Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sacramento Bike Trail (2014)

(June 17, 2014) Sacramento Bike Trail, Solo in small ring, 74 1/2 miles, 1,500', 15.1mph, 79-92 degrees 
Starting at CA State Sacramento follow blue arrows to Folsom Lake, follow yellow arrows via Dam and Prision and Historic Downtown Folsom back to the trail.  Continue with yellow arrows past the college to Old Town Sacrament.  Green arrows back to the college.
  Miles Elevation Gain
College-Nimbus 15.47 226
Nimbus-Lake 9.20 561
Lake  Piddle Around 1.20 30
Lake-Folsom 7.96 217
Folsom-Nimbus 5.55 167
Nimbus-College 15.25 151
College-Old Town 9.51 52
Old Town-College 10.35 92
 Summary 74.49 1,496


I rode naked today! 

I love the Sacramento Bike Trail.  It's worlds apart from the multiuse trail in Walnut Creek that is filled with earphone zoned out joggers, baby strollers and dogs on extend leashes.  Or the Antioch multiuse trail that gets no use due to no trees and lots of glass and goat head plants.  Or the trail in Danville that crosses a street every 200'.  The Sacramento bike trail is for exclusive use of bicycles--joggers/ walkers have to use the dirt cutout at the side.   It is well shaded, runs along the American River, and is well maintained.  Plenty of bathrooms and places to get water.  There is a crossing about every 4 miles (for rafters to get to the river) and for most crossing the cyclists have the right of way. 
Make sure to find a parking spot in the shade.

Golden Gate Bridge replica crosses American River to bike path.

Bike path nice and shady in the morning (@10:30) around college.  Note weed abatement on both sides of bike path, which is where walkers, hikers, joggers, runners should be.

I start at the State College which is 10 miles from one end of the trail at Old Town Sacramento (the other end is at Folsom Lake.) This way I can shorten the 74 1/2 mile route by 20 miles if I want to call it a day.  Plenty of shaded parking at the State College for a $6 permit--and do get into the shade as Sacramento temperatures can easily climb over 100 degrees. 

The 10 miles from Sacramento State to Old Town used to be a little ratty.  Instead of doing piecemeal trail repair, much of the 8* mile section has been rebuilt a little higher than the old trail--which made for a nice ride.  (*The bike path  to Old Town is 8 miles, with each mile stenciled onto the trail--then there is an additional  2 mile trail ride that doesn't count in the numbering scheme) 

Read the fn message, it only appears every 200' on the bike path.
On the other hand, on most rides the sanctity of the cyclist has been well preserved but today idiots abound on the bike trail.  Immediately after crossing over to the trail two old ladies were walking side by side and blocking the bike trail.  About four additional times families or teens were doing the same thing, which is four times more than usual.   Wonder if there was just a full moon or a growing number of people don't give a shit. 

I started going East towards Folsom which is a little over 15 miles and virtually flat to the Nimbus overcrossing.   My goal was to keep in the small chain ring today for a non taxing tapering ride before Alta Alpina--luckily I took my GT with regular gearing so the small chain ring is x39.  I didn't bother throwing on the Powertap wheel; today was cadence work where my goal was to keep over 80 rpm.  You laugh--everyone can keep over 80 rpm but I have a lousy cadence and I love to push big gears, but I am trying to change and become more efficient.  GT is also good as I could load up a rack bag with tons of stuff for a long self-supported ride.

In any event you can't go too fast on the bike trail.   15mph is the posted max--I expected a few cyclists on tri setups to go by at 24-25mph as usual, and to see many more people tooling down the road on cruiser bikes at 11mph.  Unfortunately, the later group usually has a need to ride 2-3 across and block the road (kinda like a mini-Death Ride with the turkeys riding 3-4 across and blocking Ebbets.)  While the trail is very flat there are a few sudden curves and "S" curves--and with the slow groups and joggers who can't read and stay on the path, 18-20 is a good maximum speed. 

