Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Best of the Primavera (or Devil Mountain Double): The Calavares-Palomares Century (2013)

April 20, 2013 (no more 4/20 jokes), Calavares-Palomares Century, w Ward, Cisco Dave, Christine, Rebecca, Jack, Franco, 97 miles, 16.6 avg

If Morgan Territory-Patterson Pass is my favorite Diablo Cyclist local ride, Calaveres runs a close 2nd.   The regular ride is @80 miles, the Calavares lead in and climb is gentle and rustic, and it is such a fast route we usually get a large club turnout.  From Calavaras we have options of doing (gulp) Sierra Road, Palomares, or the ez side of Mt Hamilton.  The only bad thing about this ride is the afternoon return is down heavily controlled (red lights) San Ramon-Danville Blvd.  On the other hand we'd pass though the cute little town of Sunol twice.

Bonus is that this was the first hot weekend day of the year.   82 degrees in Livermore---not a killer day but a nice for heat acclimation.  Got to break out the mesh gloves--making sure to suntan the back of my hands so I don't get burnt like last year.

We started out with a big group.  Bill, who was seriously injured a few months ago was back--unfortunately he had tyre trouble.  (So did Jose, though his tyre trouble was his fault--no tread on the tyre so he couldn't do the last climb/ downhill of the day.)   Mike, who was seriously ill a few months back, did his longest ride of the year and kept up with the pace on the way out.

Cisco Dave must be tapering for Devil Mountain Double next week.  He didn't propose Sierra Road or going up Mt Diablo on the way back.  It was a good ride for him as I figure you need 3 rides in the heat to acclimate, and this will help if next week is a scorcher.

Ride started with a San Diego Dude in Liverstrong shorts passing our group early without saying anything, which is like waving a red flag to a bull.  A few of us chased him down and then took flyers off the front.  80 more miles to go--eh, lets make this as hard as possible.  Usually like doing the first 20 miles in the small chainring but this was big chainring almost from the start.

Encountered someone who bought her drivers license on Ebay.  First she came off a side street and right turned her minivan wide right in front of our group--OK--about 30' in front of us, so there was minimal braking and this was just annoying.  But then she fixated on a driveway (leading to sheep shearing,  obvlious to us, and right turned again about 5' in front of us which led to lots of hard braking and yelling "what the F are you thinking" while she looked dazed and clueless.   Wonder why cyclists wear all those bright colors

Rest of ride to Sunol was uneventful--not too much traffic on San Ramon-Danville Blvd in the morning so we get a few green lights, and once we cross the highway Foothill Road is pretty light on both traffic and traffic controls.  I thought I drank enough last evening but using scientific color analysis at our first rest stop I was badly mistaken.   
OK-I admit, I always wanted to make something like this into a cycling jersey (PC)
Fast paceline down to Sunol where we caught up to San Diego Livestrong on the short climb into Sunol, while half our group tried to get Jose to take a pull before he tried racing up the climb.  At Sunol it was steam engine day (usually a diesel engine) so it was photo time.  Also first time this year for the PERFECT carbo food on a warm day--Frozen Fruit Bars.

Cisco Dave and Christine at Sunol train depot.  Cisco is faster than the steam engine (PC)

I'm enjoying the warm weather at Sunol train depot (CB)

Christine at Sunol train depot-we finally got the tourists out from the background (PC)

Rebecca and Ward at Sunol Train depot with century rest stop reminder in the background (PC)
The big group start towards Calaveras--nice long flat run in past wholesale nurseries before you disappear on a tree lined curvy road with some tight hairpins.  Calaveres Reservoir not far off to the side.  Usually a gentle climb--sometimes the road kicks up.   More bike traffic than cars.   Cisco Dave, Jose, Ward, Rebecca and I take off when the road goes up.  Eventually Cisco steams away with Jose able to stay on his wheel a little longer than the rest of us.

Cisco Dave on Calaveras (PC)

Rebecca on Calaveras--ok, I'm getting out of your way (PC)
Pass one big group of stationary people with binoculars parked on the side of the road, all trained on an eagle's nest in the distance.  Wonder if eagles are as exciting as the Pt. Reyes whales we saw two weeks ago--do eagles jump through hoops?     Once we get to the turnaround spot a few of us continue on about 1/2 mile past to go down and back up "THE WALL" that terrorizes riders on the Primavera.  By the time we come back almost everyone has arrived at the shaded turnaround spot.

