The Diablo Cyclists ride up Mines Road is opening day of the long distance cycling season. Even during my great trip w/ CA Mike around Hawaii, it felt weird missing this traditional start of the cycling season. The bonus mile group starts 2 hours early and 30 miles of flats/ rollers away from the base of Mines Road; we meet the Diablo Cyclists for the long but gentle 30 mile up (1900' elevation gain) and 30 mile back down Mines Road, and then the 30 mile trip back to Walnut Creek.
Unfortunately my "posse" wasn't going to be on hand at the start. Christine, Dr. Dave and Ward all coming off the injured reserved list so they'd start in Livermore. CA Mike off doing his 300th brevet of the year (or maybe its his 6th 300k brevet of the year). So apart from Jack it was a crapshoot who would be at the Walnut Creek start. I pulled in 6:50 and was the first person for the 7:00 start. Then five minutes later two new guys showed up saying Christine told them she'd be on the ride--bad news, 1) she's not starting here and 2) you have 5 minutes to get ready. I pictured getting lost dragging these guys along when luckily Jack and Tom cycled in--Tom is a well respected rider who used to do doubles and now he's getting back into long distance riding; he and Jack are as steady as they come. Ironically Tom is on a Litespeed with tri-bars, last person on a Litespeed w/ tri bars on this ride was Uncle Steve who'd attack and attack and hammer the flats like crazy all day; a few years ago he and I just started the day attacking and counterattcking each other. Today Tom just kept us in a paceline (we were pulling around the newbies), Jeanie joined us a few miles out.
What--no going downhill past the fire station and having to go balls out when Dr. Dave on the 'bent or the fn tandem flys by; what--no sprinting for the end of the Trees, which is done on each ride. In an organized paceline with very little wind I felt like I just got started when we coasted into Livermore.
Opening day--the President is at hand throw out the first pitch and Dr. Dave getting inpatient with Jack for dawdling at the rest stop.
Rolled into Livermore about 8:55--great first view of fountain fronting some restored buildings. Some years there is soap bubbles sudzing up, some years the water is dyed green (St. Patty Day.) I always wanted a picture of the fountain mid morning so I pulled off and took a few--then to my surprise parking lot was jammed with Diablo Cyclists--another great turnout for this popular ride. I figured that with such a large crowd the ride would start a 9:15--so I went over to the secret organic garden to see how the plants were doing and get water--when I returned the pelaton had left and was down the road.
At base of Mines Road a few of us ride back about a mile to wait for other riders coming down. Tom and Jack from our bonus mile group arrive so I turn around but do it after everyone else and suddenly everyone is down the road. I put in a big dig to catch up and now I'm wound up--Christine dropped off the back to help me regroup but my dander is up and I shoot by the front. Colin--our fastest rider--catches me and we just hammer and hammer the few miles of flat road doing a two man. I'm trying my best to kill myself before the 30 mile return trip.