Monday, February 4, 2013

Dyer Road-Patterson Pass (2013)

(February 2, 2013), Patterson Pass Loop with Dyer Road out and back.   94 miles, 4,450 climbing.   w/ Ward, Christine, Jack, Arizona Bill, Todd
Strava Profile (WI)
Our bike club, the Diablo Cyclists, have a great ride system.  Instead of having (and begging) for ride leaders, we have @a dozen Saturday (our long day) metric routes that Jack shuffles around.  I joke that Jack footnotes the rides, so that any that go South or Southeast, say 1-bonus mile group will go on to Patterson Pass.   As we don't have many rides that go North, about a third of our in-town rides have a Patterson Pass possibility. 

Diablo Cyclist Saturday Ride Schedule
This week the Club ride was a fast track, one going Southeast through the rural flatlands before reaching the Livermore suburbs--perfect.   Doing the Patterson Pass Loop is about 88 miles, so we've lately been adding some farm country on the Tracy outskirts.    Looking at Google Earth a side road off the Altamont run-in to Patterson Pass (the BEST 15 miles of cycling in the East Bay)--Dyer Road, looked intriguing.  It looked like a gradual climb among windmill farms which eventually dead ends, though I saw it turned into a gravel road near the end and Ward thought he spotted a fence blocking the road.  

My back felt great, so I've finally been able to start winter weight training two months late.  (Us advanced aged folks lose muscle mass.)  Elbow is almost all healed.  Feeling good--so of course I caught head cold from Mrs. Pumpkincycle who should have been quarantined weeks ago.  But though a tad overcast there was the promise of the first time 60 degree temperatures and we had a big  turnout.

Early talk was on how the Santa Rosa Wine Country Century closed out in less than one day--it being the best century in the immediate Bay Area (despite the lack of food at the end and the crap pavement in the Santa Rosa Area.)  I had registered at 1:30 am-1 1/2 hours after registration opened.  Christine got in and so did new rider Bill, who is strong on the flats and small rollers, so he'll like the Santa Rosa Course.   It's a shame how quickly it closed--ride is lots of fun as we can keep the Club together.   Hopefully my other partners in trouble making will be able to secure a ticket.

The beginning of our Club ride on the fast course turned into a free for all.  We had a rider who occasionally joins us--good guy, I like talking to him--and is always trying to ride second wheel before attacking any sprint point or hill after doing no work.  If he's winds up at the front he's off it in 5 seconds.  This gets my dander up.  So Ward launched a few attacks off the front, Dr. Dave gave it full gas, and then I marked Rider X so he couldn't get back into the pack, left put in the wind,  and couldn't catch Ward or Dave.   Christine right behind us was cracking up.   Fun and games as Big Todd took out the sprint.

When we got to the end Jack had an alternate route to Patterson Pass in mind, but as he "unsubscribed" to our weekly email blather, he didn't know that we had been talking about Dyer Road.  I wasn't sure who was doing Patterson Pass and was considering the Jack route when Christine declared ''we said we are doing Dyer Road so lets do it."  So we did.

As usual, once our bonus mile group departs the main pack we work together.  In fact when we first set out all of a sudden we looked back and saw someone chasing us far down the road--so we slowed.  Bill joined us--he had been in the front of the large group when we turned off and wasn't sure where we would leave the main field for the bonus miles.   He wasn't even sure what we were doing but he was game.

Gruppo starts up the magic Altamont Run in--the best dozen cycling miles in the East Bay (PC)
Usually a tailwind on the easterly Altamont run in, which is then bad news when we return West on the Patterson Pass climb.  But today a mild headwind which would bode well later on.  As usual Altamont deserted--we were passed by one stinky garbage truck that I could smell through my congested nose, maybe one other car, and we passed a small group of cyclists.  That's it for miles.

We were soon at the Dyer Road cutoff and made the sudden left turn under another prehistoric trestle.   Road was well paved, had almost no traffic, and we were riding up a gentle grade among wind farms.    At one point we passed a geodesic dome house.    Unfortunately after 2 miles--about 4 miles before the road truly ended, the pavement turned to gravel.  

Start of the Dyer Avenue out and back---could have sworn there was a train station here (PC)

Ward & Christine on Dyer Avenue (PC)
Bill off the front trying for KOM points as we go up Dyer Avenue (PC)

After only 2 miles this is not a good sign (PC)

Jack returning from where Dyer Avenue ends (PC)

It's a good idea we didn't hop the fence (PC)

Geodesic Dome house on Dyer Road (PC)

I arrive from the return trip down Dyer Road.  Where is the narrow subway train? (WI)
We then returned, consensus was that the bonus 4 miles was too short to be worthwhile to do again, and continued on the Altamont Run in.   Dual tandems were ahead of us up the road, on the slightly slow course.   Bill decided we needed to chase and get up there with them.  We caught up just about when the wind shifted and the course became slightly fast and the tandems decided they didn't want company--so all hell broke loose.   Bill and Todd led the chase, I hung on for dear life in the back with the only time my head cold f'ing up my breathing.  Luckily the tandems eventually diverted towards Tracy as we continued towards Patterson Pass. 

