Thursday, April 26, 2012


Mt. Diablo from the North.

 (April 28, 2012)  DEVIL MOUNTAIN DOUBLE, 206 miles, 18,600' (Double Century with 2nd most climbing)

2006--Prep--Intensive Care, 1 Double & 4 Century+ Rides, DMD--17:24, 79th of 149 finishers, starters??)
2009--Prep--5 Century+ Rides, DMD-16:49, 59th of 155 finishers, 182 starters
2011--Prep--10 Century+ Rides, DMD-16:15, 65th of 192 finishers, (starters??)
2012--Prep--11 Century+ Rides, DMD-15:29--Finished ugly Crow Canyon Highway (mile 200.5 ) in the daylight!!--hey, by this rate I can crack 12 hours if I keep doing DMD until I'm 75.
32nd of 138 finishers, 152 starters so leaked into top 20% of starters

The old saw about Devil Mountain Double is that it is so hard as early in the year so not much time to train.  Well, except for a rain out on the Davis 300km brevet, got in all the training rides I wanted.   Maybe sometimes less intense than being revved up on a public century rides with a bunch of numbnuts pissing me off--but not to many long distance riders faster than Toby or Cisco Dave and had to put in a big effort to ride with them.

Wasn't planning to do DMD--but craping out on Alta Alpina (double with most climbing, all at high altitude) last year changed that--as I'm gonna take another shot at Alta Alpina, I figure DMD is a great training ride.  Cisco Dave is doing DMD for the first time, hope he saves me some food at the end.   A local blogger who I don't think I ever met, Curtis, is also doing the ride for the first time.    They're both a little nervous, which brings me quickly back to 2003 when I did the double metric Sierra Century and self supported Death Ride and I was so wound up before both.     Since then I've done about two dozen harder rides--and either suddenly fall apart and never recover (DMD 2006), fall apart and eventually come back (DMD 2009), or zoom through the ride while waiting for "the other shoe to drop," and it never does (DMD 2011.)  Sometimes I can ride hard all day (Mt Tam doubles), sometimes I crap out after riding easy (Alta Alpina 2011.)  Davis Double is one of the easiest and often I feel the worst finishing that one.   Can ride the same course great one year, crap out the next year, and then do great again (Knoxville, 2009, 2010, 2011.)  In short-I'M ALWAYS SURPRISED.   I don't even have to watch my inspirational videos, Paris Roubaix 2001 & Paris Roubaix 2002, as I did over and over in  2003 before events to calm down.    (Did sneak a peak at 2002 as expect a long solo ride somewhere on the course.)

Old and New Testament--One the greatest cycling team race ever, the other the greatest individual performance
I may be calm about the ride but I'm overly anise about the prep--check weather, how much clothes should I drag up Mt Diablo in the early morning for the freezing descent, REMEMBER TO LOSE THE KNEE WARMERS THIS YEAR--so you're not riding around after Pet the Goat (where drops bags are) with pocket full of crap/ two sets of knee warmers, put Vitamin B in drug bag for mid ride, fill up suntan lotion, rear tire looks a little worn (Christine would yell at me) so replace it--not you have to ride it on a short practice spin the day before to make it easier to pull off and change if you get a flat, put Chomps in the drop bag so if you lose your appetite (what usually does me in on Double Century rides) you have something you may eat. ...... This goes on and on and on....

Goal will be to ride hard and finish in the top half of starters.  I'd love to come in 10 minutes before my 2011 run but that was such a magical ride where nothing went wrong, I don't think that will happen.     Wouldn't be taking a still camera or the video cam on this one--want to fully concentrate at the job at hand.

Mt Diablo--aka Devil Mountain, from Brentwood.  Went for ez small chainring spin the day before--only time heart rate went up was when a golf cart almost took me out (golf cart ran a stop sign from a side street onto the main street I was on) and pickemup truck of young okies had to scream something at me when they passes and then just sat there with shit eating grins at traffic light when I caught them and asked "what the fuck did you say back there--I couldn't hear you."
#12 Century (or more, much more)
(April 28, 2012) Devil Mountain Double, 206 miles, 18,600' climbing, start with Jack and Cisco Dave, ride long stretches with Cisco Dave and Grizzly Mark, 5am-8:29pm, 14.3 avg. @66  minutes off the bike

Had a dream ride--even if part was a bad dream.  Coming in was hoping to take 10 minutes off my time from last year.  I was a little to giddy going into the ride ("piece of cake") so I took some time to remember the times I've been sagged on Doubles and the crappy feeling that accompanies that--so luckily I fine tuned my outlook to be ready to fight through the moment on a Double you wonder "why the hell am I doing this."  Riding stretches with our club's Cisco Dave and Grizzly Peak's Mark A., seeing familiar rest stop workers as Craig, Doug & Joni ("hey--listen up"), and having our Graham Watsons

Mt. Diablo, climb 3200' in 10.5 miles
Morgan Territory, 1500', 7.4 miles
Patterson Pass (with Headwind)
Mines Road, 2500', 25 miles
now the fun is over, climbs get steeper
Mt Hamilton, 2100' in 5 miles
Sierra Road, 1800' in 3.2 miles
Palomares, 1000', in 4.5 miles
Norris Canyon, 530' in 2.1 miles (info from Quackcyclist site though may not be valid as they lie and say the 14 miles to the 5 mile Mt Hamilton climb is a "mostly flat and occasionally descending road."    In reality it starts off flat, leading into a series of uphill baby rollers and then serious uphill Italian rollers--each one progressively worse.)

"Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah," the Quackcyclists who remembered everything else a cyclist could want when putting on this event, and every steep hill in the area, FORGOT to put Welch Creek Road (off of Calaveras) on the course.

At checkin the night before ran into my double's antagonistic friend, ("get OUT of that rest stop chair") former woman's Triple Crown Champ Kitty--she's training for PBP, again.  At the other end of the spectrum ran into Curtis who was doing his first climbing Double and worried about the cutoff.  Told him not to worry as Quacks are not known for enforcing time cutoffs--my old club had a member whose legacy was he finished last on DMD and rolled in at 3am.

Cold at mass start, but I knew it would quickly warm up with the rollers out to Mt. Diablo.  I have the miles that rest stops and top of climbs appear taped to my top tube--someone else had a big ride profile of the hills taped to his--shit, they all look like hell so I don't think that helps.  I hate mass starts at night--usually I start near the back and pick through the crowd when the rides string out.  Today I figured what the F, I'd start near the front and try to stay near the front of the group as long as possible.   This worked out well.  Had first of many memory lapses when someone came alongside and said hello--??--then it dawned on me.  Met Vlad briefly a few times on past Doubles, usually when he zoomed past.  Last year reading a deposition transcript suddenly spotted his name as one of the attorneys in a case we were in--small small world.  Now coming back from ankle injury he was also putting in the effort to stay near the front.  Hoped that this early effort didn't blow up in our faces later.

