Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tunitas Creek Redux (Late Fall 2013)

Nov 23, 2013--Tunitas Creek Metric Loop, w, California Mike, Christine, and Todd. 70 miles, 6,400' climbing, 13.6 mph
The Tunitas Creek loop with the two big climbs

Mike's job gets him stuck in San Mateo County some weekends, so we've done the seminal metric Tunitas Creek loop more than usual this year.  Dr. Dave did the Tunitas Creek loop with Mike  last weekend and reported incredibly freezing spots.  Wonderful--the two cold weather wusses--Christine and I were set to join Mike this week while Dave emailed how cold it was.  (I perpetually have held onto the cold weather whining crown but Christine lately has bundled up more than me when it reaches a frosty 70 degrees.)

In our ride group Christine and Todd are longtime Garmin users.  Mike, ever the brevet rider,  wouldn't get one unless it runs off a hub generator and made of wood.   I'm still getting used to the Garmin--after last weeks mishap of having 9 items display on one page which I couldn't read I figured out that I really just need to see is average speed, distance, heart rate, grade and eventually (normalized) power while riding.  As someone who thought a few times of getting a mini-level for an approximate readout I think I'm getting the most fun from the grade measurement. 

Christine reminded me a few times to actually start the Garmin (unlike last weekend.)   Right into the ride is the 2nd major climb of the day-Old La Honda.  3 miles of 8% grade.    I usually have a bitch of a time on it in the early morning with the cool damp air.  Last year I raced someone with a Triple Crown Jersey up the climb; I edged the guy out but was ready to puke at the top.   This time I figured I'd try to stay in a heart rate zone-#4, 142-159.  (Coach Toby later emailed me that age based maximum heart rate is a bunch of crap and I needed to take a Lactate Threshold test to figure out my proper zone.)  In any event, I've been faster riding up Old La Honda but never had a more enjoyable trip that was steady but sane.  
On the Old La Honda climb kept my heart rate in the 142-159 zone, heart zone to build anaerobic tolerance.  Later Toby told me that the heart rate zones based on age based max heart rate were faulty--after my first attempt at a Lactate Threshold Test this zone should have been 138-146.  So much for scientific riding. 

The shifting cable was sticking to the guide on the bottom of my bike--and I indicated I'd have to stop at Memorial Park.  When asked why, I was going to say "I have to wash my bottom bracket" but really wasn't the bottom bracket that needed cleaning so I hesitated, looking for the right word after spitting out "bottom."  Stopping the sentence at "bottom" was pretty funny.

After a sunny decent on deserted OLD La Honda Road it was time for the fast run in on La Honda Road.  This usually has a fair amount of cars.  I guess with the chilly weather not  many people wanted to head west for the beach--and La Honda Road was fairly quiet.   Afterwards there is a gentle climb before Memorial Park, and then a flat run in with some easy rollers towards Pescadero.

Chill in some shady spots/ dips but usually alright.   Instead of going righto Pescadero we always do a bonus loop that touches on the nearby Pacific.  We started doing the bonus loop down the Coast from North to South this year.  We avoid the frequent block headwind blowing in from the North.  Another benefit is being on the ocean side of Highway 1 so we are able to duck into the Pigeon Point Lighthouse area easily.  We usually  just snap some photos at the far side of the road--but Christine said she never was near the Lighthouse so we rode in.  Christine saw a hard packed sand area going towards a mini-pier and rode on this--a great move as the pier was incredibly sunny.
The gang at the Lighthouse.

November in California.

Homage to Ward (BT/ PC)

Homage to Ward edited by the Cycling Photo Zen master himself (BT/ PC/ WI)

The best part of the old route was we had a big race on the rustic Gazos Creek Road going Southwest to the Coast.  Now going Northeast after some initial climbing rollers we had a beautiful stretch for pacelining.  Mike is a bulldog on the flats and he started us off, the rest of us rotated nicely, and Christine finished pulling the paceline at the end.  Later we found at that this stretch is a Strava Race Segment--where you race against invisible people, or at least people who already did this route.  Strava indicates that Christine is now the 3rd fastest woman on the 4 1/2 mile Butano Sprint to Pescadero.    Though I think Strava a bit ridiculous I have to admit I liked checking the result, though I didn't know we were on a "race" segment.   Maybe they need to put up "Strava Segment Start" signs around the country like they did "Kodak Moment" signs way back when to remind you to burn through film.  

