Monday, December 31, 2007
1st Pumpkin Century,Walnut Creek to Calavaras and Back* then to Mt Diablo Ranger Station**(*with CA Mike)(**w/ Don and Diablo Cyclists)106 miles, 5700', 16.1 avg
Mines Road to Mt. Hamilton and Back (to Junction with Diablo Cyclists, then bonus miles with, Ward, CA Mike, Beth, Andy, Joe (when he wasn't far in front of us)98 miles, 7900', 14.6 avg
Bosses have been great this year--letting me leave early midweek to train when slow. I was supposed to be off Halloween but we're I'm trial so I planned to go to work--riding in when phone rang-boss says that witnesses postponed by the other side-take the day off if I want to. Yippie. Call CA Mike who gets up real early, and we plan to ride Calavaras--not knowing that the moderate earthquake that struck CA the nite before was on the Calavaras fault--trees down and some aftershocks. Calavaras Road was very quiet--albeit a few construction crews cleaning up a mess and one van that went by that said "Earthquake Finders." Sunny over the nice pavement on the Alameda side of this desolate road, sudden fog over the crappy chip seal once we passed into Santa Clara. Doubles season over--nothing to train (suffer) for so a nice conversationalist pace. Treat on the way back--the Sunol Water Temple was open so we rode in and inspected. Mike had to go trick and treating when we finished at 80 mile--but Diablo Cyclists had their last ride up Mt. Diablo so I rode it with Don to get over 100 miles.
A few days later Diablo Cyclist ride up Mines Road--which is constant climbing, and a few of us decided to continue on up the hard way to Mt. Hamilton. (8-11% grades) Again no reason to go hard so usually at bs pace. We kept together until the last 5-6 miles of climbing (except Joe who has started to train for 2008 and was flying off) --at the top I turned around and rode back a couple of miles for the achtervolgers. Beautiful day--unfortunately a few car clubs thought so also--while well off the road changing Ward's flat we saw a few Ferrari's zoom by on the curvy narrow road with a red one almost spinning out. Another time a car passed us on a curve--fully going into the left lane--5 seconds later a motorcycle came full throttle around the turn--5 seconds earlier motorcycle parts would have been flying everywhere.
Oakland Hills with CA Mike and Ward--only a metric-Photo by Ward who has perfected on the bike shots.
Tour of Sunol Water Temple on Halloween Century.
2007 YEAR IN REVIEW. A very good year of cycling. Though missed the torturous DEVIL MOUNTAIN DOUBLE and TERRIBLE TWO (I like the TT but daughters' H.S. graduation) still did 4 doubles, one double length brevet, and two hard climbing metric doubles
Highlight of the year was the MT. TAM DOUBLE--a ride I love (albeit the early morning drop into the fog laden Coast)--where with no teammates I finished 23rd. I was sky high for this event after Eastern Sierra where we stopped riding hard after mile 60 as our group took turns not feeling well, and then goofed around the rest of the day. Usually I goof around on the bike on UNtimed events but on timed events I get serious and usually have good focus--and had neither for the second half of EASTERN SIERRA DOUBLE. The MT TAM DOUBLE was redemption.
Speaking of EASTERN SIERRA DOUBLE, it was one of the three new epic rides I did this year, along with CLIMB TO KAISER, and AUBURN DOUBLE METRIC, the latter two both 150 mile climbing rides. The EASTERN SIERRA DOUBLE and AUBURN DOUBLE METRIC + 14 miles turned out to be jewels.
Ironically, CLIMB TO KAISER was the best supported ride with rest stop volunteers going overboard, and much of the course was desolate and challenging--much harder than the DEATH RIDE, but was my least favorite of the newcomers. Two serious negatives left a bad feeling. Many key turns on the downhill return course weren't marked--and while this was apologized for and easily corrected in the future--memory of going off course and wondering where the "F" I was lingers. The other problem is significant, whereas at approximately mile 40 when you suddenly merge with a narrow country highway with no shoulder, where seemingly every RV and boat towing truck is escaping Fresno. Then the last bit of climbing is along a narrow path with jeeps going in all directions--again not pretty. Happy that I finished 64th in this hard climbing ride (the 4 mile Big Creek Climb-average a steady 10%--is miserably challenging) as my climbing ability has gone down the toilet the last few years--though I improved slightly in 2007 over the physically wretched 2006, and I've improved a little while descending..
