Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Century Doubleheader-Game 2-Tour of Middle of Marin Double

(7/24/2011) Middle of Mt Tam Double Century, 100 miles, 6,666' climbing, w/ Ward. I had to promise Ward that there would be no chasing today, but even without a promise my legs at the start screamed "get off the bike." I could feel every one of the 10,000' climbing from yesterday. But had to do this ride--even though I've done Mt. Tam Double numerous times and always finish in the top third on the course full of rollers that I love--last year they ran the middle section backwards--going out to the Coast. Great--instead of a tailwind we'd now cross Marin in a headwind. No doubt the organizers want to get us out of Petaluma, the largest city en route, in the morning instead of late in the day. I figured after last year they'd change back--and due to death in family I didn't do the double last year. But organizers didn't and I wanted to become familiar with the course.

As mentioned I love the Double--with two tough climbs we wouldn't do today. But the rest of the Course is filled with "Italian Rollers*"--the ones that are too long and steep to attack and have to grind up, and "Eddie Stanky Rollers*"--the ones you can fly over if you get a running start off the downhill section if the previous roller. I like the Italian Rollers, Ward flys over the Eddie Stanky Rollers. (*In Italy seemingly every roller looked gentle at the beginning, and after a curve in the road suddenly apparent that the road still went up another 600' and grade had jumped 10%+. Eddie Stanky was "The Brat" of the NY Giants who, on third base tag up plays would stand 10' BEHIND third base and then get a running start just before the catch--baseball had to amend the rule book to ban this.)

Ward and I started out near where the Double starts, but instead of going towards and over Mt. Tam we kept inland through the very familiar Nicasio. Near Big Rock (short
but steep climb near the beginning--some co-eds wondered if we were on the Tour de Marin ride. At Nicasio--12' miles down the road the co-eds pulled in, pulled out terrible maps and an I phone (they needed the gadget pimped in San Gregorio during the TdF)--no one could figure out that their turn around rest stop was about 500' down the road. "But the ride arrows make no sense!" Turns out that turn around rest stop was about 500' to the right of the stop sign in upper right hand corner.

While almost ready to leave an English (or Australian, or Kiwi (Ward's guess), or South African (my guess) pulled in yapping and wanted to know if we were on the ride or training for a Century. When I told him training for a Double he whined "oh, doubles are for girls--I do back to back doubles--you must be a type A personality." I was too tired for his shit, so just walked away to take some photos.

Yappy New Zealand guy will have trouble at this point in the course.

Flat for a few miles out of Nicasio--some friendly guy passed us saying hi--Ward gave me the"NO CHASING" sign, and again that was my last intent. Then we turned right heading East towards Petaluma and had to go over the attention getting Cheese Factory climb. Loads of cyclists going over it--many struggling, we came off it with two young guys wearing U of Michigan jersey's and their buddy wearing the wrong Domo (Lotto Domo) jersey. When we hit the flats they pushed the pace and ward jumped in behind them. This hurt---luckily Ward decided to jump off when we hit the small hills outside Petaluma.

Glad doing the route as we diddled around missing a turn or two. Ward had done the Century run the same day as the Double so he was familiar with where we should be--but both of us a little challenged as on how to get there. Houses nice and unique in Petaluma but roads the shits--full of cracks and potholes.

Front yard decorations in Petaluma.

Leaving Petaluma a familiar subdivision climb, a few sudden turns, but soon on a 12 mile stretch of Chileno Valley Road though cow country. Yep--a headwind. We passed a guy in a Garmin-Cervelo kit--he joined us and shared the workload for part of the road. Slow course, but more from headwind than rollers.

Cow crossing in mid Marin--at least sign doesn't smell.

Looking for the map in cow country. Another uniquely landscaped yard.

As we got closer to West Marin the rollers picked up and the sky turned cloudier.

Did we miss a turn-emergency map check-Ward photo

Alright, I'm stoked--less headwind and more rollers-Ward photo.

Slow course across Marin--seemingly slower as not sure where we were going. Over every rise we expected Highway 1--so we'd be near a town--but it was about 15 miles zig zagging around. Finally reached Valley Ford--tiny town with lots of traffic.

Valley Ford is in background--apart from pavement little has changed -Ward photo

Sunflowers in Valley Ford.

