Monday, April 26, 2010


(April 5, 2010) Chico Wildflower Double Metric, 123 miles, 5,000' climbing. W/ Ward & Dr. Dave on the Double Metric, w/ Jim, Jeannie, Mark, Amy on the Century. 17.1 avg. (175 ride rating) (WI)

Ward's email directly below nicely sums up some of the ride highlights & remember to vote for Doug LaMalfa as he's one of US, not one of THEM!Hi.

I hope everyone made/makes it home safe and sound.

A good ride today. Preliminary stats are 121.0 miles in 7 hr and 8 minutes. I lost about a mile of data after lunch when the POS Garmin Edge 500 (did I say it was a POS) would not restart and I had to reboot it (I need to practice hanging onto the back of the paceline and rebooting my instrumentation, chasing back is too hard). Last year our time for this ride was 7 hr and 7 minutes, so we are slowing down as we get old.

Special thanks to Jim for his work on the front on the windy run in to Durham. Once again, we had quite a parade. And note that we are just over 7 hours for the extended ride, tempting eh?

Thanks to Mark and Jay for the suffering you provided on Table Mtn Road on the way to the Lake Oroville rest stop. I was kidding (sort of) when I thanked Amy for flatting so we could pass all those people again. I did no work and struggled to hang on, then I fell off the back on the last roller. When I caught up I had to go "over the top" as hard as I could (isn't that what Paul says to do?).

Dave, I'm amazed that you bented your way up Table Mtn. That's not an easy climb and dodging the pedestrians while on the bent must not have been easy. You did not miss much by skipping dinner, there was not much left.

Jeanne, next year we will get you a tazer so those guys let you into the appropriate place in the paceline.

Amy, you rode well for as few miles as you have in your legs this year. Next year we'll get you trained up and you can help Jim pull us across the flats.My butt hurts, I vote for smoother pavement.


Chico, the ride around the college town in the middle of nowhere (3 ½ hours North of San Francisco, 1 ½ hours North of Sacramento, the closest city, with only farmland and rednecks in between) brings back lots of memories. In 1997 went up to this strange place and bought a jersey from one of the many local bike shops, figuring I’d never be back. Then John and I closed down a pizzeria/ bar at 1am and the next day may have been last to come in on the metric ride. For a couple of years after I’d go up with Donna and we’d do the metric where the honey Run climb with its hairpins that kick up seemed damn hard. We also loved walking through the light bricked college campus and the downtown loaded with bike shops and mom and pop stores. Then there was the year I stayed home to take my daughter to a No Doubt Concert and then saw Patti Smith the next night—and the next year I couldn’t ride as was rehabbing from getting upended by a dog—so I hobbled around Chico with the kids while mom rode and hoped that one year they may go here for college to this school—as it is one of the few California colleges actually in a college town.
After a year of knee rehab time trialed the 100 solo, joined the Diablo Cyclist but they still left at 8am and cut out a chunk of the course so Big Mike and I started at 6:45 and then tried looping back to find the wives’ in 95 degree heat after the kids drained my water bottles at the end. Then my oldest wound up in Chico State and we stayed in her apartment the night before the ride—the one next to the freight train tracks and her building shook and shook and shook for the train or next door parties all night. Now I feel old as it seems like yesterday that I wanted my kids to go to Chico State and now my oldest graduated a few years ago.


Historic Chico photos, w/ my cycling mentor John by Honey Run Covered Bridge (1998), I'm in front of downtown mural (2002)

In any event gotta love a college town that has its main streets named after amusement parks—the Skyway and the Midway.

For the last few years Ward and I and other Diablo Cyclists have instituted the double metric. The Chico Wildflower is “only” 95 miles—basically 3 mediocre climbs with few sections of rollers and lots and lots of flats. The last rest stop, in Durham , is a @25 mile loop to Chico but there is a bail out straight shot shortcut back to Chico that tired century riders can take. So when we loop back to Chico we ride the bailout in reverse, get back to Durham, and then do the last loop again.

Donna, Ward & Dave take the Chico Bike path to Honey Run the day before the Wildflower (PC)

Somehow, in the chaos that is the run into Covered Bridge/ Honey Run, we never see the interesting things on the side of the road. (PC)
The other tradition, as the Chico Wildflower is on Sunday, is to do a good ride the day before but stay in the small chainring to prevent tired legs. One year Donna complained we were going to slow. The pre ride has gotten more ambitious in the last couple of years. This year we started going up Honey Run, the 2nd hardest climb on the course, which the next day would be jammed with riders very early in the day. But due to the different light and absence of other riders Honey Run the day before is very different and enjoyable and the views are great—so we decided to do it again. Donna has been on bike sabbatical this year but she was game and Ward, Dr. Dave and I paced her up Honey Run and into the drunken town of Paradise (some “we hate bikes unless they are Harley’s” fest was going on.) From there it is a long smooth downhill almost back to Chico on Neal Road—oh yeah—one little thing. Someone forgot to build an overpass--Neal Road dead ends with Highway 99 so we have to play frogger to get to the other side. Ward & Dr. Dave by the Covered Bridge--the next day we never stop here though we slow down greatly with cyclists spilled all over the road (PC)

Donna by the Covered Bridge (PC)

I hope Ward doesn't look down tomorrow on Honey Run and steer off the road (PC)

Dave didn't know that Christine drove up here in her mini Cooper (PC)
While the warm up ride was great—it cut our time hitting the many bike shops arts/ crafts stores in downtown to a few minutes before the usual pizza dinner. (Downtown has sagged a bit over the years as a mall on the outskirts of town has gotten larger.) Its always great seeing the downtown area ringed by huge shade trees and bungalow type houses with no garages. Very different from California typical California suburbia.

