Saturday, March 25, 2006


(March 25, 2006) SOLVANG DOUBLE, 200 miles, 5:40-7:20, Don +3 flats, me +2 flats, 17.6 until it got dark--where my cordless odometer wouldn't work with a light on. w/ Don (on fixed gear) and CA Mike rain-rain-rain

Listening to Patti Smith’s Cartwheels at work and felt same sort of uneasiness as back in 2004 before chicanery had me doing Century rides solo. But now not doing solo--but it is an unknown double. After Knoxville thought that this would be a piece of cake—now after a lousy winter (I was in ICU with head injury 4 month prior and then daughter had brain surgery with same neurosurgeon)…

My goal for this one is to keep a few of us together—if not now, when? After a winter where I felt like I was 70, I just want to have fun with the guys I train with—can go balls out the rest of the year. This is not a timed event and relatively flat. I’m just looking at this as a ride to get in miles for the Devil Mountain Double—lots of climbing doesn’t scare me as much as additional miles. Cal Mike not feeling good after flu for month so he will probably have the most difficulty but Don on a fixed gear, Jack admittedly not particularly strong on last weekend training ride and lots of emails from Steve who likes flat courses—he is looking forward to hammering this one so don’t expect to see him. So if we ride at Jack’s pace-and we scramble out of the rest stops-CA Mike should be able to stay with us if we pull him along.

Week of
Jessie (daughter) doing good, probably her last week off from school. We went full circle as on Wednesday I took her to the buritto shop that I would eat dinner at while she was in the hospital. Forecast for weekend looked good, on Monday the high for Solvang was forecast to be 69 degrees, partly cloudy, with a 20% chance of rain (day before 72 degrees, sunny, 0 %). By Friday AM forecast had been revised to 65 degrees, partly cloudy and 30% change of rain (by Friday evening it was rain overnight and 70% chance of rain.) I also got the brace off middle finger early in the week—though still have to use it for lifting, sleeping and athletics. I had planned to use it at Solvang anyway, but at least with the brace off 2/3 of the time my raw skin can finally heal. But hand still hurts a lot when I try to close it—luckily I triple tape the tops of bars (though double tape drops still hurt.) Finally, as cassette not working properly on double metric Mines Road ride bike into bike shop—new cassette-chain damages spokes replaced and told that new bottom bracket needed soon. Two new tires put on American Classic wheels.

As this crept up on me—doubt I would be doing it until 2-3 weeks ago, no arrangements to drive down or share room.

Day of
Friday morning ez trainer-40 minutes at 60-70% hr; last year in mileage induced state want to preride everything. In Jan-Feb I have 150 LESS miles than last year but 3x as many trainer minutes.

Drove down Highway 5 which was boring as shit, then across to Paso Robles on 101. Hit a few bike shops along the way, Charm less K-Man Cyclery in warehouse building, but nice clerks, and while in store they were playing TdF 2001 and SERVAIS KNAVEN name blasted out by Phil Liggett. Bought a couple of water bottles for the two K men, Jack and I. Cambria Cyclery in San Luis Obispo was a nicer store but and picked up some clothes—a great artsy cat coffee mug for wife next odor but they didn’t take ATM (and closed when I returned on Sunday.)

What seemed like forever driving reached Bullerton at 4:00-napped until 5 :30 as I was beat, and then drove to Solvang where I met Mike, Mrs Mike and Jack for decent pasta dinner. Jack says if it rains overnight into morning he’ll just drive home—“no big deal” about getting Triple Crown credit. Solvang nice looking mock Dutch town with absolutely nothing I want to buy—at one point I said Hallmark artist Thomas Kincaid should have a store her, Mike said “it is across the street.”

Scenes from Solvang. Christmas all Year round--i'm ready to move there.

This was my first Planet “known for lousy support” Ultra event. First big sign at check in said “patronize local restaurants—no food at end of ride.” FIRST Century/ Double I've done not to feed riders. I asked for a 2nd route (no map) sheet “no, you need to get it at a rest stop, no extras here.” Lights could be turned in and strangely brought to the 2nd to last rest stop at mile 144—and I didn’t have a bag or magic marker. And they had a whole table selling stuff-especially the ankle reflectors that would cause you to dq if you didn’t have them on at night. Everyone said goodnite way to early, I got a cup of coffee and walked off dinner looking around cutesy town and finally found an ATM. Back to hotel to watch weather channel and see predictions for rain overnight and “50 & dry all over with scattered rain towards pm.. Oh shit. All night long I thought I hear rain and woke up at 1, 2, 3, and then startled by 3:45 alarm clock. Luckily I went to sleep at 10:30. But like I found w/ Donna years ago when we did a 50 miler at Solvang—walked outside and it was cool but dry-dry-dry.

