Diablo Bump d'Bump - 41 miles
Today's plan was for me to ride up North Gate solo, then down South Gate to meet Nicole at 9 o'clock and ride back up with her. Rick's out of town and JB had some other event that required his attendance so it was just me on the way up.
Pretty cool this morning - I had to search a bit for my tights and arm warmers so I got off a little late. My arm warmers were in my back pocket and up until the Lower Ranch I thought I wasn't going to need them but then it got even cooler so I was glad I brought them for later. I didn't pass any other riders on the way up but I saw quite a few coming down.
At Upper Washout I was over 24 minutes and I thought "yeah, that's slow." Probably on track for an almost 50 minute Junction time, but I was enjoying myself and looking forward to some cold weather and even rain in the next few months.
When I did get to Junction it was ten minutes before nine so I just rolled on through but I slowed down enough to see if I recognized any of the dozen or so people hanging out by the shack (I didn't).
Bombing down South Gate I was thinking it would be nice to have my arm warmers on, but I didn't stop to actually do that because I wanted to hook up with Nicole. There were a LOT of riders coming up and hardly any cars - an advantage of high gas prices I suppose. I was having a lot of fun carving those South Gate switchbacks at full speed and thinking I really like these new Hutchinson Fusion Comps but I wasn't quite gutsy enough to push them as far as I would if I hadn't had that front flat a few weeks ago.
And then just as I got to the South Gate tire poppers, there she was. It was perfect timing and I called out that I'd be right with her and then stopped to put my arm warmers on and gulp some HammerGel. In the couple minutes it took me to do that three riders rode up past me and by the time I got going Nicole had almost a half mile head start. I didn't catch her until a mile and a half up the road, but then I slowed down. Nicole isn't a fast rider but she's good company and I'd already put in my hard effort so I enjoyed the slower pace and we talked about Kindergarten, hurricanes, and pets (she just got her kittens fixed) for the next 40 minutes.
Back at the Junction there were another dozen cyclists there including Rick's ex UPS boss and a couple guys that did North Gate in the low 30's - they weren't bragging but I overheard them and they heard me gasp with envy. Also I saw Grant P. trying to help some guy with a Cannondale MTB who had some kind of a front wheel or brake problem... I didn't figure out what it was but they all eventually gave up and they guy looked like he was going to limp home.
Nicole and I bid each other adios and then I went back down North Gate, but I was pretty close to a round number on my odometer so I did a few laps around the Shadelands business park to add a few miles before I went home. Also I got semi-stuck behind some SUV with a "THX YURI" license plate who FINALLY pulled over on the last hairpin before Moss Landing where I went around but of course they came passed me back up a little while later. Good ride today, but I'm feeling some back pain and stiffness that I hope is only temporary.