Thursday, July 31, 2003

Wednesday evening, Diablo Junction, 16 miles.

Drove in to work this morning with my bike and Rick's birthday mountain bike on the roof. Nicole will be giving Rick his present when she gets home from the ride - it's been hidden in my garage for about three weeks (since Performance had the "no sales tax" sale).

We transferred the mountain bike into Nicole's Explorer at the start of the ride and then Tom and Edgardo showed up to ride also! Hadn't seen either of them for quite a while and even longer since I'd seen them on their bikes. We headed out and noticed that the Diablo Riders were still grouping up in the church parking lot so JB and I decided to get a little head start. As we passed the gate JB asked me to give him a lead out like I did for Rick on Saturday. It was very humid but not too hot so it seemed like a good time would be possible. There was a pretty stiff breeze though and my lead out didn't last as long as I would have liked before I started to fade and started to draft JB. Another mile up the road and JB just rode me off his wheel.

I dropped back into a sustainable pace and shortly Mark came around and passed me quickly and easily. At the top of the bump I looked back and saw someone I thought was Tom! I thought "No way am I going to let him catch me when he hasn't ridden more than a dozen times the last 5 years!" so I dug a little deeper and found a slightly anaerobic pace that I thought I could maintain for a few miles. I did put some extra space between us but by the lower ranch I realized he was going to catch me, then I realized it wasn't even HIM! That was a big relief. I passed up a few more people before I got to the Junction and managed to avoid letting anyone else catch me but the Diablo Cyclists started arriving very shortly after that so it was pretty good timing.

At the Junction, Paul (the guy whose legs cramped up a few weeks ago as I was passing him) talked about Saturday's Climb to Kaiser - he said it was harder than the Death Ride, pretty much a "suffer fest". Mark had done a road race last weekend and placed 5th in his age group and several others had done either the race or the Kaiser ride so there were a lot of stories. The racoon showed up again also and seemed disappointed that no one had any snacks.

After the ride the five of us went to Round Table for beer and pizza bread.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Saturday Morning – Diablo Junction and part of South Gate Road, 30 miles

Rick e-mailed me yesterday and said he’d reached his intermediate weight goal of 155 lbs and he was putting on his Campy Neutron race wheels so I knew he would be going for a PB. JB told me he had a wedding to go to so he would only be doing a quick Junction ride. Nicole had final exams so she wouldn’t be riding. I took another look at the sidewall cut in my tire and decided I needed to replace it. I had a red and black 23mm Michelin HighLite Prestige in my box of bike stuff so I put that on last night too. Looks a little odd with red front tire and purple rear, but oh well.

I had the Tour de France on TV and as I was leaving Lance and Jan were exactly even at the first split. I would have to wait until after the ride to see what happened. I didn’t do anything special to prepare for Rick’s assault on the mountain but I just had some coffee and a bottle of Accelerade instead of breakfast. I felt good but not really amped up for a sub-40 attempt.

At the gate I met a nice woman with a black Cannondale who was waiting for a friend. She asked me if Klein bikes were popular with triathletes and I said I didn’t think so because they’re not aero enough but that the people who like Kleins are pretty much the same people who like Cannondales. Rick showed up shortly and we waited around for JB but left without him at a few minutes after 8. It was the best weather for riding that we’ve had in months – cool and calm.

I took off with a strong start to give Rick a good rabbit to chase, hoping to stay ahead until the Upper Washout of so, but he caught and passed me well before the bump. When I did get to the Upper Washout I checked my time and realized I was going to be pretty close to 40 minutes at the end so Rick must have been doing a great ride. I kept looking up to try and see Rick but couldn’t spot him. Then I found JB coming down from the Junction and he explained that the wedding was earlier than he had thought so he had to do an earlier ride. I slowed down a bit after the ranches and finished with a very good time of 40m23s. Rick sure enough set a PB with 37m25s! I told him I needed to get some of that “155” stuff too.

We joined up with Peter coming down from the Summit and we all went down to the South Gate kiosk for a few extra miles. On the way back up to the Junction Peter did his usual fast steady pace and I held on for about 2/3 of the trip, Rick hung on until the finish but Peter still beat him to the line.

Just Wednesday night’s ride remains before the Marin Century next Sunday. I think I’ll do well but I’m definitely going to watch my calorie and fat intake this week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Wednesday, Diablo Junction, 19 miles

Adam and Leif left early so we wouldn't slow them down. Nicole's road bike is still OOC so she rode her MTB again. I drove to the parking spot and took off on my own, hoping to beat JB and the Diablo Cyclist folks to the Junction. I had only salad and bread for lunch (left over from a vendor presentation I guess), I ate a Powerbar at 4 o'clock and a Clif Shot in the car with a bottle of Cytomax; no Coke today because I just forgot to get one; I see those Tour de France riders drinking Coke from those little mini Euro-cans while they're riding so it must be good fuel, right?