Conversely, two poorly supported rides AUBURN DOUBLE METRIC + 14 miles and EASTERN SIERRA were great due to their routes. . AUBURN is poorly supported as organizers try but don't know enough (eg. Terra Missu at rest stops but no bananas--extend course by 14 miles but close rest stops while riders are coming in), while EASTERN SIERRA is run by Planet Ultra whose slogan should be "WHAT--you expect something from us??" (loads of legal disclaimers why no end o ride meal, why whole course isn't marked....) But each ride is BEAUTIFUL through desolate areas with nicely paved roads with little traffic, and challenging. Two big winners.
Most fun was on SANTA ROSA WINE COUNTRY CENTURY where we had a large club contingent, and the flat-slight rolling hills course kept us together most of the way. We also had a large doubles contingent for the EASTERN SIERRA DOUBLE, whereas at one time we figured we had the most club members ever together so late in a ride for a timed double--of course conversely this led to our F'ing around. (we still finished in top 1/3rd at 75th) Well, except for Steve and Jack who left and rode hard to the end--a highlight in their season as within a month each would come own with serious injury (Steve finishing the TT with a broken neck!!) The DAVIS 300K BREVET, done with Mike and Don, was also a fun social ride--especially as it did an out and back on the nicest (1st) half of the DAVIS DOUBLE, ironically due to fire we'd wind up doing an out and back of the crummy (2nd) half of the DAVIS DOUBLE a few months later.
I think I set a record for riding Mt. Diablo this year--almost every Tuesday evening at a fast conversationalist pace with Ward (who doesn't do doubles but trains like he is going to.) and then the Wednesday Diablo Cyclist charge of the light brigade fast half way up to the ranger station, and then either a solo fast continuation to the top or a ride down the other side and a fast paceline (watching out for "Postals") back to Walnut Creek.
Famous moments of 2007
June-"there is grass over there" (pointing to a lawn 50 feet away")
Me-"No I'll just lay here" (on sidewalk) When I bonked on the Mt Hamilton Challenge and decided to get some sleep on the spot as our lead group (all whose names began with "J") waited for our achtervolgers.
While I'm waiting 10 minutes with beautiful podium girls at Auburn Century, Doug finally comes along yelling "come on Jay, lets go...."
Biggest surprise quote
First long ride of the year--After 30 fast pre bonus miles our club races up Mines Road, other people who joined us at mile 30 start hammering, and I finish 2nd to the Junction. Way back is mostly downhill--piece of cake--though now I am having lots of trouble holding on and soon out of energy, and shelled off the back. But up the road is Big Mike--waiting for me.
"Hey Mike, thanks for waiting" I yell.
"Waiting hell, I just can't keep up with those guys anymore"-Mike. .
When I caught the two man coming off Big Rock ahead of me at the end of the Mt Tam Double and then staying with the Alta Alpina guy on the final climb--he had kicked my butt on the two previous climbs.
Best Case of Deja Vu
A week before Mt Tam Double a few of us went on a scouting mission and rode a hard/ fast 80 miles together. Beth & Big Mike called it a day, while Joe and Tom T. continued to kick my butt on the climbs-where they promptly dropped me on the return trip after pissing off a large Club we passed on a climb. So on the approach to Big Rock the club they po'd tried to drop me and I hung with them--fortuitous for the following week.
Best Shit Eating Grin
Tie--Both Times to CA Mike
On 300KM Brevet when Don and I saw a bikini clad coed in a clearing on the Cardiac Climb and commented that too bad Mike, now a few minutes behind us isn't a better climber--look what he missed. When we get to the top of the climb we pull over and wait for Mike--a few minutes later Mike comes in with a huge smile, by the time he passed the clearing there were two bikini babes and bi-curious action.
On Eastern Sierra double after being near the front Don and I both fell apart on different sections. Now we were recovering, Don doing lots of pulling when someone got on our two man to get towed--which po'd me so I went to the front to try to shake the freeloaded. All of a sudden a tandem goes shooting by--second wheel in the draft is CA Mike who gives me the &^%^% smile. Though tired my BEST sprint of the year as I got myself and Don up to Mike on the tandem train, and we dropped the "Postal."
Best Club Ride
Led a metric along the OLD Sierra Century route, but in reverse where we hit Slug Gulch at mile 25, and after constant rollers/ climbing we end down the great Fiddletown Expressway. Beautiful day and everyone disappointed when ride was over that it wasn't longer--next year a full century. As this is my riding "homeland" brought back some great memories when 100 miles seemed daunting...
