Thursday, December 23, 2004

Diablo Junction plus South Gate Road to Danville – 33 miles

Thursday and Friday are work holidays so a good opportunity for bike riding. Everyone except JB and me had Christmas activities planned though, so it was just us two this morning. It was cold and windy but not foggy. A couple guys rolled up at the same time as JB and while we were getting set they started ahead of us. We got going just a little bit later and we kept them in sight for four miles. Finally at 2 miles to go I jumped and passed them both quickly, but the INSTANT I came around them a killer headwind came up so I had to really grit my teeth and grind to keep going. Things got a little easier after Chainbuster and I did keep my lead the rest of the way to the Junction but it wasn’t fun. JB made the move too and came in ahead of the other two guys by a little bit.

At the Junction JB decided he’d had enough. I called the Mt. Diablo info line and the recording said the winds at the Summit were 13 to 39 mph! So I decided South Gate would make a better ride and we split up.
It was one of those dicey white-knuckled descents down to Danville, with strong gusts of wind that were trying to blow me into the ditch but I played it safe and made it down in one piece. Then it was a long time trial back to Walnut Creek on Danville Blvd.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Diablo to Muir Picnic Area – 28 miles

My first real ride in three weeks! Nicole talked everyone into an 8:30 start time this morning, but I got there at 8 anyway and rode to the top of the Bump nice and easy just to be riding. It was *really* foggy and the road was wet with condensation. On the way back down I came across Peter and invited him to start over with us, and he did. When we both got to the Gate, Rick and Nicole were just starting out so we timed it perfectly even though JB wasn’t there yet.

Peter was the friskiest and he started to push us a little bit so we rode away from Nicole but the three of us stayed together the rest of the way. The fog broke at Chainbuster and it was suddenly very warm. The thermometer at the Junction said 68°F. JB showed up shortly after that and we all stripped off our winter duds and went on up Summit Road. I completely ran out of energy past Juniper though – not exhausted, just out of gas and I pulled off at Muir Picnic Area. I even felt a little bit shaky. First time I’ve abandoned a ride in a LONG time. Turns out I'm coming down with a booty-kicking head cold... that must have been why I felt so weak.

On the way home I came around the roundabout at Walnut and Oak Grove just as a kid on a motorized scooter came from the other side. I took the lead and then made sure he wasn’t going to catch me, but I still was feeling kind of weak. At every stop light I had to slow down for the signal change and the kid got closer. I had no trouble staying in front but I couldn’t lose him altogether. Finally I had a long red light at Ygnacio and he pulled up next to me and expressed surprise that I could ride faster than his scooter. I think he thought that was a compliment but he was just so clueless it didn’t mean anything.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Diablo Junction plus Southgate Hole in the Fence, 30 miles

Peter, JB, and I met at the Gate. It was cool and very windy this morning, definitely in the top 10 or so of windy North Gate rides. It got more windy around every bend it seemed, and the winds were strong and gusty. Fortunately there was a strong tailwind going up the Bump so that was fun. Near the Lower Ranch I started to fall off the viscous pace Peter was setting so they got ahead of me. Honestly it was sometimes more effort just to stay upright than it was climbing in elevation. Coming around Son of Chainbuster was like running into a wall. Junction time: 51 minutes.

Our plan was to go down South Gate to meet Rick and Nicole for some flat riding and coffee. Descending in those crosswinds was treacherous. I felt like a dog on a leash and mother nature was yanking on my handlebars trying to get me to go some other direction but I managed to stay vertical and on the road... but just barely a couple of times.

We met up with R&N in the country club area and went for coffee at Cherubini’s in Alamo. I think it should be spelled Cerubini and they should have better bike racks, but the latti are good.

The end.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Diablo Junction plus Southgate Hole in the Fence, 29 miles

They were forecasting rain all night, expecting it to end sometime this morning. I was glad to see that it was all over by 7am and the skies were clear but the streets were still wet. I dressed for cold and rode Eddy to the Gate. I passed a woman with a UCSC outfit on just before the Gate and I recognized her from some other rides this year; she was wearing shorts and her legs were cherry red from the cold. JB and Rick met me at the Gate and we started off right away. We rode with UCSC woman for a while and chatted; she said it was her first Diablo ride after her recent knee surgery, and she was hoping to do the Summit. We rode away from her and wished her well.

It was nice riding up well past the Bump but we could see that the higher elevations were enveloped with dark clouds. Near the ranches the wind was quite strong and I let Rick and JB pull ahead. With three miles to go I was at 23 minutes and I figured I would finish in about 46 – turned out to be 48.

At the Junction we found Peter who was coming down from the Summit. Then UCSC woman rode up and declared that her ride was over at that point. JB, Rick, and I went down South Gate to the hole in the fence. Back behind the golf course I suggested to JB that we switch bikes since we both had SPD pedals. He agreed and we did a quick swap. I rode the Rivendell Atlantis for the next 8 miles and here’s my review:

The high handlebar position is really interesting. It was totally comfortable in the hooks and it felt a little odd to be on the hoods, even odder out of the saddle. The ride was remarkably smooth but I think most of that was the Phil Wood hubs. Even the Brooks saddle was comfortable and I am not one of those guys who “needs” a Brooks, it just felt like the kind of saddle that someone who sits on it for long hours would appreciate. You don’t really notice the extra weight of the heavy bike on the flats, but you certainly would on a long climb. I would definitely like to have a bike like this for cycle touring or for Paris-Brest-Paris (HA! Like that’ll ever happen.) I would go for wide handlebars and STI though instead of the barcons and non-aero brake levers that JB uses; there were just way too many cables interfering with hand positions the way he has it set up.

At the south side of Walnut Creek we decided to check out the construction site where a large explosion made the news last week. They still haven’t opened up the street but there was an overpass that we climbed up to investigate. Not really too much to see but it helped bring the whole thing into perspective.

Back on Eddy after the bike exchange again and I realized how quickly I had gotten used to that high bar position – Eddy felt like a track pursuit bike compared to the Atlantis. Maybe I’ll look into one of those stem extenders?

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Diablo Junction plus Blackhawk 38 miles

JB, Rick, Peter, and I started from the Gate at 8 o’clock. It was cold but dry and we were all of a similar attitude to today’s ride: off season training.

I don’t think we saw anyone descending on North Gate Road. We did pass one woman who looked like she was a beginning triathlete; she had the bike for it and she was underdressed but was riding well. I hope she gets some tights and a jacket for next time.

We all got to the Junction together and we watched a few folks roll up from the South. The Junction Ranger Station has a display window where they have some exhibits about wildlife on Diablo, appeals not to litter, results from the Diablo Challenge, etc. But today they had a new display that showed an ad from VeloNews (I scanned this photo from my October Pro Cycling). It was a 2-page spread for PowerBar sports drinks and it showed the WebCor team on a mountain road with a quote from Chris Horner that says “There’s a point in the race, when if I need to, I can shift into a gear that’s not found on any bike.” Anyway, the display at the Junction had some posted notes that said “RECOGNIZE THIS TURN? HINT: IGNORE THE EASTERN SIERRA BACKGROUND.” It was Son of Chainbuster! Take a look! For those of you unfamiliar with the nomenclature, Son of Chainbuster is a sharp right hairpin (on the ascent) about a mile and a quarter below Junction. Recognize it now? There was also a picture of the team and the photo crew on Mt. Diablo as proof they were there.

Then Rick and I went down South Gate where we saw quite a few more riders coming up. Then we turned left to Blackhawk and did some good speed work. My legs felt good but didn’t have any snap in them so we rode fast but didn’t do any sprints. It’s all good.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Diablo Junction plus South Gate Road 32 miles

The forecast today was for rain increasing throughout the day so I figured I’d at least get sprinkled on. Had my foul weather gear ready and was looking forward to riding my steel Eddy Merckx: the Belgian Beast (I gotta think of a better nickname for that bike – it’s really a sweet ride).

The droplets started dropping the INSTANT I rolled out of the garage. Heavy drizzle describes the rest of the ride to the Gate where I met JB. The ride up to Junction was a lot drier and completely noncompetitive. We discussed politics, work, and the weather.

Wildlife Encounter: A group of three coyotes near the Lower Ranch. One was rolling on his back like a puppy in the gravel next to the road until he heard us coming – then all three disappeared into the weeds.

There were a respectable number of other dedicated riders this morning. We saw two coming down on our ascent, and three coming up South Gate at the Junction. Also quite a few hikers, joggers, and other outdoorsy types.

So we decided to go down to the hole in the fence. Took things slowly because these first few rains of the season make the roads really slippery, but it was a lot of fun and the rain was still very light. When we got to Danville though the rain got thicker and the roads were soaked. JB was on his touring bike with the fenders so he wasn’t throwing up too much of a rooster tail and he didn’t want to ride in my wake so we were side by side whenever it was safe, and I was a few bike lengths behind him the rest of the time.

