Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Diablo Junction from Work - 26 miles

Another hot one this afternoon - although not nearly as hot as the last three Wednesdays. Adam, JB, and I left from the office and scurried up Ygnacio Valley Road around all the traffic gridlock to Montego where you can cut behind the medical areas and get to the trail. We didn't wait for anyone and the Diablo Cyclists were just leaving the church so there was a big group for a half mile.

Everything split up right away at the Gate. Adam took off with a guy he recognized as a speedster, JB tried to ride off by himself but a small group of us stayed behind him and heckled him until he finally got away. I was with the small group until the Bump where I drifted off the back. I just couldn't get comfortable on the bike today and I felt weak and unmotivated. I must be overtrained!

Product Review: Specialized Body Geometry Cycling Gloves

Cycling gloves last me about three years, and I needed a new pair. I was getting tired of the same old Pearl Izumi White Line gloves that I always buy at Performance in Walnut Creek and I happened to be in El Sobrante a few weeks ago so I checked out the selection at The Pedaler (I'd link but their website seems to have been hijacked today… check back later). These gloves come in a "PRO" version that doesn't have any loosening strap, and a "COMP" version that has a traditional Velcro closure - I got the COMP version. The palm padding with these gloves is a little different than I'm used to having, but it seems to be really well thought out. There's the right amount of padding, but it's in a little bit different place than in most gloves - I guess that's the idea, anyway it feels comfortable and is supposed to be better at absorbing road vibrations. The fit is very good, and the stitching quality and materials are excellent. The snot wiping area is adequate and hopefully the bright blue color won't fade as fast as the Pearl Izumi gloves I had before. They were a little more expensive than the Pearls but not outrageous. I like them and recommend them and give them a DiabloScott rating of 9.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Diablo Summit - 33 miles

Rick called while I was on my way to the Gate. He said he was going to be late and that his brother Chris was with him. So JB and I did a warm up ride to the bottom of the Bump and then turned around. Rick, Chris, and Nicole were already started but we went all the way to the Gate before turning around. Then I sprinted to catch up with the three and JB mysteriously disappeared. I rode with them for a while and then this guy with a Saeco jersey passed me just before the Bump. Later JB caught up to us and he said he thought the Saeco guy wanted to race him. Then took off together and we passed the Saeco guy near the Lower Ranch - he looked to be about 60 and in good shape.

Then I accelerated and gapped JB. Near Chainbuster I figured I had about 20 seconds on him. I thought "If I can keep this gap up for another half mile I'll have the win in the bag". Then I looked back one more time and he was right there! I got on his wheel and figured he couldn't keep up that speed for long, but he kept it up long enough for me to poop out... so I did.

Big re-grouping at the Junction and Chris decided he'd like to try to go up to Juniper even though he didn't have much energy. JB decided to go down South Gate and return on the flats. Rick and I decided to do the Summit. He was feeling good because he had ridden slowly to the Junction, but I had burned some matches trying to stay ahead of JB so I was a little tired and Rick dropped me near the Muir Picnic Area and stayed ahead the rest of the way.

On the way back down we saw three interesting things: a bagpipe player on one of the pull outs, an uber-naturalist riding up on an old beater bike with corduroy pants and a towel on his head, and a guy with an overheating pickup who was putting washer fluid in his radiator.

Rick had a transparent section in the back of his shorts, I cracked up (ha!) watching the view in the little window! He led me out for a sprint up the Double Dips but I went too early and it was windier than I thought so I faded before the top.

We went to the coffee shop and were surprised to find JB there too. He got to the South Gate kiosk and changed his mind about going back on the flats so he went back to Junction and down North Gate.

Product Review: Hutchison Fusion Comp Tires

I've got about 100 miles on these now and I really like them. I got the black and silver ones because they match my saddle. They corner well and roll smoothly and they look well made. In my opinion they're at least as good as the Michelin Pro Race tires that I've been using and significantly cheaper. I give them my highest rating: 10.

Next century: Tour d'Organics

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Diablo Junction from Work

I thought Adam was going to rip our legs off just riding from the office to the Gate. We got there alone, no other riders. Adam said he was going to do some big gear drills so it was easy to draft him for a while but it was hot so I let him go in favor of surviving. JB stayed with me for a while but figured he could hang with Adam today so then I was isolated. I had two bottles completely frozen when I started out and they were melting at a nice rate providing me nice cold Cytomax and water.