Not doing the Death Ride this year. No--didn't miss the Death Ride, but the weather was supposedly warm all day--probably will never be another day with perfect weather for it again.
Monday, October 1, 2007
This is nondescript century ride through farmland and some rolling hills among vineyards in the middle--improved by the good support of the Davis Bike Club. Two years ago this was my fastest century ever as I could follow powerhouse Big Mike on much of the route. Today would be difficult as our other club members were doing an abbreviated route fixed gear version--so I am riding with Dave on his recumbent--and it is impossible to draft him. If we didn't make friends it would be a long day with a steady but not oppressive wind blowing from the West.
This ride tied together much of the great Century season. Dave and I (and Big Mike) got stormed on early in the year on the Tierra Bella., when Dave was just thinking about doing the Death Ride on a recumbent and I was geared towards finishing in the top 25 on the Mt Tam Double. We both agreed that the impetus went out a little after our epic rides. This course would touch upon parts of the Davis 300k brevet (where Don and CA Mike were hoping to qualify for B-P-B without knowing it was going to storm in France), the Davis Double and the Knoxville Double. (Heck--it was nice finally seeing the Knoxville markings on the ground--last time we were here it was dark.) No pictures from the Foxy--this is from the Death Ride. Anyone could get a recumbent to 30mph on the flats, but not to many people could climb like Dave did on the Death Ride--as he leads a group up Ebbetts. I'd get a motorcycle if I couldn't stand on a climb. Westworld.Images
The Davis Bike clubs only misstep is at the beginning at registration--1 toilet for 2000 guys. Saw Craig on a line that looked like was cuing up for Rolling Stones tickets. Then saw Don in the parking lot who has seen me do my favorite pre ride activity--sleep in the car. He was leading the fixed gear gruppo. Just turned light around 7am and many nervous beginner century rides took off at first light--worried about finishing this course. Brought back memories. Dave joined us--we continued to bs until 7:30 and then we took off on a route that would begin by skirting the ag fields surrounding Davis. Not many people leaving when we did and luckily Davis volunteer's stationed on all the big turns (and it is a well marked course)--luckily as I am the club leader in getting lost and Dave did hold that distinction for awhile when he got lost on the Terra Bella. Cool enough to f my breathing (Dave wonders why I'm hacking as been quiet all summer) and crisp but not cold--crisp enough to ride hard at the beginning into the headwind to stay warm. We're passing scores of riders--the typical Team in Training clusterfuck where they have a beginning paceline on the shoulder but idiot mentor is blocking the road rolling near the center line yelling instructions. Apart from blocking our bikes--don't think the few cars on the road appreciated being blocked either. (Took only two "on your left" to get mentor to move over--Dave commended me for not trying to squeeze between the paceline and mentor--which would have surly lead to disaster.)
I'm a lously crosswind rider and when we didn't have headwind that is what we got--but no choice then to carry on. Up ahead it would look like there were a few cyclists that we could latch onto--but before we knew it we easily caught and passed them and the hopes for a paceline was gone. I told Dave that I hoped a paceline would be coming up from behind us but none was--then finally one shot by. This was our salvation and we hustled on to the back of three guys. At first I thought they knew each other but as we rode on I wasn't sure, as one guy did all the work and the other two guys just sat in. When I thought they were a group I didn't want to bust up their paceline and would be real content for them to do the work--but after a while the pace slowed slightly and no one else came forward so I moved up and volunteered to pull, and my offer was gladly accepted. About 5 miles to the 1st rest stop, with one mile to go Dave moved his recumbent to the front--upped the pace--and now tired I did everything I could to hang on. A flat but windy 24 miles-18.5 mph.
