California up-date

I have been here in the Bays Area now for several days and have been putting in some good quality miles and meeting lots of new people. I am amazed at the sheer number of riders that bike around here, people from all walks of life, ages and sizes. I’ve been based in Santa Clara which has been very handy to get to the popular group rides without transportation. My first ride was on Saturday morning at 9am – the Spectrum Ride, a very fast large bunch ride that leaves from Starbucks on Homestead and Hollenbeck Ave. I had left a little late and I had about 8 minutes to cover 3miles but I went over and missed the group by 5mins. I did not give up, so I took to the chase to try and catch them however they were long gone. Large bunches travel considerably quicker than one lone cyclist, due to the forces at play you get sucked along in a vacuum of movement. I had done a similar route previously (last time I was in the Bay area) so I figured if I rode the opposite direction I would catch them on the return leg. I found myself at an intersection full of bakeries and numerous cyclists munching away on pastries and sweet foods. Rolled up to one of them and asked about the Spectrum group – and was told they would be back through here. I eventually hooked up with the group and started racing with them. They were going full tilt with breakaways off the front and people attacking and trying to bridge up. I was feeling strong and had some good pulls on the front and some good attacks also. It was amazing to see all the different characters in the group, you had guys that were on retro bikes and wearing retro gear, old guys, guys that looked like “euro pros” without helmets, just their euro style caps; several fast women were up the front including Brooke Miller. Including all the hills, the average speed was a brisk 23.2mph! At the end, I was invited by several guys to hang out for coffee at Peet’s on Homestead Rd.