I was going to go hatless and no rain jacket, or turn in jacket to bring at mile 144 as it usually got 10 degrees cooler from 3-6pm. But the afternoon rain forecast had me luckily wearing both my Domo Cap and the rain jacket in lieu of a 2nd vest.

Jack had set the departure time of 5:30. Ran into Steve and Don at parking lot. Don said 5:30 was his plan also. On this ride you leave when you feel like it. When we cued up at 5:30 Steve already off to the races—and NO Jack. People wondered if he started already, if he knew where to meet us etc-I said he was an “asst professor” lets give him 10 minutes. At 5:35 Jack shows up and has to turn in his main light—we start between 5:40-5:45.

Head east where we’ll “U turn” in Santa Ybez and then head Northwest along Foxen Canyon Road to Santa Maria. Ride starts on a moderately long but easy uphill-great way to start to get warm. On a ride with many turns Foxen Canyon is the longest stretch, 17 miles, and it relatively slightly downhill punctuated with smaller rollers and a tailwind. Don, on his fixed gear, keeps a great steady pace on the flats and uphill rollers but he can’t spin fast enough on the downhill portions where it is easy to coast. Conversely Mike falls back on the uphill rollers and scrambles to catch up on the downhills. I try to stay in the middle to give Mike a target. On the flats we do a comfortable 20-22mph, though a few pacelines come roaring by at 26-28mph. Jack grabs one and he is long gone. From time to time I’ll do a sprint out but then fall back to be with my compatriots. The farm land surrounding is nice—kind of like the Santa Rosa area. Dark clods are ominous to the northwest hanging of the coats. Maybe like Strawberry fields they’ll stay there. In this section I am getting so warm the jacket come off (also I have to piss every hour until the afternoon.) A few cars pass—they are actually Planet Ultra Sag vehicles out in force.

Mile 38 1st rest stop outside Santa Maria, 7:46, 18.2 average speed. About 10 minutes at rest stop—just at the corner of a field. Here they have strange combination of Sustained Energy and Gatorade. Lots of riders (550 entered for this one) rushing to the Hammer Nutrition smorgasbord. One rider yelled at for trying to take the stuff himself—I dump a premeasured two scoops into my bottle. Turns out plain Sustained Energy has a malt like flavor-good, while Tropical Fruit hammergel tastes like shit. They have E caps-NOT endurolights, I take 2 at each rest stop (except for #2) and then I top off my maldterian with water. Spot Tom and Veronica pulling out. Rest stop 1 (38m, 7:46, 18.2 avg, stay for about 10 min-piss behind crowded outhouses.) On back on the road and I spot two bicycles carrying luggage in the back; I slow to bs with Tom, Veronica for a minute or two—nice folks Hard to believe it was 2003 we did the Holstein semi-together. We start following a group of riders through Paso Robles, the arrows on the road have become less and less frequent (later told that they were put down that AM and were washed away by rain)—finally someone yells are we are going the wrong way. Everyone stops—determined we have to backtrack to get back on course—adds a mile of slow town riding. At mile 55-56 we get on another long stretch, 12 miles of Thomson Avenue—and soon we are hit with a pesky drizzle. Luckily Don and I had stopped to put on rain jackets (Mike wearing his one under his jersey.) Unluckily Don has a flat—just when the rain starts picking up. Our trio stays together for the flat change-Don remains calm while I think I’d scream if I had to change flat in the rain. My Glove soaked and hand can’t close, and I start to shiver worse than when I am going down Diablo underdressed. Don fixes flat quickly—we get going, I ride hard uphill to get warm when boom—another flat-Don used a patched tube that handed held. More rain—and this time I just shake right away. Right after he fixes both flats a sag shows up with a floor pump.
Me, Don (on a fixed gear) and CA Mike rolling through the rain, for about 30 miles between miles 40 & 80. A rarity that we are rolling as Don had 3 flats while it was raining--and the SAG wagons to help were............nowhere (Probably taken by sag driver Victor Cooper who I'd ride with on the Eastern Sierra hailstorm 3 years later)

