Sunday, March 7, 2010

More and More East Bay Hills Century-2010

(March 6, 2010) Castro Valley-Redwood-Skyline-Tilden-Lets Do BOTH Bonus Options-Bears and Rodeo Refinery Loop, 100 miles, 15.3, w Ward, Jack, Christine, @80 miles with Stephen, June, Dave Last weeks Century ride seemed harder as tired from the day before, the climbing was all front loaded, and we were racing most of it, but today's century had more sustained climbing which we felt at the end. (Thanks to Ward Industries for the elevation graphs--now in their 100th year producing bicycle charts and other fine products.)
We were supposed to do the Foothill (Merced) Century (3500’ climbing) today but a few things conspired against it. (1) Merced is a long way away, and (2) weather forecast had a good chance of rain in Merced during the week, always with a little less chance in the East Bay. Even though forecast improved for Merced throughout the week, it always improved for the East Bay more. And (3) the Foothill is a nondescript century whereas we could easily ride a nicer route closer to home with alot more climbing. Its appeal is seeing a crit with domestic pros while eating the end o ride meal—unfortunately after a good end o ride BBQ a few years ago last years BBQ was something akin to road kill pigeon—awful at best.

So Friday snuck up, no one suggested Foothill, but the emails were flying as to how we could change the bike club route (50 miles, 2500’ feet with easy climbs of Redwood Road at the base of the Oakland Hills.) to get a longer ride in. Of course I didn’t realize that we were looping into Redwood Road from Castro Valley instead of doing our more popular ride where we hit it fast from Moraga—so my route change made no sense. Ward and Jack came up with options which all sounded OK to me, my only sticking point was that I wanted us to get 100 miles in.

Forecast jogged to slightly worse the night before the ride—50%-30%-00% chance of rain popped back to 20%. But Saturday morning was, though chilly, real clear with lots of blue. While it didn’t get as warm as last Sunday it stayed nice throughout the day (66 high in Martinez, the county seat, by 12: 47, with gusts topping out at 7mph.) and almost always sunny unless riding through a dense stand of trees.

Not a big turnout for the Club ride. No MC Hammer Twins or anyone else that would get our dander up and force an upped pace at the beginning. Stephen had a flat on the Blvd, where lots of early groups passed while he problems changing the tire, so our ride out was at a real sane pace which doesn’t happen often. The Ward-Jack plan was to keep us with the larger bike club for a large part of the ride, by half the bike club had other ideas and was doing a flat ride down to Sunol instead—so the bonus mile group parted ways with the bike club early.

We rode cooperatively to Castro Valley towards Redwood Road, just having to regroup 1-2 times. Ride featured lots of mini climbs on the edge of suburbia. After last Saturday made sure I was ingesting enough carbs (50 an hour) and had upped the Heed concentration and took a bottle of Perpetuem with me—though there are better flavors to add to the chalky mix than Hammergel Banana. Felt good except left calf inexplicably sore, maybe because cool weather in early morning didn’t make it happy (Castelli knee warmers a good fit but NOT long, and after too many socks including high sock liners last week just riding with a short wool pair this week)

Another short but attention getting climb out of Castro Valley towards the Redwood Road climb. Climb was great and on the speedy downhill that turns into a speedy flat I regrouped with Christine, Ward, and Dave. Christine pushed the pace and I was soon dropped, but not by her pacemaking but by the comedy of Professor Dave—who was riding a regular framed bike today.

At the Davis Double last year, while waiting at the end for Dave another recumbent rider pulled in and by chance I asked him if he had seen Dave on the road. I start describing Dave but the recumbent rider knows him, and had ridden with him, and gave me specifics as to where Dave was on the course. This led me to conclude that all recumbent riders are in a secret sect where they all know each other—so whenever we pass a recumbent I have to yell out to Dave “do you know him.” So we are speeding on the rustic straightaway next to the Lake Chabot Golf Course and in the opposite direction two recumbent riders ride by. I wave and yell out hello—though one rider looks goofy as his ‘bent" has a huge windshield that is painted with Dr Seuss candy cane stripes. When I ask Dave if he know them, usually mellow Dave cuts me off and sternly says “if I ever look like that go ahead and shoot me.” This is so unlike Dave I suddenly double over laughing while the group rides away, where I just hear Dave’s surely voice again and can’t do anything but laugh until the road turns up.

On Redwood Road there are lots of motorcycles shooting by and a few bikes coming from the opposite direction. Getting us ready for our 120 miler on Mines Road next week. Christine sets a torrid pace and Dave and I stay with her. We get to the top and Ward and June close behind but no Stephen, Jack or Andy, who I figure we’ll have to wait a few minutes for. But a few minutes pass and no one?—then Andy appears and says Jack flatted at the base of the climb so Ward and I ride back down and do a large part of the Redwood Climb again.

After a long downhill the official ride has us turn back to base via Moraga, but everyone but Andy wanted to do extended miles, so we climbed up to the Oakland hills with June setting a steady but reasonably fast pace; so much so that we joked when Stephen took over that we slowed too much. Warm rest stop at the top of Skyline were we continued riding the ridge line overlooking Oakland the “wrong way” (more steady/ gradual climbing when going South—our Northern route featured many short but steep climbs.) At Sibley Rest stop riders zooming out--we were in the middle of a cyclocross race. An East Bay Cyclocross Club woman shot by and a few of us got on her wheel—she was a good climber and on a headwind section I went to the front. When the road suddenly turned fast downhill I didn't try to keep pace with her—but Christine nicely did. (Funny-today Christine wearing a Death Ride jersey, not a Cinderella one so no constant camaraderie from her bike sistas.)

We regroup and went down Golf Course road—I'd have rather taken the longer but flatter (past Lake Anza) wau but somehow the road never gets repaired at the edge of the park. Quick rest stop, and the uphill rollers back to Inspiration Point—I was po’d that my calf had tightened up (which it never does) and I couldn’t get the oomph I like on the rollers. Then the long downhill and we were on the Bears, which was one of the two bonus mile options Jack/ Ward had presented the day before.

At Tilden Ward took a few photos, then tried a few with the timer, and then a guy voluenteered to take a few--while climbing onto a bench he almost knocked over my bike so I have a freaked out look in the official team photo, so this composite will have to do. Note Mt. Diablo behind Jack (far right)
Stephen, June and Dave turn off to Orinda as the rest of us start up Papa Bear—kids will be kids—a few cyclists came in from behind and got to close so Christine and I had to rev it up a notch to get away, knowing that Ward would regroup on the downhills. Poor Jack was hurting on the climbs but he knows where to make up time, and came in at the end right behind us.

OK—we had the knarly uphill to the Pig left, which I like but I’m in the minority. Trouble is that going back via the Pig might be great torture but would only get us @80-85 miles. Ward showed his genius by suggesting we also do route bonus two—the refinery loop through Rodeo and the edge of Crockett. Great idea—better still as we had a tailwind and a couple of miles where the road wasn’t going up or down for the first time since the start of the ride. We had a nice paceline and then climb through the refineries where we pass under what looks like the mine head at the enter of the Arenburg Forest in Paris Roubaix. Sweet.

Long downhill which ends in a roller and a traditional Club sprint point and then we then took turns cannibalizing each other on all other subsequent rollers back to Pleasant Hill-Walnut Creek. Funny-no major signature climbs like the other two self supported century rides (Calavaras-Sierra Road Century, 5875’ and Tilden-Palomaras from the Castro Valley Side—6800’), but going up and down all day so had more elevation gain.

Postscript-next day we were all dead—my calf killing me and heavily wrapped—so we decided to take a nice spin though Highland Road after going to breakfast with the Club-and TAKE IT EASY on a relatively flat 50 miler. **Some racers had other ideas and when they jumped off our paceline we chased; when I caught their lead guy on the rollers he told me how he and his friend took a hard ride the day before, and then I told him about our Century. **Dave came by on the 'bent to take out the sprint. **Later on I rode hard back with Christine and Jim in tow (until we hit the flats where Jim took over) to a big group (my old bike Club) 1/4 mile up the road while Big Jim kept mentioning carrots—he musta been thinking about dinner. **We regrouped and then some guy from Bikeland jumped hard from a stoplight and tried to stay ahead of Ward, while Ward easily paced him from the side. **Luckily Dave didn't yet know that this guy dislikes recumbents--I don't want to see Dave get surely again and roll his Triple Crown jersey into a rat tail and snap it at riders making fun of 'bents who don't own a Triple Crown jersey.

Later I found out, as a (M) Club Cut Jersey is essentailly the same as a (L) Race Cut Jersey, a (XL) neoprene Elbow Brace is essentially the same as a (M) calf brace. And I also signed up for the Alta Alpina 8 Double-20,000' climbing.

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