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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.