I passed Diablo Cyclist Craig down below the Bump. He's not one of the faster riders but he does the Death Ride and double centuries and he's got several very nice bikes so he's a serious rider and he's a friendly guy.

21 minutes at the Upper Washout - I figured about 42 for the Junction. It was like a desert up there tonight - hot and very dry, I could feel my lips cracking, begging for some moisture.

45 minutes at the Junction. Not a lot of riders up there, but several of the regulars. The thermometer on the shack said 93°F in the shade so it was OK to blame the heat for my crappy ride.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Diablo Junction plus SGR to the Tire Poppers - 35 miles

I felt good this morning... not great but a hell of a lot better than the last couple rides. It was a bright sunny day but there was still some chill in the air and the wind felt good on my skin. Didn't get a lot of sleep last night (woke up early to watch the Tour) but I felt rested, recovered, and a bit cheeky.

Rick was back from the Seattle to Portland ride but I wasn't sure if he was going to show. JB had been out of the office and I wasn't sure if he was going to show. The Death Riders shot their collective wads last weekend and I didn't know if anyone at ALL would be on the mountain. No one was at the Gate, but while I was waiting a few people went by that I thought I could pass and so that was my goal.

At five after I put the rocks on the post and set off for a solo ride. I passed two guys that seemed like they were beginners pretty early on and then I settled into my own pace. Near the bottom of the Bump I noticed someone closing on me in a white sleeveless jersey so I tried to maintain my coolness. As the rider got closer I realized that she was a triathlete woman so I tried to look studly and control my breathing. As triathlete woman (whom I shall henceforth refer to as "La Donna del Diablo") came around me she said some nice things about the heat and showed me her heels. She was smooth, strong, and… OK, excellent eye candy. I decided not to show off by sucking her wheel – it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Finished at the Junction with a time of about 41 minutes. There were a half-dozen or so riders hanging around and then Rick pulled in. He had on a full Jelly Belly kit that he got at a swap meet in Seattle to Portland. He also showed me his cool new Cyclosport computer that downloads data to his computer. Then a couple minutes after that JB rolled in. We asked each other what we wanted to do next (this is a way of feeling out who is feeling strong and who’s not). I recommended SGR to the Boundary Gate and back up and they both agreed.

South Gate is a fun road to descend – it’s got a few more trees and some sections of flat and even a couple tiny climbs. The switchbacks there are also tighter than anything on North Gate so there’s some technical skill involved too.

At the tire poppers we turned around and JB looked already to be off his game.; Rick and I rode away from him pretty early. I was feeling much better though and the temperature was still nice so I didn’t mind pushing it a little bit. A couple times I opened a gap on Rick but it was too early to go for it so I let him catch back up.

I always fade at that long straight section of climbing above Rock City where the road goes past the trail crossing and the Stagecoach area, so today that’s where I decided to attack – working on my weakness and all that. It was kind of fun, I treated it like a big gear/slow cadence drill and I got way ahead of Rick and affirmed to stay there.

Of course I started to fade in the final bit and Rick closed in on me but I crossed the line about a minute ahead of him so that was a good feeling. Too bad La Donna del Diablo didn’t see me.

It was very warm by now so we all went to Mia Café and I drank a liter of Snapple with lots of ice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Diablo Junction Plus - 28 miles

I still don’t have my car running so I rode my Klein to work, and stored it in Adam’s office.

Today was the hottest day I’ve ridden in at least a year. I knew it was going to be a tough ride so I tried to stay hydrated all day. But when you’ve been in a nice air conditioned building for 9 hours the heat can hit you like a load of bricks.

Adam, Brian and I rode together to the Gate and we met JB there. Adam took off right away. I hooked up with Jay and Dave for a little while – if I’m feeling really good I can stay with them but I was feeling really drained and spacey today so I drifted back. I just didn’t have much power and it was MOSTLY because of the heat but maybe also lack of sleep from getting up too early to watch the live Tour coverage.

