Monday, May 19, 2014

Patterson Pass From Hell Redux (2014)

***13 days to the GREAT Sierra Century***
    ***13 days to the GREAT Sierra Century***
          ***13 days to the GREAT Sierra Century***

(Sunday May 18, 2014) Patterson Pass From Hell Century, 88-92 miles, @4,000' climbing.  Who the hell knows--Garmin crapped out.

Patterson Pass has an average grade of 5% for 4 1/2 miles, but the higher you get the headwind and grade pick up together.   When I went up today the head/ cross wind was a steady 26-30 mph with gusts of 38-42mph.   This was about the same as President's Day Patterson Pass 2013

One rule before we do an organized century ride is to ride EASY the day before.   Before power meters to keep the bike in the SMALL chainring so wouldn't be temped to chase anyone.   This went down the toilet this weekend.

Usually I ride ez with Mrs. Pumpkin on Sunday--but Mrs. Pumpkin and oldest Miss. Pumpkin off doing a 1/2 marathon this weekend.  So I figured I'd do the Diablo Cyclist club ride both day (oh crap--on Saturday its Peet's Coffee, again) and on the Sunday ride--which is usually short--I'd add on the GREAT Patterson Pass.

Two things threw a monkey wrench into the plans.  Though only 50 miles the Peet's ride goes over a few hills into Oakland for it was a heavily contested ride with 4,700' climbing.   Powerhouse Todd and climbing Matt (who just finish highly on DMD) and I were racing the Bears, though Todd set me up for a nice finish on the last steep-short hill.  Ward was out--this was his ride with most climbing in 1/2 a year.   Christine kept slamming the steep rollers at the end.   So much for taking it easy.

(Top) Todd and Matt on the breakaway on the Bears (2nd) Amy yells sprint point and gets ahead of Jeanne at the end of the Bears (3rd) Christine in Tilden Park waiting for the long downhill into Oakland (Bottom) Todd wants to go back to the Attractions.

At the end of the ride Todd was going to add Mt Diablo.  I had some home repair projects to do so it was either bonus miles today or Patterson Pass tomorrow.  And even though everyone else said the weather was perfect and I was delusional, I thought it a bit cold--not a day to ride down Diablo after such great mid week weather***--so the next day sounded better and better. (On TOC day and the next it was 90+ on Mt Diablo.  Most people and the pro riders were fried but I loved it--going up 3 hours after the TOC was over and the Mountain was a ghost town.  The next day was even warmer where the downhill is worth a million bucks with no need for t-shirt or vest.)

Next day was the Diablo Cyclist breakfast ride--where after a stop at a coffee shoppe we decide where to ride.   Unfortunately the trees were dancing in the parking lot--not a great sign.  On our ride for coffee the wind was hardly noticeable as we all line up behind Mark and Amy and their tandem.   Hmmmm-maybe the wind is dying down.


My being tight from the day before was certainly a bigger problem than any wind.  At breakfast I talked my compatriots to ride to "The Trees"--which is in the Patterson pass direction.

So much for taking it easy--on the first part after breakfast Cyclocross champ Mark and Amy hammered up the hill and dropped the group while I stayed in their draft.  Things got a little more civil when they turned off, though Ward pushed the pace to the County line.   It was now mile 25 and a few people kept saying "are you really going to Patterson Pass?"  every time we were hit by a wind gust.

But as you may recall from prior posts the Patterson Pass loop is almost magical.  No traffic signals, virtually no traffic, smooth roads, through desolate land dotted by windmills.   Always a tailwind to the run in to the Altamont Speedway-though you hope not a HUGE tailwind as you have to go back into it on the Patterson Pass climb.

In short the windmills were fiercely turning, I was dead tired when I started the Patterson Pass climb, and things did not get better for the rest of the day.  The wind was as fierce as two years back when our group was pelted on the Climb.  Also can be seen as a high quality u-tube video--here is a smaller version of today's ride.

Some highlights (or lowlights)
There was GREAT food on my Century ride

-Stopped at 7-11 on Vasco to liquor up and so I wouldn't have to ride down into Tracy.  When I left my power meter wouldn't register.   This is the exact spot my power meter shut down when I was coming back from Patterson Pass two months ago???
-Run in to Altamont starts past the Livermore dirt bike park.  Usually when we go by there loads of activity.  Quiet today as serious accident-rider laying down on track with ambulance on the scene.
-Toting peanut and pumpkin butter sandwich and planned to eat at the Altamont Speedway--but too windy.
-On half the climb up couldn't use the handheld to take video as needed two hands on the bars.
-Near the top had both my hands on the bars and a sudden gust of wind moved me 3-4' to the left--luckily no cars coming down.   Two cars coming down a little later on the steepest grade and I virtually stopped until they went by.
-At the top flew my metal bike with one hand as Cisco and Blinky had done with their carbon bikes two years ago.  To get video I basically hid next to a parked van.
-Frazzled-got lost in Livermore and took wrong turn which got me to busy airport stretch on Isabella/ Conconnon instead of the quieter N Murrieta for leaving town.
-The rest of the day there was a constant cross/ headwind until the downhill past Blackhawk where miraculous I caught 3-4 green lights in a row.
-At end of ride--after saving ride on Garmin, Garmin froze up.  When I turned it off and back on it said there were no saved rides.  Oh well, didn't need to see that I went 8mph.

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