Route-C 33% suburban ugly, 67% rustic from Mt Hamilton through Mines Road & Calavaras
Support-D Virtually nonexistent but we know that going in
Energy-D Few riders--no support--empty post ride hall
As plan to do Devil Mountain Double every OTHER year, and this was an OTHER year, registered for this strange century as only game in town & good training ride. We had a good group of riders though not the "balls out" group we had two years ago with Tom, Stephen or Chris always pushing the pace. We were joined by Jason, a real nice guy and elite Mountain Bike racer, doing his 1st century; he would probably stay with us on the flats but push it on the long (but gentle) climbs of Mt Hamilton and Calavaras. Going into the ride Ward and Mike hurting, so I'd try to pick up the slack at the front of pacelines etc. This still didn't prevent Mike from proposing that we add on the Sierra Wall towards the end of the ride. Didn't anticipate a problem with this ride (haaa) and just happy that after a string of rainy weekends, the weathman promised us a sunny-90 degree day .
After cutting over from one highway to another on the WRONG Mission Blvd., get to high school in Santa Clara where I drop off my 3 bags of food/ sports drink that will be carted to the 3 rest stops--where organizers will provide water and lemonade. Then bikes have to pass a "stiff safety inspection" which means someone from the Pedalera Bike Club whacks the seat and bounces the bike on the tire. Shit--lucky they didn't do a helmet check. As two years ago w/ f'd around until 7:45 and then accidents/ flats meant we were always off the back, this year we decided to start at 7:00.The good news is that you could already feel the warmth so no arm/ knee warmers were needed--and vest could come off at 7:20. The bad news is that the first 14 miles is though some suburban planners wet dream--huge expressways built for tons o cars lined by parking lots, strip malls, and business parks--and streets full of glass. Just think, what Antioch is aspiring to become. We hit every fn red light that take a day to turn green. Comic relief is every time we go over tracks, Mike announces that these are "light rail vehicle" tracks--so at every stop I ask him things like "are you sure they are not trolley tracks." The passing trolley, streetcar, I mean light rail vehicles all have "GO SHARKS" as their destination display. Oh look--a beautiful natural waterfall--oh yeah right, just something in front of CISCO headquarters.
We paid for this? OK, not much. The budget century. Some of the lovely scenery at the beginning of the ride--while waiting at yet another traffic light. . Think that is an elevated cable car on the right side. (WardNews "Fair & Balanced" Photo)
Fading yellow "Jack in the Box" arrows put down at the turn of the decade--the 1800's--so hard to see many of them. Jack takes a wrong turn--which he usually only does when he rides with me. A few hanger-on'ers who are letting us pull concerned about our group being directionally challenged so they split--but we take detour to Alum Rock Park--mile 17 where rustic road-climbing suddenly begin. Bathroom in park locked so the guys do Sierra Club dedications. Poor June & Johanna.
June & I in front of some more beautiful stuff--a regular old growth forest. Ward-o-crazy, the nature photographer photo.
Uphill section begins and June setting a great pace--what could be better. Stupid me--a cyclist comes flying by so I have to leave "the good life," get on his wheel, and work hard to be pulled back to Jason where I tell him of his mountain bike compatriot. Then we jump on guys wheel, I think we are closer to the top than we are so I take a long hard pull that leaves me dead--we are @ 3 miles from the top so I fall off while Jason races off with the stranger. Later Jason told me that my pull had dropped the other guy until I died--but I didn't want to fade that quickly. Legs felt great-but aerobic conditioning betrayed me; passing scores of other riders getting to the top small consolation. (We probably saw more riders on this stretch than the rest of the route combined.).
Riding through the wide open/ flat/ little traffic/ nicely paved, San Antonio section of the road from Mt Hamilton--if only the whole century took place here. (Ward-o-photo)
We pass the DMD rest stop on the other side of the road--they are packing it up as their riders have come through. I go over and say "hi-I'm alumni, can I get some HEED." The Quackcyclists are so nice they basically tell us we can take what we want. I mention that I'm on the ez ride today, and next year will do the DMD again--I am corrected by one Quackcyclist--"your ride is hard also." He'd prove to be right. Now grind through the center of Pleasanton-prettier (in a small town way) than San Jose-Santa Clara--but now the streets chock full of cars.
What seems like an eternity I get to Levin Park after thinking I probably went the wrong way. A half dozen cyclist crowded around bathroom using as much cold water as possible. I fill bottle and drink half of one on the spot No sign of Mike or Ward who I think are still behind me. I coast down to Fremont where June-Jack-Jason-Johanna are waiting on the sidewalk in the shade. My heart is racing, I'm sweating like crazy-standing is a problem. I indicate I'm going to lie down, June point about 50' away to a nice lawn--I can't make it. I declare "this spot is OK" and sprawl onto the sidewalk. Then Jack-June start trying to call Ward-Mike to see where they are and if they'll be here soon. No rush-no rush---I think "take your time" and may be the happiest person when it takes them 20 miutes+ to roll in. .