Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Montebello IV

A cold front passed through the Bay Area early this morning. The streets were still wet and showers were forecast to last through the afternoon.

Still.

C. was coming to clean the house and I am so tired of being a sick troll. So just before noon I ventured forth on the Waterford, sniffing the air. In case of inclement weather, it's usually best to stay low and Montebello is not low.

At the light at El Camino, things were looking pretty thick and grim up there on the ridge. Cuesta was the first opportunity to bail out and do a flatter route. I kept going. Covington was next, kept going. Finally at Grant and Foothill the hill didn't look completely socked in. Worth a try...

Turning onto Montebello Road, I clanked down into the little ring. No heroics today.

The climb was blissfully quiet. Just turning over the pedals. Views to the east of the whole valley. Clouds close but not too threatening. Two stops: one to put on a jacket and one to put on gloves. At the top, of course, it's blowing and cold.

Judging from the fingers-and-toes-o-meter, just about freezing.

At the gate the sky looks dark but also like it will hold. I go around and up. The surface is good and tacky. There are some parts where the tacky is actually a little too wet, a sandy mud that slows down the wheel. But there's enough of the other stuff to be able to make it to the top. The wind is blowing ripples across the puddles and a few drops come down, too. The top!

No stop at the top. I have the feeling, descending on dirt, of being completely expendable. Nature in all her power is just going to smite me down here on this ridgetop. Must get down (in one piece).

Two stops on the way down. One to admire westward view of hills, near and far, out toward the ocean. And one in a clearing to watch red-tailed hawks, two pairs, in the middle of an airborne courtship ritual. The first pair is quite large, the second pair a more moderate size. Maybe younger? There are several screeching cries, unmistakeable.

On Page Mill, it's not possible to descend fast enough for my frozen digits! But fast it goes.

And just like that, the descent is done. Spent. For a while I forget to be sick and somehow dodge the flat route!

And, according to the hawks, it is spring.

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