Oh yeah the naked part.  I have a partially torn ACL and always have to bandage my knee--for stability on climbs or to prevent it from freezing up when it gets cool (cool like in 75 degrees.)  Last time I did a whole ride without my knee wrapped was in 2005 or 06 and I paid dearly for not wrapping it.   So since then I haven't ridden naked, but figured today was a good day for my knee to catch some rays as it would be warm and virtually flat.

Ride became interesting right away when two wankers came by thrashing on the pedals without saying anything.  Now, I already get po'd about this, and the Sacramento bike trail is narrow and at times curvy, and it best shout out a warning.  Not these guys--so I had some fun.  Staying in the small ring I caught up to them and stayed about 6' back (didn't want to draft) with my bike hi-fi going.  At first they both started thrashing some more trying to pick up speed, and then kept looking back and changing who was pulling their two man.   This went on for two miles with me just sitting 6' back, and they were kinda comical stomping on the pedals, and first time the road went up (as in maybe 2%) I just kicked it in gear and didn't see them again.  This happened two more times on the ride. 
Wanker's 1 & 2 thrashing down the bike path

Now its wanker 2 & 1.  Wish I would have gotten photo when these guys looked back, as they kept doing.


After the Nimbus Overcrossing, which is a little tricky to follow as the bike trail climbs over a bridge and then loops under the bridge, it is 9 miles to the lake but with almost 3x as much climbing as the earlier/ longer segment (560' vs 225'.)  Again, relatively flat but many of the people who just like to pound the flats don't come over to this side.  Historic downtown Folsom is off this section but I figured I'd loop on the main road later to Folsom on the return trip form the lake..
Selfie on high Nimbus overcrossing that is the first (small) climb of the day and a bit confusing.  Eventually you go UNDER the overcrossing and loop under the busy street.


A few more uphill miles and I arrive at the Folsom lake rec area which used to have a large beach.  Well, I guess it still does.  The lake was as shallow as Dr. Dave and I saw in the fall--but they moved the lifeguard chairs down (a quarter mile?) to the water’s edge--with life preservers hanging nearby.  I sent Dave a photo and he quipped "are those to prevent the kids from drowning in the dirt"
A public service message

In past years the water in Folsom Lake would be 50' from the sign, not 600'.

Folsom picnic areas was empty.  A Hispanic trio rolled in on Colnagos and we had a good conversation about training and hard rides.   Then I took off to ride past Folsom Dam, Folsom Prison, and into downtown Folsom--knowing fully well that most times due to construction that this alternate  route isn't available.  But truth be told, the out and back on the bike path is nicer.

In front of Folsom dam

Pedestrian bridge from Folsom back to the bike path.

Prison road ahead--check out the handcuffs on the sign

Stopped briefly in a good bike store in Folsom.  Unfortunately what I need they no longer make (eg. Shower Pass Clear Vest, Time Impact Pedals...)   Trip back is a little faster with almost no climbing, and less bikes on the trail so less 3 side by side "bike boulders" blocking the road. 

One almost mishap, a nice looking jogger and a mountain biker  in front of me and the mountain biker kept turning his head and tracking the jogger and turning his head--and he continued to go straight while the trail turned.   He caught himself before going off the road and corrected.  When I passed him I said nicely "you can't be looking at joggers that long" to laughter. 
Keep your eyes on the road

Passed College with 54 miles in and enjoying the very warm weather (mid 90's tops--I've done this ride when its 110 degrees)  and not tired from taking it so easy.   #1 reason to go to Old Town is best soft serve ice cream--my adult daughter will be jealous once she found out I went to what once was here favorite place.  I didn't know the ratty trail to Old Town has been redone.

Man, was I surprised.  They rebuilt a major portion of the trail and moved it further from the river bank.  I took a photo of a passing train and a passing cyclist called out, so we rode together until he split to downtown and I continued to Old Town.  The trail could be better marked through Discovery Park where there is one bridge that's a combo pedestrian/ auto bridge (autos are just going to theparking lot)--then its about a mile along the river to Old Town.

