Monday, March 17, 2014

Cluster F on The Bears-Peets in Oakland-Skyline-Mt Diablo (2014)

March 15, 2104--How Not To Start A 100 Mile Ride.  (Don't Go Balls Out at the Beginning of the Ride)   The Bears-Oakland Hills-Mt Diablo w/ Diablo Cyclists, mostly w/ Dr. Dave, Cisco Dave, Arizona Bill, Arizona Steve, Lago di Como Tony, Christine, Bob, Jack.  82 miles, 8,340' climbing (altitude high for the year) 14mph.
Up and down all day--just to go to Peets Oakland.  The orange segment is the one we raced.

Glorious weekend in the Bay Area--with thermometer hitting in the 80's.  (Its is Cisco Dave's job to bug me "Its now 39 degrees," when its too fn cold, its Dr. Dave's job to whine when when "My Garmin says its 90 degrees.  I much rather hear Dr. Dave whine about warm weather.)
Americanizing this formula, presented at the Tour of Flanders museum, when it is 95 degrees outside and we're going 20 mph, it feels GREAT.

Product Review-I have a new Garmin, the Forerunner 310xt wristwatch, thus adding it to my sudden growing collection of  Garmin's.  The screen is half the size of the Garmin Edge 510 (though the devise itself is not much smaller.)  Originally I was going to buy the 310xt as its an older model sold at deep discount, Toby dissuaded me from getting the 310xt as its old technology is not supported by Garmin.  Garmin decided not update the 310xt for NORMALIZED POWER.   Nor does it pick up Russian satellites in addition to American ones, so chance of losing a satellite connection is much greater.   So, NO--I didn't get it because its orange.  The trouble with the 510 with its large display is that it eats power-at the end of the 200k Davis Brevet I was down to 22% of battery life.  So the 510  wasn't going to cut it on the 300k.  
Makeshift Velcro stem attachment of the Garmin 310 to the stem.  Cut plastic tube inside the wristband to prevent shaking  I originally zip-tied the sides of the band to the plastic tube--but the 310xt charging takes place in the back of the unit, so needed a way to take out the plastic tube.  In above used (orange) Velcro fasteners--later found out I could zip tie the front and would have enough movement to charge the unit by removing the remaining Velcro. 

Of course I like the 510 display better, and the 100's of ways you can configure it.   It's a big unit but lays nice and flat on the stem.  Supposedly there is a stem mount for the 310xt but good luck finding it in stores, so I tied it on the stem with a Velcro fastener with a cutout of a plastic sports fizz tube as a stiffener so the 310xt wouldn't shake back and forth.  Oh yeah--the 310xt is a pain in the ass to download data from as it can never find its wireless connection on the first dozen tries and before I start to curse.   But the 310xt had 76% of battery life left after this 82 mile ride and my 40 mile recovery ride the next day--so it has its purpose.

I was hoping that this week's club ride was going  to the Southeast--so then Patterson Pass would be an option.  Of course it was going West--to Peets Coffee in Oakland.  As the small bakery next to Peets Coffee and the high end bike shop up the street have gone out of business--riding to Oakland to see Peets Coffee has lost much of its luster.  Of course the Bears rolling climb, the Tilden Park Climb, and the climb back on Tunnel Road were enjoyable segments.  I'm enjoying climbing again with winter weight loss and no medical problems so I could keep a base level of training going.

Unusual group at the start of the ride. Arizona Bill had a cycling friend visiting so Arizona Steve joined us.  Another new guy, Tony, wearing a Lake Como jersey (where I had finished my trip in Italy) joined us.    Both would set a blistering pace on the hills.   Meanwhile Jack has a midweek cycling friend hanging out on the fringes, didn't say much, and  who we'd only see at the regroups. 

Ride started off on an ominous note--lots of runners, walker, joggers going every which way on the bike multi use path--Christine touched her front wheel against something and down she went.  The ride to the street on the multi use path is the most dangerous part of our rides.
Christine, Don & me--the survivors of bike trail accidents this year.  One year I rode 2,000 mile in the Gold Country without a flat and first time I rode 20 miles of bike trail around my house I had 2 flats.  This year our club has had 3 accidents-all on the bike trail.  Considering only 1% of our club miles is on the bike path....

