Stay tuned for a ride report, and (hopefully) some photos. In fact, I'm using the heat and humidity as an excuse to take purposeful breaks and rests - and take some pictures with my new phone. This isn't a tech blog, but in short it's got a 3.2 megapixel camera built-in, where my last phone had a 1.3 megapixel. This is, by today's standards, still pretty "light", as some pocket point-n-shoot cameras are upwards of 14 megapixels now --- but it's an improvement, and it'll be clear enough for my purposes. Sure, I could just carry a real camera -- but not at the price I paid for the phone, and not as conveniently. So, hopefully the blog and Facebook spaces will be alive with richer photos... assuming I have the mental wherewithal to occasionally extract the camera from my pocket or bag.
Besides the purposeful rests and photo stops I hope to take on this ride, my training for tomorrow has been much more like the old race-prepping I used to do for ultras in the heat. Sharply contrasted to last months' attempt, I've been actively hydrating and paying closer attention to "hard days" vs. "easy days" on the bike. To minimize the risk of injury, I have removed cross-training from the regiment this week - not long enough to lose any fitness from it, but long enough to be better rested. Finally, I haven't been on "vacation" - the diet has been followed, and I've abstained from the "drink". While this certainly won't be "Tinbutt '05" as far in speed in concentration, I should be far better prepared for what looks to be a carbon copy of the conditions from June's ride.
Looking at a 40-50% chance of thunderstorms after 1:00pm locally, and a fairly strong SSW wind. It will be a matter of conservation on the outbound leg, and then taking advantage of the tailwind on the return without being in the red-zone. The tailwind will be nice, but it tends to make the heat feel ever hotter - so it's important to save something for the return, despite the fact pedaling should be easier. Humidity will be there, and I think the only reason the National Weather Service office hasn't extended the Excessive Heat Warning into Saturday is because of that chance of thunderstorms. We didn't get a drop last time - but the rain chances were slightly lower. I won't complain one bit if it decides to rain, even if it rains hard - it will feel terrific to have 10+ hours of sweat and road dust washed off, and the relief from the heat will be welcome. With as exposed as this route is, however, things come to mind like lightning... and the lack of things for it to strike on certain parts of the route. All in all, we'll still have a better chance of winning the lottery - the scant trees and phone poles still offer less resistance than a guy on a bicycle... at least, that'll keep my mind at ease. Had worse.
So, I'm not going for any time records, average speed goals, or "be back to X by X o'clock" thoughts. The primary goal is to finish, and the secondary goal is to finish in better physical shape than last month. I'll have two companions riding with me on this edition, also, so I'll have plenty of ways to gauge effort and condition. Robert on the yellow recumbent will be along for the fun again, and Spencer K. is coming down from St. Joseph to ride with us. Ought to be a good time!
I'll have to remember that while climbing "hill number 3" on the return trip from Pleasanton! Also, it will be difficult after three-weeks of Tour coverage to keep Phil and Paul out of my head. Part of me thinks it'd be rather extraordinary to have someone out there along the rural highways to see us coming, jump off their riding mower or tractor, and run to the side of the road to cheer us... maybe running alongside, and somehow producing a Basque flag from their coveralls to wave in our faces.
vive le Tour! vive les randonneurs! Allez, allez!!
Thanks for reading!