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.

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