Saturday, June 03, 2006

Diablo Summit – 33 miles

I thought I was getting an early start this morning. Everything was all ready and I pumped up my front tire, then went to pump the rear – gave the valve a little burp before I put on the chuck and the tube ripped right at the valve. It was one of those things you just understand – no need to investigate what happened, the tube was ripped. So I pulled down one of the patched tubes that hangs from my ceiling in the garage and got to work. Got some tree poop in the chain, got chain grease on my hands, got a new tube in my tire and got it all back together again. No time to wash my hands – I can just make it to the Gate if I sprint the whole way.

8:02 and JB was already there. The sun was out and it was clear and warm. JB thought it might have been his first ride of the year with no tights. After about a mile we passed a guy and I said “hi” and then realized that I knew him from somewhere… not sure if I knew him well enough to stop until I figured out he was my neighbor Jim. So we slowed just a bit and Jim rode with us.

I had spoken with Jim a few times in the neighborhood. One time a few years ago I saw him with a bike and he told me he was just getting back into riding after a long hiatus. I hadn’t seen him ride much after that though, so I figured he never got that serious. Jim had a different bike now – a Specialized Tarmac. He asked us if we ever rode with the Diablo Cyclists and we said not really but we see them all the time and know most of them. He knew Mark and Amy and Sarkis so that was a nice connection. Then Jim said he was just starting to ride after an injury. He was descending North Gate Road about a month ago when a car coming uphill passed some riders around a blind turn and Jim got hit hard – a shoulder separation and totaled his new $4000 Trek. He had an interesting story about how the other riders viewed the accident compared to what the automobile passengers said. There was a report but nobody got a ticket and Jim had hired a lawyer because he had medical bills, lost wages, and a ruined bike. As he was telling the story we knew pretty quickly that he was talking about Clavicle Cracker so then JB told his story about how he gave the corner its name. Anyone who doesn’t know where Clavicle Cracker is should figure it out and be careful there – it’s probably the most dangerous corner on the Mountain; about 2.5 miles below Junction on North Gate Road… as you’re coming down it’s a right hand sharp hairpin, there’s a 15MPH sign with a right turn arrow, and it’s REALLY easy to misjudge it. I always assume there’s a car passing riders coming at me in my lane when I approach it – that attitude has saved my skin a few times. Most of the Rangers now are bike friendly but I don’t think most of them understand how really stupid some of the drivers up there are.

So at the Upper Ranch, Jim excused himself and said he was just warming up for the Diablo Cyclists club ride that left from Countrywood at 9 so he turned around.

After that JB tried a couple accelerations to shake me and the 4th or 5th one worked and he beat me to the line by about 30 seconds.

At the Junction there was the usual camaraderie of people who don’t know each other but all love bike riding. JB asked around for an 8mm Allen because his cranks were creaking, but nobody had one. I also saw a guy with a Klein that had Rolf wheels. I like to write about the other people I see thinking maybe some day some of them will recognize themselves.

JB went down but I decided to summit. It was a little more breezy up there but still very very nice. Some friends of mine were camping on the Mountain somewhere so I took a cruise through Juniper campground looking for them, but they must have been somewhere else.

At the Summit I rode to the far end of the Lower Parking Lot and found some really great perspectives to take photos from – so I’ll have to bring the digicam next time.

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