Sunday, February 26, 2012

Redwood Road-Claremont Avenue-da Bears-Mt. Diablo Potpourri Century (2012)

CENTURY #6 (February 25, 2012)  Redwood Road-Claremont Avenue-da Bears-Mt. Diablo Potpourri  Century, 98 miles ?? lots of climbing, with Cisco Dave & Jack fro first 75 miles

Was hoping to do Patterson Pass again today--hell--haven't done it in four days--but Club ride was going West instead of East.  Felt cold--especially after we had a few days in the 70's mid week--on Wednesday night I went out on the fixed gear without a vest and I'm a cold wimp.  But now back in the low 50's.  Having remnants of a cold didn't help regulate body temperature---compared to last weekend I felt great but on any exertion I became a snotball machine.

Sara telling everyone how she's going to ride by the cows and attack on the downhills
 Strange club ride--we had lots of people at the start but 1/2 would disappear before the first rest stop (@ mile 20), and 1/2 of who remained by the second rest stop (@ mile 30.)  Seemed that the Club used to do the whole ride and the bonus mile group would cut out near the end--but lately people just vanish.  And its not like I was riding at the front--on any hill when the leaders put in a big effort I fell back.  Then we spent lots of time at rest stops with people asking what happened to ????, and waiting to see who came up.    Club isn't as cohesive as it used to be.
Meanwhile Cisco Dave and I throwing out bonus mile ideas.   On our Peets Coffee ride we usually go down Claremont (steep) and up Tunnel (moderate.)  He suggested mid week to go down to Berkeley and come up Claremont--which I thought meant an out and back which I really didn't want to.  Day of ride I suggested going back up Centennial (steep), which would mean riding out through the campus.  Turns out Dave did racing intervals the day before and he wasn't sure he wanted to drop down to Berkeley and then back up--but I was all in as need the training for Devil Mountain Double and Alta Alpina.

So our Club ride took a clockwise route out to Castro Valley.  At 1st rest stop Ward had to take off before he locked up--especially when we just stayed there--stayed there---and stayed there.  At 2nd rest stop Stephen wondered why we needed to stop so soon, and he was right--but we also lagged a long time at it.  Meanwhile Jack said he was in for bonus miles, Dave proposed still coming up Claremont but dropping down on the steep Marlborough-Strathmore-Alvarado Road side streets which would keep us out of traffic.  Good in theory but not the greatest ride--more on this later.

Cyclocross Mark, Cisco Dave and Dr. Dave resplendent in his golden Grand Tour Double Jersey
 After getting dropped again on the Redwood Climb-I went West with Cisco Dave and Jack up to Skyline while the remnants of the Club continued East to Moraga.  Dave, trying to make the ride as hard as possible, raced a guy with a Roaring Mouse Cycling Jersey up to Skyline.  Actually Dave was gaining on this guy who kept turning around, and then tried to jump out when Dave got near--when Dave passed  the guy then suddenly turned around to go back downhill.

We stopped at Sibley Canyon on Skyline for water--a big group of red-white-blue clad cyclists there--in fact we'd see loads of cyclists (except most of those we started with) most of the day.  Soon we turned off the main road onto Marlborough for our descent into Berkeley.

Though no traffic the descent sucked.
1) Narrow steep streets that necessitated riding the brakes
2) Sudden U turns--I'm glad Cisco Dave knew where we were going.
3) Reasonably nice road surface scarred about a half dozen times with sudden major ruts in the road surface
4) We didn't wind up in Berkeley for the reclimb but came in half way up on the Claremont Climb.  Now the part we had to do was the steep part, but need to do a grinding long climb even if the part we missed is shallow.

What a view from the top of Skyline/ top of the Oakland Hills--SF and Bay Bridge in the background

Though cool the sun was out and visibility on the Oakland Hills was great.   When we got to Tilden Park Dave proposed going down South Park--another real steep road that is closed to traffic this time of year.  But unlike our earlier misadventure the road is straight and surfaced nicely and was a good call for the descent.

Cisco Dave on  the Bears before he turns off
Best portion of ride was yet to come--the Three Bears (moderate.).  Now on the side of the hills away from the Bay, weather jumped up +10 degrees.  Lots of people on the Bears--a big woman's training group being lead by a guy wearing a Climb to Kaiser jersey.  I was wearing mine and we bs'd about the ride--which is harder than the more famous "Death Ride."    Half way through the Bears Dave turned to do Happy Valley Road (steep) which gets him closer to home.
Jack on the Pig Climb
Rest of ride is uneventful, Jack splits when we get close to the Walnut Creek start and when I get back to the car its 3:00 and 78 miles are in.  Sun is also out full bore and its warmer than any other time of the day.  Though climbing all day (Schaefer Ranch, Redwood Road, Claremont, 3 Bears & The Pig) I felt pretty good.  What the hell, lets go up to the Mt. Diablo Junction (moderate) and make this a century.  Quickly made more drink mix, grabbed another packet of GU Chomps, a windbreaker, and started up.

