Monday, March 4, 2013

Oakland Hills-Palomaras 2x Century (2013)

(March 2, 2013)  Oakland Hills--Palomaras Climb (2x) Century, w/ Ward, Cisco Dave, Rebecca, Jose, Blinky Ray, 102 miles, 9250' climbing, 15.1 mph.

This was supposed to be the day of a big group ride in the best organized $$$ bike bargain of the season.  The Davis Bike Club brevet series starts with a 200K out through Winters to Pope Valley, and they offer some support for a very low fee.   CA Mike and Dr. Dave were gung ho for this (and other) brevets at the beginning of the year.  Unfortunately they are on the injured reserve list--CA Mike totally and Dr. Dave is restricted to short rides.   Christine, who also did the 200K last year joins Dr. Dave in restricted action.  Arizona Bill injured severely on bike and wouldn't be back for months.  So instead of the core of a nice group on the brevet--we had nuttin and very little enthusiasm for any other out of town rides.  F--this club is starting to creak.

 This blog started off after reading the Gold Country Erma's Diner blog stories of their weekly rides about 10 years ago.  Lots of good natured ribbing and self deprecation as they did a weekly 60-100 mile hilly ride with people jumping in and out when the group passed their houses.  Already they were @10 years older than me at the time--their shorter midweek ride was called the AARP ride.  Nice group of people.    Used to see them en masse in the Gold Country.  Not anymore.  Age caught up?  Is this happening to the Diablo Cyclists?

Then Cisco Dave proposed an epic ride for the bonus mile group which hit the spot.  It was almost exactly like the one we did with Toby last year--though Dave mercifully cut out one of the steepest climbs in the Berkeley Hills (Hiller.)  Our Club ride was a metric over the 3 Bears and Tilden Hills to Claremont on the Oakland/ Berkeley border.  Then the club reclimbs up Tunnel.  The bonus miles group then would continue along Redwood--a nice backroad tucked in along the hills, and get to Palomares.  Usually we go up one side of Palomares and continue along--but we'd do the climb, descend the other side,  and then immediately turn around and climb from the other direction.

This is a great ride for Cisco Dave as he's still fool enough to do the Devil Mountain Double in 1 1/2 months, where Palomares is the last epic climb.    Last year we came in virtually together at 32nd, a little after 15:30 in the saddle; Dave wants to break 15:00 and he might.   He's riding the strongest of any 100 miler in the Club since Super Joe (2007-11th in Climb to Kaiser, 2nd Eastern Sierra Double) & Toby (2012-8 1/2 pass Alta Alpina Double, 75th St George Ironman Bike Portion)  Dave announced before this ride he got new wheels--we were hoping for some Flintstone Specials so we could keep up with him, but they are light Stan's/ Hugi's.

This ride was going to be very very fast.  Joining us for the metric leg is Cyclocross Champ Mark.  I could have won the exacta betting on Mark and Dave finishing the Bears 1-2.   Frederick who is training with Dave for the DMD and looks like he hasn't eaten since he ate a 7-11 hot dog before a Sierra Road climb last year, adding more speed to the climbs.

For the bonus mile group we had Jose who goes full tilt at the beginning of each self supported century, and Blinky Ray who is also training with Cisco Dave and Frederick.  The Blinky nickname comes from the huge tail light he has on the bike--but Ray is  quick and if you blink he's gone.   Rebecca, winner of a bunch of marathons  also adds to the speed.  So in this group Ward and I would try to keep everyone in sight.

Beautiful day, for some reason I took knee warmers that would be pulled off half way thought the ride along with arm warmers and my vest.   Cisco Dave may be faster but he actually out cold wuzzed me--no knee warmers like usual BUT late in the ride he put arm warmers over other arm warmers--though he claimed the first layer were sun protectors.   It got overcast late in the day but the temperature stayed comfortable. 

