Tuesday, April 15, 2003

April 9, 2003 - Diablo Junction 16 miles

The "Handicapped Hurl Ride" JB, Adam, Nicole, and I all handicapped ourselves and estimated how fast we could ride to the Junction today. Then we staggered our start times so that we would all get to the Junction at about the same time (assuming everyone estimated correctly). Adam was trying to break the 30-minute barrier and wound up with a 30'10" PB. JB thought he could do 38' but did 35'43" for his second best ever. Nicole estimated 64 minutes but did 60. And me on my new bike with the century ride in my legs??? I did my second best time ever also - even with this hellish chest cold I've been fighting - 38'50". I'll definitely be setting a new PB this season; the only question is "How low can I go?" It'll be a fun question to answer. Adam nicknamed me Scott "All I've Got".

April 5, 2003 - Tierra Bella Century

First century on my new bike. Picked up Peter at 5am and drove to Rick's. Rick and Joe in Rick's explorer, Peter and I in my Infiniti. It was about 80 miles from Concord to Gilroy and we got there just before 7am. Registration at Gavilan College was a little slow with long lines in some kind of student lounge/cafeteria building. There was also a long walk from the parking lot to the check in but we got rolling about 7:30. It didn't look like the temperature was going to get above 65°F at any point in the day so I wore tights with a vest and arm warmers. The first leg was out to Gilroy Hot Springs with enough climbing for a good warm up. The route seemed to take us out of the urban area pretty quickly so that was well thought-out. The first rest stop was at mile 21 at some kind of shed and they had the normal rest stop food plus coffee and (something I've never seen before) Cup o' Noodles! I didn't have any soup but I'm sure some people needed it.

Then it was a downhill followed by 15 miles of windy flats - I lucked out and caught a great paceline at the perfect time and made quick work of this section. At one point an ambulance and a paramedic fire truck came by us with all the lights and sirens and we hoped it wasn't a rider that got hurt - turned out it was but he only had a little road rash; he was quite surprised at the response!

And then came the ride up Metcalf - called the "Metcalf Mauler" and it was pretty brutal. My guess is about 1,000 feet in 2 miles. There's some kind of motorcycle park at the top of the hill so there were these pickups pulling trailers of dirt bikes passing us the whole way on the rather narrow road but they were reasonably polite and safe.

The fourth rest stop came after some flat riding through southern San Jose including some dedicated bike trails and some closed roads. Peter and I missed a turn and did a "bonus climb" of about 400 feet before we convinced ourselves that we weren't on the route anymore. Joe got a flat out on the course somewhere so he and Rick got to the rest stop at mile 71 shortly after Peter and I did.

The final rest stop at mile 85 was at the top of another hill near Uvas Reservoir where the PhotoCrazy photographer was. Here they had another interesting food for a rest stop: tortilla (lavash?) roll-ups which were pretty tasty. Usually at this point I completely lose my appetite and resort to the Cliff Shot but I still felt pretty good so I ate some solid food as well as the Cliff Shot.

It was starting to get pretty windy by this time and some folks were dreading the rest of the ride but it actually went really fast over smooth, wide roads back to the finish. The meal at the end of the ride was baked chicken (ugh!) with Cesar salad and baked beans and ice cream. I'm not sure who thinks of these things - I would rather have had nachos or chili!

Total distance: 103 miles
Average speed 15.7 mph
Total climbing 4,400 feet - per web site

February 17, 2003 Diablo Junction 23 miles Junction Time: 41’27”

OK, now that I’ve bonded with my Klein and shown him where we’ll be doing most of our riding, I wanted to see what he felt like on a hard effort. It was President’s Day Monday and I had the day off from work so I set off for a morning ride up to the Junction. It was still cold and I had on full winter gear so it wasn’t an all-out effort but I did push it and I almost got a top-10 of all time ride!

I like this bike.

February 15, 2003 Diablo Summit 38 miles

My first real ride on Mike had to be special – it had to be to the summit. It was sweet riding the road I’ve ridden over 500 times for the first time on my new bike. Light, stiff, responsive and SO good looking! Made it up the summit wall with no troubles; on my steel Eddy Merckx I would sometimes bail out and have to walk part of the way up. I’m glad I got that 27 tooth low gear now – I was worried it would be too low but I actually think I’ll ride faster times with it since I can recover faster from short bursts of high intensity. I didn’t ride for time, I rode for the bonding experience but I did notice that my time was respectable despite not even trying very hard and riding in full cold-weather gear.

Near the summit, Peter rode up next to me and immediately noticed the new bike but I made him promise to keep the secret until the Tierra Bella century which would be the first official debut.

September 17, 2002 – Bought a new frame

So I’ve been looking for a new bike and I really want something light but durable, something eye-catchingly beautiful, something that will be comfortable on a century; and I really want Dura Ace and I’ve only got about $2,000. Those are some pretty ambitious goals for my budget.

In my search I find some “store brand” titanium bikes that I could probably live with but they aren’t very pretty and they have no brand appeal but they do look like they would meet my performance requirements and probably not bust my bank account. Or if I lowered my gruppo requirements to allow Ultegra I could even get a low-end Litespeed without going too far over budget. Even the off-the-shelf aluminum bikes looked to be too expensive for a Dura Ace build-up at my target price. I was sure I didn’t want a steel frame because for it to be as light as I wanted it would have to be too fragile or too expensive (or both). The carbon fiber Treks are very popular but I’ve never ridden one and I don’t think I would really get the kind of feel I want from carbon fiber.

I allowed one more concession to my budget – I decided to consider second-hand bikes. I must have looked at over a thousand bikes and frames on eBay before I really found one that would merit “dream bike” status. I found a Klein Quantum Pro frameset that was exactly the right size and it was beautiful. It was a 1998 model that had been stored in this guy’s rec room for 3 years and had never been built up. He was asking $525 for it and I found out it sold for $1600 new. He was in Marin county about 40 miles away so I withdrew some cash from my bank account and took a road trip.

He wasn’t lying, it was a beautiful, perfect frame and I bought it on the spot. My plan was to buy a component here and a component there at the best price I could find on eBay or wherever I could score the best deal. I figured it would take me about 6 months to have a complete bike and it would be my secret project. The plan worked perfectly – by February I had my complete Dura Ace dream bike at a total cost (including taxes, shipping costs etc) of $2264 which is just a little over half of what the bike would have cost new in 1998. I named him Mike (Mike Line = My Klein) and took him on his first ride up to the summit of Mt. Diablo (in secret) on February 15th.

Thanks to Mike and Bruno at Chain Reaction in Los Altos for the finishing touches (chain and front derailleur, the only parts I didn't put on myself). Check them out at www.ChainReaction.com . Mike is one of the owners and he has an "Almost Daily Diary" on the web page that was the model for my bike blog... except he's way better at it than I am and he doesn't have to use a free blogger service and he can include more photos and stuff like that.