Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tour of Alameda Century-2012

Century #2  (January 28, 2012) Tour of Alameda Century, Skyline, Oakland Zoo, Palomares, Sunol, Livermore.  96 miles, 5600' climbing--mostly at the front end.  Diablo Cyclist metric ride with bonus mile group of Cisco Dave, Toby, Leo of Sears, Steven, Jack,  Dr. Dave, CA Mike--the last two managing to avoid Palomares.

Doing the Diablo Cyclist Oakland Zoo ride which is not one of my favorites.  (Never mind me getting caught on a chain link fence a few years back and ripping my shorts.)    Lots of climbing and sudden rollers out to the Zoo which is great--but then a long fast downhill through Eucalyptus groves so lots of branches, leaves covering the road and the numerous potholes and raised cracks caused by tree roots.

As last week was rained out hoped to do another self supported century this Saturday--and it seemed like a good way to add on was Palomares-Niles Canyon to Sunol.  Only problem is that the North side we'd be climbing is the side we usually fly down--meaning the North side is much steeper than the South side(which is longer and curvey but much "flatter".)  Then if I had some companions so I wouldn't get lost we could go through Livermore and return the same way Dr. Dave and I did from the Patterson Pass Century two weeks ago--keeps suburban riding to a minimum out of all the possible return routes...

All this proposed torture prompted this email from Dr. Dave
I'll make the decision at the last possible moment on Saturday. As Jack asked me a few weeks back, exactly WHAT am I training for? Haven't a clue.

Wait, when you say "up Palomares to Sunol," are you suggesting going up Palomares from the North side/hard way after the Zoo run?? It's January! You didn't even get off the trainer this week, let alone train to climb! Why not return over Dublin Grade, down blvd to Sunol, and over to Collier??? If we are going to do 100 miles in January (and, I remind you, that you and I did 100 miles once already this month), why not keep the knee-busting climbs to a minimum? (Or, does that last question make no sense, given this is a Pumpkin-inspired route??) A Pumpkin sufferfest

New Black shoes have strap 1cm further back than old grey ones--ready to dig into ankle.  I've now cut a few slits into the top strap of new shoes.
Two things ill prepared me for this ride. My old Time Cycling shoes are really beat up--and usually you can find new ones on clearance so I ordered a new pair a few weeks back.   First shoes I ever had with a buckle/ratchet strap.. And they suck.    The top strap cuts into my ankle.  I did cut a series of micro slits on the top strap which helped a little--which still wouldn't cut it on 100 mile rides.  (It was SO great wearing my old shoes on the Patterson Pass Century.)  So I ordered another pair of velcro only Time Shoes and figured I may as well break them in on this ride.  Mistake.  For some reason the top strap on both new pair of shoes is 18 cm from the toe--on my old shoes it is 17-17 1/2 cms.  On this ride the straps would be cutting into my ankle all day--especially when I stood.  (And the old shoes are 377 & 422g with cleats and superfeet liners, the new shoes are 463 & 506g--so much for improvements.)
The second mistake was putting on my winter training wheel with a 12x25 cassette--my heaviest wheel --on the bike for this ride.  Last week when Dr. Dave and I rode at a leisurely pace this would have been great.  But today there was a bigger group and someone was always pushing the pace.  Usually their name was Patrick, Toby, Cisco Dave or Leo.  Ouch.

The Gang-of-Three-Ward, Christine, Dr. Dave in Moraga

Big surprise at the start.  My partner in trouble making, Ward, showed up to test out his knee and would ride as far as the first rest stop, about 15 miles away.  Then Christine, coming back from concussion, also showed up for her first ride of the year.  We usually we do a stupidass steep hill--the Muur de Moraga, but we stayed on the bikepath for our friends rehab.
Major announcement from Ward--he's renounced SHRAM (well, not in the depths of the FSA gruppo) and retrofitting part of his fleet with Shimano.   Meanwhile CA Mike was wondering if he should consider the students at Stanford "real cyclists"--the ones that ride at night in dark clothes with no lights.  The ride to the rest stop was uneventful except for 1) a car U-turning on the ramp between bike path sections--blocking the path, 2) a jogger moseying down the middle of the path/ bike lane, and not moving over no matter how many times we called out, and then startled when we passed (maybe headphones aren't the greatest idea), 3) a cyclist shooting down a side street and turning into us without looking.  We blamed all of this on Ward as everyone on the street were on their best behavior for the three months he's been on the sideline.

Long stop in Moraga and then it was off to Skyline via Canyon.  Here a bunch of the oldtimer bonus mile group--CA Mike, Dr Dave, Jack, Christine and I formed the 2nd group on the road.  Lots of talk about the new U-tube video where some cyclist prattles on about all the things you constantly read in Bicycle Magazine--"carbon wheels are so cool"..."how much does your bike weigh"...its just a recovery day today"..."are you sponsored?"..."lets follow lance on twitter"..."can i borrow a tube..."...