Checkin at the Fairgrounds (PC)

New bike hands free water bottles that look like pumpkins. (PC)

I'm urged to pose with my hero, Mr. Overrated, who needs a Domo hat. Then maybe he would have raced a full schedule. (PC)

Over dinner, Mrs. Dr. Dave and Mrs. Pumpkin plan where they will attack the pelaton before they used the Chico Wildflower cloth map as a napkin (PC)

Next morning we set met up at Chicoland main Gate. First time I did a century ride with Cyclocross Champ Mark and his wife Amy. As last year Chico Native Jim, Jeanie and Ward were back again and Dr . Dave was new to the ride. He’d have both his bent and wedge machine up in Chico and as he prerode with the regular bike he’d be on the bent for the Century—I thought a better idea was to stay with the regular bike for the first 65 miles which features the climbs and duck the bent’ in Durham and switch to it for the pancake flat loop. (Like wise AI should change to a time trial helmet in Durham) Temperatures were supposed to touch 80 for the first time this year sop all extra clothes was left behind. Dave had packed his recumbent steamer trunk with 10 lbs of “stuff” including two different suntan lotions (I think one for a base tan and one for a savage tan later in the ride.)

The Diablo Cyclist squad meets at Chicoland Main Gate (WI)
First climb is Humboldt Road which goes up in pothole strewn asphalt and luckily down a smooth road. Rumor had it that it was repaved this year, I think they just blacked out the old graffiti. I started out wearing a cap as the sun is just rising over the bluff behind the climb. Mark shot off as he would on all three climbs. I rode strongly up with a college student from Chico—incentive being that as the worst descended I had to get to the downhill before the group so I could get to the bottom and pull off the hat and neck buff.
Jim leads the paceline down the bike path to Honey Run (WI Helicopter Shot)
Off Humboldt we were almost immediately on the run in to Honey Run, which is narrow and filled with bicycles including 60 milers who get to bypass Humboldt Road. English as a second language is tested here, when we nicely yell out “on your left” and the person bsing in the middle of the road doesn’t move. But we kept a nice paceline, and bypassed the Covered Bridge water stop as cyclists were aimlessly walking the bikes in circles around the road as volunteers tried to get them off the road.

Honey Run Road starts going up so I go to the front of the paceline. (WI)
Donna reminded us the day before that the road kicks up when the double yellow line disappears and this is a pretty good guide. Honey Run is the type of climb I enjoy with shallow sections punctuated with steep hairpins and a steep section at the end. Mark again was off and I rode pace with Ward as we squeezed by people, always shouting out an “on your left” or “good morning” warning. A few people passed but I took it easy, figuring I do hard on the hardest climb of the day, Table Mountain. This tranquility ended when we approached the top and one person squeezed by on the left without saying anything. This got my dander up and I kicked it into gear on the steep section and repassed him and 2-3 other people who had ridden past in the last ¼ mile.
Amy on the special Chico Wildflower diet (WI)
The rest stop in Paradise was packed—the biggest line for food I had ever seen. Actually volunteers were telling people to use both sides of the table and the long line was just cued up on one side, so it was easy to walk over and grab some great locally made date nut bread or coffee cake. The only bad thing is water is kept in clear dispenser bottles that require a pump that isn’t too exact/ not working, and because they are in clear bottles the water would be warm all day. It was nice having 6 clubmates on this Century ride, conversely, but unlike last week when we only had 3, we stayed at rest stops much longer—this and 4 flats would slow down our coming in.

Mark & Jeannie at Paradise rest stop (WI)

Leaving Paradise are 3-4 significant Italian (you can’t power over) rollers, which eventually leads into a long straight shot downhill which I wanted to start before all my clubmates who are downhill maniacs. Also, again not hard getting ones dander up as while waiting for a red light before a roller someone would time/ jump the light so they have momentum going into the roller. Here Mark and I tag teamed and we shot ahead of everyone—he slowed on the downhill so I could keep pace with him.

I'm talking with Dave at Lake Oroville rest stop that maybe if we wore our Diablo Cyclist jersey we'd keep interlopers out of the paceline--oh wait, its over 80 degrees and we don't want to melt (WI)

We regrouped on a flat section that leads into my favorite part of the course. We’d lose the 60 milers so the crowd on the road lessens and we head to Lake Oroville on a fast back road that starts with a series of baby rollers and ends with a series of medium rollers. Again we rode a nice paceline until a group shot by without saying anything, Mark, Ward and I got on their wheel and when the medium rollers began Mark and I went hard to the front—Mark did most of the pulling and I gave him some relief ion the middle before he resumed. Only Ward and one guy from the other paceline managed to hang on with us and just when the road flattened Ward, who had been unhooked, shot by in a nice sprint finish.
Mark takes it easy as he waits for the rest of the club to regroup at the top of Table Mountain (WI)

Lake Oroville rest stop was the most crowded I had ever seen it. Years ago most people opted for the metric, now more folks doing the century. I also think lots of people left early fearing the hot weather. More coffee cake. Lots of great food but many more porta-potties needs as lost of time standing in bathroom lines. Then it was off to Table Mountain.
Dave hits the top of Table Mountain (WI)

Table Mountain looks just like its name, instead of a peak it looks like someone took a ginsu knife and cut the top off. It was now approaching the heat of the day and Table Mountain is mostly out in the open. I was planning to hit it hard for Alta Alpina (being fatigued) training and there is windy, bumpy, technical downhill off of it going into lunch which I hate—so my plan was to slip into a pocket where there are no riders around on the downhill.
Jeanie and Amy at the base of the twisty Table Mountain descent (WI)

