Take today for example. I had about three hours for riding before my kiddie-carpool duty and I wanted some steady-state high-aerobic-zone work. Rolling out the door into the damp chill of our June Gloom, I instantly decided a trip up 101 would be out. So I turned east. I've been enjoying the hills behind Montecito lately (Belle Vista, Ladera, Park Ln., etc.) so I headed off that way.
But when I got here, a strong force pulled me to the left, and on up Gibraltar. Is there a climb anywhere in SB more enjoyable than the first few miles of this road? Not too steep, good pavement, and lots of twists and turns. There's something strangely motivating about pedaling 'round a corner on a gradual climb. It makes you feel fast somehow.
By about 1,600 foot elevation, I had ascended out of the fog and entered warm and bright sunshine. This is reason enough to go climbing on a foggy day in SB. It was so perfect that I didn't even mind upper Gibraltar's horrible pavement.
But at the top I ran into Road Closed signs, so I turned right onto the road less traveled.
Much less as it turned out.
Along the way, this stretch of East Camino Cielo presents great views of Gibraltar Rd. below, and Santa Barbara in the distance. The fog was clearing fast, but it was still a bit too hazy to see much detail. Since the road generally follows the ridge line, you also get incredible views into the upper Santa Ynez River valley and the mountains beyond.
The flawless pavement made for an enjoyable ride, but it also served a somber reminder of the accident that claimed the life of young UCSB triathlete Kendra Payne. She was riding up Gibraltar Rd. in early 2006 when she was run over by a truck carrying asphalt for the paving project on this road.
I clocked the distance at about 7 miles from the intersection until the road turns to dirt. All that way, out and back, and not a single vehicle to be seen. Remarkable.
So that was today's ride.
Where will you find nicer roads to climb on that what I described above? France, that's where. Just ask Matt and Ben who spent a few days wandering around in the Alps and elsewhere. Here at the top of Alpe d'Huez...
They even hooked up with Bobby Julich for a ride. I heard Bobby was slated to do the Tour, but riding with Ben and Matt cracked him so bad that Bjarne pulled him.
Former SB'er Adrian Gerrits has been wandering around to a ton of races this year, including many big-time US stage races. Redlands, Mt. Hood Classic, and the Tour of Pennsylvania to name three. Now he's about to start Super Week, which is not a stage race but will probably feel like one after two weeks. He says his legs are feeling the accumulated six months of racing, but I'll betcha he uncorks a good result back there. He better get used to giving a lot of interviews!
Wandering up north to the Canadian National Championship RR where former SB'er Jake Erker uncorked a great ride last weekend to land on the podium while helping his teammate win the Maple Leaf jersey. He talks about the race in this interview:
So yeah, I'll miss Adrian for awhile now that he's gone from SB, and Jake's long forgotten, but I don't know if I'll ever get over DK's departure to France...
I mean, now who's gonna tell me I suck!?
Wandering to Kentucky for a minute... This story has made the rounds on the internet, but I include it here just in case you missed it. Wild!
And regarding the earlier discussions (here, here, and here) about NorCal versus SoCal racers, well, I'd say SoCal handily won the first round at Masters Road Nationals in Kentucky. Peruse the results if you wish.
Round two should be at Sisquoc RR and SLO crit.
And finally, wandering over to the Cottage Hospital birthing center...
Congrats to teammate Brian and his wife Delia on the birth of their son, Braeden!