(above) View from Skyline--if you look closely you can see the OCCUPY folks at the Kaiser Center (below) Cisco Dave and Toby

Part of our club turned off to do a shorter ride than planned, and we had a group in back of us after climbing up to Skyline.  From Skyline we hit the aforementioned rollers that Patrick-Toby-Cisco Dave and Leo flew over, while I wondered whose stupid idea was to wear new uncomfortable shoes and use a slow rear wheel--though was happy I had the junk wheel when the tree roots and potholes suddenly appeared on the fast downhill to the zoo.

(above) Cisco Dave psyched that he outsprinted the merry go round Zebra while (below) Christine, Jack and Dr. Dave dejected that the Giraffe and Tiger beat them to the sprint point

Long regroup at the zoo.  Nice day--lots of families out.  Leaving the zoo and rolling gently uphill with a tailwind on Lake Chabot road I put in my first hard effort of the, pulling the paceline at close to 20 until I blew up and re cursed my shoes/ wheel.

We all regrouped and rode together for the Castro Valley tennis courts--another long break--the third in 40 or so miles.  We'd soon lose Christine and CA Mike who'd finish with a metric.  Dr. Dave would meet us in Sunol but he'd skirt the Palomares climb. 

Great place where Steve got a flat--at the start of Palomares

Leo from Sears, Toby and Cisco Dave occupy the podium at the top of Palomares
We just started Palomares--a rustic road with light traffic--when Steve had a flat in a perfect place--nice wide driveway in full sunlight.  Gave me time to play with the shoe straps and wished this was a Bronx ride so I'd have a switchblade for some strap surgery.  When we set out road turned real shady--and I was unusually cold on a climb.  Yep--the North side was much steeper than the South side but also shorter.  Stayed with the Toby-Cisco-Leo group about 3/4's of the way up but then had to back off.   While waiting  at the top to regroup the Grizzly Peak Cyclists "bonus mile" group was riding up from the other side--and saw Grizzly Mark in training mode.  We used to try to kill each other on doubles-usually to the detriment of one of us--and in the last few years we've rode cooperatively together and helped each other finish a few events.  He likes to bs as much as I do on a ride--great to see him. 
Then the curvy downhill where some chubby guy flew by until some uphill rollers where we repassed until close to the bottom when he flew by again.  Then a long gradual uphill on Niles Canyon Road which had a nice tailwind (yeah) and the usual lots of traffic (groans.)  We kept in a paceline--soon passed chubby guy, and rolled into Sunol where Dr. Dave had been waiting for 20 minutes.  Not bad considering the flat .  Special guest star also waiting there--CA. Mike.   Only problem was we were now only 55 miles in the ride, it was already early afternoon, and average speed was 14.9 mh.

Also in Sunol was a derelict reeking of Bud light and chain smoking--reminded me of Railroad Flats.  He came over to our group as we backpedaled to get away from the burning tobacco, as he recounted how he rode all over the state in his younger days.  Meanwhile two guys came riding in with track bikes--the ones where the rear wheel (with 17mm tyre) is pushed forward into a rounded down tube--fast bikes and looks great but supposedly havoc on your butt with the road imperfections transmitted straight up.  Also only one bottle mount--but the guys solved this problem by zip tying a bottle cage on their tri bars.  Was bsing with them and after they left po'd I didn't get a photo of their strange road setup.

(above) The Diablo Cyclist peloton makes it way past yet another Livermore Vineyard. 
(above) Toby and Dr. Dave anticipate Stephen suddenly jumping out at the County Line sign. 
Short of food I bought the special cycling power food--RICE KRISPIE TREATS--DOUBLE CHOCOKATEY CHUNK.  Three vegetables combine--Rice & Marshmallow & Corn syrup now teamed with Belgium Chocolatey.  Also has maltodextrin--a favorite Hammar Nutrition ingredient. The bar was huge and lasted me for the next 40 miles of the ride.

(above) The two Daves before we go back into civilization (below) CA Mike and Leo from Sears arrive

After stopping in Sunol our group didn't stop again for the next 40 miles, and did a good job keeping together on the flats.  If the paceline was going to slow Cisco Dave or Toby would go to the front to wind us up. 

Sun was now rapidly going down but was warmer than a couple of weeks ago.  Shoes weren't hurting as much when I kept my butt in the saddle.  We had 8 in the group, which was larger than our usual bonus mile group.  Sped through Blackhawk, Danville and then back to Walnut Creek.  No Lance wannabe coming down the sprint point blvd this week, too bad as this time I had all my big brothers.  I did my usual lead out and was luckily passed way too early--when someone passes my job is done--and from afar I watched as Dave or Dave took out the sprint.  Last bit of hijinx for the day, a long and semi-intense ride--which was too much intensity for January but lots of fun.

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