Table Mountain worked out well—stayed with Mark about 15 seconds. I talked to one guy about the Davis Double and I couldn’t keep his pace—I was disappointed but he was the only rider who wasn’t a cyclocross champ who passed me on Table Mountain. At the top most riders stopped at a large water stop but I hammered up the road until I got on someone’s wheel who was going at a good clip. We traded pulls, and I told him I’d fall off on the downhill, but I did a good job keeping the speed up until the intersection that is about a mile from lunch. I didn’t want to go hang at the crowded lunch stop so I just found some shade above the intersection and waited for the club—unbeknownst to me Ward flatted, and Jim said it was a cluster fuck coming down as they were surrounded by the large YoungLife (follow Jesus off the road) group who were flying all over the road taking turns at unsafe speeds.
The Chico Wildflower--the chaos that is the lunch stop. (WI)

Lunch was hang out city—I stupidly had a premade gourmet deli sandwich (yup ) that had lettuce and may on it—8 hours later I’d still be tasting the lettuce. Another super crowded stop. Donna said she got there on the 60 mile route at 10am and it was virtually empty. Now it was a zoo.
Jeannie on the flat section between Durham and Chico (WI)
We help a good speed but nothing crazy, mostly behind Jim or Dr. Dave. I’m getting good drafting off the bent as I like riding in the drops but when Jim was second wheel the bent just provided cover up to Jim’s knees. We were passing loads of folks, but missed two more powerhouses (Mark and Amy had gone back on the shortcut) to keep our paceline energy up. Half way in we were passed by a big paceline, our group fell behind them and I was attentive for late sprinting hijinx or a gap forming—but the guys up front were steady and we wound up back in Chico.
The nature of the 2nd half of the ride significantly changes. Now it was time to go through the flat valley and the most significant climb left would be a freeway overpass. We held a nice paceline with Jim and Dave usually leading the way.

We had a problem with people trying to cut into the paceline—I was kinda oblivious to it but Dave was getting pace line "shoulded." But the trip was uneventful and soon into Durham , from there a large circle of the ag fields back to Chico.
Jim pulling on the flats on the run in to Chico (WI)
Only Dave, Ward and I were going back for seconds, and Dave/ Ward needed water. I was wary about pulling in to the fairgrounds as I just wanted to roll and not tighten up. Donna was sitting in a lawn chair, she loved the metric ride and figured Santa Rosa, with less big climbs, would be easier. Then we were off.

Donna finished the metric and relaxing at the fairgrounds as we start the last Durham-Chico loop again. Oops, I forgot to tell her I have cold drinks in the cooler. (WI)
First it seemed the wind picked up. Then when we pulled into Durham rest stop it was kinda “slow and uncrowded”—we hadn’t made the same time we made last year. Now just the slower riders were on the course, we’d yell out encouragement as we rode next to them.

Then I flatted and it sucked but kicked my butt into reality to be prepared for the hard Doubles coming up. I had an aero wheel but only packed a regular tube. My CO2 adapter was broken. By the time we got going all the impetus was gone. Whose stupid idea was it to do the final 25 mile loop again if Jim isn't here to pull us (WI)

We rolled in around 5:00 and give the Chico folks lots of credit—they still has lots of dinner for us and the people limping in behind us. We agreed that ride is unique due to “different” nature of Chico, and rest stop food is great, and with abundance of course markings even I couldn’t get lost. But SAG vehicles were invisible, drinks could be better, more toilets at rest stops badly needed, and course would be more interesting with more rollers and less totally flat. Also noted that more Wildflower out this year than in any other, which somehow corresponded to more clueless cyclists out this year than any time before (maybe folks riding with their head up their butt looking at the flowers)..

Wish we would have stayed another day to leisurely take in the town, but instead kind of hustled so we’d get home around when the sun went down, so went quickly through ag land dotted with campaign posters that read “conservative for…” and “he’s one of us.”

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TIERRA BELLA-200 KM (2010)

(April 17, 2010) Tierra Bella Double Metric, 125 miles, 8050' climbing. With Ward & Jack. 15.6 mph (235 course difficulty rating, like doing 2.3x flat century rides)

Ward-o-data-with bottom graph just looking at the three significant climbs if the day. Mild grade/ tailwind Gilroy Hot Springs was fun, long Henry Coe was hard but with many recovery sections was also fun. Hicks Road was painful.
Tierra Bella has changed through the years but certain things remain the same—always starts at Gavilan Junior College in Gilroy, always super support by the Almaden Bike Club, and the route will feature some attention getting climbs. Besides providing great support, the Almaden bike club knows when to change the route. The first time I did the 200 km ride, about 5 years ago, the ride headed north to populated (suburban ugly) San Jose and looped the steep streets at the base of Mt. Hamilton. Realizing that the bonus miles on this route were kinda pedestrian, the route changed and a year later sent us east to climb up to Henry Coe State Park, roughly an 8 mile 8% climb with some significantly steeper sections near the top. This year the organizers decided to throw in another “bonus climb” on the 120 route, and after Coe ALSO send us Northwest to go up Hicks Road.—a 2 mile climb that eventually features a steady 10%+ grade. We must be in Gilroy(PC)
The weather has kinda “SUCKED” in the Bay Area up to now, and Gilroy—the garlic center of the world, is about 2 hours away—meaning a long drive (violates my stay over somewhere if further than 1 ½ hours away.) It was 58 degrees when I left my house at 5am but the thermometer steadily tumbled downwards to 48 degrees. Forecast was for low 70 high but I didn’t wasn’t to carry lots of clothes in the morning , but also didn’t want to freeze. (Alameden Bike Club only had a few missteps on this ride—they didn’t answer an email sent about drop bags—which wouldn’t have mattered as they didn’t provide the—drop bags at rest stop 1 or 2 would be a great way to improve this ride.)
In the dark, cold, sleepy early morning I was in a surly mood when my chief teammate, Ward, came rolling by in the clown car. On this ride he might be my only teammate as only one other clubmate signed up, and Jack was getting over the flu. Our Club membership has “aged” in the last few years and less and less people sign up for long rides. In any event the sight of the clown car, and the sun finally rising gave me some positive energy.
Temperature in Gilroy would creep up perfectly all day;
8am-47 (WNW 1mph)
10am-57 (NNW 4mph)
12pm-67 (N 4mph)
2pm-72 (N 4mph)
4pm-74 (NNW 5mph)
—with all the climbing mixed with sunshine and the first time the Bay Area was solidly in the 70's this year, the later part of the day would feel a like it was in the 80’s. Nice. Even the 47-57 degree period didn't feel so bad as was working hard on the flats, unlike the inability to get warm coming down Mt. Diablo at 45 degrees as Ward and I had done twice midweek.

