Friday, November 30, 2007

Ever Wondered What It Would Be Like to Paraglide Over the Mountain?

I have.

Anyway, I hurt my back last weekend so no riding. Might not be the regular ride this Saturday either. Enjoy the video.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Juniper on Eddy - Flat on the Bump

Got to the Gate a little early and went up a ways before meeting Rick and JB and starting over. It was really beautiful weather for November - knee warmers and arm warmers were perfect.
Wildlife Encounter: A doe near the Bump and a Coyote near Son of Chainbuster.
LOOOOOOONG shadows of November mornings.
My front tire started to go soft on the Bump and I had started to fall behind. I caught back up near the Upper Washout and announced my predicament so Rick and JB stopped to wait for me to change it. Turned out to be a little tear near the valve so I wound up tossing it at the Junction. Saw some butthead toss a lit cigarette out of his window after passing us - I can't even imagine being that clueless.
Dudley Driveby: 8:50 near the Ranches. Rick noticed the guy never smiles.
Ground squirrels make holes like this all over the lower parts of the Mountain.
Rick had a party to go to but wanted to go to Juniper so that's what we did. On the way up we got passed by a really long school bus from Stockton. It was empty and probably was going to give a ride back down to all the hikers we saw coming up later.
I told Rick he should do another Dips sprint and he agreed so at the "Let 'Er Rip" corner I motored away pretty fast but then these other two guys came around us so we just drafted them and didn't sprint.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Decisions, decisions.

Gate-Junction-Blackhawk-Danville Blvd

This morning while I was walking my dog, I surmised that it was going to be cold all morning. There was rain in the forecast but not predicted until afternoon. So with almost full winter gear I rolled my bike out and noticed that the front tire was flat. I didn't see anything sticking out so I tried to just pump it up but it wouldn't hold. Then I grabbed a tube from my rack of patched and tested ones and installed it... cool, still on time. Then I got about a mile from home and realized it was flat again. I was hoping something wasn't seriously wrong and through in one of my unused spares from the seat bag... cool, it seemed to hold. Then I called Rick to tell him I'd be a little late.

I passed two women on North Gate Road before I met up with JB and Rick at the Gate, they looked like good riders but not fast - I like to make sure I don't pass people who are later going to pass me back. Good riding but it started to hot up and I was too warm; I'm pretty good about clothing calls but today I botched it. Lost contact with Rick and JB at the Bump. We passed a rider in a blue jersey a little later but I didn't seem to be able to get too far ahead of him until I hammered a few blind spots to squash his morale.

Dudley Driveby: 8:38 near Clavicle Cracker

Just when I started to relax about blue jersey rider not repassing me, I see blue rider get passed by a new guy; white jersey rider. So I was determined at least to give this dog a good chase and by the time I got to Chainbuster I knew I had made it.

At the Junction, white jersey rider introduces himself as "Doug - a faithful blog reader!"


Doug also said that another friend of his sent him a link to my site! Rick kidded me about being famous.

Doug went up, JB went home, me and Rick went to Blackhawk. I measured off the distance from the Junction to the Challenge starting line to verify my profile chart - PROFILE (it's correct). Rick wanted me to take a photo of the new "all weather sports field" at the Athenian School - this is why the Challenge riders had to park so far away this year.

I guess they fill it in with some stuff and then cover it with artificial turf and put in a drainage system... looks like a lot of money just to play soccer.

Blackhawk and Tassajara were tons of fun as usual but we started to get a few rain sprinkles. Then on Danville Blvd we drafted a cement truck for a mile or so at high speed - that was really fun!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pinehurst-Skyline-Grizzly Peak-Wildcat-Bears-Pig Farm

This was Rick's idea for a ride with some variety. I happened upon blog reader Chris on the Canal Trail; he was headed for Sunol and hoping to pick up some company along the way. Rick, JB, and I met in Walnut Creek and headed through town to the Lafayette Trail. Rick reported the temp as 48°F but it would be getting pretty warm by the end of the ride. JB's more sensitive to the cold so he had on tights, arm warmers, and a vest; Rick and I just had shorts and armwarmers.

Roadkill Observation: A huge stinky coon carcass on Olympic Blvd.

The Lafayette-Moraga Trail is definitely one of the nicer ones around in terms of scenery.

And it's always longer than I remember.
At the end of the Trail, we worked our way west and into the hills. I wonder how many people live here their whole lives and never see Canyon. By the time we hit the bottom of Pinehurst we'd been riding for an hour so we were warmed up, but it was still cold. The Pinehurst climb is surely one of the Bay Area's finest, but it's not very long. There's a section in there that's one lane because of a mudslide, hadn't seen that before.
Roadkill Observation: a deer, picked clean to the bones but they left the hooves.
When we got to Skyline we munched our snacks and then headed North. Then Grizzly Peak and all those rolling hills - that's really some great riding and great scenery.
And you get views like this!
And then down the steep South Park Drive in Tilden; it was closed to traffic for the newt migration but I'm pretty sure they don't mind bikes - this is one of the few places I've hit 50mph, but not today. At the bottom Rick said he had to "get rid of his hot chocolate"... I wasn't sure if that meant number one or number two but there's a nice restroom there. Tilden's a nice place to ride but there's more traffic so you usually can't really rip it. And the descent down Wildcat is always a blast. We saw big groups of riders coming up too and there was also a club time trial going on.
And then - the Bears... all of them. That first one from San Pablo Ave just goes on forever, then lets up for a bit and climbs some more. I started to get a little crampy on this bit so I held back some; it was also nice and warm by now. JB stopped at the Briones entrance to strip off some clothes and Rick stayed with him; I kept going thinking they'd be right behind me but I was solo over the last couple miles all the way to Alhambra Valley Road when Rick caught me. Then we pulled over to wait for JB in a driveway... at the bottom of... THE PIG.

Pig Farm Hill is one of those East Bay institutions; I've never met a rider who didn't know it. It's really a fun little climb but it always seems to come when your legs are about finished. We joked that there are three segments: ouch, OUCH, and OUCH!

No more pigs, the current owner seems to be an antique truck buff... and doesn't like trespassers.

Then a quick jaunt through the outskirts of Martinez and Pleasant Hill (more rollers) and we were back.
Yet Another Road Kill Observation: an opossum pancake.