Sunday, September 14, 2014

Redwood Road> Palomares Road> Calaveras Road Century (2014)

(September 13, 2014)   Redwood Road> Palomares Road> Calaveras Road Century, 101 miles, 5,600' climbing with Jack & Kris (they did Diablo Junction preride) and Christine, Dr. Dave, Elizabeth through Calaveras and start with Ward.

Palomares from Castro Valley    5 miles 882' 3%, last mile 470' 9%
Palomares from Sunol                 4 1/2 miles, 1040' 4%

First we revisit one week ago when we did the Palomares Loop clockwise (come in to the climb from Sunol) for a 73 mile, 3,100' ride.   On the climb passed two cyclists, neother with a build, helmets tied onto handlebars, look a little older.   One came out and rode with me for a few minutes--really funny guy.  (His line of introduction--"I'm from the Russian Mafia and I have a gun in my shorts.")  He was from the Tunitas Creek area and said he does that often, and said that me, being a young guy, was climbing well.  Cool being told I was a young guy while feeling old--turns out the Russian was 70 years old!!, and still enjoying riding the hills--nice.    Told him that at the top I was going to go back down to come up again with our slowest climber.   Shortly Russian was a bit winded and declared "I need to wait for my brother."   When I came back up again his group was looking for someone to take their group photo, and they were really enjoying life.  Nice.
Russian group at the top of Palomares last week.  The funny 70 year old 2nd from left.  When Christine then passed him on the climb he said that "I had told him to tell her that she has to poosh him up the hill."

Flash ahead to today.   Jack, veteran of doubles, and Kris who has never done one, are training for the Knoxville Double.   So they are going to add on before we start the Club ride which is a metric loop around Redwood Road, and put bonus miles at the end of the ride.

At the start Ward came out to start the ride with us.  He is competing with Marco Scutero to see who will be on the disabled list more this year.  A new person Elizabeth joined us--she'd done some rides with a fun racing group the Fighting Bobas in Santa Rosa.  Years ago when I rode with them they had "How Ya Doooin" plastered on the backside of their shorts.    Dr. Dave was in his hot weather Hawaii jersey--I like when he shows up in it as the weather will be great, though Dave will disagree.

Our ride starts on a bike path where we usually try to be cautious--coming up in the opposite direction were a big group of Valley Spokesmen flying up the crowed multiuse path.  I hope they got their Strava times.   Multiuse path blues continued.  When we left Lafayette we usually go up a short steep climb -- but today no one was game for it so we took a loooooong ride up a crowded path.   Even going slow we were dodging lots of dogs on extend leashes,  walkers with MP3 players tuning out any warning that you're passing, strollers, kids on bikes.   Wonderful when we finally got to the street.

Long stop at Moraga commons--Jack isn't rushing us out of rest stops as he used to.  Kris trying to get her eating, equipment, training geared up for the double.   She consulted with Ward and picked up a new set of carbon wheels.  (Something must be wrong with them--they don't advertise the brand in HUGE neon letters like other wheelsets.)   Don't think Kris was trying to be funny when she suggested that a wheelset is an investment instead of bling.
Chris telling Kris that when you are a good cycling all rounder you can get a jersey covered with rounders. 

We left Moraga minus Ward and rode pretty cooperatively at the start of Redwood Road.  Then I tried to get away on the climb from downhill QOM Christine--hoping that she wouldn't zoom past me until we were half way down the hill.  No dice, she and Dave successfully counterattacked and started the downhill before me so I had "nochance."

Regroup at tennis courts in Castro Valley.  Christine jazzed that for once the male/ female ratio on our ride is even.   I'm jazzed that the weather is great--felt like mid summertime warm, and for the last few weeks for the first time in a year I can hold onto the handlebars with no pain.  (Thanks Kaiser Perm for f'ing up the diagnosis a year ago by not running the proper arthritis test--THRIVE my ass.)  So when its suggested that we add the Palomares climb I'm in, as was everyone else.

Palomares from the Castro Valley side gets much steeper.  Sweating bullets, Dave, Christine and I went up hard and we regrouped at the top.  For once I didn't mind resting in the shade.  The fast curvy downhill was great until going over a gravel patch where the tyers almost slid out; then descended much more slowly with more falling rock gravel patches on the road.
Dr. Dave led the group up Palomares.  Yippie--he is wearing his very very very warm weather jersey.