Looking back past the Summit Garage-there is nuttin out there (WI)

Gruppo passing the Summit Garage (WI)
As when we passed the Patterson Pass cutoff a big bike club was looming; looked like they just came down or had done a loop from Tracy and had stopped to regroup.      We continued on past the cutoff for our long stop of the day--the huge 7-Eleven by the highway.  It was only about two miles away, and when we got near the highway overpass suddenly the big bike club was roaring past.  Or at least the fast members of the big bike club, which didn't bode well as they were on our left and we had to make a left turn.  We slowed so they could safely pass, made the left, and then watched as the cyclists that they had ostensibly waited for were now dropped again and frantically chasing their mates.

The 7-Eleven is huge with big glass window in the front.   A Subway is next door--if Stephen would have known he probably would have gone with us.  Bathroom is huge and deluxe and has a 5 watt bulb--I think they are going for the Safeway mood lighting.

We take staggered turns at rest stops so someone is always with the bikes.  When Christine came out she said that the girls behind the counter were all enamored with "the tall guy"--Todd.   I think when we left they all ran to the window to get another look at Todd.

The 7-Eleven of Tracy with Todd's fan club looking for him(CB/PC)
The great thing about cycling is there is a part of the course for everyone.  Toby and Bill had their fun during the fast run in towards Patterson Pass, now Christine, Ward and I were enjoying the 35 minute+ climb.   There was absolutely no headwind so it was closer to 30 minutes and everyone enjoyed it.  Jack was riding the best he had in months and was not far behind on the climb.  This had him relax so he didn't take off ahead of the group like he's been wont to do lately.

Ward starting up Patterson Pass--distraught that the telephone pole ruined the view of the windmills (PC)

Bill having fun on his maiden voyage up Patterson Pass (PC)

Christine on Upper Patterson Pass--right before starting the final steep section.  She's happy that once again she dropped the boys.   (PC)
Ward on final section of Patterson Pass (PC)

Bill and Todd near the top of Patterson Pass (WI)

I'm at the top of Patterson Pass (WI)

Film auteur Christine makes her Patterson Pass I-nemascope film (WI)

We all celebrated finishing Patterson Pass with a toast of beer--except for Jack.  He was upset that we didn't bring a banner or signs to hold up as we usually do.   (WI/PC)
I usually don't care how we return, but I had mapped out an alternate return for this ride.  To get out of Livermore back to the rustic area that lies between it and Blackhawk, we used to go by the airport which is very busy.   So is cutting through downtown Livermore.   We have another route that has us stop at the library and then zig zag around town to avoid traffic--I've only done it 100000x and still don't know the route albeit it involves a left turn a busy uncontrolled intersection.  So instead of turning off the rustic Patterson Pass descent I planned that we stay on it even when it becomes a suburban street.  This worked out well.  It has us go through a light industrial park that was well paved with a wide bike lane and very few cars.  We then had to make a few suburban right turns and only one left.  We took a break at strip mall with a Buck-Bucks/ Jamba Juice and a waxing place which led to some stories by Bill.   OK--good we were finished eating.

Cyclist with flip flops and cool bike shorts.  I want them.  I think they are endorsed by the 7-Eleven girls (PC)

Todd and Ward at the last rest stop (PC)

So three rest stops for a 100 mile ride, not bad--though one more than Jose and I had last time we did the Patterson Pass loop.  After some self congratulations, Ward pointed out that once it gets warm we wouldn't be able to stop enough as we'll down our water bottles at an accelerated rate.
Uneventful ride back where we all stayed together and had a nice working paceline.  Uneventful until Ward pulled a Jack when we hit town, he saw someone on a strange cycling device, and had to follow them.    The rest of us continued on with 90 miles in our legs when some guy had to pass us red faced (extreme effort.)  F--jumped on his wheel, he was soon slowing quickly and our line passed and shot him off the back.  Todd threw away a water bottle preparing for the sprint and Christine took out the sprint for good measure.
Nice day--good group.  Just need it to be 10 degrees warmer with NO fn personal ailments.  Checked out Jack's Corral Hollow to Patterson Pass route and it looks interesting.  But next weekend is the Club ride out to Calaveras--which is fine until some nut suggests we add Sierra Road.

