Sunday, September 14, 2014

Redwood Road> Palomares Road> Calaveras Road Century (2014)

(September 13, 2014)   Redwood Road> Palomares Road> Calaveras Road Century, 101 miles, 5,600' climbing with Jack & Kris (they did Diablo Junction preride) and Christine, Dr. Dave, Elizabeth through Calaveras and start with Ward.

Palomares from Castro Valley    5 miles 882' 3%, last mile 470' 9%
Palomares from Sunol                 4 1/2 miles, 1040' 4%

First we revisit one week ago when we did the Palomares Loop clockwise (come in to the climb from Sunol) for a 73 mile, 3,100' ride.   On the climb passed two cyclists, neother with a build, helmets tied onto handlebars, look a little older.   One came out and rode with me for a few minutes--really funny guy.  (His line of introduction--"I'm from the Russian Mafia and I have a gun in my shorts.")  He was from the Tunitas Creek area and said he does that often, and said that me, being a young guy, was climbing well.  Cool being told I was a young guy while feeling old--turns out the Russian was 70 years old!!, and still enjoying riding the hills--nice.    Told him that at the top I was going to go back down to come up again with our slowest climber.   Shortly Russian was a bit winded and declared "I need to wait for my brother."   When I came back up again his group was looking for someone to take their group photo, and they were really enjoying life.  Nice.
Russian group at the top of Palomares last week.  The funny 70 year old 2nd from left.  When Christine then passed him on the climb he said that "I had told him to tell her that she has to poosh him up the hill."

Flash ahead to today.   Jack, veteran of doubles, and Kris who has never done one, are training for the Knoxville Double.   So they are going to add on before we start the Club ride which is a metric loop around Redwood Road, and put bonus miles at the end of the ride.

At the start Ward came out to start the ride with us.  He is competing with Marco Scutero to see who will be on the disabled list more this year.  A new person Elizabeth joined us--she'd done some rides with a fun racing group the Fighting Bobas in Santa Rosa.  Years ago when I rode with them they had "How Ya Doooin" plastered on the backside of their shorts.    Dr. Dave was in his hot weather Hawaii jersey--I like when he shows up in it as the weather will be great, though Dave will disagree.

Our ride starts on a bike path where we usually try to be cautious--coming up in the opposite direction were a big group of Valley Spokesmen flying up the crowed multiuse path.  I hope they got their Strava times.   Multiuse path blues continued.  When we left Lafayette we usually go up a short steep climb -- but today no one was game for it so we took a loooooong ride up a crowded path.   Even going slow we were dodging lots of dogs on extend leashes,  walkers with MP3 players tuning out any warning that you're passing, strollers, kids on bikes.   Wonderful when we finally got to the street.

Long stop at Moraga commons--Jack isn't rushing us out of rest stops as he used to.  Kris trying to get her eating, equipment, training geared up for the double.   She consulted with Ward and picked up a new set of carbon wheels.  (Something must be wrong with them--they don't advertise the brand in HUGE neon letters like other wheelsets.)   Don't think Kris was trying to be funny when she suggested that a wheelset is an investment instead of bling.
Chris telling Kris that when you are a good cycling all rounder you can get a jersey covered with rounders. 

We left Moraga minus Ward and rode pretty cooperatively at the start of Redwood Road.  Then I tried to get away on the climb from downhill QOM Christine--hoping that she wouldn't zoom past me until we were half way down the hill.  No dice, she and Dave successfully counterattacked and started the downhill before me so I had "nochance."

Regroup at tennis courts in Castro Valley.  Christine jazzed that for once the male/ female ratio on our ride is even.   I'm jazzed that the weather is great--felt like mid summertime warm, and for the last few weeks for the first time in a year I can hold onto the handlebars with no pain.  (Thanks Kaiser Perm for f'ing up the diagnosis a year ago by not running the proper arthritis test--THRIVE my ass.)  So when its suggested that we add the Palomares climb I'm in, as was everyone else.

Palomares from the Castro Valley side gets much steeper.  Sweating bullets, Dave, Christine and I went up hard and we regrouped at the top.  For once I didn't mind resting in the shade.  The fast curvy downhill was great until going over a gravel patch where the tyers almost slid out; then descended much more slowly with more falling rock gravel patches on the road.
Dr. Dave led the group up Palomares.  Yippie--he is wearing his very very very warm weather jersey.

Then came the slight uphill to Sunol, which is actually faster than the slight downhill the other way, as the prevailing wind is always West to East.  I love shallow climbs with tailwind and got into a zone where I pulled the whole way--with Christine and I taking turns shouting out "scenic water crossings."   We gained on a triathlete that was all over the wide shoulder and almost turned into us even when we yelled out a warning in plenty of time.

Great stop in Sunol filled with frozen fruit bars and Rice Krispie Treats (which have almost a dozen essential vegetables, vitamins and minerals.)   Kris had a great idea and bought a full bag of ice for us to dive into now, and then she'd have the storekeeper put it back for when we return.  Jack and Kris decide to tack on Calaveras.  Dave, Chris and Elizabeth are going to head back before their tyres melt.   Tree lined gentle climb Calaveras is my 2nd favorite Club ride (after Morgan Territory) so I head out with Jack and Kris.

Kris had asked me how I train, and though everyone else warned her don't follow what I do (eg. I start tapering midweek before an event--not 2 weeks before)  we've been emailing back and forth.  On Calaveras we got into much more depth re training then a series of emails allow, which led to finding out about my and her sports background.  Found out that we both had very tragic years (mine in 2004, hers last year)  that probably pushed us into Doubles. When we started to BS going up Calaveras a park cop came by and yelled that we have to ride single file (though we were riding next to each other on the shoulder but I was on the white line--blocking the shoulder--a "Team in Training' tactic.) 

Kris had bonked on a long ride a few weeks ago with Jack, so was a little gun shy re pacing and holding the group up--today we pushed the pace at times and with better eating and constant liquoring up she did great.   At the end of Calaveras we did the Brother Vic add on --the Dreaded Wall.  Coming back up the Wall Jack was just arriving, and declined our offer to wait for him while he rode down and up it.

Only bad thing about the out and back on Calavaras on a very warm day is that two water bottles are almost fully drained before you return to Sunol.  The good thing is that the return trip to Sunol is much faster than the trip out.   On the trip back Kris had to slow to wait for Jack and I to catch up to her.  Sure enough trip back was on a fast course and I ran out of water a mile before we hit Sunol.
I'm about to be threatened that if I don't put the camera away a frozen fruit bar will be thrown at me
Jack putting suntan lotion in a rock in Sunol

Another great stop at Sunol--excuse for another Frozen Fruit Bar.  Good paceline going back, I had lots of energy and did most of the pulling.  The road to Dublin is great with almost no traffic controls.   Then you cross the highway and the road to Walnut Creek is lined with red lights every 2nd block.    In Danville Kris turned off to go home, but was first going to add another 15 mile loop.  Good deal--my training MO was to make every training ride as hard as possible, then the event would be easier.  I then stopped off to reload my bottles with ice in Danville while Jack scurried off.  

When I returned to my car only two cars were left in the parking lot.   Of course the other one was parked next to mine and the driver and passenger were loudly BSing while sending smoke signals out the open windows.   While packing up my car I had "Sisters of Mercy" blasting out of the speakers hoping the two smokeheads would move. 

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