Very warm in the picnic area in Pescadero--no breeze at all.  I'd have been happy to call it a day and take a nap on the spot.  After a bunch of serious rollers and climbs on Stage Road to San Gregorio.  One last steep uphill out of town and then a fast downhill on Highway 1 to the Tunitas Creek turnoff.
Some famous Oakland A's recently in the news is on a gate near Pescadero

Christine on Stage Road

Mike after the climb out of San Gregorio.

I always liked Tunitas Creek more than Old La Honda, 9 miles at a 4% grade.  The grade is deceptive--the beginning and end are gentle, the middle is as steep as Old La Honda.    Here I rode in zone 4 again--so did Todd and we paced each other going up.

Tunitas is well shaded but was warm on the climb.  Not so much for Kings Mountain, a rapid, twisty descent with sudden hairpins.   It  was hanging out in the shade all day and there was a BIG CHILL in the air on the downhill, which sucks anyway even when warm.  Sudden hairpins, trucks crossing over the center line in the turns.....  I vowed next year we'd do Tunitas Creek and then add on Alpine Road which is like Tunitas Creek without the shade.  A hell of an additional climb but then we can avoid descending Kings Mountain Road--the only truly horrible segment of the Tunitas Creek metric loop.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Garmin--Its Strava Time (and Eventual Power Meter) (2013)

Cycling Babes Dig A Guy with a Garmin--or a Stack Grill Cheddar Burger  (Dr. Dave Android Phone-Oakland Peets Coffee Ride)

Oh god, I finally got dragged into the world of Garmin/ Strava.  Ward-Christine-Dr. Dave -Coach Toby were kudoing each other all last year.  I get my dander up when on the road and a cyclist attacks; and couldn't (still can't) understand racing on a segment of the road against an unseen opponent.  Do I have a headwind?  Does unseen rider X have a tailwind?  Are one of us riding in a pack and benefiting from a draft?  Who is this Freddie Rodriguez guy who is in all the top 5 segments of note?  Did I just beat some 300 pounder on a climb?  And then this (click here) The Garmin device itself, eh.  I now have a little Cateye wired that always works and tells me speed and distance.  Why do I want a mini cell phone on my bike whereas I often hear a Garmin person bitch "I just lost the satellite."

A power meter, however, is the ultimate goal, and Garmin is one of the devices that will do a power meter read.  I wish there were power meters 10 years ago when I started long distance cycling.  It would have been beneficial to ride 200 miles "in a zone" so knew I was working hard but not working so hard for a possible burnout.  Now, though on shorter rides, this is now very important.   I could mostly recover from my over exuberance a few years ago--but 2013 was too damn hard.

There are older model Garmin wristwatches on deep discount and I was ready to pick one up when I contacted Coach Toby--which will ultimately cost me $500.  (On Alta Alpina 8 he made sure we started off the first climb not exceeding 160 watts, which had me bitching we were riding too slow.   On the 8th climb it was thank god we started off slow that morning.)  He has the Garmin watch I wanted to pick up but indicated there is a new metric--Normalized Power--that Garmin was just incorporating to their newer devices.   Indeed, Garmin had given a big fuck you to people with their older devices--providing software downloads to just some of them for the Normalized Power measurement. 

(Normalized Power simple explanation why important--take two rides with the same average power.   The first where you are riding a consistent 200 watts and the other where hills or changing wind conditions have you yo-yo'ing between 100 & 300 watts, the second ride is much harder.  Normalized Power will reflect this unlike average power)

So I wound up getting a Garmin 510.  I think the mini-cell phone appearance bothered me more than the price.  Garmin, however, does make some nice mounts and it fit well on my 110mm stem.  For people riding shorter stems there is a mount that puts the device ahead of your handlebars--I'm using this on my fixie as I have a cadence chart on the top of the stem.  More on the Garmin later.....
Comparison of Cateye (L) and Garmin 510 (R) on the stem.   If I decide to do something stupid, again, and go down a mountain late at night, my two large baseball stadium lights (Exposure Lights) and Garmin all fit in the same area. 

For a power meter  the Stages Power crank caught my eye.  I don't want to say its an inexpensive item as it cost about $900, but it is one of the least expensive powermeters.   Coach Toby* cast a little doubt on it, saying that meters that just measure power from one leg are unproven for accuracy--and as I have a bum knee on one side there may be a real discrepancy between measured and actual power.   So I'm now looking into Power2Max crank sets that are more expensive and change the whole appearance of your crankset, but measure power from both sides.

(Bottom bracket power meters are more expensive, and you are stuck with it on only one bike, just like cranks.   In theory there are other power meter systems that are adaptable from bike to bike.  There are pedal power meters but then you have to change all the pedals and cleats you already like.    There are rear hub power meters, but as I have two 9 speed bikes, a fixed gear bike, and my next bike will be 10-11-?? speed, the wheel is only good for two bikes at most.)

Back to the Garmin.  I am impressed with the unit.  I used to hate riding with a heart rate monitor--if you passed by a power pole it would register 400 bpm, if your skin got dry it wouldn't register and start beeping as if you were dead.  I used the Garmin on my bike trainier and then an outdoor ride and it was very exact.  The Garmin display can be set in many different ways measuring many different things for your setting.  Eg.  On the TRAINER setting I don't need to know ALTITUDE GAIN, so its just on my RIDE setting.   (I did make a mistake on today's ride--6 measures were supposed to be on my primary screen and 3 on my 2ndary screen--I set it up wrong and 9 things appeared on one screen--so it was like trying to read the eye doctor chart--lowest line. 

Lesson today.  Today's ride was a fast 70 mile loop with two very short hills.  I blew up chasing someone on the first hill when my heart rate hit 174.  Later in the ride--on a longer hill--I was able to motor away while keeping my heart rate in a constant 165-169 range.   Live and learn.  All the post ride graphs and charts are fun to look at, but it is the feedback during the ride that I appreciate the most--and Normalized Power will add to this.

I did like that the Garmin said I burned 1337 calories on our 4 hour ride--this is over the 1064 I figured I burned (B/C pace**, 266 an hour=1064.)  I wonder if I can now eat more.

Oh, then there is Garmin's evil stepsister--Strava.   Strava is the 3rd party site where you download your information and get even more information--including how you did against the rest of the Garmin/ Strava world.    I'll admit I peeked after my first Garmin adventure last week, which is a Sunday recovery ride with my wife while on a fixed gear.  Half way into the ride is the only hill of significance--a reservoir climb to the top of the dam.   My fixed gear is overgeared for this climb.***     So when I get to the dam I have to try to chug up the whole way while standing (.3 miles, avg 9% grade)  So at the end of the ride I did peek at my Strava ranking on the Los Vaqueros Hillclimb--I'm sitting at 126/168.   I'll keep doing it on a fixie and my goal is to move into the top 100.  I just hope Freddie Rodriguez and his friends don't visit Los Vaqueros soon.  
Los Vaqueros Dam Climb- .3 miles, 9% grade

*Of course Coach Andy, who is Coach Toby's bizarro counterpart , (in realty a great older guy who rides with us and we watch out for--when I get to be his age I hope to ride like Coach Andy) would said forget the hi-tech training equipment, just enjoy the ride, and I should spend the money on fly fishing equipment and beer.

**A B pace is one where I have to work to keep up with the faster riders on our ride, a C pace is one where I'm going at my own pace, D is where I'm slowing to stay with another rider.  I get 300 calories an hour for a B pace, 200 for C, and 100 for D.  A B/C ride is mostly a B pace but some C pace.