Ward capturing the interesting architecture.

Long stop at general store in Valley Ford, we had really been hoping for the bakery in Tomales that Cervelo guy had told us about. Of course I wanted to go the wrong way leaving Valley Ford--Ward properly turned around and all was good until the first short 12% climb followed by a short 10% climb followed by.... You get the idea. Ward kinda knew where we were as he remembered the pain from these hills in the Century. I didn't remember much until we hit a fast downhill outside Tomalas, and first advantage of doing course in reverse became apparent--usually have to do this as a tough climb into strong headwind.

Great bakery stop--bakery in a converted barber shop/ gas station. Ironic that yesterday on Skyline a clusterfuck of motorcycles around, today 1-2 rides and we bs'd with one motorcyclist and compared all of the same rodes we do.

Ward doesn't care that NO Hammer products at bakery.

The Bakery-Ward photo.

I wanted to get some money here but no ATM as "Not A Bank."

Legs had loosened up a little and energy started to come back--either from brownie bar or loss of the headwind. Now 7 miles down Highway 1 until another significant climb--"The Marshall Wall."

This part of Highway 1 full of semi Italian Rollers and Eddie Stanky Rollers, so Ward and I alternately enjoyed life. Ward's fun ended briefly when he came off a roller hard and steaming into the next one a car looking for a parking spot making a U turn on the Highway blocked the road and the momentum going up the next roller.

Suddenly we are at the Marshall Wall and stop at the Peace Bell 200' up the climb in order to take off knee warmers. When we were ready to go two riders came by like bats out of hell--one wearing the 2011 Barney Death Ride Purple Jersey. We started up a little after them, never thought we'd see them again--but soon these guys had died out and we were passing them. More importantly--found out that the Marshall Wall from the Coast is relatively easy--shorter and a tailwind on the climb. Sunny and about 75--when Ward and I regrouped at the top a few cyclists also stopped--one bug guy was dying from the HEAT. What heat?

Ward at the top of the Marshall Wall.

Instead of the slow 9 mile East to West run in to the Marshall Wall (slightly uphill rollers into a headwind) the West to East reverse course was fast. Soon at the Cheese Factory for the last rest stop. Cheese Factory climb was easy--and the usual fast run in through Nicasio and back up to Big Rock--it is mostly a gradual climb but we have the usual tailwind and while the Big Rock portion is steep it is real short from this direction..

Finally a good photo of Big Rock with Ward trying to show how big it is.

Coming off Big Rock I count the 22 turns--downhill here used to terrify me but counting the turns was a good calming mechanism and I still have fun doing same. Now 4-5 miles of a slight downhill with a wind and Ward is pulling me along at 25mph+, amazing with 199 miles in our legs from the weekend. This was a great ride--a lot more climbs than yesterday--luckily climbs alot shorter. Another ride to do again when 100 degrees in the East Bay. Luckily Mt Tam Double will have arrows in the ground but great to become re-familiar with the old sections of the ride and familiar with the new reverse sections.

Century Doubleheader-Game 1-Tunitas Creek plus Alpine Road (2011)

(7/23/2011) Tunitas Creek-Alpine Loop Century, 100 miles, 9,200-11,400' climbing??? w/ Diablo Cyclists for metric Tunitas Creek Loop then w/ Ward, Jack, Christine, Todd for Extra Credit.

Garmin profile of both Century rides--nice to know elevation gain though shades of Colin's wacky "3000' more" Garmin after the Davis 200k brevet--our two Garmin measurements are 2000' off. As they say "Garmin Connect SELECTIVELY applies corrections to depict a more realistic representation of your cycling experience." Great--I'm gonna buy the Garmin model that selectively adds the most climbing.

Tunitas Creek a great metric loop and Jack and I added on Alpine Road last year --which is just like the Tunitas Creek except warmer (less shade at top) and doesn't level off at the top. Mt. Tam Double coming up in two weeks and as final prep I wanted to do tough back to back century rides--and adding Alpine Road to the Diablo Cyclist metric ride seemed perfect.

Doing back to back hard century rides is both tougher and easier than a Double. On a Double more chance for bonking or a pulmonary meltdown. But on back to back century rides my legs just tighten up when I'm getting that good night sleep and stiff/now power the next day, while on a Double legs stay relatively loose for the whole ride.

