Sunday, March 24, 2013

Norris Canyon/Crow Canyon-Redwood Road-Da Bears-Mt Diablo Century (2013)

(March 23, 2013)  Norris Canyon/ Crow Canyon to Castro Valley, Redwood Road, Skyline, Da Bears, Mt Diablo Century, w/ Ward; Christine (except Mt Diablo), Rebecca (except Da Bears forward), 94 miles, 14.6 mph.

After last weeks great adventure, the ride on the schedule was a letdown.  It was a metric over one significant hill to Castro Valley--then back on Redwood thru Morgan.   The Moraga return is my least favorite, right in surburbia full of cars.

Meanwhile some Diablo Cyclist grumbling the way the Club split up last week.   I wasn't around on Sunday's rides to hear the grumbling, and some points may be valid.  As the Club gets older maybe we should scale back on the route difficulty.   But for anyone taking umbrage at the hammering at the front, I'd remind folks that when I first joined the Club every ride was an fn time trial, with folklore built around one rider who retired before I joined but supposedly used to drop everyone on every ride.

Cisco Dave proposed some alternative routes during the week--each more grueling than the next.  I agree with him that for training for DMD its good to suffer, as one part of the ride may not go well and you may as well be ready for it.  But I'm not training for DMD so a torture fest wasn't appealing.

Our best rides go in a SE direction (AA), from there we can do Palomares, Calaveras, Sunol, Collier Canyon.  All nice and rustic.  Of course then there is a good possibility to do Patterson Pass.  The SW route (B) means the Oakland hills.  For the most part more traffic and roads aren't paved as the richer communities in the (AA) sector.   We'd be doing this today.    The NW (C) sector are nice loops of the waterfront around Crockett--but these are usually shorter rides reserved for Sunday,   We never go to the NE (F)--the Wild West or East Country.  Windswept, flat, broken glass await and no good routes to get there . 
Real funk was that this was the Davis 300k brevet weekend--a really nice ride.  Dr. Dave-CA Mike and I were going to organize a nice group for the 200k and 300k, but Dr. Dave having some problems prevents him from riding long, and CA Mike has some problems that have prevented him from riding at all.   Hell, 30k now is harder for him than 300k a few years ago.

Big surprise, CA Mike came out to the start.  He'd ride the first @15 flat miles with us until we started the Crow Canyon Climb.  Only trouble with him is that Mike is a misguided A's fan--Christine and I had lots of fun pointing out ALL the people with SF Giants hats we passed.  CA Mike's retort--seeing one overweight person wearing the popular  SF Giants bike jersey would negate the big lead in baseball caps we had.

CA Mike and Ward down Danville Blvd (PC)
Split in the group right away.  Ward-Christine-Don-I stayed with Mike and tried to see a nice pace.  Dave and the F-Boys appeared en route as some had time restrictions that prevented Cisco Dave's torture fest, but were unaware as to the reduced pace we were trying to set and soon a part of the club was far down the road.

Ride was kinda uneventful.  Nice and warm out.  Mike turned off at the start of the Norris Canyon Climb which Rebecca and I then hammered up.  Rebecca just getting over a cold so I can keep up with her.  Crow Canyon was an fn highway--though not nearly as bad as Marsh Creek Road (in the F sector) that a large group is planning to ride the day before the Amgen Tour of CA.   When we regrouped in Castro Valley the Cisco Dave group was running late and needed to take off--and we had some new riders that we needed to wait for.  

Rebecca about to hit the Alameda County line (PC)
Redwood Road was nice--except for the speeding motorcycles that look like they are about to fly off the road or into us.  A cop could get his quota of tickets for the month in one hour here.  I got my cheap thrills when some stranger tried to get on Rebecca's wheel when the climb started. I moved up to help her but she didn't need any help as she blew the guy up.  When we got to the top of the climb I went back down to ride with Brian; he has dual mirrors on the recumbent and I wanted to make sure that this week my pancake makeup was rubbed in. 

Brain needs some vanity mirror LED lights around his dual mirrors (PC)
(This led to a discussion w Ward of the Nixon-Kennedy debate that Ward remembered much better than me.  I thought Nixon had used too much white makeup and looked pale--but Ward remembered correctly that he refused any makeup and looked pale.)

