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.

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