Seemed like a great idea for ride to Mt. Diablo gate and first couple of miles on Diablo--nice and warm--no wind.  A few riders coming down, no one going up, not that many cars on the road.  Then suddenly an Animal Control vehicle with lights flashing went by and pulled over 200' in front.  About 50' in front of them were the tallest-fattest 'German Shepherds"  I had ever seen.  Oh yeah--I'm deathly afraid of dogs.

Wildlife on Diablo--all I know is they are not pink elephants

Great job by County Animal Control.  Antioch opted out of County Animal Control to save money--if this happened in Antioch they'd want to know if anyone was being eaten and if so to call back between 12-1 pm Tuesday and Thursday only.
Ranger pulls up to animal control. They walk up to the closer-smaller one and get him on a leash--while the bigger animal watches 100' away--and put him in the cage on the back of the truck.  .  I ain't going anywhere--and a few car start stacking up behind.  Now there are coyotes on Diablo but these were much much bigger--I asked the Animal Control officer what these were and he says "part grey wolf part------" I don't remember what the 2nd thing is as I'm blown away by the wolf part.  When Animal Control/ Ranger started walking towards the larger animal he took off in the brush.    Before taking off after him the Animal Control officer gave the sheriff a big rod "in case the animal turns on them."

I'm at the Junction--last climb of the day.
One SUV stacked up wanted to know what was going on and I showed them the photos.    Then I started up and the SUV was waiting a mile up to tell me to be careful--they saw Wolf X off on the side.  Oh crap--little shaken but kept going up to the Junction. 

Junction deserted except for one driver who I asked to handle photo duties.  Sun all of a sudden was rapidly setting and it wasn't as warm as the climb had made it.  Happy I took the windbreaker and going down I saw Animal Control/ Ranger off to the side--they already corralled the 2nd "Wolf X"    So no worries and back to the car.

Next week is the first organized event of the year--the start of the Davis Bike Club Brevet series.  We have a few people in for the 200k, and then a few weeks later is the welll supported 300k, the best bike ride bargain of the year.

120 miler next week should take  7 1/2 hours of riding time
100 milers that we've been doing taking 6 1/2 hours--slow as lost of climing involved

For the 100 mile self supported rides trying to down 40-60 g carbs and hour and 4-8 g protein an hour.  For this ride-
Drink Mix
Bottle 1 (Start Off 3x drink mix)
4 Cliff Electrolites--320 calories-76 g carbs- 0 g protein
Bottle 2 (Start off 5x drink mix, 3/4 frozen)
5 Perpetuem-675 calories- 135 g carbs- 18 g protein
Hammar Shot- 90 calories- 90 g carbs- 0 g protein
GU Chomps-2 packets- 360 calories- 92 g carbs- 0 grams protein
Cliff Z Bars-2 bars-*for kids*-260 calories- 46 g carbs- 6 grams protein
Cliff Bat-240 calories- 41 g carbs- 9 grams protein

So for 6 1/2 ride that's 1945 calories for 6 1/2 hours (300 calories an hour), 480 g carbs ( 74g hour) and 33 g protein ( 5g hour).   So (mostly thanks to drink mix) carbs running high and protein intake running at low end.  For brevet (+1 hour longer) will add a peanut butter and pumpkin butter sandwich--315 calories, 45 g carbs, 12 g protein which will help this imbalance.  Also add another portion of Cliff Electrolite drink mix.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day Weekend Patterson Pass Pre Century & Century-2:1 Sale (2012)

First celebrating our Presidents this holiday weekend...
"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. "

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."

-Thomas Jefferson

"We wish to control big business so as to secure among other things good wages for the wage-workers and reasonable prices for the consumers. Wherever in any business the prosperity of the businessman is obtained by lowering the wages of his workmen and charging an excessive price to the consumers we wish to interfere and stop such practices. We will not submit to that kind of prosperity any more than we will submit to prosperity obtained by swindling investors or getting unfair advantages over business rivals."

Teddy Roosevelt

"For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the (War with Mexico), and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory."

US Grant

(February 18, 2012) 88 Miler Over Patterson Pass with Full Gale Headwind--Solo

Century #5
(February 20, 2012) 95 Miler Over Patterson Pass with Tracy Bonus loop--No Headwind-Solo

We had a strange club ride on Saturday--big group at the beginning but broke into many sub groups--eventually 3-4 different routes.  Later Toby on a secret training mission said he saw Dr. Dave (Group 3) with Ward (Group 4)---impossible, but that is how strange the day went.

Strange week also.  After last Saturday's brutal ride I was looking forward to another week of training and building on it.  My norm is Monday, Tuesday and Thursday skiing in my garage.  (I'm sick of my stationary bike trainer)  Have an old Nordiktrak ski machine that was used to hang clothes on for 20-25 years.   Nordiktrak odometer broke long ago--finally rigged a pedometer on the ski to give me distance--which is incentive to go for a cardio workout--which is what I need.  Wednesday is either bike trainer nite or fixed gear in hilly suburban neighborhood bordered by a regional park so there are no cross streets on the downhill.

