Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mines Road-San Antonio Valley (2013)

(October 12, 2013) Mines Road-San Antonio Valley, w/ Diablo Cyclists all over the course, mostly with Christine, Dr. Dave, Cisco Dave, Two New Guys, Rusty (One Old Guy), Jack

A long long time ago I was terrorized of the Mines Road ride.   Before Gamin's I bought a book East Bay Bike Trails that had a profile of every ride.  I looked for short flat rides on bike trails.  No way I was ever going to do Mines Road that went straight up for 20 miles--and that was only to the County Line.  

From EAST BAY BIKE TRAILS, Conrad Boisvert , Pengrove Publications, 1992

After the County Line Mines Road continues to the Junction, where there is a "café" and the road forks with the left fork going to Patterson and the other going out to San Antonio Valley and then up Mt Hamilton the hard way.   There are two short and steep climbs which I love and two long and twisty downhills that I don't.  Most people like the downhills but then pay the price coming back when they are now long uphills immediately after leaving the Junction Café.  What a pain in the butt.  In 2002 after my knee surgery my knee locked up after leaving the Junction and I had to walk much of the uphill.

Dr. Dave's Garmin
Today our bonus mile group threw around some possibilities to extend the ride.  Mt. Hamilton was suggested but unless training for something you have to love torture to do it from this side.   Another proposal was the short climb into Del Valle once we got back to Livermore.  Another possibility, one I liked as less traffic than Del Valle, is to do Patterson pass from the easy (tailwind) side, which we never do.  Everything was up in the air when we started the ride.

On the flat run in to Mines Road Mike flags Jack with a yellow card for leaving the group and getting a head start up Mines Road (PC)
Actually, the ride group was up in the air.  The Mines Road ride is one of our most popular club rides but with five minutes before the scheduled start ride coordinator Jack looked despondent--saying that it was only going to be him, me, Christine and CA Mike.  Then in the next five minutes it looked like the Xmas Shopping rush after Thanksgiving.   Old Club members, new club members, people we didn't know all pulled in.  Matt, who just did the Mt. Diablo Challenge under 1 hour; good, there will be someone to keep Cisco Dave company.  Sandy, Cisco friend and he has her doing all the killer climbs in the East Bay.  Rusty, the man of mystery, great bike handler and person to BS with.  He will be near the back on our ride UP Mines Road, and guaranteed to be at the front of the return trip downhill.

Christine fixes her hair behind Brians' 'bent decked out with dual vanity mirrors (PC)

Rusty did his usual sneak off to get a headstart on the climb, half the people went on ahead when the other half stopped at nearby bathrooms, we lost another quarter when we came upon Rusty down the road with a flat.  I'm glad we stopped--chance to pull off knee and arm warmers, as it had warmed up nicely in the last hour.   Rusty was pissed over the flat and it looked like Rusty and Sarah were going to bag it--now with most of the group way ahead.   Cisco and Matt zoomed on ahead--followed by Dr. Dave.   Christine and I rode with Mike and two new guys for awhile.   Mike slowed to see if Rusty/ Sarah were coming up, one of the new guys had trouble on hills with the beginning of Mines Road the steepest part--so suddenly Christine and I were off by ourselves for miles and miles.  Passed a few people in the club who had gotten the head start and were going to stop at the County line instead of the Junction.  Just when Christine/ I thought it ironic that on a ride with two dozen people we were riding by ourselves the two Daves, Matt and Jack were waiting so we could regroup.  We then waited for the two new guys and continued on.

Dr. Dave leading the paceline up Mines Road (PC)
No rain for months, so the usual two giant ponds on Mines Road from water runoff were missing.   Not many motorcycles--which are usually annoying when they speed by and lean into the turn next to you so you can pat them on the helmet. 

Sandy did Mines Road solo last week for the first time, she liked the trip so much she was out here again (PC)
We passed Sandy riding solo right before the hills began, she was enjoying her Mines Road.   When we hit the first of two steep rollers Cisco and Matt again zoomed ahead and the two new guys got a burst of energy.  I have no chance on this course with the finishing downhill so I put in a suicide attack which had the new guys chasing and Dr. Dave following--when everyone was exhausted Dr. Dave took off--never to get caught.

We all wanted to slow down Cisco Dave so we were gonna buy him a few daily specials with onion rings (PC)
Junction was the most beautiful it has ever been.  Usually clogged with motorcycists there was ONE today--so the picnic area was quiet.  Weather was warm with no breeze--its usually is very hot or cold and windy.   We suddenly hear a passing huckleberry yell "Lets Go A's," its CA Mike--a demented A's fan though I think he his meant to build the A's their new stadium after he finishes the hospital project he is heading.   Mike is heading out towards San Antonio Valley-Mt Hamilton without stopping.  We relax some more and I am shocked when Rusty pulls in.

I'm riding with Rusty through the San Antonio Valley (Cisco D)
Group decides to go out to San Antonio Valley but turn around at the bridge right before the Mt Hamilton climb.   I'm suddenly dead tired.  Wonder if its connected with trying to lose weight early as to not repeat the debacle of last years +10 lbs during the Giants playoff run that I couldn't shake.  In any event, over the series of rollers through San Antonio Valley I'm dragging and Dr. Dave/ Christine slow a few times for me to regroup with them.  That's the fantastic thing about our group--later when I feel good and other people are dragging I'll return the favor.

At the bridge before the Mt. Hamilton climb we regroup and I Iooked for a lounge chair as I'm ready to take a nap.   Jack indicates he's going up Mt. Hammy, Cisco is on the fence but decides ride back with our group.  For me its long-long trudge back the Junction though I get energy as we approach.
San Antonio Valley before the drop down to the bridge, if we continued on we'd climb over the ridge in the background up Mt. Hamilton (PC)

Junction still quiet thought we could feel a potential headwind building.   Rusty has turned around a little short of the bridge but he was waiting here to ride back with us.  Mike tried getting a head start up the climb but I'm in on his tricks and rode with him at his pace when we were caught and passed by the gruppo.
Dr. Dave and Rusty at Junction when we return (PC)

After the climb we regrouped and had a great paceline for probably 15 miles.  I got my second wind so could take some nice pulls, and then when near the back I made sure no one fell off the paceline. In fact everyone was working hard to keep the group together--which only ended because of me.    I yelled "Photo Stop" when we passed a shed with a Raiders symbol painted on--a perfect time to get a photo of Mike.

CA Mike and the Raiders--you gotta stop the paceline for this (PC)
Wind picked up on the return and was getting a little cool--ending any thought of doing Del Valle or Patterson Pass--though these options essentially ended when we did the San Antonio Valley out and back.   This was fine as a really nice 80+ mile hilly ride with a good group.

1 comment:

Curtis Corlew said...

Maybe it's the wind, but Mines always feels uphill both directions.
Good report.