Strategy was great but blow to one's ego.  I'm a good climber--as an arbitrary figure lets say better than 75% of the riders who regularly do Doubles.  But the difference between this and the climbing ability of those who are at 85% is  huge, greater than me and the folks around the mean, 50%.  (Its a bell shaped curve type of thing.)  So even though I hit Mt. Diablo in about 12th place, I couldn't catch anyone ahead of me and I was frequently passed to the top, as surrounded by the climbing elite.   But starting at 12th and getting passed by 24 riders on the climb is better than starting at 100 and passing 24 riders, though the latter may feel better mentally.

Resurfacing of gateway to Mt. Diablo was a charm, the usual chorus of "watch that hole, hole left" in the darkness was gone.  I HAD to stay in front of Cisco Dave after someone in the rear yelled at him "your rear lite is obnoxious;" as it does feel like riding behind a New England Light House.  I knew we were making good time as the sun didn't rise until half way to the Junction. Stupid me--last year I ran out of water as I froze one bottle of Perpetuem, so this year kept 1/2 the Perpetuem bottle with a thick solution I could drink on the way up if need be--but it was too thick and chalky to digest while climbing, so I had to stop at the Junction for a quick water refill of my energy drink bottle..

Great feeling when sun was out, and I decided to pace up (and smartly not chase any of the people zooming past) when I ran into two turkey San Francisco Randonneurs, Tim and Gustavo.  I was on the right side of the road--not tight to it but about 1/3rd of the lane away.   Tim passed on the right.   I said "hey, it would be nice if you let me know you were passing on the right."  He said "you left a space up there." I upped the pace then they did--Tim continued "ALWAYS expect someone to pass on the right" and Gustavo thought it was the funniest thing that someone would complain about not letting someone know you were coming up on their right.  This got my dander up--"I don't care if you pass on the right, lots of people will pass me today, but how about a shout out--we're not racing"   (Later the Wente Racers would yell out "on your left" when passing)  Gustavo took off, I didn't follow--only 180 miles to go, hope he's having fun.

Good mood at the top--Doug/ Joni working the rest stop--Joanie wanting to prepare a PB Sandwich for me but that would have to wait.  Even better, it was not cold, no need for long sleeve t-shirt I had carried up along with rain jacket, glove liners and ski headband.  In my haste to leave I even forgot to put on my vest under the rain jacket but I didn't care.    Dave pulled in as I was leaving but no time to BS--full intensity on this ride.

A reoccurring theme of this ride--though I've become a slower climber since 2004, descents used to scare the hell out of me.  I'm still a slow descender but 4x as fast as in 2004 and just relax on the downhills.

I saw no one on the Mt. Diablo descent, and no one on the uphill rollers out to Clayton.  When I made the turn into the avenues a big paceline led by Rando Tim came by--I jumped on it and was off 3 blocks later--when  I stopped outside Christine's house where I dumped off all the excess clothes I had used to descend Diablo and wouldn't need the rest of the day.  So some excess time here but would save the time at the Morgan Territory rest stop where most people get rid of the excess.  Surprise appearance by Ward playing paparazzi.

We're off Diablo and will now be warm for the rest of the day. (top) Goodbye to sock liners (below) Cisco Dave happy, he just got his first shot of morphine from Ward Industries' Dr. Ferrari  Medical Courier Service(Christine)

(top) Cisco Dave checks the route as Christine watches the race approach (middle) Dr. Dave has NOT EXCUSE for not doing this ride on his
'bent (bottom) Captain Jack approaches Kodak picture spot (Ward-o-photo)
Cisco Dave and I set out towards Morgan Territory together and he started the ride not feeling "the best" with a locked up back a trip to the chiro didn't cure.  A huge group passed, noticeable as all Asian riders, and we had a nice run with them through the shaded rustic road to where the climb starts--one I like as gentle punctuated by steep hairpins.  Whatever rancor I felt toward SF Randonneurs dissipated when two guys went to the front and set a strong but steady pace throughout the climb, one being Masayoshi who was only one jersey # away from me (which lead to momentary confusion at the top of Morgan checkin.)  Their pace was great and not trying to go balls out up the climb probably saved my legs towards the end of the ride.

As no need to drop stuff off, and I'd be slow on the twisty descent to Livermore, I took off quickly while Dave stayed at the rest stop to stretch.

Again no one passed or passed me on the descent and on the flats to Livermore, where I kept looking back to see if a group was coming up but no one was.  We were now heading toward a great 10 miles of road--the tailwind aided shallow climb and fast descent into the Patterson Pass climb.

No help until I was ready to start the run in when Cisco Dave and a guy on another orange bike with orange tyres two manned up to me.  Shit--where were they 5 miles ago.   Anyway we started the climb when a big paceline rushed past us.  "The 6:00 group?" Cisco Dave asked, referring to the super fast heads of state that start an hour after us and seem to always pass around here--and I had warned Dave NOT to be tempted to jump on.  But I saw Rando Tim in the group so I yelled "jump on" and away we went. Woman in the back had the newly designed Volagi Bicycle with disk brake pads and a flexible frame--designed for double century riders.  Rando Tim pulled much of the way, I took a short turn along with a few others in the group. Flying into Patterson Pass but the goal to keep well hydrated was being met, meaning I'd need a nature break at the foot of the climb--and also use the opportunity to pull off buff and arm warmers.  Figured I'd never see Cisco Dave again

About 50% of the windmills were turning--so we'd have a stiff headwind but noting brutal.  .   I had forgotten about the 6:00 group--about 1/4 up Patterson Pass 4 guys shot by--followed by George in a support car.  He had gotten me to work DMD (bunch of crazy riders, I had thought)  @13 years ago.   Now mile @77 and though felt good definitely had lost any power my legs had at start of ride.    Grateful for when water stop appeared as I had downed another bottle.  Bad knee was starting to hurt so took an Aleve (I'd beat Dave, I only took  1 Aleve for the day, he took about a dozen Motrin.)    For some strange reason  I couldn't get going on the flatter sections of Patterson Pass and I found the final steep section more to my liking.

Now fast downhill where we'd merge into the Wente Brothers Road race course for a few miles--the place where Grizzly Mark got snapped at last year when holding onto a single racer rider last year.  Suddenly a racing peloton ("on your left") whooshes by at teh sharp end of the race, I think of Mark and last year and chuckle--knowing that he couldn't hang onto a racing pelaton--and I'd tell him the story later.  All of a sudden I hear "hop on"--its Grizzly Mark affixed to the back of the pelaton--and I think he was sticking to Cat 1's.  Too late if I ever had a chance--I can't build up the speed needed go hook up with this or the next group that passes.  Later I saw a video taken on the course an hour later, the much slower Cat 4-5 are on the course and easier to latch on to.