But got a head cold Monday afternoon so it was a week of rest and blowing snotballs out (how come that doesn't lead to weight loss.)

Last Monday AM I was hoping to do another self supported century today, including the Patterson Pass climb as our club ride would go in that general direction.  Today AM I was just trying to be coherent at the start--I was out of it and left my bag o drugs--and drink mix in the car.  Phone and camera buried under a pile of used tissues--also left behind..  Under overcast skies went from real warm to real cold. 

Lots of open space wth cute animals on the road between Danville and Livermore (All photos taken on the 2nd trip to Patterson Pass)
By the first destination point--the Eucalyptus trees--started feeling better.  In fact Dr. Dave on the 'bent got caught at a light and Christine and I tried to make a breakaway on the very fast the County Line.  We're about 50' away and stealth Dr. Dave flies by.

When we regrouped some people heading back--some people heading towards Livermore one way--Stephen proposing a longer ride heading out to Livermore to ALTAMONT.  This is the gateway to Patterson Pass, and there are some surrounding flat roads I want to explore which can add 10 miles to our Patterson Pass ride.  Wasn't thinking about doing the climb with runny nose.... Patterson Pass is not my favorite climb--though with no wind its sudden steep sections much easier.  But the run in to Altamont/ Patterson Pass in the middle of nowhere with good roads, no traffic and windmills all around is my favorite lead in to a climb.

In Livermore can see how Patterson Pass will play-on Saturday windmills turning like crazy so ez out but climb is a bitch--President's Day windmills NOT turning so a harder outbound ride but a much much easier climb of Patterson Pass
The Patterson Pass climb was doubly not on my agenda when we hit Livermore and saw the windmills covering the hills all turning--as Uncle Steve once said "if the windmills are turning you are screwed."   The wind always blows from a W to E direction--and it picks up speed  through Patterson Pass.  Even a gentle lowland tailwind means a fierce headwind during the climb, with many sections alternating from 5 to 15%.

We had a good group out to Altamont--with Rusty and I arguing who has a bigger and lasts longer..........headlight.   The tailwind is helping out nicely in the run in to Altamont--but we get to the first cross street and Stephen turns-- not near ALTAMONT where the Rolling Stone played but just on the early initial part of the street.  Huh.  That's like wanting to go to BROADWAY and getting off in Harlem. 

The orange dot is where we want to be when we say Broadway or Altamont--the blue dot doesn't cut it.
Oh well, nice tailwind--road is great--sun is out--so I just kept going straight.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.  Especially when the tailwind had me effortlessly going 22 mph up the slight grade. 

Scenes on the outbound trip to Patterson Pass-hey, a sign from the reactionary ex-Congressman.  Shows how far California Republican Party had fallen when Pombo easily beat in the primary iconic Vietnam Era ex-Congressman Pete McCloskey.  Luckily Pombo later lost the general election and is back selling wind.
As my Patterson Pass movie shows--the land out there is surreal.  No one is out--no traffic--ghost town structures.  And the constant WHIRL of the windmills.

Suddenly a guy passes and he's about 500' up the road when I wake up and decide to catch up.    On the straightways and downhills he gets to about 750'--on the uphills I'd close to about 200'.  Figure I'll pass him on Patterson Pass--shit, did I just think of doing Patterson Pass?
Right turn on Midway and my bike slows--now the tailwind has become a crosswind.  Loop by Altamont--THE ALTAMONT, and just watching the guy ahead.   Right turn to Patterson Pass is coming up--and the guy ahead of me....he bares left going deeper into the central valley.

Now I have three choices--I can go explore bonus flat miles but I forgot to bring route sheets.  I can go back the "flat" way I came in--but in reality its uphill and I'll be fighting a headwind.  Or--insanity prevails, I can go up Patterson Pass.  The uphill will be brutal but much shorter than backtracking   (The road I came in on is about 11 miles depending when you want to start measuring, Patterson Pass climb is 3.5 miles and then almost all downhill into Livermore.)

How bad can it be?

Lower Patterson Pass climb
Loop by the powerstation and the wind hits me head on.  Guessing 10mph headwind.   Windmills are turning like eggbeaters.  Minimally standing as standing is counterproductive in a headwind and standing for more than a moment gets my throat tight and nose running.  Down more cough drops--my fuel of choice (as Hammar likes to say) on this ride.  There are some turns or high sheltered side banks where I am almost sheltered from the headwind for a few seconds until the next turn.  Curse myself for being a lazyass and get out of the x27--a strategy that would end when I hit the final steep sections.

Vest is off for the climb, and keep wanting to stop to put it on--unlike usual I'm cold on the climb.  But I'm timing myself as a baseline for when doing Patterson Pass on a windless day and on Devil Mountain Double, so no stopping allowed.  I would have stopped for some photos of the windmills turning but stupidass forgot the camera under a pile of tissues in the car.  There is a false summit at the top where road gets real steep--and I just want to get to it and out of the maze of turns that often have a wind surprise behind door number 2.

