Saturday, May 27, 2023

Diablo Day 22 - Saturday Morning Junction

Memorial Day weekend, but the traffic was fine. I wore my patriotic socks.

Wildlife Encounter:  turkeys and deer

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 21 - Wednesday Junction

Busy week. Let's ride.

Started out cool so I dressed warm. Then it warmed up and I got a little hot. 

Met Charlie at the Tire Poppers. He said he wanted to do a 45 minute Junction. That's a brisk but doable pace for me, and we got'er done. We met some other folks along the way; we talked about growing old gracefully, and some other stuff I forgot.

After I got home, I learned the news that Tina Turner had died. This struck me especially hard, because Tina and I once had a special moment together. Here's my story.

It was 1976 and the Ike and Tina Turner Review were doing a concert in Cedar Rapids Iowa. I was a busboy at a hotel restaurant in nearby Coralville Iowa and we would sometimes host celebrities when they came to town, and the whole hotel knew Ike and Tina were staying there. So when the hostess that night handed me a room service ticket, she said "This is Ike and Tina's room." My heart fluttered a little bit, I smoothed back my hair, unwrinkled my busboy tunic, and popped a couple breath mints in my mouth. I of course was expecting to see THE Tina Turner... with the short dress made out of tinsel and the big hair and LEGS. I didn't exactly expect her to put on a show for me or anything, but I thought she might be dressed and ready to go. Her room was the farthest room away, I guess to give them a little privacy. I imagined she'd say "Oh thank you handsome young man... I love a Reuben Sandwiccccccchhhh"... and perhaps she wouldn't be able to control the urge to do a little dance right there. Well the door opened, and a somewhat ordinary-looking, soft-spoken woman in a bath robe and towel on her head greeted me. I looked at her I guess a little quizzically, in my mind wondering if this were really her. She recognized my expression, signed the ticket, and gave me a sly little wink. Then on the way back to the restaurant I realized I had Tina Turner's autograph!  Except she had signed it "Ike Turner". That was the day that I joined the exclusive club of busboys who had served Tina Turner. I don't think she winked at every one, but she touched us all.

Putrefied possum yet remains

Saturday, May 20, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 20 - Saturday Morning Junction

Well I started to pull out my sunscreen, when I decided to check my weather app... then I dug out my winter coat and long fingered gloves.

Just past Athenian, I happened upon NGR regular Ceyhan and he indulged me with a not-too rapid pace. We talked about music, and bad drivers, and modern medicine.

NGR is now closed for MONTHS. A few people coming up SGR weren't aware of this and were planning on a NGR descent so now they had to turn around. Otherwise there weren't too many bikes or too many cars so it was good riding.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 19 - Wednesday Morning Junction

Tomorrow is the LAST DAY that NGR will be open to anybody for months while they do much needed road work. Charlie suggested a 1030 ride to beat the heat - then he wore long sleeves and a jacket. I forgot to take my Ibuprofen and electrolytes... so my knee wasn't cooperating but I didn't get any cramps.

Boy the weeds on the side of the road are getting tall and out of control... this portends grass fires in the near future, but for now there's still water in the creeks.

At Junction we saw quite a few people I knew. There was also a woman who told me about her hip replacement - both sides... still a little unstable. Then another guy recognized ME and it was Blog Reader Keith. Haven't seen him since we were both perceptibly younger. We talked about sewage, tuberculosis, COVID, and moustaches. Then we took a selfie.

On the way down, just around the Ranger House, I noticed my camera at a cockeyed angle and before I could grab it, it fell to the ground and slid into the ditch. The handlebar mount had broken, and now the camera door was broken and I couldn't get it back together.  I kind of got it working again when I got home but I'm not sure how much longer it's gonna last. I have another mount I can use until then though.

Diablo Shoutout to Lance Oldstrong whom I saw while I was descending and didn't stop.


Saturday, May 13, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 18 - Saturday Morning Junction

First off - North Gate Road will be closed for several months starting next week for road repairs. No word yet on how much they'll re-do, but the new single-lane section before Diablo Ranch is definitely in the scope of work.

All the weather reports said it was going to be very warm, so I got started just a little earlier than usual, and it was really nice. Warmer weather makes my jerseys stink more than they should... there's probably a scientific reason for that.

Still lots of poppies and wildflowers to look at, but the explosion of color is no more. There was a big group from a club ride (I think the Western Wheelers because lots of them had Sequoia Century jerseys on) that were all over The Mountain in small to medium sized groups; lots of older folks and more than a few eBikes.