On the Bump, Brian passed me – he was riding JB’s Della Santa and I was really being careful about over doing it. He looked like he was killing himself to pass me and I half expected to see him chunder farther up the road. He didn’t though – he did a good ride.

JB passed me around the Lower Ranch – he was on his Atlantis and he was hot but he seemed to be tolerating the heat better than me.

After that no one passed me and I was on my own for the rest of the way. There were times I thought about pulling over in the shade for a break but I kept on chugging. It really annoyed me that I didn’t have something extra in the tank and just felt weak and slow.

Finally made it to the Junction with a time of 46 minutes. I was so spent all I could do is sit on the bench and sweat until it was time to go down.

Wildlife Encounter: A racoon raiding the garbage can at the Junction. He found an empty cookie bag and couldn’t figure out why it smelled so good but didn’t taste like food. Cute little booger.

Still hot at 11pm!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

No Diablo ride this weekend. Finally put on the new compact crank on my Eddy Merckx though. It's an FSA Gossamer Compact with FSA Platinum ISIS bottom bracket; watch for the product review coming soon. It all went together very well, initial impressions are very good, and my old crank and bb are for sale on eBay:


My Eddy Merckx With New Crank

Close Up Of Crank

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Diablo Junction - 28 miles

My car broke down last weekend so I rode my Klein to work and parked it in Adam’s office. After work JB, Adam, Amanda, and I all rode together to the Gate but JB and Adam were late getting out the door so we didn’t leave the parking lot until 5:20. Brian had a flat in the parking lot and decided not even to go. Amanda didn’t know the way since she usually gets a ride from me or Nicole so we had to stay with her – she’s improved a lot but she’s not very fast yet so by the time we started up North Gate it was 5:45 or so.

Just before we crossed the line a guy on a roadified mountain bike (whom henceforth shall be called “Slick”) passed us and we all kind of chuckled nervously. At the line, Adam announced that it was his intention to do intervals after a 5-minute tempo ride. I hopped right on his wheel and had no trouble with his tempo because there was a bit of a headwind and he was working harder than me. JB decided not to join in the tempo riding. We passed Slick at about minute two. At minute five Adam started his sprint intervals and I just let him go. For some reason I didn’t have much focus today and my power was low also so I just rode within myself.

By the Lower Ranch both JB and Slick had passed me so that was pretty demoralizing. Adam actually came back down and turned around… literally riding circles around me. I did see some of the Diablo Cyclists hanging out in the shade so it wasn’t just me that was having trouble. No excuses today, I was just really feeling the chain. Finished up with a time of 43 and change. Hung around for a while, thought about going down South Gate but decided not to.

Got behind a car that wouldn’t pull over on the way down so that wasn’t very interesting either. I hope Saturday’s ride is better than this. Usually the TdF really motivates me.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Diablo Junction plus SGR - 28 miles

On the way to the Gate this morning, I caught up with a guy named Mark who must have been a Greg Lemond fan because he had an old ADR jersey and a GL frame. I passed him on Bancroft but then he caught up to me at the light on Ygnacio so we introduced ourselves and rode the rest of the way together. At first I thought I was stronger than him and I didn’t mind doing all the pulling, but then he came around me and insisted on doing a turn at the front so that was cool. We caught up to JB just below the Gate and then Mark took off by himself.

There was no sign of anyone else coming so JB and I started up alone. He looked like he had a few too many beers last night and wasn’t feeling too perky so I figured I might have some fun. It was warm this morning and I brought two bottles with lots of ice – that tasted really good as we got a little higher.

We didn’t see Mark after the start – he must be a fast climber. We did see the guy with the motorized mountain bike – he came around us quite fast above the Bump and looked like he was having fun. JB and I were riding at a casual pace and he seemed to be breathing harder than usual so with a mile and a half to go I launched my escape and stayed away until the Junction.

I tried to talk him into going down to the tire poppers and back up but he would only agree to the South Gate Kiosk so I took what I could get. On the way back up he was feeling better and did a little escape of his own at the steeper part just before the Junction. Nicole got there from North Gate at the same time as we returned from South Gate and so then we all went out for a Planet Juice. Then when I got home I put on my new tires – Hutchinson Fusion Comps… but they clash with my purple handlebar tape – might need to change that as well.