Finally road opens--see the valley and windmills below and the killer grade ahead.   No more surprise.  Wind has picked up--20 mph steady.  I give my little game up and get into the x27. 

Scenes from Upper Patterson Pass climb where grade picks up and so does the headwind if present.  Orange arrow marks where summit is.

I couldn't have gotten this photo taken 2 days earlier--camera sitting on the back of a parked pickup truck would have blown away.
Two steep pitches before the end--grade much less than the 17-18% Mt. Diablo ramp but the headwind makes it just as hard.   Finally at the top and duck into driveway surrrounded on 3 sides with chicken wire as I picture my bike blowing away.  Ward should have been there with camera--I couldn't put on my lightweight vest and windbreaker as they were flapping around more furiously than the flag at Iwo Jima.  Then strange thing happend--a woman who came up the other side yelled out from across the road "Are you doing the Death Ride this year?" (I had on Death Ride shorts)  I went over to talk to her and told her about Alta Alpina with the great support.  She then said "but you know what ride has the BEST support--the Sierra Century."  Holy crap--mention of my favorite ride that has returned to the original course this year (I'm already signed up) on a windswept mountaintop.

Very fast back down to Livermore--downhill interrupted by two short and semi steep rollers.   When I got to the bottom pulled into a winery driveway and took off windbreaker--vest and gloves---first time sun was out all day.   Figured I might see the Dr. Dave-Stephen-Jack-Rusty-Christine group if they did the Del Valle climb, but they didn't, so I pulled into the library about an hour after them.  I have a tiny cable lock so for additional security I pulled front wheel off and took inside to the bathroom.

On the Summit with the windmills and Central Valley behind me. Taken the 2nd day up Patterson Pass--on the 1st day I would have blown away if standing out in the open.

Back in Livermore....
Rest of ride nondescript.  I have no clue how to get back the way the Club usually goes (via Livermore airport) so I went back on the same farm roads that got me out in the morning.  Saw Toby on his tri-bike going back and forth--he also feels like crap after our Death Ride last weekend, so share some HAMMAR Lozenges.   Otherwise not to many cyclists on the road.  I keep eying the odometer to get a Century in (remember 90+ miles count) but when I get back to where the car is parked I have 88 miles.  I could ride up the on bike path toward Dr. Dave/ Ward's house or circle to the foot of Diablo but what the hell, the ride is over.  (When I first started cycling I would circle the block at the end of the ride to get--WOW-20 miles.)

Next time I do this ride I'll pack a camera and do bonus miles before doing the Patterson Pass climb.

Next time was two days later.  Unfortunately Ward and Mike on different parts of the disabled list, and Christine and Dr. Dave going to Richard Nixon Clearance Sales.   Also, as everyone kept mentioning on our short fixed gear ride the day before "it's going to rain tomorrow."

Well it was raining tomorrow--more of an annoying mist.  But forcast put all the lousy weather in the early AM and it wasn't THAT bad.  Don and Jack showed up (Jack with full fenders) and said they'd do a short ride, and accompany me for the first 20 miles in the general direction of Patterson Pass.  Within a half hour we had to stop to get rid of rain jackets.

Felt some effects of 3rd day of cycling in a row, but cold had gotten better--instead of tight throat just had runny nose--especially on hard exertion.  Had route sheet for bonus miles and anther supply of HAMMAR cough lozenges.

Big difference from day before--from Livermore apparent that NO WINDMILLS turning.  (Or as Don said earlier--you can look at the clouds--they're not moving.)  This meant the outward climb took a moderate  effort with no tailwind to propel you along--which is great as that meant no gale force winds on the big Patterson Climb. No constant humm while riding along.

Strange incident going out on Altamont.  A couple turn in off a side road--guy grunts, woman says they're going to do Patterson Pass.  I slot in behind them.  Guy setting a good pace and woman is doing well.  I just sit 3rd wheel and will do work when we rotate around.  But guy is seemingly po'd that I'm in the group and he speeds up which drops woman.  Twice I pull her back to guy--which just has him take off faster.  I try to pull the woman back but she drops off.  Hell, I'm not going to chase him and we're almost at the Altamont Summit where I want to take photos.

Take the bonus route and its not that great and only adds 5 miles.  I'm first on a lower quality road past THE Mountain House resturant near Byron--holy crap--years ago cycled near here with whiny Mike and the witch from where I live.  Then get to a nicely surfaced desolate road--Mountain House Parkways--which is waiting for development that never came.  Cross two freeways in a crappy looking warehouse area and then suddenly back in ruralland--horse farms to Patterson Pass.  Only good discovery is some Quickmarts near the highway in case need provisions.

With no headwind climb was fun.  Idea was to time the climb and compare to the other day--but the other day I gave it my all on the brutal climb--today I slowed and took about two dozen photos.  Even with much less effort took 5:30 less time and never used the x27.

Much warmer at the top where some guy who parked an old truck let me use it as a tripod.  Though going slower than Saturday the rest of the ride seemed much faster as now very familiar.  Unfortunaley didn't warm up nicly like it had on Saturday.

