Saturday, April 29, 2006

Diablo Juniper – 31 Miles

Today was the Devil Mountain Double so I saw many small groups of ultra marathon cyclists coming down as I heade up toward the Gate. This is one of the toughest double centuries around and those riders have my highest respect. Didn’t see anyone I knew though.

JB and I left the Gate and started up in the breezy cool air. He admitted to having too many beers last night at a farewell party so I accepted his silent offer to make him suffer. The groups of riders got fewer and farther between as we rode up and we didn’t see any DMDers above the Ranches so we figured we’d seen the last riders. The last riders left the San Ramon Marriot at 6am and it’s about half an hour’s ride to South Gate from there so figuring 60 – 90 minutes to the Summit and another half hour back down the last riders would be finishing before 8:30 and that was about right.

So between the Gate and the Bump it was cool with a strong breeze but clear. Then above the Bump it got really foggy and cold, but still – it became one of those rides where you didn’t really know where you were on the Mountain because the visibility was too low. There’s lots of running water and wild flowers up there though and JB also noticed a strong smell of some plant that has the odor of redwood trees (but I can’t remember the name of it).

We were going at a pretty relaxed pace; over 25 minutes at the Upper Washout, and my heartrate was generally way below 80% but JB was struggling and I think he wished I would just drop him but I kept slowing down when I found myself too far ahead. Finally after Chainbuster I did a little time trial to finish in 48 minutes.

It was cool and foggy at the Junction too but some guys coming down from Summit Road (including one guy who worked the Summit DMD rest stop) said that it was warm and beautiful up there another 600 feet higher so I told JB we had to at least go to Juniper and we went up. Sure enough, somewhere below the Blue Oak Speedway we popped out of the clouds and were suddenly warm and the road was dry.

At Juniper we stared out over the clouds for a while and then turned back around. It was a cold, damp descent and I stopped at Junction for a while to warm up my fingers and talked to a guy in a wool jersey with a Rivendell about what it was like at the higher elevations.

Nice ride – sure beats yard work.

Last chance to sponsor me in the Tour de Cure

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