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. 

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