Thursday, April 9, 2009


This may turn out to be best cycling photo of the year--taken by Ward

Prequel 2006-I'm in intensive care a few months before, daughter in for brain tumor a couple of months before. Did Solvang Double and two century ride. 60 Mile ride to scout out the course inc. Sierra Road once which I feel great on. Weight 149.

Prequel 2009-No doubles but 4 Century rides done in March, one in April--two self supported over hardest sections of DMD, inc Sierra Road three times which I feel like crap on. Weight 146.

So in comparison going into this DMD in much better shape--but the "back thing" (going out on Serra each time this year) has me worried enough to get my 36 small ring replaced by a 34, and worry about it for the ride. The only other worry is the weather; we'll be at the top of Diablo at @6:30am and the top of Mt Hamilton @3pm.

Wed-April 8-5pm-Rode to the top of Mt. Diablo with new gearing in heavily overcast weather--58 degrees at the base--39 degrees w/ 21-30 mph wind and 100% humidity at the top . (Mt. Diablo 38 degrees and 100% humidity (21-32mph wind, 28 degree w/ win chill) at 6am, Mt. Hamilton 39 degrees (1-2mph wind) at 3pm) A handy dandy climb comparison from Ward Industries, which shows the hard side of Mt. Diablo pales in comparison to the eastern side of Mt. Hamilton and Sierra Road.

April 11th & 12th--Tapering. No more self supported hilly double metrics, no more Sierra Road, but two very different 75 milers. On Saturday we had one of Stephan's Napa Tours--a very fast Diablo Cyclist ride on rollers around Napa. Chill in the morning which quickly ended because out of the gate someone was always attacking attacking. As this is the anniversary weekend of the greatest Easter team ever, was decked out in my Domo Farm Frites kit and had to try to counter-attack. The middle of the ride was punctuated by Ink Grade--the climb I had to walk my hybrid on my first century, and since I always try to time trial it. After leading the charge up Stephan and Dr. Dave countered and kicked by butt near the top, but was pleased with the time (23:10) which wasn't far off times from a few years ago when I was a much better climber. (2003 22:49; 2004 22:15 & 22:25) Also please my back didn't go out. At the end of the ride some of the early morning attackers were dying out so I launched one on a roller near the end to see what anyone had left. I didn't have enough but some of the ealry morning attackers had less, and Ward was launched to a sprint finish. Compared at 2006, my last DMD, my climbing has fallen off, but my downhill has improved greatly, and I've improved somewhat on the flats and endurance.

On Easter day went for a bike ride with Donna who was suffering from doing Mt. Hamilton the day before, so she had trouble staying on a moderate pace to the Bollinger Climb. But she was game for more riding and a few of us did a moderately slow ride down to Sunol. If I'm smart on the DMD I'll drop down a few notches for the first 100 miles.

(top) W/ Stephan on fast paced ride though Napa Valley and Ink Grade--my tribute to the greatest Easter Team ever (photo by Ward) (bottom) Donna & Ward at the Sunol Train Depot on a long but crusing pace ride. Many of our good club rides (Calavaras/ Palomaras, run through the tiny town of Sunol.

Actually it looks like I got one of the wishes I made yesterday when chilled in the Napa Morning. (High in Livermore 62, with Mt Diablo 37 at 6am and Mt. Hamilton 43 at 3pm). I just hoped for +15 more next Saturday with no rain. Well, the long term forecast for Livermore high of 77 degrees and sunny. GREAT--though if I knew it would have been that easy I would have been greedy and wished for +20 degrees.

Tuesday-4 days top go-Forecast is now for an 81 degree high for Saturday. Great but could have fooled me. It was a high of 58 in Livermore today, 37 at 6am on Mt Diablo, 34 at 3pm on Mt. Hamilton, with high winds. Hail & showers moved in by 6pm. Donna's car is in the shop so I took the opportunity during the last 3 commutes to drive the ugly (lots of traffic) Crow Canyon Road and desolate Norris Canyon Road--the two hilly closing sections of DMD. Much hillier and more places with a disappearing shoulder than I remember--put another reflective band in the drop bag.

Wednesday-3 days to go-Still a chill in the air for the Diablo Cyclist nighttime ride up the the Mt. Diablo Junction. As tapering rode in a bs'ing pace to the Junction, for the first time in weeks didn't go to the top nor go down the longer South side. Last night to test out my setup for DMD, 34x chainring, Open Pro w/ King Hub in front, American Classic on the back Carbon Fibre soled shoes (great comfortable soles shitty uppers.) I'm a little uneasy as threw out my back the three times went up Sierra Road in the last month, and hard to believe it will be 80 degrees in 3 days while it is just touching 60 degrees now. As I used to be the Diablo Cyclist Club getting lost...I wonder if Craig has set an over under for not for time...for how many wrong turns I take.

Thursday-2 days to go-Long long checklist of stuff to prepare, eg. charge/ change batteries in lights, pack Tums, pack reflective vest....Of course rear blinkie fog attached to my helmet not working and no spare batteries. OK, all done, time to watch 2002 Paris Roubaix for inspiration. Starting hitting the bagels for carbs today; Monday had been a 1900 calorie 42% carb day, today was a 2970 calorie 63% carb day.) Still calling for a high 0f 80 on Saturday--it topped out at 65 today. Been trying to be good and go to sleep by 11pm all week...we'll, I've made it in before midnight every day. Self imposed curfew and tapering good way to cut out the usual 1am series of leg curls, leg lifts and sit ups in the real 24 Hour Nautilus--my garage.

Friday-1 day to go-I still follow the Jo Jo formula that worked so well for the Sierra century in 2003-two days before the event OFF THE BIKE and the day before easy spin--so I took a easy 40 miler out to Los Vaquaros, keeping the bike in the small chainring. At 75 finally a hint of good weather, with predictions for a high of 80, Sunny and very light wind holding for tomorrow. It was actually slightly over 50 at the top of Mt. Diablo at 6am and 57 at the top of Mt. Hamilton at 3pm. More bagels for carb loading. Finally run through getting everything together, then a nap and suddenly it was time for an early pasta dinner and checkin about 40 minutes away which was 1:15 due to the commute traffic--which made me real edgy.

Unlike Century bike fests doubles are "here's you number, drop off your "late night bags" see you tomorrow at 5pm." Nice at checkin saw club doubles Queen (and past stage race winner) Kitty whose never nervous about these things , club member Craig who works lots of doubles and promises to make me a pumpkin butter sandwich, and legendary sag driver Lee who blasts music from his sag wagon BUT NEVER THE DOORS, so I lobby for THE DOORS. Otherwise it was a very very slow commute home where I changed batteries in my lights and was able to watch two innings of the Giants game before hitting the pillow at 9pm. THE WORST THING ABOUT DOUBLES, the times they start and the time you have to go to sleep the night before.

Nice to see Craig and Kitty at registration. Will see Lee pass by with music blasting about a dozen times tomorrow, goal is to stay out of his SAG van, as 10-205% of the riders will probably not finish.


Anonymous said...

Your graph is misleading. You shouldn't show Mt. Diablo Northgate Rd. and Summit Rd. as two separate climbs, but as one. All your graph shows is the relative steepness of the roads as compared to each other. As anyone knows, it is not only the steepness of a climb that matters, but the length as well. What also matters is where in the ride the climb occurs. To get to the backside of Mt. Hamilton requires many miles of riding over a number of significant climbs on a not so smooth road, which can take take a lot out of you.

Jay said...

Thanks for the comment, I think you're being a bit harsh, and equating length with steepness is NOT valid. I'd rather ride 3-4x as long on a moderate climb than on a steep one. For example the San Jose Side of Mt. Hamilton is 19 miles at 3.9%, most of it is easy and fun to do--and makes that known as the easy side." By comparison the Livermore side is only 4 1/2 miles of climbing, 5 1/2if you throw in the precceding Seeboy Ridge climb, but at 8 1/2 percent it is much much more punishing than the San Jose side.

Looking at it another way I can tell you the Death Ride is "The Fun Ride" w/ long but mostly gradual climbs, compared to "Climb to Kaiser" with the 4 mile 10% Big Creek Climb that everyone dreads.

If you get up to the Gold Country try Charleston Road--it is less than 4 miles but has 3 20% sections, all 1/2 mile or less. It's the hardest climb I know. STEEPNESS MATTERS.

Ward Industries has done some more graphs-one that does combine the whole of Diablo--and the west side of Hamilton. I'll try to get them on. Anyway enjoy and please send feedback as you complete Bay Area climbs. Best.

Anonymous said...

Hi, me again. I have a spreadsheet that uses 3 different formulas I found on the internet that compute the difficulty of climbs. The formulas are as follows:

1. r = (altitude gain)^2 / distance traveled
2. Calc. Diff. Rating = (Vert./1000) X SQRT(Grade/10%)
3. Rtg. = distance * (grade/1%)^2

These formulas rank Mt. Hamilton (front) the hardest, Mt. Diablo (Northgate to top) next, Hamilton (backside) next, and Sierra Rd last. One of the formulas ranks Diablo harder than Hamilton.

One thing about steep, long grades; if you don't have a low enough gear, steep grades are harder. You also have to force yourself to ride slower.

I tend to believe the formulas. I've ridden all these climbs, and the front side of Hamilton hurts me as much as the back. I do think Mt. Diablo is easier though.