read this far. here, enjoy this old photo of thin strangers at the top of Mt. Hamilton.