Monday, January 21, 2013

Patterson Pass (2013)

(January 21, 2013)  Patterson Pass via Tracy Loop, w/ Jose, 95 1/2 miles, 15.7 mph

Martin Luther King days so 3 days of riding.   No century rides yet this year--weather too damn cold (in the 20's every morning--so much for global warming in California.)  Chomping at the bit as my back problem of 2 1/2 months finally cleared up a week ago.  It's great riding almost pain free.  Have stupid ass tennis elbow which is just annoying when stretching out my arm--usually when standing, and calf problem but that just necessities compression socks after the ride.

I shouldn't complain--our whole Club is falling apart.  Dr. Dave has elbow and neck problems, Ward had knee problems.  Cisco Dave may have the flu.  We can only hope that everything clears up by the time warmer weather hits--but a few medical drug posters created by Dr. Dave at the end of last year certainly apply generally as we're medical wrecks.

It's funny how fast things change in a year.  Last year in anticipation of Alta Alpina I was hitting the weights, nightly bike rides in the cold to get used to riding with lights, and on a strict diet.  Now 8 pounds heavier and there is no fn way I'm going bike riding at night in the cold.     Instead I'm edited the videos posted on You-Tube showing the seminal bike rides in 2012 (Part A & B) and am making the extended Director's Cut for home viewing.  2012 was an incredible year--I already miss it.

Today's holiday ride was a "show and go" and I figured the Club would do a popular flat ride which would get me in the direction of Patterson Pass, the climb off the beaten path that is part of the Devil Mountain Double.  Trouble was that no one "showed" except a new rider --  Jose.  He's real strong but usually hasn't done our bonus mile rides.  I told him I'd be going out to Patterson Pass if he wanted to join me--and he did.  Hell with Power Bars, Jose had with him a baggie of bananas and Cosco scone pieces.

We bs'd alot about our kids, around the same young adult age, and the typical stories about how when we first started riding we were ecstatic when doing 15 miles on a hybrid.  We stopped before mile 20 for the early morning whizz, and next stopped for a long break in Tracy--mile 48.   Apart from taking photos from the top of Patterson Pass and an emergency phone call where Jose had to explain he was doing a "little" more than the anticipated 3 hour ride--we didn't stop again.

I did a bunch of stupid things.  Even though I could buy sports drink I try to be self sufficient but forgot to take more drink mix powder.  No big deal, I have fizz tabs in my little drug bag---ah, no I don't.   Regular headband must be in handlebar bag when it's time to switch from thermal headband--no--forgotten. 

Strange weather on run in to Patterson Pass going East, which usually has a strong Western tailwind.  Today there was a cold crosswind blowing in from the North.  On the weekend the run in usually deserted--today it was apparent that garbage men don't get MLK Day off with a few smelly trucks passing. 

Jose by Summit Garage
Post Modern 7-11
Cow Country To Patterson Pass
We then did the same flat Tracy loop we did last time so we'd wind up with @95 miles --which under my theory counts as a Century (on par with Chico Wildflower Century or half of the Solvang Double Century.)   Last time we went to a dumpy gas station at the highway crossroads, this time we tried the busier but more modern facility--BINGO--it had the largest and most modern 7-11 I had ever seen.  The girl behind the counter laughed when I mentioned the dump on the other side of the overpass--she had never been there but heard bad things about it.

While sitting outside in a nice warm sun--a 49er mobile pulled in.  A maroon SUV with dual 49er flags, with the driver blasting some song over and over that contained things that Jim Harbaugh said.  It must have been karma revenge for me blasting Motherfucking Bike while climbing the local reservoir dam on a fixed gear the day before.

This was mile 48 and Jose and I wouldn't stop for a food break again.  Two miles from the Tracy stop the Patterson Pass climb starts.  Very very little wind on it so it was fun.  Jose zoomed up the last steep section--chugging up was descriptive of what I did, but again real happy as my back didn't give me any problems.    View of windmills was great but valley further out real hazy.