Added two mini bungee straps to handlebar bag to prevent contents from spilling out when bag was stuffed.  Slow to open close- but worked great while riding.
Still short of 100 miles but in the mid 90's.  Next time will do a longer bonus loop.   Hopefully it will be warmer and will have the gruppo with me. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cisco Dave's Death Ride Century-2012

Century #4 (February 11, 2012) Cisco Dave's Death Ride--^3 Bears & Tlden Park Climb; drop down to Berkeley, ^back up Hiller & Marlborough Terrace; ^Skyline rollers to Oakland Zoo; ^up Fairmont Drive/ Lake Chabot Rd to Seven Hills Road (at last baby hills); Castro Valley; ^up Palomares North, down Palomares, ^up Palomares South, ^up Dublin Canyon Road- Schafer Ranch Road,  167.88 km, 2,767-3,259 meters climbing, avg speed 23.4 km.***  w/ Toby & Cisco Dave

***In American that's 104.25 miles, 14.5 mph., 9078' (Strava)-10692' (Garmin)

OK, admittedly I have to read emails more carefully.  When going up Sierra Road last week Toby and Cisco Dave kept talking about Hiller Road-, a 20% plus road out of Berkeley that I would "enjoy."    Sure enough our Club ride was "over the hill" to Peets Coffee at the Claremont, on the Berkeley border-in itself a 50 mile ride with 4500' climbing.  Out of Berkeley we'd take the long but gradual Tunnel Road back up to hills towering over Oakland..    Instead Hiller became an option.  "Oh what the heck, a climb I've never done," I thought when Cisco proposed it.  In the email I did see a passing reference to Palomares, a climb at the other end of the County.    I did miss the word "TWICE," and other incidentals like the hills we'd take to get to the other end of the County.

We did get a secret photo of the cyclists whose STARVA time Toby is trying to beat on Hiller. (B.R.L.T.C.C.P--Berkeley Red Light Traffic Control Camera Program).
Of course Toby was in.  He's in heavy training as he's entered in a triathlon where he'll be up against Mr. Lance Armstrong.*  Toby has never done Paris Roubaix, the worlds hardest bike race, so he may be at a disadvantage. Oh, Mr. Lance never did it either.   So Mr. Toby may be more worried about his unknown STRAVA competition racing up the Hiller climb. (*As he is offically known on OLN- Only Lance Network)
Club ride was very different than in past weeks--the last few weeks started out cold and sunny--with the coldness ending quickly and some afternoon warmth emerging.   This week started out drizzly (an hour before the 9am start), heavily overcast, cool and damp, and would stay humid, overcast, cool and damp the whole day.  The type of weather my EIA rebels against.    At least I had the good sense to wear my old ratty cycling shoes--they were sooooo comfortable, as opposed to the new ones I've butchered trying to get comfortable.

Ward once again helping out a coed on a bike ride at the end of the Bears as Dr. Dave looks at black clouds forming over Berkeley Hills.
Weather ominous when we left--Toby and Dr. Dave have fenders on.  (Lots of us helpfully suggested to Toby that his plastic fender was too narrow and flimsily, he needed a wide one made of cast iron.)  Ward on his first hilly ride with the Club in months, and he planned to turnaround after the 3 Bears climb right before Tilden.  The weather was so depressing that half the Club turned around with him instead of going through Tilden/ over the Berkeley hills where the weather looked crappier than where we had come from.

Toby enthusiastic about doing Hilar--I'm not so excited-Dr. Dave too smart to consider it
After the Bears Toby/ Cisco Dave soared ahead in the Tilden Climb where I stayed with the group that was going to turn around in Berkeley and come the sane way back--Stephen, Dr. Dave and Christine.  (Actually Christine pulled one of her "I'll leave early--you guys will catch me"..we never do.)  Dr. Dave and I talking about all the weight we want to lose--Stephen who is appreciably taller thought we were nuts.

Dr. Dave and Stephen going up to Tilden Park.
Grizzly Mark pulls in to the same rest stop we're at--he's doing early season doubles training also. 
At regroup/ water spot saw Grizzly Mark--my sometimes Double partner in crime--doing a short ride in prep for a brevet the next day.  Folk music started coming from Dr. Dave's pocket in Tilden--he received an emergency call and had to turn back.  On Skyline the visibility was bad--not the heavy fog that sometimes rolls in but just grey.  I had brought a small light not knowing when Cisco Dave's wild ride would get us back and had it on blink but at the same time my glove liners stayed off.

Cisco Dave and Toby on the Skyline ridge.
Wet downhill into Berkeley where a car pulling out of a driveway almost wiped out Cisco Dave.  Hot coffee was never so good at the little bakery we go to next to Peets.  We seemed to leave sooner than usual and broke up in two groups--the sane ones--Christine and Stephen going to Tunnel Road.  Toby indicates he's going for Strava time and Cisco Dave should ride with me so I don't backtrack and cut out.  Good news was that Toby climbed Hiller in 15% of the time it took him on Sierra Road--we were going to do a bonus extension so it would be about 30% of the length of Sierra Road.