Get going again—another crazy on a Rivendale fixed comes by and he keeps wanting to ride ahead of Don or me. I am not drafting anyone—even with racing fenders Don’s bike is squirting water back—and this guy in the fixes is now shooting lots of water up. It is windy so water going on glasses despite hat and trying to wipe with wet glove only smears more—so I put in a few digs to stay in front of Rivendale guy. Rivendale guys is also a little wacko—he yells at a few people “your ass is foaming” as suds build on clothes that had too much soap in laundry. (or too much butt creame)

I’ll guess rest stop 2 in Arroyo Grande but I’m not sure. (Rest stop 2-mile 83, no statistics, probably stayed for 25 minutes) Huge crowd at rest stop—it is raining hard, with cinder block bathroom building. I grab two cliff bars too eat—maybe I’m nit eating enough and that is why I’m cold, and stay close to wall behind bathrooms under awning.. Mike finds me chattering like a skeleton—Don is under the playground structure—what else, changing a flat. Someone suggests I move to the front of the building so the wind is blocked but I’m in just as bad shape—one guy keeps asking me “are you OK.” I finally go into men’s room-bring bike with me--surprisingly uncrowded and has a hand dryer in lieu of paper towels. Usually I hate those things, now I have it blowing on hands, in shirt on pants—other cyclists inside were unaware of it, a few come over and we share. At least I stop shivering when hot air hits me and I keep pressing button over and over. But even when door opens I start shivering again. Finally Mike yells don’s ready-I hope that hard riding will warm me up but for about 5 minutes I’m chattering away on bike. I get a Paris Roubaix visualization—but this is when they get to take hot showers at the end of the race. Mike suggests that if this keeps up he can call his wife who can pick us up. I agree to this. Then I start thinking of all the $$$ spent on this, how I need doubles prep, I can toughen it out, and the rain turns into drizzle—still cold but now a reprieve,. I cycle close to mike and yell “fuck Mike, we are finishing this ride!” Road flatens out and Mike comes up—he does a good job organizing pacelines At this point body feels OK, rain more a pain than anything—and I think 1/3 done, 120 miles left of riding in the rain which I once did (actually just 60 miles in rain) in Santa Rosa.

With wet feet and soggy glove underlines we soon get where Hwy 1 and 101 combine and start a 12 miles trek-slightly uphill, on the shoulder. Here we need to miss debris and riders riding abreast of each other across the shoulder. Don can’t slow down and speed up—he need to ride at a steady pace—and that he does all day—beating most people up climbs. Sun was peaking through clouds and getting slightly warmer. At beginning of ride I’d lag for Mike as we could easily coast up to Don on the downhills, but after a few climbs with no appreciable downhill I’d suddenly be 300’ behind and have a hard time catching up to him. Soon we made a series of turns, was in another nondescript small town where THERE IT WAS-a GIANT ROCK growing out of the water. Morro Bay, mile 111, the furthest point on our ride. Morro Bay Control, , 12:17 17.9 avg speed, 2 minute stop). 6 ½ hours for the first 100 miles—at this rate we should finish at 6:30.

The only real scenic portion of this ride was riding toward Big Rock in Morro Bay. Otherwise for being near the Coast real drab--development gone amuck in Pismo Beach. Photo from Wikipedia.

I took these photos the day after the ride--found by Ward Industries Data Recovery Service.

Now we make a few turns away from the ocean, go through a park, and wind up at Lunch-Rest Stop 3, mile 115, 1:10, 17.9 average speed. This is one of the few official check ins—instead of recording your number the worker has to mark your number with a magic marker and puts a hole in it with a pen knife—kinda hard when the number is on the side panel 3 layers down. It is still lightly overcast—but calm and almost 60—it feels like a regular heat wave though shoes/socks still damp almost everything else is dry. Here they have Subway sandwiches which I forgo (come on, bring back for dinner) and continue my menu of another 2 scoops of Sustained Energy, a cliff bar and a banana at each rest stop. At this stop I add a shot of Hammergel to the Sustained Energy to get a chocolate malted.

We now start going through crowded Pismo Beach—this can’t be one of the “quiet, or “desolate” roads that frequent the ride description (some to think of it most roads had lots of traffic.) We may be along the Pacific Coats Highway but it is a far different that the stretch up north on the Terrible Two—this street full of stores and strip malls. We follow some riders and go off course by a block or two-don notices and we go back on course—on a busy street with a bike lane fronting rows of bungalow type houses. I’m in front and up ahead a pickup pulled out of his driveway and back is a few feet to the outside of the bike lane. I’m going and idiot does a U turn away from me and back in front of me blocking bike path-I yell, and turn my bike in direction idiot went-stick out my braced arm and forearm and slam his door so my bike wouldn’t hit. I’m pissed but OK though bruise on arm would hurt for rest of the ride. I’m even more pissed when a few blocks later—thump-thump-thump, back wheel flat.

