How precious is your time Mr. Driver?

I just spent 2 weeks in Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada side, and I must admit that despite the lack of shoulder in some areas around the lake, and a relatively heavy traffic, compared to say, Columbus Highway, NM, but still far better than San Francisco. I was very impressed by the courtesy of the drivers. They slowed down when passing. They gave at the very least the 3 feet they are legally required to give us. And, they waited when it was not safe to pass. What a treat.

Back in El Paso, Texas, and just a total of 5h on the bike this weekend. Yesterday was a nice little ride around Anthony Gap, up Transmountain Road East, and today an easy out and back on NM 28. These roads are far less traveled than around Lake Tahoe. They also see far less cyclists, even though our community is growing. However, they do see their fair share of pretty angry drivers who seem to believe that:
1. We do not belong on the road;
2. We should ride only on bike paths or on the sidewalk;
3. We should definitely get out of their way because they sure ain’t slowin’ down.
And probably another long list of beliefs related to wearing lycra, riding little bicycles, and pretending to be professional bike racers.
I’m not going to address this long list of beliefs: they’re entitled to them, regardless of how stupid they are. However, we have the right to be on the road (yes, we pay taxes, and yes, believe it or not Mr Big Truck, most of us actually own cars, some of us even have trucks! Crazy eh?) However, ‘nonuvya’ wheels belong in the bike lane when there is one.

But anyway, let’s go to the main point. Today, someone passed me very close after honking a couple of times. It was a really shiny red truck. I’m guessing its owner is someone extremely important because when he passed, he said ‘get off the road you [long list of expletives that lacked both wit and style] you’re slowing everyone down here!’

Yep, indeed! The road looks busy on this picture. I’m sorry I slowed you down for your very critical heart surgery you were about to perform to save someone’s life. But even if it were the case, let’s do some quick math here. And for the sake of the argument, I’ll look at the worst case scenario. Let’s assume that I wasn’t a 142lb rider, riding on his own, but in a group of 30 traveling at 20mph (typical on this road during the weekend). And let’s assume that you’re really important so you’re going 60mph, a full 10mph above the speed limit (you know your shiny red truck is allowed to do this because it’s red and shiny, and you’re a heart surgeon, duh!) And let’s assume it takes you a whole 1/2mi to pass the group. I’m really looking at the worst case scenario as you can see. The 20mph group will travel 1/2mi in 1min30. You would travel the 1/2mi in 30secs (at 10mph above the speed limit). So, you’ve actually lost: 60 seconds. Just one little minute. You didn’t lose 10min, or an hour. Just one minute. Today, you waited about 2secs to let that other car coming in the other direction go through. 2 seconds! So the question is this: was that very important heart surgery enough to justify potentially injuring (or killing) someone?

Is your time (the few seconds you need to pass a group of cyclist) really more precious than life? Food for thought Mr Shiny Red Truck…

Trail running and triathlon

A few months ago, Maya and I decided that it would be pretty cool to celebrate our anniversary running a 30km (18.6mi) trail race in the Bay area. It seemed like a great idea at the time, until we realized that there was close to 4,000ft of climbing announced in just 30km (my Garmin reported 4,700ft after correction). And for good measure, Lil’ G would run his first trail run also. A nice 5mi with 1,000ft of climbing, with absolutely zero training aside from hurdles in the spring. To make sure that none of this happens without a significant amount of pain, we added an easy 5mi run along the Bay followed with nearly 12mi of walking and strolling in San Francisco, the day before. Oops.

Course around the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Course around the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Some serious climbing

Some serious climbing

We showed up a bit late (as usual), no real time to warm up (as usual). Last recommendations for Lil’ G: pace yourself! A kiss to Maya, and boom, it was on. The first couple of miles were uphill, and fairly steep, with some sections with stairs, some rocky sections, and all this in pretty chilly and wet weather. That said, the scenery was absolutely amazing:

(from projectheadlands.gov)

(from projectheadlands.gov)

The first 4.1mi went rather smoothly, taking the lead despite barely hitting 9min/mi (racing trails forces you to rethink what decent pace means). As soon as the downhill started, 2 guys caught back to me. I expected that since I can’t run downhill to save my life. And this little going away on the climbs, getting caught on the downhills lasted until mile 14. At this stage, one dude passed me when we bumped into a large group of runners racing the half, and with the single track trail he was able to run away. That’s my excuse anyway, but my legs were dead anyway. I just settled down, enjoyed the scenery for the final 4.6mi with enough of a gap to hold my position for a 2.28.54, a minute behind the winner, and with 30secs or so ahead of 3rd.

300yds to go

300yds to go

Despite being really cold, and not really prepared or even in good shape for that matter, I really enjoyed the race. Friendly chats after the run, people congratulating each other regardless of time and placing, just for lining up, and doing it. People happy for others, rather than people comparing times. It made me think of triathlons a few years back, when the atmosphere was friendlier (in my opinion), there was less fluff and more oomph. When it was about doing it the best we could, given the conditions, with or without a wetsuit, and without riding in a group of 200. That definitely makes me think that a trip to Celtman or Norseman is needed soon!

Maya was a little bit less fortunate. She got lost in a tricky area, added some extra running, and after realizing this, decided to just cruise back over the course, and enjoy it as much as possible. And Lil’ G scored his first AG win (13-19) and 16th overall. Not bad for a hurdler!

First climb of the 5mi

First climb of the 5mi

This same weekend: Stefan improved his Half IM time by 12 minutes. Owen shaved another 5 minutes off his Half IM time. Both at Victoria Half. And Corey went 2.16 and change at NYC Tri, a solid 5min improvement. A very satisfactory weekend I must say!