We ride all the way to Berkeley for this.  F--I was going to die on Hiller so I got a scone.
I thought I knew where Hiller started, and was surprised when we made sudden U turn and were suddenly on it.  Vest quickly gets whipped off.   I knew the end that comes into Tunnel Road--steep but much more shallow than the end we were doing.

Suddenly bike pointed upwards--20% section that goes on for 3-4 blocks.    Toby zooms on ahead.   Need to stand--no choice (That's how I judge a grade--on the Diablo Ramp, @17-18%, I can sit if I want to.)  OK, after the initial shock a fairly level block where I take out the camera to take some photos.  Oh fuck--camera still out and another 20% section about to start and got to hold onto the bars with both hands.  Dave stops with me and takes some photos.  This section a little longer than the last.   We finish with Hiller then hit a bunch of intersections where the road forks out in two directions--Dave always choosing the one that goes up.  We finally wound up on Marlborough Terrace.  This section was as long as Hiller but not as steep, but still a good 15%.  Finally hit an intersection with familiar surroundings--we were on Skyline that transverses the ridge on the Oakland Hills. 

(above) I'm ready to roll back downhill in Hiller (below) Cisco Dave crests Marlborough Terrace.  (We set up this photo--Dave and Toby went back down to reclimb the last part--Dave sensibly went back down 100'--Toby disappeared downhill around the corner--alas a car squeezed him when he reappeared)

 We had come up on Skyline a few miles short of where we usually merge in off of Tunnel Road--and were hoping we'd see Stephen/ Christine at Sibley Canyon Staging area, our typical rest stop.  Was the shorter but incredibly steeper Hiller faster up than Tunnel?  But we didn't see them, next time have to make an effort for some people to record arrival times so we'll know the difference in routes. 

On Skyline Toby or Dave setting a fast pace and pulling me along until I lost one of their wheels and they'd slow for me to come back.  Then hit the serious rollers to the Oakland Zoo and the crappy downhill--at least this day fallen Eucalyptus leaves weren't covering the pot holes and tree roots.
Along the way I was filling them in on the brevets/ Doubles that were coming up and telling them about the ones they are interested in.  Toby told me about his homemade fruit laden recovery drink with added salt that he cheerfully said "Dave you tasted it, doesn't it taste good?"  Cisco Dave's face wrinkled up in the same manner Dr. Dave's does when talking about Chomps. 

Dave had left his drink mix at home--rumored to have done this on purpose to save 75 grams.  After skirting the periphery of the zoo we dropped down and stopped at my favorite bike shop--Robinson Wheel Works, so Dave could get some supplies.  Chris Robinson offered us some coffee, I was very tempted to stay as the only way out of his bike shop to where we were headed was more climbing.

Another hill up Lake Chabot Road.  Toby took off.  Dave stayed with me to make sure I didn't sneak back to Robinson Wheel Works.  Then the misnamed "Seven Hills Road"-- the easiest "hills" we'd do all day.    Next time we should ride over "Seven Hills Road" and then come back.  But Dave had a different idea-we'd do the steep side of Palomares--ride down the long, twisty but more shallow side.  Would we then ride the gentle uphill to Sunoll? NO.  We'd ride back up Palomares. 
I'm in Mr. Robinson's neighborhood

So we did. Toby took off.  It was cool on the overcast climb up Palomares.  When we got up there Toby pulled a Jack and made sure we didn't stop but went straight down so we could start our reclimb.  Oh joy.

The fun level of this ride kind of disappeared but I kept reminding myself of what the greatest cyclist of the last decade said.  When Johan Museeuw was asked how he'd do in his last Paris Roubaix he said "I trained well, tomorrow I'm gonna do the maximum, but more I can't do."  Yep--can be as prepared as I can be.  Last year I crapped out on Alta Alpina, and I'm taking one more shot this year.--this crazy early season training has to help.

Shit--they're serious--we're going down the other side of Palomares just to come back up
The downhill off Palomares North has a long fast straightaway our Club always races.  Dave and Toby hammering and I was clinging to stay on.  Near the end I took a shot pull and then blew up and fell off badly.  Luckily near the end of the road.  Sky getting darker--only 1 1/2 hours before nightfall.  Getting colder.  Figure we now do the modest Dublin Canyon climb and then ride back on Danville Blvd--heavy auto traffic and traffic controlled intersections but relatively flat.  But at the corner Dave announces we're going back into rustic Redwood Road for a more serious climb.  

That's it for me--no energy, light disappearing.  I tell Toby/ Dave that I'm going back the boring way, now going at a real lazy pace after spending all day hanging on.     I start up Dublin Canyon and shortly hear familiar voices behind me.    Toby said that in reconsideration it was getting too late for them to do Redwood Road--but I think they were worried that I'd get lost.

Quick stop after final 4 block grind it up climb at Schafer Ranch.  That would be the last one for next 20 miles--except at 2 of 3 frequent traffic lights.    Toby setting a nice pace for me to follow, Dave doing same after he stopped ramping up 20-21-22-23 mph...when he went to the front. 