Again riding solo for most of the way to the Mines Road rest stop.  My timing sucks--about 2 miles from rest stop joined by Asian pelaton from this morning.  Mile 91-Its 11:15, ahead of 2006 by 19 minutes when I'd fall apart after the Junction, ahead of 2009 by only 2 minutes but in 2009 I felt like shit immediately after, and 32 minutes ahead of last year.   When I pull in Cisco Dave and Grizzly Mark are about to leave.  Clubmate Craig working the stop--also with an English guy who keeps saying hello but for the life of me I can't remember who he is (I think I do now--MJ?), and my mind is on remembering all I need to do and getting out of that rest stop ASAP.  Here I have to pull tee shirt as hell of the climbs in full sun coming up.  Also down 1/2 a can of Diet Coke (best to stay hydrated and rinse out sports drnk taste.)  OK--finally get out of the rest stop--must be first one that I was at for longer than 3 minutes.

Mines Road is a long run to the Junction--in the middle of no where.  It starts out steep and has some ending rollers, but whole middle is a gentle uphill sheltered from the wind--great to paceline.  But except for the run in to Patterson Pass I've missed out on pacelines all day.  Get on initial steep part and pick up the pace to see if I can join up with anyone when the road flattened out in @3 miles.  Pass a few riders early and then when uphill is about to end see the bright yellow kit of Grizzly Mark ahead--the perfect person to paceline while BS'ing with.     If you could combine my climbing with everything else Mark does well on a bike you'd have a decent rider.

I catch up to Mark and we bs' and ride hard towards the Junction for a dozen miles, and see many riders on the Mt. Hammy Challenge, going the other way.   I'm surprised that Mark never heard of the Sierra Century--my favorite ride.  We're passed by one rider, we stay together for a long time but eventually Mark and I have to drop the pace--I made it a little further where the end rollers start.  Steep but short climbs, my favorite.  Again solo on the long downhill into the Junction where Cisco Dave has taken the Junction Cafe Sugar Bowl contents for energy.  Some riders sitting down for a 4 course lunch--I get a bread and ham sandwich.  "Nothing else?" the sandwich maker quizzically asks--"no, I want nothing I can possibly retaste in the next 20 miles."  Next 20 miles will be brutal--suddenly very warm and full sun.  Especially the 5 mile killer to the top of Mt. Hamilton.

Another 1/2 can of soda to get rid of the HEED taste, lather on the '50' Sunscreen and take off.   Cisco Dave was long gone, didn't see Grizzly Mark, and once again set out solo

Solo until the uphill rollers started getting serious.  One guy came along and setting a rapid but steady pace so I jumped on his wheel.  He didn't want to talk, and when I went to the front he quickly repassed.   But he pointed out crap on the road and didn't make any sudden jumps, so I guess I was being welcome to stay on his wheel.  This ended on the sudden downhill which starts the climb up Hammy.  Water stop which used to be half way up now at the base and old acquaintances Tom & Veronica, members of my old club but were usually doing their own thing, working the water stop.

Reload and start up for 5 miles of torture.  My knee is sore and the bottoms of my feet started to hurt, and I had no energy.  F.  This is usually an OK climb for me--the Sierra climb coming up is the one I hate, but I wasn't happy.   A couple decked out in orange passed and I couldn't even think of holding their wheel--I'm just thinking about making it through the next hairpin that hikes up to @20%.   Seemed like an eternity until I reached the -4- to go mile mark, and another century passed until I reached -3-.  All along I'm thinking--how the hell am I going to do Sierra Road, which always kicks my butt.  But no reason to think that as my butt, and feet and knee and brain were getting kicked now.    I just keep remembering that a little after 1 mile to go the road flattens out, but that is little consolation on the hairpin by -2-.  This is the point where I ask "why am I doing this Fn ride."

Finally get to mile -1-, a few more steep parts, then road flattens out.  I'm beat.  I now also want to get off teh bike and go to sleep, which I never have trouble doing.  But what may have been a stupid decision I figure let me go down the narrow twisty road to the land bridge about 10 miles below (the San Jose side of Mt. Hammy is 3x as long and 3x less steep than the side we came up) and I can take a break--nap of 10 minutes on the side of the road.  I took the downhill well, unfortunately I wasn't fully awake or alert as I kept noticing tight curves of fallen rocks or shallow potholes all too SUDDENLY.  Oh man--do I need a nap.

When I got to the land bridge I had awaken out of necessity, my knee and foot just sore but not hurting as in 2006 when I wanted to rip off my cycling shoes.  The remaining course to the next rest stop are some easy uphill rollers--my favorite terrain--that goes into a smooth road that you can practically coast on at 25 mph.  So off I went, solo again until caught by a rider with a large safety triangle on his camelback--he had never done the course so I warned him about the quick turn to the last house up a hill (of course) that was the next rest stop.

At the rest stop someone yelling at me from a truck but I have no idea who they are--I just want to get something to drink, fill my bottles, and start the climb I hate.  Sierra Road.  No strawberry Heed, which has a subtle taste--unlike strong Orange, which of course is all they had and I'd puke if I had any more.  So just filled bottles with water--dumped an frozen fruit bar in the water for flavor, downed another 1/2 can of Diet Coke, and took extra Endurolytes and Tums to make up for the absent "Sports Drink."   (Stupidass moment--I had sports drink fizz tabs with me, and I forgot I had them.)  Some more Z-Bars--apart from bread/ ham at lunch and early muffin, think I was living on Z Bars and Chomps for most of the ride.

Suddenly back in suburbia, zig zagging neighborhoods to get to Sierra Road.  There is a 7-11 on the way, where Dave and Fredrick had a hot dog a few weeks ago.  I toyed with idea to stop for Gatorade but didn't want to waste time, so fruit bar water would have to do.  (Think Cisco told me he stopped here)
Suddenly we were there--crappy Sierra Road.  On a short ride I can come close to 35 minutes, on DMD after 156 miles usually 45 minutes--so I set my timer so I'd know I had 45 minutes of hellto contend with.

