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.

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