Sunday, November 4, 2012

Patterson Pass 2x Century (2012)

(November 3, 2012) Patterson Pass 2x-Totally Crazy Century, w Ward and Toby, 117 miles, 8,200' climbing, 15.4 avg.  Century #34

Strava and Garmin elevation of the ride--Strava people trying to set a record on the pancake flat bike trail--get you ass onto the hills (WI)
With this being the last day of daylight savings time, it was time to do something very very special.  Our club ride (dubbed "a little nutty" by Ward) was a metric over the Oakland Hills to Peets Coffee--Berkeley.  Ah, can get coffee anytime, and in a month it will probably be warmer over the Oakland Hills than in Central Contra Costa.  No--this called for an epic adventure--doing Patterson Pass TWICE. 

As readers know from previous posts I love Patterson Pass as it is so different.  You leave crowded suburbia and for a dozen or so miles you're on good roads seemingly void of human life.  Whirling windmills dot the landscape, some strange man made structures, but no people--OK maybe a car coming by every 10 minutes or so.  Then past the deserted Altamont Speedway where the ghosts are playing Rollings Stones music from their infamous concert.    Then the Patterson Pass climb, 30-45 minutes of fun on a narrow unstriped but well paved road among the windmills--and the faster the windmills are turning the more screwed you are cause its ALWAYS a headwind if they are turning.  The last 1/4 mile or so spikes up to a double digit grade--which is 'just perfect' as any headwind is blowing the fiercest up top.

I figured instead of coming down off Patterson Pass--which is a nice desolate road to the left into Livermore-- I could come off and take the right fork, which would loop me back to the Altamont climb.  Before the second climb I would go @2 miles past where the Patterson Pass climb starts--and hit a gas station at the major freeway suddenly nearby.  Oh yeah--I'd go out to Patterson Pass via the Morgan Territory climb--another rustic road that leaves suburbia in the middle of nowhere.

I just emailed that I wouldn't be doing the club ride.  Ward dubbed my ride "totally crazy" but joined in--Toby has done much crazier things (8 1/2 climbs on Alta Alpina, 5 full triathlons in 5 days ) so he thinks stuff like this is normal.     More sane people decided on the club ride (though Dr. Dave misread the schedule and took his recumbent out for a 'flat' Club ride, so he also wound up creating another option.)

It is not a good idea to try new things during a century ride.  I went to town with new things today and they all worked out like crap.
-First time in years I did a century ride over 150lbs (well over 150lbs)
-First time in years I did any ride as a 56 year old.
-First time I wore compression socks on a ride.
-After an eating free for all after Mt. Tam Double I started my winter diet on November 1st--two days ago.    Not a good idea going into a Century ride on 1900 and 2100 calories the two days before a long ride.

I don't scientifically plan these ride but figured we'd need as much daylight as possible so planned to leave at 8am instead of our usual 9am.    I pushed off at 8:05--no Toby? and met up with Ward a mile into the bike trail--prearranged spot so he wouldn't miss any of the climbing.   A few short hills getting out of Walnut Creek into Clayton--where Toby caught up to us.  Fall coolness in the morning, Ward wearing a yamaka under his headband and I was wearing compression socks overlayed with regular cycling socks and kneewarmers.  No Christine parked on the side of the road--like she was on Devil Mountain Double--to toss off excess clothes (she would be on Dr. Dave's ride).  This was needed as after Clayton we were hit with full sun, some more short hills and improved warmth.

Mt Diablo from Morgan Territory (WI)
A few morning SUV's buzzed us but we lost the traffic once we turn off onto Morgan Territory Road where Ward discovers his Power Meter battery is dead.  We're laughing at the four Strava people who claim to be members of the Diablo Cyclists (they are not) who proudly posted Strava segments on the local multiuse trail.  One of our top ten prime directives (go see Star Trek)--"there is no racing on the bike trail."  Riding up the narrow tree covered road we morph into a discussion of how Lance Armstrong is now getting pummelled in the press (who were asleep for a half dozen years), and then the upcoming presidential election.  Ward filled us in about something I didn't know about Mitt Romney.  Mitt actively protested FOR the Vietnam War in college and Vietnam War, and wound up never going into the military, instead left for France to proselytise for the Mormons.   If Mitt's father was still alive and in political office, Mitt Romney would attack his father -Progressive Republican Presidential candidate George Romney, for being to far to the left.

Toby and Ward leaving Morgan Territory rest stop (PC)

Long break at the top of Morgan Territory with little wind--which will be great on Patterson Pass.  Then the plunge down South where I turn on the blinking headlight as at least ONE car going uphill will suddenly appear on the narrow road--and sure enough that quota was filled half way down the course.   When we start to set out one guy flies by us--but we are having such a good time bs'ing--and nut'tin to train for, so for once we don't chase.  Some big big groups come by in the opposite direction.  Spot some of the windmills on the hills of Patterson Pass and they ain't turning.  Very good.

We skip by the last convenience store in Livermore, get yelled at by an ass in a pickup truck that felt that our being 2' in from the edge of the road was 2' too much, and then past the BMX Park where we wouldn't have to worry about asses in pickup trucks any more--as we were entering the land of the desolate.   The 12 miles--at first a gentle uphill and then usually  downhill after the Summit Garage (have we ever seen any people there?) went by fast.   It was now really warming up and I thought about stopping at the Altamont Speedway entrance just like last time I did this ride to pull of knee warmers and compression socks--but didn't.  I did stop to rededicate the same place I stopped and whizzed on DMD--Toby also doing a Sierra Club dedication while Ward started up the climb.