Sign heading towards Discovery Park which lots of people in Discovery park ignore.

Bridge to get out of Discovery Park and towards Old Town

Scene from Old Town and the Sacramento River

Multi flavor soft serve

The bike hi-fi on the Old Town cobbles

Sacramento River

Leaving Old Town, nice day of riding

After soft serve and ice water it was time for the 10 mile return.   Now a few AARP groups were out riding 3 across.  An AARP trio bolder was far down the road and a fast cyclist is in front of me was fast approaching them, but didn't have room to pass.   When I came along I called "on your left," no one moved, and I rode down the yellow center strip with a crit elbow out.  The faster cyclist got on my wheel and I pulled her until we got back to the mini-Golden gate Bridge.  "My stop" -the ride was suddenly over.

Really nice day.  The State of California could increase some signage when the bike path crosses a roadway--sometimes it’s hard to pick up the path.  They also could increase the signage saying "hikers-stay the F off the bike path."  Maintenance and design is first rate and what an enjoyable way to go from Sacramento to Folsom with only a couple of  intersections to navigate. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Peets Coffee and Mt Diablo Redux (2014)

(June 21, 2014--Baby Daughter's 25th birthday)  Peets Coffee with Mt Diablo Add On Redux, 86 miles, 8600' climbing.   Most of the ride with Dr. Dave, Peet's Coffee portion w/ CA Mike (after getting shot at on a 600k brevet last week), Young Andy, Pleasant Hill Michael, thru Tiden with Cisco Dave and Don on a fixie.

One week to go to the Alta Alpina 5 and was hoping we'd have a great club ride on the schedule like Morgan Territory (which means Patterson pass add on) or Tunitas Creek.  Instead we got Peets Coffee, again.   F.   Every time I have an out of town event Morgan Territory is that weeks ride and I come back to.....Peets Coffee.   I guess I shouldn't complain that we ride 27 gently hilly miles to Peets in Oakland--in 15 years our Peets coffee ride will be riding one block out of the park we start from, cross cautiously with the "Walk" sign, and ride through the shopping center on the other side of the street to the Peets Coffee 1/4 mile away.  "Hey, when's our rest stop."

Meanwhile I'm feeling great.   A couple of months ago, before the Motherlode, I had the weird sensation that I was missing a month of training and somehow it should be late March instead of May.  Dr. Dave had the same feeling.   The Motherlode and Sierra Century went off really well and all of a sudden all climbs seem undaunting.  Not that I am going up any faster, but easier at a moderate speed.

We had a small group for the Peets ride, which goes thru Contra Costa County on the rolling "Three Bears climb," and then enters Alameda County when climbing up to Tilden Park and the Skyline ridge.  On the return trip the big climb is up Tunnel Road.   The roads have little traffic and are fairly scenic.  So why am I down on the ride?   For one, when we get nice warm weather there is a fog bank hanging over the Oakland hills that we ride into.   Secondly, the destination is nothing to write home about--across from the big Claremont Hotel.  There used to be a small bakery where we got great coffee (which was better than Peets and Peets is pretty good) and handcrafted baked goods--it is gone.  So is the woman run bike shop down the street that had a good selection of bike stuff to lust after.
Dr. Dave must have had an extra piece of chocolate cake last night for dessert.

Dr. Dave is really turning into a weight weenie.  My saddle bag with wallet was 887g and before the Sierra Century I went through and took out all the crap I really didn't need/ put in a lighter CO2 setup, and got it down to 702g.  I must have mentioned this to Dr. Dave as he showed up for this ride Without a saddle bag.  He's already kicking my butt on climbs.   He looked real pro--trouble is we don't have a team car following us (as I found out last week.)
Cisco Dave at the start of the ride

Dr. Dave on the Pig Farm climb

CA Mike on the 1st Bear climb--happy that no one from Gridley is shooting at him
With a big group there is always racing hi jinx to the first rest stop at the foot of the Bears, but today we all rode very cooperatively.  Maybe we all wanted to hear CA Mike's stories from the 600k brevet last week when a guy with a gun chased the brevet riders at 3am in the greater Gridley area, and then try to run them down with his car.