As reported earlier there was no use trying to contest the climb over the Three Bears, or really anything else.  One guy sped past up the Tilden Climb, in past years I'd chase but now was content to yell out POSTAL as a warning to Dave and Mark.  I wish I was closer when they rode alongside the guy and calmly asked him why he was breathing so hard before they pulled away.  

Stephen and Ward going up Tilden Park (PC)

Rebecca going up Tlden Park (PC)
We then took the Mur de Mike--a short 18% hill, out of Tilden and rode along Skyline--the ridgeline of the Oakland Hills.  Jose and Dave started pushing each other so they went past the traditional Oakland overview--luckily Ward dropped back so we go a nice group photo.  Then down to Claremont before our coffee at Peets.  Shit, this was a better ride when there was a small bakery open next door, when there was a bike shop at the end of the street, when we almost had 2 dozen folks on this ride. 

Group photo at Oakland Overlook on Skyline (WI)
In tribute to Jack, and out of town racer who joined our ride before going clubbing in the Wine Country, got her coffee in a cute tiny ceramic espresso cup. 

Jack is missing this (PC)

Cisco Dave laments to Blinky Ray that you can't get free newspaper to make clothes like you used to (PC)
Back over Tunnel, usually we stay along Skyline before dropping down, but as the out of town racer had to go back we all rode down to Canyon to get her close to civilization.  Then we started up Redwood just in time to see Christine going by in the opposite direction.

Cisco Dave going up Tunnel Road (WI)

Jose, Rebecca, me, Idaho Racer Girl up Tunnel Road (WI)

Ward showing out of town cyclist how to get to Patterson Pass (PC)
Loads of cyclists out today.  Nice ride to Castro Valley.   Jose figured the ride was too easy and didn't need to keep his carb level up so he got that special power training food probably endorsed by Kitty and Colin (who will eat anything)--a Slim Jim.   After that he didn't feel good all day. 

Dave leading the charge up Palamares--we're about to pass a DMD clad cyclist (PC)
Palomares from the north is short but steep.   Funny, going down the longer south side everyone later commented that going up wasn't much of a problem--but the downhill seemed to go on forever,  On the climb we saw two guys wearing Devil Mountain Double jerseys obviously training for same, our whole group flew past.   Dave and Ray looked very strong on the climbs, Rebecca, Ward, Jose and I usually rode together with person weakest at any given moment.

Ward, Rebecca, Jose get to the top of Palomares 1.  Now its down to the bottom for the reclimb (PC)
I was happy that I was able to start "winter" weight training (3 months too late) --3 weeks ago.  I felt good all ride except when I'd counterattack Ray--then my crap breathing and 8 excess lbs would interfere with any goal I had.

After the Palomares double climb we had the long but shallow climb along Dublin Canyon Road and the short but steep climb through Schaefer Ranch.   Half our group skipped Schaefer Ranch and I could see why--usually its just annoying but after all the other climbs it was difficult today.  We regrouped at a corner gas station where the Mr. Cisco Dave Spring Newspaper Clothing Collection was unveiled.

Cisco Dave's newspaper springwear features bold fruity patterns and low low prices(WI)
Late day return on San Ramon Valley Blvd--Danville Blvd as annoying as usually as we caught most of the red lights.  Funny thing happened close to Walnut Creek, we passed two young road cyclists full of spunk who proclaimed "lets get on their wheel."  Figuring they were going to sprint out at the old sprint point at the end--when I got into 2nd wheel I looked back a few times.   If they were behind me I'd pull the "old 2001"--but Ray was right behind me.  Then Cisco Dave and Ray sprinted off while Ward said something like "I just got 100 on my odometer."    Young guys in admiration "you guys have done 100 miles!. wow."  No further hi jinx. 

Great finishing a ride when wasn't freezing.  Wished we had a big group for the 200k brevet but this was a nice consolation prize ride.

PS--Now that you suffered through this account of the ride--to see a good first person account click here

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