Sunday, February 17, 2013

Missing Link Collier-Sunol-Palomares Century (2013)

February 16, 2013 Moraga Canyon Turnaround for Bike Exchange (24 miles), then Collier, Sunol, Palomares Climb, w/ Ward, 104 miles, 16.3 mph

Another weird ride--luckily no one got hurt this week except a Shimano Chain link.

Touch of warmth at beginning of the Diablo Cyclists ride--yippie.  I was feeling the best I had in months which put me in a distinct minority.  Dr. Dave and Christine seeing doctors for medical issues, CA Mike who intends to sign up for long distance brevets wasn't sure if he'd even have the energy to do the metric Club ride out to Castro Valley.  When Rebecca pulled in Mike yelled out "Rebecca, get some of your friends to join the Club, we have too many old people who have medical issues."

Out of Lafayette we have two choices to get to Moraga--the long but gradually inclined bike path or the super steep road--must be 1/4 mile at @16%.   I've been avoiding the climb for months but Todd turned on it so I followed with Ward and Jack.   This temporary pain assures we'd be at the first rest stop 5-10 minutes before the rest of the Club, where we bet that Rebecca would be the first to arrive from the bikepath group and she was.

Now down and then up to Redwood Road, which is a rustic road that gets us to Castro Valley.  At least that was the plan.  Ward got in trouble chasing girls again, on the first roller he went to catch up with Rebecca and next thing he was on the side of the road with a dropped chain.

We ask Ward for a photo of Mr. T's chain and he sends us this (WI)
Ward can get a chain back on 3x faster than me so I continued on with the Club downhill to the start of Redwood Road.  At the bottom we all waited for Ward to get back while Tom read the new graffiti tags on traffic signs.  Tom ran out of reading material before Ward appeared.  We waited a few more minutes--no Ward, so I said I'd go back up  to see what happened.

At the top Dr. Dave standing near Ward who was adjusting bike.  Chain had fell off--caused by two links deciding they wanted to bend and form an 'L."   Dave luckily had a chain tool, Ward took the bad links out and put in a 9 speed Connex link Dave had--trouble is that Ward has a 10 speed bike and his chain was now 1-2 links too short.  OK to ride as long as you stayed out of the big-big ring combo--do that and the derailleur blows us.

Knowing that Ward decided to ride home, grab another bike and do ?.  We were 12 hilly miles from the start and Ward cycles to the start.  I said I'd go back with him, then we could drive to his house, so we could save 30-45 minutes.   Even with mechanical hard to be in a really bad mood--was slowly getting to promised high of 70 and the vests soon would not ne needed.   Spring was definitely in the air--tons of cyclists were out.

Get back to the start, 24 miles in the bank--load the bike on my roof rack--drive to Ward's house (hell, we could have set a Strava time), grab a banana.  Now what to do???  We'll never catch up to the Club and traffic out through Walnut Creek-Lafayette-Moraga would now be heavy. 

Well, we could catch the Club on their return route from Castro Valley.  SURELY on such a warm, beautiful day--the first springlike day, the first day of a three day weekend, they'd add bonus miles.  The bonus miles were self evident--from Castro Valley they'd go over the Palomares Climb, then up to Sunol.  No one likes returning on busy, suburban Danville Boulevard in the afternoon so NO DOUBT they'd do what we do almost every Saturday and add miles and loop around Livermore to rustic Collier Canyon.  Ward pulled out his heavy steel bike as we weren't going to do hills.

It's springtime--bikes are blooming from the trees in Danville (PC)
So Ward and I, restarted and went down toward Collier Canyon.  It was right before noon and Danville had tons of cyclists now sitting around Peets.  Definitely not as many cyclists on the road now.  Soon on Collier which is great almost no traffic on a nicely surfaced road.  Ward and I spent the time trading pulls where we bs'd about lots of interesting things.  I learned the best way to pay off an unjust parking ticket, we discovered that Dave Matthews had both turn off KFOG with their incessant playing of him and other mellow rock (to be fair this was brought up when I opined that Dave Matthews' 'Two Step' has some life in it), and I got a rundown on the need for I-Tunes if you get an Apple product.  Before I knew it we were in Livermore.

Ward rides by the fake Wylands (PC)
Both of us were unsure of how we now loop Livermore to avoid the more direct but very busy Isabel/ Airport  Corridor.  We figured the Club wouldn't be near here yet so we took the Isabel/ Airport Corridor, with its shoulder obliterated by construction.  Luckily soon on familiar Vineyard, and we saw the Kettle Corn Man putting his stuff away from downtown Pleasanton Park.  Good--usually when the Club comes in from the opposite direction the Kettle Corn Man is gone.

Now just a short loop of Happy Valley Road before we head to Sunol--this is where we;d probably see our group.  Now 2:30.  So we do Happy Valley Road--see some cyclists approaching---not our group.  Head down to Sunol--see some cyclist approaching--not our group.  Shit, they are slow today, must be lounging around the general store.

Get to the general store--no one around.  So I call Christine "oh, we are back at the start drinking coffee--no one wanted to do bonus miles today."  "SLACKERS" Ward and I yelled in unison.

The text says "We-have-done-our-10-miles-now-time-to drink-a-Cinnamon-Dolce-Frappuccino" (PC)
It's nice and hot by the Sunol train depot, I don't want to leave (WI)
From there we figured WTF, and Ward suggested doing the Palomares Climb, which we did.  The ride down Niles Canyon and up Palomares was uneventful except when the "Welcome to Fremont" sign is in dead shade surrounded by large trees at the bottom of Niles Canyon, and the temperature must suddenly have dropped 20 degrees.  We quickly warmed up back on the Palomares Climb.  Then through Schaefer Ranch and the long slog back down suburbia/ Danville Blvd.  Actually it wasn't THAT bad, we caught more green lights than usual for an afternoon.

OK-I guess the bonus mile group isn't on Palomaras either-time to go home (PC)
Hope to do another century in two days, on President's Day, recreate Teddy Roosevelt's charge up Patterson Pass Hill.    Usually on Sunday I stay local which means repeats in the Los Vaquaros Watershed area on a fixed gear, but Ward said he'd join me so I figured we two man around the same route my old Club has done 10000000x every Sunday.  Mrs. Pumpkin would leave with the old club 30 minutes before us--we'd catch them en route and I'd ride with my wife.   Now East County is virtually flat but usually a stiff breeze blowing out of the West across the farmland, so though we were two manning it made for a hard recovery ride.  At one point we saw a bunch of fluorescent vests up ahead and I thought we caught up with my wife, but it was two cyclists on recumbents.   Where the hell are they???, we should have caught up to them by now.

Ward riding under the Downtown Brentwood Mt Diablo arch (PC)

The bleakness of East County (PC)

That's not the Mrs. Pumpkin group (PC)

Things didn't work out as anticipated, when we got to the last rise before dropping down to the Los Vaquaros watershed we went over it and at the same time Donna's club was coming up from the opposite direction.  After 10000000x of not changing the route (unless two bike shops were at war so the starting location was changed), they decided to do the route in reverse direction today.

A Belgium cyclocross racer would slide down the stair rail (PC)

Los Vaquaros (PC)
The new United States cycling team.  Not disgraced US Postal.  It's US Army (PC)
This was not a good weekend for predictions.  Can't wait to see how we lose the group on tomorrow's holiday "show and go."

I missed seeing the secret cycling power food in the Brentwood Bagel shop (WI)

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