Jose Climbing Patterson Pass
At the top of Patterson Pass-sending greetings to our infirmed comrades Ward and the two Daves
Vest and fingerless glove liners came on for the downhill--the weather stayed nice and no need for full finger gloves or a jacket.  Jose said he got lost last time he rode in Livermore--great, as I'm the club leader in getting lost.  Usually Ward or Dr. Dave know a good way to get out of Livermore circumventing traffic, but the only way I know takes us through the heart of downtown.  I planned out a new way but instead of going straight on Patterson Pass I made the usual sudden left on Cross Road.   ???    So we wound up on a zig zaggy bike path in between vineyards and then a subdivision while I was confused how I screwed up simple directions.  We eventually found what we were looking for, and Jose had to make a quick stop to take a phone call from the wife wondering what happened to him.

Rest of the ride was nice--back on Collier without the crap wind from last time.  Jose and I got a good sense of when one of us was slowing down and we'd automatically switch and take a pull.  Unlike last time got back well before dusk but no bonus miles looking for missing riders.  Pace was serious but not hard--good establishing a base long training ride. 

Also good for breaking in the new "annual winter Times Shoes on Clearance"--got carbon soled ones and after last years debacle with strap surgery I'm hoping these will be comfortable with no surgery necessary.   If you have Time Pedals which are flatter than most road pedals, more popular curved shoes you have to shim like crazy.  Time Shoes are 1) always on sale at years end 2) come in the crappiest of colors (I pick white to avoid red or yellow) 3) its a crapshoot if its a good shoe.  I have a NON-carbon soled Time Shoe where the uppers are incredibly comfortable (unfortunately they are falling apart), and a carbon soled Time Shoe where the footbed is comfortable but the stiff, heavily solid plastic uppers eventually hurt on real long rides.   

Well-I thought this was a street--on the bike path
The famous pink pannier lady--does she really climb Mt Diablo with panniers filled with bricks?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lance Lance Lance Lance

So Lance Armstrong is going to go on hard hitting Oprah Winfrey to issue his Mea culpa .

First he's getting surly with some cycling fans.  As reported in Velonews:

"While the disgraced Tour de France champion is reported to be mulling over a confession to doping throughout his career, on Strava, a popular endurance website that logs workouts and allows users to interact with each other, Armstrong recently updated his profile bio: “According to my rivals, peers, and teammates I won the Tour de France 7 times.”
The Union Cycliste Internationale declined to protest the report on Armstrong’s behalf, and the Tours de France from 1999 through 2005 have no official winner, though Armstrong continues to allude to being the champion of those Tours.

“Just updated my bio based on the facts,” the Texan posted on his Strava account on January 6.

Reaction on Strava was mixed.

After one critic left the comment, “I can sleep good knowing I have as many Tour de France Victories as Lance Armstrong,” Armstrong replied, “Ask Alex Zulle, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Ivan Basso and Andreas Kloden how many Tours I have… and if that doesn’t please you then ask the 200 guys in those ‘7’ pelotons.”

Well Lance, you can ask George Hincapie, Johan Museeuw, Servais Knaven...I won as many Paris Roubaix's as you did. I even started as many times as Lance.   Everyone in my bike club did. 

As a reminder of what a good teammate Lance was when his faithful lieutenant was left to fend for himself :

Oh that's right, multi stage champs don't do Paris Roubaix.  Ask Eddy Merckx.  OK, sorry, bad example--Merckx did everything.  So lets ask Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault and Andy Hampsten.   Oh....they also did.

After his confession on Oprah,  Lance sycophants will again decry that the whole peloon was doping and Lance was just the best.  But as John Henderson of the Denver Post wrote:

"I'm wondering if Winfrey will ask some key questions.


• If you doped, why did you try to destroy everyone around you who claimed you did?

• How guilty do you feel for taking millions in endorsement money when we really don't know if you'd have won a single Tour without doping?

• And, namely, why should we forgive you?

What bothers me most about Armstrong is his history of bullying. It's what separates him from other disgraced dopers."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Years 2013

Christine and I near the ramp to the summit when snow appears.  Not cold going up and just in Jersey and no fingered gloves.  That will change.    (WI Worldwide)
2013***Happy New Years***2013
 Be Safe
My only prediction for the year.  It will get warmer than the 30 degrees at the top of Mt. Diablo on New Years Day at high noon.

Dr. Zhivago Dave had Russian headgear for the downhill (WI)
I ran into Mountain Bike Racer Jerry at the top--we did my first ride from hell-Sierra Century Double Metric--together in 2003 (WI)
Team Photo-the views from up here are worth the trip.  Oh--the view ended 500' below in fog bank.  (WI)
It must be cold--Cisco Dave is putting on knee warmers.  We didn't get any video of Dave riding around Diablo doing Ganga Style. (WI)
Dr. Dave is frozen to the ground (WI)
I'm trying to double my income and offer to sell a layer of clothes for top dollar (WI)
The first good photoshoppe effort of 2013--taken when we came down from the Wells Fargo at the summit to the Junction.  (WI)

Note for future insantity--what works on 30 degree downhill (at 20 mph it feels like 17 degrees)
This seemed to work out
Buff Headband (replaced ^Headsweat that was drenched after ride up)
Wool Buff around face (replaced ^synthetic Buff for ride up)
add Rain Jacket
add Vest
Heavy Synthetic Long Sleeve Shirt (replaced ^long sleeve jersey that was drenched)
add Wool Muscle Shirt
^Arm Warmers (no longer rolled down)
^Knee Warmers (these were overkill on the ride up)
^Ski Socks
^Sock Liners
^Toe Covers
Swix Mittens (replaced ^cycling gloves)
^Glove liners with fingers cut out
^used on uphill, it was 42 degrees when we started but felt much warmer going up Mt Diablo.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kwanzaa Lights--Tracy Loop Patterson Pass Century (2012)

Century #36  December 30, 2012 Kwanzaa Lights Tracy Loop Patterson Pass Century w/ Ward, Cisco Dave, Christine*, Jack**, Mike*** (me*), 96 miles.

*Christine and I didn't do extra bonus miles called "looking for Jack."  **Jack took a shortcut thru Tracy ***Mike thought he was going to a dinner party so he went straight up Patterson Pass

The last epic ride of 2012, the 36th, would be mired in pain and controversy, and whatever else something is usually mired with.

Elevation collaboration-(WI, CD, PC)
No century rides in December.  Falling apart at the beginning of the month and didn't want to extend any ride.  Then it started raining.  And raining. And raining.  Was looking forward to Xmas Morning when no one is out in the morning...rain.  OK, chance to do another Century the last weekend of the year. 

Going into last weekend it was more rain overnight.   Usually Saturday is our big ride day--but rain looked like it might stop right before our start time.  Sunday though promised to be sunny.  Nice--how about Patterson Pass for the 11th time this year.  So midweek I started sending out emails that we should do something special--and bring lights, its Kwanzaa.    Christine pointed out that the Club ride would get us about 30 miles towards Patterson Pass.  Going this flat way would only get us 88 miles, so I looked to add some miles in the Tracy area before we hit the slopes of Patterson Pass.

On Saturday Ward, Jack and I rode over to Peets Coffee--Berkeley for some coffee--a metric century ride over a bunch of hills.  This used to be a well attended club ride, now almost no one shows up.  Our club is getting old--we joked that this ride should change to the Peets Coffee--Danville ride, 10 flat miles away, and stop for lunch half way to Danville. 

In the spirit of the 'First to Spot Rusty' game (double bonus if you are the paceline leader), I proposed the "Ward Bingo" game.  When a card shaves us you'd mark your card with whatever epithet Ward yells out.  Meanwhile, my stupid move of the day was having a 3/4 frozen Perpetuem Bottle.  Perpetuem tastes like crap when warm so this this mix is great in the summer-2 hours after the ride starts.  Trouble is that it ain't summer and 5/8 of the bottle was still frozen when we finished the ride.

Road was wet and air damp, but no rain and good to be out.  I was on my regular sized bike (as opposed to compact frame) and by mid ride my back tightened up so while riding wasn't much of a problem, swinging my leg over bar to get off bike was a bitch.  I'm just continuing to fall apart since the  Mt Tam Double--cruel irony is I now have a case of tennis elbow (from being on the Nordictrac to much) which hurts the most when putting on compression socks for my calf problem.  Fuck.

Carl Hubbell could go against the Patterson 9 but Dr. Dave can't go over Patterson Pass (PC)
For Sundays ride we had a big Club turnout that be with us about 30 miles into the ride.  Mike had to get home early so he wouldn't do the Tracy add on.  Dr. Dave had elbow surgery so he couldn't do an extended ride.  Toby was long gone.    Christine and Ward who started the season on the injured list, Cisco Dave and Jack joined in for the last bonus mile ride of the season.

