Sunday, September 06, 2009

Roadside Distractions

I spent about four hours riding, and about two hours stopped.

I only stopped twice because a hill was fighting back. The rest of my stops were to take pictures, except once when I had to adjust my front derailleur.

I have it on good authority from someone who knows the names of things that this is a California turkey vulture, not to be confused with a turkey buzzard in a pork pie hat. The turkey vulture is one of California’s largest native birds. The bright red face caught my eye as the bird turned. When you spend your mealtimes poking your head into carcasses, you don’t want lots of feathers on your face to catch loose bits.

I was hoping to catch more shots of raptors on the fly, but the few I saw overhead quickly glided away when I stopped and took out my camera. I came upon one big bird getting started on a fresh piece of roadside skunk, but he took off before I could tell whether he was one of these guys or just a big corvid.

One of my goals on this trip was to scout out the roads I’ll be riding in early October. No two hills are quite alike: One has better pavement, another more wind; one climbs in shallow terraces and steep rises, another in a long, slow, steady grind. So it’s good to know what you’re up against. Another goal was to get lots of my picture taking done, so that next time I can ride more or less straight through.

I took all the major hills from the October ride and broke them up into two large chunks, one to ride Saturday and one Sunday.

The next picture is taken from the road just above this tree, looking back down at the spot where I was standing when I took this picture.

I was happy with the hills. Make no mistake: Work is involved here. But the climbs are a rewarding challenge, and I made it over. I’ve got more training to do before I come back ready to take them all in a single day. For now, though, I know that day will be filled with golden vistas and a few screaming downhills.


CaliforniaGirl said...

With such gorgeous scenery, I would think Levi and crew would take more time to look at it as they roll through. I'm not resting, I'm taking pictures.

Papa Bradstein said...

That looks like a grand fondo.