Then came the slight uphill to Sunol, which is actually faster than the slight downhill the other way, as the prevailing wind is always West to East.  I love shallow climbs with tailwind and got into a zone where I pulled the whole way--with Christine and I taking turns shouting out "scenic water crossings."   We gained on a triathlete that was all over the wide shoulder and almost turned into us even when we yelled out a warning in plenty of time.

Great stop in Sunol filled with frozen fruit bars and Rice Krispie Treats (which have almost a dozen essential vegetables, vitamins and minerals.)   Kris had a great idea and bought a full bag of ice for us to dive into now, and then she'd have the storekeeper put it back for when we return.  Jack and Kris decide to tack on Calaveras.  Dave, Chris and Elizabeth are going to head back before their tyres melt.   Tree lined gentle climb Calaveras is my 2nd favorite Club ride (after Morgan Territory) so I head out with Jack and Kris.

Kris had asked me how I train, and though everyone else warned her don't follow what I do (eg. I start tapering midweek before an event--not 2 weeks before)  we've been emailing back and forth.  On Calaveras we got into much more depth re training then a series of emails allow, which led to finding out about my and her sports background.  Found out that we both had very tragic years (mine in 2004, hers last year)  that probably pushed us into Doubles. When we started to BS going up Calaveras a park cop came by and yelled that we have to ride single file (though we were riding next to each other on the shoulder but I was on the white line--blocking the shoulder--a "Team in Training' tactic.) 

Kris had bonked on a long ride a few weeks ago with Jack, so was a little gun shy re pacing and holding the group up--today we pushed the pace at times and with better eating and constant liquoring up she did great.   At the end of Calaveras we did the Brother Vic add on --the Dreaded Wall.  Coming back up the Wall Jack was just arriving, and declined our offer to wait for him while he rode down and up it.

Only bad thing about the out and back on Calavaras on a very warm day is that two water bottles are almost fully drained before you return to Sunol.  The good thing is that the return trip to Sunol is much faster than the trip out.   On the trip back Kris had to slow to wait for Jack and I to catch up to her.  Sure enough trip back was on a fast course and I ran out of water a mile before we hit Sunol.
I'm about to be threatened that if I don't put the camera away a frozen fruit bar will be thrown at me
Jack putting suntan lotion in a rock in Sunol

Another great stop at Sunol--excuse for another Frozen Fruit Bar.  Good paceline going back, I had lots of energy and did most of the pulling.  The road to Dublin is great with almost no traffic controls.   Then you cross the highway and the road to Walnut Creek is lined with red lights every 2nd block.    In Danville Kris turned off to go home, but was first going to add another 15 mile loop.  Good deal--my training MO was to make every training ride as hard as possible, then the event would be easier.  I then stopped off to reload my bottles with ice in Danville while Jack scurried off.  

When I returned to my car only two cars were left in the parking lot.   Of course the other one was parked next to mine and the driver and passenger were loudly BSing while sending smoke signals out the open windows.   While packing up my car I had "Sisters of Mercy" blasting out of the speakers hoping the two smokeheads would move. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mt. Diablo-Morgan Territory, Patterson Pass Century (2014)

I did Mt Diablo Northgate preride to 3000', 112, 7,880' climbing.  Matt did Mt Diablo Southgate preride to Junction.  Dr. Dave and Christine joined for the bonus mile fun up Patterson Pass.

Elevation but something is strange--I was next to the 3,000 foot sign on Mt Diablo and my Garmin said I was at 2,800'.  At least after a full reset my Garmin no longer craps out after 70-90 miles.

Significant Climbs (rounded out)
Mt Diablo (to Juniper) --9 miles, 2600', 5-6% (pretty even)
Morgan Territory--3 miles, 800', 5% (steeper at top with short hairpin kicks)
Patterson Pass----5 miles, 1200', 5% (steeper at top with growing headwind)

Best Diablo Cyclist ride on the schedule, the climb up Morgan Territory, a desolate, shady, twisty climb on a narrow road; fitted with hairpins that kick up to double digit grades.     One of my favorite climbs.  After going down the wide open, uncovered downhill there is a natural bonus mile route--the Altamont Speedway to Patterson Pass.  As the Altamont Speedway (for the good) and Patterson Pass (for the not so good)  exacerbates any wind conditions--midweek showed a mild wind forecast for the Livermore Valley and toasty temperatures in the 90's.  Cool--another bonus is naturally added on--an early morning assault of Mt. Diablo before joining in on the club ride.   The trip to Morgan Territory features some serious rollers so even if you miss the Club you can eventually catch onto the back--even worked when Ward and I once went back to his house and had a 10 course breakfast before trying to make up 30 minutes on the Club.

