Saturday, January 07, 2006

Diablo Junction – 23 miles

Woke up this morning at 6 o’clock and it was raining. Weather report said that it would get nicer soon though so I chamoised up. Decided to take Eddy since it would be wet and I really don’t like the Klein to get too dirty. Still had the sew-ups on Eddy though so I put on the new wheels I built for him a few months ago on the Hugi hubs and did a little brake and derailleur adjusting and declared my mechanical issues resolved. Then I got dressed and hydrated. Before I left though, I realized I needed a spoke magnet for the computer to work so I scavenged one from the bin.

As I rolled away from home I noticed that I didn’t hear a single ping from my new hoops and I thought; “Yes! I rock at wheel building!” But before I got to Bancroft Rd. I had to readjust the magnet for proper pick-up. Now I was running a little late. Made it to the Gate at 8:08 and I had noticed both Rick’s car and a rock on the post so I figured I was the last guy to start.

I hadn’t called to check on the status of the roads, but it’s been almost a week since the torrential rains so I was reasonably confident that things would be OK and the ranger at the North Gate kiosk barely looked up from his magazine when I rolled through. But I was curious as to what the road conditions would be like since they’d been closed due to mudslides. I was having a little trouble shifting, which isn’t uncommon in the cold – I dunno something about STI and cold weather don’t go together. Down at the bottom I noticed there were several places where someone had obviously been shoveling some mud off the pavement but they didn’t look too bad. As I got a little higher I noted some pretty severe cracks in the soil and a few trees that were precariously uprooted but still somehow standing upright and everything seemed fine.

Climbing the Bump seemed harder than it should have, so I resolved to increase my strength training at the Club and then after the Upper Washout I saw my first major road damage from the rains. There was a section where the road had washed away on the right shoulder and they’d put up some pylons to keep people from driving too close to the edge. Then there was another section with big boulders and piles of mud that had been pushed around by a bulldozer. Up a little farther was a piece of road that had been reduced to single lane, with a stop sign and everything because of some washout damage to the pavement. JB caught up to me around here and reasoned that his computer clock must be a bit off so we checked and it was so that’s why he got a late start. A little farther up I saw somebody in a yellow jacket and wondered if it might be Rick.

There were lots of muddy, shoveled sections between the Ranches and the Junction, and the creeks and ditches were as full of rushing water as I’d ever seen. I pulled in just under 50 minutes and greeted Rick (it was him) and JB who hadn’t been there too long yet and were BS’ing on the bench. I did a wheel evaluation and the spokes on my front were WAY slack and I thought “Whoa – how did I get away with THAT?” JB and Rick both commented on how loose the spokes were so I borrowed Rick’s wrench and tried to layer on some tension to the front (which was far worse than the rear, which seemed to be OK).

JB wanted to go down to Blackhawk but Rick needed to go to work at a construction site and I didn’t trust my wheels so I went down with him (slowly). He said he saw a deer leg on the side of the road coming up that had been picked clean by the vultures but we couldn't find it on the way down. We noted a few more interesting weather-damaged areas and then sucked down some caffeine at Mia Café. Rick suggested I look into some race blade fenders since I had a skunk stripe up my back... they were only $15 at Encina so I just might do that.

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