There was absolutely no wind at all as I went through the entrance gate. It wasn't too warm but was really muggy and I wasn't sure how that would affect my performance but I felt pretty good so I started off fast. I had a good dripping sweat worked up by the time I got to the Upper Washout; I still felt pretty good but I could see it wasn't a stellar time. At the 2 miles to go point I was at 27 minutes which would put me at about 42 minutes finishing time so I was pretty happy with that. JB and another guy caught me just past Chainbuster and as JB passed me he said "Don't give up now!" and I asked "Does this really look like I've given up? I must really be losing it!". I tried to big-gear it the rest of the way to the Junction and I noticed that the other guy had completely blown up - I beat him to the Junction by a couple minutes. It seems I'm able to hold a higher speed in the last 3/4 mile these days - even after a hard efford up to that point so maybe I'll be able to use that knowledge on my next PB attempt. About a dozen Diablo Cyclists rolled in over the next few minutes and we had quite a crowd for a while.

Wildlife Encounter: At the Junction there was a very friendly racoon who hung around hoping for a food handout - I think he was used to being fed by the campers on a regular basis because he seemed a little hurt that nobody offered him a Clif Bar or anything. Several of the Diablo Cyclists were planning on doing the "Climb to Kaiser" which I had thought about doing but decided I wasn't ready for, maybe next year. Check out this profile!

(hey I'm getting kind of good at this - a hotlink, an uploaded jpeg, and a mailto button near the archive section!)

I kind of wanted to go up to Juniper but JB wanted to go down so we rode down NGR until we ran into Nicole and then we rode the rest of the way back up again. On the way back down Nicole was behind me and she said that a coyote ran across the road just after I went by and in front of her - I didn't see it but it could have been a close one!

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Saturday - Mt. Diablo Summit, 33 miles

JB, Rick, and me this morning. We all got to the gate right at 8, the way it’s supposed to be. I had passed a group of shavers with Sharp Bicycles jerseys on back on Bancroft and they caught us just a little ways up North Gate Road. They weren’t setting a super pace and it was a little irritating that they passed us and then didn’t go any faster down the double dips so I went first and did a couple of little intervals before I kicked it down to an aerobic pace.

It was nearly 80° already by this time in the morning and very humid. I felt like I was doing a hot weather ride even though it wasn’t really that bad. Rick took off and dropped everybody, JB and I stayed together until Big Shady Oak where he finally shed me.

At the Junction Peter and Will were there. Peter said it was even hotter on Summit Road so we decided to go up! I kind of figured we would right from the start since Rick had just gotten back from Seattle to Portland and Nicole wasn’t around. So Will went back down and the other four of us went to the Summit. Rick and Peter set the fastest pace and JB and I rode a bit slower. Around Muir Picnic area JB speeded up and dropped me again so I took it easy and prepared for the Wall. Just before I got to the lower parking lot about 20 cars passed me up – turns out there was some kind of Boy Scout event going on – so I circled around the lower lot until I was pretty sure I’d have the road to myself and it worked out just right.

We all discussed the Tour de France, Peter said he wasn’t planning on doing the Marin Century but was thinking about Napa in the end of August. Rick said he mailed in his registration for Marin and said Joe maybe wanted to do it also so that would be four of us (me, Rick, Joe, and Sarkis). Peter and JB left early and Rick and I hung around for a while before going down.

Wildlife Encounter: saw a coyote next to the side of the road just below Chainbuster.

Down on the switchbacks below the ranches I hit a rock and flatted – it turned out to be a snakebite type puncture but it left a scar in the sidewall of my Michelin Pro Race that I hope isn’t too serious. I plan on putting a boot on the inside to hopefully forestall any tearing. I fixed up the flat in no time and then we went to Jamba Juice for a cold one.

43m15s to the Junction
87 minutes to the Summit

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Wednesday - Mt. Diablo to Muir picnic area, 22 miles.

Seems like forever since we've had good riding weather on a Wednesday after work ride. Today it was in the mid 90's. Adam's friend Leif was planning on joining us today - Adam said he is a time trial specialist. Also Nicole's bike was damaged in transit coming back from the Seattle to Portland ride so she was going to ride her mountain bike. I had my two bottles of Cytomax perfectly frozen as I left work and I planned on getting a little bit of a head start to maybe play rabbit for Adam and Leif.

I started out pretty fast thinking I could do a pretty good time despite the heat but by the time I got to Clavicle Cracker turn I had to reduce my speed some to not overheat. I kept looking for the dogs to chase me down but I didn't see anybody until Leif passed me up around Son of Chainbuster; I hadn't met him before but he had a Davis Bicycle Club jersey on and he looked like a time trialer so I said "You must be Leif" and he said he was and kept on going. I took a time check and figured that he was doing about 2 minutes per mile faster than me! When I was about 200 meters from the Junction I turned around and saw Adam coming up fast so I threw my best sprint at him and managed to hold him off until the last 50 meters when I gave up and he came around me easily. JB showed up a few minutes later. Leif's time was 30m20s, Adam's was 32+, JB's was 37+, and mine was 43m48s. The frozen Cytomax plan worked really well with the melting rate just a little faster than the drinking rate so I still had nice cold fluids at the end of the climb.