Tried to get some buy in on the Patterson Pass add on but generally the emails were noncommittal.  Finally it was proposed that we'd decide at the top of Morgan Territory where the bonus mile group would continue.  That worked out as well as expected, with a contingent forming the "Anything Except Patterson Pass" group.  So we had a split and Christine, Matt, Dr. Dave and I went towards Patterson Pass.

I'm getting a little ahead of myself.  To do the Mt Diablo preride necessitates getting to our traditional ride start 2-2:15 hours earlier than normal, hence the forecast best be for early morning warm weather.   I put on a mini-headlight--good for trying to get an approaching car's attention when going down Mt. Diablo (where stupid asses pass on blind curves), and the narrow roads of Morgan Territory and Patterson Pass.   I put on the mini bike stereo in case I wound up riding alone--always a chance of not catching the bike club and/or no one doing the Patterson Pass bonus loop.  Put on the handlebar bag stuffed with food and drink mix for a 100+ mile  day.  Of course I threw in a t-shirt for the cold Mt. Diablo morning descent.  I never did use the t-shirt so just wasted bag space.
The Mt. Diablo ascent was beautiful at 7:15.  Only a few other cyclists were going up and no cars.  When I started I was happy to be wearing a vest and that I had a t-shirt in reserve.  At the Mt. Diablo entrance the vest and arm warmers came off.   As it would be a long day of climbing

I tried to keep the power output under 200w--luckily no one passed that might incite me to chase.  I figured I'd have to turn around wherever I was at 8:45 to merge with the Diablo Cyclists starting, in theory, at 9:00.  In theory, as in past years Ward got us moving at 9:01 but with him being on the injured list the Club's start time has crept toward 9:15
Huge crowd at the start at Heather Farms

Was riding slowly and taking photos but could have left a half hour later---made the Junction well before 8:45 so continued to go up.  The temperature was really perfect, some spots in heavy shade were cool but usually you could feel the warmth even early on.  Got to the Juniper overlook around 8:35 so figured I'd go around the corner just to stop and take in the view from the 3000' sign.  Strange, at the 3000' sign my Garmin said I was at 2800'.   So someone has made a 7% error.   Went down to the Juniper picnic area to down a Z-Bar and refill water, but water was  shut off at the campsites.  The ride down is what I call a $1,000,000 descent.  (Go down Diablo shivering on a 50 degree day and you'll see what I mean.)  Of course there was the idiot driver driving on the wrong side of the road when passing cyclist on a blind curve (I have written to State Parks to DOUBLE CENTER STRIPE all of the curves on Mt. Diablo.)    When having to stop at the Junction a cyclists spotted my Devil Mountain Double Jersey and congratulated me and said he was thinking about doing that ride over two days.  To his amazement I told him I was going out to basically do half of it today self supported.

3000'--my Garmin doesn't think so

Sign when leaving Mt Diablo, but it should be at the top of Patterson Pass where we saw some litter--but absent a biohazard bag and tongs we left it up there.

Stopped for a few photos and got to the intersection where I hoped to meet the Diablo Cyclists at 9:23.  No sign of them.  OK, I think that if they left at 9:05 and made the turn here at 9:15 I'm about 8 minutes behind.  So I open up on the immediate hill and expect to see some of them descending the other side but--NO CYCLISTS for as far as the eye can see.   I'm still serious as I go up the next hill--again no one in view--I look back and no one is coming up.   What the F.  OK--its Plan B, my safety net.  On this ride Christine usually leaves from her house and meets the Club en route.   So if I see Christine waiting in a few miles I'll know that for some unimaginable reason the Club is behind me.  If I don't see Christine either she is not doing the ride, started with the Club, or I have to start hauling ass on the next series of intermediate hills to catch the club before Morgan Territory.