There have been tons of folks on the side of the road with flats and notice lots of ambient glass-not big chunks but lots of little sparklers. At least I get the flat when sun is out and sidewalk to change it on. SAG vehicle drives right by without stopping.

We get back on an 11 mile stretch of Highway 1. Again we are going up and I can get out of the saddle more)-though hand is starting to sting and so is arm where I hit truck. But sun is now out and while climbing feeling good.

Getting kinda thirsty. In morning pissed on side of road before rest stop 1 and rest stop 2—after that comfortable before and waiting for each rest stop. Not drinking that much Maldextrian refilled water but ½ a Sustained Energy-Chocolote Hammergel malted before each rest stop. Wonder if I have to drink more. Arm where I hit truck sore—wearing arm warmers on climbs—which I never do unless freezing.

Suddenly we are at rest stop 4-Guadalupe-mile 144, 3:30, avg 17.8, stayed for about 10 minutes. Real bathroom at community Center. Ran into Doug from Sacto Wheelmen who did ride with us in Riverbank. Put on lights-unfortunately this was pick up spot, not next rest stop which would have made more sense. Asked for endurolites—told they are e-caps—mixed another sustained energy shake, and eat another cliff bar. . Mike bitching that they don’t have his soda.

Heat of day from 3:20-4:20 and sun was out so I should have been feeling good. But hand is throbbing, arm sore bugging me, and I skip a few pulls through farmland with Don setting a torrid pace. Mike calls him an animal—I quickly dub him a penguin in the hopes he’d slow down. Mike also observes that when Don says he will switch out his wheel for big climb both cassettes look identical. I promptly dub them the 17 and 17 ¼ gear. But mile 150 and I’m a little worried about my condition—hoping it doesn’t quickly go down the toilet as it has in Davis.

No need to worry, at mile 155 we get on an uphill 7 mile stretch of Highway 1 that turns into an 11 mil uphill stretch of Highway 135, with the wind to out back. I go to the front and set a nice pace—some lady passes and indicates she is getting over a broken collarbone and fell before. We slowly reel her in and repass, but I’m going at a comfortable pace so Don right on my wheel and Mike either on or not lagging by far. At one point Don indicates Mike is off so I slow and guy in yellow jacket and women go by. I drop back to help Mike, he comes up and says that guy in yellow jacket po’d him—he got on Mike’ wheel and wouldn’t exchanmge pulls. Now they are about 500’ up the road, next rest stop 2 miles away—so I sprint out at 27mph and catch and blow past yellow jacket guy and woman, then settle into 21 mph until I join a young guy paceline and pull into rest stop 5. Now 5:20, 17.9 average speed, mile 173. Stay for about 10 minutes—getting chilly so I get a cup of soup. People talking abouit BIG CLIMB coming up-9 miles-probably 3 steep-up Drum Canyon. I’m not scared of the fn climb-I welcome it as way to stretch out.

We start out and pass a couple wearing same jerseys—guy just blabbering away and he yells “look at those socks.” I tell him “guys on fixed gears can wear anything they want.” Young guy is impressed with Don—so is everyone else who noticed he was on a fixed gear. Don flying by everyone and I dig to stay with him, and then I just ride up at his pace—doing Tour of Flanders “Museeuw now in trouble” highlights. We get to top and I tell Don I’ll wait for Mike-Don starts fast 6 mile decent down road that is “not the best,” but much better than Morgan territory.

Mike comes up in about 5 minutes. I lose ground on the downhill-missing potholes while twilight sets in. I see Don waiting then starting in the distance and dig to catch up. A guy blows by who says something like "Mt. Diablo, nice hill” I dig to catch up to him but then settle back for Don and Mike.