Dave peeled off about 2 miles from the "official start" of the ride--as he already passed his house a could of miles back.  Toby peeled off about 1 mile from the "official start, when we passed where he lives.  So it was solo on the most dangerous part of the ride--the bike trail with darkness now setting in.   Good that I had outfitted bike with small lights.  Got back to car in vacant park at 6:00--just as night appeared.  Tired but happy.  The best part of the ride was discovering Hiller.  A toast to Hiller with my recovery drink.

Postscript on nutrition:  Didn't drink enough.  I finished a bottle of 5x Perpetuem mix with a shot of Hammergel for part of my food.  That was good.    But only drank 3/4rds of Cliff Electrolyte bottle on the cool day.  Should have had 2-3 times that for a 7 hour ride.

Talking about Hammar Nutrition, who I knock alot for overhyping products--they did a real good job with Perpetuem Strawberry Vanilla.    Their Perpetuem Caffe Latte is very good, wonderful as a food drink during the ride or mixed with chocolate flavored protein for a post ride recovery shake.  But their Perpetuem Orange-Vanilla isn't the best, saying the flavor is understated would be kind.  Should be labeled--"Plain."  But the Perpetuem Strawberry Vanilla has a distinct and strong flavor and also mixes well with Pina Colata/ Banana Protein Powder for a non-chocolate recovery shake.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Calavares Sierra Road Century-2012

Century #3--(February 4, 2012) -Calavares-Sierra Road Century, 101 miles, w/ Toby, Cisco Dave, Jack, 15.8 mph

Our Diablo Cyclists club ride was a fast track to Sunol and back-60 miles and only 1,500' climbing.  Instead of (turning left) coming back from Sunol, going to Calaveras (turning right) seemed like a natural add on.    Calavares is a heavily tree lined-rustic road, light traffic, with a reservoir off to one side and a gentle climb most of the way out.  A good fixed gear climb.  A fun ride.    We do it often, and someone in our club is having too much fun and suggests dropping down to the Fremont flatlands and coming back on Sxxxxx Road, the climb that should remain unsaid, the oppressive 5.7 km climb that goes up 545 meters--average grade 9.5% (Toby killed this climb so we have to use the funny measures he prefers).

OK--I'm over hyping.  It is only 15 minute climb.  Of course your name has to be Andy Schleck to make it a 15 minute climb.
Of course me being a smartass hinted at Sierra Road a few days before the club ride.  Of course Toby and Cisco Dave, the fastest riders in the Club said "lets do Sierra Road--we've never done it."  I was hoping for some sanity from Captain Jack like "its too early in the year."    But he basically said "why not."  F.  I quickly took off my x25 winter wheel and threw on a light x27 wheel.

Another beautiful Saturday--typical 40 degrees at 9am that quickly warms up caused by the typical warming during the day (eventually 65 degrees), and, early on, our businesslike pace.  Toby and Cisco told me they did a killer metric midweek-South Park (which I did years ago training for the Death Ride)--Centennial --and Hiller.  I never did Hiller and they reported its tougher than the two other climbs I had done.  So they wouldn't be scared when we turned onto Sierra Road and the street went straight up. 

Dr. Dave wasn't putting up with all this foolishness--though we hadn't done a Century this month.  He showed up with the bent', which precluded Sierra Road.  Christine said she'd go to the end of Calaveras with Dr. Dave.  Ward still extending himself would ride the first 15 miles out with us.  Nice paceline down to the Highway/ first rest stop--Danville Blvd not bad in the morning as not to many cars, so not to many red lights being tripped.  Toby riding nearby with a new guy from Ireland--listening them BS made me feel like I was on a European Vacation.  Lots of glass in the bike land/ shoulder--so Dr. Dave got the sacrificial flat--but it was near the first rest stop so luckily it had warmed up--getting a flat when we first start out with cold hands would really suck.

From the highway overpass to Sunol is about 10 miles, with just a couple of traffic controls, and light traffic.  Some ez rollers where the peloton breaks up and then the front group races to Sunol with a steep but short three tiered climb before our final objective.  After our group split the new guy from Ireland pulled alot, we passed a group on the road about a 1/4 mile before the last hill who looked liked like they wanted to hook on, so I went to the front to up the speed though this would mean suicide on the climb.   We hit the climb and I got out of the way but could hear someone coming in fast so I retooled and....familiar voice--it was Beth who used to ride with us.  So good company going into Sunol.