Unfortunately the Tunitas Creek loop in San Mateo is next to the Pacific Ocean and its often 25 degrees cooler than in the East Bay. Great if there is a scorcher but this weekend was gonna be mild. And the self supported century planned for the next day was in Marin--also next to the Pacific.

The course is lots of fun for billy goats. After a too short warmup we'd be going over long and semi-steep Old La Honda--I never do good on this climb as the cool moist morning air seems to hang over it f'ing up my breathing while the locals (time trial course for local cyclists) zoom ahead. Then after a regroup on Skyline, a twisty downhill on Old La Honda, mediocre road and too many curves for my liking but light traffic and usually the sun starts to break through.

Funny story at top of Old La Honda. Captain Jack is probably the most consistent rider and our best long distance cyclist. He swears he never chases or is competitive with other cyclists, though many of us detect a pickup of speed with elbows out when someone cycles by. At the top of Old La Honda one of our new riders--Indiana, said he was almost up to Jack on Old La Honda and then Jack picked up the speed to pull away. Jack protested he didn't and some pundit said "Jack never picks up speed like he always does."

Today very very different. Though heavily overcast the air was very dry on the Old La Honda climb and I kicked it into gear on all the sudden steep hairpins--much like Mt. Tam from Alpine Road. Nice surprise--the road was freshly paved. I tried a practice run of going as hard as I could and passed all cyclists I saw on the road. Only thing marring trip was asshole coming down in a red vintage Mustang giving everyone the "We're #1" sign. After the regroup and the downhill we suddenly found the damp fog, it was smack over the twisty road with pockets of gravel and a 10' site line. My club gave me the honor of going down first and not passing on the downhill (usually everyone does,) probably figuring out I was going slow enough to keep it safe.

Jeanne and Jim arrive on Skyline after the Old La Honda Climb.

After regroup at the bottom--next stretch is on a main road that is slightly downhill (with mini rollers) and a usual tailwind. Here taking it easy at 30mph is the norm. We zipped together by La Honda and made the right turn up Pescadero Road (later we'd be here again and go straight onto Alpine Road) which is a short gradual climb through one of the many parks in the area.) Todd--back from the Death Ride--would start every climb like a bat out of hell and we'd all have to work to stay with him until Cisco Dave-Ward-and I would finally go ahead. On this climb, after the intramural hi jinx, a retro rider (no helmet-down shifter tubes) passed without saying anything which got my dander up. I kicked it in to get back to him, and he then kept revving up the pace higher and higher. We started bs'ing a little but near the top he kicked in a sprint--that's it, I'm not talking to any locals unless its the three Musketeers Club who saved my butt the first time I did the Tunitas Ride in 2003. (Ironically-Tunitas Creek was having an art show that warm day--so they took us over Alpine Road instead.)

Fast downhill becomes a fast level road--and it is easy to zoom by our first real regroup spot--Memorial Park, and usually someone does. But I rode in with Dave and Ward and we stopped near the road to make sure no one missed this stop among a great Redwood Grove--and for once no one did. Maybe because Rusty--the bombing downhiller--wasn't on the ride and we weren't all chasing back to him.

My bike with new light Stan's front wheel and my light American Classic on the rear. With loads of hills and competitive locals this was a great ride to try out my wheel combo for the Mt. Tam Double.

We'd now continue the slightly downhill and fast (though punctuated by more significant rollers than earlier) road towards Pescadero--though short of Pescadero we'd take a dozen mile detour along the Coast. We told the riders new to this ride about the house on the road that used to have 1,000 plastic Pink Flamingos in their front yard--and their neighbor down the road that had a re bar skeleton holding a machine gun. Story time ended fast when two guys bombed through--again saying nuttin. That had me lead our group chase back to them where I slipped in to third wheel and stayed put--thoughts of attacking on a roller crossed my mind but we still were planning 100 miles so time to conserve energy and they passed us so now we could get a free ride. The two guys kept switching back and forth in the front and I was vigilant if one would make a break but none developed--and truth be told it looked like they were real annoyed that we all stuck with them.

Short of Pescadero we turned off for some great back road riding towards the Coast--still a fast road but not like the previous sections.

Ward and Christine on the Cloverdale Road--heading towards the Pacific..

