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Saturday. Time to go ride. With the weather, workload, and sunsets limiting my weekday rides to an hour, and the nature of cyclocross racing doing the same to my weekend days, it’s been a damn long time since I’d gotten out and just ridden for hours. I miss long rides! With cyclocross season over, maybe my Saturdays can now just consist of hopping on the bike for five* hours, exploring, and just generally enjoying life. I know, many of you do that all the time, year-round, but I’m a wimp!
So, last Saturday, with a rare break in the weeks-long rainstorm that’s been plaguing the Bay Area, I set out to just ride. For a while. Possibly a long while! I had a vague plan to ride across the Dumbarton Bridge, to Fremont. With enough time, I figured I might even be able to ride south to Milpitas and go all the way around. I hadn’t done it before, and I was curious as to how they grafted a bike lane onto a freeway that crosses the bay. Plus, it’s visible from anywhere in the area, just waiting to be explored…
So I rode onto the increasingly-familiar Stevens Creek Trail, planning to mentally map out together all the paved and dirt path sections possible on the way to the bridge. The plan was to to out and back, and try not to get too wet in the process. Ever-prepared, I brought one bottle, no food, and a laughably insubstantial breakfast** in my stomach.
I took every path I could find. Some of them got me closer, others took me to dead ends.
Eventually, I was in the Ravenwood Slough, by East Palo Alto. I thought I could exit into this cul-de-sac without getting my feet wet.
As you probably guessed, I was wrong. If you zoom in on that photo you’ll see some East Palo Alto residents laughing at the guy in stretchy pants attempting to ford a damn pond. New lesson: If there’s birds floating on it, you can’t get through it dry!
Eventually I made it over to the bridge though, and after finding a few more dead-ends (this one is the Ravenwood Pier, indefinitely closed), and surviving a Zeppelin Attack I found the stairs leading to the bike path on the bridge, and was on my way up and over…
After I got over to the other side, I noticed something off to my right… An amazing scene! The mirror-pond situation on the East side of the Dumbarton was truly a reward for the ride (and for bringing my trusty S90 along)
After arriving in Fremont, I realized I had to be back sooner than I thought! But I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to get something (besides a nice photo) for my efforts. I asked my iPhone where the nearest “coffee” was. It directed me to a Starbucks a few miles away. Fine, I’ll go there, get a coffee and a muffin, and then head back.
On the way, I noticed an L&L Hawaiian BBQ. In my book, a spam or chicken katsu musubi is a hell of a lot better than a muffin. And in case you didn’t know, eating musubi on training rides is PRO as Hell. One rice-ball-wrapped-in-seaweed later, I found the Starbucks, dropped in for a fattacinno, and got on my way.
There had been a storm cloud chasing me for the whole ride, and I had to finally cross under it to get back home… Heading onto the bridge the second time, the weather actually got “epic,” if only for a few minutes of continuous rain.
(“epic weather” not visible in this photo, but sepia-toned sunset? Check!)
In front of the coffee shop, an older guy stopped me to say “Wow, you picked the wrong day to go for a ride, eh?”
I answered, “Well, it’s a hell of a lot better than the last seven days, that’s for sure!”
I’m not sure why he said that, considering it was the first day in a whole week that it wasn’t raining buckets, but there you go. I’m not sure there’s ever really a wrong day to go for a ride!
*This ride actually only ended up around 33 miles and a “couple” hours. But those were damn good hours.
**Fiber-One, It’s The One that’s artificially-sweeteend, for minimal energy!