On the initial super steep section a nice guy I think named Victor pulled up to chat.  He climbed like me (stands and cranks the pedals too much instead of spinning) and we bs'd for about a mile, but his pace was to high for me to keep up with.  Just ahead of him were the two people who had passed me on Mt. Hamilton, the woman was now in trouble.  And we were rapidly closing in on.....Cisco Dave, was also ahead and in trouble.  His back had gone out on Sierra Road (sounds familiar, mine did in 2009.)   Last person I expected to see--luckily after Sierra Road alot of downhill and fast flats, so if he could make it over Sierra Road he'd be OK.  I passed Dave and I hit the top of Sierra Road in just under 40 minutes, which I was amazed at.
Put on vest and pacelined with orange couple to Pet The Goat Water rest stop.  Goat had died.  Per tradition, when I was half dead here in 2006 and was ready to give up, I wasn't going to pet it anyway.  Today I wished drop bag was later in Sunol.  Picked you big lights--too warm to put on extra vest and knee warmers in my drop bag.  Briefly bs'd with Doug/ Joni.   In rolled Cisco Dave, said he had stomach issues--Joni quickly ordered him to eat a banana and I gave him Tums.  Knowing the nature of the rest of the course I suggested we could ride together--he'd still be faster than me on the upcoming downhill and the Calaveras flats, and I could ameliorate the pace on the small rollers on Calaveres.

Ride together we did through a half dark Calaveras--sun was still out but tree lined Calaveras was in solid shade until you'd make a sudden left and were blinded by the low sun. Stragglers from Mt. Hamilton Challenge now going up Calavares.  Dave was really in bad shape but he gamely hung on my wheel for the fast run in to Sunol (I waved hello to Welch Creek Road as we passed.)   I had taken some speed off on the rollers but on the flats I was cranking and Dave stuck on behind beautifully--even when I picked up the pace when I saw a rider in the far distance.  We finally caught the lone rider--it was the guy who pulled me on the Mt Hamilton rollers earlier.  I shouted out "hop on" but I think sight and sound had long left his body as it had done for me here in 2006.  On the run in I felt great--the best part of the ride.

Cisco Dave and I steam into Sunol 30 minutes before I would have dreamed possible.  Ward-o-photo doesn't make us "remember our time" but I will  (Ward-o-photo)
Hey, Quackcyclists provided GREAT support but I never got this greeting at a rest stop!  Check out the Volagi Bicycle (Ward-o-photo)
 Go around the turn into Sunol and a maniac clown car minivan is yelling from the opposite direction.  It's Ward taking photos.  He turns around and takes more photos, as does Craig who is working the rest stop.  OH SHIT, its only 6:38,  last year I thought it great when i got in at 7:23, way before the setting sun of @7:55 which is when I arrived the first two times I did DMD.  We can easily set a personal best.  Dave and I hustle out of the rest stop for the long headwind/ shoulder less/ heavy traffic Niles Canyon Road.  What a relief NOT doing it in the dark.    At the rest stop I had a case of the dropsies, and on Niles Canyon Dave dropped his water bottle--luckily he and the bottle didn't get runned over when he retrieved it from across the road.  Dave took a nice turn at the front which let me rest, and I could set a solid pace when I resumed my turn.

This is why I'm soooo happy not do  Niles Canyon in the dark.  Shoulder tends to disappear.   (Ward-o-photo)

Ready to start Palomares Climb--dead serious, and some guy who flunked out of the Bryman Photography School lying on the road taking photos, and I suddenly crack up (thanks Ward)

Cisco Dave and I starting up the Palomares climb (Ward-o-photo)
 We make the sudden turn into Palomares, I'm dead serious and ready to keep turning myself inside out, when Ward is laying out on the first turn to get ground photos of us climbing.  I can't stop laughing and I'm momentarily back on a friendly Club ride.  Dave is having trouble on the climb and he nicely urges me to go ahead . I figure Dave will catch me on the downhill and the long straightaway that follows.  Now is time to keep our placement on the ride.  I pick up the pace and play a little game--I know my supervisor lives somewhere up here so every time I pass a house--they're spaced about every 1/4 mile or so, I yell out her name.  I'm doing the climb at a good clip but no one is visible ahead or behind.

The telescopes on Mt. Hamilton visable from the top of Palomares (Ward-o-photo)

View from the Ward Industries Corporate helicoptor of me climbing up Palomares through the trees (Ward-O-Photo Aerospace)

I make the top of Palomares (Ward-O-Photo)

Prepare for the steep and suddenly cold downhill-- VERY HAPPY not doing this in the dark (Ward-o-photo)

On top of Palomares--I'm tired of Cisco Dave being the happiest person on training rides--so a rare photo of Cisco Dave NOT preening for the camera, its been a long day (Ward-O-Photo)
Solo again I take the long and fast downhill. Still not dark when I go through another edge of suburbia to Crow Canyon Road.  Uphill but no especially steep--just an impetus to get off it as its basically a highway with a disappearing shoulder or one with lots of crap in it. Don almost got wiped out by a boat being towed in 2006.  Please please--no flats now.  In 3 past DMD's I always rode this part with someone I knew--now doing it solo.  The good thing it was still light enough at dusk whereas I kept my front lights on blink until almost on the Norris Road cutoff.  I think riding at night is a necessarily evil and I hate it--impetus to ride fast during daylight.

Finally at Norris Road--off the busy Crow Canyon for some solitude and a few steep rollers (Ward and most sane people would call them hills) until a final descent to the finish.  Real dark now--country road--dog is barking nearby.  A car silently approaches until driver wrecks the silence by yelling "way to go Pumpkinman."  I'm still wound up tight--who the hell is this---its Dr. Dave.  He stops at next pass and takes my photo--and yells out asking how far back is Cisco Dave.  I respond 30 minutes--figure Cisco must have stopped on the Palomares climb for awhile.  I was way off.

(top) I'm near the top of Norris Canyon (below) With Cisco Dave, right after another morphine shot so he's happy as hell and just signed up for Devil Mountain Double 2013.  (Dr. Dave)
Sudden steep downhill into suburbia-the please please no flat tires now becomes--please please no red lights and I sprint when I see a green one--not taking any chances.  Last year I missed the driveway to turn in, this year I'm not missing the driveway--I know where check in is, go across parking lot--check in isn't where its supposed to be.  It actually is at the front of the hotel, but I go in another side door, see the checkin/ dinner room down the long hall, carry my bike while waddling across some banquet going on--run in with bike lights still on (bike racks right outside front door if I would have gone the right way) some cheering from the people eating (and "turn off your light").   I beat my personal best by 46 minutes!!  At that moment I just start to unwind rapidly and almost slump on my bike.  Ride out to the car where Dr. Dave takes photo and sends it to my wife who is doing the Chico Wildflower the next day (and where I'll be in 2013.)
Cisco Dave has a great recovery and rolls in just 7 minutes after me.    He starts listing all the things that started hurting and didn't think the ride would be so hard--Dr Dave said "there is a reason they tell you NOT to make this your first Double."  Hurting and all Cisco had an incredible ride for his first Double, let alone any DMD--though he vows NEVER to do another one.  Cisco didn't hang around, Dr Dave went home, Jack was at least an hour away and no idea what happened to Grizzly Mark.  I went inside and got some lasagna, didn't recognize anyone (didn't help I left my glasses in the car) and just slowly nibbled on it while I drifted back to Earth.