We skipped Danville Blvd and worked our way through some country club neighborhoods to the south side of Walnut Creek where we got on the Iron Horse Trail.

I was good and soaked by the time I got home and it felt like a good kickoff to the winter riding season.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Diablo Summit 32 miles

It wasn’t supposed to be TOO cold this morning, so it wasn’t hard to convince myself to leave the arm warmers and tights in the drawer. I did wear my mesh undershirt but that was my only concession to the weather.

Rick was at the Gate when I got there and JB rolled up a few minutes later. We each discussed the post season lack of motivation so I figured we were in for a relaxed ride. Rick said he wanted to do a Summit ride but had to go home without the usual après ride coffee. JB had to be at a sports pub for a Hawkeye game so he was only doing the Junction.

It was fairly warm at the lower elevations but we soon rode into a thick layer of fog. The fog was unusually dry; there was no dripping from the trees or condensation on the pavement, but it was cold and breezy. Rick and I worked it a little harder past the Bump and JB started to fade. Then finally, near Chainbuster I pushed it to about 90% all the way to Junction and finished in 40m38s, about 30 seconds ahead of Rick.

The fog was still thick at the Junction so JB turned down and Rick and I went up after a short break. We were near Juniper when we finally poked up over the cloud layer. The view was something like you see out of a jet window – looking down over the tops of the clouds.

Uneventful, uncompetitive ride the rest of the way to the Summit. A nice autumn morning, but next week I’m bringing my long finger gloves; the long trip down through the fog required a lot of braking with cold knuckles.

Happy 10th birthday to my wonderful greyhound Oberon! A washout at the race track; a champion as a family pet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Diablo Summit, 16 miles

No Nicole this evening – she has too much school work.
No JB either – he decided to watch the candidates’ debate.
No Adam – lame excuse about air quality.
Robin started early – needs to do some shopping afterwards.
Jeff got there before I did – parked in the same place.

So I took off, feeling pretty good, figured I’d ride hard until I caught Jeff. The air was thick and warm and dry; there’s a fire burning in Napa county and there was just enough smoke in the air to sting the nose and throat a bit. Diablo is under “red flag alert” for fires but they didn’t close the park.

Wildlife Encounter : A pack of six black-tailed deer neer Little Pine Creek, running in that graceful jumping way that deer do.

Caught Jeff about a half mile below the Bump and then rode at his pace the rest of the way up. He’s already starting to plan for next year’s Tour de Cure so we talked a little bit about that. Came across a guy right at the bottom of the Bump on the side of the road with some kind of mechanical problem but he declined our offer of assistance. Jeff rode a little harder than he probably would have if I hadn’t caught him but I think he enjoyed it anyway.

Past Chainbuster we saw Robin coming down, leading the whole group of Diablo Cyclists who had regrouped at the Junction. We had a great view of the sunset from that last stretch near the Ranger House, then we spend about three minutes at the Junction and turned down hill. By the time we got down it was past dusk and I recall thinking that the whole ride felt like it was the last Wednesday ride of the year.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Diablo Junction 16 miles

Adam, JB, Jeff, and I all grouped up at the church. Jeff's plan was to ride up to the Dumpster Gate and then take the mountain bike trails with Edgardo (who wasn't there yet) so we left him at the Gate.

Nicole had an early start, or else we were late because we saw her car parked in the usual spot. Adam and I decided to do an easy ride, just a little faster than JB. It was warm and calm and we talked and rode easily.

I started doing some big gear/low cadence drills and Adam figured out right away what I was doing and gave me some pointers. He said to keep the cadence below 60 and to keep my heartrate well below anaerobic. He knows about this stuff so I listened to him and tried to just concentrate on an even stroke and smooth power while staying in the saddle. He also said that kind of riding suits my physical build because I have strong legs that probably can produce more power at a lower cadence and I think he's right because I used that style on some recent rides with great times. I didn't have the motivation however, to keep it up all the way to the Junction so I slacked off the last couple miles and he got bored and finished well ahead of me. Junction time: 41m45s. We passed Nicole near the Upper Ranch so she got to the Junction not too long after we did. No time for conversation - we all started down to beat the sunset and went home.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bonus Post

Just heard from Nicole – Rick did the Diablo Challenge in 63m51s which was 58 seconds faster than last year’s time. Congrats Rick! He hoped to beat last year’s time by two minutes but this was certainly a great ride. He had great weather too. He said some guy got to the top of the wall, fell over without unclipping from his pedals, and puked! What a trooper! That guy gave literally 101% but held off on hurling until after he crested the top. HAZZAH! Except for not unclipping beforehand, he has nothing to be embarrassed about.

Also, my e-mail box filled up with spam last week, so if you sent me an e-mail and I didn’t respond, it means I didn’t get it. I respond to ALL fanmail… Resend please.

Diablo Scott

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Diablo Summit 32 miles

This morning was the coldest morning in a long time. I had my vest and arm warmers on and it felt good.

I knew Rick wasn’t coming but I thought Nicole was. When I saw the rock on the post I knew JB had already started up (must have been pretty early). I rode up a way to keep warm and then came back down to see if Nicole had shown up. At 8:15 she hadn’t so I started up solo.

I decided I wanted to do a fairly easy ride, probably to the Summit but I hadn’t committed. A group of about 8 guys had just started and I caught up to one of them pretty quickly. He admired my bike so I liked him right away, but then he started making excuses about how slow he was so I moved on. As I passed each one of them I said something pleasant and I was still going very easy.

Wildlife Encounter: A deer with antlers in the ditch near the double dips, one tarantula, and one coyote way down by the Gate.

I was just enjoying the early morning air and the views and going easy. Then at Chainbuster I saw JB coming down and we said “hi” to each other but he didn’t turn around. Junction time: 42m30s. I waited around for a while, half expecting Nicole to show up but she never did. I chatted with some of the other people who were coming in from both sides – it seemed like all the riders today were less serious folks… maybe all the fast ones are saving it for the Diablo Challenge tomorrow. The group of eight though were talking excitedly with each other about their own little competitions with each other and with a few others they encountered on the way up - that sounded so familiar from my own early days on the Mountain. Then suddenly, Peter showed up and we decided to Summit together and he agreed we would take it easy.

It was a little windier up high but the sun was warmer too. I pulled my arm warmers down around my wrists and fancied myself a spring classics rider again. I told Peter he was going faster than he agreed to, so he slowed down and we truly did do an easy pace the rest of the way. At the Wall I thought I’d even stay seated as long as possible, and surprised myself when I made it the whole way without getting out of the saddle! I keep emphasizing how easy this ride was because my Summit time was 79 minutes. That makes only a 7 minute difference between a great ride (72 minutes last week) and an easy ride; that MUST be a sign of good conditioning.

I’m still hoping to get my unsupported fall century organized.

My goal over the winter is to hang on to most of that fitness while backing off on the intensity.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Diablo Junction, 16 miles

The Wednesday after work rides are getting decidedly less competitive now that the cooler weather and early sunsets are upon us. Robin came with her new Time pedals and some spiffy cycling clothes but still couldn’t get her bike computer to work so she doesn’t know for sure how fast she is. Tiffany and Cindy rode most of the way together but Cindy beat her in the final sprint by about four bike lengths. Nicole rode her own pace and finished last but she wasn’t coughing at the end so that’s good.

JB, Adam, and I rode together at conversational speed. We paused every time we passed anyone we knew and had a little chat before moving on. After Chainbuster, Adam started to ride a little harder and we lost JB but I stayed in Adam’s draft until the Ranger House. Then I gifted Adam the win since he had been towing me for the last mile or so.

Lots more riders coming down than going up. The road can be pretty hard to see when the sun is low on the horizon and right in your eyes so descending is best done carefully.

I’m getting pressured to organize another unsupported fall century… it would probably be tricky to get everyone’s schedule to merge but it would sure be fun to do again.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Diablo Summit 32 miles

Got to the Gate a little early this morning. Peter was there and we discussed hurricanes and blood doping until JB and Rick rode up a little while later. This is Rick’s last Saturday ride before the Diablo Challenge. He’s trying to peak for next Sunday and he took some vacation time to do some extra hard rides but today he was kind of tired. We decided to do a no-stop-‘til-the-top ride again, but not at race pace. JB said “Hey, this is like the old days when no one got dropped until after The Bump”.

Wildlife Encounter: Lots of little snakes warming up on the road, and lots of tarantulas as well.

After The Bump, Peter and I found ourselves riding in front with a gap and I rode at his pace all the way to the Junction. No sprint and our time was 39m38s; not bad for what felt like a pretty easy ride. I stopped my stopwatch function for a few minutes while we circled the parking lot waiting for JB and Rick got there and then we headed up Summit Road.

