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.

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