We had about 50 miles in and Christine, Rebecca, Ward and I formed the bonus mile group.  We rode up Canyon to Skyline high above Oakland.  When going up to Skyline we saw the Cisco Dave group going down.  Very clear on Skyline with the beautiful views of the flatlands below and San Francisco in the distance.  On Skyline I particularly don't like the South-North direction as its fast with the road rough and well chewed up--the road seems in better shape when you are climbing slowly over the bumps than flying downhill over them.  Christine and Rebecca left Ward and I in the dust when they saw Fabio Cancellara riding down the road without a shirt and gave chase. 

Rebecca and Christine chasing Fabio Cancellara (PC)

Watch that hand Fabio (PC)

Our group photo on top of Skyline, Oakland below us. SF in distance behind Ward and I.  A good camera would detail the Golden Gate Bridge behind Christine and Rebecca (Smoking Chicks)

Christine and Rebecca looking resplendent in their Diablo Cyclist jerseys. (PC)
Rebecca's knee was hurting and she turned off when we descended Tilden Park.  Ward, Christine and I continued over the rustic Three Bears and Pig--four easy but noticeable climbs that are in full sun.   At this point I was bitching that it was too warm for knee warmers and rolled them down; Christine and Ward sensing a potential accident made me take them off.  Christine and Ward were sprinting against each other--first for town limit signs, then park signs, then school crossing signs. 

Christine finishing up da Pig climb from the steep direction (PC)
Back at the cars we had 70 miles.  Chrstine, not being insane called it a day.   Ward proposed North Gate on Mt Diablo as it still early enough for him to go home and take out his riding mower--something he wanted to avoid.   I pulled off my t-shirt and left everything but a vest in the car.  It was that nice.  Pleasant trip up to the Junction and back.  I let Ward set the pace on the climb and he rode behind me on the downhill so we stayed together well.  We also got lucky, on weekends Mt Diablo can be a car clusterfuck.   But not to many cars going up when we were going up, and right before we went down more than a half dozen went on ahead.

Ward checking out the Wildflowers on Mt Diablo --no doubt more here than we'll see on the Chico Wildflower ride (PC)

Ward on Mt Diablo (PC)
At the Junction we saw a former member of the Christine fan club, but he didn't ask where she was.   I think he heard about Fabio Cancellara.

An excited Amgen Tour fan in the shadows of Mt Diablo (PC)

Mt Diablo prepares for the pro cycling race over it--I'll be riding my bicycle far far away from the maddening crowd that day. (PC)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Morgan Territory-Corral Hollow-Patterson Pass Century (2013)

March 16, 2013   Morgan Territory-Corral Hollow--Patterson Pass Century, 108 1/2 miles 7,200' climbing.  w/ Ward, Christine, Cisco Dave, Todd, Jose & the Fantastic Bicycle boys Frederick, Ray and Bart.

Official elevation from Ward Industries.  Their art division on strike so cloud graphic from Dan's Pilot Times

This was the best ride of the year.  Almost perfect weather, with a good group and I felt real good on the bike.

With the time shift back to Daylight Savings, and warmer than usual weather, I took the iron horse GT up Diablo Tuesday and Wednesday.  It's weight (w/o water bottles) 24 3/4 lbs and the first day was brutal.  On the weekend the Lightspeed that is 20 1/2 lbs seemed to fly.  Now if I can just lose 6 lbs of my body fat.

Cisco Dave has other problems.  As he has no body weight to lose he's taken to weighing wheel skewers.  Next time we ride I have to check if he has gone to carbon fibre bar ends or removed some spokes.