Still light outside—just would like to use my little light to blink but it suddenly isn’t working so turn on big light-which means my odometer stops working. Hit highway 246 shoulder, Don about 100 feet ahead when my bike starts bouncing—shit another flat—at which time the sun sets. Now cold, change flat but hand hurting so much cant grab tire to finish putting it on rim, which mike does for me. Bugged a little by well meaning cyclists who keep shouting as they pass. “Do I need anything”—yeah-a non existent sag wagon. Don is off—now how the hell will we find the finish. Mike thinks we are coming up thru Solvang but we soon are in Bullerton so I know where we are. Only 3 miles to go—mike a little freaked that they are climbing miles but I stay with him. Once I yell back how you are doing and deep voice says OK-someone joined us. Mike explains to guy that he can go ahead as he’ll beat Mike but not me on climb—usually that would be a challenge but I yell out well keep together. At @ 7:15 into center of town. Can’t check in until Plant Ultra Police read some guy a riot act in parking lot about light on his helmet and not on bike. —Jack had finished about 6:00-don didn’t realize I had flatted until someone told him in Bullerton. Would be great to have a post ride meal with everyone but only a bowl of candy out. Heck, I’m going back to motel to take longest hot shower of my life—like they do under Paris Roubaix velodrome.

Per Planet Ultra: A record number 540 riders signed up for the Solvang Double Century. Rain scared some of them away... Of the 468 dedicated cyclists who started, 383 toughed out the morning showers and were rewarded with sunshine and tailwinds from Morro Bay back to Solvang. Stats for the ride: 486 starters; 383 finishers, 82 DNFs and 4 DQs.

From the OH FUCK department

STAGES OF HYPOTHERMIA; 98 - 95 degrees - Sensation of chilliness, skin numbness; minor impairment in muscular performance, especially in use of hands; shivering begins. Hypothermia usually comes on gradually.
Often, people aren't aware that they need medical attention. Common signs to look for are shivering, which is your body's attempt to generate heat through muscle act.

Hypothermia can happen not just in cold winter weather, when there are low temperatures or low wind chill factors, but under more mild conditions as well. A rain shower that soaks you to the skin on a cool day can lead to hypothermia if you don't move inside to warm up and dry off. If you stay outside, evaporation of the water from your skin further cools your body, dropping your internal temperature. A wind blowing over the wet parts of your body greatly increases evaporation and cooling.

(univ maryland) Nutrition- Eating enough calories in the form of proteins and fats before and during exposure to cold weather may help prevent hypothermia, particularly in the elderly. If you expect to be exposed to the cold, carry high-calorie snacks, such as protein bars and nuts. Regular intake of fluids-water, juices, and electrolyte replacement drinks-is important, too, and prevents dehydration. Being dehydrated increases your risk for hypothermia. Do not wait until you are hungry or thirsty to eat or to drink fluids. Don't drink alcohol or caffeine, as these substances dilate your blood vessels and increase blood flow away from your central core, causing it to cool down.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Mines Road Self Supported Doub le Metric-2006

(March 8, 2006)-Mines Road Self Supported DOUBLE METRIC, with Diablo Cyclists, Jack, Ward, Big Mike, Jim, Don, Brian and partially with other Diablo Cyclists, and sighting of Delta Pedalers including Donna! 125 miles, 6,000' climbing, 16.6 average

**NO PHOTOS--Big Mike started taking ride photos in 2004-05, I did it in 2006 and Ward kinda took over that role in 2007. So I should have taken a few on this ride, but pockets were full and was a weight weenie and left the instant camera home

Next week is the Solvang Double, and while I look at Solvang as a training ride for Devil Mountain Double, with a lack of a series of century rides and medical dysfunctions the last few months I need to put in some good miles. Diablo Cyclist ride is to do a 60 miler out and back up Mines Road-starting in Livermore. By coincidence, the Delta Pedalers, my old bike club and wife's current one, doing same ride at same time. (at least this year they don't have me listed as the ride leader as some bozo has me down for last year after my not riding with THAT club for about a year.) Our Diablo Cyclist bonus mile gruppo at first thought about going past junction (turn around spot), and up and over and around Mt Hamilton. But we don't need climbing miles for rolling Solvang Double, and all week long the temperatures on top of Mt Hamilton, at 1pm, were a freezing 35-37-34-35 degrees. So the Diablo Cyclist "Bonus Mile" Gruppo decides to start super early in Walnut Creek, adding the 30 miles until we get to Livermore and start the Mines Road climb with the rest of our club..

