Sunday, October 6, 2013

Painless Patterson Pass (2013)

(October 5, 2013)  Painless Patterson Pass, w Dr. Dave and Christine, 139.5k, 1.095 meters climbing.  26 k/hr

Courtesy of Christine's Strava account--seems like we did a real long ride when reported in metric speak
Many weeks of no 100 milers.  A year ago was Knoxville Double, the last double I did.  As feeling old went to the Gold Country last week to look for a retirement home, and then realized that living at 3,000' on 2 acres among the pines when 65 isn't the greatest plan in the world.   Damn, I wish I lived there now. 

Living among deer and pine trees at 3,000'--seems like a good idea but not in retirement years; now a great 50 mile ride in the Gold Country,.

Jeeze, currently can't even keep up with my 1/4 acre.  One "benefit" of giving up doubles is I've probably done more gardening this year than in the last 9 combined.  Actually "gardening" is using the worse loosely, I've been sawzalling away dead crap that I should have cut 5 years ago.  So much so I had to buy 4 extra garbage cans and call the garbage company for three bonus "green days" so I can get rid of all the cuttings laying around the yard.

Speaking of gardening--as I had a dying hedge trimmer tried to buy one at Home Depot--a model they don't carry in the store but online.   As most convenient for me to pick up at the store instead of missing deliveries at home, I tried to buy it and ship it to the store.  Impossible.   Dealing with Home Depot customer service was like a Kafka nightmare.   I didn't want to ship to work unless I could preclude Saturday delivery--their response was the product would arrive in a range of dates--which of course included Saturday.  Best of all they said they couldn't send it to my local  store as its sold in some stores.  When I asked what store stocks the hedge trimmer within 50 miles they just said "none."  So I then asked  "within 75 miles"---"none."  I finally asked what is the closest store that has the hedge trimmer I want to buy----"GEORGIA."  Nice--2500 miles away.  Are they kidding me!.

Actually there may be a really nice resolution from the manufacturer which I'll write about in the future.

Otherwise doing a lot of planting in my backyard--low voltage lights, in yet another attempt to beat back the winter blues. I  "love" right now that I get home or go up Mt Diablo in full sunlight--and in  45 minutes it is dark.  And its just gonna get worse--a lot worse.

My Manneken Pis is lit up much nicer than the one in Brussels, and as a result many tourists now visit my backyard (tourists courtesy of Duane Hansen)
Our club ride was out to the Oakland Zoo--a ride I really don't like.  Nice series of short steep rollers, but the fast downhills are marked by invisible tree roots pushing through the asphalt.    Christine kept talking up about how this weekend's weather would be good, and she'd be in for my favorite ride--Patterson Pass.   Dr. Dave doesn't usually like Patterson Pass but he quickly jumped aboard.  We had a windstorm on Thursday night that seemingly would take Patterson Pass of the table but light light light winds of 3-6 mph were predicted for nearby Livermore, so it was a good to go.

Unfortunately my training buddy and friend, Ward, is still laid up with a mystery ailment that all the "Kaiser Thrive" commercials can't cure.  After kicking butt for half a year he's been off the bike for the last quarter with no change for the next.   When I see Miguel Cabrara in the MLB playoffs with a groin strain or is it an abdominal strain, and he is limping around I think of Ward and how Miguel Cabrara is getting real medical treatment.

Flag blowing strongly at the foot of Patterson Pass run in but the windmills in the distant hills are almost all still
So it was only Christine, Dr. Dave and I for Patterson Pass.   We were on the same route as the Club for about a mile, and before the ride we tried to sell Patterson Pass  to more people--we'll not exactly.  I tried to sell it but Dr. Dave was being grumpy and said something like "great 90 mile ride if you want to be battered by headwind as you climb."  That dissuaded everyone else from joining us.  Dr. Dave was really agitated at the start of the ride and we were told we couldn't talk about "Freeman Faith" so we didn't.

The motor cross track and train trestle--civilization now ending for the next half hour.
Day started out cool, and we didn't have to stop until mile 30.   A little crosswind in the valley leading into Livermore--it was certainly more than the predicted 3-6.   Christine, Dr. Dave and I were bs'ing about movies, burning Tesla's (what word rhymes with Tesla???, Dave says "mesla" isn't a word), lifes' ironies, and marriage.   Only time we got semi serious is when some turkey zoomed by without saying anything--we got into a good 3 man but turkey kept running red lights around Blackhawk.  When we turned onto Collier Canyon with no traffic controls and planned to catch up to him the turkey suddenly U-turned back.

Our two compatriots motor past the Summit Garage
Flags blowing MUCH greater than 3-6 mph when we passed the model airplane airport and the motor cross track, which signals the beginning of the great 12 miles to Patterson Pass.  No traffic controls, smooth road, almost no vehicle traffic....OK check that--today about 6 motorcycles flew by in a group going over 90 mph.  The usual tailwind pushing us along, and suddenly the surreal giant windmills over the next rise--but most weren't turning.