This time JB fell off the pace first, then Rick, and then Peter rode away from me too at the steep bit just past Juniper. At first I thought if I let him get a little gap he’d slow down a bit but instead he speeded up and the gap got bigger. I don’t usually track my Summit time to the second, but today’s was 71m50s so I’m pretty sure that’s a PB and good enough that I would have beaten 70 minutes on the Challenge if I were so inclined.

There was some kind of foot race up Mitchell Canyon and the runners had to climb the stairs all the way to the top of the Visitor’s Center and go back down, and there was also some kind of school event at the Summit so there were lots of cars in the parking lot. We decided to get out of there before it got crazy.

Rick bought Jamba Juice for me and Peter to celebrate his PB on Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Diablo Junction - 22 miles

I was thinking that after the Hurl Ride last week, the season was pretty much over and Wednesday night rides (the few that remain) would be much less competitive. Two factors changed that though - Rick was taking time off from work so he came tonight (and he's still training for the Diablo Challenge), and Eric wasn't here last week so he was having his own little Hurl Ride. Nicole, Cindy, Adam, and JB were also there. Rick just replaced most of the components in his drivetrain; chainrings, cassette, derailleurs and brifters because he was having shifting problems; looks nice and seems to work much better now.

It was a beautiful night, warm and still. Adam decided he could "help" Rick by riding him into half-wheel hell, but it didn't seem like we were going fast enough for a super great time so I figured Rick just wanted to do a normal ride. But before long it started to heat up and I was working much harder than I wanted to. By the top of the Bump Adam and Rick were about 20 seconds ahead of me and I decided to let them stay away, but I didn't exactly turn it off either.

Seemed to have a pretty good time by the 3mtg point and I figured a 38 minute ride was in the works. We all started to pass people in this period, some I knew and some I hadn't seen before. There was one guy with a loose Hawaiian shirt who looked strong but squirrelly; he fought and fought to keep up with Adam and Rick but finally pooped out. Then I saw Eric coming down - he had started up about 4:30 and I convinced him to turn around and come back up with us. He was rested from having finished his ride quite a while ago so for a while he was pushing me hard! But then with 1mtg I put my head down and rode away from him, then I passed Hawaiian shirt guy and another guy, and crossed the line in 37m47s.

Rick PB'ed with a 36m54s. Eric also PB'ed (from the 4:30 ride) with a 40m05s. JB was somewhere around 42m. Turns out Eric and the Hawaiian shirt guy had ridden together before and sort of knew each other. Hawaiian shirt guy bought his bike during the Tour de France and has been riding up Diablo almost every day since then - he just hasn't gotten around to buying a jersey or bike shorts yet. He'll be a strong rider when he develops a little more suplesse.

Sun is very low on the horizon on the way down.

Wildlife Encounter: Two tarantulas on the prowl.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Diablo Bump de Bump – 37 miles

Today’s players: Rick, Nicole, Peter, JB, and me. We started pretty easy and early on I suggested to Rick that we go easy to the Junction, then go down South Gate Road to the Athenian School so he could get a good split for the Diablo Challenge. He agreed and Peter liked the idea also.

Nicole was off the back once we got past the double dips. The rest of us stayed together at a moderate pace and discussed the cold and the fog and the San Francisco Grand Prix. At the Upper Washout we were about 3 minutes slower than my PB pace from Wednesday; I noted that for the record but no one was really interested. Even though we were still at a conversational pace JB started to lose contact with Peter, Rick, and me.

I didn’t start to push until we got to Chainbuster and even then I didn’t think it was that fast but I rode away from Peter and Rick for a 40m51s Junction time. We all re-grouped at the Junction and Nicole got there too before we left so we told her about our idea and made plans to meet her again at Mia Café. JB turned around too and Rick, Peter, and I went down SGR. We were sweaty from the ride up, but it was still foggy so the ride down to the bottom was COLD!

Down at the school, Rick explained how the start of the Challenge is organized and where the actual start line is. We synchronized our stopwatches and launched our assault. It’s exactly a mile from the start line to the Boundary Gate but I haven’t kept track of my South Gate times very well. That first mile went by in 4m24s.

Comment: They have REALLY got to fix Diablo View Road – it’s in terrible shape.

From the Boundary Gate up, it’s called South Gate Road, it’s owned by the State Park system, and it’s in much better condition. Rick and I were pushing harder than Peter wanted to go so we opened up a pretty big gap. Just before the kiosk, a guy in a Peloton Pale Ale jersey with a red Cannondale passed us pretty handily. After the kiosk, Rick and I chased him down and I rode wheel to wheel with him for a while at a great speed. When we came to a place requiring an out-of-the-saddle push though, my quads melted and Cannondale dude dusted me. I still rode my own race pace and finished in 33m54s. Rick wasn’t far behind me this time and he claimed that 34 minutes is a 38 minute pace up North Gate and that sounds about right going by how it felt… maybe 39. Anyway, 34 minutes plus our 33 minute Summit split last week would give a 67 minute Diablo Challenge time and that would be plenty impressive.

I ain’t paying $50 to do it though. I’d rather get a new pair of bibs or something.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Diablo Junction 23 miles
2004 Hurl Ride No. 2

The long-anticipated second Hurl Ride of the year has arrived. Adam arranged everything but we didn’t have nearly the turn out that we did in April. I’ve been away on a business trip and due to some airline SNAFU’s I didn’t get home until 1:30 this afternoon so I didn’t even go in to work. I ate a big breakfast in Phoenix, a normal lunch at home with my family, I had jet lag and felt rotten from being on a plane, but I was going to give it my best shot.

Adam assigned everyone their handicap and start times so that we’d all finish pretty close to 6:30. Edgardo insisted his goal would be 69 minutes (gotta know Ed to appreciate this one) so he was gone before anyone else showed up. I got to ride from home and I saw Nicole, and Amanda with her new bike – a Trek hybrid and a HUGE upgrade from the borrowed POS she had been using a few months ago; they were both going for 60 minutes so they left the Gate at 5:30. Tiffany has been riding well, and her goal was 45 minutes for a PB. JB’s been getting faster recently and left at 5:52 hoping for a 38 minute ride. Adam had me down for a 35m35s which was 16 seconds faster than my PB of 35m51s set only a few weeks ago – as I said, I didn’t think it was going to happen based on how I felt, but mentally I was prepared to give it everything so I set off at 5:54:25. Adam was going for that uber-elusive 30 minute ride and his own PB.

I started out exactly on time, but didn’t realize that I hadn’t started the stopwatch on my heart rate monitor until after a mile or so – I still had the stopwatch on my bike computer but I wouldn’t be able to freeze the split times for later. I went fast but didn’t sprint and didn’t even get out of the saddle until the top of the Bump where I wanted get my cadence back up as soon as possible. Seemed like it was going very well and I was feeling better but when I saw 17m30s with 3 miles to go I allowed myself to think this could be close. I still hadn’t seen any of the riders in front of me, which is good because it meant everyone else was also riding well and we’d finish at nearly the same time.

I was too focused to crunch numbers but 17.5 plus 18 minutes for the last three puts me in PB territory and I’ve done the last three in less than 18 before. I stayed focused and tried to stay efficient. Near the Upper Ranch I finally passed Nicole and Amanda. I said to them “You guys don’t look like you’re pushing it” and Amanda said “Push this”… that was worth a good chuckle, but then I got back to being focused.

Coming around Big Shady Oak with a mile to go I saw Tiffany on the final stretch – good for her, she should just about make her handicap. But I didn’t see JB and I assumed he’d sand bagged his handicap again and was riding a sub 35 time. With four hundred meters to go, I finally decided it was time to accept a higher level of pain so I completely zoned out and suffered my way to the line.

New PB: 35m46s. Five seconds better than my PB from a couple weeks ago, only eleven seconds slower than the goal Adam had set for me. It was an awesome ride and it’s gonna stand for a while because I am *not* doing that again any time soon.

Turns out JB was after Tiffany but somehow I didn’t see him. Adam came in at 33 minutes – he said he would have been even slower except he couldn’t allow me to have a faster time than him. Nicole and Amanda came in well over an hour – Nicole says she just doesn’t have the drive to push herself to a faster time and well, that’s OK I guess; not everyone has to think the same about riding.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

San Francisco Grand Prix – Race Report
AKA the T-Mobile International

My daughter and I took BART into the City this morning – first one left at 7:50am from Orinda so we got to Embarcadero about 8:30. Scored some great schwag from the Expo and bought a pound of Jittery Joe’s coffee just because I like their whole team concept and they ride Kleins. Also got a poster of Dede Barry, the USA Olympic silver medalist from the T-Mobile team – I was hoping to get an autograph too but I couldn’t find her after the race… I told my daughter the poster was for her (ha!).

Then we got in a position to watch the last couple laps of the women’s race; about 100 meters past the start/finish line, and THERE WAS PHIL LIGGETT!!!! He was in the announcer’s booth with John Eustice and some other local guy with TV cameras and everything. I gave him an excited wave and he returned it with equal enthusiasm; what a pleasant chap.