In Sunol Dr. Dave/ Christine announced they'd go to the end of Calavares so a few other people decided to join us to extend the ride.  Toby, Jack and Cisco Dave (albeit a litany of hypochondriac conditions that kept his speed down to 27 instead of 28 mph)  were still in for Sierra Road.    So half the group turned to head back while we started out.  We had a nice paceline going for the miles it is slightly uphill--when "slightly" was replaced by "noticeable" Toby, Cisco, Christine and I took off--Toby and Cisco ameliorating the pace to keep Christine in the group, and I also slowing so she wouldn't kick my butt when she's fully recovered from injury.  We soon met and passed the Beth group that has started out @10 minutes before us--and they were good riders so even though we weren't going at a killer pace it must have been a nice tempo.    Nice swooping down into a sudden hairpin, though you have to stay to the extreme outside of the road as the road isn't stripped and the occasional motorcycle or car coming in from the other way have a habit of being right in the center of the road.  Near the end I had some energy so I drove to the front and kept an intense pace of diving over the hairpin rollers--it was a killer for me--I hope Toby registered over 25w on his power meter.

We regrouped at the end of the road where Jack and Dr. Dave pull in (a few more people still way behind them.)    Dr. Dave assures us that he and Christine will go the alternate way to Sierra Road where they come in at the top--and will meet us after we climb it.  Next time I get it in writing.  Then the crazy people took off before everyone arrived as we'd be fighting daylight today.

Long long downhill into Milpitas/Fremont--though we first stopped at (Ed Levin) park to get water.  The downhill was almost cold--but from past experience I knew I'd want to strip down before climbing Sierra Road.  Then a couple of miles through suburbia until the sudden dramatic left turn where SIERRA ROAD appears as a sudden wall.  Well, not dramatic as Jack and I stopped to take off t-shirts, arm warmers etc, Cisco Dave had suffered through the morning freeze and he was already a minimalist.  Toby kept his leg warmers on--poor guy.

The poor guy was in so much discomfort that he shot up the initial wall and soon we didn't see Toby again.  I was happy with my climb-2 minutes slower than last April but its only February, and my back didn't give out.  Toby/ Cisco Dave happy--they said grades on Hillar just as bad but Sierra climb longer.    Good view of the San Jose basin and the observatories on top of Mt. Hamilton.  Only disappointment Dr. Dave/ Christine not there.  (Well, also disappointed that it wasn't the Mt. Tan climb which I love, but that would be too picky)   Final stats

Chris Horner.....14:20*
Andy Schleck.....15:30*
Ryder Hesjedal...16:15*
Dave..................somewhere between Toby and Me

*estimate from DVD of Tour of CA race. Hesjedal led into the climb, Horner finished 1st.

Toby and I on top of Sierra Road--Toby looks bored as he waited for me for 8 minutes (Cisco Dave photo)

We expected to see Dr. Dave & Christine on top of Sierra Road...instead we got........(Cisco Dave photo)

You can see the brutality on my film CRAZY DIABLO CYCLISTS DO SIERRA ROAD

My computer is tied up downloading podcasts of book readings which is perfect for my 1 1/4 hr commute--CUNY, UC Berkeley and Seattle Public Library are all good sites for these but the best is Philadelphia Free Library

I put t-shirt and knee warmers back on, and I'd alternatively question what I was thinking when we hit places like the sun drenched "the Wall" (mediocre short climb that starts Calavaras which terrorizes new riders), and commended my good sense when in the hairpin shade of Calaveras where it suddenly got real cold.  Fast downhill back to Calavares where Cisco Dave broke Ward's long held record.  Beautiful day so Cisco took out his 12g I-Phone XXII and started snapping photos--his great photos grace this blog.  Unfortunately some of his riding was on the wrong side of the road and a car suddenly appeared that got Jack's dander up, and he issued a loud and stern warning last heard when Ward did the same thing.

Fast downhill off of Sierra Road back to Calavares (Cisco Dave photo)

Cisco Dave self portrait coming off Sierra Road (Cisco Dave Portrait Studio insurance NOT underwritten by Captain Jack)
 Otherwise fast back to Sunol as the road now is a gradual downhill with a slight tailwind.  We got back to Sunol between 2-3--just in time to see and hear a "stereo off" between to parked Harleys.  Jack reads the pace of a ride and the course better than anyone, and we left it up to him if we can good back the long way--transversing Livermore so we'd wind up on the rustic Collier/ Highland.    But he figured out we'd probably lose daylight so it would be best to come back the way we came--the 10 miles to the highway would be OK but Danville Blvd would now be filled with cars and traffic controls ready to stop our forward progress.  So unfortunately we went back the too familiar commercial way--we needed another hour of daylight. 

Luckily we got in an honest 100 miles.  Good paceline back--near the sprint point I felt good so I pulled at 24-25 mph.  Toby felt better, he soon passed at 27.  Cisco, despite any claims to the contrary, felt great as after 95 miles he sprinted out at 32mph.  Good ride--better if we would have had enough daylight for a more rustic return (and 10 more miles), and if our injured compatriots could have joined in the suffering.

Next day stayed local on the fixed gear, and rode with Donna and her club, the Delta Pedalers.  If central county is Tour de France Territory with loads of hills, east county is Paris Roubaix with windswept flatlands through farms.  Saws many people I hadn't seen in years--nice recovery ride.

(above) Donna being photogenic (below) I am not the President for life Dave riding past a Brentwood Pumpkin (far below) Mt Diablo from East County