Next section starts off North (crosswind) thru ag land, then heads West (headwind) and finally South (crosswind) on Pleasant Valley road where the grape covered hills offer some protection from the crosswind. Quick water stop at mile 43-where average fell to the mid 17's. Here they had some new Cliff "gummy bear: energy chews--Dave got excited until he saw the flavor "Margarita-Salt" I had one and tasted truly disgusting. On the rollers would lose Dave and he'd hustle back--passed by a few riders but I was on good behavior--until a "Team in Trama" guy drafted off of us and then attacked on a hill. First time I passed him I had to laugh--we were entering the only suburban section of the ride--where Big Mike/ I counterattacking a few years back where we missed a turn after one attack. But now I know the terrain as this is the start of the Knoxville Double--the good portion as we get benefit from the streetlights. Soon out of suburbia onto a rural road, (which is totally black on Knoxville, so finally saw that the road markings DO exist for that ride. Rollers getting steeper so I'd lose Dave--I caught and passed a whole line of riders including "Team in Trama" guy for the 4th time, then pulled into a driveway and did loops until Dave arrived. He could sense I was getting anise--and after lunch the terrain would be more to his liking (flat after a big climb) so he told me to go for it--I hammered past the same cyclists again--caught the fastest one---and we rode a two man to lunch at mile 61--average still in mid 17's.WHERE THE HELL DO YOU DRAFT BEHIND THIS ?? Professor Dave zooms down the Road on Tour of Napa Valley--background very similar middle section of to Foxy. Photocrazy Photo
After running in and out of rest stops on hard doubles, and no spending much more time on hilly double metrics, I was going to enjoy the moment. Large cushions spread around Wooden Valley Schoolyard which I flopped on. Guy with trailer with 8 car spearkers (and a woofer) that inspired my bike stereo there playing tunes. I had a big Turkey/ Roast Beef sandwich--nothing else but Turkey/ Roast Beef and bread. Though some Hammer products on ride no HEED-luckily I carried a 2 scoop baggie with me. Very sunny and even warm now. Lots of stretching as I remember serious rollers as soon as we leave lunch--Dave remembered them also as he was flying down them IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION on a club ride last year. Now heading North on Hwy 121 which would eventually become Hwy 128 and start moving East. Some traffic so good idea to stay in the shoulder--but almost an accident when guy in front of me on a short but steep section decided it was now time to suddenly and fully stop and get off the bike. Again I lost Dave on the recumbent but he was gamely chasing, so I rode to "set a target" (remain visable to rider in the back.) At one point I saw two recumbents up ahead--road flattened out--Dave caught up. I told him two more recumbents up ahead and he took off like a flash and left me in the dust--now had tailwind and easily going 20+mph but no getting back near Dave until I caught him and one other recumbents on the Cardiac Climb. When I passed I yelled out "damn roach coach"--other recumbent rider puzzled until he figured out that i knew Dave. I knew I didn't have a chance in hell staying with the recumbent on the long and fast downhill to Pleasant valley Road so I continued to go up hard--plus lots of targets in front of me to pick off as I had done at Knoxville. But before my head swelled one rider zoomed past me and I couldn't get on his wheel--he was seemingly 100' in front of me on the whole climb on Cardiac but I could never close the gap. Then a tandem with a sign "Foxy Tandem Roadside Assistance" (or something like that) shot by on the false flat near the summit. Past Mike's" Bi Curious Action" spot (as seen on the 300k brevet) but nothing going on. Very fast to one of my favorite rest stops--Lake Solano Park at mile 84. Still mid 17's. Had another roast beef/ turkey sandwich--hold the bread. Dave came in very soon and needed to recover from the big climb so we sat around for awhile and enjoyed the heavily treed setting until the wind picked up and the sky turned a little grayer--and it got a little cooler. We were there around 1-, though we'd might see the fixed gear boys but they had taken out 30 hilly miles from the ride and were here two hours earlier.
Another familiar road--the long dark country road that leads to Vacaville that ends Knoxville but here we suddenly turned left to get back to Davis. Now back in ag land--road is flat so Dave and I can stick together--and mostly East so we had a tailwind but there had been a little shift so a tad of a crosswind also.. We're again passing scores of cyclists, but unlike earlier in the day with the wind shift not to oppressive. All of a sudden we are passed by a big group of Sacramento Bike Hikers--which we then latch onto
Here Dave and I stay as the ticket collectors--for numerous reasons that had nothing to do with tactics (unlike Mt Tam Double as this not a timed event.) 1) Not training for anything nor cold (to get heart rate u) so being lazy as hell enjoyed the free ride. 2) We hate when someone squeezes into our Diablo Cyclist paceline (obvious when we are all in the same kits), so I'm not going to do it to a group riding together unless invited to "move up." One guy does a lot of fast pulling--a few Sacto Bike Hikers drop out--and then a woman takes over and keeps the speed up--and keeps the speed up-and keeps the speed up.....with none of her clubmates going to the front to help. All of the sudden two riders who had latched on and were sitting in for awhile appear on my right and launch an attack and the pass the whole paceline ON THE RIGHT without saying a word. They are already down the road when I wake up and am po'd by what they did and jump (on the left) and try to bridge but can't. So I wait for the Bike Hikers paceline and take a few long turns in the front.