Morning heated up quickly--Cisco Dave was busy pulling the Safeway newspaper insert out of his jersey as we headed towards Pig Hill.   He did most of the pulling and set a blistering pace.   The two Dave's, Tony and I rode hard to the regroup at the end of the Bears--the two Arizona kids were already there, unaware we had slowed and regrouped at the beginning after Christine went down.

Then we started up the Bears, which is a series of 3-4 (gentle) climb over 7 miles.  The two Dave's, the Two Arizona kids and Tony  got their dander up and I rode more aggressively than I had since 2012.    Bill finally got dropped after he attacked on a downhill and I kept trying to take a flier off the front.  It was a fait accompli that Cisco Dave would talk out this segment but no matter. Years ago when Super Joe (11th Climb to Kaiser, 2nd Eastern Sierra Double) was zooming around most people were afraid to attack but I would--hell, I was going to get killed anyway.   Some riders going up the last Bear climb side by side stalled my momentum and I momentarily dropped from the group but fought my way back--and stayed within good range on the downhill-my weakness.    There is a short/ steep climb at the end (the Baby Bear) and I had motored to the front when Cisco spun past me madly (in that damn x32.)   
Lake Como Tony with Cisco Dave.  Approaching the first Bear climb Cisco is calling for the team car with the special geared bike.

..Late Tony and I going hard up one of the Bears, and getting ready for another attack or counterattack.  (Cisco)   

 As Cisco doesn't post on Strava it turns out I had the best Strava posted time for the Bears on this day.  That wasn't the goal, but nice to see after such a clusterf that the effort actually resulted in a good time.  Shhh--don't tell Coach Toby that I now have the club lead on the Bears, he who is the club leader in almost every Strava segment will come back from England and kick my butt.

More importantly this power meter thing points to what I already knew--I have no high end speed but can go at a moderate pace for awhile.   Not to get to technical, one researcher, Dr. Andrew Coggins--did a study of the power put out by beginning to world pro cyclists at 5 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes and 20 minutes.  The great sprinters can put out 1600 watts of power--for 1 second.   Meanwhile the long range bomber--the guy who attacks from 30km out an dmakes it stick may only be able to put out 500 watts, but can do it for 20+ minutes.  In any event, by getting our reading for the different times we can see where our strengths are.

So at 5 seconds I barely make the chart and only improve a little at 1 minute.   But from early data--my 5 & 20 minute power put me in a CAT 4 racer category.  Unfortunately my limit now is hitting my max heart rate often--I don't even need a heart rate monitor as I can feel when I need to slow down.  Getting old is the shits.

Of course there is some getting old benefit.  At our pre Tilden Park regroup seemingly every other cyclist said "oh, I'm retired."   This retirement thing must be contagious--suddenly there is a small group that doesn't have to wait for weekends for epic rides.  Crap, I'm retired--for another 36 hours until Monday morning.

Right after the Bears regroup is the Tilden Park climb, and Arizona Bill who is a sprinter, was happy that we slowed down the climbing pace for him.  Shit, we slowed down the climbing pace as everyone was half dead from the Bears.  Everyone but Cisco Dave and Tony.   On the way up a bunch of us were BSing about the best dry race of the year--the Tour of Flanders--and who was going to win it.  No one argued against Fabian Cancellara, the most exciting one day Springs Classics riders since Johan Museeuw.  Cisco and Tony were BSing about doing South Park.

On the Tilden Climb--the helicopter and sewer shot.  Dr. Dave, Bob, Arizona Steve and Arizona Bill.

There are three ways to escape Tilden Park.  There is a long annoying climb along the Golf Course, the first part is .3 miles at 10% and the second part is .9 mile at 3%.   The second way is the horrific South Park climb, which is 1.4 miles at 10%.  The third way is riding on a flat crappy road towards Lake Anza (a little bit of Sonoma County in Berkeley) and suddenly making a sharp left into a neighborhood where the street looks like a huge wall--.4 mile at 9%. Its called Park Street but we usually call it the Mur de Mike, as CA Mike (today on a brevet) always insisted on doing it.  Somehow we all hit the beginning of the Mur at different times so there was no mano a mano up it.  Even without this incentive I wound up having the 4th best time of all time.   Dr. Dave got the 2nd best time!!! of all the Mur de Mike climbers.
Bill finishes the Mur de Mike.  He's on the flats--look at the roof line of the house in the background that is almost below the street level.