There was some training event for beginner riders on the Bears and we hit the tail end.  Cisco Dave was a little to glib when he called out with a little too much snarkiness to some walking riders, Dr. & I admonished him, and then there was a battle to the end of the Bears.   Andy shot through on the last steep pitch and looked like he had a sizable gap until Cisco caught him--hopefully he didn't taunt Andy while he pulled away nicely.

I may have been the last person on the Tilden climb.  I got cold when we were waiting for the achatvulgers, and riding in the shade with the temperature dropping didn't help.  Cisco and Dr Dave assured me it wasn't that cold but I was.  Should have worked harder to warm up but just lazily pulled into our second rest stop.

Many ways to get out of Tilden Park.  The steepest way is South Park Road--one of the steepest roads in the Bay Area.   An annoying climb is by the golf course, not steep enough to be a challenge but a long slow drag out affair.   My favorite way is one CA Mike introduced us to a long time ago--riding the Sonoma like pavement toward Lake Anza and then making a sudden left turn where a 16% wall appears.  Its short--maybe 5 blocks long, but you get the climbing out of the way and vola you're on the Skyline Ridge.  The Mur de Mike is .4 miles at 9% but as they teach in stats class averages lie. The Mur starts out briefly at 5%, the last third is about 5% an actually dips down right at the end.  So the first two thirds are about 16%.

Only Cisco Dave (who really wanted to do South Park) and I really wanted to do the Mur de Mike, but as Mike was with us and he was its founder it would be unseemingly if he didn't do it with us.  Andy didn't know any better so he went with us as Dr. Dave and Pleasant Hill Michael did the golf course route and Don wanted to see how he'd go downhill on the fixie so he turned around to head back.  Dr. Dave is sitting at #2 on the Mur de Mike on Strava but he began his Alta Alpina tapering so I didn't hector him to protect his placement--no saddle bag and all.

I was again real lazy, suddenly about 200' behind the group as we turned into the home stretch for the Mur de Mike.  My vest was off and I was cold again but I knew I'd warm up quickly on the Mur.  When I hit the sudden left turn everyone was about 1/2 block ahead but I had my best moment of the day and shot by everyone with Cisco being the only one who came with me.  He was really enthused and running a commentary I couldn't really hear as my lungs burned as I thrashed up the 18-20% section.  My legs felt fine--my breathing always goes out first but I knew the Mur is short enough where that's OK.  On the turn where the road flattens out to 5% I overestimated my power and swung around in too hard a gear and stalled out momentarily.  Cisco Dave still coaching from the side.  Finished the climb and knew I had taken it well--so much so when I saw Dr. Dave later I predicted I wouldn't be too far behind his 2nd place Strava ranking.  Oh yeah--Andy went straight instead of taking the last turn so a scouting party had to organize and find him.  Then Cisco called it a day and went back.
House sign spells MUR wrong but gets the grade % correct
Domo Diablo Cyclist Farm Frites 1-2-4-7

Skyline overlook wasn't bad even with a cloud laying over Oakland.   Neither was downhill into Oakland.   Peets was uneventful though a perfect day for coffee and homemade biscotti.  Dr. Dave and I rode hard up Tunnel Road but no one was out pushing the pace.

The view and the boys, Andy, Cisco Dave, CA Mike, on Skyline

Regroup at Sibley, where NO MORE STRAVA TALK--EVER  (or at least to the end of this column)

Two skinny young guys were at the rest area, and one had memorized his ranking on all Strava segments

Heavier Cyclist--"I'm 5'10" and weigh 140 lbs"
Lighter Cyclist-"That's to much weight.  I'm 5'8 and weigh 127 lbs so it helps me climb.  That is why I'm 10th on the Claremont Climb and x on the (a segment with a stupid name) and x on (another sergment with a stupid name) and......."
The two leaders on the Strava Sibley Stairs Smashup Segment.  Please don't tell them where the Mur de Mike is.