Ward, Rebecca, Cisco and Jose do the Calaveras Wall bonus climb (PC)

Ward ready to blurt out "lets do Sierra Road" and Rebecca waiting to say "I never did it--sounds good."  But luckily Ward was quiet while resting at the turnaround (PC)
I was surprised that Cisco Dave didn' propose Sierra Road.  Heck, in past years I would want to make this ride as hard as possible, and I'd proposed Sierra Road even though I hate that climb.  But I ain't training for nuttin this year so no reason to go into sufferfest mode.  On most doubles there is a point  you wonder why the hell you are doing this ride--and you hope you ask that question at mile 170--not mile 90 with 110 miles to go.   Everyone can cycle when they feel good--the trick is to to continue through a stretch when you don't, so its good to train for this.  Before we thought about doing Sierra Road, someone quickly proposed doing Palomares Road on the return trip, and there was unanimous consent so we could avoid the alternative from hell.  We all suggested to Jose that he NOT do the Palomares Climb and downhill, as now three cords were showing through in his back tyre.

I made a mistake on the ride back.  On warm days I can empty two bottles on the 30 mile out and back from Sunol-Calavares-Sunol.      I should have gotten another small bottle of water in Sunol and stuffed in my jersey pocket--but I forgot to.  Starting back I had about 1/4 bottle left--which went fast.   When we reached a speedy section (the whole trip back is slightly downhill) I fell off the paceline and soon everyone was 200'-300'-800'...down the road.  It would be suicidal and not successful to try to get back to the paceline unless my name was Fabian Cancallara or Cisco Dave, so I just put my head down and figured I'd ride hard but not kill myself and we'd regroup in Sunol.  But Ward was waiting for me about a mile away, then Cisco Dave another mile away, and they pulled me back to the group.

Off to the Sunol Park for LOTS OF WATER before getting another frozen fruit pop.   Mike was going to call it a day so he went back with a few others the way we had come into Sunol earlier.  The rest of us were going to go down busy Niles Canyon Road (lots of traffic-minimal shoulder) to Palomares (semi steep climb but rustic with little traffic.)
As seen in Sunol--that video screen on top of the handlebars is larger than my television (PC)

Heat of the day but Palomares is nicely tree lined.  Franco doing his first 100 miler with us and he was worried that we'd hammer up Palomares but I told him that the bonus mile group watches out for each other, and someone will come down for the last climber.   Cisco and Rebecca took off, Ward joined me, and we had a nice businesslike pace going up Palomares.  When we got to the top I was feeling good so I turned around and rode back down to come up with Franco.

Cisco and Ward, the two debutants, lead up the Palomares climb.  I'm checking those white arm warmers for illegal substances (PC)

Ward near the end of Palomares climb (PC)
At the top everyone tucked well into the shade.  Two cyclists dressed in black kits (on a hot day-arrgh) on the side of the road talking with Cisco Dave.  They are jazzed and worried as they signed up for the Death Ride and the Davis Double.  I thought back to 2004 when I was jazzed and apprehensive about these rides also.    These long distance rides were all so new.  Nice guys--Dave and I tried to give them as many tips as we could in a few minutes.

I again unhooked on the downhill, made some progress getting back to the peloton, caught up to Franco and was pulling him along when someone came by.  Nice recovery by Franco--glad he can take a turn.  But it wasn't Franco, it was Cisco Dave who had pulled into a driveway, and he pulled me back to the larger group where then Ward, Cisco and I the upped the pace to the end of the road.

Only two more climbs for Franco to suffer on--Dublin Canyon--long but gentle climb on the service road next to the highway, usually with favorable tailwind--and Schaefer Ranch Road--short but double digits. Past HISTORIC Dublin--or so the sign says.  I had to stop and take a photo with our regroup stop right down the road.

Dublin Heritage Park (PC)
We all liquored up heavily at the gas station, and had a good paceline back down Danville Blvd--to the series of RED lights.   Franco felt better after drinking.  Christine and Rebecca riding great like usual.   Jack riding steady.  Our two debutantes (with the designer white arm warmers) Cisco Dave and Ward driving the pace--until the next red traffic light.  Repeat.   We get to one fast roller that Ward loves to hammer up so I do a lead out and he and Dave race up it at mile 90 .     Usually Danville Blvd full of cyclists--but in late afternoon it was deserted except for one woman racer who joined our paceline.   Still relatively early for our Saturday ride to be over--weather still wonderful.  Mt. Diablo---mmmmm--NO.

Usually back at the park we start making a bee line is straight to the bathroom.  Today we sweated out any excess liquid so no need to stop.   Average speed is closer to 17 than 16--which means we didn't add enough climbs.  Which is fine if you ain't training for nuttin.  Enjoyable ride.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My average speed was 17.0 or 17.1 (depending on who's doing the averaging). But the first hot day of the year is not a good time to add more hills. I approve of the hydration meter.