Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Years Mt Diablo Norh Gate +10 lbs-Nudist Colony-Mt Diablo South Gate Almost Century

(January 1, 2014) Mt Diablo on New Years Day, 37 1/2 miles, 3,891' climbing, w Diablo Cyclists
(January 4, 2014) Nudist Colony-Mt Diablo South Gate Almost Century, 88 miles, 5,794' climbing, w Diablo Cyclists

Elevation-Schaefer Ranch-Cull Canyon-Redwood Road-Mt. Diablo Southgate to Junction
Nice week of cycling.  Three times up Mt. Diablo--bookend times deserted.  Middle time, on New Years Day, looked like the rush to get into Walmart on Black Friday.

December 31 I was able to get out of work by noon so took a spin up Mt. Diablo to the Junction, which is about 60% up the mountain, via North Gate (aka The Hard Side.)  No one was out when I was going up.   Actually Dr. and Mrs Dr. Dave were on Diablo--coming down in the their car.  Hope he wasn't cheating and trying to set a Strava time. 

Climb was great--nice and warm.   Few cars out.  I also enjoyed being on my 17lb racing bike, as on New Years Day I'd gain about 10 lbs.  No one was at the Junction.  When I was going down about a dozen cyclist were first coming up.  I kept my own tradition and was overdressed for the descent.

Next day was the traditional Northern California tradition, climbing Mt. Diablo on New Years Day.  This time I had my  22lb steel bike with a rack and my 6 lb Blautpunk stereo complete with power amp and lead acid battery.   It was coooold riding the few flat miles to the base of the mountain.
Brian and Don arrive at the Mt Diablo Junction

Idea was to ride ez up with the group--and that is how the trek started up Northgate Road and the beginning of Mt. Diablo.  The music bouncing off the fence and rocks and sounded great.  There was, however, a large group or cyclists right in front of us.   Originally the plan was to ride in back of them but a few of them couldn't ride in a straight line and a guy in front of me dropped his chain and almost fell.   Dr. Dave said let's get outta here and we went around them and then Dave and I set a pace to stay well off the front.  I was wondering when I was going to fade--the steep 1000' was a killer with +10 lbs--and Dave who is riding great took off.  

Motley Crew at the Junction
We regrouped at the crowded Junction and waited for the other Diablo Cyclists to come in.  Jack went on ahead and Don, Brian and Vlad said they had enough fun for the day and went back down. Dave, Arizona Bill, Jeanne, and Mt Biker Jerry (who I last rode with in 2004 on the Sierra Century Course) and I started up, and we kept together for about half the climb.  We passed a few riders who liked the music--one woman yelled out it was great "long hair" music (It was Springsteen and Neil Young doing "Rockin In A Free World)--the classic rock from the 1960's-70's went over much better than recent stuff. 

Dr. Dave on the upper slopes of Diablo.
Eventually Dave went on ahead, I wound up bs'ing with two guys about doubles.     F--the ramp was a killer with the heavy setup--and again I could kick myself as I weighed +10 by myself for most of last year, which made many ride too damn hard.

I reach the summit coming off of final steep finishing ramp. (Dr. D)

Arizona Bill and Jeanne arrive at the top of Mt. Diablo
We have a few stupidass cars on Mt Diablo-we always have a few stupidass cars on Mt. Diablo.  Diablo Scott has me thinking about what climb is better--Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tam, or Mt. Hamilton.  Each has their strong points but the stupidest drivers seem to come out to Mt. Diablo and wait to pass on a hairpin turn.  Yeah--they give me enough room when pulling out onto the oncoming lane on a turn.....until they get hit by a car going downhill and ricochet into me, or hit a cyclist coming downhill.
Jerry at the top of Mt. Diablo.  He rode with me on my first long hilly ride back in 2003 (Sierra Century 120 miles) when I was scared shitless and then did the toughest part of the course with me in 2004 when I prepped for my 1st Death Ride.
Beautiful and crowded at the top.    I never saw so many people up there--we didn't take a group photo.   The downhill back to the Junction wasn't too bad though I did my usual job of overdressing.  At the Junction saw my doubles buddy , Grizzly Mark.  I don't miss the doubles--just some of the people on them.  It was such a nice day we decided to add miles and go back Southgate.   Dave and I also decided not to be cold wuzzes and took off our jackets for the rest of the descent--man would we have looked stupid wearing jackets when we passed by the girl just wearing a halter top.  (Unfortunately Ward on extended DL so no action photo of this)

