ALC Training ride from Tanforan to Stanford University and Back

Before I get into the heart of this post, I want to ask a leading question:

It only takes about forty minutes for me to commute to work in the morning.  Not a huge amount of time, right?  Certainly not compared to the whole rest of the day.  But one of the reasons that I take that specific route to work is that there are several places where I can stop to pee.

I’m sure it has something to do with the time.  That’s when the morning’s first cup of coffee has finished the processing cycle.  Or who knows.  All I know is, it’s a good thing that the route is mostly urban and not rural.

Which brings up another question:  If you’re just running in to use the facilities, do you take the time to lock up your bike and take the day pack with you?  You’ll easily spend twice as much time dealing with the bicycle than you will taking care of business.  Or do you trust that nobody will steal it in the two minutes it takes to run in and run out?

Which is all merely an awkward lead in into the story of last weekend’s ALC training ride.  We were supposed to meet in Menlo Park at 9:30, but I wanted to leave early just in case.  Jumped into the car at 8:30 and …

click click click click click click click…

No battery.  Damn.  Not gunna make it.

I know what you’re thinking.  A real cyclist would have abandoned the car and pedaled her way to Menlo Park.  First off: Never claimed to be a real cyclist.  Second: Didn’t matter, because it would still take longer than 90 minutes to get there.

After dealing with the battery, I was still itching to ride.

I fired up Google Maps and said, “Google, I need a bicycle route from the Tanforan Mall in San Bruno to Stanford University in Palo Alto.”

I’m impressed that Google did its algorithmic best to keep me off of large, busy streets.  But I found that this also slowed me down in the long run, mostly from having to stop every block at every suburban stop sign.  I spent more time shifting than pedaling.  I took a more direct route back, mostly along Highway 82, which is often the main boulevard through many of the towns along the way, and found that most of the cities along that route have added sharrows and even bicycle sensors for the signal lights.  There weren’t even any rude motorists to complain about.  Total distance for the day was just under 50 miles (49.75).

Here’s the kicker:  Many of the ALC training rides are a combination of cycling environments, including rural.  For some reason, my kidneys were working overtime.  Couldn’t blame it on the coffee.  This would have made the training ride embarrassing to say the least.

“Go ahead, guys!  I’ll catch up with you in a bit as soon as I’m finished with this bush.”

And looking at the 2012 route for the ALC, maybe I should be concerned.

Anybody else want to chime in on this?

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Stanford Archery Results

0215091337Last week, I wrote to a friend in the UK, Veronika, that we were going to do archery English style: In the cold rain.  California has been hammered by severe storms for the last week, but that didn’t stop the dedicated from showing up an at “informal” archery competition at Stanford University.  In spite of temperatures less than 10° C , rain that was sometimes hard enough to hurt and gusting winds, we risked hypothermia and rust for a chance to participate in the FITA-900.

I’m sure that the groundskeepers did not appreciate that we slogged across their field, which was under 4 or 5 cm of water in many places.   Some arrows were also lost in the muddy grass.

Still, one of the most difficult tasks was keeping the scorecards dry enough to write upon without tearing them.  In spite of hiding the scorecards under jackets and rain panchos, the paper just turned into pulpy globs before the day was done.  I did not even bother to try to add up my score, which I’m sure reflected the dismal weather.

In spite of the conditions, everybody insisted that they had a great time, and that they’d do it again.

I have to ask:  Does this make us dedicated, or masochistic?