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)

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