So now we had the Cisco Dave South Park Group, the Dr. Dave Mur de Mike Group (we were joined by the Arizona kids) and the Christine golf course group all split up along Skyline.  For some reason Bill and I started singing Zappa lyrics "Is that a Mexican poncho or a Sears poncho."  After our group stopped at the first photo op on Skyline, we rejoined Cisco and Tony who had stopped at the 2nd photo op site.
Arizona Steve, Dr. Dave, Arizona Bill and me

Drop down to Peets on the Oakland/ Berkeley border but its too hot for coffee--so I enjoy my homemade biscotti with (ugh) sports drink.  Wish there was a Jamba Juice nearby.  We do our usual job of blocking the sidewalk--no Kate Upton sighting today, and our group dribbles out in different packs for the climb.

Climb up Tunnel was painful--my heart rate kept maxing out on the 3 1/2mile 5% climb.  The two Dave's, the two Arizona's, Tony and I kinda kept together.  Regroup at the top with everyone in the Club--after it sounded like we'd take the long way back to Moraga, everyone suddenly opted for the shorter way through Canyon.  The twisty downhill sucked but the fast flat road through the redwoods did wonders for my energy.
Bill saying we traveled all this way for a cup of coffee in a PAPER cup.

When we got back to Heather Farms 54 miles and 6000 climbing were in the bag.   It was just mid afternoon and it was actually hot.  I had ducked two mostly frozen drinks in the car anticipating doing Mt. Diablo--and when I started out I planned to go to the top.

Within the first couple of miles any plans to go to the top faded.  I wasn't feeling as bad as a few weeks ago  going up Mt. Diablo after 85 miles, but definitely had nothing in my legs.  No problem reaching my heart rate now as my power started to tumble.  Lots of fields of orange poppies, I wanted to stop to take photos but wondered if it that was just an excuse to rest on the climb so kept going up.  I was joined by a young guy from the sticks of NY for the last mile; he was so jazzed that Mt Diablo is "in our backyards" and we can always go ride on it...  At the Junction another guy was jazzed who came down from the top  He said he ALMOST made it up the last ramp for the first time.  I congratulated him and said he'd probably do it soon.  Two guys appreciating Mt Diablo to the fullest in the spirit of the injured Diablo Scott.

I was nearly out of water, and luckily the water that had been turned off at the Junction a few weeks ago because of the drought was back on.  I decided that as I blew off going up to the Summit I'd go back down Southgate which adds about 10 miles to the return trip.  Of course I put on my t-shirt and vest for the downhill and regretted it within 1000 feet.
Poppies from Radio Ethiopia (musical reference).    Found in abundance on Mt. Diablo--this near the heliport.

Not many poppies blooming on the South side.   Trip back was uneventful except for one of the Boulevard wannabe racers who go back and forth all day on the flats trying to pass people.  I get to a big intersection where there was a US Postal Truck (no, Lance ain't driving it) camped out in front of me at a red light.  Instead of squeezing in to its right I just stayed behind it--after the intersection a shoulder begins.   Light turns green--Postal Truck slowly rolls out and puts on its right blinker.  OK--I stay well behind it in case it suddenly stops while turning.  So of course a goofball comes blasting by -- at least calling out "on your right".  I yell out something like "you'll keep going if you want to hit the turning truck;"  goofball suddenly realizes why I slowed and he has to brake hard before he becomes one with the truck turning right in front of him.  After truck finishes turning I get my dander up so I time trial away from goofball.  Last hard dig of the day.

Next week is a 300k brevet.  The big climb is at mile 80.   I best be on good behavior till we get to the climb so I don't stagger up it like I did on Mt. Diablo today.


No comments: