Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thank god Michele Bachmann isn't President Day--The Hell of Patterson Pass Century (2012)

(February 18, 2012) Patterson Pass & the Base of Mt. Diablo Century, 97 miles, 5370' climbing in a mild tropical breeze.  w/ Ward, Cisco Dave, Rebecca, Blinky Ray, 16 mph


Q.President's Day Quiz Question--What President's Ranking Has Improved the Most Re Surveys/ Rankings by Historians Taken after 2004?  Answer at the end 
Great three day weekend weather forecast with Saturday touching a high of 70 in full sun, Sunday a few degrees less in full sun, President's Day supposed to be a few degrees less.  First two days were great.  So today, President's Day, it's forecast for about 64, with partially sunny conditions and 5-10 mph winds.  The President's Day forecast was about as accurate as Michele Bachmann on slavery and the founding fathers.

Early morning out of Walnut Creek--Rebecca in front of the paceline, Chairman Ward follows (PC)
So it was a high in the low mid 50's, constantly overcast (except over the Great Altamont Speedway), and high winds (30 mph) while we were riding through and climbing up over the Patterson Pass wind farms.   Meanwhile no one had jackets, Rebecca didn't bring toe warmers, Dave didn't have knee warmers, and I had on a thin summer t-shirt.  Nice.  But as Ray cheerfully said "at least its not raining."

Group paceline down to Livermore--if the windmills are turning we are turning around, yeah right (PC)
Cisco Dave sans knee warmers isn't afraid of a little cold (WI)

Best place to ride is along side Blinky Ray so you don't see the lighthouse attached to the back of his bike (WI)
In any event, Ward and I did our utmost to make this less than a successful ride by doing a Century two days before and not really having a recovery ride in between.  Any thought of recovery on this ride disappeared with Rebecca, Cisco Dave, and Blinky Ray making up the group--all incredibly quick and the later two training for Devil Mountain Double.   Luckily Cisco Dave slowed down a little and pulled the group around for most of the day when he wasn't making clothing out of newspapers (always the SF Chronicle, those weekly shoppers and hippie papers have ink that run onto your clothes)

Though my legs were screaming, I didn't mind the fast pace out--as that was the only way to keep warm.  We had Don and Jack with us at the start, but Don declared he hated Patterson Pass so he stopped at the Trees, and Jack didn't like the caffeinated pace so he turned towards Livermore.  For half the ride I couldn't understand why anyone hated Patterson Pass--the run in on Altamont Pass is the greatest.  Hell, with the strong tailwind we were coasting uphill at 30.  If course this meant that later my odometer would hit 3 against the head/ crosswind on the climb.

Rebecca and I are on the best 12 miles of riding in the East Bay--THE Altamont Speedway to the Altamont Speedway.   Nicely paved, almost no cars.  Hell, almost no people.  One stop sign.  Today a tailwind letting us coast on the gentle uphill at 30 mph, which was too slow for Cisco Dave and Blinky Ray who were far down the road. (WI) 

Motoring past the Summit Garage (WI)

I love the trestle in the middle of nowhere (WI)

Only true sun of the day.  Turning windmills ahead--still photos don't do them justice.  All this fun means that we'll be screwed on the turnaround climb up Patterson Pass (WI)

A group of cyclists much smarter than our group---they aren't going over Patterson Pass (WI)
When we turned from the Altamont speedway (fast road) towards the Altamont Speedway (Rolling Stones Concert) the tailwind became a crosswind.  We'd turn again onto Patterson Pass so it would become a headwind that would hammer us for the next 45 minutes.    Instead of going into Tracy to refuel I think everyone wanted to get the climb over QUICKLY, so we all started up.  Rebecca had been a little nervous as last time she blew up on the climb on a windy day--and today the wind was even worse.  She must be a Patterson Pass jinx--we've had beautiful weather the dozen times we've done Patterson Pass without her.    But fueling at the bottom and pacing herself on the climb got her up nicely,  just behind Cisco Dave who is going to kill DMD.   Meanwhile, I couldn't stand in the cross/ headwind, and wanted to get some movies of the windmills I've never seen turning so fast.  I dared NOT take two hands off the bars  WATCH THE U-TUBE OF THE RIDE   --coming attraction below -- so between being slow and stopping for movies I was the final rider.

Cisco Dave turning on Midway.  The small rollers are no problem--but the wind shift is. (WI)

Cisco and I questioning our sanity as we approach the Patterson Pass climb (WI)

I want to thank Ward--on the 4th take he unzipped his vest for dramatic effect (PC) 

The last 1/4 mile of Patterson Pass is the steepest and whatever wind is blowing is intensified through the narrow pass at the top--so I just had my head down grinding it out.  When I got to the top the gruppo was near the edge of the top to check on my progress--I felt that if I stopped I'd blow down the hill so I went @50' forward.  I then turned around and saw the group WALKING their bikes toward me while the wind attacked them.  Dave held his bike out and it flew around like a kite.

