Sunday, September 2, 2012

Teddy Roosevelt's Calaveras-Patterson Pass Double Metric Adventure (2012)

Century #28  (September 1, 2012)  TR's Calaveras-Patterson Pass Double Metric Adventure, w/ Ward and Toby and  Jack^.  136 miles, 7,000' climbing, 16.9 mph.  Calaveras portion with Diablo Cyclists. (^Jack eventually lost us, we are checking with Commissioner Ford Frick if there should be an asterisk next to his name.)

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.- Theodore Roosevelt -

I have to order six more Alta Alpina 8 jersey's as I now wear it to work Monday-Friday.  Then there are the two club rides on the weekend.  What--I can't wear a collar shirt and tie on club rides.
This was truly great ride.  Longest ride Ward did all year and my/ Toby's longest self supported.  (I thought it was mine also but must have gotten info from RNC--Cisco Dave points out we did a 160 miler up Mt Hammy on April Fools Day.)     On the early part with Diablo Cyclists on Calaveras someone (Cisco Dave) was usually pushing the pace--and then we traversed Pleasanton-Livermore to do one of my favorite rides--the Patterson Pass climb from the Altamont side.   From the Altamont side means climbing into the prevailing wind though windfarms--as Uncle Steve once said "if the windmills are turning you are screwed."

Miles and elevation courtesy of Ward Industries (WI)
 Club ride was an out and back on Calavaras--a rustic twisty ride along a reservoir.  Its a very gentle climb.  Usually the bonus mile group--aka crazy people, continue on to the Hell of the Bay Area--Sierra Road.  But I never have to do Sierra Road again, and when Dr. Dave led the preemptive NO TO SIERRA ROAD campaign midweek I was in full agreement.

The Teddy Roosevelt Double Metric Century Adventure Course was well marked

But I wanted to do something special.  My thigh from Mt Tam race crash is almost fully healed--but I haven't lost the 6-7 gained pounds from my resulting funk (great result in Mt Tam Double tempered by painful swollen thigh on top of my f'd calf veins.)  The plump pumpkin wanted to suffer on a little climbing--with little meaning NO Sierra Road which would mean suffer alot.  Well, we could do something new--go out to Patterson Pass.  The run in to Altamont-Patterson Pass, 15 mile gentle uphill and downhill with tailwind with nary a soul in sight--just turning windmills on well paved roads, is one of the GREAT ride sections in the Bay Area.  The Patterson Pass climb is surreal, a deserted road (OK the occasional car/ motorcycle thinking its a race course) through windfarms stacked with humming windmills.    Mostly gentle with a few short kicks until the last 1/2 mile where the road kicks up twice and the headwind builds.  A 35 minute climb if the wind is neutral or gentle becomes a 45 minute struggle if the wind is pouring in.

So mid week I proposed Patterson Pass.  The response was underwhelming though Dr. Dave texted back "Now you're talking!!!-What a fantastic idea!!"  Unfortunately I know Dr. Dave hates Patterson Pass as much as Sierra Road so I think he was being ironic.

I actually was going to call it a day within 5 miles.   After a 90 degree Wednesday evening climbing Mt Diablo (check out our group on a video Diablo Scott shot when we started up Mt. Diablo--though Christine and Don contend the video is 30 seconds too short--it stops right before they fly by Diablo Scott) the Bay Area became unseasonably cold.  On Friday per National Weather Service


Saturday promised a bounce back but the morning started out fn cold--overcast with a damp chill in the air was straight out of a November day.  I used to have to get loose for the for the first 10 miles of a ride but my calf now hurts for about the first 20.  So between the cold, weight gain, and feeling like crap I was not a happy camper.  I was in the minority wearing knee warmers but was glad I had them.  Luckily we had a big group today and lots of good folks to ride with.

Don and his fixie in Sunol.  Most of the flags ain't moving--Patterson Pass will be fine. (PC)
The ride down to Sunol was uneventful--we kept a steady pace and the big group kept together longer than  usual.  By the Sunol run in with attacks before the short but attention getting climb I was already feeling better and the sun came out.  Yippie.  As usual lots of cyclists in Sunol.  From Sunol to the beginning of Calaveras is slightly uphill and CA Mike did his usual job of doing alot of work at the front of the paceline.  When the climb kicked up Cisco and Dr. Dave, Toby, Ward and I jumped off the front--Cisco Dave usually keeping the pace high and if he wasn't someone else was.  I'd lose a little ground on most of the short downhill turns and make it up when coming out of the turn we start an uphill.  Toby laughs at me when I pick up the pace when a cyclist is ahead, or when Cisco sprints for the County line.   We laugh at Toby when he goes for a Strava time.   We all pass the turnaround spot at the end of Calaveras and continue on a mile or so down and then back up THE WALL.  Its not a bad climb--steep but relatively short; many beginning cyclists are scared of it and its the feature climb of the Primavera Century.  In retrospect our average speed for the ride was 16.9 mph--if we skipped THE WALL it would probably have been 17.0.   At the turnaround point Dr. Dave is demonstrating his smart phone which sends dictated text messages--but the phone AIN'T that smart--if you are our of cell phone coverage it wouldn't take a dictated message to send for later use.