Morning started out cold.  My new philosophy now is that as I ain't training for nothing, so I don't have to take long pulls when we have the whole group.  Christine, Mike, Ward, and the two Daves, our bonus mile contingent, would bs'd about politics and movies--one would leave to take a pull and then soon come back.  It was getting warm enough so looking forward to pulling off rain jacket and glove liners at the first rest stop.

Santa Brian still sticking around even if after Xmas as the peloton leaves civilization (PC)
Pace picked up on Highland, where there is a sprint point to the turnaround spot.  I have no chance in hell for taking out the sprint, but could be a troublemaker and attacked on two intermediate rollers before the course gets fast.  That split the Club--the two Dave's and Christine caught up to me and we four manned to the end.  (Well Dr Dave tried to be cute and jump before the County Line sign but Cisco is too quick.)

At  The Trees turnaround group--as we wait for the rest of the Club before taking off on bonus miles (WI)
From "the trees" we left the larger club that was now turning around and Cisco Dave, Mike, Ward, Christine, Jack and I zig zagged through the farmland/ model airplane land separating Blackhawk and Livermore.  Dave and I reminisced that this is where I thought the leaders on Devil Mountain Double (who start 1 hour after everyone else) would catch us--and we were pleasantly surprised when we held on to Patterson Pass.  Christine insisted on catching up to a woman who had passed on on a rolling regroup.

Christine and Mike in 'no mans land' on the way to Livermore (PC)
In no time we were passing the motorcross course that starts the gentle climb (with tailwind) out to Patterson Pass.  This is basically the last bid of civilization we'd see.    Woman Christine caught up to turned off, and our 6 person group was off by ourselves.  About every 5 minutes a car passed.   We had a nice paceline going when we noticed Jack was off the back.  We stopped to take a group photo but no Jack.   At this point we should have doubled back but lots of times we wait for Jack, and then when he catches up he tears out ahead.     So we didn't wait and this would come back to bite us in the butt later on.

Ward, Mike, Christine and Cisco Dave on the fun Altamont run in towards Patterson Pass (PC)
Got to usual right turn to Altamont (Rolling Stones) Speedway but this time jogged to the left.  Well not all the way to the left--that would actually get us to East Country.  Maybe start a ride from my house next year.  Instead we headed towards Tracy to do a flat bonus loop in farm country before hitting Patterson Pass.   The 'straight' Patterson Pass ride was only 88 miles when I did it President Holiday Weekend, so this detour would get us to the mid-90 threshold to make this ride "epic."  Mike had to get home for a dinner that didn't come off--so he said goodbye and headed towards Altamont.

In Tracy the good news was that much of the road that was chewed up in the summer was now repaved.  The bad news was that a farm truck shaved us--if we were playing 'Ward Bingo' we could have filled up the card.  

Ramble Around Tracy -that guy in the white shirt knows the answer to the quiz question (PC)
When we finished the Tracy loop (@ 7 miles) we bypassed the fast food oasis on one side of the highway for the lonely little gas station on the other.  We'll have to rethink this.   The gas station was crowded, the convenience store not the best and expensive (even Fredrick wouldn't have eaten a hot dog from it) and the detached bathrooms were like should be condemned tenement outhouses.    Fortunately the sun was hitting the curb just right, the building blocked any wind, and we were transported to Miami Beach--though instead of bikinis racing through the sand we just saw tumbleweed racing through open fields.   Jack pulled in--he took a shorter loop in Tracy--and then left when we were all sunning ourselves.

Do we have to keep riding, can't I stay here??  How do I get to Patterson?? (WI)
Patterson Pass was great--a slight crosswind blowing in from the North--but there are enough sheltered spots to kill the wind and unlike the usual Westerly gusts it didn't increase in velocity near the steepest portion at the top.   Cisco Dave and Ward were at the top of their game--no not cycling (though Dave was close) but in cinematography.   Dave's videos and Ward's photos could be put in a travel brochure for Patterson Pass.

Was a great ride--usually on great ride a song gets into and loops in my head.  This time a modern song called Iodine did the trick.  When the same word is used over and over and you just have to remember the beat--learning a new song is easy.