OK--any reader who has put up with my long belabored prose about epic rides is now in for a treat--Professor Dave was riding behind the two guys who sandbagged in the paceline, and our own professor of English writes:
`"As for the young guy with the IPOD, he thought he was by himself out on training ride, so he had the music cranked up, and was oblivious to those around him. He didn't hear me when I went by him on a downhill, and was noticeably startled as I passed, even though I had called out. Then, when we are coming out of the final rest stop, he is in the road ahead of Jay and me, weaving back and forth as he tries to untangle his cord and get his earplugs back on. Them he joins us in the pace line, forces his way in front of me, and proceeds to pull the IPOD out about every 10 minutes to fiddle with it--looking down--no hands in a pace line!!--and swerves back and forth as he gets it back in his pocket. The people behind me couldn't see what he was doing, and I think they were wondering why I wasn't holding his wheel. Answer: I was trying to avoid a crash!! I was very happy when he took off, even if he did pass on the right and scare the crap out of the pace line leaders. -- Professor Dave
I felt great--kept the speed of the paceline up--and kept the gruppo together. Eventually the original guy who pulled jumped, I followed with one other Bike Hiker, and we rode a three man into Davis. All of a sudden out of the ag land and into suburbia--large car crash at the\corner--rumored that they hit a cyclists but didn't see any cyclist in the town teaming with comfy cruisers rolling up and down the street.
Velo sale at the finish--if i knew how to build a bike some nice prices on used frames--though I passed on the $1 USED sock sale. Good pasta meal in the same building the Davis Double finishes in. California Cyclist magazine booth outside--I lament the organized riding season is over and they mention the Solvang century--to laughter I remind them that I said organized so that precludes a Planet Ultra event. Its been a good year..
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Can't figure this ride out. 2,000' less climbing than Mt Tam Double, though ride takes me much longer and always finish in the dark while I finish Mt Tam with plenty of daylight to spare. Well, as two months after Mt. Tam sunset is about 1 1/4 hours earlier. We also leave 1/2 hour later. Or, maybe it is because it isn't timed so no urgency, or that I am always injured (2005-dog bit, 2006-hit by car) a week before the ride. In any case what promised to be a big Diablo Cyclist party petered out, and only Don was going to ride it. (but 4-5 club members going to work the event, and Kitty would be on the ride-probably starting earlier and skipping rest stops.) As Don is our fastest long distance rider, and for once I was healthy going into this, I figured we could get in just before nightfall.
Ride is put on by the Quackcyclists, and while they don't do the (great "over the top" exuberance of the Santa Rosa Cycling Club for the Terrible Two, they do a great job in every other area of support catering to what long distance cyclists need.. I always quip that this ride is their apology for torturing us on the Devil Mountain Double with 50% more climbing.
Ride inexplicably was pushed back a week which worked out great. First it allowed me to do the Auburn Double Metric +16 miles two weeks ago. And last week, when this ride was supposed to have happened, we had a beautiful December day--cold and rain, whereas September in the Bay Area is supposed to be the nicest month of all.
Other things don't quite work out as planned. Was jazzed when I saw motel on the outskirts of Vacaville--for once I wasn't staying at a hobo dive. But with trailer trash arguing in the background I sat around for an hour while I had three different rooms in rapid succession--for the first room the lock didn't open, for the second it didn't shut. Then off to the "famous Vacaville Outlets" (home of white shoes on the cheap) where the only store I like, the Pearl Isumi shop, was gone. Then off to the park for checkin where one volunteer complained about my handwriting but otherwise lots of Quackcyclist Swag (reflect ankle band, water bottle. energy bar, gel flask--all things Planet Ultra would charge for, where I picked up some Quack shorts.) I'm always amazed how low key double check in's as opposed to the festive atmosphere at a Chico or Sierra Century (with 10x as many riders and some vendors.) Now running late because of the motel fiasco, I get to downtown Vacaville just when Ray's Bike Shop (saved my ride in 2006) is closing, and he Italian restaurant from 2 years back is gone. Back towards the outlets which is surrounded by strip mall after strip mall, but pleasantly surprised as they took the Nut Tree development (used to be the one oasis to eat on the way between San Francisco and Sacramento) and created a chain store mall, but with loads of sidewalks and laid out in a street grid so conducive to walking around. Same stores where I live (Brentwood-Antioch) where the most obvious feature is the giant parking lot between stores that makes walking between stores nearly impossible.