(top) Toby on THE WALL, (middle) Ward on the WALL while Dr. Dave in the background thinks he has spotted Lance in the truck.  (bottom) CA Mike and Christine super excited about adding bonus miles (PC)
I'm climbing THE WALL (WI)
This is why Toby always wears a white kit (and a gold chain?) (WI)
Nice fast run going back in Calaveras--now long downhills punctuated by short uphills after the hairpin--and eventually the road just becomes slightly downhill.  The Diablo Cyclists form a great paceline--joined by one rider we picked up who sounded like his bike was about to explode.  Earlier in the day I was on the fence about Patterson Pass--along with the cold weather there had been a constant cold breeze, but now with the warm weather the air was kinda still.

Back to Sunol for more refreshment where we lose 1/3rd of the group--they'll do @80 miles.  Another 1/3rd would do the Happy Valley loop with us before heading back--they'll do @100 miles.   Toby early on said he'd do Patterson Pass; when we hit the fork in the road where it was time to commit Ward and Jack joined in the adventure.  Soon we could see the windmills--OH SHIT they were turning, but only about 1/2 were turning and they weren't turning THAT fast.  At a stoplight a crow on the light standard continues to laugh at us for doing thsi ride, F the crow.

Outskirts of Livermore scene (PC)
Nice break before we started the Patterson Pass run in--I pulled off t-shirt, arm warmers and knee warmers.  We are at mile 80.  Motocross Course that signifies the start of the run in to Altamont is unusually empty--usually the roar of lawnmower engines is the last sound you hear until the whirl of the windmills 10 miles later.  Jack had started from the rest stop 5 minutes before us so the goal of our trio was to catch up to him--and we were all flying with the tailwind pushing us up to the Summit Garage.  The Summit Garage--like almost everything else on this section---looks like its out of a ghost town.

Our ride is also on some strange DMD course--never heard of it. (PC)
Toby and I go by the Summit Garage on the way to Altamont (WI)

The Ward Collection.  (top) Toby (middle and bottom) I'm on Patterson Pass climb. (WI)
The end of the Patterson Pass climb (WI)
We eventually catch up to Jack and then make the right hand turn to go past the Altamont Speedway.  I always hear Rolling Stones music here.  The ghosts from their infamous 1969 concert.  Another right and we are on Patterson Pass.  Ever present headwind but not bad--I predict it will take us 35 minutes and I was spot on.  

Toby at the top of Patterson Pass (PC)
Toby and Ward riding with power meters and they set a real steady pace up the climb.  Eerily quiet with the windmill hum in the background, except for the motorcycle or car that passes every 5 minutes.  We laughed at "Pedestrians Not Advised" signs---who the hell would come out here for a walk.  All good except for the numbnut muscle car driver who come flying down the middle of the road.   About half way up is beautiful view of the valley filled with windmills.  As usual ending section kicks up twice and headwind builds, but not bad at the top.

Paul Sherwin and Bob Roll commentate on this exciting sprint finish between Ward and Jack to the top of Patterson Pass, which finishes on the steepest part of the climb.  A surprise interloper from another team surprises everyone. (PC)

Clint wants to know if we have to put up with 4 more years of no Dr. Dave on Patterson Pass (WI)
Jack before he splits when we are about to party at the top of Patterson Pass (WI)
  Lucky for us as after the customary photo shoot Ward discovers he has TWO flats.  Luckily he had two tubes as he's riding deep dish carbon wheels and needs tubes with extra long stems.  Jack had already started down when Ward discovered the flats and we'd never see him again.  Highlight while flat fixing was a couple on his and hers motorcycles stopping and guy's motorcycle blasting Young MC's Busta Move--we haven't heard that in 10+ years.  Toby had already been dancing at rest stops to loosen up.  Before we left a pickup truck arrived and saw an empty Bud Light on the ground (whole ride littered with unusual amount of beer cans and broken bottles) and said that someone had thrown it at him from another car.  Huh?  Luckily Ward just finished changing his 2nd flat and said "lets get out of here before we are shot."

Ward getting lots of flat changing practice on top of Patterson pass (PC)
We continued down Patterson Pass-staying on it longer than usual, thus skipping the library stop in downtown Livermore and making up time by stopping for a last break on the outskirts of Livermore.  Toby points out large display of  MUSCLE MILK which then says in tiny letters 'contains no milk'.  I get  Coconut water to hydrate and another banana.  Ward and I usually ride a good two man, going to the front when we know the other person is tiring and Toby fit right in.  A nice steady three man where we just took turns at the front whenever someone felt good.  At mile 110 I felt much much better than I had at mile 10, and it was a fun ride back as we zig zagged the rural area between Livermore and Danville.    Then we hit a string of green lights coming down from Blackhawk to Danville.  Nice.

Following Toby getting back to civilization (WI)
Sun started setting rapidly and temperature dropped suddenly.  Ward was happy--I was not.  We had plenty of light as we rolled down Danville Blvd at 7:00--1 hour to sunset, but I should have brought small headlight.  One more flat and we would have been screwed, but we didn't and longest self supported ride ever ended just in time.

Three day weekends are great--didn't want to look at a bike the next day.  Especially after having to sleep with the compression socks on.  F.

No comments: