Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Two Countries in the 1 Day!!!

I left Australia last week to spend a couple of days in New Zealand and then onto California. As I would have a bit of spare time, I decided to take the trusty travel bike. Arriving in NZ during the coldest week they had had in 50 years looked like the bike wasnt going to be unpacked. However Saturday morning was a cool crisp sunny morning with minimal wind. I was invited by an old Telstra work collegue, Jim Stabback, to join the ibike ride on an 80k loop from Auckland around the Internationa Airport and back to the city. As I had a 1pm flight, I thought that would be perfect

One of the good things about riding in strange places is that there is always a bunch somewhere, and people are very welcoming. These Kiwi's have some money tied up in their bikes. Plenty of Colnago's, Williers, and Cervelos. The exchange rate makes these bikes extremely expensive!

At 7am a group of about 30 rolled out. As the "guest" I sat about midgroup with Jim, seeing the lie of the land. The pace out to the Airport was pretty mild. Bit too slow for my liking. However as the group turned for home, the pace lifted considerably. A little group of 5-6 rode off the front. I saw it go and was boxed in mid pack. By the time I got out and moving, they were 500m up the road. A couple of others were trying to bridge across, but I could tell they werent going to make it. I used whatever wheels I could for a draft then bridged across myself. Just as I got to them, and thought we were going to settle in for some rollthroughs, they sat up. Another issue as a guest rider.....you dont know where the sprints are!

We had 3 sprints on the way back, with regrouping after. We got back to town around 10am which gave me plenty of time to pack and get to the airport. The Kiwi's were a good bunch of guys and the ride shows all aspects of Auckland. I think we rode through every suburb!

Took the flight to LA and onto San Jose. Actually got to San Jose earlier on Saturday than when I left NZ. On my own, so I unpacked the bike and picked a 100k ride off map my ride, loaded it into the garmin and off I went. There are plenty of great roads around here, many used in the Tour Of California. The ride I was doing today had 2 climbs used in recent tours. Both 5 k long and averaging over 9%. Riding by myself, I had to be careful about where I was going. This ride had plenty of rural roads with no phone support. I told the hotel where I was heading and took off in 25c perfect weather.

I stopped and got some extra water and some bananas. You know you arent in OZ when you buy 2 bottles of water and 2 bananas for $1.80. Bananas alone in Oz would be $5! Stocked up I warmed up over the first 15k of flat roads till I hit the first climb up Calaveras road. With me only having an 11-23 cluster on, I knew I was in for some tough riding. I had done this climb before so was ready for it. However the last 500m averages 12% and sections are 17%. In the mid afternoon sun, It was tough, especially with only a 23 on the back, however I managed to hit the top. From there it was 20k of winding and undulating roads with nice little hills and descents across streams and gullys.

Lucky I took plenty of water as there was nothing out here! The hills are dry and desolate. Little traffic besides the odd cyclist or motorbike. The road I was planning to take was gated off(that wasnt on Map my Ride!) so rather than rik getting lost, I turned back for home the way I came. I hit speeds of over 85k on the main descent and was back in civilisation before I knew it. Stopped at the cafe for a coffee and sandwich, then headed back to the hotel. So 80k in the morning in Auckland and 80k in the afternoon in San Jose.

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