In spite of the seasonal temperatures, Swami’s Team Fun has experienced some phenomenal rides. I think that every single Saturday ride this month has started at a temperature at or below 40 degrees, which is seriously cold by anybody’s standards. Everyone always assumes that I rode my bike in horrible conditions, considering I lived in eastern Idaho for ten years. I will say that I’ve ridden in much worse conditions in Southern California (aside from an extremely memorable ride home in a driving mix of freezing/rain and snow that it took me about 30 minutes in a hot bath to recover from). Sane people put their bikes away when it gets that cold! We always hold out hope, though, that the clouds will clear and the temperatures will rise – and lo and behold, they usually do.
Spandex Stampede, 12/3
For the first Saturday of the month, several of us headed up to Temecula for the second annual Spandex Stampede put on by local pro Jon Hornbeck. I love his perspective, he advertises it as a FUNdo – and somehow everyone gets the impression it’s going to be fairly flat. If you’ve ever ridden in Temecula, you would know that that’s an impossibility, and within the first, oh, I don’t know, mile or so when you hit the 12% grade that lasts for at least 0.5 mile, you realize you were sorely, sorely mistaken. To be fair, there are no impossibly long climbs, and there are no impossibly steep climbs, and although you feel like you’ve passed that-same-winery about 12 times by the time you’re done (maybe you’ve passed it three times, to be fair), it’s a fun course with a good vibe. Let’s be clear though – it’s not at all flat. The food at the end both years has been impressive. I absolutely despise paying for a ride, ending completely starved (because I’m terrible at eating on the bike, everybody knows that), and then getting a $5 coupon that pays for nothing (you know who you are, San Diego Century).
I ended up with a strong little group mainly anchored by Mark Steele, one of our C group regulars, with Jill, Gabi, Amber and Scharla rounding out the team. Many thanks go out to Jill and Marlyn who took some amazing pictures during the ride. We all met up at the end to chow down on tacos and relax on the beautiful Galway Downs property.
Fallbrook Ride starting/ending at Leap Coffee (12/10)
It seems like everyone loves riding in Fallbrook. This might have to become a fairly regular ride – low traffic, beautiful roads, ending with outstanding coffee and treats with plenty of room for everyone to hang out ranks this ride high in my books. I have to say I was a little taken off guard with the number of folks that showed up that Saturday morning. You’d think I’d be used to our huge numbers by now (C group had to be well over 20 people alone), and I will admit to feeling some growing pains in terms of learning how to “handle” groups of that size to ensure the most fun for everyone involved. At times do I look a little like a harried shepherd herding cats? Maybe, but we’re all cats that mean well and want the best for each other. All said and done, it definitely went down as a fun day and a solid workout. I can’t wait to do it again. Hopefully you all feel the same! Thanks again to Jill for some pictures. When I wear my vest, it seems like it’s nearly impossible to get pictures.
Holiday Hill Ride + Wine @ La Costa Wine (12/17)
Did I save the best for last? Maybe… I think there was a certain hill on this route, or maybe a certain sequence of hills in Lake San Marcos, that kind of got me on everyone’s hit list for the day – I may have heard more than one person say, “Seriously?” when they turned the corner on the second steepie in that sequence. But come on, you pretty much all know that on a “hill ride”, when given a choice at an intersection, I always choose the worst way. And anyway, I left out so many horrible choices – such as, say, Double Peak? , which by the way, I previewed as part of the route but once I realized how serious those climbs in Lake San Marcos I had forgotten about were, I decided it would be prudent to remove. Enough is enough, right? Someone in my group tried to taunt me with an extra steepie on the way out of Lake San Marcos, but I was like, ah, we went up that last time. As if I don’t know every single horrible hill within 20 miles of me… geez. I know them, and I have the Achilles tendonitis to prove I know them.
Although of course the wine party was an amazing feature of this day, the best part of the ride was having our good friend Michell back in town for the ride! I believe she is now back for good, and we are so, so happy to have her return! I am glad I was able to deliver a Michell-worthy hill extravaganza for her first ride back. I’ll never forget trailing her in awe up Via Capri at Mt. Soledad several years back! She’s always claiming everyone else is the goat, when in reality, we all know who the true mountain goat is! She also catches some amazing photos. With Jill, Michell and Marlyn all on the photography team, we end up with some great memories from our rides.
We may not be the fast riders (hey, we aren’t – we know that), or ride the most or climb the most or do anything the most, but we sure enjoy our time on the bike, and that’s what’s important, right?
And we enjoy our time together off the bike as well, as our after party at La Costa Wine that stretched into the afternoon hours proved. Many folks brought snacks, and we had a veritable feast that day. Hopefully you all enjoyed the wines I picked out ahead of time. I am open to having others do the honors of picking out the wines in the future if anyone would like to! We can also visit some breweries like we did with Heather Krauss’ going away party at Culture Brewing in Solana Beach – perhaps hit up some of the Vista breweries. We are always open to ideas, so let us know if you have one.
Here’s hoping that this rain quits and we can finish out the trend of awesome bike rides for the month of December. How lucky are we that we aren’t stuck inside in a gym until the snow melts??