Lots of new riders at the Heather Farms start-but we are just getting the fastest three (PC)
Incredible crowd of cyclists at the start of our ride.  I guess the good weather brings out our club members.  But most of the people were out for a Cinderella Training ride.  We only had a handful of club members, and some were going to do a flat route instead of the Morgan Loop.   Don was going to do the easier route, I wish he had come with us as I wanted to BS with him.  We raced a few successful Doubles together--and he retired from the Doubles scene about two years ago.  I'm kinda bugged by my laid back riding style, resulting from  my decision to retire from timed doubles so nothing to train for.  Or am I laid back because I'm now much slower than I was last year and it is good that I decided to bail?   In any event I wanted to hear Don's reasoning for retiring from the grueling doubles and if he regrets his decision.  I'm not growing old gracefully.  

Dr. Dave rides by the new Botero statue in Clayton (PC)
Group ride out to Morgan Territory was good-beautiful weather.    For once no one wanted to stop after a whole 9 miles, so we all continued directly to Morgan Territory.  Its early morning so not much traffic on narrow, usually busy Marsh Creek Road, and we had a nice group over the two serious rollers before the downhill onto the start of Marsh Creek.

From the north side Marsh Creek is tree lined, the road is rough, and is a gradual climb for about half the distance.  It then turns into a very serious climb with lots of steep hairpins and short rollers.  On the flatter part Ray was in the front setting a torrid pace.   When the road kicked up regional cyclocross champ Mark took off with Cisco Dave, Frederick, Ray and Jose in pursuit.  I dropped off and was riding solo when two "kids" from Berkeley whizzed by me.  Now even when I was faster I couldn't have stayed with them for long, but I could have hung for a little, or enough time to be a pain.  Now there was no chance in hell, I didn't try, and I suddenly felt real real old.

I rode up solo, and closer to the top another guy from the Berkeley club caught up to me.  He was racing as a Cat 3 tomorrow so taking it easy today.   We rode together up the rest of the climb and I was happy he was taking it easy.

Nice long regroup at the top of Morgan Territory--sunny with almost no wind.    The way down to the South is very unlike the North side, its wide open, road is well paved, and steep.  It is also 1 1/2 lanes, UNstriped for two way traffic, and though only 2-3 cars are going up while we descend--one car is usually in the middle of the road.   Today the cars coming up were OK, but some turkey on the way down decided to park on the road and sit in their car.  When I went by I yelled out "not a good place to park"... they yelled back at Dr. Dave who was trailing "bikes shouldn't be on this road."  (I did not notice if they had a 'Flush the Johns' bumper sticker on their car.)

Morgan Territory usually means Patterson Pass but I had no clue what anyone's bonus mile plans are.  Earlier in the week Ward had sent out a Patterson Pass route with a different run in than the one we usually take that would add 10 miles.  I paid it little mind as my Marin Lighthouse ride was up for the weekend.  I mentioned this to Ward midweek and found out that Daylight Savings had messed with my mind--no, my lighthouse ride was in three weeks, that's why he sent out the bonus mile suggestion.

The usual run into Patterson Pass has us going along a great, tailwind aided, deserted 12 mile stretch-Altamont.  The alternative route, Corral Hollow, would have us coming in from the South.   As much as I love Altamont a new route sounded interesting.  Ward gave us the Weatherbug dire warning of wind on Patterson Pass--but hell, it can't be as windy as last time so it sounded good.

Cisco Dave's quick group of Ray, Frederick and Bart joined in for the bonus miles.  Luckily Ward, Christine and Todd joined so I'd have someone to ride with when I was dropped.  Jose also joined, the wild card in the group.  He is very fast but overextends himself and tries to ride right behind whoever is on the front.  So we expected he would try to stay with the lead group all day until he suddenly flamed out.  But then again I've been pacing myself much to much.

We have a real nice group going down to Corral Hollow.  Actually on the way out to Livermore we almost lost Christine.  I mentioned to Christine that we going to Corral Hollow and she thought of bailing.  She didn't know about the change in route and she's barely off the medical restricted list.  But she joined us and felt better as the day went on.

 We first started as two-three different packs of riders but close to Corral Hollow we all joined up together past the massive Lawrence Livermore Lab complex.  Ray takes frequent fliers off the front but Cisco Dave was staying with the pact today, so unless Frederick also went out to play the group hung together except on the big climbs. 

Turn into Corral Hollow--and it does start UP for a long time.  Pace was fast, Bart driving at the front.  We zoomed past a ranch with a huge horse statue in front.  Great photo op--but no thought of even slowing to take the photo as I'd never see the group again.   