We decided to go back the short way through Canyon which involves a twisty downhill, where I fell off. Dr. Dave waited for me, and then we almost caught Andy and Mike at the front.   On the downhill Dr. Dave especially liked the car with a flat tire trying to make a U turn on a hairpin and fully blocking the road.  We thought that Mike's friend from the 600k had followed him down here.

The return to the start made for a 55 mile ride with just under 5,000' climbing.  I felt good and in anticipation of bonus miles I had a frozen sports drink in the car.  I threw out that I was going up Diablo, Dr. Dave accompanied me, and we did what was so painful a few months ago--adding Mt Diablo at the end of a long ride.  Today, however, it wasn't painful and we were 5 1/2 minutes faster to the Junction than in the middle of March when we last did this add on insanity.
On Mt. Diablo, view from the climb-near the top.

Selfie at the top of Mt Diablo

At the Junction Dr. Dave felt bad that I had to climb with a 800g seatbag and he didn't, so he called it a day and I continued on to the top.  Late afternoon, no cyclists in sight.   Weather now was much better than last week, no overcast at all.   When I reached the top took a photo or two, then dropped down to the LOWER parking lot BBQ area where my BBQ lunch was a Z-Bar and I called my daughter from high atop Mt. Diablo wishing her a great 25th birthday.
Lower Parking lot BBQ/ Picnic area.  Top of Diablo is in the background.

I hadn't seen another cyclist for an hour--going down I saw some crazy guy going up pulling a baby trailer.  When I got close it was Matt !!, who is going to try the Alta Alpina 8 next week.  When successful he'll add his name to Collin, Toby (8 1/2), and me of the Diablo Cyclists who have done the toughest double in California.  The Alta Alpina 8 is 200 miles with 8 Death Ride passes--all at altitude.   Matt had daughter duty and it was the only way to get a training ride in--22 miles with 3,390' climbing with baby trailer in tow up Diablo.   Later we found out that Todd, training for the Death Ride, did Mt. Diablo 4x and rode 109 self supported miles and 14,130' climbing.  Good deal!!

Hmmm, did want to see how I did on the Mur de Mike,  as I thought I had a good "climb".  I moved ahead of Dr. Dave sitting at #2 and the guy we didn't know who was #1.  Wow.   But wait--some bum moved into #1st in the last month and was ahead of all of us.   Oh.....its Matt.   If I would have known this when I saw him on Diablo I would have insisted that  I get in the trailer and he pull me up the mountain.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mt Diablo-Climb Repeats Till You Drop (2014)

(June 14, 2014)  Reviving Diablo Cyclists 9 year in hiatus ride—Climb Repeats Till You Drop—Climb Mt. Diablo Over and Over.   Mostly with Dr. Dave, Christine, Cisco Dave and Matt.  Dr. Dave climbed the most, 3.75x up Diablo.  I had hike and bike record, 3+x up Diablo and 4 mile mid ride hike.
Mt Diablo Elevation Repeats-red is hike portion of the ride
After last week’s great club ride (with Mt Tam add on) I was looking forward to this Saturday’s ride and hoped to add on again.  However the weekly hilly Club ride wasn’t situated well, so Mines Road or Patterson pass twice seemed like a good idea—though I’d have to probably go it alone.   Just in time Dr. Dave threw out a great idea—why not revive a tradition and do Mt. Diablo repeats as many times as we want.

When I first joined the Diablo Cyclists in 2004, club participation on the Death Ride was a big deal, and one of the training rides a few weeks before were Mt Diablo repeats.   In the last decade Diablo Cyclists mass participation on the Death Ride gradually fell by the wayside—Dr. Dave remembers the last hill repeat ride in 2005.  It was a great idea and the plan was to go up Diablo 4x, alternating coming down (and then back up) the North and South side.  

