Saturday, July 08, 2006

Danville to South Gate - Watching the Diablo Time Trial

I really like riding SGR, but the access to actually get there sucks - narrow roads with no shoulder at all and the cars drive too fast.

North Gate Road was closed today for a USCF santioned time trial. The course was 10km from the North Gate ranger shack to a line near the Ranger House just below the Junction. I guess they didn't want to go all the way to the Junction because then it would interfere with auto traffic coming up South Gate Road. The plan was for JB to meet me at my house at 8 o'clock and we would ride to the Athenian School to meet Rick at 9 o'clock. JB called and said he was sick though, so I rode to Danville by myself. Nice warm day, very little wind, and I felt good.

I thought about doing this race - it would have required me to buy a one-day license so it would have cost about $35 with reg fees. I wanted to help make it a successful event so they'd continue having it but it looked like they were going to have a great turnout without my help. I haven't been putting in great times this year, so I guess I'll make it a goal for next year.

It took me 53 minutes to ride to the School at an easy pace. Passed a guy on Danville Blvd with a full Kelme kit including faded green shorts. Rick showed up just a couple minutes later and up we went. I think he looks like Robbie McEwen in this photo.

This is the Hole in the Fence - a short cut to Danville through mansionville that bypasses some of the hairy stuff on Diablo Road.

These are the Tire Poppers - a gate here can block incoming traffic in case the park's closed for fire danger or something, the tire poppers prevent cars from going around the gate. This is where I always time myself from when I ride South Gate Road.

South Gate Road has a bunch of sharp hairpin switchbacks just a ways past the Tire Poppers, I'm never sure how to handle these on the way down so I err on the side of caution, but on the way up they're fun little curves. Rick and I passed a kid and his father on the way up and then we saw Adam down below waving at us. He said he might show up. Adam kept trying to get me and Rick to attack each other but we took it kind of easy. Finally, past the helicopter pad, I put on a little extra speed and held on the rest of the way. Junction time was 37m21s from the Tire Poppers - so that's a benchmark for an easy ride, I think I've done this under 30 minutes… I've been sloppy about my record keeping.

Then we watched the time trial. They had a little judge's canopy shelter and a couple guys with lap tops and stuff but no giant digital timer for anyone to look at. We got there shortly after the first wave of riders was done so we hung around for a while and then the second wave started coming in - these were mostly women in all categories, and then the Juniors after that. I also started talking to the father and son team I saw coming up. The kid was only 10 years old and he told me about some of his riding and asked some questions about racing. He asked how fast the pro's would be and I guessed about 25 minutes - turns out I was pretty close as only three guys were sub 25. I encouraged the kid to sign up for next year and he said his dad would have to get him some better equipment. Rick and Adam left so I started down North Gate and came upon Amy and Tom and Dave from the Diablo Cyclists who were watching the race from the edge of the road where there was a good view. We talked for a while but then I headed down. I saw Mark A coming up when I was near the bottom of the Bump and yelled something encouraging. Grant and his buddies were at the shady pull out right below that with camping gear - they were probably up here all night. Then I watched from the start line for a while. They had an elevated platform with a ramp and a guy to hold up the riders so they could start off fast. .

They have the results posted already - here's my summary with some extra data. The first time is the actual 10km time, and the second time is the projected Junction time using the same average speed:

Best time (P12) = 23m27s 24m44s
Med time (P12) = 26m07s 27m32s
Worst time (P12) = 32m10s 33m55s

Best time (E5) = 27m19s 28m49s
Med time (E5) = 32m14s 34m00s
Worst time (E5) = 45m28s 47m00s (that's a little skewed though - there were only two guys over 40 minutes, but they were way over)

Best time (M45) = 26m53s 28m21s
Med time (M45) = 29m40s 31m17s
Worst time (M45) = 40m56s 43m10s

Mark A. (M45) 27m20s 28m50s

I figure if I could re-create my PB ride of two years ago, I could do this ride in 33m54s which would have gotten me 18th of 20 in the Master 45 category, or 41st of 65 in the Cat 5 group. From the line to the Junction is about 1m50s more riding at my PB pace.

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