Saturday, August 22, 2009


(August 22, 2009) Calavaras-Diablo Century 95.7 miles, 4,160' climbing, 16.7 avg. 70 miles with Diablo Cyclists, then 25 mile detour over Mt Diablo Ranger Station w/ Jack and Ward.

We had done this Century route on July 5th, but with 1/2 of Diablo first instead of finishing up on it, and climbed teh hard North side the first time, and today finished on the easier South side. Can't figure out which way I like it more though certainly warmer on Diablo in late afternoon, and better to do the South side with all of its recovery sections when tired.

Today was MIA Day. My fellow triple crown rookie (2005), California Mike, was coming back from his 3 month, one year, two year exile in Hawaii building something to hold Kaiser’s white courtesy phones to the advice nurses. Mike had become the ringleader, or chief hooligan (with new tatoo) on the Tradewind Cycling Team.

Big Mike had also been a regular of late, so with Ward I have my three training buddies from the last few years. But at the beginning of the ride no Ward and no CA Mike. CA Mike showed up at the last second—but no Ward who is usually early so I figured he was somewhere on Mt. Diablo (when it is warm in the early morning we always talk about how we should have prerode Diablo) and was somewhere en route.

About a dozen of us started down Danville Blvd where CA Mike started catching up--the usual email from CA Mike is a photofunny with a the caption "do not open this at work."

Cycling photo below Not actually from a CA Mike email but when it made the rounds the general reaction was "didn't CA Mike send it???" But those in the know knew that CA Mike didn't send it as cyclist is wearing too many clothes.
Danville Blvd not bad in the AM with its nice bike lane/ shoulder, light traffic and just enough stop signs/ lights to be a touch annoying. The pelaton rode down steadily—only exciting moment was when a cyclist passed us and I jumped on his wheel, but he was wearing a Kissena jersey—the name of the Velodrome less than a mile from my college--and I never knew the Veledrome existed. Turns out his team runs the Velodrome. Wished him a good ride and I went back in the paceline and was on good behavior.

At mile @18 we stop at the restroom and Ward arrives-no early Diablo, he just started late. Cross the freeway overpass and now on the great run in to Sunol, about another 8 miles of flats and easy rollers with less traffic, and less traffic controls than before. On this section we all pick up the pace, CA Mike is trying to lead me out to the triple decked roller before hitting Sunol but we get stopped by an active road repair zone, I marked Joe, and we he went I followed with predictable results—our best climber zoomed away on top of the first tier and there was no getting back.

Old timers day continued on the porch at the Sunol General Store, where ex president Trina (or the closest our club ever had a president) was already there with Chiropractor Jim. Jim would continue with us to Calavaras, while Trina went another way after inquiring about her good friend Clint. Later we’d even have a shorter Rusty sighting, when he passed us in the other direction. In Sunol a long line of antique cars passed, someone joked that they were rushing to get to the dealer before the cash for clunker program ended.

We had about another 14 miles to the end of Calavaras—one of the featured climbs on the Primavera Century. The direction we were going was the “slow” direction, a few miles of flats-2% uphill grade into what always seems like a headwind with a huge nursery running the length of the flats. Eventually the road is undivided, kicks up to 3-4% with lots of hairpins among a dense cover of trees with a beautiful reservoir off to the side.

On the flats Chris was the hardest working but luckiest cyclist, she was pulling the paceline for a long time, next up was Big Mike who’d easily kick up the speed—not the person you want taking over a paceline when you’re tired. But Chris got us to where the road kicks up, and all of a sudden she, Joe and I were off the front.

Chris was on a mission and she continued to hammer up the grade. We shot past two cyclists—woman exchanged greetings with us, guy was grumpy that he was being passed. Almost had a big accident on a hairpin—two Wells Fargo Racers were off to the side doing something with their bike when a human bowling ball coming down in the opposite direction kept his eye on them and drifted onto the wrong side of the road. About half way up we all started bs’ing, but I knew Mike and Mike would be charging once the grade slacked off so I took over. Near the end is a downhill and Joe and Chris rode away from me—but we all enjoyed the bonus time in the shaded driveway—5 minutes later other riders started coming in. Now officially very warm outside—Beth real comfortable sprawled out on the driveway when the owners drove down, then were back a few minutes later, then another car arrived, and then came back down a few minutes later—with all of us scrambling off the driveway, especially Beth. Turns out Ward had been a regular at Cincinnati's Skyline Chili that the great Giants Announcers Krukow and Kuiper kept talking about the other day

On the way back, the fast way, we had a real good paceline with Ward, CA Mike and me taking long pulls. Unfortunately ran out of water. Very soon back in Sunol where I enjoyed my second coconut fruit bar of the day along with a giant coke and giant Gatorade. Mountain Biker admiring Ca Mike’s new hooligan leg tattoo.

Little disorganized leaving. Jack wanted to do bonus miles and suggested Palomaras, I wanted to do bonus miles but more partial to Mt. Diablo, thinking we’d ride close to CA Mike’s house. Ward in for more miles also, and Beth with us as Palomaras would get her closer to her house. Ironically we all head out to the outhouses together and the rest of the group leaves—figuring we were heading out. We finally decide to go back with the group and add Mt. Diablo, and it is a fast chase back where we finally catch the pelaton remnants except for Joe and Chris who are far off the front.

Down Danville Blvd. has lots of traffic and the traffic lights seem to stay red much much longer as cars fill in the turn lanes. Both Mike’s hurting so we slow to ride with them when 4 guys pass. No chasing as we’re just riding in the back bsing. Ironically, after 65 miles while going at an ez pace we ride back to these 4 guys and most of the pelaton—yep, Joe and Chris off the front again. We get close o Danville and these guys pick up speed and jump in the front of the pelaton so I give chase and mark the leader as each person in their group attacks and then falls off.

Last bit of excitement for the day, after saying goodbye to Ca Mike we get ice and water in Burger King and start riding up Diablo, It was warm but hazy so the sun wasn’t beating down, no cyclists on the Mountain (circa 3:00) and a few cars. South side is soooo much easier than the North side with no real steep sections and two places the road levels off and you can easily hit 20 mph. At one point an army of SUV’s-mini vans coming down. No idiots going up passing us on the turns. Ranger Station was quiet, no campers nearby.

Not used to going down the North side as seems like we kept doing the longer South side loop all year—remembered why I don’t like the South side when a “whack a mole squirrel” came running out near the bottom and almost went flying into Ward’s wheel.

Soon back to Walnut Creek as odometer crept over 95 miles, making it just as long as the Chico Wildflower, so another unsupported (or unorganized) century in the books on a great riding day with friends.

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