So daughter and I made a lot of noise every time the girls came by and on the last little finishing circuit Nicole Cooke looked like she was putting it away and sure enough finished well clear of the second place rider. Then as she rolled by where we were, I shouted out to her “THREE-PEAT” (meaning she should come back and win again next year too) and she looked at me and nodded with a huge grin.

We walked around the Expo some more waiting for the men’s race to start and it was still cold and foggy. After the men went out on their first 9-mile lap we started walking up Broadway and found a good place to sit for a while. The course went both ways on this piece of road so we got to see them climbing the gradual grade, and screaming down the other side. I used my daughter’s sidewalk chalk to write a little protest in the middle of the road, it said: “¿NO VUELTA? SHAME ON OLN!” It’s clearly visible from the helicopter shots on the TV coverage – watch for it!

We walked to the top of Broadway between laps, and then turned on to Columbus which was all barricaded off. The crowd was thicker here and it was harder to see and it was still cold so we ducked into an Italian pastry shop for a hot cocoa and watched the next couple laps. Then we walked to the top of Columbus to watch them come around that corner before we started to head back to Embarcadero.

We saw some bike messengers having races to the top of one of the steepest cul de sacs you’ve ever seen. We scored a scuffed-up water bottle chucked from the peloton. I got really good views of lots of famous riders including FredRod, Levi, CesarG and all the JJ’s, Eki, Georgie, and the Posties, even Magnus B – the heaviest guy in the UCI and winner of Paris-Roubaix this year; the Filmore and Taylor hills must have been torture for him.

By early afternoon it was sunny and warm. We planted ourselves again near the middle of the Broadway stretch and Jason McCartney (a USA Olypian from my home town of Iowa City) had more than a two minute lead on a hard charging peloton. He made a move like this in the Olympic trials and held on to take the solo win. So that was pretty exciting but he blew up and got passed on the very last climb of the race. I was on Embarcadero again when soon-to-be winner Charles Dionne came by very close to us and I yelled to him “SWEET! SWEET!” and he had the biggest grin anyone could wear who’s in as much pain as he must have been. He was shaking his head in disbelief and nodding with euphoria at the same time.

To celebrate the end of the race we went to an outdoor diner called the “Automatic” or something like that. I had a $4 beer and my daughter had a $4 milkshake and some $3 French fries. A wonderful day of bike racing in San Francisco.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Diablo Summit 33 miles

JB, Rick, and me; eight at the Gate. First Saturday in a while that Peter wasn’t there.

We rode a conversational pace until the Bump. JB started to have trouble keeping up past there. On the Upper Washout I asked Rick if he wanted to do a “no stop ‘til the top” ride and he agreed with a smile.

Above Chainbuster we could see JB below and we yelled out to him that we weren’t going to stop at Junction so he wouldn’t think we had gone down South Gate Road.

As Rick and I went past the Ranger House I figured I had to pick it up a little bit and I crossed the line in 40 minutes flat. Then I held back enough that Rick could catch back up and we continued up Summit Road.

I was riding at about 90% but Rick was pretty much at his Diablo Challenge pace so I felt like I was helping him out by pushing him just a little harder than he would have gone by himself. JB must have decided not to summit because we didn’t see him again.

Near Devil’s Elbow we passed a tall guy on a Land Shark talking on his cell phone; I mean he was having an extended conversation, like some salesman in a rental car. So Rick and I passed him up without saying anything but a little while later he hung up and came around us pretty easily but didn’t get too far ahead. When we got to the bottom of the Wall there was one guy about 1/3 of the way up already, then the Land Shark guy, then Rick went up and I gave him a bit of a head start before I went. Then I PASSED ALL THREE OF THEM on my way up! Didn’t plan it that way, in fact I don’t like passing people on the wall, but that was pretty cool to pass three guys who started in front of me on a 17% grade.

Summit time: 73 minutes. Rick said it was his fastest ever time outside of his Diablo Challenge competitions.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Bonus Post!

Didn't get to do the Wednesday after work ride this week because of family responsibilities.

The Blog has a brand new look now, which is mostly good. changed some of their stuff around, and added some features like the "navigation bar" to the top of my page and the old template I was using was getting blown out and hard to read. So after much fiddling about I got it to look like this! There's a new symbol at the end of each post that looks like an envelope with an arrow; that's so you can e-mail the post to someone else… like if you see a product review someone you know might be interested in. The Navigation Bar gives you search capabilities and offers options for other blog sites, or even to get your own blog. The "next blog" button will take you to another blogger site and I have no control over whose you'll get. I had to re-figure out how to put in the "e-mail me" link in the sidebar, and I had to find a new counter because I lost all that stuff when I went to the new template… this blogging business is not for the easily intimidated… you should see some of the HTML code in there! I also was able to set my new counter at ~roughly~ the same number it was at before so I can continue keeping track of all you readers. Since Blog inception I've averaged 13 hits per day! Also I lost my link to "" which I don't think anybody ever used anyway.

And on another note, Adam came in second place in the Cat 3 Giro di San Francisco on Labor Day. This was the District Championship race so he *almost* made the big time! He got outsmarted at the finish by a 14 year old wunderkind named Collin something who will be a household name one day I'm sure. Adam will be moving up to Cat 2 next year for certain.

Regular ride on Saturday and on Sunday I'm going to the San Francisco Grand Prix (that's the race's true name, even though they keep calling it the T-Mobile International).

Fooey on OLN for not carrying La Vuelta!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Diablo Summit, 33 miles

I was the last one to the Gate this morning – 8:02am. Peter, Rick, and JB were waiting. Eric told us he may show up but we decided not to expect him so we began.

Rick was wearing a skin suit he bought for his Devil Mountain Challenge ride. Last year he got special race wheels (Campagnolo Neutron) to give him an extra edge, this year it’s a skin suit. Kind of interesting, plain blue and black, no pockets, extra long zipper… probably a psychological boost at best but that helps some. His goal for the DMC is 65 minutes, which is a little better than his time last year, bon chance Richard!

We all stayed together at a semi-fast pace until way past the Bump. Peter picked it up there and we lost JB. Around Son of Chainbuster Rick started losing touch but he rejoined a couple times before we got to Chainbuster where I decided to turn on the main engines. My Junction time was 39m13s, well clear of Peter, Rick, and JB in that order with about 2 minute gaps between them.

Lots and lots of riders on the mountain this morning, apparently training for the DMC. Most of them were coming up South Gate which is the race route, but plenty on North Gate as well. JB got a head start up Summit Road while the rest of us dinked around for a few minutes.

The winds got a lot stronger up above 2,000 feet: we compared it to riding in Hurricane Frances which is hitting Florida now. None of us were together past Muir Picnic Area but the gaps weren’t too big and we pretty much finished at the same time. My Summit time: 75 minutes.

Descending was a little sketchy with the strong winds and all the climbing riders. I expected to see some clueless driver in the wrong lane passing a bike rider around every hairpin; it only happened a couple times but I was ready for it. Thirteen years on this mountain and I’m prepared for anything.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Diablo Junction, 16 miles

NEW PB! 35m 51s !!!
Previous PB 37m 05s.

Today’s contingent: Robin (on her new Marin road bike), Tiffany, Cindy, Nicole, Edgardo, Adam, JB, and me.

The weather: Warm, clear, no wind.

The Diablo Cyclists are now leaving at 5pm so we won’t be riding with them any more this year. But I saw Mark and some of his peeps from Rivendell riding on Ygnacio while I was driving to North Gate. Mark keeps telling JB that his Atlantis just "looks wrong" with those skinny tires on it. Adam's bike was making a creaking noise that we all decided was due to alloy nipples. Mark and his buddies didn't know that the DCers had changed their start time so they all started with us. Adam was itchy to do a fast one so he was glad Mark came. As we approached the Gate he casually asked Mark, “Are you going for it today?”, and Mark said, “No, hadn’t planned on it, why… do YOU want to go for it?”. Adam said he wanted to do a good effort so as they crossed the line I saw Mark hit his stopwatch and they both sped off into the distance.

I felt good and wanted to test myself after the century. I started out in fast time trial mode, not sprinting the flats at all and my legs felt just a bit of soreness from Sunday. I was thinking if I had an extra day of recovery I could do a new PB but I didn’t think it was going to happen today.

So I stayed in fast steady mode and didn’t push too hard up the Bump and I was at 18m30s at the Upper Washout. Now I was feeling even better and I was passing all kinds of people including all the women from work and my legs were like pistons! I still didn’t think I was on PB pace but I kept thinking about how perfect the weather was and how I felt really smooth and efficient even in my big gears.

