Tonight might be the last Wednesday ride of the year. Sunset's at 6:21 next week and then Daylight Wasting Time begins.
I got to the Gate a little early and packed my arm warmers. JB was the only other one coming so I felt safe in getting a head start. Had my bottle of Coke earlier in the day today so stomach aches wouldn't be a problem. Right at the Gate a skinny guy with shaved legs in an Ofoto jersey passed me with a titanium bike - he looked like the real deal - for a nanosecond I thought about hopping on his wheel but in another nanosecond he had about a three minute gap on me (dude was fast).
So I just went into zone out aerobic mode and watched my heart rate monitor which I had on my wrist; I'm going to put it back on the bars because it's easier to see and operate the buttons there. Plus at one point my glove hit one of the buttons on the side and changed modes on me - yeah, it belongs on the bars.
Below the Bump I passed a guy on a mountain bike but he had a very smooth spin like he had done lots of road riding too. At the upper ranch I saw the Ofoto guy again stopped at a pull-out and talking to a guy in a Galaxy Granola jersey who also appeared to be the real thing. Both of them said hi to me as I went by and I liked that they weren't snobby.
Wildlife Encounter: Just past the upper ranch I heard heavy hoof prints around the switchback and as I came around the corner I saw a buck with a pretty good sized rack standing on the side of the road to my left. I figured I was pretty safe because he had already crossed the road but then he just stood there looking at me. As I came further around the corner I realized his mate deer was on my right so I was directly between the two of them. They both started trotting along their respective sides of the road with me in the middle and I slowed down to let them get ahead and suddenly the doe crossed the road also and they both disappeared down the slope. Definitely got the adrenaline pumping for about 30 seconds. Just then I saw some of the Diablo Cyclists coming down so I shouted out that there were deer in the road just so they'd be alert.
When I passed the 2-miles to go point I was at 27 minutes so I knew I wasn't going to go sub 40 and I relaxed a little bit. I saw JB down a few switchbacks below and I knew he wasn't going to catch me either so I just held a steady pace and enjoyed the rest of the ride. Time to Junction was 41m46s and that's not too shabby for a noncompetitive late in the season ride. As JB approached the line going hard the Ofoto guy came around him in a good sprint and kept on going up Summit Road. Never did see the mountain bike guy or the Galaxy Granola guy again. JB and I both put on our arm warmers and started the descent into the sunset.