Friday, 4 September 2009

I Love the Bay

Every time I see this view I think about how much I love the Bay, especially the East Bay. It makes me happy to ride here. My most mundane workaday loop is 20 miles, up the hill to this vista, along the ridge (more views), and a casual descent to to nice bakeries, pizzas, and taquerias. One complaint: in the last 12 months, Grizzly Peak from the top to Centennial has become an death trap of unmarked tire-eating potholes and gravelly corners. City of Berkeley - this is a bike vs. auto accident waiting to happen.

Rode up Claremont today for a change. Instead of the slow threshold burn of Tunnel Road, Claremont serves up a concentrated stretch of sweaty, lurching, for-reals climbing. It's one of the Berkeley Death Ride series and consistently beats my ass. I get a third of the way up and think, "Wow - all this riding is paying off! Claremont isn't as hard as I remember." Then the steep bit by the eucalyptus grove kicks in and I start looking down to make sure I don't have another gear left. No? Huh. A couple of seconds later - what the? Still no extra gear? By the time I make it past the second switchback I'm just trying to keep the bike moving in a straight line.

I lowered my bars this week to see how it feels. There's more power transfer to the legs, and I love standing and grabbing the hoods instead of the drops when climbing. This feels particularly nice on the steep hills like Claremont. But the more aero position will take its toll on my shoulder on long flat rides, which thankfully we have none of around here. We'll see. It does make the bike look a lot sportier though. Mmmmmm....sporty.

Dinner with the parents at a tapas place in Oakland's Temescal district. Although the restaurant was meh, the neighborhood is going off! I had to circle for 10 minutes to find a parking space - unheard of in the East Bay. Temescal has become a grittier, cooler version of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto. The Ghetto Gourmet Ghetto. Many many hipster fixies.

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