Make the turn toward Clayton and go down about two dozen blocks and spot my safety net--Christine.  It's about 9:35, she's been out since 9:30, and she expects the Club to come by in the next 5 minutes.  About 20 minutes later Christine is wondering if the Club actually passed here BEFORE 9:30, its now 9:55 and certainly they would have come though by now.  We contemplate kicking off in the next 5 minutes when we see one lone cyclist--Dr. Dave.     Dave describes a cluster F at the beginning of the ride with late arriving cyclists and flat tires.   In about 5 minutes the Club arrives.  Nice surprise--Mike is out, slowly trying to get off the injured list.

Christine wondering where the group is and Dr. Dave checking the satellite photo.

Big car show in Clayton and another member of our group decides to have a flat.  This gives me a chance to reload on water as I'm only running with one bottle of sports drink; my other bottle is frozen Perpetuem that us just about thawed out and I'll drink on the Morgan climb.  Later we had a big discussion on whether Perpetuem is properly a sports drink or food--the correct conclusion is that it doesn't matter.  It only matters that you drink/ eat it when cold, if you let it become warm its taste like something dogs do on bicycle paths. 

Mike starting up Morgan Territory

Morgan Territory climb is great with its fast beginning that slowly morphs into a gentle climb and then into one with sudden steep sections.   We have a new recumbent rider, David, and he was setting a nice pace up the climb before we hit the oppressive part.  Dave, Christine and I decided not to push the pace and waste energy we'd need later for our unknown bonus miles.   I briefly turned on the bike stereo and a favorite of Christine's and mine--Hurricane/ Scorpians--came on which got us jazzed.  It was also VERY warm on the Morgan climb, which is unusual in the dense shade.  (Of course this didn't stop Dave and I to start sprinting up the steep pitch at the end, though Matt has claimed 1st on the climb hours ago.)

Matt, Christine and Mike about to start a water fight,

Don and I made sure to coordinate outfits

At the top we all hid behind a barn casting shade.  No consensus was decided on the bonus miles, with one person saying "I'll NEVER do Patterson Pass," which got instant resolve from Christine and me to do it.  Today.  Matt was quickly on board and Dave was on board as best as he could be on a very very very warm day (we don't use the h@t word.)   I didn't even think of putting on the vest for the fast downhill off of Morgan Territory.

The little guys start down Morgan Territory.

We had a real nice paceline through Livermore and decided to liquor up before starting the Altamont Speedway, instead of looping towards Tracy.    Soda and fill my bottles with ice--that seemed to be the recipe at all stops for the day.  Weird moment-bananas were .69 each or 2/$1.00 so I picked up two.  When paying Dave was behind me on line and he said he was going to get a banana so I gave him one of the two I had just purchased.  The clerk wanted to re ring the price of the bananas at the higher rate.   Nice moment--a driver in back of me saw the climbs on my DMD jersey and said "that's crazy" and wanted to know how I felt when I did it.  (Unusual moment--a driver outside wanted directions and to the astonishment of my compatriots I was able to give precise ones.)

Lionel Trains fake rock as you go towards Livermore

Dr. Dave passes the motorcycle jump park

Matt and Christine about to enter the Altamont run in--the miracle dozen miles

Nice paceline into the Altamont Speedway with Matt taking long pulls and the rest of us getting involved in much shorter ones when Matt was finally tired.    No hi jinx on the rollers like a few weeks ago.  Christine giving Matt "how to fold yourself into origami art" tips on the descent.  I wrote a few weeks ago why the dozen mile Altamont Speedway is the BEST ride in the East Bay.  Will not relist the reasons here--just one summary statistic.  On a 2% section we were going 24 mph while expending a mighty 50 watts of power.

(above) Matt at the start of Patterson Pass. (below) Dr. Dave at the start of Patterson Pass.  I best get their photos at the start of the climb as soon they will be little dots in the distance.

 Christine summits Patterson Pass
I'm in Holland, no its Patterson Pass.

Tourists come worldwide to the scenic Patterson Pass overlook.