Two miles to go and I figured I could come in near 37 minutes which would be close to PB territory. Coming around the hairpins past Upper Ranch I could see Adam and Mark just past Chainbuster at 27 minutes so I knew they wouldn’t do sub 30 but I was surprised how close I was to them (that is to say, a little more than half a mile back). When I powered up Chainbuster myself I figured I was going to do it but I was definitely starting to wear out. I concentrated on efficiency and keeping my breathing regular and when I got to the Ranger House I knew I was going to smash my record. Still, 36 minutes was out of the question, wasn’t it? I mean that’s more than a minute off my previous best time. Unable to analyze any further due to blood shortage in my brain I just stuck my head down and went anaerobic for 300 meters and when I looked up at the line I saw my new PB.

JB wasn’t actually too far behind and he knew too that I had done an awesome ride – I made him go look at my Flight Deck to get the actual number. He’s really getting back to his pre-crash fitness now and it won’t be long before I won’t be able to ride away from him anymore. The Diablo Cyclists split up shortly after we got there but it was nice to see them for a little while. After the BC women got to Junction we all went back down North Gate Road except Adam went down South. We came across Edgardo near the Lower Ranch and invited him for beers at Round Table because tradition says that if you set a new PB you have to buy beer for everyone (or coffee if it’s a Saturday morning ride). It was a very tasty beer tonight.

Do you want to know what the best part of the whole ride was though? As I was coasting down to my car past the kennels and nursery I thought, "I feel so good I could probably turn around right now and do the same time again!" I’m afraid to think of what’s next.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bonus Blog Entry

Adam needed to replace his headset and was doing some Googling on the local bike shops to help him decide who should do the work. Well when he searched on “Encina Bicycle Center” he got one result which was “Diablo Scott’s Bike Blog” and discovered my secret. I haven’t told many of the people that are IN my Blog ABOUT my Blog because I thought if they knew they were being written about they might change their behavior just to see what I would write. I always did write with the idea that someday they would find the Blog though and I didn’t want to be embarrassed by or have to apologize for something I’d written. I think I’ve always maintained my objective to be complimentary to other riders (with the exception of goobers and posers) and not too full of myself even when I shine.

Well Adam came to talk to me and explained how he found my Blog and asked me more about Encina Bicycle Center and I told him they have some top notch mechanics who I would trust to do a great job on a headset replacement. He was hoping to find someone who would do a Ritchey Scuzzy Logic Pro headset for him since Ritchey sponsors his Organic Athlete cycling team, but he didn’t like the conversation he had with the person at the LBS that carried Ritchey components; nothing really bad, but it lacked the kind of self-assurance you want from someone who’s going to do perhaps the most delicate surgery a bike ever goes through. So after talking to me, Adam called Encina and talked to the mechanic himself and came away from the discussion with confidence that Encina would get the job. Later in the day he brought his bike up to the shop and talked to the same mechanic again and they worked out a service package that included installation of a Chris King (high zoot!) headset, truing his Dura Ace race wheels, truing his conventional every-day wheels, and straightening his derailleur hanger. The mechanic also spotted a couple of small cracks in his Slice fork (almost invisible to me even when I knew where they were) and pointed out a few other things for Adam to keep an eye on. So Adam wanted me to post a Blog entry where I give big props to Encina Bicycle Center, and I certainly think they deserve it. If you found this report useful, and it helped you decide to give Encina Bicycle Center some of your bike business, tell them “Diablo Scott sent me!”.

And another side note: I had to replace the battery in the head unit of my Flight Deck computer today. The “LoBatt” display is a really nice touch that I haven’t seen on other cyclo-computers and it means I was able to take care of it before it conked out (which would surely have been on a PB attempt). The bad news is that the previous battery only lasted 5 months… hmmm. By the way – I bought my Flight Deck computer at Encina and they even replaced the first one when the little “all clear” button got stuck and they programmed in the initial information for me. Plus they honored the sticker price that was on the box even though they had raised the price that comes up when they scan the bar code. They’re also a good source for HammerGel, my wife’s Trek Multi Track came from there as did her helmet and my daughter’s too.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

2004 Tour Napa Valley / Napa Century, 100 miles Ride Review

The contestants were Rick, Peter, JB, and me. Weather forecasters were predicting temperatures in the upper 90’s so we all decided we should get going as early as possible to avoid the heat. Check in opened at 6am so we planned to start the drive to Napa at 5. I picked up Peter at his house at a quarter of; there was a huge full moon just above the horizon and I knew it would be a special day. Then we went to JB’s house – actually it was so dark we went to the wrong house and woke up one of his neighbors by mistake (we thought he had overslept so we kept ringing the doorbell – oops!). So we added JB’s Atlantis and Rick’s Trek to my roof rack and took off. Four bikes on top of a mid-sized sedan – quite a site. It was crowded but I really liked how it looked and you can see up through the sunroof to keep an eye on the cargo. I’ve got it so that the bikes alternate facing front and rear and the handlebars are millimeters away from the spokes of the rear wheel on the adjacent bike. Anyway, we’re cruising along the Benicia Bridge when suddenly BANG!

It was like that BANG in Apollo 13 where you don’t know what happened but it’s gotta be bad. I looked in the rear view mirror expecting to see a bike bouncing along in the freeway lane – there was none. JB looked up through the sunroof and said with a quiver in his voice “My bike’s missing.” Peter looked up through the rear windshield and said “No, it’s still there!” I put on the 4-way flashers and crawled to a stop at the first safe place near the toll plaza. JB’s Atlantis had been mounted facing the rear, with the fork clamped on the rear rail but we hadn’t tied down the rear wheel in the tray. The bike flipped over from the wind, pivoting on the fork mount, and the brake hoods had slammed into the rear windshield in a weird sort of hand stand. But there was absolutely NO DAMAGE to his bike, either of the adjacent bikes, or the car! None of us could believe such a thing could happen without some kind of consequence, but it had. Well, that got the adrenaline going!

Pulling into the Veteran’s Home in Yountville, I could see why they closed registration early– at 6am the parking lots were already almost full. There was a huge line of cars waiting to get in and many of the riders had already started their journeys. We were fortunate to get a place near the exit of the dirt lot and we all rode to the registration area about a half mile away. The club was very efficient at getting us checked in and our official start time was 6:37. Since Rick didn’t get registered and wouldn’t be able to eat the rest stop food, he packed a hundred miles worth of water and calories into his back-country style Camelbak. He had spaghetti in a baggie, bread, ClifBars, Hammergel, fruit, and pretzels; very ambitious.

Leg 1: It was quite cool and foggy at this time in the morning but we knew we’d need sunscreen and no one brought any arm warmers. The first few miles were along a frontage road next to Highway 29 and we could see dozens of cars with bikes on them heading to the start. We turned off onto Mt. Veeder Road and everyone settled in for some tough climbing in cold weather. We hooked up with a big group of mostly Wheels of Thunder club riders but I didn’t like their traffic skills so I bridged up to a smaller group ahead that was going about the same pace. That group fell apart but I kept climbing and stayed ahead of my other three riding buddies past the summit to take the first KOM points. Rick caught me in the section before we got to the first rest stop but then we missed a turn and did a bonus mile so we got there about the same time that Peter and JB did. The rest stop was at some farm house and there was an exhibit of custom bikes by Inglis and even an antique, tiny car.

Leg 2: JB left the rest stop early and it looked like that was going to be his plan for the whole day – minimizing rest stop time for an early finish. Rick left before Peter and I did but we didn’t notice. This was going to be a mostly flat-to-rolling section headed up-valley so I started looking for a good group to ride with. There were a couple of false starts with packs that didn’t work out but then I saw a Duro and a guy with a French National Champion’s jersey on and worked in with them. We three poured it on and it was sweet hammering with these guys. After one of my pulls in front I dropped back to find we were suddenly a group of seven and we were ALL working together perfectly. We went from 100 rev pulls to 50 since we had more guys now and we got even faster. I was the only one with hairy legs but any doubts about my pace line skills were quickly squashed because I was clearly holding my own. So we seven worked it all the way to the second rest stop where things splintered apart. I’d gone 48 miles so far and it was only 9:30. The rest stop was at Lake Hennessey and it was well-stocked and not too crowded, but I did lose a cleat cover in there somewhere. I saw Jay from the Wednesday night ride here and we talked briefly. I ate some banana halves, a bagel, and some Chex mix, re-grouped with Peter and headed out with a huge group of Benicia Cyclists. I think it was at this rest stop that JB forgot both of his water bottles – Rick gave him his spare when he realized it.

Leg 3: Lots and lots of gradual climbing in this section. I was starting to feel a little muscle fatigue so I decided to back off and recover just a bit since we had some hard climbs ahead. Almost the whole distance was on Pope Valley Road and even though I had turned it down I was still passing almost everybody. Finally near the third rest stop a fast group came by and I rode the final couple miles with them. The riders leaving the rest stop were going the other direction on the same road and when Peter showed up he said he had seen JB heading the other way. This was the official lunch stop and the 100km riders were here too – the place was wall-to-wall road cyclists, the lines for the porta-potties were long, and the lines to the sandwich tables were long too. I certainly didn’t feel like standing in line long enough for a cheese sandwich so I snuk up and grabbed some gorp, filled up my water bottles and split. Before I left though, I saw Jay again and he invited me to go with him and his buddy but I passed.