Going up Patterson Pass (1,2,4 CD) (3 PC)
We rode much of Patterson Pass as a group--caught up to Jack, and then started fn around with the cameras.  Cisco Dave stopped often to take videos of us passing.  Ward stopped to get some nice shots of the final climb.  I stopped to get a good shot of Ward coming through.   I was climbing much better than when we did Patterson Pass 2x, but was not fast enough to catch back up to the group after taking photos.  Back wasn't hurting but twingy when getting off the bike or when trying to push hard. 

To da top of Patterson Pass (WI)
Patterson Pass Theatrical Trailer--Cinematography and interview mostly Cisco Dave, film and sound editing Pumpkincycle.   Special guest appearance by Craig courtesy of Diablo Cyclists.

We regroup at the top and someone who drove up to take in the magnificent view of the valley full of windmills took out group photo.

I reach the top with Cisco Dave (truth in advertising--Dave had already been at the top and went back down for me.)  Christine says "its about time, we need our group photo, who has the banner?" (WI)
Ward and Dave riding so well they can make the banner levitate (WI/ PC)
Always a nice sleigh ride downhill to Livermore--and then flat out to the library.   On the downhill I decided NOT to be a wuzz and kept my jacket and fingered gloves off.  (Half glove under liners under my cycling gloves working wonders.)   Cisco Dave did most of the pulling with occasional relief work from Ward.  Library has a nice open area where downed a serious power bar--but felt hungry soon after.  So did Ward.  While it was pleasant in the sun it would quickly get cold in the shade or when the wind picked up. 

Jack opined that this reminded him of a now departed club member who used to stretch--in the middle of the street?? (CD)

Something at the library told us we were soon to be f'd (PC)
Soon on Collier, a nice backroad toward civilization.  Some baby rollers and a slight uphill grade.  Today it wasn't 'usually nice.'   The wind on Collier was nasty--in fact the old rusted windmill that never turns was turning more than all the windmills combined on the Patterson Pass wind farms.   About half way down I was exhausted and dropped off the paceline--Christine hung on almost to the end.

When I dropped off I stopped to take a photo--no Jack in sight.  I was so tired I just waddled ahead--and thought Jack would zoom by soon.  He didn't   I passed a possible detour which we only take 10-20% of the time, and if there was a tailwind I would have taken it.  But a nearby flag showed I'd be riding in a gale force wind if I turned so I continued on.   Ward, Dave and Christine waiting at the highest point on the road (before a drop down where the detours merge.)  Wait a few minutes--no Jack.  Dave and Ward  go back to see where he is, Christine rides downhill at to the next merge, and I wait at the high point.  Ward comes back, reports no sighting and he goes out again.  I put on jacket and gloves--its getting cold as nearby windmill keeps creaking round and round.  It was like the Star Trek where everyone beams down and starts to disappear. 

Santa on a tractor is frightening me--on Collier (PC)

Ward and Christine get by the demonic windmill that is actually screeching and turning (CD)
More minutes pass--all of a sudden Jack pops in from the direction Christine was in.  Said that as no one waited for him at Altamont didn't figure we'd wait now.  I couldn't figure out why he took the detour with headwind.  Mrs. Pumpkin makes me carry a cell phone with me now so I try calling Cisco Dave and Ward---NO SERVICE.   More minutes pass.  I go 1/4 mile down the road--call Ward and (misdial) the wrong Dr Dave who is wondering what the F is going on.  Just then Ward and Dave appear after doing a repeat of windy Collier.  I tell them Jack is 1/4 mile up the road, and he took the detour route we usually don't take..  Ward would have won "Ward Bingo" instantly.

The bad thing is that Cisco Dave and Ward's good deed came in 2012 so there is no carry over to 2013.    (Ward claims he's paid up until 2013)

Warming up in the sunshine at the store in the morning and then later when the sun is going down so Ward can admire the xmas lights (PC)
We continue on -its too warm for a jacket but to cold without one.   We're all hungrier than we should be and stop off at same store we were at with the bigger group earlier.  Cisco Dave still strong--he does most of the pulling, and when he gets back to the front of the paceline woe to the person who just came off as he ups the pace 3 mph.   Finish about 1/2 hour before darkness.

Great ride--but lots of group problems.    Our Double Bonus miles shouldn't blow up like it did.   Of course Mrs. Pumpkin we should communicate better but that sounds like something you'd see on Oprah.  Who the hell knows.  Just shows after 36 of these nutty rides our group needs more practice.