Sunday, January 15, 2012

Morgan Patterson Pass Century-2012

#1 Century* of 2012.  (January 14, 2012)  Morgan Territory-Patterson Pass--With Dr. Dave.  92 miles, 5666' climbing.  Ride rating 179 (79% harder than a perfectly flat century ride)
*yes-I know a Century is 100 miles.   But the Chico Wildflower is 95 miles.  The Solvang Double is 191 miles.   So self supported rides of 90+ miles with climbing are century rides.

Historic data from Stephen Music.

Forgot that last did this great ride last October.  Great loop as after getting out of Clayton @ mile 10, mostly on back country rustic roads with little traffic until returning to Livermore @60, and then @70-80 is also rustic.   So that's 60 of 90 miles, or two thirds of the ride, with little traffic.  Of course there are some small hills.

Morgan is a climb I enjoy with sudden steep pitches and Patterson Pass is a climb I would enjoy if the almost ever present head wind wasn't there--which is rarely as loads of wind farms in the surrounding hills and the wind comes in from the West.  Usually.

I packed a phone today--which I rarely do--as I expected to do this ride alone.  Most of the bonus mile group is injured or now first riding after injury or away.  CA Mike and Dr. Dave were my only hopes for doing this--and Dr. Dave hates Patterson Pass after the headwind on the last steep pitch of Patterson stopped Dave and his recumbent in his tracks.  He didn't believe that the next few times we did Patterson Pass it was dead calm.
2011 Photo with Christine and Ward looking for Dr. Dave

Big group for the regular Club ride though it was cold as crap at the start.  Around 35 degrees but we climb almost immediately so didn't want to overdress and I didn't.  So froze for 15 minutes.  Our Club kept together and I even stopped at mile 8 at our (ridiculously early) rest stop--more to regroup than for anything else.   Some where around here CA. Mike broke a piece off his cleat--so he couldn't go on our bonus mile ride.

On Morgan Territory our peloton went to pieces.  I tried staying with Cyclocross Racer Mark for as long as I could--which wasn't long.  (He was cheating and not on his 30 lb Rivendell bike but on a lightweight carbon one.)  So I dropped off and rode up with the 2nd group of Dr. Dave, Leo from Sears, and Patrick.  Though heavily tree lined it got warm quickly.   Good working but not killer pace.  Beautiful-beautiful at the top--one group herding cattle, another group bbqing steaks (were they fresh from the cattle?)  We waited awhile for our slower climbers to make it and then continued to just hang out--our "girl power" group all brought burritos.   Then a fast downhill where the frequent crosswind was absent.  At the bottom most people were looping back, a few riders including Stephen and Mike were adding flat bonus miles, and Dr. Dave joined me for our Patterson pass trip.

Very surrealistic ride out to Patterson Pass.  Though within 1/4 mile of a major highway, the highway is over a rolling hill and out of view.  It seems like you are in the middle of nowhere as you go towards the central valley.  Extra high trestles or throwback overpasses from the 1950's suddenly appear around the next curve in the road.  Very occasional car passes.   Then windmill after windmill as you wind up in the middle of fields of windmill farms before looping past Altamont ("Gimmie Shelter" infamy.)

Movie of the Morgan--Patterson Pass Century--Click Below:

Reel 1--Morgan Territory

Reel-2--Patterson Pass

Slight headwind going out to Altamont--which is a good thing--as a tailwind meant a block headwind on the Patterson Pass climb once we looped back.  Dr. Dave and I bs'ing about my bike films--he is an English/ film professor so he has a great perspective.  He did give me the "We're #1 Sign" when I brought up his talking head part in a bozo film about Critical Mass.  (If the general population thought cyclists strange--the anti-circumcision guy and nude riding guy in the film certainly intensify that feeling.  Dr. Dave's lent some respectability and normalcy to the film,  but that would be a difficult job for even Mahamat Ghandi.)

Joined on the Patterson pass climb by a Southern California Math teacher who had to move up here cause the school districts are so f'd down there he couldn't get a job after all the cutbacks.  Half way up the view of the valley and windmills were great.  At the top-after the killer false flat which morphs into a "hit me" pitch--it's even better.

Short break at the top and then nice long fast downhill into Livermore.  A few miles into Livermore we took our first long break since splitting with the Club at mile 60--the Livermore Library.  Sunny Courtyard, nice and warm sittng among the public art.

Continuing on a few miles through traffic--the first traffic we've seen for hours, through downtown and towards the Livermore airport.  Our bike club usually has a stop ducked in here--but Dave and I didn't need to stop so we changed the ride slightly--staying away from the busy airport areas and closer to the quiet Las Positas Community College which is the gateway to rural Collier Canyon Road--the BEST return route on our club bike rides.  Well quiet means no services so Dave and I went in and circled the Community College looking for a cafeteria open on Saturday for future use--but a security guard dashed our hopes--nuttin open. 

Collier-Highland was a little windy and cool but lots of fun.  What was good for the whole ride Dave and I shared the pacemaking.  We didn't have to wave each other through--when we sensed that the person in the front was getting tired we'd just go to the front.  Ridden that way with Big Mike and Ward and it works out perfectly. 

Dave was telling me that there are some "time trial" points on this road--people with Garmin's automatically time themselves on certain segments of road and compete with other riders--someone died on a  Tilden Park downhill when someone broke their 1st place time as they were trying to recapture the top spot.  About a half dozen folks including Dr. Dave got Garmin's last year, while my bike gadget buy was a video camera.  So Dave is finding his inner animal while I'm finding my inner artist. 

Soon back in the toney suburb of Blackhawk--Danville and suddenly the sun was low on the horizon and it was cool--not cool enough for the glove liners to go back on but putting back the vest was a good idea. Things quickly heated up when some numb nut with headphones and a racing kit passed us without calling out.  Shit--Cisco Dave, Toby, Ward, Stephen--our sprinters--weren't here,  After 85 miles my inner laziness first had me just sitting on his wheel but then I got my dander up and went to the front and picked up the pace so racerboy couldn't throw in a sprint in the end.  Everything worked perfectly--Dr. Dave came around with a couple of hundred meters to go for a beautiful sprint finish.
Easy cool down on bike trail for last couple of miles.  We were hoping to get back before the 49er-Saints playoff game ended  to avoid the drunks on the road--and figured game was somewhere around late 3rd quarter.  I'm sorry to report Dave and I didn't give the 49ers much of a chance--both of us figuring they held on tight in the first half but now the Saints would start to pull away and the 49ers spotty offense couldn't keep up when that happened. I predicted 13-24 (Saints), Dave a little more optimistic 13-20 (Saints).  Dave called his wife and we were both real happy though our prognostication ability was shot to hell-- 23-17 (49ers).

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