Corral Hollow was OK, but a far cry from the GREAT Altamont Speedway.   There wasn't lots of traffic on it but enough where you weren't secluded like on Altamont.  The occasional horse trailer bouncing around was a popular item going past. 

Suddenly road got semi-steep--much steeper than anything on Altamont.  On any steep portion of the route Cisco Dave-Ray-Frederick pulled away, and Frederick has the same lighthouse lantern on the back of his bike that Ray has so you could easily spot them in the distance--even in full daylight.

(1) Ward, (20 Todd & Christine on Corral Hollow.  You get a struggling artist to paint over the photograph when shutter speed is too slow and picture is blury. (PC)
Off the semi-steep uphill was a steep twisty downhill.  Oh man, I missed Altamont with its easy 2-3% grade up and down.  Corral Hollow was more like 6-8%.

Nice group riding off the downhill, where road became a nice 2-3% downhill.   I regrouped with Christine and Todd and feeling real good did lots of pulling.  A few miles away Ward was waiting and he picked up the paceline.   I figured we wouldn't see the lead group until the Tracy 7-11, Todd's favorite, but all of a sudden we saw some blinking red lights.  Cop pulling a motorist over--fire truck putting out a brush fire??  No--it was Cisco-Frederick-Ray-Jose looking at a motorcross course where one part was so high and steep it looked like someone was riding a motorbike up the Empire State Building.

Motorcross rider at top of hill needs a Ray blinky light so we can follow them(PC)
We continued on and I felt real good.  I've been so passive this year waiting for the next shoe to drop, and here I revved it up.  The Cisco group quickly jumped up the road (man, they are quick) and our paceline chased with Bart, Ward, Christine and I rotating the work.  We closed to about 50' when Ray took one of his patented fliers off the front.  That got my dander up and I bridged up and counterattacked while Cisco yelled encouragement.  Yes--a highlight from 2012 that now seems decades ago.

Tracy was flat and windy.   First we got lost.  Then Bart got a flat.  At least it was warm and sunny.   It was about mile 60 and everyone was impatient to get to the  7-11, only about 2 miles down the road.  

Changing flat by the orange tractor--I want one (PC)
7-11 was in full sun, time to pull of knee warmers, t-shirt, arm warmers--yippie.  I thought Cisco Dave was a friend--I asked him to carry up two rice krispie treat bars up the Patterson Pass climb but he wouldn't.  But he did get fig newtons for our group.  Jose hiding in the shade.  Todd disappointed that his fan club not working today.  Christine and Ray working on their tans.

(1) Christine and (2) Ray hoping to get on Versus so showing off some leg before the Patterson Pass climb (PC & WI)

Meanwhile Jose hiding from the sun (PC) 

"Hey Dave, can you carry these for me??"  Ward told me I'd be more photogenic if I used Richard Nixon Debate Pancake makeup (CB)
Frederick ruins the photo, and his legend, by not getting a 7-11 Hot Dog (WI)
We start up towards Patterson Pass, and I'm telling Bart what to expect.   There is a wind and most windmills are turning, but not all at a maniac pace like last time.  So there will be a headwind on most of the climb--the headwind will intensify greatly as it squeezes over the pass near the top where the last 1/4 mile gets very steep. 

Here come a half hour of fun--the bonus mile group arrives at the foot of Patterson Pass (PC)
Christine loves Patterson Pass (PC)

Bart ain't worried-"We hebben wind en windmolens in Nederland"

Ward taking a photo of the start of his Strava Time (PC)

Patterson Pass Redux (WI)
Dave-Frederick-Ray effortlessly pull away.  For the first time in months I feel good on this climb but can't make up any ground.  I'm ahead of the rest and keep going at a businesslike pace--serious but not killer, and do take time out to slow for some photos.  In the distance I see someone withOUT a tail light-Cisco Dave--riding ahead of the dual blinking lights. 

End of Patterson Pass climb - Dr. Dave paid for product placement last week, so we had him meet us out here with snacks (PC)

I like Jose but I'm tired of him lately passing me on climbs, and if he comes up I plan to pick up the pace.  I get to that last 1/4 mile where grade and headwind picks up and I hear someone come up behind me.  Jose?  So I turn on the gas and pull away from the sound behind.  When I get to the top I see a stranger--Ward later told me the guy would get behind someone--rest for awhile--and then jump to the next person.  Soon after Ward came up with Jose and then finished in front of him.  Much, much, much nicer climb that last time.  For some reason we didn't take our traditional group photo--maybe we've become jaded and we've become used to the great view from the top.

Group stuck together very well back to Livermore, where Ward and I kinda knew a good new way back but we had only done it once so it was kinda sketchy.    Back in suburbia a pickup truck cut us off/ hit the horn angrily when we were moving out to make a left turn.  Moron in pickup was stuck at the same left turn light as we were and Chairman Ward started talking to him.  Moron yelled out "I pay taxes for the road,"  a motorist mantra where they erroneously think that roads are paid solely from the gas tax, cyclists somehow don't pay any taxes, and neglect the fact that I'd have to go over the road on bike 1000x to cause as much road wear/ damage as caused by 1 trip by their monster truck.  But no reasoning with moron and I vow never to offer facts when I hear the "I pay taxes" rant.  From now on I'm just yelling out"DO I LOOK LIKE AN FN CHURCH?--I PAY TAXES ALSO!!"

"Get off my road--I pay taxes and have a clever bumper sticker that says 'FLUSH THE JOHNS" (stupidass sticker that means the driver supported Bush for a 2nd term)  says driver of Dodge 4x4 Lic: 6C83209"  Judge Judy would say "Sir, you are a moron" (WI)
Oh man--moron is right, I didn't know about the tax credit for cyclists (State of CA-Franchise Tax Board)
Another flat by Livermore coffee shoppe, where Frederick does his best startling Bart to spill his coffee when tyre blows off the rim.   Ray and I agree that coffee can't be close to being as good as the coffe we had the day we were hit by the cold gale force winds on Paterson Pass.  We get started and I feel real good until a few quick cramps in my leg--fn vein problem.   Spinning awhile in an easier gear settles me down.  Only problem all day.
We get to Collier with a slight crosswind where Dave-Ray-Frederick pace everyone off their wheel (once again.)    I ride with Bart and find out he's from the same hometown of one of my cycling heros--Servais Knaven.  Servais held the record for most finishes in Paris Roubaix while winning one (as opposed to everyone's elses former hero, Lancy, who avoided the toughest one day bike ride.)  I find out that Servais' parents owned a "fast food" restaurant, which means "bread it and fry it" or french fries and mayo.   Hmmm--secret tough man cyclist training diet.

The Cycling FANATICS boys--the got the FU, New York version of the jersey (PC)

Cisco Dave is ready for another LOUD Frederick tyre change (PC)
Cisco Dave ameliorates his pace and pulls everyone up to Blackhawk, and we continue as a group until Walnut Creek.  Still sunny out--still warm--no regrets for pulling off clothes.  We have a good paceline where Jose pulls a rookie mistake, Ward takes a long pull, pulls off and motions for @2 rider to come forward but Jose just slows and looks like he is going to duck back behind Ward.  We avoid a big bike pileup, reorganize, and safely finish the ride.   

Great ride, beautiful day.  Really nice group.    I opined 7,000' feet of climbing and the official Chairman Ward measurement hit that.

Next day I stay local and take a recovery ride where I eventually meet up with Mrs. Pumpkin.  For the solo part I put a power amp on the back of my steel bike, it now weights 32 lbs (take that weight weenie Cisco Dave.)  Fun blasting the tunes until some turkey comes along on the only climb of the day and 'red faced' tries to jump ahead of me, so I have to put in an effort to zoom away.      When I meet up with Mrs Pumpkin she rides slowly during guitar solos but picks up the pace when disco music blasts through the Blaupunkts--so the bike stereo and +12 lbs was worth it.