This past spring was the first I realized I felt tired and was growing old.  Maybe it was another winter. Maybe it was not knowing anyone they are talking about on TMZ.  Maybe it was not having an I-Phone V.  Maybe it was the lousy bike rides, with all the climbing.  Maybe its just the plain fact that I am tired and growing old. -- Farewell, My Lovely

Postscript-Jazzed with my finishing time which is almost 2 hours better than my time six years ago when I was a faster climber, then jazzed at my 32nd place finish.   But I am hurting--turned myself inside out for most of the ride.  Wife comes back from Chico Wildflower bringing "Chico News and Review"--man, I loved reading that rag, and Chico, when I did the hard 60 mile Wildflower @15 years ago.  We'd do that ride each year and hoped one of my daughters would go to Chico State.  All of a sudden one of my daughters went to and has been out of Chico State for a half dozen years--and I'm doing this crazy ride for the fourth time.  Vow this will be my last DMD as this year will be my last shot at Alta Alpina.   Next year I'll enjoy "Chico News and Review" in Chico. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Devil Mountain Double Prep-Solano Ramble (2012)

Mt Diablo with the mothball fleet from the North
Will go into the Devil Mountain Double about 4 lbs higher than I wanted to--I was hoping for 139.  A few years back I read that good climbers should be 2 lbs an inch, which would put me at 136.  I hit that two years ago until I flew over a fallen cyclist and my season ended.

Fear is a great motivator and years ago real easy to stop eating and go slam up Mt. Diablo every time while quaking about thinking about my first Death Ride.  Of course that was to get my weight down from 155 to 150.  That's the trouble with goals, you meet them and they get lower.

Well, I was scared about one thing on Devil Mountain--the road to Roubaix, aka the road leading into Mt. Diablo State Park that we'd do before sunrise which had toilet bowl sized potholes.  For once the State of California got its head out of its butt (the same state that couldn't figure out the proper property tax deduction until April 15th--when taxes are due) and in less than one week repaved the @ 1/4 mile of road.

My bike is about 17 1/2 lbs, which would have been awesome 20 years ago--and now is a tad on the heavy side compared to the new minimal carbon models.  But it doesn't really matter--if I have good legs and good cardio on DMD I'll do fine, if I start falling apart a 12lb bike with 12-34 mountain gearing wouldn't help.

Personal weight and bike weight are just a part of the total weight anyway (a team car riding along would solve lots of problems).  Besides the helmet/ clothes/shoes one wears (and I wear a ridiculously large amount in cold weather) for my last few self supported rides

Handlebar bar w/ sandwich, 6 energy bars and drink mix......1129 grams
Bottle with 3 scoops of Cliff Electrolytes.................................806 grams
Bottle with 7 scoops of Perpetuem/ Hammergel......................773 grams (??)
Exposure Light......................................................................278 grams
Saddle bag, 2 tubes, lock, tyre levers, 2 CO2, wallet...... .......736 grams
Shoes (w/cleats), Helmet........................................................1089 grams
Gloves, Shorts, Jersey, Socks, Glasses, Headband.................497 grams
Tee Shirt, Sock Liner, Glove Liners........................................144 grams
Knee Warmers, Arm Warmers, Toe Warmers........................213 grams
Vest, Jacket...........................................................................207 grams
So one could easily carry 5872 extra grams of stuff on a cool self supported ride.   An organized ride can save 1129 grams.  A warm weather ride can save 564 grams.

Century #11 Solano County Backwards Ramble, w double bonus miles 115 miles, 16.9 mph.   7' climbing (Club web site says 3000' climbing--I must have missed it.)   Diablo Cyclist bonus mile ride of 93' miles w/ Ward, Dr. Dave, Christine, Jack, Stephen, Andy, Norm

Don't know if I should have gone a climbing ride in prep for Devil Mountain Double--Cisco Dave went off to do Diablo a few times.  But should start to taper--if not ready for DMD at this point then it's too late.  Hell, Dave was already checking the 10 day forecast for DMD weather--a 10 days forecast is like a long range  economic forecast which may be right...or may be wrong.   Club ride scheduled for relatively flat Solano County, so it is always popular.   Our running joke is our average speed is usually 15.4 mph as if it is higher than that we add a few more hills--the average speed today should make us feel good about ourselves.

Mother nature decided to throw in a monkey wrench which I enjoyed, but most others did not.  Out of nowhere highs in the upper 90's were predicted.  GREAT--NO VEST, NO GLOVE LINERS, NO TEE SHIRTS..... I felt so fn loose, like I could ride in the drops forever.  But always hard to acclimate on the first hot days of the year, push too hard and energy quickly zapped.  Likewise climb too much and overheat--can't do much to lower core temperature on climbs.  So a pancake flat ride was what the doctor ordered.

Already nice and warm when drove into Solano Community College to start the ride.  Rumor has it that Dr. Dave was already running his a/c at 30 degrees.   (Just 70 degrees) Usual building at the college with bathrooms was locked up--which would portend how the rest of the day would go.

Solano Ramble Video--Don't Worry MF Bike Music Free--(Pumpkincycle Cinematography and Ward Moto 2 Video)

We started doing the ride in reverse of usual--all the roads were familiar to me but I was always disjointed re what came next.  Luckily Stephen gave everyone route sheets and plastic bags to prevent sweat from melting the route sheets away--double lucky that Stephen gave himself one as late in the ride he was the only one checking it.

We started on Wooden Valley Road that was either flat or a series of baby rollers.  Nice vineyards off to the side with some funky art that they probably wouldn't allow (sniff) near Napa vineyards.  Nice route though marred by many people towing boats hell bent to get to the water.  Apart from the bonus group we had 4 more riders including Don on a fixed gear and Brian on a recumbent.  On Wooden Valley we kept together well as a group, with Ward and I getting in each others way when he was taking stills and I was taking movies with a real scenic vineyard behind our group.   Half the riders had Lion of Flanders Socks or Some Honeybadger-Gnome of Flanders Socks that looked similar except under the electron microscope.

Scenes along Wooden valley Road that we missed in the morning when riding in a paceline--these were taken on bonus miles later in the day

(above) Captain Jack ready to pull a practical joke.  Jeanna and Christine planning a Club membership drive--see the movie (Ward-O-Photo)
If I would have looked at the route sheet I would have noticed "mile 18.5-onto CA-128 E.  Store with bathrooms, and supplies."  Trouble is no one told the store.  It was closed as well as the gas station across the street.  Now, we are used to having one of these places closed but first time anyone every remembered both closed at the same time.  We still sat around the side tables and bs'd for awhile.  Jeanne and Christine put forth the Diablo Cyclist Feminist manifesto whereas we need more women in the Club as women ride differently.  I heard something about shopping for shoes while riding but don't recall who said that.   Luckily for us there was a spigot in the back--though may not have been certified by any Board of Health.  It was reported that Tom had problems in the 60 milers return trip--not sure it was related to the water of his heavy use of Hammer products.