Finally real food on a ride--lived on bananas and great seeded mini muffins. (PC)
Almaden Bike Club had premailed map and wristband, had the parking lot well manned and organized, had porta potties on the road right by the start, so basically it was park your car, set up, no checkin, and just go. Jack was feeling like crap but he was game, so he found us in the parking lot and it was time to go—and this is not the ride to do when getting over the flu. It was a warm 48 and though took sock liners with no toe covers, mid weight glove inserts, light undershirt non lined knee warmers and vest, (so NO jacket, toe warmers, wool undershirt or heavy glove liners) and I was not too cold. Only mistake was that I had on a thermal headband and should have taken a regular headband to change into when it warmed up.
Ride starts out North then East through suburban/ small town/ farm country Gilroy , and them do a rustic loop of Gilroy Hot Springs. We were riding fast to keep warm, and the loop was great as it featured the rollers that I love. The first rest stop was “only” at mile 17—I’ve gotten used to the longer spaced minimal rests stops on doubles or the “carry our own food’ self supported century rides, and really enjoyed having a rest stop well stocked with food. Here the same volunteer as always took photos of all the arriving riders. To supplement my Perpetuem/ Hammergel mix—I grabbed 2-3 mini muffins and a banana, which I’d do at 5 of the 6 course rest stops. Jack was on low energy so he wasn’t rushing out of rest stops today, and sometimes Ward and I would get bonus rest stop time arriving before him, so it we did have stops that were more leisurely than usually (though not as long as when we have a dozen riders and someone is always NOT ready to leave.)

At Rest Stop 1--Jack and I looking at something? Someone come up with a clever caption_____________________________(WI)
Passing folks going towards rest stop 1 I noticed that I was dead wrong in my prediction of abundant Team Shack jersey’s. This climbing century gets many hard core riders so lots of people wearing Death Ride jersey’s, and the most Triple Crown Jersey’s I had seen on a Century ride. Saw one familiar tall guy wearing a Triple Crown Jersey, it was Sacto Doug II (as opposed to Sacto Doug I—ex club member) with his significant other “the boss” of the Doubles pelaton, Joni.
Leaving the rest stop we crossed paths with a group of “Team Spike” folks, and we pacelined with them. Everything was cool until a group shot by—of course that got my dander up and on the next serious roller I went to the front leaving Gilroy Hot Springs, and on a gradual climb with a nice tailwind I tried to keep it at 20 with a long line following me. We hit the top hard, with Ward and Doug in the line behind me, and I pulled over knowing that I wasn’t going to be anywhere near the front on the ensuing twisty descent. Folks came by thanking me for the pull, and I rode down with Doug who “likes” downhills as much as I do. Ward waiting at the bottom for us, and we waited for Jack and then pacelined North thru the flat ag land.
The traditional "This is Spinal Tap" team photo taken by the Almaden Cycling Club at rest stop #1 (thanks Alamaden Cycling Club for great support)

Here we pulled a half dozen riders from Woodside, and unlike many folks who cling onto pacelines they were more than willing to share the work. So now 9 strong we steamed North into a slight headwind. We wouldn’t coordinate rest stop departures with them, we were probably stronger on the hills and they on the flats, but we always seemed to be riding together and working well for much of the day.

Protocol is that as we just know Sacto Doug II and Joni a little, we can't put up all the embarrising photos we took of them....yet.(PC)
Around mile 41 we started on some neighborhood uphill, went down to a bridge by the Anderson Reservoir, flew over two bumps, and then started the 8 mile uphill to Henry Coe Park. I was feeling good—riding Ward’s pace until a guy with a Alta Alpina Cycling Club jersey flew by. I thought about “not” chasing but I wanted to find out about Kingsbury Grade on the Alta Alpina 8 (a climb Not on the Death Ride) so I put in a big effort to catch up with him. I finally pulled alongside and out of breath asked about the climb—his response—“oh I’m not a member of Alta Alpina, I bought this jersey at Sea Otter.” Fuck—that should be illegal.

I'm starting the climb up to Henry Coe (WI)
Impetus out and I pulled over to take some photos and wait for Ward—as he does for me off the downhills. We finished a downhill roller and started another steep section of the climb when Ward blurted out “UH-OH” which sounds a lot like “JAY-GO, especially when said with a sense of urgency.” Apparently a rider was coming up fast so I took off for the rest of the climb, and as I never look back I had no clue he dropped behind quickly. Shot past a group of coeds who we had pulled earlier in the day and they yelled out “Diablo Cyclists—you guys are awesome.” What was also awesome was that it was actually warm on the climb so my breathing was good, and though a steep climb it had recovery sections, and no one enjoyed the climb more than me.