***The fixie gear ratio was set to be one gear HARDER than the hardest one I could do the the dam climb on my racing bike--with the theory being I'd flip my wheel and an easier gear when I got to the dam, but I have never flipped the wheel.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sacramento Bike Trail (2013) & Short Solano Ramble (2013)

(Friday. November 1, 2013) Sacramento Bike Trail w/ Dr Dave, 70 miles

The Sacramento Bike trail is a real jewel.  It's just like the local bike trail minus the broken glass, and strollers/ walkers blocking the middle (there is a path on the side for them.)  It also has lots of shade trees.   Although I am often accused of calling a hilly ride flat, the Sacramento Bike Trail is virtually flat with some very easy rollers--only one main street crossing at Nimbus Dam which involves riding up over a bridge and steep ramps.  Dr. Dave saw so may of his recumbent friends I got tired of asking Dave "do you know that guy?"

No--this isn't Mines Road--the highest point (ramp/ bridge overcrossing) is only 150 meters high.  Really flat ride--really.
A long time ago on the Sacramento bike trail--I needed my youngest to push me along (Film camera)
Tomorrow is a long Club ride so I took my old GT with brevet bag and rack, and vowed to keep the bike in the small chain ring all ride.   I kept my word.  
Early in the day on the Sacramento Bike Trail heading East from State University.  Some senile old idiot forgot his camera (Dr. Dave-I Phone)

Cool in the morning so arm/knee warmers and vest were in order--which all got put in the brevet bag later.   I like starting this ride at the State College--plenty of parking for a nominal fee ($6) though you have to dodge the students as you cross the Golden Gate Pedestrian Bridge.    The College/ Golden Gate Pedestrian Bridge is about 10 miles from the (west) Old Town Sacramento end.  We headed east towards Folsom and Folsom Lake, which is about 25 miles away.   The first section from the College to Nimbus Dam is the nicest section of the bike trail--with the American River running close by.   In the summer scores of people inner tubing down the river.  Today no one is in the river which is  an added benefit--though the Sacramento Bike Trail crosses only a few major streets it does cross a few parking lots that are crowded during the summer--today they were empty and no cars  were evident.

Being Friday* the bike crowd was older--seems like a lot of retirees.   A few young tri guys shot by--though you can't really go balls out as the trail is narrow and very curvy in some places.   An occasional coed jogger came by on the side dirt path.   Dave and I said we need to take Mike and Ward up here in the summertime when its much hotter and the coed joggers are wearing much less.    (*I've never ridden the Sacramento Bike trail on the weekend, something tells me it may become a real zoo)
We leave the bike trail to go to downtown/ old town Folsom.  Dave likes the sign on the bridge. (Dr. D-I Phone)

I'm in Old Town Folsom--best thing here is new style bike shoppe (Dr. D-I Phone)

When we got to Folsom  we took a detour off the trail and into Old Town Folsom which has a nice bike shop.  Nice bike shop is one that has good road bikes and lots of cycling accessories.   Dave and I passed on the local High School bulldog cycling jersey which seems to be permanently on sale  but it is very tempting. 
I think its unfair that this tea bagger compares Prius Drivers to socialists.  It is unfair.  To the socialists. (Dr D-I Phone)

When we were going through downtown we passed a huge pick-em-up truck with a huge bumper sticker that filled its rear window.  It was longer than most pointless emails at work.   It was clear that the guy didn't like Liberals--Socialist--Prius Drivers.    I thought Dave should pull out a red sharpie and correct the bumper stickers grammar and usage starting with 'run on sentence.'  People--keep your bumper sticker short, funny and to the point.  Oh year (and this does apply especially to Prius Driving Communists)--don't plaster every inch of your car with bumper stickers.