No group photo today--Ward got a quick one of me and then it's less get the hell out of here before we are blown off the hill.  Some guy had come up from the other side so he had a jetstream tailwind assisted climb and he quickly turned around--it looked like he was trying to set a gale assisted Strava time. 

Group photo cancelled as Jack not here and he had the special President's Day Banner (WI/PC)
As a change of pace here is some readable stuff.  This is Ward's account of the ride:

I was tired and leg sore this morning right from the house. Then I felt a couple of drops of precipitation on the way to Heather Farms so I felt like going back to bed. After we hit the blvd I felt a few twinges in my knee and that started an internal debate about turning around at Livorna. Having looked at the wind forecast for Livermore did nothing to encourage me to continue the ride. But stupidity won out and I continued. It really helped that the line kept together well with everyone taking steady pulls.

Maybe expecting a death ride is a good way to approach these things. Anything but pure shit will be a pleasant surprise.

Patterson was a bit windy. I played back the video on my camera and it looks pretty good with Dave's bike trying to fly away from him. Good thing those cows were tied down otherwise they'd have been blowing around and (trust me on this) flying cows are very hard to dodge. And if you think birds can mess up a windshield you won't want to even try to image what happens if you pass under a flying cow.

Well done everyone. Thanks for the pain.

And here is Rebecca's story:

The first time Patterson Pass and I met, we didn't get along so great. In fact, after I made it up to the top of the "false summit" and saw the real one, I Just about puked and passed out on my handlebars. That was last summer.

So, today when the team suggested a President's Day ride up Patterson I thought they were joking. It was cold. It was windy (in Walnut Creek. And if it's windy in Walnut Creek, you can imagine how windy it will be in Tracy where the windmills are on the tops of those hills because it's windy there MOST OF THE TIME.)

However, I'm not the sort of person to let a mere mountain defeat me. So, I told myself no matter what, I'm not stopping until I reach the top.

This was the windiest it's ever been... for any of us. There were times when I looked down at my odometer and it registered a mere 5 mph while my heart rate was 186.  

But today, I didn't stop, I didn't get off the bike. I climbed the entire hill.  

I ended up riding a bit over 94 miles today; the longest ride I've ever done in February. I wasn't super fast; but I didn't stop and I didn't get off. And that is enough for me!.

This was the windiest it's ever been... for any of us. There were times when I looked down at my odometer and it registered a mere 5 mph while my heart rate was 186.

But today, I didn't stop, I didn't get off the bike. I climbed the entire hill.

I ended up riding a bit over 94 miles today; the longest ride I've ever done in February. I wasn't super fast; but I didn't stop and I didn't get off. And that is enough for me!

A little shaky on the downhill with sudden crosswind, I was ready for the bike to start oscillating as it had done years ago off Carson on a windy Death Ride, but it didn't.  We hadn't taken a real break since the traditional morning pee break early on, and when Ray mentioned HOT coffee it sounded like the greatest idea in the world.  Ward got us to the Four-Bucks by the Livermore Airport and it was indeed the greatest cup of coffee ever at Four-Bucks.  As usual they had no decaf ready but made one HOT cup fresh in a drip filter.

From there it was back on Collier Canyon where we had a slight tailwind.   I was weary as shit.  Through Blackhawk we got most of the lights.  Isn't that how it always works--when you feel great and can hammer ever intersection has a red light, when you need a rest all the lights are go go green.

Cisco Dave endorsed recyclable sportswear (WI)
When we return on Collier Canyon we meet up with Jack.  (WI)
Back to Walnut Creek, Dave, Ray and Rebecca head west while Ward and I go east.  Only about 85 miles as we didn't go over Morgan or ride around Tracy.   Now there are some stupid rules for this blog.

1) Ride reports only for epic rides, which mean century rides, or minimally the mid 90's (after all the Chico Wildflower is 95 miles and the  Solvang Double is 190 miles.)
2) You can't add miles by doing something mindless, like going around the parking lot 5x.  You have to go to a destination.

Ward cheated--he was riding those magic wheels not affected by high winds (WI)
So I told Ward for a brutal ride like this there has to be a write up so we need 10 more miles--so lets go to the foot of Mt. Diablo.  I think he was trying to punish me for organizing this ride when he smirked "hills" and led me to Mt Diablo looping around on every fn hill in any subdivision.  We got to Mt. Diablo wth me half dead and trying to coast uphill.

But we got a punishing 95 miles in so that means I can punish everyone with an account of this epic ride that wouldn't soon be forgotten.

Answer to Quiz Question-Southern Historians Stopped Dominating as they did at the middle of the 20th century and US Grant aggregate ranking of 37th moved to 25th re the five surveys taken after 2004.   I can't believe that away that Woodrow Wilson is ranked 6th (both aggregate and post 2004.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess an epic ride deserves an epic write-up. Great video of Patterson. Those windmills were about to take off (like the cow and Dave's bike). Never seen them like that. And hope I never do...
Dr. Dave