Saturday, January 15, 2011

Patterson Pass (2011)

(January 15, 2011) Patterson Pass Loop--Start ride with Diablo Cyclists, w/ Ward, Ca. Mike, Christine and Jack, 90 miles, 3930' climbing, 16.5 mph. (Data and all photos from Ward Industries)
Diablo Cyclist Livermore Loop ride scheduled, 65 miles and a fast course with only 1500' climbing. Day before weatherman promised a high touching 70 degrees, after last weeks 40-45 degree ride this sounded like the time to put in some bonus miles.

We had a huge group (20-30 though Danville Police estimate the Diablo Cyclists terrorizing their city at 2,450,501.) Even though a high of 70 was promised--it was still 45 and foggy at the start of the ride.
Weather quickly improved and lots of hi jinx--getting the pace going to get away from the self promoter on the tandem and Ward getting po'd when some folks wheel sucked and wouldn't take a turn at the front--all which set up a nice breakaway to "the Trees."

Club rode together (more or less) for 50 miles and then I took off to do the Altamont-Patterson Pass loop with the folks listed at the top of this report. Altamont is the scene of the infamous Rolling Stones concert (Younger readers, "Google" Rolling Stones & Hells Angels.) Patterson Pass is a climb I like with short steep sections punctuated by level recovery--though it becomes a bitch when the wind is blowing. If the wind is blowing it is always a stiff headwind, noted by the numerous windmills that dot the area. When riding out in the Livermore Valley there was a constant wind blowing so I expected the worse.

When the bonus mile group split from the main pack California Mike was stoked--just returning from a couple of year exile in Honolulu--this was his first long ride with us in awhile. On a gentle grade some cyclists from the Valley tried getting by us and we hung on their wheel and occasionally shot off the front--Mike being real aggressive on the downhills. The sun also disappeared as we rode in dense fog with the temperature suddenly plummeting 15 degrees.

Unfortunately we lost our (now non tanned) buddy as he started having a mechanical--half of his chainring bolts had "disappeared." With Ward's assistance he reshifted the remaining chainring bolts to even the load and he returned the way we came while the rest of us pushed on.

The route we were riding is part of the Devil Mountain Double course and is labeled, though we ignored the absence of a road label when we took a wrong turn. I'll blame Ward for taking the "Club leader in Getting Lost" crown (I'll reclaim it eventually) as he led us under the freeway to a dead end.Part of the Garmin Trace--something is wrong, why is it showing us going up to that dead end (orange dot), Ward?...Ward?...Ward?

Climb up Patterson Pass was great--sunny with no wind--especially when I remembered I had on the training wheel with the harder gearing, and (STUPID TIME) at first was putting bike in wrong gear and wondering why it was so hard. Long downhill back thru Livermore where we all shared the work; Jack was in a zone as unlike him, when he was in the front he hammered through every yellow light. Wind picked up a little but it seemed we always had a tailwind.

Christine starting up Patterson Pass climb--no headwind--windmills off to the side and top were not turning ("If the windmills are turning you are screwed"--Steve Berry)

The bonus mile group
on top of Patterson Pass Road.... ...even though Christine said she rather be in a Thomas Kincaid painting

Looking back down Patterson Pass climb from the Central Valley--a half hour earlier we were freezing in the fog bank below. Lucky for us windmills are sitting still.

Knew we wouldn't get 100 miles, so outside Livermore thought about going half way up Mt. Diablo--but around Danville (10 miles from finish) the sun disappeared and the thermometer started to drop, it wasn't that cold but now san vests-leg warmers-arm warmers which hadn't been needed 15 minutes earlier it was now COLD so Diablo became less and less appealing. On the boulevard we saw a recumbent rider sitting (actually laying) lower than boxboy.
Great January Ride--Patterson Pass may not be this tame again all year.

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