Regroup at the corner with the long communist sounding "M" word--with no stores open.  (top) I'm happy its hot (bottom) Stephen and Ward (Christine-o-vision)
The spigot had been found by a big group of Team in Training who left about 10-15 minutes before in the same direction we were traveling--towards the only climb of the day--Cardiac, on the Napa-Yolo-Solano border.   The road into the climb is recumbent friendly--aka very fast.  Brian did a great job on his 'bent, he ameliorated his speed so I could draft behind him, and from practicing with Dr. Dave I've found you still can get 75% of a draft benefit behind a bent.'   Also fun to ride behind Brian as he has mirrors on each side of the handlebars so I can check to see if my jersey collar is straight and what funny face may work best when Ward comes along with his camera.  Brian got us to the foot of the climb when Dr. Dave, today on a wedgie bike, and I took off.  We caught up with the Team in Training folks--a nice group that wasn't blocking the road, and slowed.  Stephen soon joined us and even though he swore off going for the County line like an addict swears off cocaine; he and Dave came off my wheel for the first County line and then Stephen went uncontested for the second.  This is why on every ride, if he's on it or not, we expect Stephen to suddenly come out of the bushes whenever we ride into another County.

OK--I'm cheating--taken the next day of Brian with his Hell's Angels mirrors
Ward, Dave, Stephen, Christine and I got into a good paceline for a long run in to our next stop--rustic road, slightly downhill, with a slight tailwind, nicely paved, low volume of traffic.  In short a road where you had to work to go fast but your effort was rewarded.  All of a sudden a large motorcycle group pulling off on the other side of the road--a lady stops but falls over---motorcycle behind her almost stops but rolls into her and she's on the road.  Stephen and I start yelling at motorcycles coming up fast to slow down, Christine freaks as she didn't see accident, she just hears us yelling.  A few miles later I'm dreaming of the frozen fruit pop at the general store by Lake Solano.   Other riders pining for Gatorade with the temperature being in the high 80's.  The General Store a fixture on the Knoxville Double and the last rest stop--Lake Solano Park next door a fixture as the last rest stop on the Foxy's Fall Century.

The Gang by another closed store at Lake Solano
As Soup Nazi would say "no frozen fruit bar for YOU."  The store was locked shut.  At least the park was nice and shaded--though wasn't carrying extra drink mix today and water wasn't really cutting it.

From here the 60 milers headed back and the bonus mile group headed along Putah Creek Road towards Davis.  Towards as in, when I said lets go to Davis I was quickly outvoted 100000-1.  But we were going to Winters, the quiet town about 20 miles from Davis with a nice little business area complete with a bike shop.   But I remembered the Spanish Grocery store across the street from the bike shop where I could score Hammer Mexican Fruit Bars (may not have sucrose, frutose and mootrose--who knows, I can't read Spanish.)

Hammer Nutrition Una Fiesta Para Su Paladar Bars
Good paceline to Winters--two good guys from UC Davis hung in the back.   Norm never rode with the bonus mile group--he and Andy are our grandpa division, and they did great.  Stephen wanted to stop for a big lunch--that went over as well as my wanting to go to Davis.  Spanish Grocery had great fruit bars washed down by soda.  Bike shop cool to look at though I don't need anything--yet (new bike 2 years away.)   Regroup at the park where Team in Training had ended their ride.

(above) Dr. Dave and I enjoying our Hammer Nutrition Una Fiesta Para Su Paladar Bars while poor Ward only has water (Christine-o-vision), OK--from far away everything  looks like Lion of Flanders socks. (Ward Home School Evolution Material)

Andy and Dr. Dave trying to get into the painting--I think Andy is doing a track stand
Next portion was worse part of the ride as we zig zagged around the ag fields of Davis--perfectly flat--just mindless pedaling.   I remembered why I don't like the last 30 miles of the Davis brevets or the Davis Double.  

(top) Andy in paceline cycling around Davis (middle) I'm about to go to sleep (bottom)  Dr. Dave and Christine see wildlife (Ward-o-photos)
 Finally on some rollers, nothing significant but after the Davis ag fields this was great.  I didn't think I had ever been on this route though was reminded that this is an early part of the Foxy's.  We were in full sun and temperature started creeping up, and a few people were getting short of water.  Christine was going to ask someone at a house for a refill--Ward and I rode up a short hill where we discovered some good rural art--when we came back down the whole club was at a different house/ mini farm where the folks out there were, to Jack's delight, bring out real glasses of cold water.  The little kids wanted our autographs.  Really nice people.

You never know what you are going to find in the front yard
We got close to a cutoff where there was a significant climb of Cantelow Road.  When we do this ride "the other way" we hit this in the early hours and its popular.  Today this option was unpopular--I was the only one who wanted to do it.  Unfortunately left to my own devices I had no clue how to get back.  Dr. Dave shortly declared "OK, we're now at 100!."   When a chorus answered back that no, we were just at 66 miles or so Dave said "no, I'm talking about the temperature." 

Paceline down Pleasant Valley Road where we soon hit some short/ steep rollers and Dr. Dave and I started riding shotgun to help bring Andy back if need be.  I might have been the only person NOT complaining about the weather on the ride back but I was downing bottles as fast as we could fill them--and we stopped at a big Safeway we passed dozens of times for Gatorade-Water-Bananas.

I think we came down Gordon Valley Road--it was nice but lots of traffic.  We eventually merged on Wooden Valley Road and much less traffic.  I knew we'd have about 93 miles coming in and I was feeling good so I threw out if anyone wanted to do another 3.5 out and back to get 100.  No one was game and Ward reminded me that "the ride is the ride," and what I was proposing was akin to riding circles in the parking lot in the old days to get to 20 miles. (Yippie)  He was right.  So I decided that I would go back on Wooden Valley Road which we had been on this morning, and go out to the Wooden Valley School, the area where Ward and I were taking group photos in the morning.

So I did a uturn in front of Solano Community College and started up Wooden Valley Road--keeping my eyes open for photo ops--and there were a few good ones.  Road generally had a nice shoulder and was just tilted up gently, with farm stands, huge homes, and wineries off to the side.  Later the road would go up a little more but then be in full shade so heat wasn't a problem.  The nice thing about this ride was that the return would be nice and fast.