Don't know if Ward was trying to get a photo of the 'cyclist' or the jogger's shorts (WI)

It's Not About the Drugs

The Lying Lance Affair finally caused some personel consternation. No not the drug portion   The "other stuff."   Like Watergate, where the coverup and political machinations dwarfed the burglary, it is more "impressive" how Lance successfully slandered and marginalized everyone who pointed to his drug use, and got away with it. Part of the Lance machine was his payoffs -- which included $100,000 to cycling governing body--the UCI. Wonder what commentators would say if Jose Cancesco had made a sizable donation to the Baseball Commissioners Office.

Which gets us to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, cycling's prime commentators. I fell in love with them in 2003 when I was scared shitless after signing up for a hilly double metric, and would watch their telecast of 2002 Paris Roubaix over and over again--with Johan Museeuw flying through the muddy cobblestones to calm me down.  Not only was Museeuw's performance great--but Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin were so lyrical. Their call of 2002 Paris Roubaix, and then 2001 which I saw afterwards, made these races such special epics.**1**

I always wanted to attend a talk they gave and ask them two questions. One isn't Lance related**2** The second is Lance related but nothing about drugs. As I talked about in an earlier post, each year US Postal got their butt kicked at Paris Roubaix, the biggest one day classic that most multiple Tour de France winners used to do. Lance Armstrong NEVER did.  Paul and Phil would decry that Museeuw's Domo Farm Frites beat up George Hincapie of US Postal, who lost ONLY because Domo had lots of riders at the end and George was all alone.

 A 3rd grader hearing this would ask "where was Lance Armstrong of US Postal, the world's greatest cyclist??,"  just as any kid would ask where was Barry Bonds if he sat out games against Randy Johnson or Kareem if he sat out games against Wilt Chamberlain.  Paul and Phil somehow never noted this and made the connection when US Postal lost again. They were conspicuously silent. In fact one year they raved that Lance was actually watching the race from his home in Texas before his team went down in flames again.  

So I wanted to ask Phil and Paul that don't they think that Lance should have done Paris Roubaix to help Hincapie and his team, and why they never mentioned this if they did.     Up till now I thought the reason Phil and Paul avoided any criticism of Lance was they were  trying to build up the sport in America.    As such they weren't going to ever criticise the only cyclist most American's knew about.   Their praise of Lance, racing or not, was so over the top that the network they were on, OLN, became known as the "Only Lance Network."    But I wanted to find out from them.

Turns out--no need to. I just came across a news story from 2002 that is seemingly innocuous when published until we jump to the present day--when we find out that one of Lance's tactics was to buy off anyone of importance/ influence. Turns out when Paul Sherwin's Gold Mine needed a cash infusion so there was Lance with $$$$, and he became a business partner with Paul and Phil.

By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002

Successful sportsmen invest in many diverse businesses but three-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong surely has put his money in one of the least likely – a gold mine in Uganda.

The 30-year-old American, who will set out on Saturday bidding for a fourth successive Tour de France crown, was persuaded to invest in it by former English professional cyclist Paul Sherwen, who is now the managing director of the mine.

Armstrong was following in the footsteps of former Motorola team-mate Ron Kiefel, Mike Plant, a director of the Goodwill Games, and Jim Ochowicz, former managing director of Motorola, who had all visited Sherwen in Uganda.

The trio along with Sherwen invested enough to secure a 2 percent holding in the mine which the Englishman says came in very handy at the time.

“Of course everybody, Lance included, invested because they were friends, but they did it at a time when we badly needed money,” Sherwen said.

Imagine if Tony LaRussa or Bill Belichick invested in a business run by Joe Buck, and then did something so strange that called for obvious criticism but Buck didn't say anything. What if we found out that the Bush family invested in FOX news? That would explain alot.   In any event I no longer have to ask Phil or Paul why they never criticised their business partner, Mr. Lance Armstrong. What a shame, a complete and utter shame.

**1** 2001 Paris Roubaix is the greatest cycling team performance I ever saw, 2002 the greatest individual performance.  Get the DVD if you can.

**2** Question is asking Sherwen to finish his sentence about Johan Museeuw during Museeuw's last race--Paris Roubaix-- before retirement when Museeuw suddenly flatted with 5k to go while in the lead group.   Paul was saying "last week when I saw Museeuw at the Tour of Flanders he was..........MUSEEUW HAS A FLAT TIRE...MUSEEUW HAS A FLAT TIRE."    Paul and Phil's call of this tragedy was very dramatic, incredible--Phil's voice cracked while Paul kept saying "what a shame, a complete and utter shame."  What was Paul going to say right before the flat, did he think Museeuw was going to win???


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