A Good Day for a Great Cause

5 SBC Riders at Mile 40 Rest Stop

Saturday was the 10th Pedaling Paths for Independence ride, a fund raiser for the Community Center for the Blind in Stockton. I am friends with Joni Bauer, the driving force behind this ride. Joni works with ‘clients’ at the Center, helping those with sight impairments learn to function in the world.  A noble vocation, and the Stockton Bicycle Club is happy to support her efforts with funding for the ride. Many of our members also sign up for the event. I have paid for Stoker and me to do every edition, although the February weather is usually not to Stoker’s taste, so she stays home while I ride. I have also helped Joni ‘mark the course’ for 7 of the 10 editions. I drive and she puts down the route arrows which tell riders which way to proceed at intersections. Marking takes the two of us about 6 hours and Joni manages to fill up most of the time with a verbal stream of consciousness about what is going on with her life and with everything she has to do to put on the event. Her friend Doug once gave me a pair of earplugs to help me concentrate on driving.

10 Years of Metric Fun!

Joni wasn’t always a cyclist. She taught spin classes, and someone said she should try riding on the road.  Back in 2002 I was on her very first ‘real’ road ride with the Stockton Bicycle Club, and while it was obvious she was a strong rider is was also obvious that she had quite a bit to learn about long hilly rides. Not only did she learn, but she discovered she had a talent for long rides. Really long rides, like double centuries, 200 miles in one day, and not on flat roads either.  She had done over 60 of these monstrosities since that first Club ride, which is over 60 more that my total of zero. I can take credit for her nickname ‘Bionic Babe’, and her complete nickname is ‘Bionic Babe PF Double Century Girl’, or BBPFDCG. What ‘PF’ stands for will remain a secret unless she reveals it. She calls me ‘Sir Richard’ for reasons I don’t understand, but I take it as a friendly term.

Back to Saturday: the morning was quite cold and there was a wind from the Southeast, which meant mostly headwind for the first 25 miles. I was signed up for the Metric Century (64 miles) and I arrived at the start not feeling especially well; I had kind of a dull headache and I wasn’t looking forward to the ride much. So naturally when I got on the bike and started riding my legs felt great, and I rode hard pretty much all day. At the Farmington rest stop the SBC riders who started at 9 am regrouped, and we stayed together for most of the last 50 miles. There were about 11 of us, and I did a lot of the pulling on the front. I was feeling really good. Rafi did a couple of nice pulls too, and when we regrouped at Hwy 4 he said I was becoming a good flatland rider. I’m not; fast flat pace lines are difficult for me and Rafi is a master at them, but yesterday I was going really well.

At the finish, after 64 miles and 3:37 of riding, I still felt great. I wasn’t even tired, but I was certainly hungry, despite enjoying the excellent provisions at the three mid-ride rest stops. The post ride meal at De Vinci’s took care of that: the roast chicken, pesto pasta, salad and focaccia were delicious . The total time of the ride was a little more than last year, but this year the wind was more of a factor, and it shifted to the Southwest, which meant that we had to fight headwinds both going out and coming home. The course was modified by taking out some high speed riding on Hwy 26 and replacing it with about 1 1/2 mile of unpaved road. It was perfectly rideable, but we were only doing about 12 mph, which brought our average speed down considerably.

At the post ride feast my friend Lauren told me I rode really well and thanked me for all the time I spent pulling on the front. I really appreciated that; she is a strong rider (and a CA Cyclocross Champion too!). If she thinks I’m going fast enough to sit on my wheel rather than head off on her own, I feel like I’m riding pretty strong. And on Saturday I was.

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