A little hilly as we pass Folsom Prison.  I forgot my camera so we took a few photos with Dave's I-Phone.  Dave picked up a goathead pulling off the trail and after a quick wheel change it was onto Folsom Lake which usually has a crowded beach in the summertime.  Wonder how different it would be on this autumn day.  The water will probably be empty but look great.
Dr. Dave makes gang signs so he'll be invited into Folsom Prison--Folsom Dam is in the distance. (Dr. Dave-I Phone)

HOLY SHIT VERY DIFFERENT.  Deserted.   Which wasn't the story.  There was almost NO WATER. It looked like a scene out of those apocalypse movies when the Statue of Liberty is on solid ground.  There were a few lifeguard chairs nearby, then water about a 1/2 mile away.  Just a dry lake bed in front of us.   Two coeds came out of nowhere horseback riding across the dry lake bed.  Surreal.   
Folsom Lake--Where the F did the water go?? (Dr. Dave I-Phone)

After we ate peanut butter/ pumpkin butter sandwiches it was time to decide what to do.  One option is to take to the road and go from Folsom to Auburn, a route marked with many significant rollers.   As tomorrow is the Club ride we decided to head back--but we planned to ride across a new bridge and take the streets back to Folsom, where we'd pick up the bike trail.  Alas a ditsy sheriff was at the intersection where she informed us the road was closed due to blasting, but couldn't quite figure out if the blasting was on the  way we wanted to go or the way we came in from.   After going back and forth she finally decided we couldn't go across the bridge--so it was back from the way we came.

On the way back Dave talked about his early research in Sam Shepard playwright and actor.  I am not much of a drama fan but Sam Shepard had a relationship with the rock goddess Patti Smith so I was interested, and it was like listening to an author podcast but I could ask questions whenever.
REAL cobblestones in Old Town Sacramento (Dr. Dave I-Phone)

Dr. Dave and I with the Giants of Old Town (taken by that stupid Apple product)

At Nimbus Dam we had to go under the busy main street bridge and then climb up to the bridge.   They have reworked the climb so you can go straight up an 18% grade, which I did, or take a nice circular ramp that add lots of distance but takes out much of the grade.   (Vote here if I should give Dr. Dave an asterisk)   Otherwise the ride back was fairly flat, in fact slightly downhill, but with a slight headwind.

Past the College Dave and I decided to go to Old Town Sacramento.   Here the trail picks up a few homeless and inner city locals on beater bikes and the bathroom restrooms (about every 5 miles on the trail) have a "lived in look."  aka o·dif·er·ous.  We circle Discovery Park, then one more ramp where the path gets a little chewed up and plop--we are in Old Town Sacramento.  Old Town is right next to downtown but isolated by a surrounding freeway and made to look like a Western Town.

Never mind any earlier portion of the trail that is "not the best"  The old town streets are paved with Belgium Cobblestones and Dave and I lived out our Paris Roubaix fantasy for one block--or until the soft ice cream store.  (My daughter later texted that this is HER FAVORITE place--which she remembers us hitting often 10 years ago.)
Yea!-Sacramento Sweets-Old Town soft serve open (My Star Trek Phone)
Boo-Kaveri Madras is supposedly the best veggie restaurant in Sacramento closed in the late afternoon (My Star Trek Phone)

After ice cream back over the cobblestones-though this time faster.  Yes--its true the faster you go the smoother the ride; when we took them gingerly coming in it seemed like we were bumping into each one.   Back through Discovery Park and our last 10 miles back to the college.     Dave and I were bs'ing when a tall young coed sped by--we still kept in the small ring and cranked up to 22 where we drafted behind her while she eventually slowed to 20.  Then, right before the college turnoff a well enhanced jogger wearing summer wear passed us the other way.  Heck, we need to get Ward back into action so we can provide action photos.

After the ride Dave and I skirted around the Sacramento Strip malls to an Indian Place rated the #1 veggie restaurant in Sacramento by a weekly rag, with a plan to pick up some Mysore Masala Dosa.  In my minds eye it would be in a bustling section of something resembles downtown with lots of students around.  Wrong.  It was in a dumpy strip mall with a big CLOSED sign.  It was 4:00 and they close from 3:30-5:00. FFFFFFFF!