Weather promised to be in sunny in the mid 70's but we'd be through numerous mico climates. Great that the Quacks run drop bags back from rest stop #1 where we could ditch lights and some clothes and #2, where more clothes could go before the 20 mile gentle climb along Knoxville Road to Lower Lake. I mistakenly have described it a "fun climb."--this year it sucked. More on this later.
Not a mass start, and most riders start out by 5:00. Don/ I started at 5:30. In the past I've not been the greatest fan of mass starts but a nice way to get the excitement/ heart rate up. Now Don/ I starting off in complete darkness around Pena Adobe Park Lake, with no other cyclists in sight. Glad I brought heavy duty lights--though part of the beginning is through suburbia streetlights, most of the pre dawn route is along the highway service road or rural roads leading to Napa Valley with no lights at all. Unlike Davis Double that has workers waving the turns in the darkness--here you better spot the ground route markings. Luckily Don knows where we were going and he was hammering and passed about a half dozen riders --though we were passed by a racing couple. Don was doing all the work and I was holding on in the cold (50's) damp air that kills my breathing. First time knee warmers over knee wrap--tee shirt and vest and windbreaker, since February. Surprise-road that was rough last year has been repaved. We must be going fast--still dark where I double flatted after sunrise last year.
We're headed west--going over Mt George, which in past years I remember for the terrible, curvy descent. But what I've lost in climbing ability (gone from very good to good) Ive gained in downhill (OK, now poor but used to be utterly terrible) ability. I took Mt. George easily as breathing still f'd, but it was actually warm on top of the climb and at the downhill which I had fun on. We still hadn't seen many rides until we went past idiot cyclists #1--riding side by side and bsing on the downhill. I said "on your left" but they didn't move from their side by side position--Don went over the yellow line to pass but I wasn't having none of that--so I had to get a little louder with a stronger sense of urgency in my best "da Bronx."
The Napa Valley floor was foggy and colder--reported to be in the high 40's. Must have gone through the organic section of Napa, area smelled like wet cow shit. Pulled into rest stop #1--mile 36--17.9 mph, workers dressed for Siberia. Any thoughts of sending clothes back when on the top of Mt George would now wait. Don and I have similar rest stop body clocks--especially on an untimed double--we'd both be ready to leave in about 12-15 minutes.
Next segment was lots of fun. We continued North in the Napa Valley we here we saw hot air balloons as sky finally clear and sun was out. . Here I started sharing some work with Don, especially when someone would become a passenger on our two man and I would kick it into gear on a roller. At some point passed by the famous Lee Mitchell sag, and I wasn't going to let him off the hook--I started yelling "play some Doors." (Great guy and real helpful but the music he usually pipes out of his sag van usually could be improved upon.) He gets on the loudspeaker and lets us know that his music equipment is broken. No matter, I've been grabbing some live tunes off of You-Tube and then editing them for my MP3, the fast pace of this portion of the ride was perfect for the constant quick beat of a live version of Berlin's techno -"Sex" that I recently edited--and now kept racing though my head.
One Grizzly Peak Cyclist would be a passenger then attack on rollers, so when the rollers kicked up a notch Don/ I dropped him. (Rumored that Grizzly Peak doubles leader Marc starting at 6:00 so he wasn't around to watch over his disciples.) Then a long but shallow climb from Napa Valley East--now sunny and actually warm, and here is where Don and I passed loads of the early morning starters while just riding at an even pace and having fun.
We soon hit the top of Howell Mountain and White Cottage Road--part of the impetus to pass as many cyclists as possible was to go downhill on the curvy run in as small a group as possible. Tense and wound up last year (after hitting a car on a downhill the week before,) I enjoyed the downhill, and all to soon we were zig zagging East towards Lake Berryessa along a flat road that would have rollers increasing in duration along the way.
Don & I on start of beautiful Knoxville Road climb that turned from sunny & fun too windy, cold and painful Thanks to Ravi-also a doubles riders-who was taking photos just for a Second Harvest Food Donation.
First half of the climb up Knoxville Road--the first 10 miles--went real well. What's not to like, starts with a real scenic water crossing, a steady 3% grade, hardly any traffic. Only negative is the road surface isn't the greatest, but the rough road is usually just concentrated around the shallow culverts that run across the road each 1/2 mile.
But some things soon became apparent.
