Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Morgan-Calavaras-Sierra Rd-2011-Tour of Flanders Metric Century 2011

(April 3, 2011) Morgan-Calavaras-Sierra Road Metric Century, 115 miles; Jack, Ward, Christine more; Colin , Jeanne, Todd less. 8,500', 15mph. Did secret hill training. Baby daughter (almost college graduate) in town and had to work on a project, so took the Saturday (usually hard ride day) off and we walked around Chinatown in San Francisco & Oakland.

As was not riding Saturday, planned to do a super long ride on Sunday, when bike club usually does a short ride to breakfast and then some bonus miles afterwards. The bonus mile group will have ridden the day before, and Colin doing another 300k brevet (last week he enjoyed one in the steady rain.) So I figured I'd do 30 hilly bonus miles before meeting up with my gang and get a little tired before we join up. Only problem is that my compadres are also crazy--and Jack-Ward-Christine jumped in for the early morning 7am start. Colin said after 300k he'd skip the early morning bonus miles (slacker) but join us for a long hilly ride like Patterson Pass. To make it a little harder I loaded up the GT bike (+5 lbs than the Litespeed) with a brevet bag stuffed with clothes, food, and mini bike stereo (rack & full bag +3.5 lbs) making it @7 lbs heavier than usual (I'd have some stuff in my pockets.) Mr. Rivendell is full of crap when he opines that bike weight doesn't matter.

Ward, Jack and Christine did the above route--I had a mechanical 20 miles from the end. Todd & Jeanne joined us 40 miles into the ride. (Ward-O-Stats)

So Jack and I met up at the usually ride start at 7am. After (finally) a nice warm week the temperature dropped enough for it to be chilly in the morning though sun was out full bore. We did the Ygnacio Valley hills at an ez pace--unusual as this is the springboard to stay in front of the screaming downhillers on the Morgan Territory ride. While still in suburbia we met up with Ward and Christine and continued on to the rustic Morgan Territory climb.

Going at a nice pace when Jack pulled off for a Sierra Club dedication, and when we slowed two guys shot past. Jack said he knew then he'd never get back to us. Christine and Ward followed the 2nd guy and I followed the pace of 1st rider ("CAL guy") up the road, and stayed with him until the last steep section. The GT beer truck takes awhile and too much effort to accelerate on hills.

Looking forward to staying on top of Morgan for awhile with their nice picnic area. Colin had figured out midweek that we could really take our time to meet up with the breakfast group. Unfortunately a cold breeze was shooting through the picnic area so we were motivated to get going after a short rest. Much nicer when we hit the bottom of a usually lousy descent-steep with crosswind and lots of oncoming traffic, but today wind wasn't that bad and in early morning no traffic at all. At the base they were setting up for a film shoot. A tank was on display-Ward quipped that they used it the day before (on the beginner woman's Cinderella Ride that had gone by here) to keep the 4 across chatter groups on one side of the road.

We regroup at the base of Morgan in front of an old classic car and tank. Didn't know if these were film props or to enforce road etiquette the day before.

Nice ride through mini rollers to Blackhawk, Christine wasn't kicking everyone's butt so she thought something wrong. Downhill next to Blackhawk we kept seeing loads of cyclists on the other side of the road but no Diablo Cyclists--though we saw one big guy in a yellow jersey and everyone swore it was Colin--not. @40 miles from the start we made it to Danville breakfast which the gang had just gotten to.

Colin was there, the tallest guy in the group now had the smallest bike--a Bike Friday. He had done well on 300k the day before and now was looking to do an epic climb. He is also signed up for Devil mountain Double. Jeanne signed up for Davis Double, she sounds like an old bonus group member as she complained that the 75 mile ride the day before was too short. Todd also wanted to do bonus miles. No one from the early group motivated to backtrack and do windy Patterson Pass as we already knew a cold wind was blowing in the East. I yelled out we should do Calavaras to the south--a nice gradual climb and we'd get some good miles in --and who knew if we'd go on once at the end of Calavaras.

Jeanne arrives as the steam train is ready to depart Sunol.

Good paceline down to Sunol and then on Calavaras. Colin said he wanted some rider to come along and try to pass and he'd crank up the Bike Friday (looks real funny but he is riding strong on it.) Soon he gets his wish--about 800' up the road is a big group of cyclists so Ward and I kick it into high gear with Colin right behind and behind a blind curve or to they are suddenly 50' in front of us. Colin gets his wish as he sets to race past---oh crap the group is "Team in Training." At least someone clued them in that they should ride single file. Now that we had picked up the speed we continue going hard through Calavaras, a small group of Team in Training is always around the next bend and we joke that Colin got his (cheap thrills) wish.

Colin on the pygmy bike in front of me, Todd right behind, on Calavaras (Ward-O-Photo)Homage to Ward-o-photo--pelaton steaming to Sierra Road.

We get to the end of Calavaras and discuss what to do next. In reality it is either go back or ....Sierra Road, the worst climb in the Bay Area. Colin yells it out--Todd and Jeanne, the two riders extending themselves the most don't make a fuss, so Sierra it is. Screaming downhill to the flatlands--first stop halfway down is the regional park to get water and I start cluing Jeanne in as to what to expect--the initial part of the 3 3/4 mile climb is the worst, steep with no recovery sections, and a small false flat at the top--but THE VIEWS ARE GREAT. Ward yells out while the views may be great you can't see anything with all the sweat pouring down one's face.

First time we've seen surburbia for hours for the couple of miles of spinning out before Sierra Road. Suddenly we are at the left turn, Jeanne yells "oh shit" when she sees the straight up first section and the fun begins.

Jeanne and Colin on the first section of Sierra Road, which may be the worst and certainly looks the worst.

Note the brevet bag setup and speaker mount on my bike, San Jose is in the background. We're already high up but haven't gone more than halfway, even if that. (Ward-o-photo)

After stopping on the first section to take photos of our group I pushed a little to get back to Ward, who had slowed to take photos while he was riding. I had mounted the bike stereo and the climb was better than usual as 1) my back didn't go out like it did every time a few years back, 2) it was warm but not hot, which really affects this wide open climb, and, 3) it was great climbing to Light My Fire and When the Music's Over. Climb took a little over 35 minutes and then rode back to follow Christine and Jeanne up.

Christine near the top of Sierra Road, Jeanne and I are in the background. (Ward-o-photo)
Colin on the kids bike, after doing 300k the day before, on the false flat at the top of Sierra Road. The beach/ bikini club to the right will open with DMD (Ward-o-photo)

A little breezy and cool at the top of Sierra Road so we didn't stay long, so we didn't stand around to admire San Jose to one side and Mt. Hamilton on the other. Long fast downhill punctuated (thank god) with some rollers--if we miss the turn to Calavaras we go shooting back downhill. And when me make the sudden right turn we are faced with the feared "Wall"--which isn't feared at all once you do Sierra Road.

Ward leading the pelaton up "The Wall."

Ride was great back over Calavaras, and the fast course back to Sunol--with a slight tailwind and slight downhill it always takes about 1/2 the time to get back to our favorite rest stop.

From Sunol a nice 10-12 miles back with few controlled intersections, then we hit the highway and cross into to dense surburban corridor. Just when I thought that ride was great and wouldn't mind skipping the next section--flat tire. It was pointed out--over and over--that I should have changed the treadless tire during the Bush administration. We start out with a few donated boots in the tire and BAM, tire blows. OK, my ride is over. Luckily Colin lives a 1/2 hour away, so I just park myself on a bench and wait for him to go home and get his car and give me a lift. Worst part of the course but would have liked to get the 10-15 remaining miles. Timing is everything in life, I'd have been screwed if this happened the day before on the brevet or earlier on our ride. Ditto Ward, two days later on Mt. Diablo the sole of his riding shoe ripped off.

Take that Dr. Bill-Chris' favorite recovery drink--chocolate milk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For some reason the top part of this post is completely fubared in Firefox. Kind of like my legs after one of these rides.