I'm going over an "Eddie Stanky" roller* (this term defined in the next blog)-Ward Worldwide Photos

Once on Hwy 1--we all looked at Big Jim to take his place of honor in the front of our paceline--but two unique changes today. Usually a slight headwind or crosswind going North--today we had a slight tailwind. And Todd started off at the front doing well--usually Jim kicks me off the front for going too slow, and Todd almost as big as Jim so Jim could nicely draft behind him until he took over. We were going 20+mph so no stopping or taking photos while riding past the lighthouse. Then sudden turn and through a few small attention getting hills on the road past the "garbage dump" that drops us into the Greater Pescadero area for lunch.

Pescadero--what a town--fine art in the streets. Worldwide Ward Photos.

Great general store that makes fresh bread--wanted a slice of artichoke bread but would have to get a whole load so just had a banana in the picnic area filled with cyclists in the back. Definitely didn't want to eat too much as the rest of the ride would be one climb after another. First have to navigate two gentle but almost long climbs with a fast downhill where I expected Rusty to jump out of the trees and zoom by. Then past the San Gregerio General Store--before the steepest climb up to Higway 1 on the Pacific Ocean.

Quick word about San Gregorio General store--pictured below and recently seen lots of times during the booooooring portions if the Tour de France, as background in an ever present repetitive commercial where someone on a 15 lbs bike has a 12 lb combo I-Phone, Garmin, Tom-Tom that probably displays stock quotes and horoscopes. We joked about it during regroup--a few days later the Bike Snob also tackled the subject. After distance, speed, average speed, power and altitude that doesn't deviate from devise to devise by 1000'+, what more does one need to know?

No doubt Cisco Dave, Christine, Todd and Ward would be climbing better if they had the huge handlebar computer recently featured in front of the San Gregorio General Store. Maybe it can run on the same battery found with electronic shifting.

Jeanne reaches the top of Stage Road climb onto Hwy 1.-Ward Worldwide Web photo--follow Ward Industries on Twitter on your bicycle computer devise.

Fast downhill for a couple of miles on Highway 1 that used to scare the crap out of me, but now nonplussed about it. Then quick turn onto Tunitas Creek where a bike shack/kiosk and a few large groups milling around nearby.

Tunitas Creek is the large climb of the day (7 miles, + 2000' per Western Wheelers.) As I said earlier I usually find the Old La Honda Climb we do right away in the fog harder (2.6 miles, +580')--most people disagree. But the first quarter of Tunitas Creek is relatively flat, the second quarter is a gentle climb, and the final quarter is fast and almost fast. All the hard climbing is packing in to killer hairpins in the third quarter of the climb. The whole route is packed dense with trees.

We start off as a group and one of the cyclists at the bike kiosk shoots by--I remain on good behavior. But then another guy shoots by and I decide I'm a lazy ass and should do a fun interval while I chase back to him though I figure this pace is going to kill me going up Tunitas Creek. No worries-Dave, Ward and I got back to his back wheel and guy was just riding hard till he caught up with his group a mile up the road.Ward at beginning of Tunitas Creek.

We all stayed together until it got steep, and the steep sections are great--usually around a hairpin like Mt. Tam from the reservoir side. Unless someone from another club came by no problems going a little slower--and by modifying the pace we were all able to get back together when the final flattish section started. Our ace in the hole was that Ward could time trial the last section if need be and Dave could sprint out if need be closer to the end. As it turns out no one came by and great ride to the top of Tunitas Creek.

Dave and Ward celebrating that the sun is now out when they finish Tunitas Creek.

Regroup at top of Tunitas Creek and the metric riders now could go down ings Mountain Road--another fast downhill to the start. Ward, Jack, Todd, Christine and I weren't smart enough to follow them and we did a few miles of downhill rollers to get back to La Honda Road redux.

At turnoff on Skyline Ward, Jack and Christine find shade and an empty bench among the tons of motorcycles here and across the street at Alice's Restaurant.

Earlier in the day we had gone down twisty OLD La Honda until we got to the La Honda speedway--now we were going to start on the fast main road. We zoomed past the place we jumped on in the morning, still fast but 70 miles in the legs slower zoomed past Old La Honda, and the did a rolling regroup after turning left for the climb up to Pescadero Road---but this time we continued straight ahead into Alpine Road.