Leg 4: Ink Grade – the signature climb of the Century; long and steep. I felt strong but I restrained myself because I knew this climb from the two times I’ve done this ride before. Within the first mile there were people off their bikes walking, and others weaving all over both lanes. I really admired the less experienced riders who were gritting their collective teeth and grunting it out. There were also some lunatics making up songs about how their quads and glutes were on fire (to the tune of nursery rhymes… I won’t elaborate). The road was painted with cycling encouragements too so it was painful but fun. About half way up I could hear some loud Rolling Stones music and it turned out there was a secret rest stop at the summit where you could get a sno-cone, but I passed. There was some more rolling terrain after the summit and it was there that I caught up to JB and Rick just getting back on the road – JB had gotten a flat and then screwed up his repair so he had to fix two flats and they’d been on the side of the road for twenty minutes. I rode with them for a while but then bombed the descent and the rest of the flats to the final rest stop at mile 85. We all grouped up here and the complaints started to come out: JB’s feet hurt, Rick was getting sore, Peter was getting stiff. I was feeling all those things too but kept them to myself… I always try to not whine. JB took off while I was in line for the porta-potty but assured us we’d catch him because he was going to go slow. At this rest stop I saw a couple of Diablo Cyclists that usually do the Wednesday night ride (Paul and Tom I think) and they said they were having a good day too.

Leg 5: Only 15 miles to go but it was down valley with a strong headwind and lots of traffic. Rick and I worked together pretty well but we were both getting worn out. At one point he told me to go ahead with another guy so I wouldn’t ruin my average speed but I figured staying with Rick was a better idea. The PhotoCrazy guy was at mile 98 and he took these photos of us:

So JB finished the ride first but I think I finished the strongest. The post ride party included a barbeque, a band, and a few exhibitors. The picnic area was packed with riders and volunteers and I again saw how it would be difficult to handle more than the 2,000 riders that were allowed to register. The line for the Gardenburgers was the shortest though because most people were waiting for some kind of grilled chicken so I got to buzz right through. I guess I wasn’t as hungry as I thought though because I wound up throwing away some pasta salad and bananas that I didn’t have room for. We saw Sarkis at the finish – he and some buddies did the 100km ride on their fixed gear bikes!!! I also ran into one of the guys from the group of seven that I was with going up valley; he recognized me and we agreed that that was a sweet paceline. The way home was blissfully uneventful.

Ride statistics:
Distance: 101.8 miles
Total Climbing: 5,000 feet (per web page)
Ride Time: 5h 49m
Total Time: 7h 04m
Average Speed: 17.5mph
Total Climbing: 5,000 feet

Food consumption (by memory)
Pre-ride: Big bowl of oatmeal and a ClifBar (a check-in freebie).
Ride: One grenade (five servings) of banana Hammergel, five bottles of tropical fruit Cytomax, four bottles of lemon-lime Accelerade, one bottle of plain water, assorted bagels, muffins, gorp, Chex mix, PB&J on white, and fruit.

Ride Review:
Route: A+ (this is the most beautiful place in the state to bike ride)
Roads: B (most were fine but some are badly in need of repair)
Organization: A (these guys know what they’re doing)
Food: A- (the water at some of the stops had that rubber hose/band aid taste)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Diablo Summit, 25 miles

Adam was in a finish-line crash in the Suisun Criterium on Sunday; he’s been showing off his tarmac tattoos the last couple days. Then this morning he had his bike on the roof of his car as he backed out of his garage and … well we all know what that means. His bike isn’t damaged too badly but he feels it’s time to consider a new one. Robin’s new bike hasn’t come yet – she ordered a Marin Portofino from some eBay dealer in Colorado, so today was the farewell ride to her old clunker. The office had bikes stashed all over the place today.

At the start it was Nicole, Robin, Erik, and me; JB and Adam were coming but not there yet. Robin suddenly had some kind of chain problem just as the Diablo Cyclist peloton was approaching so I didn’t stop to help her – I felt a little guilty about that but hey, this is the Wednesday night hammerfest. Erik said he was going to try to stay with one of the DC subgroups when they went by, and I said I would be going with one of the faster groups. It seemed like forever before they caught up to us and I was just tooling along but no one was passing me. I figured I was now a marked man and they weren’t going to let me sit on anymore so I accepted my position at the front - imagining a dozen or so riders having an easy time in my slipstream. When I finally turned around to look it was just Mark and Jay – I had snapped the elastic and exploded the field all by myself. They thanked me and then dropped me like an undoped domestique.

By the top of the Bump I could see that Mark was a hundred meters ahead of Jay who was a hundred in front of me, and Dave was a hundred behind me. With three miles to go I was at 18m26s - EXCELLENT. I didn’t quite have the motivation to kill myself for a potential PB, but I did decide to push hard even though I was planning to go to the Summit today. By the Junction Mark, Jay, Dave, and I were in the same order but the gaps were closer to 200 meters each. My Junction time was 37m33s - 28 seconds over my PB. Erik did a PB of 41 minutes – he’ll knock a couple minutes off that with a little more experience. Then JB did a “post crash PB” of just under 40 – also his best time on the Atlantis… he’s ready for Napa for sure. I didn’t see Adam come in, but he was there and told me he could feel some residual crash pain and his bike was handling funny.

Erik and I went on to the Summit at a more leisurely pace. It got cold and windy as soon as we were in the shadows. Some guy at the Upper Parking Lot took my photo just as I crested the top of the Wall, maybe I’ll be famous! Elapsed time to Summit: 76 minutes.

Wildlife Encounter: FIVE tarantulas - first sightings of the year.

Coming down from the Summit, still above Muir Picnic Area, the sun was really low and it was hard to see the road. DAMN! DAMN! Took a hard pothole hit with both wheels. Then… the unmistakable sound of air escaping from my rear tire, changing pitch and volume every time the source passed by my seatstay. It was a lonely flat-fixing episode on the side of the road, in the gravel with the sun setting and the wind picking up. My last flat was 720 miles ago, and my average is 540 miles between flats – there’s an interesting statistic for you! Anybody else keep track of that one? I’m running Michelin Pro Race with Michelin Ultralight tubes (long stem), and no liners or Slime. Anyway, I seemed to notice some funny noises like maybe I whacked the rim out of true also so it was a slow ride down.

Rick’s going to ride Napa on the Sly! It’s going to be an interesting ride – JB who never does centuries on his Atlantis, Peter who has to ride fast and get home early for a party, Rick who has to pack his own food and hide at the rest stops, and me who likes to hang out at the finish and people watch.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Diablo Summit, 24 miles

I met Peter at the Gate at 8, and JB showed up a few minutes later. Peter had a new saddle and a new pair of shorts – he said he went to Livermore Cyclery to look for a new saddle and the salesman convinced him what he really needed was a new pair of shorts so he got both: a WTB saddle and Louis Garneau shorts (the most expensive he’s ever owned). I noticed a group of two riders, another group of two, and a solo rider going up as we waited and I wasn’t sure if I’d be catching them or not, but I would at least remember how many there were. I had forgotten my phone this morning so I didn’t get Rick’s call saying what time he and Nicole would be there so the three of us started up at about 8:10.

I wasn’t feeling especially vigorous today due to a lack of sleep (I think I even yawned a couple times after we got going) so I didn’t mind the easier pace for the first couple miles. We all wondered what kind of road kill that was just past the double dips – probably a coyote judging from the head but it was picked pretty clean by the vultures and coyote road kill is exceedingly rare.

All of us were together near the top of the Bump when Peter increased his speed enough to drop JB. I was pretty close to maximum trying to keep up with him too for a while but either he slowed down a bit or I found my rhythm because it got easier around the Lower Ranch where we passed the solo guy and one of the two pairs we saw at the Gate. Peter is getting used to my keeping up with him now, although I think he’s still perplexed because for years he dropped all of us well before the Ranches and I was usually the farthest one back. He asked me if I had done any different kind of training this year and I told him that I did a lot of intervals in the early season – he seemed to accept that explanation.

We passed the other pair of riders below Chainbuster and then I said to Peter “OK, let’s go!” but before he decided to come with me he asked “Are you going to the top today?”. I guess if I wasn’t going to save anything for the Summit then he wasn’t going to try to stay with me to the Junction. I told him I was so he stayed on my wheel for about a half mile, but I had a big gap soon after that. I realized that I hadn’t been looking at my splits so when I looked down and saw I was at 38 minutes I thought I had a slim chance of breaking 40 and I went for it. I put the hurt to myself for 117 seconds and finished with a 39m57s Junction time.

