Saturday, September 16, 2006

NGR-SGR: 36 miles

Today's contestants: Me, Rick, JB. I ate a banana on the way there and we started right on time. JB was going to the A's game so he said he would only do a short one. We didn't know if Summit Road would be open yet. Rick's doing an epic ride to Yosemite this week and he's training for the Challenge so he's in serious mode. Cool this morning, just enough for arm warmers.

Before the Dumpster Gate, two guys (who we later found out were from Orinda) passed us while we were still at a conversational pace. One guy had a Death Ride jacket on and they appeared to be about our level so we kept close behind them. JB and Rick pounced on the Bump and passed one of the guys but the Death Ride guy hammered out in front and eventually was the first to the Junction. I never caught the second Orinda guy but we were all within two minutes of each other at the line.

This is the rangers' way of saying, "don't even think about it." Summit Road is closed to all traffic. JB turned around right away and after a little lounging, Rick and I went down SGR. We'd just been talking about how we weren't as gonzo on our descents as we used to be, and Rick said he'd ridden the last few Challenges with injuries so we planned on a leisurely descent this morning but as soon as a Pegasus guy passed us Rick's speed increased markedly. Not gonzo, just less leisurely. Toward the bottom I started looking for people coming up that we could pass after we turned around.

Wildlife Encounter: A mommy deer and two baby deers.

For the first couple miles we didn't find anybody to pass, but then suddenly we picked off about seven in a row. I kept my speed up and then Rick rode behind me for a while. Coming up past the Helicopter Pad I thought he was going to attack but I managed to stay on his wheel. Then I decided I'd try to hold on for a sprint. Since it was windy I figured I'd go at the last 50 meters and that worked out just right and I had a good one to win.

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