Saturday, August 05, 2006

Diablo Junction plus down and back up the Easy Side

Got a late start today and then got into a bit of a screaming match with a bad driver on Bancroft. Crossed the Gate about eight minutes late but I had seen Rick's car so I called him to tell him I was there and he pulled over to wait for me at Moss Landing. I passed one guy on my way to Rick and he tried to hang on for a while and then I slowed down a bit when I caught Rick so the guy stayed with us for a while but backed off before the Bump. Then after the Bump I thought he was going to catch up again, but it was a different guy with a Pegasus jersey who blew right by us.

Really perfect bike riding weather today and there were dozens of riders out on their road bikes. Rick felt good and rode away from me with a couple miles to go and beat me to the Junction by about a minute.

We relaxed at the Junction for quite a while and talked with other riders up there. One of them recognized me and admitted to being a blog reader! He introduced himself as Mike and said he started reading two years ago (!) and that I had even influenced him to buy a road bike. He also asked about some of the location names I use and we had a good talk. BTW, I added a link to my Location Names page over there on the right, check it out... I'm including Google Earth coordinates for them as well when I have time to play around.

Another guy there had a new hybrid bike and wanted to ride some "flat trails". He had ridden part way up North Gate Road and then hitchiked a ride with some landscape workers the rest of the way. He asked me about dirt trails to ride and I told him there really weren't any flat dirt trails up here but told him how to get to Wall Point. I tried not to be discouraging but I sensed he had bitten off a little too much - saw him later back at the bottom of North Gate again so I think he got the message. He was a friendly guy who seemed interested in the conversation about my blog so he'll probably be checking in - if you need some info on flat trails around the area drop me an e-mail - there are lots of them around, but they aren't on the mountain.

Summit Road was completely closed for road work so Rick suggested Bump de Bump. I thought that was a great idea so down we went. Mike and his riding buddy went down SGR also. At the tire poppers we turned around. Mike's buddy's car was parked just downhill from the Boundary Gate and he had a $60 ticket on his windshield! The cars parked just uphill from the gate had no tickets. So I hope someone who reads this avoids getting a ticket in the future. Really, you Easy Side riders ought to be parking down at the Athenian School anyway.

There were even more South Gate riders coming up now so we got to pass a lot of them. Rick got a new little pocket digicam for his birthday so we took a few photos of each other too. I took a flyer near the Heliport and managed to stay clear of Rick and another guy who was chasing us the rest of the way to the Junction - beating Rick by about 30 seconds. So 43 minutes up NGR and 38 minutes up SGR.

Product Review: Specialized Mondo Pro Tire Paid $40 for this tire at Encina because I didn't have time to wait for a mail order. Plus only one of my old tires was bad (trashed rear, moved old front to rear and put the new Mondo Pro on the front) so that cut back on any internet savings. This tire is one level below Specialized's top road tire, the Mondo S-Works that is about $10 more. The Pro has a 120 tpi nylon casing made in Asia and the S-Works is 127 tpi made in France. I'm getting away from the colored tires trend and I really like the all black stealth look of this tire - it does have a big "SPECIALIZED PRO" NASCAR-type logo on one side that's a little over the top; maybe you'll like it, I don't. When you look up product reviews on tires you'll usually find a bunch of guys who are trying to justify how much they spent by parroting marketing hype, and a bunch of reviewers that got five flats in three miles and think the tires are too flat-prone. In my experience, tires should be rated for 1 - handling, 2 - longevity, 3 - cost, and 4 - looks. Lightweight tires won't last as long as tires designed for longer wear, but anybody who gets that many flats is either a poor rider, rides on terrible roads, or is just plain unlucky. So most tire reviews are just hooey; my reviews are the exception. This tire handles really well around corners and I feel confident pushing it through downhill sweeping corners... that's my primary concern with tires. I've got about a hundred miles on it now and there are no tread cuts like you might see with a super soft rubber compound that will wear out too fast. It costs a little more than my usual tire budget of $35 per, but I spent it at my LBS so that's $5 of good will well spent. I give this tire a 9 on the Diablo Scott 10-point product scoring system.

Le apres ride Jamba.


Anonymous said...

My gf loved hers until 1500mi, whereupon both front and rear had numerous cuts resulting in a rash of flats. Good for awhile, then no go. But yours will be durable, sure...

Scott said...

Jim - we'll see I guess. I'd put 1500 miles on the barely acceptable range for tire longevity... at least for my riding conditions; 2,000 - 2,500 is what I expect from my tires. My rear Hutchinson Fusion Comp was showing cords at only 1600.

I can't imagine why your GF's tires would suddenly become vulnerable to tread cuts at such a mileage though.