Saturday, December 20, 2003

Diablo Junction plus Blackhawk, 41 miles.

Today’s ride was an exact repeat of last Saturday’s ride, including the weather, except Rick came too so it was he, JB, and I on my Belgian Beast again.

I was a little late as I made the turn off of Oak Grove Road and I saw Rick’s Explorer in the church parking lot. He only parks there when Nicole doesn’t come so I knew I’d better hurry. The last half-mile stretch before the gate has a really bumpy torn-up section of pavement where some construction work has been going on. There was thick fog and the sky was gray; with the rotten road condition I imagined I was chasing down two guys on a break in the Ronde van Flanderen. At the point where I could first see the gate I also caught a glimpse of JB’s yellow Gore-Tex jacket rolling away. I was about ¼ mile back and chased hard but it took me almost a mile to catch up to them.

The fog was so thick we had a hard time orienting ourselves; we all know this road like the proverbial backs of our hands but we were really confused for a good chunk of the lower mountain.

On the switchbacks above the Bump I saw a guy coming down carefully who had the same bike as me! I saw him last week too. If he’s a regular up there he wasn’t riding his regular bike.

JB and Rick pulled away from me as we popped out of the fog near the Upper Ranches and that was OK with me… I was feeling pretty unfrisky. The view above the clouds was something really special, as it always is on days like this.

No other riders were at the Junction and we hung around long enough to put on the extra clothing layers for the descent down South Gate Road and the trip to Blackhawk. It was a little eerie descending through the fog with near-zero visibility. We did see a few riders coming up along this stretch – more hardcores like us obviously.

Wildlife Encounter: A group of about eight wild turkeys on Blackhawk Road, running across the street toward one of those gated community developments. These were big birds and a collision with one would definitely cause some injuries to a bike rider.

Rick and I did a couple little hill sprints but he easily took all except one of them, my legs were getting a little rubbery by this point. Rick has one of those prostate-friendly saddles with the wedge shaped cutout at the rear and the road spray from his wheel made an interesting pattern on the ass of his black shorts!

As we turned off on Tassajara Road we saw a group of about 20 Diablo Cyclists coming the other way – lots of hardcores in the slop on the road today. We stopped for coffee at Cerubini coffee house in Alamo and Rick talked about picking up his new car (Toyota Prius) later in the day. After we split up, JB flipped off a Hummer LINK on Bancroft St. A superb day on the bike.