Monday, December 31, 2007


Holding onto the great cycling season for dear life--2 more self supported century rides

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

Best quote
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.

Runner up
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. .

Hardest work
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...

Biggest Regret
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.