Started in Dublin, went out the Canyon where there was a sad roadside memorial for someone next to the freeway, lots of roses and other flowers in a big display. Couple hundred meters later and I got a FLAT from a ROSE THORN. So, I hope none of my blog readers ever has occasion to lay flowers on such a site, but if you do... make 'em daisies or something. It's been a bad week for flats - two flats on Wednesday without riding a single stroke, then none of the fixes didn't hold, then this one today. My "needs a patch" pile 'o tubes is getting big.
So by the time I got to the first meet-up spot in Union City or someplace, the first riders were just leaving so I didn't stop and went with them. One by one they fell back but I stayed with the fastest guy all the way through Redwood and Pinehurst and then to the park in Moraga.
Then we did the Blvd all the way back to Dublin. 44 miles, pretty fun, nice change of pace for a holiday weekend.
CoCo Times wrote an article about the Diablo stage of the AToC. Here's the LINK, but I'm pasting the whole text because they don't archive their stuff sometimes.
Amgen Tour's Mount Diablo visit organizers hope for repeat
By Denis Cuff
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 05/21/2012 09:51:24 AM PDT
Updated: 05/21/2012 09:51:54 AM PDT
The first visit to Mount Diablo by American's most prestigious bike race attracted thousands of fans and favorable reviews -- so much so, that it looks like the Amgen Tour of California could return to this iconic slope.
The May 15 crowds were so big, enthusiastic and well managed that there is a "good chance" the race could come back to Mount Diablo State Park, the Amgen race director said.
"The community was very supportive. If they want us back, we would consider it," said Jim Birrell, director of the Amgen Tour of California. "It was great to have such a dramatic climb early in the race."
On day three of the eight-day race, bikers made up a race route that climbed nearly 2,200 feet up the 3,848-foot mountain challenged the pro racers athletically and state park operators logistically.
The only two roads into the park near Danville and Walnut Creek are steep, narrow and winding -- the type of difficult rural course familiar to Tour de France fans but not most American cycling fans.
Still, Roland Gaebert, the Mt. Diablo park superintendent, said the race went well.
"We would like to have the race come back," Gaebert said. "Mount Diablo is such an iconic place for cycling. "
Gaebert said perhaps 7,000 to 10,000 fans watched the race inside or just outside the state park, although no one has a precise count. Perhaps as many as 1,000 cyclists watched from the race high point -- the Junction ranger station -- where cyclists began their descent, race fans estimated.
Park officials estimate that 7,000 people entered park entrance road gates and hundreds or perhaps thousands of others watched the race from outside the gates or entered the park on foot or with mountain bikes on dirt trails, Gaebert said.
"People were well behaved," he said. "They even took out their own trash."
Gaebert and some cycling fans agreed more could have been done to slow down cars and bicyclists speeding downhill after the race.
"A few announcements and maybe warning signs would have helped," said Geoff Landon, a Danville cyclist and amateur racer. "There was a bit too many cars passing bikes and way too many bikes passing cars on the way out for my taste."
Gaebert said park rangers and volunteers made efforts to slow down the descending cars and cyclists, but he added that more might be done if the race returns.
Installing speed bumps at entry kiosks might help, he added.
"It's a learning experience doing this the first time," Gaebert said. "We're conducting a review to see if there are things we can do better."
Two people skinned their knees in spills from bicycles, but no race fans were seriously injured, he added.
Long after the race was over Tuesday, two park visitors were injured when their vehicle skidded off a park road and rolled down a hill. The passenger was airlifted to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries, park officials said.
Race fans grumbled that bathrooms at the Junction ranger station were closed to the hundreds of people there.
The restroom capacity was overwhelmed by the crowds, Gaebert said, and chemical toilets likely would be trucked in if Amgen returns.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.