Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bike to Work Day... I'm stuffed!

This day is supposed to be about encouraging bike-commuting, but for me it is an enabling event for my weakness of overeating! Oh yeah, baby, bring it on!

Since I always ride to work anyway, well, the 20 miles from Los Gatos to Palo Alto, I have to work hard to mark this special day for cyclists. The last few years I've been riding the full distance from my home in Santa Cruz over the mountains to my office in Palo Alto. Depending on the route I choose to take, it's about 46-50 miles, and takes me between 2:45 and 3:30 hours. So, not much longer than my Saturday workout rides. And at a much easier pace!

This year I had the company of my teammates Steve and Gary. We agreed to meet at Mollie's Country Cafe in Scotts Valley, one of the event sponsors, for a free pig-out breakfast! Since we all had to get to our real day-jobs an early start was required, so we made it 6:30AM. For me that meant leaving my house at 5:45, or even earlier. The previous day they both left their cars at their offices (in San Mateo and south San Jose respectively), and rode home to Scotts Valley and Boulder Creek (also respectively). I left mine in Los Gatos. Steve overdid it riding home in the 90+ degree heat, and e-mailed us that he didn't think he could ride the next day. He'd work something out though.

My alarm woke me at 5:15AM. I made some coffee, hopped into my SCCCC kit (don't forget the sunscreen!) and onto my old beater bike. I had scoped out the free breakfast sites, and I knew there was one near my route at Jamba Juice (another event sponsor) on Pacific Avenue, so I didn't make myself anything to eat at home. I rode through the still-dark town, my bike-lights alerting bleary-eyed drivers to my presence. I've never seen Pacific Avenue live up to its name so well! Just a few hobos and coffee customers on the sidewalks.

The breakfast site at Jamba Juice wasn't quite set up yet, and it turned out they weren't officially open until 6:30. But they were nearly ready anyway. What a great volunteer crew! Bart Coddington, President of SCCCC, was busy setting out yummy goods, and I scarfed down two scones faster than you can say "help yourself, Dennis!"

At 6:04AM I was on my brisk way up pretty Branciforte Drive en route to Glen Canyon and Mount Hermon to meet Gary. What a fun and pretty way to start the day! Even though I rode five hard 6-minute hill climbs at race-pace the previous evening, my legs felt good. I got to Mollie's a tad late, but Gary had just gotten his breakfast and soon enough I, too, had orange juice and a big plate with an egg and ham muffin sandwich with hash browns... it was gone in no time! How great that this small cafe donated their food and time to this event! (I left a tip... for good karma!)

As we rode off Gary set a hard pace, as if we were doing 20-minute intervals! I held back and soon we were comfortably cruising up tiny Mountain Charlie Road (originally a toll-road from the mid 1800s). We even passed some other bike-commuters. At the top we hooked up with Steve, who had ridden ahead at an easier pace. He felt fine, so we rode down Old Santa Cruz Highway to Lexington Reservoir. Ironically, we got stuck behind a row of cars held back by a bus. It was getting pretty warm in some areas, and I could tell it would be a hot day. But we were feeling pretty good.

In Los Gatos they had an "Energizer Station" along the creek trail. Gary had to take off to the south, but after some searching Steve and I found it. We digged into the muffins, and refilled our water bottles. We were running a bit late, and the stations were closing at 9:30, so we had to make this one count! Whole Foods sponsored this station, by the way, and we also got gift certificates.

We continued, along my old bike-commute route it so happens, from when my office was in Sunnyvale; Wimbledon, Wedgewood (by the golf course), Quito and Prospect. From there we rejoined my usual commute up Foothill Expressway to Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. By then it was getting decidedly hot, over 80 degrees, so we were starting to sweat a bit. Steve parted way and continued on to San Mateo, and I was headed for the showers in our HP Fitness Center! A total distance of 50.7 miles, in 3:23, for an average of 15 MPH. I'd made it, once again!

I burned about 1,840 calories, more or less, on this ride. I also have to account for the 1,900 calories I burn just sitting around on a typical inactive day (known as "BMR" for basal metabolic rate, or "RMR" for resting metabolic rate; same thing). That's a total of 3,740 calories. Plus, my shorter ride back to Los Gatos this evening will burn about 540 calories more, or 4,280 calories for the day. So while I had eaten about 1250 calories so far, I still had to eat at least another 3,030 calories!!! It's actually hard to eat that much food. But it's the only way to ensure that I don't "bonk" (run out of muscle energy) on my ride home.

Fortunately, for some reason there were a lot of people at work with leftovers they were handing around... all manner of pizza, sandwiches and desserts. Yay!!! It doesn't get much better than this! By 3:00PM I was filled up and ready to ride home in the 100-degree heat. Hopefully I will even be able to throw in my usual 10-second "jumps" (for sprint training) too, but I'm not too hopeful of that.

Now, on to Panoche Valley Road Race this Sunday! (And another pig-out breakfast, this time at FlapJack's Country Cafe, a local race sponsor!)

2 comments:

James said...

You're my hero! I aspire to ride enough that sufficient caloric intake becomes a concern. Here I cite my usual excuse about the unwieldy combination of a day job and too many kids. Nice job giving airtime to the sponsors. Have you considered a career in marketing?

Dennis the Mennis said...

Thanks! Food is fun, huh, especially without the guilt part! Actually I do report to a Marketing group here. I'm a Web Designer.