1-There was a slight headwind at the start which would disappear if we were momentarily sheltered but got increasingly strong as we climbed,
2-Though sunny out, and we're climbing a a nice clip, the headwind is from the North and it was getting cooler and cooler,
3-Hmmmm, my ankle feels weird---kind of like after I twisted it 2 weeks ago at the start of the time trial at Auburn. But it hadn't bugged me in two weeks, but now it was starting to hurt.
About half way up the Knoxville Climb gets steeper (maybe 5% instead of 3%), it was getting colder, and my left ankle did not want to turn the pedal so I was doing most of the work off my right leg. I was getting cold and usually I could up the pace to warm up but nothing doing today. After having passed scores of riders, now Don easily rode away from me, and others started to pass. I pulled off to put on vest--Don waiting for me at water stop after the tunnel. We caught up to Kitty, a B-P-B (sic) finisher who can put in more miles than almost anyone, while skipping most rest stops but not terribly fast on climbs and she started an hour before us. However, Don started riding away again and I couldn't go much faster than Kitty--who did start to detail all the food she was going to eat at lunch.. Luckily a few downhills started so I could get some relief while coasting ,and while wondering how I was going to do the oppressive (10% and long) Cobb Mountain climb after lunch while I could barely do Knoxville. Figured that they must have athletic tape so I'll get massage therapist to wrap my ankle and take some Advil.
Right before we get to lunch two clubmates come by in a Sag and yell some wise ass stuff but I'm in no mood to joke around. I know the person taking numbers at lunch--glad to see a friendly face--and her significant other also working the lunch stop and will put together some food for me. But all I want to do is have massage therapist look at ankle--which he does--says there is scar tissue building that he has to break up--and it is in one of three places the 3rd place might hurt. "AAAAAAAAH"--it did. Massage therapist said he loosened up the ankle but now it felt worse--I could barely walk as I stumbled over for some food. Oh yeah--ankle taping--he could do that but no one had a roll of athletic tape--but EVERYONE had a roll of duct tape. Spotted another sag driver/Quack organizer I had known for years--tape--oh yeah "duct tape." I didn't want to put duct tape on my skin--but I wanted to finish the ride--so I wrapped my ankle OUTSIDE my sock and took some Advil, and then ate a hearty lunch of a tostada shell before I stumbled back on the bike. As last year Don didn't seem in much of a hurry and was letting me set the rest stop pace.
On the bike I felt better but BIG PROBLEM at stop sign and then traffic light out of Lower Lake. I always clip in/ out with left (now bad) ankle--and at stop sign I couldn't and barely made it out before crashing down. So at stop light I made a conscious effort to clip out right--which involves leaning the bike a different way so you don't go crashing down to the ground (last time I clipped out right was appx 9 years ago when I first got clipless pedals--I clipped out right but leaned left--and quickly fell.) This right clip out was more successful than 9 years ago--but it also meant that I had to start, where you put down some torque, with my left foot once we got going--which didn't work out well. Luckily for the rest of the ride, as very few traffic controls, only had to clip out a half dozen times in 90 miles.
Right away we start on a gentle climb as a lead in to 10% Cobb Mountain. Right away we hear a womans's voice laughing as she passes "it's those Diablooooos"--it is Fresno Lori--great climber and Triple Crown Race winner from last year. I pick up the pace to ride at her pace but Don talks some sense into me and I drop off--which is just as well as I died on Cobb Mountain. It's a long climb and the first part is the steepest so I just put it in an easy gear and tried to spin but no matter how easy I couldn't turn the pedals with any force and Don again disappeared in the stratosphere. I finally got pissed at myself and jumped out of the saddle. A nice person who wasn't the fastest climber pulled alongside me and offered encouragement as I was struggling, she said something like "wow, you are climbing in a double" and then pulled ahead.
At that point I wondered what the hell was I doing--sitting and spinning wasn't protecting my ankle, I wasn't going anywhere, so I might as well try standing. A revelation--standing didn't hurt my ankle nearly as much--and though knee and quads protested that I would stand too much for the rest of the day--my ankle won out--and it turned into a recipe for success. Don took a little speed off on the climbs, and I'd stand right away as soon as a climb started to stay with him--take very short sitting breaks--and then pop up again .
