Saturday, October 27, 2007


Caught up with Blog Reader Chris on the way to the Gate, we discussed the Diablo Challenge while we rode. Then Rick and I waited at the Gate but left without JB. Rick's computer said it was 50°F when we started, that's good for two Belgian Hardman Points.

Wildlife Encounter: Jack Rabbit near the farm and a tarantula near the Lower Ranch.

We passed up a few people but the Mountain was pretty quiet compared to last month. Then with 3 miles to go we saw JB about a half mile below but he never caught up.

At the Junction JB rolled in and said he had to go right back down so Rick and I decided to do the Tire Poppers.

Dudley Driveby: Coming down from Summit Road at 9:15.

SGR was a little more populated but still not too many riders. When we turned around at the Tire Poppers though there were about six riders in pairs but we all split up pretty fast.

One couple passed us though and Rick took off with them and I stopped to take this snapshot:

Wildlife Encounter: Another tarantula.

Rick said he dusted his companions at the helicopter pad. On the way down I told him we should switch and he should sprint after my leadout... it was all I could do to maintain 32 mph to the dips and then he hammered up both of them but was pretty rubbery afterwards... that was fun and then we went to Starbucks.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I felt like I was coming down with something today. Not sick yet, but I kind of felt hot inside. It was wet and cold when I left the house on my winter bike with tights, winter gloves, and a winter jacket.

Met JB and Rick at the Gate, unzipped my jacket and took off my gloves, I was already too warm. Didn't sleep well last night either so I quickly fell off the back of the gruppeto. Then I suffered the rest of the way to Junction by myself.

The road repair they did a couple weeks ago was apparent but it didn't really make much sense; it wasn't really that bad before, but they cut out some sections and completely replaced them and other places they put on some crack sealer but it didn't look like enough, and other places that looked like they really needed repair got nothing (check out the bend over the creek at about mile 4). Near the end, Rick turned around to collect me and said my whole head was red.

Dudley Driveby - a little past 9 o'clock at Junction, coming down from Summit Road. We joked that soon he'd have a superbike, probably a Rivendell because we imagined him to be a retro-grouch wannabe.

After a break we decided to do the hole. I didn't even feel good going down but at least I wasn't too cold. Then we had coffee at Peet's.

On the way home I felt a growing, urgent need for a restroom. Stories of Greg Lemond and Bob Roll in similar situations with unfortunate and embarassing outcomes played in my mind so I stopped at that little park between the Iron Horse Trail and Oak Road - the facility there was much better than I expected... two rooms, both handicapped accessible so there was plenty of space to bring in my bike, plenty of TP and seat covers. I give it a 7 out of 10 on the Diablo Scott public toilet rating scale.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Diablo Challenge Volunteering

I arrived at the start line at 6:45 am, and checked in with the coordinators Anne-Marie, Julie, and Chuck. The hard core riders were already there warming up on their trainers. Rick showed up about 7:30 and I wished him good legs, I also saw TBV and a few other celebrities... but Flandis was a DNS.

My task as a volunteer was to haul people's stuff up to the Summit. I think the organizers figured each rider would maybe have a jacket and sweatpants but a lot of them had full backpacks that weighed 20 pounds. Confounding this issue was the glitch that this year the riders had to park several miles away since the Athenian school was re-surfacing its athletic fields, so people couldn't put last minute stuff in their cars.

Julie and Chuck figured everybody's bags would fit into 5 bike boxes and all of it in my truck. They both have had experience with this and I hadn't, but 5 boxes for 1200 registered riders seemed a little short. All 5 boxes would have fit in my truck if they hadn't been stuffed to overflowing. My assistants Briana and Linda were very nice and helpful but they couldn't help me lift the heavier ones. When my truck was full there was nothing else I could do, and it was 8 minutes before the start so I told Chuck I just had to get going and he'd have to figure something out.

I drove up to the Summit pretty fast. The sun was warming things up and it was perfect weather for the race. The folks at the aid stations along the way looked really bored and it made me think that my job was the best because I could see both ends of the event. At the Lower Lot I unloaded some of the stuff and then walked over to see the first riders start up the Wall. Briana and Linda told me that Chuck had announced "the ride will not start until we get some riders to help load the bags into the (Briana's) SUV" and that pretty much did the trick... almost everybody's junk made it to the Summit.

At the bottom of the Wall PizzaMan Chris Phipps came past looking like he was barely into Zone 4, and he was followed by 13 seconds of empty road before the second place guy came by - and it was another 90 seconds before #3. Chris really stamped his authority on this one; 45m48s to the Summit, sheesh.

After that I unloaded the rest of the truck and helped people find their stuff - not easy at first since there was so much of it. Rick rolled in and said he did a PB but he needs to find another minute and a half somehow if he want the sub-hour shirt (he does)... I suggested the Zipp 202 sew-up wheels in the Pegasus booth. He said he was about one minute off his goal at the Junction and then he really punished himself to keep speed through Blue Oak Speedway.

Afterwards, I was in a caravan following the last group of riders down and we came upon a rider who had two flats and ran out of tubes so I gave him a ride down, he was a nice guy who'd been riding road bikes for 30 years so we had a nice chin wag the rest of the trip.
A fine event and I got to see it from the inside... I'll probably do it again next year too.