Wednesday, Diablo Junction, 19 miles
Adam and Leif left early so we wouldn't slow them down. Nicole's road bike is still OOC so she rode her MTB again. I drove to the parking spot and took off on my own, hoping to beat JB and the Diablo Cyclist folks to the Junction. I had only salad and bread for lunch (left over from a vendor presentation I guess), I ate a Powerbar at 4 o'clock and a Clif Shot in the car with a bottle of Cytomax; no Coke today because I just forgot to get one; I see those Tour de France riders drinking Coke from those little mini Euro-cans while they're riding so it must be good fuel, right?
There was absolutely no wind at all as I went through the entrance gate. It wasn't too warm but was really muggy and I wasn't sure how that would affect my performance but I felt pretty good so I started off fast. I had a good dripping sweat worked up by the time I got to the Upper Washout; I still felt pretty good but I could see it wasn't a stellar time. At the 2 miles to go point I was at 27 minutes which would put me at about 42 minutes finishing time so I was pretty happy with that. JB and another guy caught me just past Chainbuster and as JB passed me he said "Don't give up now!" and I asked "Does this really look like I've given up? I must really be losing it!". I tried to big-gear it the rest of the way to the Junction and I noticed that the other guy had completely blown up - I beat him to the Junction by a couple minutes. It seems I'm able to hold a higher speed in the last 3/4 mile these days - even after a hard efford up to that point so maybe I'll be able to use that knowledge on my next PB attempt. About a dozen Diablo Cyclists rolled in over the next few minutes and we had quite a crowd for a while.
Wildlife Encounter: At the Junction there was a very friendly racoon who hung around hoping for a food handout - I think he was used to being fed by the campers on a regular basis because he seemed a little hurt that nobody offered him a Clif Bar or anything. Several of the Diablo Cyclists were planning on doing the "Climb to Kaiser" which I had thought about doing but decided I wasn't ready for, maybe next year. Check out this profile!
(hey I'm getting kind of good at this - a hotlink, an uploaded jpeg, and a mailto button near the archive section!)
I kind of wanted to go up to Juniper but JB wanted to go down so we rode down NGR until we ran into Nicole and then we rode the rest of the way back up again. On the way back down Nicole was behind me and she said that a coyote ran across the road just after I went by and in front of her - I didn't see it but it could have been a close one!