Christine's Diablo Cyclist water bottle warranty has just run out

Of course the friendly tailwind on the Altamont Speedway becomes an oppressive headwind on the climb.  Last time we did Patterson Pass the headwind was a gentle cooling breeze--my wind rating was "3."  A few times the wind has been so strong--a "10, " whereas you can fly your bike with one hand at the top."  Today it was a "7"  The headwind was strong when we started but seemed very manageable, but soon was bit oppressive when we got closer to the steep section at the top.  (I should have known we were in trouble when the antique windmill down below was actually turning-albeit slowly.)  Matt and Dr. Dave zoomed off, they could have finished the Sports Section of the newspaper by the time Christine and I arrived if they could have actually held a newspaper open. Christine would have beat me to the to except that her deluxe Diablo Cyclist water bottle had sprung a leak from a crack in the bottom.  Dr. Dave likes to pick up trash but there was some stuff up there that absent tongs and a bio hazard bag he wasn't going near.

Our paceline heading towards Livermore.

Christine by one of the many Livermore wineries

On the descent back to Livermore two cars were speeding up the unstripped road in the center of the roadway--one car suddenly spotted me (or my blinking light), over steered back to their side of the road and almost flipped off the road.   Good paceline back to Livemore and the Livermore library cafĂ© for more soda and ice and the peanut/ pumpkin butter sandwich on Ductch Nut Crunch roll I had carried around all day.  As the Knoxville training group needed 120 miles we originally talked about going up Del Valle, but as the Knoxville training group wasn't here and we weren't training for nutting--it was unanimous, skip the @12 mile  out and back climb to Del Valle.

The famous Diablo Cyclists multi spout water bottle.

A little hijinx back toward Blackhawk when we got near the County line and I took off--with Dr. Dave and Matt successfully chasing me down.  Problem was that Matt is our fastest Doubles guy and Dr. Dave one of our fastest Double metric guys--two 'Endurolytesdites'--so they weren't gassed.   When we hit the climb into Blackhawk, with 60-90 HOT warm miles in our legs we rode a hard four man up the climb--rotating nicely.  Strange phenomena, Christine was really slamming the climb and I had a hard time hanging when she set the pace, but then when I went to the front I gave it full throttle as not to be the slacker in the group.  So it was easier being in the front pulling than being in the draft.

The kids always have to go to Burger Kingg--minimally for ice.
Matt turned off to go home.  The rest of us stopped at a neighborhood Burger King to reload on ice.  Good paceline back to the end: I did lots of pulling and then Christine and Dave shot off at the proper time for a nice sprint.  Unfortunately on the bike trail, the last mile, my bike started bouncing around--you know, the bounce you try to ignore and then stop, reach down, and yell out FLAT.  Pulled into the shade and started changing it when a dog owner took their dog directly across from me on the path where it shit all over.  Suddenly it was HOT and it STUNK.  I said something out loud to catch the dog owners ear, she was half indignant and half apologetic--saying her dog bag had fallen out of he pocket--but then she went somewhere and scooped up the odoriferous fertilizer.

Great day of riding with Dr. Dave, Christine and Matt.   Hard ride but not pernicious, even with the warm weather.   Probably the longest self supported rides I've done this year, but the great company made it seem like a much shorter ride..

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Marshall Wall-Tomales-Petaluma-Oh Great-More Smelly Cowshit Metric+ (2014)

(August 23, 2014) Marshall Wall-Tomales-Petaluma-Oh Great-More Smelly Cowshit Metric Plus, my ride-84 miles, 5000' climbing.  The overachievers--Jack & Kris who went 100 miles adding on to the end and Don, who did the slacker ride but on a fixed gear.  The slackers-Dr. Dave, Christine, Todd,  Recumbent David, Jeanne, Stephen-77 miles, 5300' climbing.  Who know wat they did-Rusty and Sara usually riding in the opposite direction from us, met us in Tomales and at the end.  
No long signature climbs but up and down for most of the course.

Fun ride.  It was originally supposed to be a 60 mile Marshall Wall loop which we did a month or so ago, so I wanted to add on to make it 80-90.     So instead of coming off the Marshall Wall and looping back South towards Pt Reyes Station and bakery, I wanted to head North on the Coast Highway to Tomales and bakery.  From Tomales there are 3 options to go back.  Stephen came up with a shorter 4th.  My add on Petaluma loop was a pain in the butt (long, shallow rollers) w traffic--I should have headed further north on Highway 1 to Valley Ford.  Next time.