One problem--almost out of water and just had one shot of Hammergel left.  The Wooden Valley School best have a water fountain.  Passed another CHP officer giving someone a ticket--lots of CHP/ Sheriff's out today trying to control the speeding boaters.  Finally got to the Wooden Valley School but BIG FENCE in front of it--O crap.  Looks like I'll have to go to a winery, but they don't appear until half way back But fence was there only to keep out cars and ended 20' away--no water fountain but another spigot in the back.  Luckily still had remnants of the good NUNN fizzy that Dr. Dave gave me earlier (now why wasn't I carrying any?)   Nice fast going back--some return boaters were now even slowing and not crowding me when passing.  Seems like I was back to the college in now time so took a side trip to see the Mother Earth statue on Earth Day Eve.

Bonus miles to the Wooden Valley School and Mother Earth
True to form i don't have much of an appetite when it is hot out (which sometimes kills me on long rides) and dinner was a protein shake and another frozen fruit bar.  Next day was at 141--lowest weight of the year.  Hell, I may come in where I want to for DMD.

(above) The next day Ward, Mark and I climb the Muur de Crockett, Mark and Ward the dots half way up--by the parked cars.  Then Ward gets a series of me climbing the Muur (Ward-o-photo)  (below) Later lots of pumpkin flowers on Mt. Diablo.

Next day was a real lazy club ride--everyone drained from the day before.  Except for Craig who raced across the parking lot before my car was stopped to tell me about the DMD staff ride which he helped support.  Still nice and hot.  We rode out to Crockett which meant the (painful today) Muur de Crockett.    Mrs. Pumpkincycle on a trip so coming back I took the long/ hilly route to Mt. Diablo southgate, saw a copy giving a cyclist a ticket for running a stop sign with no traffic out (how about cops giving motorists a ticket for passing on a blind turn) and had a nice hot run up to the Junction from the easy side.  Loads of pumpkin flowers were in bloom.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Palomares-Patterson Pass Photo Shoot Double Metric Century (2012)

Ride profile courtesy of Ward Industries
 Century X   (April 14, 2012) Palomares-Patterson Pass, w/ Ward, Cisco Dave, Christine--the Ansel Adams-Imogene Cunningham-Carol Reed Division of the Diablo Cyclists. 120 miles, 5,800' climbing, 16.6 mph.

Our tribute banner to our friend Dr. Dave who just did Haleakala--we wish he was here with us doing his favorite Bay Area Climb !!.

Short movie trailer from ride (Pumpkincycle Studios and the Dave Broadcasting Network)

This ride was my favorite of the 10 century rides we've done this year.  Christine and Ward had extended themselves doing a large part of our Mines-Sierra Road loop last week and finished with 88 miles.  So they threw their hat in the ring for whatever nutty mileage our ride took this week.

Didn't want to take a 2 lb handlebar bag again but did at the end--making some concessions.  Instead of taking extra Perpetuem I made a 7 scoop Perpetuem bottle (instead of 5 scoops), with a shot of Hammergel.  This is a great Hammar product.  I did replace the HEED bottle with Cliff Electrolytes which I've been enjoying more on shorter rides.  In the bag went to Peanut Butter/ Pumpkin Butter sandwich, a few power bars and extra Cliff Electrolyte powder.  Limited the food as last week to lose weight (I've been stuck at 142)--Devil Mountain Double is in two weeks.

My hopes with bonus miles is to ride as much with our larger club before the bonus mile group takes off.  This week our Club ride was a metric loop--going over the short but steep suburban tract Schaefer Ranch Climb which led into the much much much longer rustic Palomares Climb.    We'd wind up in Sunol which is perfectly located for a number or options--and though it would be a long drag out we could visit one of my favorite routes--the deserted Patterson Pass loop and climb which might be hard.  Might as in "if headwind is blowing."

Dr. Dave and CA. Mike started the ride with us--it seemed like for the 1st time in a long while the old gang was back together.   They couldn't do an extended ride (hell, it was great to see Dr. Dave at all), but relative newcomer Cisco Dave was again in for whatever route was cobbled together.  To slow him down I asked and he promised to carry my bag full of food--until I told him I was brining a canned ham and lumpy gravy.

After a week of the heaviest rains and thunderstorms to hit the Bay area in recent times, it was nice and clear although an intermittent cool moist breeze sometimes caused a sudden chill..

Sara doing the Schafer Ranch Hula (Ward-o-photo)
 Early morning on flat Danville Blvd., which is a shitty return route with all the traffic and the red lights set off by all the turning cars--but early morning it is OK as traffic is light.  Steep Schaefer Ranch had a headwind which kills my standing climbs and was disappointed that my legs didn't feel as good after 10 miles as I thought two days doing nothing would have had them.  (My usual plan before something significant is to nothing two days before and take an ez spin the day before an event but for Club rides I take Friday's off also.)   My legs felt much better at mile 120 than at mile 15, but I shouldn't be surprised by this any more.

Long regroup before the screaming downhill to Palomares where CA Mike decided to work as hard as he could to pull the group into the headwind--he's pedaling like crazy, #2 rider is pedaling lightly, #5 rider is coasting the whole way.

Enjoying the Palomares climb with Dave (Ward-o-photo)
Loads of slow riders all over Palomares--turns out Team in Training is running a training event and this group was doing great, staying on the right side of the road, and not spread out all over the road as is their want.  Cisco Dave and I climbed together most of the way until he got bored and sprinted near the top.  A Team in Training worker offered us peanut butter pretzels, and when I asked if any bananas available they were.  Great.

(above) Ward cresting Palomaras (below) Andy sprinting out ahead of Norm

Ward & Christine, coming back from alleged hockey injury, still were smiling at the top of Palomares so it looked good that they'd be on the bonus loop.  We had lots of gamesmanship at the top of Palomares with almost cresting riders suddenly kicking it into another gear when they saw all the earlier arriving Club members and Team in Training workers watching intently at the top.

The other side of Palomares, the side we were going down, is longer than the one we came up--not nearly as steep, but very twisty.   Some washout/ gravel on the road.  CA Mike took charge on the downhill again, being the slowest downhiller in the group I dropped to the back and made an effort to hang on with the first group; and then all of a sudden BOOM and the sound of brake squeal.    Mike has a blowout-luckily it was his rear tyre.  Though he aged 5 years he was OK, the first group which contained all of our bonus mile members pulled over while everyone behind us continued on. to Sunol.

(above) Christine and Cisco Dave having fun while CA Mike changes his blowout (below) the making of an adventure movie (Ward-o-Photo)
(above) Dr. Dave going mountain biking as Captain Jack  not around to keep him under control (Pumpkinphoto)
Beautiful spot for a tyre repair--we're in a sunny spot among a dense stand of trees--and a stream below is running amok from the recent rains.   While we waited  Cisco Dave kept us amused setting up a photo shoot.
Down to heavily traveled Niles Canyon Road where we had to go uphill to Sunol.  This is a funny uphill--wind is funnelled through Niles Canyon and always a slow downhill into the headwind--so it's always a fast uphill with a tailwind assist along the gentle grade.  Cisco pulled close to 20mph most of the way--motivation for all of us to ride like hell is to get off the narrow road with lots of cars and a shoulder that tends to vanish.