Earphones are dangerous--get a bike stereo

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Disaster Again on Mines Road Double Metric (2013)

(March 9, 2013) OPENING DAY--Walnut Creek Mines Road Double Metric, 129 miles, Ward, Rebecca, Cisco Dave, Todd, Blinky Ray, Jack.  Some guy bailed out with a busted pedal at mile 90.  Sag support and great company for 60 miles provided by Christine and Dr. Dave.  Don also provided good company but he can't fit anything but a spare tube in his new sports car so he's useless at SAG support unless you have a Bike Friday.

Vintage Diablo Cyclist photo of Opening Day circa 1908 (PC)
Mines Road Altitude (WI)
The Diablo Cyclist's Mines Road ride is traditionally opening day of the long distance cycling season.  Usually a handful of folks start 2 hours early and ride the 30 miles from Walnut Creek to Livermore, and meet up with the bigger club en masse (2 dozen or is my overly rosy recollection .)    Then it was a race up the mostly gentle (though about initially 3 steep miles) 25 mile climb to the Junction, almost patting passing motorcycles on the helmet as they pass closely while leaning into the turn on narrow roads.    The uphill I really enjoyed.  Not so much the return trip--after a 2 mile climb out of the Junction it was almost all downhill with the big mashers in setting a torrid pace.  After the return trip to Livermore, 90 miles done, the bonus mile group straggles back the last 30 miles on the flat, gentle rollers while our compatriots jump in their cars.

Looked forward to this year's ride, though in the past few years the new long distance cycling training starts right after the New Year.  I'm not training for anything--as such my concession is to no longer to try to beat myself up and stay with the leader in an attempt to make the ride as hard as possible.  Now I just enjoy going the long miles and at a much more relaxed pace.  Unfortunately, by the end of this ride I was going at a much much much more relaxed pace than I intended.

We had a nice group of bonus mile riders in Walnut Creek, seven which is a nice size.  The promise is that we'd touch a high of 70 under sunny skies--but at 7:00am it is freezing under sunny skies.  The temperature wasn't THAT cold, mid 40's, but when Ward arrive he said his fingers were numb--and 1 minute into our start, w/o glove liners I felt the same way.   Our group was chilled until we hit the Blackhawk area--about 12 miles into the ride.

We also had another problem.  At 7am the Heather Farm bathrooms were locked.  So there was an urgent calling to get to our traditional first rest stop/ gas station @15 miles away.

Side note: Hey look--I didn't do 100 miles so I wasn't going to write anything but Cisco Dave said I had to or he wouldn't dance to Ganga Style while riding the bike anymore.    So you get what you get--even bathroom humor.

(top) Leaving Blackhawk and suburbia (PC); (2) On Collier--it looks like it is going to be a sunny-warm day--ha (PC) (3&4) On North Livermore Road--get that guy onto the shoulder and off the road.  (WI)

 You know--instead of going straight to Livermore we could have made that sudden left turn and gone by the beautiful Patterson Pass windmills (cameraman Cisco Dave, film editor PC)

Warmed up nicely on Highland/ Collier, much of the rustic road between Blackhawk and Livermore.  Lots of trees in bloom--really looked nice, sometimes the buds on the ground looked like glass until we were up close.  Rebecca riding behind Big Todd looks like Paolo Bettini riding next to George Hincapie--all Rebecca needs is a gold helmet.  Cisco Dave telling me about how he worked out splits to beat 15 hours on Devil Mountain Double.   Lots of cyclists on the road that our fast moving peloton is passing.  For once we didn't make the left turn to beautiful Patterson Pass, but continued straight to downtown Livermore.  We had left Heather Farms late, we were at the rest stop for a longer than usual time, so we pulled into Livermore about 10 minutes late.  Crap, hope the big group waiting isn't too po'd that we made them wait.  And surely it was going to be a big group--a couple of people contacted me in the prior week and said they'd start in Livermore.  It's always a big group.

We get to downtown where the huge City Center fountain usually has soap bubbles or is dyed green.  But today it was unaltered.   Then we got to the Library where we met up with the big group raring to get going.  It was Dr. Dave-Christine-Don-?guest joining us---------that's it.

That's it? 

