Sunday, March 30, 2014

Patterson Pass-a Saturday ride on Sunday--the Ronde Season (2014)

(March 30, 2014)   Patterson Pass Loop-87.06 miles, 3,786' climbing, with Mike.  Escorted out to Patterson Pass climb by Dr. Dave, Don (on a fixie), Brian (on a bent'); to The Trees w/ Ward, Jeanne. 14.8mph

This was a great ride.   Partner in crime Ward put in his longest ride since his 7 month medical "rest" from cycling.   Jeanne slammed the rollers and so was in at the County Line Sprint with Dr. Dave.   Don and Brian making the ride hard on their "funny bikes."   And Mike the bulldog, who I missed a lot last week on the 300k brevet rode the whole loop and did great on the climb--even if I mistook a little Asian women with red shoes on the climb for Mike. 
(above) Mike gets a warning from Dr. Dave how cold and windy Patterson Pass will be so Dr. Dave gives him a hand crafted in New Zealand willie warmer (below) Dr. Dave -- "who me"

Two bad things.   It was a cold mid 60's--with a constant cold wind blowing in from the North Pole or Canada or wherever cold winds come from.   Needed it to be another +10 degrees.  And though it felt like a Saturday it was really Sunday.  Goddammit--work tomorrow.

Two good things.  My Garmin and Powertap worked at the same time for the first time in a week--and the resew job I did on my brevet bag straps actually held (the perfect place for my dual light holder were, of course, at the exact place the straps are on the bag.)

(above) The ride out to The Trees (below) Don wondering where The Trees are

On the real Saturday the forecast was for 100% chance of rain and after a nice morning where you figured the weather girls busting out were all full of crap and we blew a nice riding day staying home, around 11:00 it started dumping buckets of water for the rest of the day.  The rest of the week has a piss pour (sic) forecast (yeah-we need the rain) with the only break being Sunday.   We had the typical Sunday short hilly ride scheduled and I needed to put in miles.  I put out an email that we can ride to the trees and points beyond.  My attuned friends know "what points beyond" mean. 

On the ride I was talking about sorrowful/ disappointing book, Unhinged by John Densmore, drummer of the Doors.  It's his account of the trial after he and the Jim Morrison estate sued Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger to stop touring as THE DOORS of the 21st Century, while Manzarak and Krieger sued Densmore for vetoing the selling of Doors music for commercials.

Now Manzarek, with his great organ riffs, was always my favorite member of The Doors, and I enjoyed seeing the THE DOORS of the 21st Century when he toured with Krieger.  At the time I thought that Densmore's protests were just sour grapes for not being in the revival act.   

From the book I learned that Densmore wasn't against Manzarek/ Krieger playing Doors music with a new drummer and lead singer--he was against them passing themselves off as The Doors with a minuscule disclaimer that most people missed.   I also learn that Manzarek didn't care who used the Doors music in return for $$$$$--two commercials Densmore vetoed were to pimp gas guzzling Cadillac Escalades and a Japanese Cigarette brand aimed at teenagers.  At the trial Manzarak argued that it was a MYTH that the Doors (who were unique in equally sharing music writing credit) members had veto power.  A DVD was produced that showed a younger Manzarek talk about the veto power each member of the group had.   Manzarek's response was "I must have been stoned."   How fn sad.

Don and Brian usually blow off the Sunday club ride for a flatter rider to the Trees so they were in--in fact they said they'd keep going to the start of the Altamont Climb.   Ward and Jeanne were in for the Trees.     Dr. Dave said he slipped hiking so he would go up Patterson Pass, but I think he wanted to go home and watch the Stanford Women's team.  Mike, with his fat hub generator light (jeeze--his fat front hub and my fat powertap rear hub better not have kids) was in for Patterson Pass even when Dave kept talking about the lovely head winds we were bound to encounter. 

Great trip out to the trees.   Can really set a consistent pace using the power meter.  At one point when I was at the front tried to stay in the 200-225 zone but we were losing part of the group so I took it down to 175-200 which worked like a charm and we had a nice paceline going along rustic Collier Canyon. 

I've written many times that the @13 mile run in to Patterson Pass is the best ride in the East Bay--smooth road--almost no cars--(almost no people)--windmills and  trestles and other structures that dot the desolate landscape.  Going up a 3-5% grade and easily going 20mph thanks to the tailwind.    I was wearing my too long clear Shower Pass vest (unfortunately they don't make the clear vest anymore so I can't get a proper size) so digging out the camera was a pain--half the time I rode with it in my mouth.    We joined in with a couple slamming the run in and I gently warned them to save some energy as the nice tailwind is a killer on Patterson Pass climb.

The great run in towards Patterson Pass

Near the Midway turn Don, Brian and Dr. Dave depart.  I have two half bottles (Mike has more) and its a cool day so no need to detour to the stores at the Highway junction a mile past where we need to turn.   A few sharp rollers, the cross wind picks up, the electrical towers appear, and we are on the Patterson Pass climb.

I ride tempo up the climb and then come back down for Mike.  The start of the 4 1/2 miles is gentle but you start feeling the gusts.  A few steep sections that are buffered from the brunt of the wind by a high sidewall.  And then steep sections with NO protection.  It takes about the same amount of time as the North Gate to the Junction portion of Diablo but the climb gets steeper and windier as you get near the top--the last section is about the same as the Diablo ramp but 3x as long with a blasting headwind whipping through the pass--so it seems like a much harder climb.

About half way up I meet up with the couple we saw earlier--they are enjoying their first time on Patterson Pass.  About five cars come down the unstrapped road--glad I have my flashing light on.  Last portion is a grind--16% appears at one point as a grade reading--and because of the headwind I can't stand as much as I'd like (standing in a headwind is suicide.)  Hardest part of the ride is putting on my vest, whipping in the wind, before I go back down for Mike. 

Scenes from the climb up Patterson Pass

I see a rider coming up so I pull over to take photos of Mike-but its not Mike, its a lady with bright red shoes.  Mike is a little further downhill, riding nice and steady and I come back and struggle over the sharp point of the climb again.

Wind speed in orange when we climbed Patterson Pass

Rest of the ride is uneventful.  We stop at Livermore Library for our only long stop of the day--café is out of business and a coffee shoppe is set to move in soon.  Wolf down some homemade power biscotti (coconut and chocolate/ coconut protein powder added to the usual ingredients.)  At some points it gets so cloudy that rain looks imminent--10 minutes later there is some sun but never warm enough for me to take off my vest.
Mike's new hamster assisted front light hub,

When we get back to the boulevard the usual thing happens--at a red light we get passed when it turns, which gets my dander up.  So I time trial past the guy who had slipped passed, which allowed Mike to get a free ride on his wheel as he chased me.  Hell, it would have been easier if Vlad was with us (as he had been for a portion of the morning) and he just kicked up his 1000 watts of power.

Wonderful way to start the Ronde-Roubaix season.

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