Alpine Road (6.8 miles, 1900' feet altitude gain) is alot like Tunitas Creek--though the shade ends half way up and the climb continues to get steeper as you go higher. Great view of the fog rolling in off the Coast miles away. Unlike the early climbs only one other cyclist on the road--and our bonus mile group stays together--rides at the pace of the slowest rider, unlike rides in the larger group where someone is always pushing the pace.
Christine is not enjoying her Alpine Road experience. No doubt that huge bike contraption featured during the TdF in front of the San Gregorio General Store would enhance the climb by playing cartoons and allow for text messaging while riding.

After we climbed back up to Skyline and regrouped at a hiker staging area--we now could go back along Skyline to Kings Mountain Road--or go down steep and twisty Page Mill Road. Last year I did the Page Mill downhill and was not happy--probably went through a set of brake pads. But going North on Skyline would be the slow direction. So off we went down Page Mill and I quickly fell off the back of the group--on a sudden uphill roller reprieve I attacked. The usual reason I go balls out on climbs--so I can start the downhills in front of everyone who is faster. The good news is that while Toddd-Ward and Christine got back to me they let me set the downhill pace and at the end told me I had done a good job. Way cool.

Back in the flats Todd on the last section if gentle rollers back to Woodside.

We pacelined back toward Woodside and one one uphill roller a local shot by--of course I had to chase him. He dusted my butt on the next uphill but I caught him on the flat section while he recovered. Nice guy--we both had a good time trying to push the pace, and then talk about the rides we did that day. When the pelaton came back Jack was leading and cut through a parking lot instead of turning at an intersection--the missed 1/4 mile made this a 99.75 mile ride. OK--a Chico Century.

Now late in the day and almost warm back where the cars were parked. In the old (college) days a sporting event ended with a round of beers--now we break out the protein recovery drinks--enhanced by the cold grapes and Hammer huckleberries that Christine broke out. Long day--lots of climbs--mostly strong efforts, and had a dozen hours to recover before the century tomorrow. Hope to do this ride again--next time 100 degree weather is predicted for the East Bay.

Horses guarding the cars at Woodside.

Always interesting to plan the food needed for a self supported century. This took 6 1/2 hours of riding time (7 3/4 total time) for 100 miles @10,000'.

Breakfast...Protein Belgium Waffle (60g carbs), Banana (27g), Yogert (38g)=125 gram carbs

Ride.....2 Cliff Shot Blocks (100g) , 2 Cliff Z Bars (48g), 2 Odswalla bars (70g), 2 Bananas (54g) , Coconut Ice Pop (20g) , 4 HEED scoops (108g) , 5 Perpetuem scoops (135g), Hammergel Shot (25g)=560 gram carbs

So 86 g carbs per riding hour--more than enough. At the end had a Perpetuem/ Protein shake.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Winter In the Berkeley Hills Century-2011

(July 16, 2011) Bears/ Tilden Park To Berkeley *fog*--Oakland Hills to Castro Valley--Mt Diablo South Gate, 95 miles. Diablo Cyclist Metric ride to Berkeley, extended miles with Jack, Stephen, June and Ward--with Ward and I going up Mt. Diablo at the end of the ride.

Original plan was to do the middle section of the Mt. Tam Double that now goes backwards--but with an overcast high of 65 in the warm side of Marin, and 55 and drizzly at the Coast, rethought going out to Marin and decided to do good Diablo Cyclist ride and add on. Diablo Cyclist web site indicates that the ride to Peet's Coffee-Berkeley (we really get the coffee at a small bake shop next door) is 50 miles and 4500' climbing. Don and Brian arrive in Sunol on the "funny bikes.". No photos from Saturday ride--so included a few from Sunday ride--over Palomares (60 miles, 2,000' climbing.) Luckily low intensity ride after nuttiness the day before. Above is Diablo Gothic in front of rest stop in Sunol.

Ward went back down for trailing riders over Palomares climb. Big Jim and California Mike reach the top of the climb. Mrs. Pumpkin gets to the top of Palomares.

F'n cool in the Walnut Creek parking lot and you could see the fog just blanketing the sky to the West--where we were going. Knee warmers on--off-on-off-on, sorry I had them on after doing the Pig and Bears and happy I had them on in the Berkeley Hills.

Knowing that we were going to go 100 miles--tried to take it easy. Within 20 miles of the start we cut through the middle of Contra Costa through a lightly traveled route--we have a short but steep climb (the Pig) and three longer but moderate climbs (the Bears.) Usually we have folks contesting the climbs but I had no interest today so I pulled the pelaton on the uphill rollers into the Pig and waited for a teammate to go past me on the hill. But two guys we passed glamed onto the paceline and attacked when we hit the base of the Pig--and Cisco Dave had shifting trouble so he didn't accelerate with them. Seeing these guys take off got my dander up--I caught up to the leader and then rode his pace. Cisco Dave flew by near the top--both guys chased and passed him on the downhill, and I was so wound up I stayed with them on the descent and marked whichever of the freeloaders went forward until we hit our regroup spot.

Ward, Dave, Colin and I kept together on the Bears--with Dave and I reeving it up on the final Bear. Dave slowed down on the downhill so I could stay with him, I lead him out when the road flattened out, and on the very short but steep uphill Dave sprinted up and caught the two freeloaders who had continued on when we regrouped. But he also busted a cable and his day was done. OK-80 miles to go for me and I've been riding like a maniac since the beginning of the ride.

Stephen, Ward, Colin and I rode a more civil pace up Tilden and then through the park--though there were some spurts for various reasons. We regroup at the top of Tilden and most of the Club goes up the golf course road but our quartet left the park the long way and then took a 21% grade shortcut (the Muir de Mike) out of the park. Te short steep climb was great as last time we were warm in Berkeley--clouds were whipping over the top--like a mini Halelakala. Lots of dew on the ground. Christine and I rode over here a few weeks back in 90 degrees and we could see Marin--now we were lucky to see three blocks down.

Cool descent into Berkeley by the Claremont--hot coffee at little bake shop (the Bread Garden) was great. Conversation about Dr. Seus lead to YOUNG Colin told us how he loved Harry Potter movies and Lord of the Rings (aaaah!--dwarfs-fairies-gnomes..of course I saw it a couple of hours after I saw someone die on New Years Eve so that may not have been great timing. Next day Donna and Jeanne talking about great relationship movies.) Must have been magic coffee as by the time we hit Tunnel Road on the ascent up to the hills again the sun was beginning to peak through. At the base of the climb a few people talking to a female cyclist who was inspecting her tires. We rode up as a group and about 2/3'ds up the woman rocketed past us--ok another fun interval as I rode her pace up to the top of the climb--Skyline. When we regrouped many of the usual bonus mile culprits said they were heading back--so it was just Ward, Jack, Stephen, June and I adding on. I didn't care where we went as long as we headed East where it was warmer.

Some more fog patches but more sun on every long roller to Castro Valley where we took a break at the tennis courts. From there a gradual/ long climb on Dublin Canyon Road--Ward scared everyone by detouring a turn towards the Palomares Climb. On Dublin Canyon Road--just where woman zoomed past last week and led us on a fun interval, a guy zoomed past. Ward and I got on his wheel but we were smoked--after guy told us he just did Palomares from both sides he zoomed away from us.

Now back in suburbia and down San Ramon Valley Blvd--full of traffic and traffic lights. Good idea to add more climbing miles--at least it was a good idea for Ward and I. Not too much traffic on Diablo and it was suddenly warm and sunny. Went up the easy Southgate side to the Ranger Station for an enjoyable trip.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mt Diablo-Morgan-Palomares-Mt. Diablo Double Metric-2011

(July 9, 2011) Shut Up and Climb Another Hill Double Metric Century-120 miles, 9180' climbing with Ward; Christine, Cisco Dave, Hoosier Guy-100 miles, Dr. Dave, Drew, Stephen, CA Mile-@ 80 miles.

Really nice week--stayed hot--and wound up on Mt. Diablo alot. On July 4th rode half way up (to the Junction aka Ranger Station) before joining our club for a ride to the summit before a BBQ at Dr. Dave's swim club. Real cool as we (the two Daves & Colin and Kitty--the long distance champ) stayed together--even though Jagwire Jeffrey incessantly wanted to know who won the KOM points-insisting that SOMEONE had to win the KOM points even if we weren't racing???

Lead Diablo Cyclist pelaton riding up Mt. Diablo on the 4th of July. No hostilities until stupidass tandem attack on the downhill roller at the base of Diablo (I think Kitty yelled "the British are Coming" though she said she yelled to me "go get em'") (Christine photo) At the top of Diablo I'm dreaming of getting the Alta Alpina 8 Pass Jersey that Colin has on next year. (Christine photo) I'm still ahead of pro rider all the way to the left--that will last for another 5 seconds. (Photo taken by Diablo Scott)


Over 90 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday--that is when going up Diablo is worth $1,000,000 as you can come down just in a jersey. On Tuesday solo'd a nice relaxed pace and Wednesday time trialed as hard as I could in the heat. I rode well--but some "new guy" in a dark bike something.com jersey (doesn't he know he is going to suffer in the heat) zoomed away from me. While I expected to see him half dead from the heat after every turn I finally lost sight of him. I finally passed him close to the Junction--oh, did I mention "new guy" was changing a flat.

A little after the Junction it got a little cooler and Specialized Dave got back to me--he just came back from Italy and we spent the next half hour riding hard but ez enough to bs about Italy. With about a mile to go "new guy" again zoomed past us. Fuck--past twice by a guy who changed a flat tire. When we reached the summit "new guy" came over and told us he ran a tour group in Italy, which had Specialized Dave and I crack up considering our conversation up te mountain. Friendly tour cyclists proved to be Mark Studnicki, an ex pro rider-so then I didn't feel bad.

So it just seemed natural to do Diablo as part of the bonus miles for our Morgan Territory club ride. The Morgan Territory ride is the best one to do Diablo early on when warm--as even if lagging can get back to the Club if they stop 8 miles into the ride (for some reason many do so) or at least the slow climbers on the Morgan Climb. So set out 1 1/2 hours before the Club ride--and so did with Ward and Dr. Dave--actually we all started out 5 minutes apart but came together on the windy slopes of Mt. Diablo. The weather had changed--not beautifully hot as its been but windy and damp at the base of Diablo, it smelled like Napa in early fall.

We all took it easy--I figured it would be a balls out clusterfuck on Morgan the way the last two Saturdays rides have gone. At about 1000; mini inversion layer--sun out and got notably warmer. Not many riders on Diablo--Death Ride today and the usual early crazies training for same now had their event. But going down we saw tons of 8:00 starters--including Mrs. Pumpkin with a few of her friends.

Ward, Dr. Dave and I were actually running early--got down at about 8:55--figured the Diablo Cyclists would start the steep Italian Rollers out to Morgan at 9:10--and their start was a mile behind. We looped to Ward's house so he could dump excess clothes and when we got back to the main street didn't see cyclists in any direction--so we didn't know if group was ahead or behind. Safety net was that Christine's house was on the route and she'd get into the group that passed by first--so if no Christine we'd know Diablo Cyclists had passed and time to turn on the burners.

We fully expected to see Christine--as still a tad early by our calculations--but no Christine. But no Diablo Cyclists at the two slacker rest stops up the road. And no cyclists seen 1/2 mile ahead. So Dr. Dave, Ward and I utterly confused--where the hell is the Club?

So instead of riding a killer pace up Morgan we ride a bs' pace--unconvinced that the Club is really ahead of us--but if behind us surely Mark or the other climbers going hard would catch us. Morgan North side is well shaded--and the trees do a good job blocking the wind that is only blowing hard at the base of the climbs. If no one at the top of Morgan I plan to go back down. When we get to the top of Morgan we are surprised to see some bikes--but only two--NOW WE KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY. CA Mike left early--and Christine and he went up Morgan. Sunny with no wind on top of Morgan so we crash out waiting for the club--turns out they are far far back as the pelaton had an early flat. Cisco Dave and Stephen arrive about 15 minutes later and the rest of the club about 10 minutes behind them.

The early early early trio arrive at the top of Morgan. Beautiful and no wind (Christine photo) Stephen and Ward--back from back east--tell travel stories as we tell them how the Club rides went to hell without them. (Christine photo.)

