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)


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