Ward half way up to Henry Coe. (PC)
The temperature dropped a little at Henry Coe but it was windless and sunny among the oak trees.. I had more mini muffins and bananas and lived dangerously by both (1) mixing Gatorade with my remaining Heed—I think Hammer Nutrition warns of an impending explosion, and (2) eating a wrap with lettuce and mayo—things I usually have to avoid.

At the top of Henry Coe Jack goes hoolahooping. (WI)
Eight mile twisty downhill on a steep narrow road was a clusterfuck. Loads of riders were riding up, and for the most part they were better than the Death Ride riders who ride 6 across the road on the climb. But cars were also trying to get to Henry Coe, and they’d pass the uphill riders in the middle of the road, and over more on “our” side around a blind turn. Great riding downhill in a 4 foot lane that sometimes suddenly closes to 2 feet. Around one steep hairpin I saw a minivan behind a group of uphill cyclist-‘fn great,’ I thought, ‘he’ll pass them on the hairpin like every other truck/ SUV did.’ But he actually stayed in back of the cyclists around the hairpin; I slowed when passing and yelled thanks which got his little kids stoked.

I'm happy as finally came off the steep traffic filled downhill from Henry Coe. (WI)
It just seemed a lot longer getting back to the Anderson Reservoir Bridge than the climb earlier, and Ward Industries was filming a commercial. After the Chairman completed a wardrobe change (warm clothes were no longer needed) it was again off in a Northwest direction.

Ward Industries promo at the Anderson Reservoir Bridge that signifies the start of the climb up the Henry Coe.
We picked up the Woodside clan again and they did their fair share of pulling the line along with Ward and I.. Also picked up a few more riders who were grateful to be pulled in the slight headwind, which was fine as we felt good, and no one was sitting in and then sprinting off…except…. We also ran into Shaun Kelly and his white kit clad friend who sat in on the flats then took off on the rollers. I contested one series with them but it blew our group apart, so for the rest of the day when they’d come flying by we’d just let them go.

On one of the flat areas between climbs I'm pulling the paceline with the Woodside Boys, a good group to ride with who would do alot of work at the front. (WI)
Funny moment at Calero rest stop. One Triple Crown clad women see Jack’s saddle, which looks like it was polished with Old English and while asking him “how do you get your saddle so shiny” starts caressing it. Jack says, ‘oh that “Bug Balm” or “Butt Butter” or …. in any event woman shrieks, we’re ready to call the CDC as she quickly starts wiping her hands vigorously on the grass

Ward resting up at the Calero Rest Stop which we'd hit twice from doing the bonus miles. (PC)
More mini muffins and time to go to Hicks Climb, which we did with Dr Dave after a storm and crap was all over the road. We ran into the Woodside Group and this time I just sat in, knowing what a bitch the Hicks climb is with NO relief spots and grades consistently at 10-15%. It’s relatively short—but not short in a Tour of Flanders sense where you can just power over it—though a tri guy basically did.
Ward hitting the top of Hicks. (PC)
When we hit the Hicks climb I just get zoned in—though I’m no longer springing out of the saddle like on the Coe climb. I’m moving forward at a good pace when a tri racer and two coed friends catch up—I stay with tri guy for awhile but he powers away in a 39x25. Meanwhile one of the coeds is yelling that they need to turn around as her saddle nose is straight up but tri guy doesn’t want to turn around or stop until the top of the climb. Luckily Ward did and fixed whatever problem there was.

Unlike earlier seat incident, Ward was unafraid to touch tri woman's seat on the climb, and finishes climb with her. And Ward didn't yell at her about the tri bars. As Dr. Dave says--"at least Cristine wasn't there to yell out 'Ward, you get her phone number.'" (PC)
Apart from some faded red direction arrows, here we ran into the only Planet Ultraesque (eg bad) support of the whole day. A SAG driver in pickup was coming down Hicks and yelling out that you turn when you reach Mt Umunhum Road—he has deserted his turnaround spot 0ost. He later drove back up and I told him not to worry I had sent people up Mt Umunhum. And though Jack was really suffering post flu—he also did the whole climb.

Jack finishes the Hick Road climb (PC)
But here it was clear that sag motorcyclists or a nimble SAG driver was needed—twice on the downhill he passed us in the pickup and then stopped dead on the road not far from where we were going downhill with some speed. Doug/ Joanie were riding up and saw me yelling at the sag. Good thing was that unlike Henry Coe Road, on Hicks Road sag from hell was one of teh few motor vehicles out.

This end o ride meal stinks (and it wasn't because of garlic)! (WI)