And there was WILL! He called me yesterday and said he might get an early start to meet us here, but I had forgotten. He said it was a pretty tough ride but he enjoyed it after not having ridden for so long. Peter rolled in, then JB while I was still doing cool down laps around the parking area. And then Rick came in a few minutes later so there were five of us. We discussed the Napa Valley Century (AKA Tour Napa Valley – watch this site for a ride review) coming up next Sunday and it turns out Rick didn’t get signed up in time because they reached their maximum 2,000 rider limit. He’s going to try sweet-talking his way in, or maybe scab the ride, or maybe just not show. JB will be riding his Atlantis – he probably wants to bond with other Rivendell groupies. And Peter has to hurry home after the century to go to his daughter’s birthday party so we’re not sure about car pooling.

Peter, Rick, and I did the Summit but JB and Will went down. We were together until Blue Oak where Peter pulled ahead. Rick was in the middle and I was last until around Muir Picnic Area where I passed Rick. I didn’t see Peter again until the Summit Wall which I started just as he was finishing. Rick was about 50 meters behind me at the bottom and I heard a giant diesel pickup coming up, passing Rick. The Wall is NOT wide enough for even a Cooper Mini to pass a bike safely (it’s one-way, one-lane going up and another lane goes down on the other side) and I wasn’t going to let this moron try that with me so I kept the middle of the lane for the last half of the climb. He didn’t honk or anything but he was still a dope. Rick said the place where he got passed was pretty wide and he was OK with it.

Rick ordered a new Campy gruppo to refurbish his bike – he’s having lots of shifting and drivetrain problems from worn-out gear but he’s staying with 9-speed Veloce. We talked some more about saddle and short choices but then we called it a day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Diablo Junction plus South Gate Road, 24 miles

Today’s company team: Me, Adam, Nicole, Tiffany, Cindy, and JB. Seems we can never all meet at the same time any more though for a group start. Adam and Cindy got tied up at work and JB forgot to pack his shorts so they all started late. It was hot today, but not as bad as last week.

Tiffany and Nicole and I did get started a few minutes before the Diablo Cyclist group got going. Tiffany quickly rode ahead of us looking like she’s getting stronger and faster and enjoying the semi-competitive nature of these Wednesday rides. I stayed with Nicole and rode slow until the DC group of about 12 rode along side us and then I merged in.

“Hey Scott! I tried to e-mail you but it bounced back as undeliverable. My name is Jay by the way.” It was Yellow Jacket Shorts! He explained that he’s had one knee surgery and expects another eventually (dog/bike crash) so that’s why he has the knee wrap – helps keep it stable. He also said he’s not a Yellow Jacket but just likes their club kit.

By the time we caught up to Tiffany there were four of us off the front already – me, Jay, Ricardo (talked to him a little last week too), and another guy I hadn’t seen before. I knew I wouldn’t last long with these guys but they were breathing hard so I thought I could hold on for a while. We were so far ahead by the time we got into the curvy section below the Bump that I couldn’t see any other riders behind us. I was glad I took a chance with the fast boys rather than dogging it with the next group back, but the charade was over now I accepted the honor of being “first dropped” from the lead group.

Looking up from above the Upper Ranch I could see them past Chainbuster and my time check told me I was about 3 minutes down. I packed two water bottles with lots of ice today and forced myself to drink even if I had to slow down – seemed to work because I finished pretty strong with a 39m29s even though I had started at Nicole speed. Cindy and Tiffany showed up after a while but I never did see Nicole (she flatted and turned around) or JB (rode home to get his shorts and started much later). Cindy looks like she really enjoys riding hard but she never wants to go any farther.

Tiffany and I joined about half the Diablo Cyclist group and went down South Gate Road. We got split up though and suddenly I found myself with just Jay in Danville so we two-manned it back to Walnut Creek on Danville Blvd and over to Countrywood on the trail.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Diablo Junction, 24 miles

The company picnic was this morning so I only had time for a quickie Junction ride. Nicole’s Explorer passed me on Walnut and then I met up with her at her usual parking spot. JB rode down from the Gate and met us there too.

Shortly after we started, a guy with a full HammerGel outfit passed us, and then before the Double Dips three other guys came by us as well. Two of these guys had aero bars and triathlon type setups and when they passed us they kind of smiled to themselves, happy to be passing three cyclotourists so easily, but one of them had a classic white steel Eddy Merckx road bike and I figured he knew the game. I asked JB how far ahead of us we should let them get before we chased them down and he didn’t think we had a good chance of catching them. I had my Mapei shorts on, which are very recognizable and I knew if I did catch them they’d remember me. So it was the three of us until Moss Landing where Nicole said good-bye, then it was two of us until the bottom of the Bump where I switched on the main engines.

I climbed the Bump in my 21 and kept the power up all the way through the Upper Washout, leaving JB way back. I saw the group of three ahead of me and I planned “the perfect pass”. There’s a section after the Upper Washout where the grade eases up quite a bit and if you know the Mountain you can really power through it in a big gear and I caught the three right at the beginning of this stretch. They were using the opportunity to recover from the effort up the Bump (newbie mistake) so I came around them with an impressive speed differential and had a huge gap by the time I had to downshift and settle into my sustainable pace for the last two miles. Schooling newbs is a tricky business - it must be done convincingly but without arrogance so that the pupils come away from the experience with both reverence for the master and personal ambition for themselves. Heh heh heh.

Then I saw HammerGel guy! He was quite a ways up the road but I figured I’d try to chase him down as well. Peter was on his way down and he saw me at the Upper Ranch and did a U-turn to ride up again but he never caught me. I was chasing HammerGel guy and got pretty close but he beat me to the Junction; he said something to me like “good ride” when I got there. Then came Peter, then the group of three, then JB. The guy on the Cervelo triathlon bike confessed to one of his other buddies that he wasn’t prepared for how difficult the course was going to be, but all three of them seemed to like the ride.

Wildlife Encounter : Yet another coyote on my descent near the Cold Shoulder. I hope there’s never an incident between a coyote and a rider, but it’s getting to be worrisome.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Diablo Junction, 16 miles

Hacía mucho calor esta tarde. Nicole talked about not coming because it was so hot, and we didn’t see her so she must have decided against it. Adam rode up just as I was leaving my car and we rode together to the Gate. The Diablo Cyclists had a fair size group and a couple guys were just ahead of us near the kennels; one of them was a shaver with a USPro Champion’s jersey on. Adam and I passed them up and then when we got to the Gate we picked it up and did a brisk pace through the double dips and up past the Dumpster Gate. Then Mark and Yellowjacketshorts (he said “hi Scott”… I’ve got to get his name ~dude, e-mail it to me ) and Adam said he was going to try to stay with Mark so I wished him luck and *poof* they were gone. By the bottom of the Bump though, Yellowjacketshorts (he didn’t actually have those on today, I’ll just refer to him as YJS until he e-mails me) had lost their wheels and by the middle of the Bump Adam had lost Mark’s wheel also. So for a while I could see Mark in the lead, Adam a hundred meters back, and YJS between me and Adam. YJS has a knee wrap on and has been holding back some while he heals but he made a great rabbit and I kept him in sight the rest of the way to the Junction.

The heat was intense; the radio said 99°F in Concord. I noticed that my heart rate was about 10bpm higher than it would have been for the same effort on a cooler day so I was definitely being limited by the temperature. Near the Upper Ranch, I noticed two people catching me easily from behind. It was the pair that Adam and I had passed below the Gate and they were chatting about the Furnace Creek 500 or some other recent ultra-marathon event. I determined it would be no loss of pride to allow them to pass me… not that I had any choice in the matter.

The last three miles were grueling. The heat seemed to make the mountain even steeper and I couldn’t keep my cadence up in the bigger gears so I wound up spinning the easy gears but trying to keep my speed up. With three miles to go, I was at 19 minutes and I figured I could beat 40 but not much better than that. Sure enough, my Junction time was 39m33s and I hit 192 on my pulse monitor (highest I’ve seen since I bought the thing).

Robin soon rode in on her 1970 vintage junky road bike. She’s shopping for a new one and a salesman told her she needs a 59cm frame! Now she’s probably 5’10 or 11 and very leggy but 59cm?? I had her straddle my 55cm Klein and she easily had a couple inches clearance there so maybe the salesman was right. She’s hoping to find a good used one and I think she’s getting hooked on cycling after a half dozen of these Wednesday night rides.

On a weird note, Tiffany had stored her bike in her SUV at work and it got so hot in there that both tires exploded! She fixed them and one of them blew out again! Didn’t even get to do the ride and neither did her husband who was going with us for the first time.

Wildlife Encounter: Yet another disinterested coyote on the way down.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Diablo Summit – 33 miles

Started the morning with a good night’s sleep, good legs, and good weather. It was going to be a warm one and I was sleeveless. Along the residential section of North Gate Road I came across a rider with full “Tour de Cure” kit and since I was wearing my Tour de Cure shorts we struck up a conversation – he had done the Napa 100 mile version of the event and really liked it. Then we got to the Gate and he rode on while I stopped and met up with Peter.

