It's 59 degrees at the start--start with sock liner/ tee shirt/ knee warmers/ arm warmers/ glove liners. By 10:00 it was a partially sunny 61 and there was no need for glove liners or sock liners. High for the day was 68--and if a little warmer of sunnier could lose the tee shirt & knee warmers. Looks like a high of 76 predicted for next weeks Devil Mountain Double so after the early morning Diablo descent can lose most of my outerwear. Luckily Christine lives near the route so I'll drop stuff off with her.
Colin, Jack and I tapering for DMD, so an easy 100 miler is cool. Club ride is out to Sunol, and the gentle and rustic climb through Calaveras is always a favorite, so the bonus mile group decides we'll do that.
We have a big group going down to Sunol--the 15 miles South to Dublin (with lots of traffic controls) is usually done at a nice warm up pace--I take the opportunity to spin in the small ring for most of it. Proof positive that Ward is friendlier than me--we get to a red light and someone asks him "where's Christine? "A second later another voice asks him "Is she OK?, she wasn't at the gym on ___." A few seconds later, "what's Christine doing today?" Her fan club was out in full force--I think next time Ward will distribute a press release.
Fun disappears into serious business as we cross the highway and the next 10 miles into Sunol are rollers that eventually go flat (and fast) with minimal traffic controls/ cross streets--with a final attention getting short climb into Sunol. We have our usual fast moving rotating paceline and then everyone goes for the climb. The key word is rotating, today we notice a passenger who always seem to be slotted into 3rd wheel, never pulls, and will go for the final hill sprint. With apologies to that great cyclist (he's thin enough to be a TdF hill climber)--IGGY POP, and the best song I heard in Italy.
The Wheel Sucking Passenger
click on above to see Iggy at his best
'I am the Passenger and I ride and I ride...I ride behind Colin's and Ward's and Stephen's backsides...I see the sprint point come out of the sky...Yeah the bright and hollow sky...You know victory looks so good tonight....
I am the Passenger...I stay under glass...I look through at the sprint point so bright...I see the stars come out tonight...I see the bright and hollow finish line...I sneakily jump off of everyones backsides....And everything looks good being dropped tonight...I'm singing laa la la la la la la la, laa la la la la la la la...."
We get to the fla lead in to teh final hill and Ward and Stephen indicate they'll set me up--Ward goes hard to get the line strung out and Stephen leads me into the hill but we're to far away when he pulls off so I have to take over with 200' before we hit the base of the hill. The Passenger is right behind me. I go up hard and am eventually followed by Stephen who rode on my flank to prevent the Passenger from going by. This is the usually fun and games we have before the bonus mile group takes off and rides more sanely as we watch out for each other.
After a long rest stop in Sunol we start the slight uphill, slight headwind (its 2x as fast coming in from the other way) when BOOM, we have a flat in our group. The bonus milers stay while the flat is repaired--good time to bs with Hawaii Mike who has been off doing a brevet series and Cisco Dave, getting back into cycling. Flat at the beginning of the run in to Calaveras. (Ward-o-photo)
We pass the turnoff for steep Welch Creek Road, a climb I have never done. Colin and I start agitating for Jack to put it on the ride schedule while Ward tells stories about last time he did it and how steep it is. We have a good four man form on Calaveras as we dig in to catch up to everyone who didn't stop for the flat repair. We do--and at the end Ward, Colin, Stephen and I go down and up the "Wall," which is a piece of cake as we ain't going near Sierra Road.
Long long break at the Calaveras turnaround--we'd be taking long (20-30 minute) breaks all day, next week on DMD 10 minutes is too long. At our stop near the Livermore Airfield Colin is telling us about his home made sports drink--but it seemed lacking in sodium or potassium. The group had the idea that he needs to create a topical patch that could dispense these essential ingredient's and butt butter. Another cycling conversation going down the toilet.
Outside Sunol another long break--Mike and I bsing away when Jack getting into semi-time to go mode. (Ward-o-photo)
On Collier (lightly traveled rustic road with no cross traffic) I pulled a Knaven and launched 2 km from the County line--its a sprint I never take out even if I try as I'm one of the slowest riders on the flats in the group. We had some speedy time trialers/ sprinters--I hear Jim finally started chasing but when he stopped no one jumped in, while training partner Ward completely defended my position (take note Dr. Dave) by probably yelling things out like "guys, we need to slow for Jack and Jeanne." In any event Colin started hammering but to was to late as I crossed the line with him closing fast but far behind.When we get to turn off to Diablo most of the group looks tired and though a beautiful day found reasons not to do Diablo--the usual suspects yell out "tapering." Ward and I continue on and go at a nice pace, first taking note of the potholes before entering the state park. We ride up about 3' from the right side of the road which has no shoulder--just a severe drop off. All of a sudden an SUV comes by a straight section shaving us--Ward pissed off more than I am.
We go by and stupidass and Ward have words, driver says he's a cyclist and its ok to shave us as were weren't tightly against the right side of the road. Love when folks say "I'm a cyclist" to justify their position, hell, I'm a driver--and I bet I drive more miles a year than stupidass, and I have no need to shave cyclists. This gets my dander up and we have an angry exchange. I hope stupidass reads John Forester's Effective Cycling.