Adam, Leif, and JB started up to the summit pretty quickly but I needed more time to recover from the heat so I hung around for a while. I told them I'd cover any attacks from the rear and one of the other guys there thought that was pretty funny. The Diablo Cyclists started showing up pretty soon after that and a lot of them had done the Death Ride last weekend so there were some good stories. Apparently the weather was perfect and that's unusual in Markleville.

I finally started up Summit Road about 10 minutes after the other three guys and rode an easy pace up to the Muir picnic area where I met JB coming down so I turned around and came down with him. We met up with Nicole at the top of the bump where she had finished her mountain bike ride and we all (including Adam and Leif) regrouped at her car and then split up for the evening.

Sent in my check for the Marin Century this week. Sarkis is going too but we haven't convinced JB to do it yet. Rick is interested but hasn't committed so far. E-mail me if you're doing it!

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Diablo Junction - 23 miles

Will called me yesterday and said he'd like to ride and asked if I'd consider starting a little earlier so we agreed to meet at 7:45. I told JB about it so he wouldn't wait around for me and I knew he wouldn't have any trouble catching us because Will hasn't ridden much in the last couple years. Rick and Nicole are doing Seattle to Portland this weekend so it was going to be a small group.

Well I knew I needed to get on the road but the Tour was on TV and there was a good breakaway with Richard Virenque and Paolo Bettini and I couldn't tear myself away from the race until I knew what would happen. Once I was pretty sure RV would take the stage I hopped on the bike and sprinted all the way to the Gate. I happened on a guy with a Cal Triple Crown jersey and I pulled him at about 25mph for 3/4 mile before I pulled over for him to take a turn and instead of coming through he turned off on to a side road! While I was riding solo on Bancroft I saw Mark Abele going the other way and I figured he had already done his ride and was on his way home by 7:40. So anyway I got to the Gate at about 7:50 and I was already tired but I knew Will had already started up so I just kept on going.

I caught Will just below the Bump and JB caught up with us a few minutes later. Will faded pretty fast so JB and I rode together to the Junction. There was a guy already at the Junction who asked us if we'd seen a guy with a flat anywhere down below and we said "no". He said the guy climbs like a goat and was wearing a gray jersey, we again said "no". JB had another BBQ to go to and he left but I hung around Junction until Will got there. A little while later Mark Abele shows up! I asked him if this was his second time this morning and he said he got a flat and his spare tube failed so he rode home on a soft tire, got three more spare tubes, replaced the leaker and came back. Turns out Mark was the guy in the gray jersey who climbs like a goat! I should have known!

So "Kaiser" Will was totally spent after just a Junction ride and we went down to Jamba Juice to catch up and cool off.

Wildlife Encounter: A coyote with little fear of high speed bicycles ran across the road in front of us near Moss Landing.

Century Sign-Up: Today I sent in my registration for the Marin Century on August 3. Hope to see you there! e-mail me at

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

July 9, 2003 - Diablo Junction, 16 miles

So I haven't ridden in a week and a half other than just tooling around. JB's still on vacation (or so I thought, keep reading), Adam had a company softball game, and Nicole and I get a little bit of a late start and it's HOT so I figure I'll just ride at her pace and make conversation. Well I could only ride at 4 mph for so long and when we got to the bottom of the bump she pulled over to rest in the shade for a while and told me to keep going so I did. I picked it up to 8 or 9 mph which was appropriate for the heat level.

Just after Chainbuster I saw JB coming down from the Junction. He had come home from vacation and ridden with the Diablo Cyclists and since Nicole and I got a late start he hadn't seen us. We talked for a bit but then he continued on down. My Junction time was pathetic of course so I won't report it. The DCers were all still at the Junction when I got there including Mark and Grant on a tandem - there was much talk about how that ride went - apparently Mark really did a power-stoker job for a fast ride, and about the upcoming Death Ride. Then they all split up, some down South Gate and some down North Gate, leaving me alone for a while. A few other folks came up in groups of one or two and we just sat around getting eaten up by bugs. I talked to one guy named James who had UC Davis shorts on but I didn't tell him I knew Adam.

Finally Nicole arrived and she did tell James that we work with Adam so we all gossiped about how he'd rather play softball than ride a bike. On the way back down Nicole led the way and James was behind me. When we got past Moss Landing I pretended to slow down and James came around me but then I hopped into his wake and then out sprinted him up the double dips.

Wildlife Encounter - we saw a RAT run across the street in front of all those expensive North Gate homes.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Wow - lots of hits last week. Sorry to report that the whole family got sick and my only riding was pulling my daughter in the trailer to the 4th of July festivities at the park.

Also sorry to report that the trailer is now in the trash - the nylon fabric that forms the seat was rotted and torn and the canopy was also wasted. It was a present from my brother (thanks again Clark!) a couple years ago after his kids outgrew it but since my garage is full of junk the trailer got parked outside and the sun and rain took quite a toll.

Anyway I'll try to do something worth writing about soon. Rick and Nicole are going to do Seattle-to-Portland and JB is on vacation too so who knows what'll happen.

Thank you loyal readers!
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