Arrival of Bonus Mile Group in downtown Livermore--5 minutes to the see the BIG GROUP waiting a few blocks away (PC) 
Now the fun part--up Mines Road.  First a few mile flat rollout.   BS'd with Dr. Dave and Christine about their medical problems and glad they and Don were out.  We sped by what looked like pigmy pony's and I vowed to take a photo on the return.  Then a couple of miles of gentle uphill rollers.  We passed a big guy and his buddy who were envious of Cisco Dave and how thin he was for the climb about to start.   Big guy then said something like he could bomb down the return trip in 40 minutes--which once again proves that on cycling there is a portion of the course for everyone.

Then the killer section--a few miles of a steep climb.   Cisco Dave, Ray, Rebecca and I took off--though Dave may have been the only one happy with the effort.    In past years I would be motivated to try to hang on, but now it was what the F, I'm gonna kill myself trying to hang with this group (and in current condition I wouldn't last anyway.)   I stopped and pulled the camera out, got parting shots of Ray and Rebecca, and waited to see who the first person up in the next group would be.

Dr. Dave and Todd in front of the pelaton passing an octopus on the road leading into the Mines Road Climb (PC)

Christine and Rebecca on lead in to Mines Road(WI)
It was Dr. Dave, and we rode together until the nasty uphill ended, and then slowed so Ward could catch up and pull us through the next two dozen miles of gentle uphill.  Ward hooked on and we went about another half dozen miles when Ward saw some cyclists lost from the SF Naked Cyclist ride and wanted to take their photos--which also would give Christine a good opportunity to get back to us.  Strange thing was that even with climbing the wind had picked up and it was very cool--poor lost naked cyclists.  Christine and Todd arrived and then we had a good paceline going for another half dozen miles--enjoying the solitary road and mindful of the occasional car suddenly coming around a turn and bombing down the road.   30 miles of NO traffic controls!!
Ray looks happy that the steep part of Mines Road is over(PC)
(1)Ward and Dr. Dave on Mines Road (PC) (2) Dr. Dave and me (Cisco Dave)

Chairman Ward (PC)

Ward spots some of the SF Naked bike riders off course (PC)
I don't remember what mile it was (the 30 mile uphill has mileage markers)--I'm guessing about 20--the group hears a loud creek.  Sounds like something fell off a bike.  I look down--pump is still on frame, my handlebar bag and light still attached.   OK--everything is great.  Ward says he is going to circle back to see what "feel off" and about the same time I notice my clip out foot has lots more play than usual.  I clip out and holy shit--the front third of the pedal is missing.  (Two years ago on the return trip on Mines Road my hub fell apart.) 

My Time RXS Pedal converts to Speedplay size(WI)
An enjoyable day quickly went down the toilet.    I could still clip in to the broken pedal but there was nothing holding the front part of the cleat.  I was scared I'd clip out powering though a climb, so I took the rest of the day 2-3 gears easier than I would usually do, and I got the crappiest spin in the world.  On descents I has to make sure I didn't weight down the left side on right turns.  After some moderate standing on the way back "hot foot" developed.  Meanwhile, instead of getting warmer throughout the day like it is supposed to do, it was getting breezier and colder.

Jack picnicking at Mines Road Junction when everyone else is evening out their tan (PC)
Dr. Dave brings little heated ear warmers (PC)
Good Karma payback, I fell off the group badly for the rest of the trip to the Junction and Ward, Christine or Dr. Dave took turns waiting for me.  When we got to the Junction Cafe--no sign of Cisco, Blinky or Rebecca in the shaded garden area--today they were solidly around the corner against the southern facing wall.    I've been here when its been colder and huddling against that wall was a necessity--today the sunny picnic table 50' away looked inviting.  Sitting there was nice for 5 minutes then your realized you were chilled from the cold wind and it was time to huddle back by the southern wall.  Hell, half our group never left the wall.