I'm always deluded that this ride will be relaxed, but with the presence of so many competitive cyclists it never is.  Today started balls out on the first climb a few miles out--Westbound to Big Rock.  Dr. Dave picked up our pace on the climb for the same reason.  Rusty had started with us and he is one of the strongest riders and a great downhiller--and the 12 miles after Big Rock is generally downhill.  So with Todd we slammed hard up Big Rock, and then ran a three man.   We didn't want to hear Rusty fly by yelling "hey dude."  I started doing play by play and sure enough Rusty was gaining on us--about 300-400' in back.  But we continued with the three man, Dave put in a strong pull and Rusty was stuck in no mans land.

Congrats to Christine for taking out the Cheese Factory climb against the interlopers.

The Club regrouped in Nicasio and a we had a nice Diablo Cyclist paceline for a few miles.  Two women we passed latched onto the back of our paceline, which was fine, until we made the turn beginning the Cheese Factory Climb.  Then they shot off the front.   Christine and Kris were near the front of our group, and it was up to them to chase their gender compatriots.   Kris is strong on the flats but still working out her climbing--and she had a great excuse for not chasing .  "I did a century yesterday."  Yes she did, her second week of back to back century rides in prep for the Knoxville Double, so I had to let her off the hook.   Christine got her dander and rhythm up-she started slowly but picked up speed as the climb progressed--and caught her "two sistas" near the top.  The two interlopers started chasing Christine downhill but they made a tactical mistake.  A tandem had just crested and was starting the downhill, Christine wisely got behind the tandem while the two chasers didn't.  I slotted myself behind the two women chasing Christine; they kept a strong "two man" going but had "none chance."  They looked back a few times to see if I was going to come forward---nope.  Meanwhile Dr. Dave had also drafted the tandem, he backed off and pulled the old 2001.  So the women caught up to him and then realized that they had to get around him while he was slowly bringing the pace down.

David, Kris, Jeanne and Todd on the Marshall Wall

After a break at the Cheese Factory we then had a hard run in to the Marshall Wall with Dr. Dave, Todd, Recumbent Dave and Christine--and when we got to the wall Dr. Dave just shot up it as he had done a couple of months before. 
Stephen leading Jeanne and Chris up a fun roller towards Tomales.

Regroup for the ride on the Highway 1 North which features lots of attention getting rollers and the fn clam bar where a car doing a U Turn took me out on my last timed double.  Dr. Dave, Christine and I remembered being in Tomales years ago on a Stephen ride with thick thick fog.  Today it was nice and sunny.   We thought we lost Rusty and Sara but they took a different route to and from Tomales.
Don and his fixie in the Downtown Tomales.

Waffles in Tomales

Dr. Dave and Chris (David and Jack in background) relaxing at the bakery with the gas pump

Nice break in Tomales--at the center of town is a bakery, deli and general store.   This may be the three chief qualities of a Club Ride cycling destination.   A few other cycling clubs were also "in the middle of nowhere."  I wanted to continue North to Valley Ford but no enthusiasm for that, so we all (except for Sara and Rusty) went East.   We were in the middle of cow country and the effervescent smell of cow crap permeated the air.     I kept riding back and forth, riding and bsing with Don on his fixie and then charging up to get Todd to spring ahead on a sprint.

Across Marin--the gang with Don on a fixie and Dr. Dave in the front and camera strap

Don passing some more cows

Don and Jeanne passing one of the handful of one room schoolhouses we'd see

After a long break the original route salesman, Stephen, threw in a shorter option that didn't go to Petaluma.  Everyone chose the Petaluma bypass except for me.  The trip to Petaluma and back was non eventful except for the hay truck that passed while spraying another cyclist and me with shredded hay.
Solo by the Nicasio one room schoolhouse

Only a few other cyclists now on the road instead of the crowd we saw in the morning.  Caught up with a nice guy on the run in to Big Rock--now with 75 miles in my legs.  Told him I had to go for "Strava time" on Big Rock.  One of my favorite climbs as its steep (wish it was a little steeper) but only .2 miles--which is great as the climb is finished before my cardio goes down the toilet.  The guy on the road said he'd play rabbit and took off which got me going real hard.   Later I found out for the day I was tied for 1st on the Big Rock Strava segment with Reed Albergotti who co authored "The Wheelmen"--the expose' about the Lance Armstrong led doping ring.   Wish I would have run into him and asked him why he thought  Lancy got a pass for abandoning his team during the Spring Classics--while Barry Bonds or Joe Montana would have been skewed if they suddenly sat out (or went home) when the Dodgers or Cowboys respectively were in town.