To our delight, Cisco Dave, Christine and Matt jumped aboard.  Plans quickly came together.   At the top of Diablo after the 2nd climb we’d break out lunch at the newly renovated Upper parking lot picnic area.   The Upper Lower Parking Lot picnic area has BBQ pits—I thought we ought to organize like a handicap horse race and have the two strongest climbers, Matt and Cisco, carry up a half bag of charcoal---but there wasn’t enough time to get this together.   As we’d park down the road from the Mt Diablo North Gate, before the 3rd ascent we could grab cold drinks from coolers in our car. 

This wasn't a fun ride.  Matt forgot the charcoal so no promised BBQ and everyone looks disappointed at lunch.
In any event, no matter what pace Matt and Cisco set, Dr. Dave and I were going to try to ride sensibly at the beginning and keep under 200 watts.  This may be the power meters best use for endurance rides.   There is an old cycling saying “conserve your matches”---whereas each cyclist has a limited amount of energy, a hard effort burns energy or a couple of matches from your matchbook, and too many hard efforts you have burnt through all your matches.  On the Alta Alpina 8 a couple of years ago Coach Toby kept us at a ridiculously easy 160w for the first few climbs—as I was almost dead on climb number 8 the early puttering around had to help later on.  So Dr. Dave and I needed practice not to getting  caught up in the moment and chase/ race, so we predetermined a 200w limit.  I have to get my Garmin to beep when exceeding a limit as early on I was often surprised to look down and see 350w and then have to knock back.   (On the 3rd climb I was having a hard time exceeding 200w)
Cisco Dave leads the early morning charge to the Mt. Diablo entrance at Northgate.

Dave and Christine at the start of climb #1

Group selfie-Christine and I up climb #1

Christine arrives at the top of Mt Diablo.

Now 200 watts may seem real easy to those who look at their trainer and yell out “I just hit 950 max power."   How you can’t sustain power indefinitely is best shown by the AndrewCoggins study of all different types of cyclists.  For example, a good domestic pro (@140 lbs) can hit 1375 watts for 5 second but only put out 360 watts of power for a half hour.  Such is the falloff in power over time. 

So, trying to ride under 200 watts led to us using a modification of Diablo Scott’s famous pass me-pass you ratio, it was something like 25:5.   No—neither number indicates the number of cyclists we passed.  25 was cyclists who passed us and 5 was the number of cyclists that actually called out while passing.  I get pissed when some Strava Boy silently whizzes by, and Cisco reminded me I shouldn’t get upset over, as there is no obligation to do so this unless someone pass on the right in close quarters without calling out.  (Which happened later on the downhill off the ramp by the a small group of goobers who probably never did anything tougher than ride up Mt Diablo)  There is no obligation ,but cycling writer  Maynard Hershon wrote a great piece a while back about the snobbery of some road cyclists:

  “After a few miles, she asked me why serious cyclists act so unfriendly…sometimes guys coming up from behind her would sprint by: they wouldn’t speak or nod, or even acknowledge her presence on the road.  She’d been a runner..and almost all runners has smiled and waved at each other.  Why weren’t cyclists like that?...So why the snobbery?  Clearly, there are subgroups within cycling , each secretly imagining itself to possess a certain elite status.” (Tales From the Bike Shop, Maynard Hershon,  (1989))

In any event the weather on Diablo was perfect—about 70 when we started the first climb.  The air was still a little damp and it smelled real nice.  At 8:00 Mt Diablo was jammed with cyclists—which would dramatically change as the day wore on.  Seems that cyclists set out on Mt Diablo so early for a combo of 3 reasons; either because 1) it is the coolest part of the day, 2) less cars on Diablo early, 3) they want to do other things later in the day.  The car thing is big, I usually ride Diablo after work when there aren’t many car sightings.  However, on the weekend it’s a big destination, and many cars insist on exercising their god give right of passing cyclists on an uphill blind hairpin so they are sticking half way into the lane going downhill.  Of course a number of Hummers regularly going downhill would end this practice, but it’s a bike usually going downhill when they suddenly meet an car going uphill traveling in the wrong lane.  Happened to me today on the descent, I had flashing headlight and was far to the right side of the road when an oncoming SUV decided to give me less than a foot when it passed a group riding uphill.
Cisco Dave starts up Southgate on climb #2

Cisco Dave and Matt trying to draft off other riders

Cisco calling 911 to report Matt riding on the wrong side of the road.

