The Cervelo Does Berkeley
The brilliant TV food guy Alton Brown has a bias against kitchen implements he calls unitaskers (need I explain the term?). If Alton were a cyclist he'd hate my Cervelo. This bike is great for riding really fast on straight or mildly curved smooth roads that don't have much in the way of decline. Which makes it not such a great bike for Berkeley, where none of the good riding is on such roads. Nevertheless, my friend Dan and I, on said Cervelo, got out for a little jaunt over the Berkeley Hills (about 600 feet above where we started) and down to the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and San Pablo Dam road, then back again (with another 600 feet of climbing). That's about 18 miles. I was OK on the climbing, though not quite as spry as on the ol' Lemond, but hopeless on the descents. True, I've always been a wimpy downhiller, but the Cervelo, combined with rough roads and tricky lighting through ever-changing splotches of shade and sun, had me taking things very conservatively. Nevertheless, it was great to ride with Dan. Too bad he's not unemployed like me, we could have gone longer. After he went to work, I got back out for more. I climbed up to the top of the hills again and then headed over to South Park Drive, which climbs from 930 feet elevation to 1660 feet in 1.4 miles. I did it once in about 12:36, then again in 12:45, a third time in 12:58 (sensing a trend?) and a final time in 13:07. I tried to stay seated for most of the climbing but plenty of standing was necessary. This was painful for all the reasons tackling an 11 percent grade is painful, with the at-no-extra-cost hurt of my aching chest/ribs from yesterday's tumble on the trail thrown into the package. Actually, for a few spells there the injury pain distracted me from the riding pain, so who's to say it wasn't a godsend? In all for the day: about 40 miles with 6,000 feet of climbing. Bonus points for doing it on the Cervelo.