Though we only had a small group--end of ride pasta meal was great--Don/I joined by Craig/ John from the rest stop, Todd, and in a little while Kitty. Quackcyclists give out nicely etched pint glasses. Go over and hunt for photos of Don/ I on Ravi's computer (doubles rider form Davis who took photos in excahnge for donation to food bank.) Ravi is a fixed gear track rider and he enthisatically urges me to try out the track--but at this moment I hate my bike. Besides hurting--I'm kind of disappointed--after Mt Tam and Auburn were such smooth rides and this turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated.. Additionally, this signaled the end of the 2007 doubles (and baseball) season.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Huh, they finish in last and Barry Bonds last season full of acrimony. But my youngest daughter turns out to be as big a "crank" (term for fan from beginning of last century) as I am, and we had a great time going to a few games. Few times she went to the game and I watched at home and we'd text message back and forth about the ballgame. She was as ecstatic when she met Noah Lowry, as I would be meeting Willie Mays..
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Auburn is in the Gold Country but further North than the Sutter Creek-Volcano area I am familiar with--in fact I had never been to Auburn so I got up there early the day before just to kick around and take advantage of the early check in. Route sheet showed that supposed 126 mile ride was really 139 miles, but I had no clue what the terrain was going to be like--not that many ride reports on the web. Iowa Hill, where they run the time trial, was supposedly an average of 13% but only 1.7 miles. Course seemed like a mini Climb to Kaiser.
Doug vanishes uphill and they hand me my starting time so I'm ready to go--absent mindedly forget to start my watch, and more importantly slam down on the pedals on an uphill dead stop and FORGET I was still in the big ring. F-my ankle hurt immediately and hurt the rest of the day. Still with an adrenaline rush I don't pace myself but want to get back to Doug as soon as possible.
Doug is happy about the next section which feature long uphill rollers that have kicked up to about 5-7%, where he is happy to have me slack off as we bs, and long twisty downhill sections where he proclaims "this is a fun section" and then shoots off. After a while I am tired of chasing him so I kick it up a notch on the uphill sections so he has to chase back. The weather is now perfect--probably high 70's as we continue on a well paved tree lined road with very little traffic. This reminds me of the El Dorado Forest section of the Old Sierra Century with the grade a little tougher and this beautiful section a little longer. Another rest stop before we come out of this horizontal section of our inverted A--mile 67--Sugar Pine Boat Ramp stop, which is supposedly lunch. We still have lots of climbing so just another tortilla shell , though a worker gets a banana from his car for me. Doug is still anise--"lets go," "lets go," while at the same time starting to express doubt that he will do the whole 139 miles.
We quickly get to the Western leg of our ride--where the trees start to recede and the views of the tree filled valley of the surrounding national forest are constant. No more rollers--the road is now a constant uphill but usually a gentle 3-4%. Doug gamefully along for the ride but his pace is falling off--a Fremont Freeheeler passes us at a leisurely pace and Doug can't hang--unfortunately the boy has been business travelling too much. This part reminds me of the out and back portion of the Grizzly after lunch. I ride at the Fremont Freewheeler pace until the center line disappears and the grade kicks up a bit, and I shoot on ahead. Now like the final run in on the Climb to Kaiser but not nearly as steep..
One rider coming back yells out " just 1/4 of a mile more" but the climb was long but gentle--I had lots of fun even with constant (but slight) pain from my ankle. The climbing was now almost all done and the word that described the ride was not "hard" but "beautiful."
East and west views from the Tahoe National Forest seen on eastern leg of the climb.
Foresthill Road a few miles from the 6,000' turnaround at Robinson Flat. Road as smooth as a babies butt, little to no traffic, this would be a feature until getting to Foresthill 26 miles away on the return trip.
Now in Auburn and riding with Fremont Freewheeler who also using this a tune up for the Knoxville Double. I warn him that I am my CLUB CHAMP---in getting lost--and I proptly take a wrong turn that we have to retrace. Finally back in the parkling lot @6:20--90% of the cars from the morning gone. Supposedly there was chicken but none left--just a few scoops of rice and veggies. One rider keeps insisting that they are cooking more chicken for us--never see anything but more overhangs/ chairs/ tables being carted off. Funny thing is that Doug and I rode easy until we split up at @mile 75, except for STOPPING AT MILE 7 (alright it was mile 9) we didn't take more than 10-12 minutes anywhere else. I'd love to do this ride next year but start 30-45 early (they sag lights from the 1st and 2nd stop), and ride harder so that can be more a part of the organized ride--with people around and rest stops open. Otherwise why $$$ for this ride--may as well come up here and do Doug's metric ride. In any event--BEAUTIFUL AREA, will try to get some Diablo Cyclists up here