Saturday, July 31, 2010

Palomaras & Calavaras Century (2010)

(July 31, 2010) Walnut Creek to Calaveras (& "The Wall"), Palomares, Redwood. W/ Ward, whole route, W/ Jack- minus Redwood and W/ Diablo Cyclists minus Calaveras & Redwood. 101 miles, 5,800', 16mph. Ward-o-meter of todays event. Like how in compressed version Calaveras looks tough--in reality (or if this page was 144" wide) it looks more like Foothill.

Last day to get 100 miles in before Mt. Tam Double, though that has gone down the toilet. (more on this another time) First part of the ride was big Diablo Cyclist pelaton to Sunol--the final run in to Sunol has only two minor intersections for miles and ends on a short/ tri leveled climb that I never do well. Fast moving down Danville Blvd--a sign of things to come, a guy unsteady on tri bars was miffed that Johana was in front of him and he'd wiggle into the pace line and then half wheel her. I started to move up but by the time I got to the scene of the idiocy, Ward was already suggesting that he might ride elsewhere.

Towards Sunol a few good cyclists got into our group--one guy (as Ward says "and he was old") took a huge pull and kept the speed high--other guys doing no work. I told our great climber Joe that I'd lead him out on the climb to string out the "sit-er-in-ers" but I wound up at the front of the paceline two riders before I wanted to be in the front--far short of the Sunol climb. I figured I'd just keep the speed high so no one would jump up ahead--no one did but I was winded by the time we hit the base of the climb (which Domo Diablo Farm Frites Joe won!)Part of the Diablo Cyclist pelaton thinking about bonus miles to Calaveras. Comeon people--the Cinderella is 208 days away.

After Sunol going West leads to Palomaras and East leads to Calaveres--both beautiful climbs. Palomares is a steeper climb with a nearby stream, Calaveres is shallow climb with a reservoir to the side. Ward, Jack and I decided to go out to Calaveras and Don (on fixed gear), Brian, Karin and Andy joined us for at least half way.
Sunol train station and last rest stop (usually viewed when sky a little darker) on Devil Mountain Double
Views from Calavaras Road.

Calavaras isn't really a climb, kicks up a bit on some undivided hairpins so more watching out for any oncoming traffic than worrying about grade changes. (In related news story we can just be lucky that Cainan Schierholtz--SF Giants Nate Schierholtz's unsafe at any speed brother, wasn't driving on it.) When we got to the turnaround, the spot where Jack usually suggests that we can do Sierra Road (now that's a climb), for once he had no suggestion. As a consolation prize Ward, Jack and I rode a little past the turnaround point to go down and back up the Calavaras "Wall"--which is kinda steep and kinda short and kinda like 1/10th as hard as Sierra Road. (Maybe 1/9th, someone was walking their bike up it when we were going down)

Jack on "the Wall"
Calavaras back to Sunol is a much quicker route where you can really fly on the slight downhill with tailwind. I was leading the paceline when we passed a woman at the side of the road with seatbag open, I yelled out the usual "you OK," and got back a very pensive "yes.." but with a "yes" I just kept going. About a quarter of the mile down the road Jack says "we lost Ward' who stopped to give a lesson in changing a flat to someone who needed it. (Step 1-get into the shade). After the non scheduled rest stop we took our regular one in Sunol--in the morning there is usually activity but in the afternoon it is sleepy.. Good Samaritan Ward helps woman with flat tire and takes photo for tourists in Sunol wanting a photo with the mayor.

(above) Closeup of Sunol Mayor Statue with Ward crashing out FAR to the back on the porch of the general store, while Jack looking around to see where he parked his bike. (below) View from the porch--I'm hiding behind the Mayor (ward-o-photo)

For there we continued down Niles Canyon Road--which does have alot of traffic and the beginning sets out with no shoulder. Making matters worse the slight downhill usually has a headwind. After a few miles, and the sudden right hand turn, we were on the Palomaras Climb--ride open road but well shaded and a creek runs alongside. Not close to a torturous climb but definitely we were now on one.

End-o-Palomares climb and resting at the top--Jack in backgrounds (Ward-o-photo)

Coming off Palomares, where we kept a high speed paceline where it flattens out (but again the miracle of slight downhill and tailwind) Jack turned right and Ward and I turned left to do some climbing along Redwood Road. Another rustic road smack in the middle of the urban center--not many cars or cyclists today--just the occasional motorcycle thinking they were on the autobahn.

After Redwood Road the quality of the ride quickly died out as we had to ride through the Moraga-Lafayette-Walnut Creek Surburbanopolis.

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