Sunday, August 14, 2011

Calavaras-The Wall-Palomares Century-2011

(August 13, 2011) Walnut Creek via Sunol to end of Calavaras--down and back up "The Wall" and back via Palomares. Diablo Cyclist metric ride, bonus miles done with Ward, Jack and June. 95 miles, 5,000' climbing, 16.7 mph. Special appearance by Rusty, International Cycling Man of Mystery..

(C) Calavaras (P) Palomares-WWF graph

A favorite club ride featuring the recumbent/ fixed gear gentle, tree lined, Calavaras climb at the end. An early season Century, the Primavara, is nondescript but its best sections are coming over Calavaras and then the much steeper still tree lined Palomares.

I had an idea for bonus miles the night before--Sierra Road, the 3.5 mile, 9.4% climb up 1973' (per Phil Liggett on the tour of California, but as he called "Mt. Hamilton" "Mt. Vernon" a number of times, who knows if this is true.) The night before I watched the Tour of CA DVD to see how fast pro riders go up Sierra Road. Good amature riders can do it in 30 minutes, I think my best is 35. Chris Horner was first up the climb in 2011 at @14:20, Andy Schleck came in @15:30. The first guy who started the climb and faded a little, Ryder Hesjedal, did Sierra Road in @16:15. So I just needed to seel it to my club mates as a 15 minute climb. Ironically Ward watched the same race the day before.


Didn't have a large group for this usually popular ride, and after going balls out last weekend on the double didn't mind just spinning on flat Diablo Blvd which is full of traffic lights until the freeway intersection about 20 miles out. When the Jeffrey tandem went to the front we just organized into parade formation behind it--we made a light that most of our club mates caught and the Jeffrey tandem zoomed out and a few of us just rode easily behind. At the regroup before the freeway Dr. Dave on the bent' told me that we missed some fireworks. "Vino," some rider in an Astana Kit, passed the group at a light--Dave caught and zoomed out ahead, but then when Dave stopped for a red light Vino ran the light. Green light-Dave catches up--passes Vino--next red light--Vino runs. Repeat.

After the freeway is a nice 15 mile run in to Sunol--only a couple of controlled intersections, nice shoulder for much of it, auto traffic falls off from pre freeway, and some nice noticable rollers that do lead to some very fast falt portions until a short 3 stage climb into Sunol. Ward and I agree that we'll stop being lazy after the freeway and pick up the pace--especially early so we can put some distance on the Jeffrey tandem on the rollers and don't have to keep tandem pace on the fast sections.

Of course Dr. Dave and his bent' is around to keep us honest. A few of us spring out on the rollers, but when the course turns fast Dave roars by, on next roller we put a little distance on him until he rolls by again on the flats. But intramural hi jinx ends when we pass a rider who hooks on to the end of our paceline and wouldn't come to the front to take a pull. Ward volunteers to sacrifice himself to do"the Old 2001" (watch Paris Roubaix 2001 where Paul Sherwin say "Come on, Hincapie says but they can't; George is now frustrated) so we drop the Sports Basement rider before the hill--but all of a sudden a tandem shoots by--not the Jeffrey tandem but one unknown and they are flying. Time to go into sprint mode and catch their rear wheel on the fastest part of the run in to Sunol. Dr. Dave passes and takes a dig at the front which tandem drags me along to pass--then when road turns up I take a dig at the front but quickly drop behind them as they ease back to my wheel. Then with about 500' to the uphill before Sunol Dr. Dave takes another dig at the front and passes the tandem--and starts the climb while we're still 100' back. I stay with the tandem that tried to drop us into the climb and thank them for the pull after I pass them--"yeah, right" captain retorts. I get back to Dr. Dave and I know he can fly the bent uphill much faster than the tandem, but he's worried about the Sports Basement guy getting back to us and tells me to go on without him--unknown to us SB guy had turned into a park a mile behind us. All fun and games but hardest effort of the day.

Regroup at Sunol where June had started early and goes on with us. Unfortunately Dr Dave hurting after he just came back from climbing Mt. Vetoux and he turns around. Weather is not a scorcher but hotter than expected (or warm) and lots of riders are already coming back along the fast Calavares return course as going out is the slow course which is slightly uphill punctuated with long hairpins that kick up but nothing bad. Jack, June, Ward and I keeping a nice pace but nothing real hard, and soon we are off the front. Dave's friend "Vino" rests behind the outhouses in Sunol. Dr. Dave catches up to him on the ride back--Vino runs a red light to get ahead--when this happens a third time Dave yells out "are you kidding me?, you're running the light again" No response. Dave--of course no response--Astana is a team from Kazakhstan and you didn't yell out at the rider in Kazakh or Russian, and he probably has never seen a traffic light in Almaty. (WardWorldwideFoto Spycam)


At the end of Calavaras Ward and I do "the Wall then regroup at the usual shade tree--joined by Jack and June. After 15 minutes no one comes along--good possibility that everyone else turned around at the top of Calavaras and cut the ride short. I try to sell the Sierra bonus but the hot weather ain't getting me any takers. Palomaras is proposed as an alternative, I'm not training for anything else so instead of going on solo I throw my lot in with the rest of the bonus group.

Store near Sunol has a big collection of Whirligigs--as football season just started here a couple gives us a demonstration of what happens to Raiders quarterbacks.

Rest of the ride is uneventful except for Rusty passing through Sunol as we are resting--so we get to bs with him for awhile. We take Palomaras at June's pace which is businesslike and very steady. At the end talk to a CAL coed who is waiting for a Oakland Yellowjacket older guy struggling on the climb. I'm stoked that on the downhill I do less braking than I usually do on a downhill and feel good. Nice tailwind on Dublin Grade climb, and great downhill via Schaefer Ranch after a short attention getting climb. When we regroup it now feels really hot and great to get ice at gas station. Too many lights on the way back and we paceline nicely between them. Good effort but nothing hard except for run in to Sunol--easy self supported Century.

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