Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1st Century of 2014--Calaveras and North Gate Mt Diablo

(February 22, 2014)  Walnut Creek to Calaveras & North gate Mt Diablo Junction Bonus, 106 miles, 5,381', 15mph, w/ CA Mike, Queen of the Mountain Christine, Arizona (soon to be Cowboy) Bill, Jeanne & Matt until he got lost

Great weather in mid 70's promised for the weekend.   Originally I thought of doing an organized metric in the valley run by great doubles and rest stop workers Doug and Joni--the Pedaling Path for Independence ride.  But traveled to Los Angeles last weekend and next weekend the first Davis brevet--so pooped and wanted to stay local.  Also wanted to do more than 60 miles to get ready for 120 mile brevet.

Diablo Cyclist ride wasn't much better--50 miles of East Bay Hills.  OK ride, nothing to get excited about and was too short--for training and especially for what promised to be a beautiful day. 

Early in the week Mike was in for changing the route and making it longer.  Christine has been on bicycle sabbatical for a couple of months so was game for changing the route but not adding many miles.  I said I'd do Calaveras--the second best ride on our schedule.  The middle section--from Sunol to the end of Calaveras, is a lightly traveled rustic road that becomes tree lined and gently climbs on the way out.  Mike and Christine would commit to Sunol.

Small group at the start of the Club ride when we proposed the alternate course.  Christine was real excited to see me--so she could show me her NEW stem bag discovery.   A few years back Christine got us all to attach small camera bags on our stems--which is great for getting drugs or an actual camera out of our pockets.  Now she had a new one--but I surprised her by showing off my new top tube bag for the same purpose.  Its tapered so I don't whack it with my knee when climbing and it generally stays out of the way.

Jeanne--who much rather be in a sprint any day than take a long ride (she still has Davis Double flashbacks) said she come along though a little apprehensive about the 80 mile distance as was Christine.  Climber Matt would ride out with us but then solo to points beyond--which usually meant the demonic Sierra Road.  OK--if everyone else turned around at Sunol I'd have some company at the end of Calaveras.  If I was going to solo I'd keep going to Ed Levin Park to get water and then have to reclimb back to Calaveras.

There was some morning chill but Christine shamed me into taking off the knee warmers--and as I probably wouldn't miss them in a 1/2 hour it was good she did.   Mike didn't have knee warmers--his reason was that he wanted to get his legs darker than his white shoes.
Sometimes our paceline looks good....

...and sometimes it goes to shit

Uneventful trip out to Sunol--except for a Cinderella training group learning how to stop on their bikes and totally block the bike lane.   Cowboy Bill took a few flyers off the front but we were riding to keep Christine and Jeanne comfortable.....so they;d continue to Calaveras, so the pace was steady but moderate.   From Zappa to Pink Floyd to the Kinks to the Killers it seems we spend a lot of time bs'ing about music.

First time in a long while we got to the Sunol hill and no one tried to shoot off--we just stayed in a nice pack as we had done for the whole run in from San Ramon/ Dublin (suburban ugly) to the 9 mile run in to Sunol which doesn't have lots of traffic or traffic controls.    I opened up my springtime nutrition campaign by having my first frozen fruit bar of the year--perfect riding food for warm weather.
Jeanne and Christine discussing strategy to podium the upcoming Cinderella All Girls Event

Lots of groups that had started closer to Calaveras were already coming back.  The beginning of the 15 miles is flat and we stayed in a nice paceline.  We passed a couple and shouted out friendly greetings--and then heard a voice "what, you don't recognize me??"  It was Diablo Cyclists Ex-President Trina (as the DC's don't have any officers I don't know how she became president.)   Hadn't been on a ride with her in a few years, we caught up on some news and she promised to ride with the Club.

Organized rides need to serve frozen fruit bars
We hit the hills--mostly a gentle climb on a narrow tree lined road, with a few grade kicks around sharp hairpins.  Cowboy Bill and Matt took off, Christine and I formed the 2nd group and Mike rode in support of Jeanne behind.   Coming from the other direction was a familiar sight--Cisco Dave and the Flying FU Boys.

The group pacelining towards the rustic part of Calaveras.  Wonder what Mike said to Matt to have him take off.

Christine and I stopped a few times for photos.  Fun about going at a moderate pace this time, is that the 2nd time you do a course on Strava you can KILL all of the same segments.  and get kudos galore.  When we got to the end of the road and an infamous driveway with the big tree that all cyclists pile into and block, Bill and I continued on for the half mile down and up "THE WALL"--the only real steep climb of the day.  We saw a few cyclists on it who didn't look happy.

Christine and I mugging for the camera with the reservoir in the background.   Note the new top tube bag--perfect for carrying a phone and drugs.

Its a fast return to Sunol on the slightly downhill, curvy course--I definitely have more fun on the uphill out portion.  On the return trip I'd get sawed off on a sudden downhill and have to make up ground on a roller.  Outside of Sunol we passed a small store and the FU Boys were there resting--Dave called out if I was going to stop for a fruit bar and I yelled back that I already had one.  But they had been 1 1/2 hours ahead of us--why were they here??  Oh crap, they must have done the sinister Welch Creek Road climb that is off to the side.  Its something I had never done.  Dave told me the next day that they indeed did it and it was the worse climb he has been on.

Christine and Mike on the return trip of the Calevares.
We got back to Sunol seemingly in no time, and there we ran into Kitty--past Triple Crown Stage Race champ and 1st woman to attempt RAAM.  Kitty usually has a lot more endurance than speed, but today she was pushing the pace.  She may have not liked all the talk of Christine and Jeanne being the upcoming Cinderella Champs.
If you ride 1000kms you can have real ice cream.

Cowboy Bill ready to hop the train

Was going to go up Diablo from the easy side--Southgate--if Mike rode home but he had parked his car close to our start, so I rode back with the group.   This meant that at mile@85, if I wanted to go up Diablo it would have to be from the hard Northgate side.    Well, with the moderate pace I still felt good--hell, no one really sprinted at the end of Danville Blvd into Walnut Creek--and that NEVER happens. 

Figured I had two hours before it got dark, and grabbed a wind breaker from the car, reflilling water, a chomping down a nut bar, it was off to Mt Diablo.  It was still beautiful and sunny out and lots of cyclists now coming down off of Mt. Diablo.  BEST thing I did was pull off t-shirt before I started climbing.

Some orange California poppies were out and the climb was enjoyable.  Till about the steep 1000' mark.  Then everything started to tighten up, my legs had nothing left, and it seemed like a good idea to go back down.  But though I'd be happier for the next hour I'd be po'd at myself for the next week, so the second half of the climb to the Junction was not the best.  It's the time that you are thirsty but the sports drink tastes like shit.
The Mt Diablo Junction late in the day.

Junction was deserted and the setting sun was throwing long shadows.   Being brain dead I hit the wrong button on my new Garmin which indicates ride over instead of lap reset (which I did every time pulling into a rest stop.)   So later Garmin congratulated me for my longest Garmin ride ever of 96 miles instead of the 106 done.   Yep, if Garmin doesn't record it--it doesn't count.

Next day's usually ez 40 mile fixed gear ride with Mrs. Pumpkin was torture.   Yes dead--let's go back and forth in the reservoir watershed to get some nice FLAT spinning miles instead of doing hill repeats up to the dam.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would have been better if you had gone up Southgate. Every ride is better when it ends with Southgate. Sounds like a terrific day with the gang. Good luck on Davis 200k. The Kiwi kid returns next week after his special Canadian bacon and endless hours in car training.