Last short climb of the day Diablo Cyclists (orange dots) all over the top 10 positions on the climbs for the day--and some of our fastest guys weren't on the ride..

As usual the run in from Nicasio, which is real fast, and the ride over too quickly.  Most of the club was still around.  Jack and Kris were off doing a full 100 looking for another bakery so they hadn't come in yet.  Another good day of cycling and hi jinx.  I was happy that with the cortisone injection-- this was my first full first week in months that my hand didn't hurt when cycling--so it felt great to do lots of miles with great company and slam some rollers.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Patterson Pass Century (2014)

(August 16, 2014) Patterson Pass Century, w Christine, Jack, Matt, Young Andy, Vlad, Kris, 92 miles, 3,760' climbing

Significant Climbs
Patterson Pass-4.8 miles 5%--steeper with head windbuildup near the top (.3 mile, 11%)


Midweek Christine and I ran into each other at the base of Mt. Diablo, and we both decided we DIDN'T want to do the weekend Diablo Cyclist Peet's Coffee ride--again.   My plan was  to ride the Napa Century (Tour of Wine Country) route self supported the day before the official ride if it was sizzling in the East Bay.   This would necessitate waking up early, if it wasn't close to a predicted high of 100 degrees we'd do Patterson Pass.  Christine was in and then we sent out a mass email to the "usual suspects" to see if anyone wanted to join in.
"HELL NO WE WOULDN'T GO"   Co conspirator Chris when we decided NOT to do the Peets Coffee ride and we'd suggest a better alternative.

In response Kris sent me a string of "funny" emails; she is planning to do her first double at the end of September and is looking for some tips, and was doing the Napa Century on Sunday.   One of mine is to ride back to back century rides on consecutive days.  Kris said she was going to do that in a few weeks.    A few weeks?, the Knoxville Double is 40 days away and following the Dr. Dave tapering plan (which is more normal than mine) she really just has 30 days to ramp up.  I strongly suggested she join the Patterson Pass group and about 3 emails later she signed up.

"I trained well--tomorrow I am going to try to do the maximum-but more I can't do."- Johan Museeuw

Otherwise Christine and I had no idea who else would join up to Patterson Pass, which goes in a diametrically opposite direction than Peet's Oakland.    It involves a GREAT desolate and fast run in to the climb and then a hard windswept climb in between windmill farms.

At the group gathering at the start of the club ride, the low level fog hanging over the Oakland hills had everyone choosing to go towards Patterson Pass.  Towards--as the first 20 miles is relatively flat and half the people would turn around at "the Trees."  It was great having lots of company, even without really knowing who was going to do the route and who was going to turn around.

Big sprint to "the Trees;" I was shot out the back as Dr. Dave, Matt and Christine zoomed forward.  I regrouped with Young Andy and Vlad--the two best sprinters in the club, but they were on good behavior at this point as they were considering the Patterson Pass option, which they had never done.

At the end of the trees Christine, Kris, Matt, Young Andy, Vlad, Jack and Dr. Dave continued on--Dr. Dave wasn't going to do the PP but wanted to get in more miles where he could comment on the turning windmills ("When the windmills are turning you are screwed"--Uncle Steve.)   In the flat section Vlad and Andy are great to ride behind, big guys but real real steady--as long as Vlad doesn't decide to kick in an instant 1100 watts just for fun.
Andy and Vlad just past the dirt bike park and under the trestle--we are now leaving civilization far behind and starting the best 12 miles of cycling in the East Bay.

