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

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