Sunday, 15 November 2009

Journey Back to the Planet of the Apes

Friday night, we had dinner with some friends at Cafe Biere, a new spot in Emeryville with dozens of imported European ales and a nice lamb burger. Recommended.

The next morning, JK and I met up at the civilized hour of 9:30. It was a sunny, crisp fall day; hot going up Tunnel, freezing on Pinehurst. We parted ways somewhere in the suburban limbo of Lamorinda, and I headed north towards Martinez and the "Planet of the Apes" route. I'd only been there twice before, and never on my own, so I spent a lot of time by the side of the road, fiddling with the iPhone map.

Here's a shot of the entrance to the Planet of the Apes section of Carquinez Scenic Drive, closed to cars due to erosion. It's a popular walking spot, with sweeping views of the Carquinez Strait. Way back in the day I brought La Roleurette here to get her comfy with the drop bars, integrated shifters, and clipless pedals on her Jamis.

I climbed McEwen, Pig Farm, the Three Bears, and Wildcat on the way back, and got home tired and hungry. Despite a big bowl of spinach and cheese ravioli at 4pm and a 12-course Chinese banquet at dinner, my stomach was growling when I woke up this morning.

Fortunately, we had plans to meet up with Coach at the Pacific East Mall for dim sum. I highly recommend this place over any other dim sum joints in Oakland Chinatown. The dumplings are fresh from the steamer, and even the fried stuff isn't too greasy. But get there by 10:15 or you will suffer an epic wait on weekends.

After dropping La Roleurette off at her pickup ultimate game, I successfully battled the food coma, and headed out for a mid-day ride. Feeling frisky, I went hard up Tunnel and Grizzly Peak, then took Secret Ranches to Wildcat for another good effort.

On the way home, I swung by La Farine for a coffee and walnut scone, and hung out in the sun for a while, basking iguana-like in a caffeine/endorphin buzz. On crisp sunny days like this, I love the gentle burn of embrocation under my shorts and knee warmers. Try the Mad Alchemy mellow mix, which is plenty hot for Bay Area temps, and smells like victory.

Tonight, we had some friends over to christen the ping pong table. La Roleurette cooked up a pot of lentil soup, and I made a pasta with sausage, kale, pine nuts, and parmesan. Chocolate chip cookies and tea for dessert. An all around excellent eating/riding weekend.

To keep me company on the bike, I downloaded a couple of Escape the Peloton episodes from Bike Radio. A solid meh. If I'm desperate for yet another source of bike media, it'll do.

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