Suntans in Sunol  (Pumpkinphoto)
Loads of cyclist in Sunol.  Sunol store had one of my favorites--a frozen rice pudding bar.   Stephen wasn't doing the bonus miles but he figured that there was a way for all of us to stay together for another dozen miles through Pleasanton and Livemore which worked out great.

Diablo Cyclist Peloton thru Pleasanton (Pumpkinphoto)
Flat through some rural, mostly suburban route with a nice shoulder.  I was resting up and riding near the back--only work I'd have to do is bring back any of our slower riders if they fell off but everyone did a great job staying in the group so I could really be lazy.   Then suddenly we were there--the big Club headed North while Cisco Dave, Ward, Christine and I turned East.

We were on the Cinderella Route--an all girls ride that suffered through torrential rains last weekend.  Christine stoked even if she didn't have streamers in her helmet, as she wisely didn't start the ride last week. If we continued straight we'd actually get on Patterson Pass the easy way with the tailwind, but my plan was to cut North and come in so we'd have to do it the hard way.

We had two choices of a cut through to be where we wanted to be--Choice 1 (Vasco) has lots of stores near the intersection we'd again turn.  Choice 2 (Greenville) looks like a dumping ground for truck trailers & warehouses from Google Maps.  So we needed to turn on Vasco, but Christine who was now in the front decided to skip Vasco, and go to Greenville.  OK--not too bad as I still had the handlebar bag loaded with food & drink mix but getting water would be a problem--I was down to half a bottle for the 10 mile dragout to Patterson Pass. 

But as we had a great group everything that needed to work out this day did.  In between all the semi industrial dives was a GRAND OPENING--Gas Station Mini Mart with tables.  The tables were surrounded by walls blocking any wind on two sides and in full sun so it felt great--and knee warmers came off for the day.    We stayed there a long time bs'ing about good energy sources for long rides and all the photos we take on rides.  Ward and I don't like using a phone for taking photos so we pack a camera--Ward took 155 photos on the ride.  Cisco Dave likes using an I-Phone and he's Ward's equal for taking photos while moving--and he took a dozen photos and some movie.    Remember--each time a photo is taken the rider is usually alone in the wind, and then one has to put the camera/ phone away and  may have to dig back to the group that may not have slowed.   I can't ride and take photos like these guys, I took about two dozen photos and some movie, but usually from a dead stop.  Christine usually carries a camera but she was being a weight weenie.   Lots of fun combining photography with cycling.

(above--Run in to Patterson Pass-Ward-o-photo) (below-Dave before the turn into the Patterson Pass climb-PumpkinWorldwide)

We came out by the cyclocross park at the edge of  Livermore--though the highway would never be that far away it was on the other side of rolling hills so all of a sudden it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere for 10 miles.  Great road, almost no traffic, just cows and windmills.  Half is a gentle climb with a tailwind leading to a fast downhill--fast NOT because it's steep but because its tailwind aided.  One of the great stretches of road in the Bay area--though we were hoping for NOT much of a tailwind as we'd be climbing back into whatever wind existed on Patterson Pass.   To quote Uncle Steve yet again--"if those windmills are turning you are screwed."

All of a sudden we were at the Midway turnoff which would get us past Rolling Stones Speedway (Altamont) and then onto Patterson Pass.  Earlier this year I discovered that if we went 1 mile past the Patterson Pass turnoff the highway appeared with lots of convenience stores on the side--but we had done the last 10 miles quickly and no one needed to refuel.

Scenes from the Patterson Pass climb--up the road(Ward-o-photo)

Christine killing the Patterson Pass Climb--half way up (Ward-o-photo)
 About 20% of the windmills were turning--so there was a headwind effect but the climb wasn't bad.  Early on we saw a dazed driver who had skidded into a barbed wire fence--luckily we were no where in the area when he skidded off the road.  Sky was a deep blue  interrupted by giant white clouds.  After a mile or so Cisco Dave took off on the 4 mile climb--he looked like he was shot out of a cannon.  Climb was lots of fun (unlike the much steeper Sierra Road last week)--the grade stays mostly gentle until it kicks up alot for the last 1/2 mile. 
Very occasionally a car would pass going up or coming down but traffic very very light. The steep section at the end usually has the most headwind blowing through (of course) but today not bad.  Cisco Dave was up at the top taking what I though were photos--later I'd learn it was a movie of Patterson Pass for PBS and me at the end of the climb; I like how it came out.  Hopefully I'll be this happy on DMD in 2 weeks. 

Remembering the "Nick Salvador*" rule of always riding down a hill for the achtervolgers, I planned to circle down for Christine/ Ward and do the "Oh My God" hill section again--but they were climbing great and Dave/I only had to ride down the last third of the steep section.   (*best thing I learned in my old Club--instead of waiting at the top of a climb and then ready to take off when the last person gets there--go back down and do the climb again)

Fast downhill into Livermore wasn't THAT cold, and it seemed like we were shortly at one of our favorite rest stops--the patio of the Livermore Library.    We'll we were there after Christine threw out a teaser--yelling out she wanted to do the 6 mile Del Valle Climb.  After I accepted the challenge she took the offer off the table.  I figure I have an IOU from her when she's healthier.

(above) NYC Park bathroom (below) Livermore Medical Office Park (Ward-o-photo)

 (above) Another Kodak Moment with wildlife on Highland (Ward-o-Photo) Christine on Highland (Pumpkinphoto)
The Diablo Cyclists A/V club coming back to civilization (Pumpkincycle Worldwide)
 Sock liners came off here--rest of the day would be warm interrupted by an intermittent cool breeze.  (Some of my colleagues mistakenly used the word "Hot." )   The rest of the group took the scenic route out of Livermore which totally confuses me--as by myself I turn right to get back home but somehow we turn left and eventually wind up in the same place.   We passed  one of our favorite medical office parks--that Ward dubbed long ago "brutal post modern park bathroom."  We passed the knockoff of Wyland on some water towers.  Then took the new route to a great rustic run in to Blackhawk/ Danville whereas the minimal amount of time is spent in suburban hell.

Great ride--the 120 miles seemed like 30, with the first 10 miles harder than the last 10.  Maybe it was the limited climbing; surprised when Ward said we did less than 7,000'--I would have thought we were slightly over.  Ride was priceless.
*****************News of the Week****************

(above) Sports Photo of the Week--Jordan Jones running down Lance Armstrong at the finish--neither Mr. Jones and Mr. Armstrong ever did Paris Roubaix though only Mr. Armstrong would have been expected to help his team and do it.

(below) Hammer message of the year--Special message for club member who worships Hammer Nutrition and should read this carefully