Christine was glad I decided to limit my power—she set a nice constant uphill pace so I just matched her speed.  With our bsing it seems we got to the top much quicker than when I’m trying to “beat the clock.”  Same phenomena on climb 2 from the South Gate side,  when the two Dave’s’, Matt and I bs’d to the top.   At one point we were joined by a nice guy named Joe who wanted to know about the Alta Alpina and if they do the same route as the Death Ride.   It was nice and toasty on the climb but we didn’t really notice.  During a lull in conversation I’d turn on the now under 200g bike stereo that mounts on my light mount—MP3 and speaker held on by an angle iron (OK I said stereo, I can set another speaker on the other light mount.)

At the top of Diablo after pass #2 we found a nice table in the shade, and we couldn’t feed the starving raccoons so we fed our starving poster boy—Cisco Dave.  Nice half hour break.  Most cyclists go straight up the nearby wall to the top crowded with automobiles and cyclists and bypass the hidden parking/ picnic area to the side, complete with remodeled bathrooms and water.
Lunch at the upper lower parking lot after climb #2

Looking forward to the Northgate descent back to the car where a cold soda and cold sports drink waited.  Christine had faded a little on climb #2 so she was going to go down Southgate so she could come back up the easier side.  On the downhill I was soon off the back, but the guys slowed so I could keep them in view.

Of course with me in the back I was out of their view.  When I rode solo downhill I had the  bike stereo going and on a steep downhill section by 1000’ I thought I heard a tyre blowout.  I immediately stopped and checked—both tyres were good.  I started rolling but within 50’ was the familiar rumble, where you know you have a flat.  Sure enough—front tyre dead.

Walked another 200’ or so..  Rule #1 when changing a flat on a hot day—Find shade!!  While the Mountain had been jammed on climb #1, and crowded on climb #2, the cycling crowd had really thinned.  About every minute someone came up and most nicely called up “have everything you need."  Oh yeah—front tyre fix no big deal—but first concern was couldn’t find anything in the tyre that would cause a flat or blowout.

Closer visual inspection needed and I saw that corded bead had broken through the rubber.  Oh crap—tyre probably wasn’t seated well. 
Finding shade to fix a flat

Oh, I am so F'd

So changed front tyre—started out again and in another 100’ BOOM.  Another blowout—luckily before I picked up speed.   I had left phone in the car—parked 4 miles away, and my bike was unsafe at any speed so it was time to walk.

And what a long walk.  Kept flipping from side to side on the road figuring out where I was more visible.  Bike shoes with raised cleats hurt, not a lot but enough for sore feet.  Thought about walking barefoot but…   Faith in other cyclists reaffirmed—about 75% who passed called out to see what was wrong and if they could help.  Unfortunately they couldn’t.   I started getting pissed that I felt great after 2x and my day was over. 

Dr Dave-Cisco Dave and Matt came back up when I had gone about halfway.  Cisco thought we should try a patch but I didn’t want to try. Big black cloud over the day grew bigger and bigger as I continued to march back. Was warm with a touch of humidity as I downed the two bottles on my bike.   Funny scene at gate entrance—someone was holding up a line of cars trying to get everyone a senior citizen discount.
Cars backing up until everyone gets a senior citizen discount

When 4 miles from my car didn’t think I’d do any more riding, but now in the last mile a little optimism crept in.  Surely I must have an extra tyre in my car’s cycling milk crate that has duplicates of anything I’d ever need while cycling.  So two plans of action.  If I had a spare tyre I’d change the tyre and ride up for a 3rd time...BUT, when I got back to the car I wouldn’t rush to change the tyre and find the group; I’d hydrate and eat first—and take the fn cycling shoes off as soon as I got back to the car.