Rest of the trip was uneventful, now heading South so we had a tailwind. We kept together well until we’d hit rollers where Jack would suffer, and we’d wait and regroup with him on the next turn, where on the flats we three could paceline back to many of the people who had passed us while Ward and I were waiting on the side of the road. As Yogi Berra said, it was dejevu all over again.
We’re back in surburbia—long stretches of flats which eventually go into long rollers, punctuated by traffic lights. I’m feeling good and though Ward is half dead he’s riding like Wilfred Peeters (watch 2001 Paris Roubaix) and powering over climbs and leading pacelines. Then I get my dander up as we get a prime example of what Bike Snob calls “shoaling”—where slower riders arriving at a red light, will push in front of the cyclists already there and set up in front of you even if this means going into the intersection/ crosswalk.
Light turns green and I jump to the front revving up the pace—when the road flattens out Ward suggests we let some of the shoalers come to the front and do some work, which they do until the next hill and we take off. All of a sudden we’re back at Gavilen College, @ 9 1./2 hours after we started (8 hours of riding time.) Really looking forward to usually good catered end-o-ride meal. As trying to keep weight down will pass on the ice cream/ dessert. Walk to college lunchroom and they are serving SEAFOOD JAMBALAYA—with a vegetarian version for people who love fish like I do. Oh crap. No one in our group is real excited, and no dessert around, someone said all finished by the riders who did the shorter courses. Other folks sitting outside (beautiful outside now) also grumbling about the food.
Later when we were back at the car and Doug pulled in wish I would have gotten a picture of his face when I told him what the end-o-ride meal was. Think this was a case like the Napa Century years ago getting a band that plays bicycle parts to perform at the end—what might have seemed like a cool alternative to the RIBS, CHICKEN, PASTA, BURRITOS at the end of a ride sucked.
But all in all a real nice, and challenging day. I figured hitting the climbs hard and getting "wasted" would be good prep for the Alta Alpina 8 where I better do the 20,000' climbing at a more moderate pace--I hope I'm right.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goodbye to Servais

"The bikes are out of the way and the Dutchman is on the track"
-Phil Liggett (PR-2001 finish)

Servais Knaven, covered with mud, as he unexpectedly wins 2001 Paris Roubaix, a race he'd finish a record 16 times. Pez Cycling.

Servias Knaven announced his retirement today after finishing Paris Roubaix for a record tying 16th time (which is 16 times ahead of Lancypants!) **In his last PR Servais finished in 43rd place, and was never in contention, but just finishing the most grueling race is a feat in itself--something I should remember on hard doubles. He's going to retire mid August.

In the race that first caught my eye while recovering from knee injury--the wet 2002 Paris Roubaix where the great Johan Museeuw storms through the course, Servais was near Johan, his team leader, for most of the race helping out--this after a bike accident "with a bunch of schoolguys" a few days before. **The announcers talked about Servais winning 2001 Paris Roubaix which was intriguing, as he didn't seem as fast or as strong as many of the other riders. So I had to go "backwards" and get the race video from the year before. And what a race!

While 2002 PR was the best individual performance I'd ever seen, 2001 PR was the best display of team tactics in another wet quagmire--with Servais again near the front helping Johan and frustrating Hincapie (their nonchalantly coasting when George is waving like a maniac for them to go to the front is priceless.) *While the best rider was again Museeuw--who storms back after a flat, it is his teammate Servais who "sneaks off" and gives 110% to become the surprise winner at Paris Roubaix.

I loved his interview in 2004 with Paul Sherwin before Paris Roubaix where he said "it doesn't matter who wins, as long as it is someone from (my team.)" *What a great attitude.

Servais always seemed to be enjoying himself and had a big heart. He rode for his team, helping out where ever he could, and at least twice (besides Paris Roubaix a breakaway Tour de France Stage victory) the hard work came out in his favor with an unexpected victory. *He's a great cycling role model and will be missed

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Best of the Primarvera Century (2010)

(April 10, 2010) The Best of The Primavera Century, 96 miles, 5160' climbing & 12-17 crosswind, w/ Ward, Stephen, June, Jack, Todd., 16.4 mph

No sun out so Ward could't complain about bad lighting, so no photos--only route data.
At the start of Paris Roubaix weekend Spring hit the Bay Area hard—on Friday night I was out working in the yard in the warmth. Something changed overnight—on Saturday morning it was in the 50’s with no sun anywhere and a wind whipping around. A relatively short ride (60 miles) was on the schedule and we didn’t want our #*$$’s kicked by the feminists from Mills College riding in the (women’s only) Cinderella ride, so we stayed away from their course.

Our Club ride was Palomares, and tomorrow is the Primarvera Century, which goes from suburb to suburb with a few nice spots in between. One is Palomares. The other is Calaveras.


Beautiful scenery including the Calaveras Reservoir, Palomares Canyon, Coyote Hills Regional Park, and the Altamont Pass Wind Farm with over 4900 turbines

So it seemed like a nice theme if we’d do the two best sections of the Primarvera, which would give us two gentle but long climbs.

Before that we had our usual club ride down to Sunol where tempers were raised over tactics as we raced over the last hill. Luckily the aggravated parties all rode together in the bonus mile group, everything was soon ironed out. We used the same tactics successfully on our last sprint point when someone we didn’t know ran a light to get away and then tried to take out the sprint, where Ward and Stephen came off my wheel and held the red light runner off. The hi-jinx of earlier today and last week paid off today.

Essentially the weather was never freezing (like last week) but was almost always cool and depressing. (Sunol had winds of 12-17mph all day***, 52-58 degrees.) We lost a lot of good bonus milers at Sunol because the weather was so blaaaaah. But we had a good paceline through Calaveras—and a little after the turnaround point Ward and I incorporated a short bonus—going down and then back up the "wall."
(***We had Roubaix type wind: The 2010 edition of the “Queen of the Classics” covered 259km from Compiegne to Roubaix, with 52km of cobbles in 27 sections, beginning at the 98km mark. There was a slight chance of rain, but an absolute certainty of wind — it was blowing at 22kph from the northeast, with stronger gusts. Velonews)
We ran into someone we casually knew at the end of Calaveras who was leading his own group, which had started their ride close to the start of the climb, and he said "well at least you didn't start at Heather Farms," which is our traditional Club starting point in Walnut Creek. We all kinda nonchalantly looked at him and said, "oh yeah-we did, and now we are going to do Palomares and make it a 100 miler."
Fast back to Sunol, down Niles Canyon in the headwind, and Palomares was a lot of fun as on every right bend we had a sudden favorable breeze, and every left bend had to get down low when the wind hit head on. I went up hard on Palomares trying to get "stressed" for Alta Alpina training.