I want to surprise Donna so I don't tell her that this is where I'm riding. So I'm happy when Big Mike* shows up late--as this means I'll see Donna on the road instead of the parking lot where I'd probably see either Whiny Mike* or Jo Jo close by. As Whiny Mike's new girlfriend wouldn't let him ride with Jo-Jo I'll probably just see one snake on this ride.. Ironically, Jo-Jo's ex? husband saw my wife in the parking lot before the ride and as he had checked the Diablo Cyclist web site, so he was trying to convince Donna that I'd be on the ride. And when my gruppo arrive in Livermore-15 minutes after Delta Pedalers took off, California Mike* (who was in on the secret) told me that some guy he had never seen was telling Donna that I'd be on this ride so I HAD to have told someone. Strange. (*note-too many Mike's, so need nicknames to delineate)

But I get ahead of myself. Almost a heat wave of 50 degrees at the start and surprised at the 7:00 turnout of 9 folks. Don is into punishing himself for turning 50 so he had his fixed gear bike. I had Paris Roublex highlight blasting from my stereo--couldn't believe we were actually doing a double metric with NO registration lines, and I was sky high. Still have splint on finger--as have trouble closing hand bars are triple taped on the top and wear a closed BMX glove on left hand only, to hold splint in place. But now that Jessie's medical problems resolved feel 50 pounds lighter and am sky high.

Started with two vests and now trying out a liquid diet of Perpetuem with reduced solids. Lucky for me as Jack and Steve could have a competition to see who bypasses more rest stops and gets out of rest stops faster. There would be only one chance for a semi-long food break all day. I was surprised when they agreed we could stop at near Blackhawk for a quick whizz break.

We had a good pace going-high aerobic but non interval as Don on his fixed gear tops out at 26 or so while he spins at 140 rpm,. and Jack knows how to ride at a fast but steady pace for the long haul. But if we were too lazy Steve would have none of that on the flats and shoot out ahead on his aero bars with his great bike (Litespeed Siena.) Only place a few of us went nuts was turning into Eucalyptus Trees speedway--2 significant rollers but tailwind flats, where Ward, Big Mike, Steve and I jumped out and I went up hard on the rollers and then Steve caught up and finished with me at the end (bonus time to take another whizz-damn it is cold.) Someone said Jack would make us pay for this at the end of the ride. One result was that "Country" who had surprisingly started with us in Walnut Creek was now nowhere to be seen. He never does long rides with us and his incessant barrage of rhetorical questions about nothing and personal question directed to the ladies has managed to piss alot of folks off --so no one suggested riding back or waiting for him. After this sprint we were all on good behavior, all taking turns rotating in the paceline.

After the Trees I have no idea how we got to Livermore. I had printed the directions in my pocket in case I got separated from the group, and luckily I did as for all I knew we were in Italy.. But soon we were in Livermore--someone had poured green dye in the city center fountain for St Patty's day. It was 9:05.

Get to library-see where Delta Pedalers park (on street) but no sign of them--they left on time? See Tom and Veronica loading up their retro Rivendalls-heard she is going to do the DMD--I waive but they don't know who I am as we speed by. Diablo Cyclists in parking lot, California Mike rushes over to me with the aforetold story about Donna, I don't believe him as I haven't told anyone except a few in our bonus mile gruppo. Doug, one of our 2005 Doubles Triple Crown rookies (along with me, California Mike, and Domo Tom) comes over--I haven't seen him for awhile. They indicate that the Delta Pedalers left 10 minutes ago going at a very easy pace. I am eager to chase but we still have some people setting up their bikes. Someone comes up and gives me a hard time for modifying my jersey--saved some scraps from my jersey that was trashed in my accident; dress shop added scraps, and the jersey I now wear reads that I'm a member of DOMO DIABLO CYCLISTS FARM FRITES. When we finally leave in another 5 minutes, Big Mike asks when I think we'll catch up toe the Delta Pedalers. I say before "mile 10" but am unsure and I want to first surprise Donna on the road--not at the Junction Cafe--so I put some urgency in our pace. After a few mile flat rollout we start uphill and new guy? (Joe-good climber), Big Mike, Stephen, Michigan Tom, Doug, Jim and June come up with me.

Unfortunately I changed back to my good wheels that I haven't used for 4 months to preride before Solvang Double, and my gearing is off and when I shift I can hear the gears mash. Though I adjusted bike 2-3x I could hear this all day and couldn't stand as much as I wanted--or use the largest 3-4 cogs. Never mind--just a small setback as I was sky high.