Dr. Dave and Christine on the "freeway" to Patterson Pass--best cycling 12 miles in the Bay Area.
Decide we don't have to restock in Tracy so we pulled into the Altamont Speedway--more infamous for being a Rolling Stones concert venue than anything else--and I pulled off my undershirt for the expected warm climb.   Dump in some new hydration product--'Skratch."  I've been using Gatoraid G for most rides this year, though started today with Heed & Perpetuem.   Dave and Christine have been using "Skratch"--consensus is that it taste better than Heed.  Dr. Dave isn't as unhappy as Christine and I that the baseball season is over, as he's excited about Stanford.

Dr. Dave enjoying his Patterson Pass--WWCHD--What would Chis Horner do?
As expected it was warm on the Patterson Pass climb.   There was also ONLY A SLIGHT WIND.  (Man, those people who did the windy ride from hell here in Early Spring will hate reading this.)  Between the lack of wind and fires in the Bay Area the view wasn't the best.  The climb seems daunting if you think of it as a series of steep pitches with the steepest pitch after the false flat near the top where the headwind usually builds.  It seems less daunting when you figure its just a 30-35 minute climb.

Christine on upper Patterson Pass and the windmill valley below.
Dave, Christine and I stay at the top for a long time--a rare time where we're not getting blown off.   A few riders coming up the easy way from Livermore which we've never done.  The 12 mile run in to Patterson Pass is such a treat.  I didn't even think about putting on a vest for the downhill.   Suddenly down in the valley--the two steep but short rollers--more fast road, and back to the Livermore Wine Valley. 

Christine reaches the top of Patterson Pass (Dr.D)
We had a nice 3 person paceline going when two big guys-one in a Roaring Mouse Cycling kit--roared by.   I got my dander up and jumped to their wheel.  The two guys kept taking turns hammering.  We got to a light which was just turning green when we approached and I figured I drop off to regroup with Dave and Christine--to my pleasant surprise Dave and Christine were right there.   The big guys stopped trying to go balls out off the front and we rode nicely behind them to the library.
Before the big football kickoff--a quiet moment on top of Patterson Pass (CB)

Dr. Dave organizes a Stanford rally on the top of Patterson Pass.
Only deviants who wear white shoes after Labor Day allowed on this ride.

Look ma--no wind

Livermore Library picnic setting always a nice rest stop.   Christine bitten by the racing bug when we rode with the guys who passed--oh, correction, she was bitten by a real bug during the scrum.  Leaving the library we had to make a left turn and got behind a car in the turn lane--when clear the traffic boulder just sat and sat and didn't move as driver was busy texting.

Back in suburbia we zig zag back to Collier Canyon where the wind is much more noticeable than any time on Patterson Pass.  Trying to relive my long distance attack on a real hot day a few years back where some good club sprinters were too tired to chase until it was to late--I launched to the country line from long range, but Dr. Dave caught an got me at the line.  We regrouped and riding a paceline when another solo rider silently went past (what the fuck happened to saying "hi-on your left"???.)  I was going to be on good behavior but Dr. Dave riding strongly and as soon as Christine said "I guess not," Dave was off, caught up to the guy and then jumped past.
Dr. Dave and Christine past the creaky windmill on Collier Canyon

Dr. Dave about 200' ahead--guy trying to catch him, I bridge up.  Guy is not going to get any help from me trying to catch Dave--and if he does catch Dave I'll immediately jump.  Dave and guy putting in a big effort, guy making no headway.  Christine gets back on my wheel--will give her at least a minute to rest, guy in front not pedaling smoothly, OK time to go, signal Christine, and we both jump up to Dave with guy far behind when we get to the straightaway.

A big effort at mile 70--cool.  Now an ez climb back to civilization and I lead the charge so guy on the road doesn't catch up.  In the category that "all bad deeds go punished" and "you're getting fn old" my inner thigh suddenly seizes up--that never happens.  (Actually it happened last year at this time of year when we did the Patterson pass climb twice.)  I have to pull over, Dave and Christine pull over with me, and eventually guy passes us as I'm stretching on the road.

Stop at a new rest stop on the way back to get hydrated while Christine and Dave opine as to the reason for my cramp.  Not trying to balloon up like I did during last years' playoffs, I've been on a strict diet this week--maybe I didn't take in enough of something.  Anyway they pulled me back to Walnut Creek while Dave feigned that "too bad the leg cramps happened--otherwise he'd want to go up Mt. Diablo."

Hey-who left the toilet seat up.
Anyway another great Patterson Pass ride--right in the heart of the Bay Area but about half of the ride is rustic and a good chunk is mysterious..

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