At the start of San Ramon-Danville Blvd we saw the achtervolgers of the Cinderella Ride. Now while I think it’s a crock of shit to have an event for just one sex—for these beginning riders having fun getting on their bike as part of a rolling masquerade party, the Cinderella was perfect. ***
After the last two rides which were seemingly done on course with quicksand, this 100 miler with “only” 5000 feet of climbing was over much too fast.
Tomorrow should be a great Paris Roubaix with two all time cyclists involved--unfortunately all we'll hear on sports tomorrow night will be "Green jacket, green jacket, Tiger, Tiger, green jacket, Tiger, green jacket, Phil, green jacket, Tiger, Tiger..."
Though Ward Industries did not get any photos of this Century--they did capture the contentious run in to Sunol on video:Sterke Cancellara gaat er alleen vandoor

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mines Road-Patterson & Back Double Metric Century-2010

(April 3, 2010) Livermore to Patterson Double Metric via Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon, 118 miles, 7,200' climbing, 15.8mph, w/ Ward, Dr. Dave, Stephen, June, (new) Steve, Todd This baseball season all sabermetric stats will again be provided by Ward Industries, if they don't go bust over their God's Hand product.
This blog translated from its original Flemish, so de English ain't that goot.
Kop Van de Wedstrijd (Cop Van de Weck-strand, ph)-The Leaders
Muur-A Hill
Kaa-sayya (ph)-Cobblestones

On the day before the best dry race of the year, The Tour of Flanders, the bonus mile group of the Diablo Cyclists was scheduled to do one of the hardest self supported century rides imaginable. We’d climb up Mines Road with the Club, then continue up the grueling “Livermore” side of Mt. Hamilton. After going down the long “easy side” we’d then hit Sierra Road, the hardest climb on the Tour of California, before heading back. (110 miles, 10,000’ climbing)
One early problem was that we were losing members of the bonus mile group. Jack had a family illness, Christine was ill, and Dave had specific injury where he probably would turn around early. Meanwhile Ward had just flown from a distant business trip to his Three Mile Island factory and would barely make it back.

Another problem--right before the baseball season and the Bay Area suddenly has outdoor hockey weather, so I wasn’t keen on freezing on Mt. Hamilton. The predicted HIGH was for 40 degrees. Great—hot climbs up Hamilton & Sierra but have to carry around a bundle of clothes on the downhills. Pulling a Stephen (our resident 'sprint for the County Line' and 'Lets Change the Route' Expert), I proposed that we ride up Mines Road, then down to Patterson, a valley town we usually fly by on Hwy 5 on our way to Los Angeles. I remember it a bit as a good rustic route as I did the route twice on consecutive weekend in January 2004, to scout it out and then in my first road race. Nobody was in for 40 degrees on Hammy (one of the joys on Hamilton is sitting around the shaded courtyard when its hot outside, so Patterson it was.

Two intreguing things about Patterson. I want to see the streets laid out like a wagon wheel in the downtown, and the street named after Ward, kinda like all the streets named after Spanos around Stockton.
I’ve been real tired this week and with rain going up Diablo (and freezing on the downhill) on Thursday, my usual riding day off, didn’t help. I was happy to arrive at the Livermore start a hour early, which meant a solid 45 minute nap in the car. Thermometer never broke 50. The morning of the ride I had low expectations for the day—and boy was I wrong.

Club ride wasn’t very well attended with cold weather and we just went up Mines Road a few weeks back. Joining the bonus mile group was new Steve and Todd (no old Todd in club so he doesn’t need nickname.), both strong on the flats. Starting out was “the tandem” and I really wanted to ride nearby, so I could hear Captain Know It All loudly espouse his wisdom. We were in the same bike club about 10 years ago when he was also on a tandem yelling at his kids for not working hard enough, and he wouldn’t talk to anyone unless they raced or did doubles. But I really wanted to get away from Stephen with a county line sign beckoning 25 miles into the climb, so when the climb started and Ward, Dave and I got off the front and we made sure we stayed that way across the County line and all the way to the COLD Junction. Lots of cyclists on the road we picked our way through, and surprisingly good not that many motorcycles. Forecast had called for low 60’s and partial sun but it was 42 degrees and heavily overcast.

Up Mines Road--I'm telling Dr. Dave we should slow and wait for the tandem but he isn't having any of that. (WI)
County Line 1-Dr. Dave, Ward and I hit it first , well ahead of Stephen who makes it a habit of kicking my butt on sprints to County Lines (WI)
At the Junction a fan from Flanders is wondering where they can get good beer.
The Kop Van de Wedstrijd wait for the Actervolgers at the Junction.
After the hard ride up Mines Road we actually felt warm at the Junction but soon the 42 sunless degrees caught up with us, and were in a surly mood when Stephen pulled in and wanted to order from the menu. Thanks to Belgium Betty for the Lion of Flanders flag.(WI)
Tandem left early and went toward Hamilton, so we didn’t have a chance to tell them about the change of plans. As James Brown says—you can’t control everything. Stephen, June, New Steve and Todd came in, Ward, Dave and I heckled them not to order lots of food (actually we don’t have to worry about June or Todd), and off we went on the COLD and desolate downhill to Patterson. I had brought the Pumpkin Handlebar bag and a light Jacket and light glove liners—I was too fn cold.