Car finally in sight, yep a spare tyre in the bike crate.  Didn’t bother me much that it was a new folded which are usually a bitch to get on.  Threw off bike shoes and put on sandals, grabbed diet coke and an Arizmendi mini sandwich and laid out under the shade tree for 10 minutes.
Shaded lawn is great on hot day for a tyre changing picnic

Cisco Dave appeared—was a bit frazzled, disappointed he wasn't going up 4x, and was calling it a day.  He reminded me to take my phone so I can see if I can hook up with the group at the Junction.  He left and using techniques in a video Bikeland Curtis had found on putting on a wire beaded tyre (the worst), I never had an easier time putting on a new folding tyre.

Changed into a no sleeve jersey and it was sooo warm the base of Mt Diablo, around 3:30, I didn’t even grab a vest.  Took two half frozen Gatorade bottles from the cooler and added a Z bar to the half-eaten Chomps and Atingers—both good for instant carb hits and sodium.

Just when I was about to leave Ward showed up after coming back from a Berkeley ride.   Seeing him was great and he’d accompany me to the base of the 1000’ section.  When we started my mood was further lifted by two girls on motorized “Barbie” bikes—when we passed I yelled “I wanna get that I wanna get that” and the girls cracked up.
My new club, happy lightweight speedsters who'd bring the charcoal up Mt. Diablo for a BBQ. (WI)

I'm at the start of Northgate-climb #3 (WI)

Diablo #3 started out nice and ez—though in the morning when it was hard to keep power under 350 for steeper sections, now it was hard to go over 200.   The Mountain was now almost empty, maybe I saw 5 riders for the next 6 miles to the Junction-with one being Fredrick who was training and slowed enough to say hello and that he had heard from Cisco what had happened, before he zoomed by.  Another was Christine coming down after doing 2 ½ passes.   I felt so good I thought of going down Southgate after the Summit so I’d have 3 ½ climbs on the climb back, so set up a plan in my mind.  When I got to the Junction I’d call Dr. Dave.  If he & Matt were  above the Junction I’d then solo to the top and add the extra ½ pass.  If they were below the Junction I’d ride down to where they were and do some bonus Southgate climbing.

I'm too tired to focus the selfie properly--higher up Mt. Diablo on climb #3.
It turns out that when I was about 1000 meters from the Junction some guy came past, out of the saddle, and I was tired of being “in restraints” by the power meter so I responded and jumped out also and whizzed by him.   Truth be told, this was only my 2nd stupid moment of the day.   I called and found that Dave was below the Junction—between Rock City and the heliport, so I went downhill and the ride back to the Junction would be the bonus portion of the ride.

Looped around when I met up with Dave, who was riding solo.  Matt had split after the last downhill so Dr. Dave was doing 4x climb  by himself.  When we started he said “let’s have some music” so Bowie’s ‘Panic in Detroit’ quickly took over.  Dr Dave looked like he was riding easily, so was surprised when he said he was going to turn around soon.  When we got to Juniper and I was on my own.
Dr. Dave looks very happy on climb #4

Well, 3rd training stupid moment was that it was a bit windy and overcast on top of Mt. Diablo and I was wondering why I had changed into a no sleeve jersey and DIDN’T take a vest.

I was, however, very happy that day didn't fully go down the toilet and I did get to do Mt Diablo 3x plus the Rock City/ Heliport reclimb.  Figured I may as well bring back another Diablo Cyclist tradition, one that Big Mike and I started.  When I got to the 15% ramp for the final time I has to do it twice.  It gets easier the 2nd time.  Trust me.

Downhill was refreshing and sun was back out at lower elevation.  Around 5 o’clock-maybe saw 5 riders going up on the 12 mile downhill—in the morning saw 5 riders going up ON EVERY HAIRPIN PASSED BY A CAR.  Bring on Alta Alpina.