Sunday, October 9, 2011

Morgan-Patterson Pass-2011

(October 8, 2011) Morgan-Patterson Pass Century, 92 miles w/ Ward*, Stephen*, Jack*, and Cisco Dave--(*100 miles as rode from home) first 40 miles with Diablo Cyclist peloton. 16.8 mph Sacrilegious miles courtesy of Stephen Music.

Weather was lousy this past week--rain killed Tuesday-Wednesday or Thursday after work riding. I was dressed like an Eskimo in the house. Spent mid week listening to great song I never heard before; listening to multi live versions where sound isn't as clear and singer vamps, but tempo picks up and there is some incredible intensity. Watching punk blond lead singer (no, no multiple nose rings) wasn't hard. This moves ahead of In Shreds as my best music discovery this year. Dr. Dave suggested I try some of her leg moves while on the bike. Emily Haines moves into the pantheon of great rock organ players like Ray Manzarak and Steve Nieve. So of course on this ride the driving guitars and organ fill are played over and over in my head. (check it out by clicking on link below.)

Dead Disco--Matrix (album version)

Dead Disco--Matrix (live Version)

Morgan Territory a great ride-a nice metric loop, and luckily weather jumped 20 degrees come Saturday. Morgan is a heavily tree lined climb with lots of "hit me" switchbacks.

OK termonology

James Brown switchback (from 'Payback')--a short hairpin with a 10+% kickup--great for yelling "hit me"

Eddie Stanky Roller--in honor of the great NY Giants "Brat" who used to get a running start from behind thridbase on a tagup so baseball had to outlaw this--so the Eddie Stanky Roller is one you can get a running start to carry you over it--usually a shallow roller coming off a downhill.

Sal Maglie Roller--in honor of the great NY Giants "Barber" for no other reason than this used to be an Italian Roller. As found over and over again in Italy a roller that is too fn long and/ or too steep to have momentum help--you have to dig in and climb. Ward sometimes scoffs that what I call Italian Rollers are really climbs.

OK back to our movie. Large group starts off towards the Morgan Climb. Lots of short climbs out to Clayton where suburbia becomes rustic. Then a 10 mile regroup/ water spot that we usually skip for tactical reasons--but the group makeup looks like there wouldn't be any shenanigans today. After the regroup there are a few more short noticeable climbs until a nice downhill that twists right into the run into Morgan Territory--which starts off fast--slows gradually, then you notice Eddie Stanky rollers are increasing, which soon leads into a real uphill with many "hit me" climbs. Road isn't the greatest, but not going that fast on the climb and have to be vigilant for the occasional car coming down the unstriped 1 1/2 lane wide road (cyclists actually came 'DOWN" today which is unusual as at a downhill speed crappy road does suck.)

After regroup I'm distracted--as we pass one of the better "pumpkin patches"-one I took the kids to 20+ years ago. I pull over to take a quick photo, so Ward pulls over to take a photo of me taking a quick photo, so then we ride down the hill to get the entrance side-- and after f'n around for 5-7 minutes we realize that now we have to bust our butt to get back to the peloton. I start predicting who we'll catch first as Ward starts hammering and I have no choice (he's better at hammering when not seeing anyone ahead of us--I need the visual cue.) We both acknowledge that we're crazy and expect to be gassed for the rest of the day--but when we catch someone we seem to redouble our efforts.

PUMPKINS!--this is a Kodak photo moment (PC)

Lots of little pumpkins in this archival photo from the Pumpkin Patch we pass. (PC-archives)

Shit, at least I could smile if we went all the way downhill to take the photo. (WI)

About 1/3rd up Morgan, when the Sal Maglie rollers and "hit me" hairpins, we see the lead peloton. Now truth be told the two Daves (Cisco and Dr.) could have been at the top reading the newspaper if they wanted to, but they kept the group together and they were joined by two good riders. Ward had just came off a pull and he was gassed--when I joined some of the new folks tried to get off the front and I just kept short counterattacks so they'd drop back and we'd all stay together. Nice steady pace to the top with Cisco and Dr. Dave and Stephen. Morgan ends with a short steep downhill that turns into a (fake Eddie Stanky) Sal Maglie roller, and I didn't want to go downhill with three other people so I picked up the pace for the last 1/2 mile so we'd stretch out. Think climb pace was too easy as everyone hammered the last roller--with Cisco shooting out in front and my following with Dr. and Stephen close behind. Beautiful regroup at the top of Morgan; Stephen (L-sitting at front of table) looking around to see if he can change the route. Ward, Dr. Dave, and Cisco Dave in foreground (PC)

Screaming, twisty downhill towards Livermore--luckily road on this side is well paved. But cross wind up high and cars coming up this narrow road make this a lousy downhill. I don't mind when the road levels off. We regroup at the end of the road--those doing 60 and heading back to Walnut Creek to the right--those doing 100 via Livermore to parts unknown to the left.

Earlier a few of us talked about where to put in bonus miles. The consensus was going East to N Flynn then crossing Livermore and going up to Del Valle--a regional park. All nice ideas but N Flynn is at the foot of one of the seminal climbs--Patterson Pass; not that steep but usually with gale force headwinds. Del Valle at the start of the Mines Road climb--a 30 miles desolate climb toward Mt. Hamilton. OK--days are shorter and too late to do Mines Road but.....could still do something special with the weather so beautiful today.