(Saturday November 2) Solano Ramble, Diablo Cyclist Club ride, 60 miles

This ride is a real treat--one of the rare club rides which is relatively flat.   Found out Bill and Christine would have played hooky and joined Dr. Dave and I yesterday.  We got to have a big midweek ride on the Sacto Bike trail in the Spring.
Leaving Solano Community College (PC)
OK to draft behind Brian's recumbent as he sits up straight and I can make faces in his side mirrors (PC)

Dr. Dave and I not too worse for wear from our 80 mile joint yesterday--and ailment or slowness was blamed on riding the cobblestones the day before.  As at the end of the riding season and with no Ward to egg us on (one of us usually decide to take the hardest route possible) we skipped the Cantalow Hilly Loop.   At one point a guy from Davis joined us and picked up the pace--he said we should sprint at the end but after we set up our fellow club members with the infamous "2001" strategy, the guy turn away right before the sprint point.
Part of the gang at Lake Solano Park.   Don gets to lay down as he did this ride on a fixed gear.  Why is woman in back mooning us? (PC)
Don & Brian thinking of buying a horse to finish the ride (PC)

We spent a long time bsing at Solano Park with its small pond--which had more water than Folsom Lake from the day before.  Dr. Dave kept taking out the County Line sprints.   Only climb, Cardiac, is a pain in the ass going east to west (longer and headwind)--I got sawed off at the beginning, but half way up I started clicking and crested with Dr. Dave. 
Christine zooming up Cardiac (PC)

Unfortunately a little cooler than yesterday where leaving on t-shirt and knee warmers was a good option.  Also area is still depressed and no stores are open--the big rest area out of what used to be a restaurant is now falling apart.

Got another new song stuck in my head.  Well its new--to me.  Its another good band I missed that Pandora put on my personalized radio station.   Somehow the beat was in synch with my pedal stroke when I felt good.  Getting older but "no time to cry."

Coach Andy showing off his new exercise stretching device (PC)

Some people are NEVER serious when we are learning training techniques and Dr. Dave thought that a photoshoppe was in order (Dr. D)

Jack took off to do Pope Valley Bonus Miles--but now at the end of the season I wasn't tempted at all.   Nice fast return where Dave, Bill, Christine and I got off the front until Bill decided to hit a huge chunk of something on the road causing a blowout but also a regrouping where we had a big Club paceline to the end.
Near the end of the ride during flat tire change (Christine)

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Don Quixote Century (2013) & Calavaras (2013)

Now that the World Series is over--**** congrats Red Soxs ****-time to catch up on cycling ride recaps.   Luckily I didn't gain 10 lbs like I did during last years SF Giants run.

(October 19, 2013)  The Don Quiote Century, half solo, a quarter with Cisco Dave and Matt, a quarter with the Diablo Cyclist not ready for prime time players.  95 miles, lots of climbing

Warm but no little wind.

The week's ride is Morgan Territory.  Dr. Dave and Christine were surprised I didn't pester them during the week about a Patterson Pass add on, but according to the ride schedule--this add on is a given according to footnote 27.

Another ride where it was in the 40's when left the house but was in the 60's at the start and you knew the temperature was going up faster than Apple Stock, so it was time to leave the knee warmers back at the start.  Ride starts with serious uphill rollers so we would get warm quickly.

Joined by Rusty and Sara on the ride again.  Sara has been travelling and not riding a lot so she was trailing on the uphills (but bombing down the downhills like usual.)    We have a good core group that pick each other up--so I rode with Sara for awhile and then  Dr. Dave, Christine and Rusty regrouped with us at the start of the Morgan Territory Climb.   The climb starts shallow and we had a nice 5 person paceline until we hit the hairpins on steroids.  There Dr. Dave and I rode up together--he bemoaning the fact that he hit that magic weight warning limit--same limit I hit a month ago which had me start my winter diet early.   As Dave said a few weeks ago--"I'm happy with my weight until I get on a bike."  I couldn't have said it better..
Rusty and Christine get to the top of Morgan Territory--Rusty waves to his cheering fans

Turning to our lightweights, Matt and Cisco Dave zoomed to the top.  Sandy was coming up the other side of Morgan--the steeper/ smoother side-- to meet us.   Dave wasn't timing her like he had done midweek on Mt Diablo so he did allow me to say hello to her.  I should have warned her about the typically 3 cars that come up narrow Morgan Territory road when we go down, Sandy zoomed down it and Rusty had to get in front of her to slow her down a bit before a car appeared taking the middle of the 1 1/2 lane road.

