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

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