On the way down, I went past 36! touring motorcycles coming up - they were riding single file and passing carefully and not too fast and they had a follow car that looked like a cross between the Batmobile and a Jeep.

Knee update:  there is no update. Gave me a little trouble, now it's throbbing a bit. I'm going to rub in some stuff and put up my feet.


Saturday, April 29, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 17 - Saturday Junction Bonus Product Review!

Solo Junction ride up the Easy Side. Saw a few regulars. 

Poppies and lupines are still going strong on the South and there were lots of fans taking in the excitement.

Wildlife Encounter: deer near the Kiosk.

Roadkill Report: an opossum in an advanced state of putrification...  too smelly even for vultures.

I think I've had my current tires on the Klein for three years - that's amazing even given my reduced mileage after the patella fracture; but I noticed a gash in the tread today, so I resolved to replace them after this ride. That's the last batch of my favorite tires, Vittoria EVO somethings with the file tread pattern. One of the reasons I like them so much was that tread pattern looks so much like the classic tubular tire pattern. See Product Review at the end of this post.

Iconic jersey, but I didn't recognize the rider.

I talked to this guy for a while; his name's Bob. He heard my bike speaker playing Bob Dylan, and we agreed that Blood on the Tracks was one of the best albums of all time.

I like taking pictures of people taking pictures of people.

Vittoria Open Corsa - you will be missed, maybe.

OK, here's the product review:
Preamble: I got these new tires about a year ago at Sports Basement. I knew my existing tires were getting close to needing replacement, so I went to see what they had. I thought MAYBE they would still have some Open Corsas left over as they have been my favorite tire for quite a while... but they've been discontinued. The replacement model is the Vittoria Corsa 2.0 Graphene - and Sports Basement had a sale on them so I bought a pair to be ready. Also, I wanted to use latex tubes because why not? They didn't have any, but they talked me into trying a Pirelli SmarTUBE. Then I ordered some Vittoria latex tubes from Amazon. So for the last year, the tires have been stretching on some old wheels, the latex tubes have been stored in my tube drawer, and the Pirelli tube has been installed also on one of those old wheels.

Product Review: Vittoria Corsa 2.0 Graphene
Product Review: Pirelli SmarTUBE

Let's start with the Pirelli tube. This is made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). It doesn't feel at all like any kind of rubber, it feels like plastic. It's also kind of slippery plastic - none of that sticky tacky feel that butyl or latex have. It's *REALLY* light, and I suppose that's why people buy them. I seldom get flats, so I figured I could splurge a little, at least once.
The reviews noted that sealant probably wouldn't work, and you can't patch these with regular patch kits, there's a special patch you can buy but it might not work; so I accepted that this tube would be un-repairable... one flat and done.

The instructions had the normal warnings about mounting and not pinching the tube under the tire bead and such. There were some technical markings on the tube itself. 

Installing this tube in a well-used tire on an old wheel was more difficult... the slipperiness made it want to not stay put inside the tire while I was trying to get the opposite bead in the rim. It was frustrating, and I had to experiment with different amounts of air in the tube, but I finally got it in... not sure I'd want to do that on the road if this were my spare tube. Fine for a garage install though, when you have plenty of time.

The other thing is, this tube does not stretch very much. Most of my readers have probably experienced pumping a butyl tube up outside of a tire and watching it get really big around and fat... the SmarTUBE doesn't get any bigger - it just holds more pressure. I think I did pinch the tube somehow when I did my first installation and when I removed it there was kind of a kink that didn't fully go away afterwards; didn't seam to be any damage, but it was just different from any other tube I've used.

OK, on to the tires. I like performance road tires, high thread count, file tread pattern, supple ride, and good cornering. I don't much require high flat-resistance or long-wearing tires because I get good enough results from the more delicate ones. Vittoria has been my favorite brand for almost 40 years (way back to the CG sew-ups in my criterium days), so that's a plus.

320 TPI... that's the gold standard for thread count.

I was not at all sure that I would warm up to this straight-groove tread pattern - it just looks wrong to my eye. But once installed, it's not nearly so obvious and funny-looking.

I like the 25mm width - a little more comfortable and grippy than 23's. I'd like 28's but they are just a smidge too wide for my summer bike.

So the Pirelli tube is in my front tire (obvious by the black valve stem), and the rear tire has a Vittoria latex tube.

If you've read this far into my review and I haven't updated with my thoughts after a few rides... send me an email or comment in this post. 

Is that a date code?