No One Here but Me and the Deer


I missed hill repeats last Sunday. There are a lot of things I could blame my absence on…arm, cold, general dislike of descents…but in reality, Charles knocked the plug for the alarm clock out of the wall. I have no natural affinity for waking up early, so it was full on 10am before I discovered the issue; much too late to get ready and show up for repeats. Even knowing that the possibility of me waking up sans-alarm did not exist, I was pretty bummed to have missed the event. As penance (and because I seriously need the extra training), I decided to take my bike out at lunchtime on Monday and do repeats solo.

Monday morning in San Jose was bright and sunny. Apparently the sun has limits on how far it can shine though, as the sky was completely overcast and dreary by the time I reached the park at the base of Mt. Eden. This, of course, meant that I managed to under-layer once again…but not so much as to prevent me from riding, just enough to make me moderately uncomfortable. As far as clothes go, I just can’t seem to win.

In addition to being cloudy, the area was damp (bordering on wet) from rain that had rolled through the night before. I thought to turn back – shaky descents on dry ground are bad enough – but decided to make at least one trip up the hill before heading home. Heck, I was already wearing the gear…might as well make use of it. And so I set out to climb. The road was basically empty. I saw one other cyclist (or what I assume that blur of blue and green spandex on wheels was) as he blew by me on the hill, never to appear again (I’m guessing he went down the backside as opposed to turning around for repeats). And then I saw the deer.

At first, there was just one. It jumped into the road on my first climb and bounded across before I could really react to what I saw. Coming back down extremely cautiously due to the water, I caught sight of a white tail flicker headed into the bushes. Fortuitously, I had brought my camera thinking that I might take a few shots from the summit on a nice “sunny” day. Those didn’t really work out, but I did manage to catch this guy on my first descent.

Temporarily distracted, I ended up doing two more laps up Mount Eden looking for more deer. Hey, there were no cars, no cyclists and fuzzy animals. I’m pretty sure that’s just about as good as hill repeats get! On the second trip down, I skid to a stop just in time to watch a whole family of deer walk through the woods. I had a hard time getting a decent photo of all six, but the one below has four and is reasonably clear. Can you spot ’em all?

The third descent yielded no deer, nor any reasonably cute substitute (No the guy driving the Hummer in the middle of the road didn’t do it for me. Bastage.). Pair that with some really tired legs and an increasingly clouding sky and I decided to head for home. I figure that three repeats all the way to the top is fairly close in effort to the 4-5 partials I would have gotten out with Coach Don. I threw the bike in the truck and drove straight to Chipotle. Yeah, I took it to go (not so fun eating solo), but it was phenomenally tasty knowing that I earned it.

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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