Day 1: I hope today was the worst day

I hope today was the worst day, because it was fantastic.

About 2 miles from the start we had a 2-3 kilometer ascent to “Skyline Boulevard.”   I think my previous highest wattage I had seen was ~500; my Wahoo Fitness app says my peak wattage today was 810.   Unfortunately I had to turn off my Fitness app to save battery about 2 hours into the ride (don’t worry, I did finish the 73 miles).   Today had 3504 feet of ascent, most in the first 15 miles.

It was just a wonderful ride — along the Skyline Boulevard, on the Pacific Coast of San Francisco, through the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge, down to Sausalito, and then through Larkspur, Mill Valley, San Rafael and across a large wetlands to Vallejo.   It was just a feast of beautiful sights; weather was a bit warm today, but really it was almost perfect.

I can’t really segment the group yet — they’re almost all around my age; most have just retired and are seeking adventure.   Many have done several similar trips — one had gone completely around Australia, one had already crossed three time and still wanted to do it again.   I spent a lot of time riding with Carl, a 72 year old from Idaho who is in phenomenal shape.   He trains at 2000 meters in a very mountainous area and was stronger than most of the others on the hills.   Unfortunately I saw him take a terrible spill when he was about 10 meters in front of me and looking at the view off of a bridge.   One of those 1 meter sections of wood trucks use to brace their wheels while parking, and he hit it straight on, rolling onto the road with his bike on top in traffic.   Fortunately the cars missed him, I helped him get on his feet, and 5 minutes later we were cycling again.

I’m doing fine on the flattish areas (the Singapore terrain), but I just can’t do the steep climbs like everyone else.   I don’t know how they do it:  9-14% grades for 20-30 minutes.   I am tired — going through a series of rituals (stretching, drinking fluids every 30 minutes, Compex) to be ready for tomorrow.

The hardest day of the entire trip is the fourth day — something like 8000 feet of climbing over Donner Pass (famous for a stranded party who resorted to cannibalism to survive).   So I have to pace myself the next two days.

Day 1 Summary:   72.9 miles (117 kilometers) ; 3504 feet (1068 meters) of ascent; 3421 feet (1042 meters) of descent

Temperature:   high of 28 Celsius; 82 Fahrenheit

6 thoughts on “Day 1: I hope today was the worst day

  1. Great to see the update from the first day Charlie, and delighted that you enjoyed it so much. Dead jealous sitting at the desk in Singapore; Don’t fret the hills, different style of riding from what we are used to here in Singapore and the fitness is there so it will come in time. Off to the Lab myself for lunch ! Looking forward to seeing more posts!


  2. Great report. Glad you could help an old guy get going after his spill. He was lucky to have survived the traffic.

    It’s about having fun and anticipation and obviously you are right on track. NOW FOR DAY TWO.


    Sent from my iPad



  3. Yahoo, Charlie!! I constantly see cyclists struggling up to Skyline and think, How the Hell do they do that?! Bravo, bravo. So glad it was a good first day. I’m exhausted just reading about it, but then again, just reading doesn’t exactly release endorphins.


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