Rusty asked if I was going to do the Don Quiote ride--referencing the scores of twirling windmills on Patterson Pass.  At the bottom Matt, Cisco Dave and Jack said they'd do Morgan with everyone else riding back.

Cisco Dave and Matt on the great run in to Patterson Pass

Just like 2 weeks ago--it was very windy in the Livermore Valley when we zig zagged through the agricultural fields.  Jack quickly fell off and we slowed the paceline a few times for him to hook back on.    We saw lots of people in the other direction doing a food bank ride--one guy was in a Hawaiian shirt, lime green mountain bike shorts and orange shoes.   Somehow Cisco missed this fashion sight.   When we hit suburban Livermore Jack wondered if we were stopping at the 7-11 at the edge of Tracy, another 15 miles away, before we did the 5 1/4 mile Patterson Pass climb.  It was too early to tell but 2 weeks ago we had enough water so it was "probably not." 

Matt, Cisco and I lost Jack again when we started up Altamont--the best 13 miles in the Bay Area.  When we slowed he didn't seem to make an effort to get back on so, so we started motoring ahead.    Our Club members stay on the front  of pacelines too long, and in the Grizzly Mark tradition Cisco suggested that we get off the front every three telephone poles.  Good idea.  Matt recently did the Mt Diablo Challenge in under an hour, and Cisco Dave could do it, so I wished we had two more people in our paceline for a longer rest and slower paceline tempo.

Refreshments before hitting the Patterson Pass climb
When we got to the foot of Patterson Pass I was almost out of water, so I said I was heading the 2 miles to 7-11.  Dave had Sandy waiting for him in Livermore and Matt was taking the family pumpkin hunting so they didn't have much time and took off.  Later I found out that Cisco ran out of water on the 5.25 mile climb after telling Matt that the climb was about 1 1/2 miles or so. 

Scenes along the Patterson Pass climb--5 1/4 miles NOT 1 1/2 miles.  Its gets steeper at the end (#3 & 4 above) with headwind wind blowing over the hills. 
Banana and water at 7-11 and was good to go up Patterson Pass.  Warm but just a mild cross wind until the top where a very mild head wind picked up.  As I was riding solo I stopped whenever for a photo op.   Luckily I had refilled as I downed more than one bottle on the climb.

Rest of the ride uneventful--after stop at library for more water I was ready to go back via downtown Livermore, which is the only route I've done solo.  But hell, we just did Patterson Pass two weeks ago and zig zagged the Dr. Dave-Ward-Christine route.  So I decided to see if I paid attention.  Fully expecting to get lost I wound up on on Collier Canyon and the correct way back.  Brian Wilson riding a junk bike was riding on the wrong side of the road muttering to himself; later a young guy passed on an antique motorcycle with a side car.  Just like the earlier lime green shorts guy, we needed the fastest camera in the West, Ward, to be on the ride to get good action photos.
Sign on Collier with the slogan of the day

(October 26, 2013) Calaveras Metric+, 80 miles, with Dr. Dave, Christine, CA. Mike, Arizona Bill

Morgan Territory and Calaveras my two favorite Diablo Cyclist rides, best two East Bay rides, back to back weekends.  I glanced at the schedule early in the week, very little email chatter about the ride, and woke up to mid 40's weather hoping it would start to warm by our 9 o'clock start.  Didn't want to bundle up and have to take a handlebar bag to stuff lots of crap in.

At 9 o'clock and we're at Heather Farms, Walnut Creek with the few people mentioned above.  The usual group of old timers ain't here.  We know in the spring that there is a ride option to start 10 miles away at 9:00 to make it a 60 mile ride, or here at 7:30--but we are now not training for nuttin and its almost freezing early in the day.  Sure enough, the spring schedule was also the fall schedule, and at about 9:10 we all figured out that we was it and everyone else was starting 10 miles closer.  Truth be told, even if I read the schedule fine print I would have done the same thing we did today by accident, go for an 80 mile ride and start at 9:00 when it is starting to get warm.