Within 2 miles passed a rider-turned around and it was Mary. Saw someone who I thought was wearing Team in Training Jersey--that would mean Whiny Mike would be on this ride--but it was actually an Arthritis Ride Jersey which meant that Jo-Jo was on it. Delta Pedalers actually just had about a half dozen members on this ride;, they are now dependant on hooking up with charity groups for many their long outings, by contrast we probably had more than 30 Diablo Cyclists on this ride. Much better that it was Arthritis Bunch instead of Team in Training as I as I know some nice people from the arthritis group. Soon I'd see their fun ride leader Jerry and later see Bob/Leticia--she's always nice and friendly and I have tons of respect for Bob. Pass Tom/ Veronica with small suitcases on the back of their bikes (Rivendale seat bags) who call out "what took you guys so long." Late I find out that they are continuing up to Mt. Hamilton I'm driving with my climbing group--we're not killing but keeping nice steady pace. All of a sudden, around mile 7 (I think) see a big clump of riders up ahead. Put on the gas but see no one I know. Fall back and then another group up ahead--get closer and see "Sierra Century jersey" and Stefan Wesserman upright style--it is Donna! . Riding with two riders--one guy telling a loong story and...ah f...Jo Jo there also , but at least that means Whiny B.S. Mike not on this ride, and she probably has the good sense not to say anything to me.

Pull behind Donna as guy from Arthritis group rambles on. I stay there for about 3-4 minutes, and luckily my climbing compatriots turn off the jets as well. When Arthritis guy finishes story I say something to Donna-she is very surprised, and we chat for a minute or so before Jim turns the jets back on and I'm off again. Big Mike stays behind to chat a little more. Now I'm really stoked--surprised Donna!, great seeing her on a ride and see that she is climbing so effortlessly--especially with the Death Ride in her future. A little further up the road we'd see Dave and quiet Bruce back from Arizona--always nice to see Bruce on the road as he always looks like he is enjoying the ride.

We are all setting a nice tempo up the road--I'm suffering a bit as if I can't stand it is hard for me to climb fast as I can't spin as well as June or deliver the power seated that Stephan can. All of a sudden Big Mike and Michigan Tom shoot by, new guy Joe starts to chase but he is caught in no mans land. June, Stephen, Doug and I get a paceline going but while it is a good tempo paceline--it is not a chasing paceline, so Doug can tell me that I don't eat enough vegetables and vegetarian California Mike--who is recovering from a month long flu--doesn't get the needed amino acids from meat protein. I tell Doug that between California Mike and myself we probably have a great diet going. We get to the first of the overflow water crossing where Joe? is waited for us. Doug and I reminisce about last year's ride where it snowed on us on top of Mt Hamilton and when the water crossing the road went over the bottom bracket.

Soon road gets steep again, we finish a climb and -Doug indicates nature calling. We jump off the bikes at top of climb where I quickly take care of business but Doug, who just told me his goal on doubles is to get out of rest stops quicker this year, is literally watering the whole forest as cyclists now come up from behind. I yell that everyone should cover their eyes and the first bunch does. I take off so I can adjust my gearing, again and it has been a great up tempo ride and glad to be able to catch up with Doug.

Sudden downhill and Big Mike and Michigan Tom are riding back from the junction--I don't feel like going uphill and want to fix my gears, so quickly stop at junction where I see Jo-Jo's ex, a real nice guy who ironically ran into me in my last bike accident, and also got hurt. I feel bad for him-he got screwed big time and still pines for his ex? wife. Too nice a guy. He said he thought I'd be on the ride and asked if I was going up to Hamilton, "No-too fn cold," and we chat for awhile. Then I kept going past the junction for a few miles, stopping often to adjust gearing.

Bad move--when I got back from the extra 5 miles lots of cyclists cuing up in front of with bewildered counter guy. I just wanted water which took 20 minutes, and only 4 people in front of me. Donna wound up a few people behind me--cool, even though it meant Jo-Jo close by though we did our best to ignore each other. Men's restroom "out of order" so I follow other guys using women's room-Donna calls out and gives me a hard time. I yell back "but I left the seat down.". Talked to lots of good people who I cycled with seemingly a lifetime ago. Jo-Jo's ex outside sitting with Diablo Cyclists so I introduced him to the other Diablo Cyclists milling around. Meanwhile Big Mike waiting a half hour for his peanut and butter sandwich, while Jack and Steve getting ready to leave.

