That opened the first two weeks of February to spend some quality time with bikes, fortifying my endurance and testing my breathing capacity at hard efforts — at least, as hard as efforts can be in the friendly conditions of this climate in which I currently live. I really hoped to get out and find some cold temperatures during this time, but a trip wasn't feasible within driving range (even Yosemite and Donner Pass had forecasts for temperatures in the 50s and 60s this past weekend.) Also, shortly after I recovered from my Colorado cold, Beat caught a full-blown flu. He had a fever of 102 and was sick for most of the week, so traveling anywhere was out.
As I mulled a schedule, I realized that this two weeks is just about it for my adventures in the Bay Area. Sure, I'll get out for short rides until the end of the month, and I'll likely be back to visit a few times after we move to Colorado in April. But I'll be in Alaska for all of March and wrapped up with the move and work catch-up in April, so for long outings in California — this might be it. It's always bittersweet to generate all this excitement for something new, only to be reminded of everything you need to leave behind.
I'd told Beat the ride would take about eight hours, but I tend to overestimate my abilities, well, most of the time. With 10,000 feet of climbing and occasionally fierce coastal cross-winds — and fatigue from a 7-hour Saturday ride to follow up a big week — the route beat me down and I fought the climb up Zeyante Creek as the sun went down. Just as I reached Skyline Road, I encountered a long line of stopped cars. A sedan had careened off the narrow road and slid 100 feet down an embankment, and crews were blocking both sides of the road to pull it out. A cop gave me the okay to slip past, and after that, the road was utterly empty. For the next twelve miles I encountered only two cars, heard only the fierce wind howling through the redwoods, and saw only an ocean of city lights sparkling in the Santa Clara Valley below, where the Super Bowl was happening. It was a rare hour of utter solitude, eerie and invigorating. There's nowhere I would rather be, even after Beat called me to inform me I was missing a wonderful dinner with friends (I was nearly two hours late.)
There's so much in the Bay Area that I'm going to miss.
On Sunday night, I went on Strava to see all the places I've visited in the region, and which ones I managed to miss in five years of residency. Strava has these great heat maps that mark every ride I've ever uploaded. The heavily frequented routes are burned in red, the less frequented ones in shades of blue. Although I've been on Strava since 2010, I didn't use it regularly until 2013, so my heat maps miss a few spots, but it's fun representative of ground covered:
This is what my "running" heat map looks like in Southcentral Alaska:
It's fun to look at adventures as squiggles on a map and consider all the places to fill them in. So many possibilities.