Toby and Ward going past the Summit Garage (PC)

Toby hiding behind Ward after the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont (PC)
After pulling off arm warmers Toby and I started up, and first inkling of trouble.  I stopped to take a photo and Toby now a little up the road.  As Toby was staying in an ez power zone I should have been able to catch up to him and then we'd get back to Ward.  But not today.  I was wearing the compression socks, as at the beginning of most rides since the Sierra Century it feels like someone hit me sharply with a ball-peen hammer in the back of my calf 10 minutes ago.     This feeling doesn't go away for 10-15 miles (and then returns post ride.)  With the compression socks my calf's felt great.  But now it felt like someone was tapping my inner thighs with the ball-peen hammer--wasn't hurting but just "twitching."   Also felt too warm in the climb.  Without any wind no trouble going up the climb--just slow.  No problem on steep part at the end.  Vow'd that 2nd time around I'd take off knee warmers--compression socks and motor up climb.  Ha.

Toby starting up Patterson Pass (PC)
Toby on Patterson Pass climb the first time (WI)

Yeah baby--We did Patterson Pass the first time.  Toby is checking to see if he's first on the Strava KOM list(WI)
Usual fast downhill towards Livermore where we cut over on North Flynn Road that has many sudden short climbs--and where the thigh twitching picked up.   Remembered that our Club used to come in from the opposite direction alot--until some crazy person insisted on making the ride longer and going out to Patterson Pass.   Soon we were again on the Altamont Speedway, again past the Summit Garage, again under the gigantic train trestle (where we stopped to read the graffiti), with Toby usually pull us along.  Oh F, out of water.  But from here we'd turn on Midway, go up the short climb up past the Altamont Speedway and continue 2 miles past the Patterson Pass turnoff where we'd hit the gas station convenience store. 

Ward and Toby by railroad trestle on Altamont Pass (PC)

I'm following Toby on Altamont Pass speedway which leads onto Patterson Pass climb (WI)

Lady who is going to drive 200 miles in the wrong direction to get to Patterson needs to down a few cans of these.  As it turns out so do I (WI)
Until this time lived mostly on Perpetuem, Cliff Z Bars and Chomps, but at the gas station broke open a Peanut Butter/ Pumpkin Butter sandwich and pulled off knee warmers and compression socks.  Probably around 75 degrees so knew that knees would be OK.  Then we met the most annoying lady.  Luckily this wasn't the first American that Toby ever met.

Chubby lady in big car pulls into gas station and asks us for directions to Patterson.  Very easy, if you go onto the Super Highway about 100' up the road it is a straight shot a few exits away.  Ward tells her this and she starts to argue--shouldn't she go in the opposite direction where she'd wind up on a rustic road that goes into Patterson.  Yeah, she could do that--especially now that gas is under $4 a gallon and she'd be killing a tank of gas going that way.   Ward tries to explain this to her, she keeps arguing, Toby is dismissive ("yeah, just go the way you want") and I'm laughing quietly like hell.  (Ironically, as soon as she leaves another person pulls up within 5 minutes, asking for directions.  The 2nd person actually listens.)

Our rest stop was at red dot on Hwy 580 near Tracy.  Some lady wants to know how to get to Patterson--Ward gives her the orange route down Hwy 580/ 5.  Besides being the most direct way--speed on this road is 75-85mph.  So, the lady starts argues that she should go the other way, on the blue route.  This hilly route is three times as long and would probably average 35-45 mph.  And we wonder how anyone would decide to vote for Mitt Romney.
OK--back up the road for Patterson Pass #2.  I pull out camera to take photo--Ward and Toby 200' in front of me.  I put in a dig to catch up and WHAM--now it feels someone just hit me hard on my inner thigh with a claw hammer.  Then WHACK--outer thigh.  Then another for good measure on my inner thigh again. I gotta stop--we all do--and when I get going I'm crawling along.  No more hard whacks but lots of those light tapping as I continue up the climb--while Ward and Toby fade in the distance.

Ward and Toby start up Patterson Pass..da SECOND time (PC)

Toby crests Patterson Pass the second time (WI)

TWO TIMES!!!! Is that two times cresting Patterson Pass or two Giants' championships in three years? (WI)
About a half hour later get to the ending double digit grade steep section, and Toby comes down to check on me, then Ward.  Start going up steep section and WHACK-WHAM-WHACK--its another full assault on my thighs--mostly on my left leg but a few on my right.  Fuck. Have to stop for a few minutes.  Luckily a road with almost no traffic--to get going again I have to start out sideways and clip in and then quickly turn sharp left before falling off the cliff.  Do it and wait for man with ball-peen hammer to return--he doesn't and I finally make it to the top.  Patterson Pass #2--but I could have been alot happier.

Ward opines that I should have left my knee warmers on to provide warmth to my upper leg--I'd do that at the Livermore Library.  Toby gives me a salt tablet.  This is the first time I ever felt like this on a ride and I think its due to starting the ride with compression socks.  Who the f knows.

Toby and I try to locate our legs at the Livermore Library (WI)

Why the hell are we eating bananas??  I have a sudden craving for donuts and I don't know why. (WI)
For the rest of the ride Ward and Toby take something off while they pull me along.  I get a few more nasty spasms--but usually when we are stopping.  Emergency stop for a Gatorade G (Cliff Enduolyte Mix tastes to salty to me all day) and a banana. 

Toby learned his County Line celebration from Christine PC/WI)
Another emergency stop when Toby runs over a roofers nail near Blackhawk--for some reason throughout the years we have had to stop here for lots of flats.    When we continue riding in suburbia very long shadows from the rapidly setting sun.

Toby pullin me along down Collier Canyon Road (WI)
Great course, great company, just felt like crap for half the ride.  Fn depressing, if anything ever gave out during a ride it would be my cardio system--not my legs.  But this is first time legs went down the toilet.  Not the greatest way to end a great cycling season with winter now moving in, but an epic ride worth remembering.

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