Diablo Junction - 16 miles.
Just me and JB today. I drank a can of Pepsi on the way to North Gate - big mistake. We started off pretty fast for a good but not great elapsed time. When we got to the bottom of the bump some dork in an SUV was coming down and riding the brakes hard; the air over the hardest part of the mountain was filthy with burning brake pad smell and it was truly hard to breathe at all, let alone breath at anaerobic levels. Then at the top of the bump I started to get a stomach ache from the Pepsi (when will I learn?) and I had to slow down until it passed.
Wildlife Encounter: Not wild at all actually, it was a Tabby cat about 9 months old, very domestic, at one of the turnouts near the ranches. Just sitting there looking like his family had let him loose in the park. No way this cute critter will survive up there, it was sad.
So somewhere around the upper ranch we went by the Diablo Cyclists on their way down. They must be starting up before 5 o'clock now and sunset was 6:40 today. JB and I stopped at the Junction long enough for him to put on his arm warmers and then we went out to Round Table for apres ride brew. They cater to softball and soccer teams so they're used to sweaty guys - and they have Red Hook and Sierra Nevada.