Big Mike isn't ready--but bonus mile vets are rolling on the short but steep climb to get out of the Junction valley. I figure that Big Mike will catch us on downhill and I follow. Don is actually pushing the uphill pace on the fixed gear. I spot racers Michigan Tom and Jeanie in front of us, and figure everyone is going to pass me on the downhill--Don, Ward and Jack great downhillers, though Don will have to spin on his fixed gear at 250 rpm (always a treat to see.)-- so I catch Tom and Jeanie and form an escape group After the climb we paceline through the 10-15 miles of rollers until the last few miles of serious downhills where I am dropped.. Eventually, we get down Mines Road about 3 minutes ahead of my bonus mile gruppo, who Jo-Jo's ex had ridden back with. At start of Mines Road I wait for my gruppo, as who knows if Jack/ Steve will let anyone stop before leaving town. Surprised that Big Mike not down yet but when we get back to Livermore Library our group waits about 15 minutes or so. I talk to Jo-Jo's ex, a great climber but actually a worse descender than me, and tell him he should come out for more of our rides. Still no Big Mike when we all decide time to go--as if Mike had a mechanical etc. he can get a lift back to Walnut Creek with the many people still on the road who had parked at the library. Stephen and June are cute--first June is going to ride back with us but because Stephen has to work tomorrow and can't ride she'll take care of the car and Stephen will ride back with us.

So now Stephen basically takes Big Mike's place. Don, Steve, Jack, Jim, Ward and I start back to Countrywood, flat course with some small roller, but now a crosswind has picked up. But the 60 degrees feels good, especially compared to the 40 degrees that we've had daily for weeks (my sister in Washington DC thinks California are weather wimp)

A little less energy than before but Steve will have none of a pace letdown. Damn he rides with an ACL brace and pushes the pace whenever the road is pancake flat. When starting out it felt like hard work hanging on but I soon got second wind. We all tried to keep the pace at no more than 22 for Don on his fixed gear--once I was pulling and consciously holding between 20-21 when someone said "GO." By the time we got to the uphill portion by Blackhawk my second wind was complete and I pushed the pace uphill with Stephen--easy as on approaches to climbs Ward was taking long pulls in the crosswind. Jim was hurting but recovered briefly when we were joined by a young blond who managed to ride 3rd wheel most of the time. Soon we were on Danville Blvd. where our paceline was joined by someone--no way could I let this guy beat us to the sprint point even if we had just done 120 miles. I upped the pace, trying to hold 25 as long as possible, momentum ruined by a traffic light. At the end Steve had a nice sprint and shot by--jeeze--we just finished 120 miles and we were all going around 25 mph.

We had started at 7:15 and now it was around 4:00. 125 miles with just one longest rest stop--maybe 20 minutes at the junction, and a few 5 minute stop. Out of everything my backside the most sore. After self supported mountain century a few weeks ago and now this we are as ready for the Solvang Double as could be this early in the year. I felt like I had stayed current on calories--maybe a little hungry from so much liquid food but energy level sky high. Big Mike showed his fortitude--rode back all the way from Livermore solo (California Mike was going to drive him back)--semi dead when he came in but made it. Bonus Gruppo goes for coffee and I kinda internally reminisce and answer a few questions as to why I had left Delta Pedalers and joined the Diablo Cyclists. When I first left Delta Pedalers and joined Diablo Cyclists it felt so strange. In retrospect now, it was a great move and hard to believe I was ever a member of another Club.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Cesky Suvenyr Self Supported Century-2006

(March 4, 2006) "Cesky' Suvenyr'" Century*-Self Supported and with Diablo Cyclists. 97 miles-up Mt Diablo to Ranger Station-over Morgan Territory--back to Northgate and up to Mt Diablo Ranger Station again. @7,000 feet climbing.

*On Century rides (or metric century rides) I used to live for the patch you got at the end. My oldest daughter had been studying in Europe, and when I came home from this ride she had a Czech Republic patch for me.

Need to get into shape for Devil Mountain Double so got to Countrywood early (not early enough) while it was 42 degrees and went half way up Diablo. Came back to start after 20 miles and missed start of Diablo Cyclist ride, so chased them back to Clayton where gruppo just pulling out of rest stop. Big climb to Morgan Territory where I got dropped by fastest guys and gal (June) at end. Then partially back up from other side and hard chase with racer Brian where we caught end of gruppo in Danville.

Legs dead but went up Diablo again-slowest time since 2002. Cold nasty day and spent half riding solo but kinda fit mood and could reflect things over last few months. Seems like 2006 JUST started; ironically McLane Pacific Road race this weekend-2 years ago my season started so early had over a half dozen races by this time and this was weekend of FINAL one. As left hand still can't close had wrapped bars with gel pad but like double tape on tops better.