Grizzly Mark - always great to ride with him on Doubles after we stopped trying to ride each other into the ground. 
Jeanne had a bad 2013 and now getting back into form.  She's real competitive on the flats but lags a little on the hills.  The first part of the return trip is on some short rollers.  When we were slowing to keep the group together a young woman shot by our group without saying a word.  I thought that once we got off the rollers Jeanne would kick butt; Dave and Bill were too nice to get on the young woman's wheel (actually they had another excuse) but I did, which caused the woman to go harder on the next roller trying to drop me.   When the road flattened out the group got Jeanne back to the woman who was now fading, and Jeanne flashed by leading a strong paceline.  Yes, fun and games started in 2014--cheep thrills.

A few days later was our club ride which climbs steep Schaefer Ranch, then to Cull Canyon where there is a four mile mile climb that always turns into a race, and then a return on Redwood Road which has more climbing.   I felt good so wanted to get in close to 100 miles--hadn't done a century ride in awhile--so planned to add Mt. Diablo.  No troublemakers (wheelsuckers) out on the big club ride so Dave and I just rode tempo on Schaefer Ranch. 

First climb of the day--up steep Schaeffer Ranch.
On Cull Canyon we started riding temp but Dave and I were soon off the front.  A young guy dug to pass us but then we picked up the pace and dropped him.  A short time later I got my comeuppance.  A tri guy strongly rode up to us and passed us.  I could stay on his wheel as long as the road was steep but as soon as the road flattened out I was gassed and fell off.  Dr. Dave is riding beautifully and was able to say with the tri guy for the rest of the climb to the nudist colony.

Dave and Stephen were contemplating dumping a mattress here until they saw the sign....

..while Rusty finds a Basso at the nudist colony---Dave says she's connected to Basso Bicycle.
The Garmin Heart Rate Readings are helping me keep my ass in the saddle.  I love climbing while standing, which is incredibly inefficient.   I knew from the trainer that as soon as I stand my heart rate goes up 10 bpm.   Now riding with a heart rate monitor I can see when I hit zone 5.5-6.0 (actually I know without looking cause I'm about to die), so I get back in the saddle which lowers my heart rate.

Happy New Year
Nice regroup at the tennis courts where we discovered that 4 of the remaining 5 in our group (many people didn't do the Cull Canyon out and back, and Rusty disappeared after seeing Basso at the nudist colony) still had old console televisions whereas we can't read the crap that Comcastic crams on the bottom of the screen.  

We all kept together up Redwood and then down thru Moraga.  I thought we were coming back on "the Blvd" today which would have led us right into Mt. Diablo Southgate (the Easy Side.)  We were now on the Northgate side but Stephen and June were going back to their home near Southgate so I rode with them.   Only worry was that it was about 2pm and I had no front light.

Luckily Stephen and June know the most direct route to Southgate and once on it the climb is fast compared to the steeper Northgate side (though in another comparison with Tam and Hamilton, their two climbs are much more varied than Mt. Diablo's.)   There is a couple of mile stretch around Rock City where the "climb" gets very fast and though gassed and not in midyear shape I could still hold close to 20 mph.   My best decision was to take off the vest before starting the climb--it was very warm with the descending sun hitting off the roadway..
Mt Diablo late in the day.

Where are all the people who were at the crowded Mt Diablo Junction a few days ago?

The Junction was deserted.  For once I didn't bring Imelda Marco's wardrobe for the descent, I just had a light jacket and glove liners to add.    Nice with no cars--just a touch of wind.  Didn't have regular glasses in the car--luckily had clear cycling glasses as half way home the sun disappeared.  A great cycling day.
Coach Andy's training program included whipped cream--if he turns away Dr. Dave will be swiping it.