Road to Patterson is 30 miles, and it starts off steeply downhill, narrow with not the greatest pavement and a few cattle guards to fly over. But once we hit the next county (Stephen fell behind the hill climb on the race to the line here), the road opened up, flattened out a bit, and San Joaquin County does a much better paving the roads than Alameda. Unfortunately it was still fn cold, whereas it stayed that way.
County Line 2-I'm first to it again with Ward and Dr. Dave. Hmmm, Stevie, who are we missing?? (WI)

No County Lines coming up, so the pelaton stayed all together on the rolling, rustic, tranquil Del Puerto Canyon, except when Ward jumped ahead to take great action photos--if it just wasn't so fn cold. (WI)

Dr. Dave and Todd lead the way. New Steve in second row yelling he can't hear anyone as his noisy wheel is disturbing the peace. (WI)

Ward, get that fn camera away from me--its too fn cold and I'm miserable (WI)

Dr. Dave leading the line through (WI--low cam shot)

OK-its warmed up, I'm almost happy now (WI-low cam shot)

Loud fans line the sides of the road (WI)

Stephen now ever vigilant for more County Lines, proposed that we ride back North to Sacramento County then circle in through Contra Costa County, and .....(WI)

It was calm but overcast when we hit Patterson. I wanted to see the old town center, laid out like a wagon wheel. If I was an urban designer I’d plan beautiful grids then bitch that people had to ruin them (a al Robert Moses—the guy who almost destroyed New York.) On a map the wagon wheel grid was intriguing and the bonus mile group put up with my whim as we rode through the new part of town, foreclosure city, onto WARD INDUSTRIES Road (home of his GOD’S HAND TESTING LAB) and then the old town. Wished we could have seen more of the old town but the sky was ominous. Stephen waxed for real food while we all munched power bars on the museum porch in the center of the wagon wheel. He also proposed that we don’t do an out and back but do a zig zag northern route that follows an organized century route (he’s good at collecting this information and then improving on the route.) But the wind had picked up from the North and the sky was still overcast. At least on the climb back to the Junction we’d have a slight tail wind, and could stay warm on the climb.

The Gruppo in front of the Patterson Museum--if it was a warmer day old down town would have been fun to ride through (WI)
Ok-its not the Chapel on the Muur de Grammont so Patterson City Hall would have to do

My people getting ready for the end-o-cycling season festivities, which luckily is months away. (WI)

June is counting the calories in the 7 1/2 pieces of trail mix she took from Dr Dave. (WI)

Going back the road went up but hills blocked the wind, the sun came out, and the climb started out mostly gentle so we ran a good paceline as we passed picturesque fields , campgrounds and cows both behind the fence and on the road.

Coming close to mile 20 I had to relive my youth, when I raced this in 2004 the pelaton wasn’t going that fast, the road was full of muck spraying all over, so I decided to attack. I got about 2 miles of “television time” until I was caught by a stone wall fronting a campground, and then was dropped before the attention getting climb started. So I did the same thing, fully expecting to wait up 2 miles down the road but my partners in crime Ward and Dave bridged up to me—and with another county line dangling at the top of the climb I was then motivated to stay off the front with the guys. When we hit the few steep miles we’d slow down for the weakest guy in order to keep together—until Ward yelled out “here comes Stephen” whereas I took off like a jackrabbit for the rest of the climb until the County Line.

Starting back up Del Puerto Canyon, which starts off gently and kicks up the further you go (WI)
I'm revving up the pace to get warm, Dr. Dave bridging up (WI)

Usually I F around too much, but when cycling there are times I get into a "zone" and suddenly stop bs'ing and concentrate and good things happen. I don't remember Ward taking this photo but I like it. I enjoyed the whole Del Puerto climb--especially when it soon warmed up enough and the vest could come off. (WI)
The pelaton going up and suddenly the sun is out. (WI)

County Line #3-After a significant hill climb I'm celebrating comes the Actervolger Stephen. Yippie (as there is no way I am taking out the 4th County Line which is a sprint off a downhill.)
Todd finishing up the Del Puerto climb, which shows how steep the end is. (WI)

Back at the warm Junction I'm on the top step of the podium (WI)

Now it was almost warm at the Junction. Another group arrived coming off of Mt Hamilton , they said it was 32 degrees at the top. Stephen pulled out the huge Subway sandwich he had carried from Patterson—so he had been handicapped on the climb.

We had the two tiered serious climb to get out of the Junction but I was happy on it as another chance to stay warm. After this @25 of 30 miles is downhill and I usually get dropped on the fast parts—at the top I bundled up, back came thin jacket vest and full gloves—and I was glad I did. Another County line coming up, but off a downhill which becomes level for 500’, I had no chance in hell. Sure enough Stephen takes off, to repent for the earlier 3 uphill crossing, Ward chases and then goes to the front. I manage to get behind them when the road levels off but Stephen and Ward both unleash great sprints. Stephen 0-4 which w razzed him about—so now he’ll be kicking out butt on sprints to the line all Summer.

County Line #4-Ward and Stephen blasted off the downhill and kicked off a nice sprint which Ward took out, inching out Stephen. I was in no position to take the photo--luckily Graham Watson was lurking about. Ward learned the victory salute from Christine. Next time I'm taking out this finish so I can wear the Domo jersey.

Pace wasn’t balls out down Mines Road—June had left the Junction early and was nowhere in sight.

All of a sudden we were back in Livermore—seems like 116 miles (7 hours riding, @ 9 hours total time (had flown by .) really good group and nice route, can’t wait to do it or Stephen’s circular route over it again, when it is minimally 20 degrees warmer. A hard ride but a great group, and it will be colder in Belgium tomorrow.

(Note: Ate well on ride-7 hours of riding time so ballpark is 350g carbs and 85g protein. I had 357g carbs and 44g protein--maybe next time I'll get the pastrami special at Subway)