Cisco Dave didn't even suggest in humor to continue to Mt Hamilton.  The return back was into a cold wind.    On the steep climb out of the Junction I quickly fell behind the lead group, the second group, the preschool group.   Don came along and we rode up the climb seemingly at a snails pace--but somehow left Jack far behind.   A few years back Don and I successfully raced the Mt Tam Double together, and I'd let him set the pace on the climbs where he was slower and he'd let me set the pace in the downhills where I was slower--and in this way we stuck together.  Today we did the same thing and it worked again though we were going about 1/4 the speed we did at Mt Tam.

At the top of the climb Ward, Christine, Dr. Dave and Todd were waiting and we formed a good 6 man working group into the downhill headwind.  When we first joined up I told Christine I'd like to get a ride back with her when we got returned to Livermore.  The gradual downhill pack riding was nice, albeit dodging small falling rocks off the sheer rock wall. Occasionally a motorcycle sped by.  This part was going well, and I started having thoughts of getting a lift back to the start --'hmmm, you can do the whole 120.'

I think Cisco Dave (and later Ward) purposely flatted so they could wear Todd's flat changing gloves.  Dr.  Dave on the lookout for the neutral support motorcycle that should have a spare wheel (PC)
Around a turn and we come across Cisco Dave fixing a flat.  At least he picked a nice sunny, out of the wind spot to stop.   He fixes the flat, we wait around another couple of minutes--no Jack.  What happened to that boy with me riding at super slow speed and Cisco fixing a flat?  Well, we are almost to the steep downhill so we'd wait for him there or in Livermore.

For me next section was a disaster--a few short downhill sections before the long one--I usually fall off here but come back on the interceding short uphill rollers.  Not today where I rode gingerly on the rollers.  Group was soon way up the road--Dr. Dave hung back to ride with me.    He was feeling good so he'd tack on a  6 mile Del Valle climb after hitting the bottom.

The pygmy ponies by the dental floss bush (Children of the 60's will get this reference) (PC)
Club waiting for me to regroup but now pedaling is a chore.  I see the pygmy ponies which are actually pygmy donkeys so I pull off to take their photo.  Any doubt I had whether to SAG suddenly ends;  I couldn't clip back into the broken pedal for another 2 miles. Unlike Mines Road there are lots of traffic controls necessitating stopping between Livermore and the end of the ride.

Relaxing after return to Livermore (WI)
Christine waiting for me this time and I finally clipped in and we head back to the parking lot.  Bonus mile group sprawled out on the lawn waiting for Jack-enjoying fig newtons Ward had tucked into Dr Dave's car.  Jack pulls in, determined to finish the ride but to do it solo so he urges everyone else to go on ahead.  I feel like crap not finishing a ride, but having Christine as the sag driver made the trip back real enjoyable as we bs;d about the "keeping up with the Jones" mentality that now permeates society.   When we got back to Walnut Creek the sun was full out, there was no wind, and it was almost a perfect beach day.  Wow, those guys doing the last 30 miles have great great cycling weather. 

I stopped riding so Ward and Cisco Dave take up the rest of the ride report

Typical boring ride thru Livermore.   Collier Canyon was windy as all get out! Ray sat off the back most (all?) of the way up Collier so he was able to enjoy the full effect of the wind. I don't know how much physical difference it made to be in a paceline, but mentally watching the wheel in front made it easier to keep the pace up.

Springtime group waits for Ward to change his flat.  Doesn't look windy--I want to see the video (WI)
Ward took the county line.  He saw a group of 3 riders ahead so he felt obligated to bring the team within striking distance before the CL.  As we passed them, the other group looked totally trashed. We probably looked trashed too, but we were faster trash.

Heading to Blackhawk, Ward flatted out his rear wheel…we got a nice break.  Group did not seem to be much of a hurry since the rest of the gang was on the other side of the road calling out for pizza. Pumping took a bit longer than usual as Ward had a mini pump. GPS trace says group was stationary for about 13 minutes. Ward took a photo of the group, as the trees were in bloom, the sky blue, and the grass green.

We all just wanted the ride to end…boring flat windy ride home! All our legs were toast by the time we hit rudgear! No Sprint ;o)  Everybody wanted Rebecca to write this section of the report but Rebecca didn't know what happened unless she has eyes in the back of her head (since she spent so much time at/near the front).

Nobody wanted to do North Gate.