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Ride Reports Archive

May 2004

05/03/04 - Grizzly Freak Century
by Tracie Nelson

Never having done one of those organized ride things before, I was intrigued by Monica's proposal to join her on what would surely be a good training ride. The idea of 107 miles and 8,300 feet of climbing in my own backyard I could not resist, lover of hills that I am, so off it was to Grizzly Freak "Century" this morning, sunscreen and gatorade in tow.

Monica "hill climb orgy" Neilson, Heather "I won Santa Nella yesterday" Kirkby and of course, little old me, met in Moraga at the strikingly late-according-to-hard-core-century-riders hour of 7:15am. Coming off an exciting week of scoring a job at REI and admission to UC Berkeley (woopee!) I had lots to talk about, and Heather chimed in with stories of the great (humbling) t-shirt prizes they give out to Santa Nella Champions like herself. Monica told us many-a tale of her week full of 20% grade hill repeats.

It was cool and crisp as we rolled along towards the base of the first
climb. Throngs of people strung up Pinehurts road. As we started the climb at a modest pace a skinny bowlegged man came pumping by, I never knew you could go so fast by doing push-ups on the handlebars while riding. How ingenius this man must be to have discovered a way to muli-task while riding. We continued our climb, oh my legs felt like gold and in an inspirational moment I caught up to pumping man who saw me ride by and starting pumping faster, but to no avail.

The three of us continued on along the berkeley hills ridge admiring the stellar views of San Francisco Bay and the multimillion dollar houses, many of which I will, of course, own in the future.

A man in a hideously yellow skinsuit and his compadre rolled up alongside and mentioned something about the banana in Monica's jersey pocket. Now I could be wrong, but I think that he said something like "Hey, Velo Bella, you sexy little peice of ass I wish I could give you my banana." I told him he looked like a giant banana in that skinsuit and we rode faster indeed.

After making our way down to San Pablo Dam Rd, the three of us started rotating and a couple people latched on to what became a steaming train with three of the best dressed century riders in town on the front. I was having fun until I accidentally looked at my heart rate monitor. Woah there, tiger.

We rode through Pinole, Hercules, Crocket... places I don't even know where they are even when I'm in them. I told Monica I wanted to take it easy going up the next hill and she mumbled something about "sjayutvabyu tempo hdsjbyvtayusk". I guess that means fast because at the base of McEwen climb she was out of sight.

The Grizzly Freak volunteers had cleverly posted signs along the side of this climb. "Do your legs hurt?" they asked. Eff you, fricking sign, you don't even have legs. They went on, "do you feel like you're carrying bricks? do you hate yourself right now? do you want to quit? do you want to puke? do you wonder why you're not a normal human being going to church on a Sunday morning, you heathen you?"

We picked our way over to Bear Creek Road, part of the Berkeley Hills Road Race course. I ride these hills all the time but usually not when it's 90 degrees and usually not after already doing 5000 feet of climbing. I had a respect for some of the riders around me who had been training hard just so they could come out here and suffer just so they could say that they did it. But I still wonder why the guy who was 50 pounds overweight was wearing a Yohoo chocolate milk jersey.

One man suggested to us that Bear Creek Road is a great road for "breath holding intervals". Monica didn't hesitate with the response we were all thinking, but too afraid to ask, "uh... and the point of those would be....?" The man's ingenius reply was the one word "Fun", and I wondered if he was related to pumping man.

Monica flatted towards the end of the loop and great teammates that we are we all helped fix it. Not because we were all needed to fix it, but just because we all wanted to help so badly. Monica filled her tire with CO2 and we marveled at the hardness of the tire. We Velo Bellas like it when things get hard quick.

Heather used the opportunity to jog into the bushes and take a leak, and Monica followed to take a "dump of water". A SAG vehicle pulled up just in time to witness this ordeal and, frightened by what he saw, sped away, unable to shake the nightmarish visions from his wee little mind.

Us Bellas are good at that, enstowing visions in the CEREBRAL hemispheres of others. Heather informed me that she had dreampt last night of owning a skinsuit and I knew that finally, my telepathical studies were paying off.Finally back in Moraga we had completed the first 70 mile loop. The remaining 37 miles was to be done after lunch but Heather and I both declined the offer to hang around and finish the century. Monica headed off to enjoy her barbequed meal and Heather and I rode back to our cars. Once home I fell asleep in a pathetic heap in a chair and woke up 30 minutes later in my bed. I'm still not sure how it happened but I think Heather must be studying the art of moving objects with her mind. We are so talented.


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