We had a very good group, all supporting anyone who was falling off the back.   Danville Blvd. with little traffic is OK in the morning (it's the shits in the afternoon with all the left turn traffic triggering all the red lights.)   The Foothill Blvd. run in is great, and instead of the usual race up the Muur de Sunol at the end we rode cooperatively.   Only problem on the ride was three idiots in front of us riding 3 abreast and barely moved over when our paceline came through.
Mike leading the paceline in the long straightaway onto the Calavares climb.

On the Calaveras climb.

Calaveras is a shady out and back with a gentle uphill on the way out.   We were bsing about movies with "My Cousin Vinny" and the utes line--which had Dr. Dave wincing after Stanford lost to the Utes.  About three quarters deep on Calaveras the 60 mile Diablo Cyclists went by in the other direction.  I tried to hammer the ending piece but died out a quarter mile from the turn around driveway--unfortunately Christine made a bad decision to get on my wheel as I died out and the rest of the group passed.   After the turn around driveway we all went another 1/4 mile or so--down and then back up the infamous WALL.  A few riders struggling up thought we were insane for doing this as an add on. 
The WALL as a bonus segment

We went back to the shaded driveway where the owner rolled in and scowled.  Totally justified--imagine a few cyclist in your driveway every time you came home.  We make sure to clean up after ourselves, in the past we found some jell/ bar wrappers that some pig cyclists had left on the ground.
After the WALL can sit in the shade in someones driveway.

The way back is fast with a few sudden uphill rollers--and this is where our mutual assistance paid off.  Mike would fall back on the climbs and I'd slow to ride with him.  Likewise I'd slow on the twisty fast portions and Mike would pick me up.  This was riding to the slowest person and Christine and Dr. Dave would then pick us up.  In a year of cycling injury--with Arizona Bill suffering a big crash early in the year and then going to Arizona to do 110 degree secret training, he was riding strong and doing a lot of pulling in the flats. 

Calaveras going back

Back in Sunol we hit the general store with the welcoming front porch overlooking quiet.  A friendly chain smoker occupied the table--trying his luck to become a millionaire with a stack of Lotto scratches.   It was warm enough to enjoy a frozen fruit bar.  Near the bathrooms we ran into long distance champ Kitty, who plans to do some 1000k rides next year.
Holiday in Sunol

Dave endorses Coconut Water and Mike endorses Haagen Dazs

Hey Slacker---Kitty Wants YOU to Ride 1000 K, and NO sitting down at rest stops

Trip back on Danville Blvd. was a crappy as expected, but we had a good group and real enjoyable.  We were back to the cars at 3:30 which is a couple of hours earlier than our usual middle of the Summer Saturday excursion.
Christine indicates it seems like we've been at this red light for 3 hours

Traffic in the afternoon on Danville Blvd, who would have guessed

The last climb, the Ygnacio Valley Trail bridge.

Unfinished Business with Home Depot Insanity

You may recall that a few posts ago I said that I had trouble getting a Ryobi hedge trimmer not stocked at local Home Depot stores but sold via Home  Home Depot would not ship it to the store as it was sold in other stores.........IN GEORGIA. (note: I don't live in the Confederacy.)  I send Home Dept a letter saying their sales policy was insane--I just got fluff as a response.  Ryobi, however, said for my troubles they'd send me a free hedge trimmer which they did.

As the Ryobi 40v hedge trimmer is great (cuts 3/4" branches, battery lasts for 45 minutes+, 10lbs which is a bit heavy but well balanced" ) I wrote a review for Home Depot--unfortunately Ryobi's sole distributor.  I mentioned in one sentence in three-four paragraphs how Home Depot Customer service leaves something to be desired.  CENSORED  Told that you can't criticize Home Depot in a review. 

Oh well, I resubmitted the review and put in a photo of the product.  I should have put Homer--the Home Depot symbol, in the fountain basin.

Home Depot Customer Support