Diablo Summit, 33 miles
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Nice warm day – tights but short sleeves and half-finger gloves. I knew Rick and Nicole weren’t coming, but JB didn’t know. When I got to the Gate at eight, I saw JB and Peter starting up already so I chased them down. Then JB made us all turn around and start over so he could reset his odometer.
I’m still having trouble with my 24-tooth, I’m going to put on a new chain and see if that helps. I’m able to dink with the cable adjusters a little and get it to quit skipping, but it never lasts long.
Peter was talking about his new Cannondale commute bike with fenders and racks – sounds like a good package since he rides from Walnut Creek to San Ramon nearly every day. We also talked about cars and auto mechanics and we all had a lot of stories to tell.
We rode together at a conversational pace, all the way to the Junction – no sprinting for the line. And we all agreed to hit the Summit too; I hadn’t eaten yet this morning so I munched on a PowerBar. While we were hanging out at the Junction, JB noticed a black dot on his yellow front tire – we tried to figure out if it was a blob of tar or a bubble of an inner tube but we were afraid to scrape it because we couldn’t see any casing threads. He left it alone. Also while we were there we saw a guy that we often see but never talk to – he always wears red bib shorts over a red shirt, he has bright yellow shoes, hairless legs, and he parks his car just INSIDE the Gate (like, why pay $5 to park there when you can park for free a little ways down?). We never knew if he was arrogant or just a little odd because, well because we never talked to him. Anyway he didn’t stop at the Junction and we started up about five minutes after he went by.
Again we all stayed together for most of Summit Road too.
Wildlife Encounter: A coyote trotting on the road ahead of us, going the same direction as we were. He pulled over on the shoulder to let us go by and we made some jokes about wearing coyote-proof toe warmers and having a can of Acme coyote repellent. I made up a news story about how a ranger might find chewed up remains of a cyclist and then have to hunt down and shoot the man-eating coyote and the autopsy would reveal bits of lycra and chamois in the coyote’s stomach.
And then we saw RedBibsMan about a mile and a half below the Summit. Peter used this event to launch his attack and passed RBM handily. JB had been making excuses and even talked about stopping for a rest until this point, but he too found the strength to accelerate past RBM. I stayed back for a little while but when I did pass him he gave me a pleasant greeting so I figured he was a nice enough guy. Then in the Summit Parking Lot we exchanged some short conversation about the great weather. Maybe next time I see him I’ll ask his name. Until then, RedBibsMan he’ll remain.
It was really encouraging to see SO MANY CYCLISTS on the mountain this morning. On my way down there must have been 50 on North Gate Road.
De Ronde van Vlaanderen is THIS SUNDAY - my favorite race of the year and one of the Five Monuments of Cycling. I'll be following it on CyclingNews.com meet me there.