When we get down off the lousy windswept curvy fast downhill that is Morgan--most of the Club turns Northwest to make the ride a 60 mile loop. (Dr. Dave sneaks off though he'll ride up to the Junction again.) Christine, Stephen, Drew, Cisco Dave, CA Mike, and new Hoosier Guy join Ward and I for some bonus miles Southeast to Livermore. "Some bonus miles" would eventually become "lots of bonus miles" as:

1) Close to Livermore Mike says he wants to go to Sunol

2) In Sunol Stephen says (he said he was joking) that we should do the Palomares climb

3) Riding back from Palomares Cisco Dave wants a 100 mile day--so he (later denied) said he wants to do South Gate - Mt. Diablo

All seemed like a good idea--when anyone mentioned it was hot I was quick to point out that last week it was 15-20 degrees warmer.

Paceline down to Sunol, little trouble with over eager riders getting to the front and wanting to up the speed. Palomares was nicely shaded and cooperative riding most of the way up--though I picked up the pace far short of the top so Dave couldn't unleash a quick jump near the end. He still did but we were both kinda fried and rode cooperatively the rest of the day. Some bonus miles as used the old Nick Salavdor rule whereas first folks up a climb have to go back down for rider in the back--who was young Hoosier rider who had just taken up road biking--his longest ride before today was 40 miles.. The pelaton going up Palomares with CA. Mike at the top. Ok--its kinda warm as I join the group in the shade at the top. (Christine photo)

As easy as the Palomares climb is for me, the downhill is hard. It starts off very steep--but afterwards is a very fast slightly downhill course that is a designated "sprint point" to the end of the road. We have a good group of sprinters and fast flatland riders--I'm feeling good so I just keep attacking on every slight uphill roller until I'm dead, but also gets the sprinters earn their victory.

Sprinters joy is short lived as we now turn uphill for a climb along Dublin Canyon Road--it actually isn't much of a climb--a few miles along the freeway service road but a steady 2-3% and usually with a tailwind going East. But when we start a tiny woman zooms by everyone and is spinning like crazy up the climb. I get behind her and am the only person who can stay with her until the turnoff at the summit--full of cars going every which way looking for parking for the rodeo nearby. Christine had fallen off--no doubt she would have stayed on her wheel if she was wearing a full white kit. (see last week's blog)

Regroup for the long boring ride along San Ramon valley Blvd in the heart of suburbia with loads of controlled intersections. Ward and I had gone through the 100 mile barrier but many other folks were sitting in the 80's. I still contend Cisco Dave proposed Mt. Diablo South Gate but in fairness he says "I'm not taking credit for South Gate....if I recall right in Dublin I asked how we could add 10 more miles 10 hit 100 miles before we get back to Walnut Creek...someone suggested South Gate..."...so, IT WAS DAVE'S IDEA.

Mike turned off and the rest of us 'druged along' (no Dr. Dave so I can destroy the English language) to Stephen's house at the base of Mt. Diablo for refreshments. It's about 7 miles to the Junction--Stephen figured out he just needed to go 4.25983627 miles up and then turn around to get 100 even--and he was only going to go 4.2983627 miles.

Ward doesn't look happy with Cisco Dave's idea of doing Diablo (Christine photo)

Ward and Drew at the deserted Diablo Junction. (Christine photo)

Very nice pace up--most of the ride had been a "C"--low exertion ride, so felt better than the hammer fests we've started off with the last few weeks. ("B" effort-ride at a pace faster than you'd normally go to keep up, "C" effort-ride at pace you'd do if riding solo) Again went down for New Hoosier guy who was about 5 minutes behind but game to do 100. In the morning Junction had been crowded with cyclists--now we were the only folks there.

Almost a bad ending to this ride. Young Hoosier guy has a mountain bike background and he quickly cannonballed past me and almost everyone else on the downhill while I set up where I usually go on downhills--taking it easy in the back. Cars coming up and worry is that a cyclist may be also coming up and dumbshit driver will go over center yellow line on hairpin and squarely onto downhill side of the road (first inpatient driver who passed us in the morning uphill passed on a hairpin curve.) So we go around a hairpin and Hoosier and Cisco Dave on side of the road--Hoosier guy took a turn too fast and tire slid out while cars coming up--luckily he landed on a dirt corner off to the slide. Little blood and road rash and bike OK--and Hoosier guy took rest of downhill at my slow pace.

Ward and I got in double metric--I'm stoked, Ward not as much as he's dead tired after returning from camping trip. Everyone else got in a hilly century. Good ride--good group..