Diablo Junction, down and back up the Easy Side - 36 miles
Cold this morning but I couldn't find my arm warmers and I remembered being way over dressed last Saturday so I just went out in shorts and short sleeves. JB went home from work sick yesterday so I wasn't surprised that he wasn't at the Gate. Rick and I started up at about 8:05. He's doing the Diablo Challenge again this year so there was no question we'd be doing the Summit today.
We passed the Berkeley couple in Grizzly Peak jerseys below the Bump. They're up here a couple times a month and they usually park down on Walnut. I remember talking to the guy at the Junction about his new titanium Eddy Merckx when he bought it six years ago. His riding partner has a roadified MTB and she's not as fast but they always stay together.
A little farther up we passed a guy with triathlon handlebars on his bike. He stayed with us for a while and then on a flattish section he passed us back. Rick wanted to chase him down right away but I figured he was just testing out his aero position. We caught him as soon as the grade increased and then we put a big gap into him.
Then Rick and I stayed together until I time trialed to a solo victory at 43m40s. Lots of riders up there but we were all surprised to find Summit Road was closed! In case there were any doubt, the ranger put cones across the entire width of the road and the barrier up a little ways was down as well. Ranger said they wanted to be open for Labor Day but now they were a little behind schedule. One guy with a cyclocross bike asked if it was OK at his own risk and the ranger said no - only on the bike-legal off road trails.
The fog was thick at the Junction and it was going to be a cold descent, so Rick and I went down South Gate kind of slow but we froze anyway. We turned around at the tire poppers and headed straight back up.
Wildlife Encounter: A herd of wild turkeys and a tarantula.
After a bit we saw the Grizzly Peak guy come down and he turned around at the tire poppers also and started chasing us. We held a regular pace and pretty soon he passed us. I stayed on his wheel for a while but then waited for Rick to catch up. Then Rick and I caught him again and we were all together for a while before Rick faded. Grizzly was setting a fast tempo and every time I thought I would have to drop off he slowed down just enough for me to stay on his wheel, then he dropped me just before the Junction. Easy side time: 34m40s. We talked for a while and I introduced myself to Grizzly guy who said his name was Steve; it'll be nice to offer a personal greeting next time I see him.
On the way down, Rick gave me one of the all-time great lead-outs for a sprint up the Dips.