Matt and I on the great PP run in.
As Kris, Vlad and Andy never did this I kept telling them about the great DOZEN MILE run in to the PP climb--IMO the best dozen miles in the East Bay.   Jack disagreed but didn't offer any alternative.  The run in to PP features:
-smooth road
-no traffic control
-almost no traffic
-rolling hills with windmills off to the side
-an ever present tailwind that has you easily going 20mph on the climb

Dr. Dave turned off to look for rabbits before the trestle that starts the "miracle dozen miles" and a lanky triathlete was about 600' in front of us--starting the fast climb.   Vlad and Andy were in serious discussion--Vlad saying "he knows that the triathlete is a girl, look at the way she sits on the saddle."  No one else was THAT sure, the triathlete was two football fields away.  Vlad zoomed ahead to see if he was right, he was, and started to celebrate when he passed the woman.  Not that he passed a cyclist--but that he had been correct about the cyclists gender.  Woman was rightfully po'd and sped up and Matt and I stayed with her up the climb to Summit Garage--very smooth pedal stroke that wasn't squirrely like many triathletes.  Vlad lucky that she wasn't going up the PP climb.
I didn't have the camera out when Vlad first passed the triathlete and started an over the top celebration--so here is a re-creation.  He's lucky he didn't do that to Christine--she would have kung fu'd him in the head.

On the downhill Christine, Matt and I pushed the pace and on the sudden fast uphill rollers I had so much fun.  I just had a cortisone shot in my hand and was the first time in awhile I could stand on the pedals and push hard on the bars.  Then I flipped back to ride with Jack and Kris, giving her doubles tips.  Between Jack and me, and Don tomorrow on the Napa Century, she'll get lots (maybe too much.) useful information.  Past the Rolling Stones Altamont Speedway and past the PP climb turnoff--as it was 90+ degrees and we'd first go another 2 miles to the Tracy 7-11 to get liquored up before the PP climb.
Andy, Jack and Matt when we turn off the fast PP runin onto the Midway.   No carnival on the Midway--just some steep rollers, windmills and the Rolling Stones Altamont Speedway

Vlad has the super super super Big Gulp.

Only bad thing about the big, new, modern 7-11 is that there is no trees in the front, so its broiling.  Christine has a good idea--there is a small foyer entrance where we can watch the bikes and is also air conditioned, so we all huddled in the entranceway.

When we were going towards the PP--all the windmills on the sides were turning--not a good sign.  The helpful tailwind on the dozen mile PP run'in becomes a strong headwind on the PP climb--and the headwind becomes stronger at the top when the grade is in the high teens.

We started up the climb and Matt zoomed away.  Christine was setting a killer pace and I stayed with her.  Matt and I agreed that after the 28+ minute (Matt)-33+ minute (me) climb we'd go back down for the slowest rider.   Meanwhile we were pleasant surprised--the headwind wasn't bad--just strong enough to keep us cool but not much of a hindrance.   (Headwind strength "3"--compared to a brutal "10" headwind as can be seen clicking here   
Christine on the Patterson Pass climb

Andy on the PP

Jack on the PP

Kris on the PP.  I don't think she's THAT angry with me for talking her into this.

Vlad on the PP--he had done this once before from the EZ Livermore side (1.7 miles, 7%, tailwind) and he thought this is what we were doing today.  Surprise--but our sprinter did well. 

Matt decided he has soooo much fun on the PP that he shot by our last rider coming up and did another mile of bonus climbing.

Everyone did a great job on the climb.  Kris didn't start curing me out as promised for talking her into this, and Vlad disclosed he had mistakenly thought this climb was easier than MT. Diablo Junction as he had come up from the Livermore side once before.  Festive sit down at the Livermore Library.
Our group at the top of Patterson Pass--luckily we didn't hit all the rabbits running about.  Dr. Dave would have loved it.

Ride back was great--rode as a group or regrouped often to keep together.  The bonus mile group watches out for each other.  Stop at a fast food joint that had ice, which almost had Vlad celebrating again.  Some hijinx at the approach to Walnut Creek--a "famous" sprint point.  Andy is a strong all around cyclists who is a very good sprinter, yet Vlad is a much much better sprinter.   Meaning I was going to get killed in  the sprint so I started from far out, hoping Vlad was fried.   Nope-all of a sudden a sports car zoomed by me--oh, it wasn't' a car, it was Vlad. 

In any event it was Vlad and Andy's first time on the PP course and first time they did a century ride (the rode a little more after the ride to get a full 100.)   Kris may not be happy on the Napa Century as she rode much harder than I would before a century ride, but it was great training for her double aspiration.

Christine is getting too strong, so it's great trying to keep up with her.   I had an ez ride as it was useless to chase Matt on a climb or Vlad in the flats, so most often I was either riding my pace or trying to match Christine's--which made for a real enjoyable ride.