Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Donated blood yesterday, that always makes me feel proud of myself. I almost fainted in the chair; got all sweaty and dizzy - sometimes that happens, the blood takers said I should start off with my head lower by reclining the chair more. But how will donating a pint yesterday affect my ride performance today?

101°F WHEW!

OK, low blood volume and high heat means today was just to survive, I figured if I could get to the Junction in under 60 minutes without chundering or passing out it would be a success.

Roadkill Observation: a small rattlesnake and a lizard - the snake was all dried up but the lizard was still kind of juicy and the bugs were eating on him.

JB left me behind and I just plugged at my slow pace. I felt OK but my heartrate was a lot higher than it should have been for what I was doing - MHR = 180 and I was NOT pushing it. Usually when it gets that high I can feel my heart pounding in my chest and ear drums but today I wouln't have guessed it was that high were it not for my monitor. I thought I was well hydrated but not well enough I guess.

Two guys passed me, the first guy said "Hey my brother has that same bike" the second guy said "Isn't this insane?" (referring to the heat).

Even the ride back down was hot - didn't get that refreshing evaporative cooling rush.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Coyote Attacks Rider on Summit Road

Got this warning from blog reader Jay, about a Grizzly Peak club member and I copied a bit below. Scary and weird.

One of our members (we'll call him Bill) asked me to write this message for him. In short, a coyote chased and bit him Tuesday evening as he rode down the Summit before the Junction on Mt. Diablo. This was after he had seen a coyote the week before and it chased him, which he reported to the rangers. The attitude the first time, as he said, sounded like, "Huh, that's strange." It's unclear if they did anything in response the first time.

On his way up Tuesday evening, he noticed the coyote farther up Summit Road. At the top, he saw one other cyclist, who said he had seen it also.

Frankly, I can't remember exactly, but, I thought Bill said the coyote chased him a bit on the way up. So the two decided to go down together and watch out for each other. Below where Bill saw the coyote on the way up, he started to relax a bit and then noticed a flash of fur at his side before the coyote got his leg.

The rangers Bill then contacted got Fish and Game approval to take the coyote down, but, unfortunately, the ranger decided to aim at the hindquarters with a .223 caliber rifle. (I don't know these things, but, I understand that is a relatively low-level caliber.) As a result, he only wounded the coyote and it got away. It likely is dead by now. But Bill's getting rabies shots.

So be on the lookout at odd times on the Mount. Likely, this very isolated event is just another in a string of bad luck for my unfortunate friend. But it's possible the coyote is still out there, or, there is something else going on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Had a dog function today, so it had to be a quick one.

Rick's doing a race tomorrow so it was just me and JB again.

Dudley Driveby: 8:28 at the bottom of the Bump.

Passed six guys, got passed by four, so that's not a horrible day. Saw Waterford guy again - that's three weeks in a row, I should ask his name... anyway, managed to stay ahead of him all the way to the Junction this time.

Wildlife Encounter: A coyote at Chainbuster. It's always a special ride when I see a coyote but this time it was extra interesting because he was on that trail just off the switchback and there was a post with - not one but two "NO DOGS ALLOWED" signs on it. I chuckled imagining him thinking "THIS SIGN DOESN'T APPLY TO ME".

There were dozens of riders coming up but I didn't recognize any of them. Training for the Challenge is in full swing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Phil Cam!

Phil Liggett on a charity ride, one of the cameras looks to be on his handlebars. The audio is Phil overdubbing with a speech he gave afterwards.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


It could have been a little hotter, but not much. Me, JB, and Cindy. They gapped me at the Bump and had about two minutes on me by the Junction. The heat can really sap your strength. Bugs were terrible up there and we came down.

Hardly saw anyone else up there. Didn't see any tarantulas. It was dead, but better than not riding. Even descending was hard - totally zenless.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Blog reader Mike is on the steering comittee for the Diablo Challenge and he asked me to help him stir up some enthusiasm for this year's event.

The Challenge is a benefit for Save Mount Diablo and the registration page is HERE.

There is also an on-line forum for asking questions and sharing information HERE.

This event is always special, but this year may have a special guest: Floyd Landis is rumored to be coming to do the ride. (edited to correct my mistake that the special guest might have been Bobke).

Saturday, August 18, 2007


JB got tired of waiting for me and left the Gate at 0807 hrs just as I was getting there, I had to chase him down and got all tired. Windy at the bottom too.

Saw Waterford guy from last week and rode with him for a while but then he dumped me.

Did pass up about 5 guys but they didn't look like they did much climbing. Got warmer and calmer in the middle, then JB dumped me.

Dudley Driveby: Top of the Bump, 0828 hrs.

Saw Jay K coming down also.

Hung around Junction and then went to Juniper.

JB said the weather report said 25 mph winds at the Summit.

Nice fast descent, I stayed about 20 meters behind JB, then below the Junction we saw three guys ahead of us and I started planning my spring. At first I wasn't sure I could catch them. Then I started to smell brake pads burning so I knew there was a car ahead that might slow them down. By the last bend I had them all in sight - one guy had already made his move and JB was passing the other two guys - I came around those three pretty fast and hammered to catch up with #1 and caught him with at least a half mile before the dips. He didn't seem to know the road too well and was slowing down too much around little sweeps. With 400m to go I knew I could take him easily and started a little early knowing he wouldn't take that bottom curve at full speed, so I blew by him and then I saw another guy at the top of Dip #2 and caught him with a few meters to go also - that was a good one and I let loose an ostentatious victory salute.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

De Ronde van Vlaanderen voor Wielertoeristen

Some day I'll ride the cyclo-tourist version of de Ronde like these guys. This is the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen.

No ride Wednesday - school function.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


This morning's contingent: me and JB.

