Mt. Diablo Juniper - 20 miles
Well I missed last Saturday's ride to attend a kiddy party with my daughter so I was determined to make this a good one. The last couple of Wednesday night rides have been very hot and to add to the misery I ate too much lunch also which made me feel lethargic and slow. Today was perfect weather - about 78° with a mild breeze. Adam was planning on riding with Mark and breaking the 30-minute barrier, JB and I talked about going to Juniper and then turning back to Junction to meet up with Nicole. My plan was to skip lunch altogether and then eat some quick energy foods right before the ride... I figured I could make a sugar rush last for at least 40 minutes and who cared if I bonked after that, right? So I worked through lunch and drank a lot of water. Then at 4 o'clock I had a Power Bar (Vanilla Crisp flavor, the best one), and then just as I was leaving work I grabbed a Pepsi and took it in the car with me. I drank the Pepsi and did a hit of Clif Shot on the way to the mountain and I was feeling good! As I rode away from my car I noticed that my Flight Deck wasn't registering my speed. I stopped a minute and tried a bunch of tricks to get it going but couldn't make it work. I thought I may have to run on stopwatch only mode when I realized it was probably the battery in my wireless transmitter. I'm so glad I thought ahead and packed batteries in my seat bag because a quick battery change at the guard house got everything going again. If anyone can share their flight deck battery life statistics with me I'd appreciate it. I installed this one in November so that's 6 months but I didn't ride this bike until the end of February so that's only 3 months. I don't know if the transmitter is "on" all the time or not but even 6 months seems a little short - maybe the batteries that come with the computer aren't as good as the ones you buy to replace them... I hope so. I have spare batteries for the computer head (which does go into sleep mode if you're not riding) in my saddle bag too so I'm prepared.
Everyone else was a little behind schedule it seemed, because I left the gate at 5:30 by myself. I passed up a couple of posers and was closing in on a guy in a bright orange jersey at the foot of the bump (section of 10% grade at mile 3). Just as I was ready to overtake him, Adam and Mark came dieseling up behind me and I hopped on the train. We all hammered up the bump together in big gears but I soon faded and I noticed that Adam had fallen off Mark's wheel before long also. The orange jersey guy sucked my wheel the rest of the ride while I maintained a decent but not great pace. The Pepsi I drank was starting to give me a stomach ache and it was limiting the intensity of my harder efforts. I settled down into a more steady pace for the rest of the ride.
JB passed me just above Clavicle Cracker like he was doing a good time, we exchanged words and it was over that quick. Around Chainbuster (steep sharp hairpin at mile 6) the two Diablo graybeards (Ron and Brian I think) motored by and I still had that orange jersey guy on my wheel; I think he was using me to pace himself because we weren't going fast enough to get much draft. Finally Grant Peterson came around me with his inimitable style and his sandals and I decided to uncork and drop my wheelsucker. I finished in 40'55 which is a top-ten ride of all time for me. Grant said he did a 38 something so he didn't really start too far behind me. The orange jersey guy didn't stop at the Junction but rode on up Summit Road. Mark did a 29'30" and Adam did 31'; there was a lot of joking about how old man Mark (44 years old, same as me!) could whoop ass on 23 year old Adam and Adam was a good sport about it, after all Mark whoops ass on everybody. Grant doesn't wear a helmet and JB asked him if his cotton sweat band was ANSI-approved... Grant didn't miss a beat and said "It's wool". JB asked the ranger for some paper to write down the name of the boyscout who was building the benches. I was happy to tell about how I'd already sent him my check.
After catching our collective breaths, JB and Adam and I headed up at a much slower pace to Juniper. JB had wasted himself with his effort to the Junction (36-something) and flared out on Summit Road. We all stayed together until the middle of the Blue Pine speedway and then Adam and I kicked it up. Wildlife Encounter - we saw a semi-dead (rattle?) snake on the road and vowed to remember it was there for the return trip back down. By the time we got to anti-gravity bend JB was a hundred meters back. Adam kicked it even higher as we approached Juniper and I couldn't respond. We all hung around Juniper for a while looking at the unusual cloud strata and then Adam decided to climb up to the Summit. JB and I went back to Junction, hooked up with Nicole and then rode down to Mary's for a beer. Next week I'm going to skip the Pepsi, or maybe have it a little earlier so it doesn't upset my stomach, but skipping lunch and doing a Power Bar-Clif Shot right before the ride worked well so I'll continue with that.
Well, SOMEBODY'S reading this blog - 20 hits since last week.
e-mail me at DiabloScott@Terra.ES