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Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend in San Diego

I was looking forward to this past weekend for a number of reasons and a number of weeks. First, it marked the beginning of my Spring Break. I cannot tell you how much of a needed break this is. To start the break off right, J.R. and I packed up our bikes (and some clothes) and headed down to San Diego for the weekend.

Saturday J.R. arranged for us to ride with a former coworker of his. We knew he is quite a bit slower than we are, but we simply wanted a nice, relaxing ride. What we did not know was that this would be the worst.ride.ever.

I want to preface things by saying I know things could have been far worse. I, also, know that if this was my worst ride, I should consider myself lucky. However, all that does not change how horribly catastrophic this ride turned out.

Problem #1 should have become very readily apparent the minute we started. J.R.’s former coworker chose the route. This man is not a very experienced rider, because of this he shys away from the road. That’s fine, however, the paths he led us down were filled with pedestrians. That is not a safe situation for us or them. There were a number of close calls as we maneuvered our way through the crowds. And yes I do mean crowds, no exaggeration. At one point we were riding through an organized 5k, head on.

Then there are the roads we did ride on. It is no wonder he shys away from real roads if these are the roads he rides. They were very unsafe. There was a lot of traffic. Plus, the roads were not well cared for. There was a bit of construction we had to ride through. At one point, J.R. had to hop on a curb to avoid being hit by a car. I am not sure how he even got up there. I am just glad he is ok.

Problem #2 was this guy had never ridden with anyone before. This meant he offered no communication and he was in the lead the whole way as its his route. We never knew when he would make a turn or be warned if there was a hazard in the road to avoid. Both cycling etiquette no, nos. at one point, he made a quick right turn without warning causing J.R. to skid around the corner. We aren’t sure how he stayed up.

So far all the mishaps had been happening to J.R. I was keeping my distance in the back. Eventually, J.R. dropped back. I still kept my distance. We turned up a side street and J.R.’s coworker was going just a bit too slow up this hill. In order to keep my momentum I needed to get around him. Just as I was about to tell him I was on his left, he began to make a u-turn without warning. He ended up hitting me, sending me sprawling with my first real case of road rash down the left side of my body. Ouch!
He began apologizing right and left, asking me if I was ok. I assured him I was fine. Then he just stood there. I asked if he was ok. He said he was fine. I said well I’m ready to go if you are. He stammered a bit and said oh yeah ok. I’m not sure if he expected me to cry or quit or what.
We went on our way and after a bit he began to hesitate about the direction he wanted to go. He doesn’t have clipless pedals and doesn’t understand it is difficult to hesitate. I ended up dropping my bike through was lucky enough to not fall myself.

As we made our way back around we began to go up a hill. Mid-hill J.R. dropped his chain. We waited for him at the top of the hill, only to have him call us down. J.R.’s chain slipped between gears and it took some effort to get going again.
If you haven’t cycled much, you have no idea how difficult it is to get going on a bike mid-hill. Thankfully, I had downshifted enough. Unfortunately, I have been having difficulty clipping in on my right. Down I went again. Thankfully no more road rash, just a nice big bruise on my backside.

This is the point I became very frustrated. I was done. I wanted to get back to the car as quick as possible. I simply wanted the nightmare to end. Thankfully it soon did. Total miles 30 at an alarmingly slow pace of 12 miles an hour (we usually average at least 16). Ugh. I definitely couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel after this nightmare.

Sunday we were up and out the door early for the Hot Chocolate 5K. I have been nervous about this particular run for some time, as it is quite hilly. Thankfully, the second half was basically downhill. I just had to get through the very hilly first half. Up to mile 2 I was doing pretty well. There were some decent hills but I was prepared and was able to keep a decent pace. 

Then I hit the wall. The very last hill was a monster of a hill. I saw people running down the other side so I figured I could handle it. I knew I would be able to turn around soon. But this hill just kept going up, up, up. I eventually had to stop and walk for a bit. However, when I finally saw the turn around I began running up again. The downhill was almost as scary as the uphill. I had to pace myself as I didn’t want to go tumbling down the hill, especially after my experience the day before. I ended up finishing in 31:28. Not a PR and not a wonderful time, however, considering all the hills I wasn’t displeased. 
I will definitely be doing this race again. It was only the second year for this race. I was extremely impressed at how efficiently it was run. There were thousands of participants. I was actually surprised at how big a race this was. That start line was very organized. Runners were well grouped. I stayed with the group I began with. This allowed me to start the race at a good pace without all the jostling for position as  you move past the slower runners. Post race was also very well done. All the race swag was great too. I was very impressed and had a great time doing this race.

That afternoon I was finally able to have lunch with a friend from college. She lives in the San Diego area and every time I’m in town we try to get together to no avail. For one reason or another we have never been able to see each other, until now. J.R. I were able to meet her and her two adorable boys for lunch. We had a great time talking and catching up. It was so good to see her after all these years. 

Overall, it was a nice weekend and a nice way to start my two week break. 






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