Cool and very windy - not enough to make bike handling a problem but enough to really slow us down and also I had to be very careful with the snot rockets.

For a long time we were chasing a guy about 60 seconds ahead of us and we weren't making any progress and then suddenly he turned around and went back down.

It got warmer and calmer somewhere around Son of Chainbuster.

Dudley Driveby: not today, hope he's OK.

Then a guy in a Freddie Rodriguez US Champion jersey came around us pretty fast but his bike was really squeaky. I tried a long time trial but JB passed me and stayed ahead to the line.

Lots of riders at the Junction, I talked to one guy who had a custom Waterford and he said he had it made to match the geometry of his Eddy Merckx Corsa so we had some things in common. There was also a couple who was waiting for their son to ride up - they said he rides the Mountain a lot and has a Klein Quantum Pro! Can't believe I haven't seen him before. Then JB went down and I started up Summit Road.

Wildlife Encounter: a tarantula, this time I stopped to snap a photo.

There were a whole bunch of these cotton-like plants all over the Mountain.

There was some kind of event at Juniper - I got the idea it might have been a Buddhist retreat.

Seen from Mt. Diablo: Mt. Tamalpais

On the way up I had fun exploring some of the picnic areas - the DiabloScott challenge for today is to put all these signs in order from lowest elevation to highest.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


After work ride - this time it was ladies' night.

Roster: Steve K, EQ, JB, and the ladies: The Tami, Goofy, Blitz (the only one who's ridden the Mountain before), and Karen.

Tami had me check her bike since it's been a while and I just pumped up her tires and did a safety check which was fine. Then Goofy had me check her bike and it had a derailleur problem: stuck in the smallest cog and would NOT move - the shifter was broken or something. We managed to block out the high stop in a lower gear so she probably had a 28x16 or something... not looking good for this amateur.

JB waits patiently for everyone to unload.

Goofy is chomping at the bit to get going.

Steve K rides a lot but is new to the Wednesday night club.

Tami checks in with her stock broker one last time.

Almost everybody got to the Church on time but then EQ noticed his rear tire was low. He said he pressed it up in the morning so we decided it might be OK with just a top-off. Then we all rode out to the Gate and by then his tire was flat again so we decided to fix it. Everyone started up except him and me. First off it was a REALLY tight fit and I struggled getting the tire off. Finally got it and put in his spare and when he put his pump on it the valve core came out! By now we're at least 10 minutes behind everyone and I'm getting MY spare tube out for him to use. This one went a little more smoothly and I put in a CO2 charge to speed things up and we were off with a 20 minute handicap.

Caught up to Blitz and Karen at the bottom of the Bump and EQ noticed his wheel was askew so we stopped to straighten it and tighten the skewer; then he said he'd ride at their pace the rest of the way so I went on ahead. Goofy was a ways ahead but she got off and walked up the steepest part of the Bump when I caught up to her. I coaxed her back on and she made it past the Upper Washout before pooping out again.

Goofy really enjoyed the Bump in her big gear.

I don't know who this guy is, but I like to put photos of other people in here in case they read my blog.

Then we were all together for another half mile before they all called it quits so I did the last 2-1/2 miles solo. Steve, JB, and Tammy were coming down as I rounded Chainbuster and I gave them a quick update.

Wildlife Encounter: My first tarantula of the season! I would have stopped to take his photo but he was almost off the road and would have been gone too soon.

So a lap around the parking lot and I went down. Met up with everyone and rode very slowly (Tammy is afraid of descending) until Penny Lane where me and JB droped the hamer. I led all the way to the Dips and then shelled him for the finish. He said he was all he could do to stay in my draft. Then I stopped to take some photos but my little camera wouldn't click fast enough to get everyone.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Muster Report: Me and Rick

Plan of the Day: Intervals

Weather: Hot and dry

Rick says "Let's warm up until about Moss Landing and then do intervals until the Junction. I said "OK but I'll be completely spent long before then."

This is the new retaining wall at the Loading Dock.

So we start off doing 1-on, 2-off and I was really going for it. I did three really hard ones and recovery took the whole two minutes. Rick was far out of sight after my fourth interval, which only lasted about 40 seconds. Then I reduced my interval sessions to 30 seconds. Some of those last few though were barely perceptable as intervals since neither my heartrate, speed, or cadence went up any.

This is the creek bed at the bottom of the Bump where I saw the deer on Wednesday.

Hot and buggy at the Junction but there were quite a few people there. Then down SGR we went.

Took a while to find a groove on Diablo Road and I didn't have any zip in my legs but it felt like good training. Managed to find some kick on a couple of hills on the way back to Walnut Creek. I was really rocking that Jamba afterwards.

40 hard miles, then yard work in the heat. Saturdays are the best.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Amanda tried to organize a "Ladies' Night" on the Mountain but she was the only one to show up. Steve K and Collin came from work too though so that made six of us counting me, JB, and Adam. Oh and Jim Smith too but I hardly know him.

It was pretty warm, the Diablo Cyclists got a head start on us, I felt good until I started to get a little stomach cramp.

Wildlife Encounter: Two dear in the little creek bed at that hairpin right turn at the bottom of the Bump. They could have bolted across the road at any time, but they just watched me go by.

JB and Steve had a couple minutes on me by the Ranches, and Steve dropped JB a little ways after that. In fact he kept on going at the Junction and I never saw him again... he must be riding a lot - he's done the Death Ride and he ran a marathon this year so he's really fit.

Lots of bugs at the Junction so we turned around.

They're building this interesting retaining wall at the Loading Dock, nice to see some log work here instead of more concrete.

Back at the bottom, my niggling stomach cramp was turning into a full-fledged belly ache; made me think I may have not washed out my bottles well enough.