Great action shot of our peloton right under the speed limit sign to the right...OK--truth be told this photo will get alot of Photoshoppe use mid winter--stay tuned (WI)

Dr. Dave and Andy don't join us (didn't know Any was also a Stanford football fan like Dr. Dave.) So its Ward, Jack, Stephen, Cisco Dave and I pacelining through Livermore--all the while Stephen saying he might not ride with us the whole way out or do Del Valle. Meanwhile, Dead Disco machine gun guitars still playing in my head. Stephen's jazz band is playing in a few weeks, and while they are great they might need to modernize their image. They usually have some old fossil special guest jazz maestro that spends his time scowling and preening--instead they could try for the blond chick in the Dead Disco videos (yes, click on link at top of blog.)

We start going East and we don't have much of a tailwind and the windmills up high (loads of windmill farms in area) aren't turning. Both are significant. If we were doing Patterson Pass we'd have to climb and ride back into any tailwind we were now enjoying. So lack of tailwind bodes well for no headwind when we'd loop around the Altamont Speedway (think Rolling Stones) and come back West. And Patterson Pass is not that hard a climb, not steep until the end. The first time in calm air I was amazed it was so easy after hearing about its bad reputation. And Uncle Steve uttered the prolific comment

"see those windmills up there--when they're turning you're screwed."

Thinking my ride mates are visually impaired I start dropping suggestions about Patterson pass--"hey look, none of the windmills are turning." But no one took the hint/ bait. Bold action is needed as we get close to the N. Flynn cutoff--"how about Patterson Pass." Silence. Stepehen and Jack indicate they are taking the shorter route. But its so fn beautiful out--in a few weeks 30 mile freezing rides will be long, and I indicate I'm going to Patterson Pass. Ward and Cisco Dave say they'll join me--great--and I figure since I'm the one responsible for this mess I might as well take a long pull.

Start pulling and soon I'm going 20+ on an uphill. Man I'm, on second thought maybe not and maybe its the dreaded TAILWIND, fun now but no fun later on Patterson Pass. But I'm committed (or maybe should be committed) and when I get off the front I'm please to find that Stephen and Jack joined our trio.

Dave excited as he has never done Patterson Pass--everyone else has a little sense of dread--especially when the tailwind picks up. Dave is at the front and we are going 21-24 mps with moderate effort on a long well paved uphill. This will NOT make up for the 4 mph when we start the climb into the gale on Patterson Pass.

Cisco Dave leading the charge at 21-24 mph towards the Altamont Speedway, but we are already late for the Rolling Stones concert (WI)

No scenic water crossings so I have to point out the scenic watering hole (well it would have qualified as a scenic water spot on the old Manteca '20 Scenic Water Crossings' Crossroad Century.) (WI)

Short ez climb up to the Altamont Speedway--nice downhill into a maze of electric substations
where we make a U turn and emerge onto the Patterson Pass Climb and headwind galore--BUT BUT BUT we make the turn and its calm. Look up and the windmills ain't moving. Either they are all broken or THERE IS NO WIND FOR THE WHOLE CLIMB.

(above) Ranch and Substation at the foot of Patterson Pass (below) soon give way to windfarms. (PC)
Climb just kicked up and everyone enjoying their Paterson Pass (PC)

San Joaquin Valley, the California Breadbasket, Stockton, and Sierra Nevada's to the East. (WI)

Jack doing his best to get into another photo (WI)

Jay and Stephen on the Patterson Pass Climb--I'm telling Stephen about the potential of Emily Haines (watch the videos) fronting his band (WI)

Stephen heading up Patterson Pass--NO headwind. Steepest part is all the way up with a false flat. (WI)

Ward on Patterson Pass--high above the windfarms (PC)

Stephen enjoying his Patterson Pass (WI)

Top of Patterson Pass is @mile 60. Rest of the ride was uneventful. Nice fast downhill follows the Devil Mountain Double course until we go past the Mines Road/ Del Valle cutoff. We stop at the new library in Livermore for a break--mistake. Stephen ordered a sandwich and seemingly they called out to Mines Road Junction cafe to get it--it arrived 20 minutes later. Tailwind all the way back to Blackhawk--weather was perfect. Cisco Dave has energy and pulled alot, I got zoned in to the uphill into Blackhawk and rode hard until I could get a final burst of 20--Ward and Cisco Dave right with me. My leg seized up while near the end of the ride which usually doesn't happen--my pulmonary will go much faster than my legs--but had to stand alot on the final flat stretch to work the knot out--which ended any thought of going to the Ranger Station on Mt. Diablo.

Best way to come back on a Saturday ride is Highland Road--not many cars and no controlled intersections. (WI)

So another self supported Century ride---done on 2 Chomps, 1 Cliff Bar, 1 Cliff Z Bar, 5 scoop Perpetuem, 4 scoops of Heed, and a looping-hard driving tune. Another great the cycling season slowly grinds to a stop. dead disco...dead funk...dead rock and roll...remodel...everything has been Watch the rock video if you want to go faster. Of course Chairman Ward wants you to go slower--so he hopes you watch this instead and remember it on a ride. Ward Training Video

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