A few minutes after 8 o’clock, Nicole called my cell and said they had just gotten off the freeway and Rick wanted to know if we’d wait, so I checked with Peter and we decided that would be OK. After about ten minutes of stretching and chatting and watching another dozen riders start their climb, our two companions rode up and off we went. Slowly at first but we picked it up around the double dips and Nicole dropped off. By Moss Landing we were going pretty well but Peter was happy to set the pace. By the top of the Bump Rick started to slow down. Then Peter tried his usual “get rid of Scott” tactics but I had none of that and pretty easily stayed on his wheel. It was a very fast last three miles but at almost 27 minutes with two to go I didn’t think we were going to break 40. So I figured I’d just try to stay with Peter until the final turn and then outsprint him rather than go out on a flyer (especially since I had already beaten him that way a couple of weeks ago!).

Wildlife Encounter #1: A coyote crossing the road around a shaded hairpin below Clavicle Cracker – right in front of Peter and me, and between us and a descending rider. Could have been a close call, but it wasn’t.

Peter kept looking back hoping I wasn’t there anymore and I kept smiling up at him. With about 200 meters to go he opened up a sizable gap and I thought “OK, I can give up and hand it to him, or I can carry out the painful plan.” I accelerated hard, yelled out “inside!” on the final right hand turn and beat him to the line by several bike lengths. *AND* my elapsed time was 38m45s so it really WAS a fast last three miles. There were some other riders hanging around at the Junction parking lot – a few of them were first timers and I got a chuckle when one of them said, “We’re only half way? And you mean it gets even STEEPER from here on up?”.

Rick arrived a few minutes later and said he just didn’t have it today, then he slurped up a banana HammerGel pack from his birthday assortment. He said it tasted a little like banana cake frosting, not as weird as it sounded. It must have worked too because he stayed ahead of me all the way up Summit Road. My Summit time was an excellent 74 minutes! Rick had recently put on a new saddle and Peter tried it out in the Summit parking lot – seems both of them have saddle issues and they go for the newer cutout styles. Neither of them wanted to try my flat top Selle San Marco Era K with which I’ve been very happy. I rode both Rick’s and Peter’s and they just feel wrong.

Dozens of riders were coming up as we descended. Some of them were on the side of the road with that look that means they weren’t ready for this. I was singing the old Wayne Newton song “Danke Schoen” all the way down and they must have thought I was nuts as I went by. Another GREAT day on the mountain except for:

Wildlife Encounter #2: A wasp whacked into my upper arm at about 40mph and got smooshed there; I had to peel his carcass off while still riding. He died before he could sting me but some of his stinger found its way under the skin and now I have a small little tender spot there. Just one of those things.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Diablo Summit – 25 miles”

I got to the Gate with good legs a little before 5:30. Amanda and Nicole had left early because they wanted to do the Summit. There was a good group from work coming but we didn’t manage to meet up before the Diablo Cyclists came by. Actually Adam and Leif and a few guys rode by first while I was stretching. Then a small pack of DCers, then another small pack of DCers so I joined up with them. After a short distance though a couple of us sprinted up to the first group, and then Mark came zooming by just at the double dips so a couple more of us rode with him and bridged up to the Leif and Adam gruppetto. I really turned it on over this stretch, thinking I could back off when I got to Adam but of course when they saw Mark they both attacked. Leif wanted to do some attacking practice so he blew Mark away, then settled, then attacked again, and then I never saw either of them until the finish.

The riders were strung out all over the mountain in groups of one, two, or three. I passed June (see Scotty’s Fall Century blog entry) and her friend below the bump but they later passed me back and stayed away (but within sight) until Junction. I passed quite a few people all the way up, and a few others passed me but not many. It was a fun ride because there were people ahead of me that I couldn’t quite catch, and people behind me that I was determined to stay in front of. I dug in hard for the last couple of miles and finished with an ET of 38m31s.

There was a little re-grouping at the Junction but most folks went down one side or the other. Erik and I decided to do the Summit, and Nicole and Amanda came up too, but far behind us. Erik and I took it real easy and he made some apologies for slowing me down but I was enjoying getting to know him and giving him little training tips. By the time we got to the bottom of the Wall I was totally rested so it was the easiest trip up the last 270 meters I’d ever done.

On the way back down we passed Amanda and Nicole near Devil's Elbow coming up, looking exhausted but determined. Must have been dark by the time they got back down.

Happy birthday Clark!

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Diablo Junction 24 miles

I didn’t wake up until 7:45 this morning. No time to stretch, eat breakfast, top off my tire pressure, or even mix up any Cytomax; I was going to be late no matter what. I pulled on my shorts and jersey, no HRM, fed the dog a pig ear and hit the road.

Saw Rick’s SUV on Doncaster – he doesn’t park there unless Nicole didn’t come. Today is Rick’s birthday (39) and I had prepared a token gift of HammerGel individual servings (every flavor they make). Got to the Gate at 10 after or so, no sign of anyone, but within a mile I had them in sight and within another half mile I had joined up. JB, Rick, and Sam – a summer hire college student working with Rick. Sam was a muscular young guy interested in doing some triathlons but had only been riding for… THREE DAYS. He bought his bike (which looked 4cm too small for him) on Wednesday night. Rick advised him to ride his own pace and then we rode away from Sam. As we rode away Rick informed JB and me that Sam had gone into the City last night to party and didn’t get home until 3am. We didn’t feel to sorry for him and he was obviously in trouble way before the serious climbing started.

We maintained a ridiculously easy pace for quite a while. It was surprisingly cold for the last day of July and none of us felt like a hard ride I guess. The fog was thick and the trees were dripping on the pavement. Around the Upper Ranch JB started to push the pace a bit and Rick fell off. I held JB’s wheel easily and noticed that he was panting like a dog, so even though I still felt like I was half asleep I knew I could take him.

Fourty-eight minutes is a terrible ET, but it was fast enough to be first today. Rick liked his Hammer Gel and we decided to sign up for the Napa Valley Century Everyone had plans today so we split up and went down. Sam never made it to the Junction - we figured he had given up and was probably back home in bed already.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Diablo Junction – 16 miles  The “Eat Crow” Ride

First of all I’d like to ask all my blog readers to sign the on-line petition to have OLN carry the Tour of Spain (La Vuelta a España), because the current programming schedule only includes a single, one-hour highlight show for the entire 3-week stage race!  OLN has carried La Vuelta for years with live coverage and highlight shows every day of the race so this is a big disappointment.  This link will take you to a page where you can read the petition and e-sign it; it also requires an e-mail address but they’ve put in some convincing anti-spam harvesting protection.

In the Hurl Ride back in April, Adam declared his intention to break 30 minutes to the Junction – a phenomenal feat achieved by only the best riders.  As an incentive to himself, he swore that if he did NOT come in sub-30 he would ride up the mountain in dorky clothes (Adam is a very “proper” racer boy, always in team kit) on JB’s folding bicycle.  Well on the Hurl Ride he was 10 seconds more than 30 minutes and today was his day to “eat crow”.  Here’s the photo of our motley crew:

That’s Tiffany, Brian (JB’s visiting nephew), Amanda, Adam, Jeff, JB, Cindy, me, Martin, and Eric (Nicole took the photo)

The eleven of us all started off together to share in the embarrassment but Adam was quite good-natured about the whole thing.  His promises of breaking 40 and outsprinting the best of us on this 20” wheel bike were unfulfilled however.

Near Moss Landing we started to string out and by the bottom of the Bump I was in the lead group of four with Cindy, JB, and Eric (first time riding with us).  By the Upper Washout it was just me and JB but I was holding back so he could stay with me.  He seemed to be thinking that he could hang with me and we passed up a lot of the slower Diablo Cyclists before the Upper Ranch but that’s when I accelerated and rode away.  Interesting that even though I was well below my normal speed up until this point, as soon as I went anaerobic I fatigued as fast as I would have had I been pushing it harder over the first 5 miles.  Anyway, Junction time was 41m41s.

There were a lot of riders hanging around the Junction and we all watched everyone else roll in – Mark had even turned around and came up again with Adam and they had a little sprint.  Lots of joking about Adam’s clothes and bike but it was all in fun.  Still, I felt a little cheated that I didn’t get to ride with the faster guys today because I had good legs.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Diablo Summit 24 miles

I was the first one at the Gate this morning.  Down below the Gate they’ve put down new asphalt and they left all the loose gravel on top, I could hear the little pebbles spraying up and dinging the paint on my bike… grrr.  JB showed up early too and as we wondered where Peter might be he rode down from his first ascent to Junction – must have started about 7am.  I had good legs this morning and the weather was perfect; cool but a little windy and I was kind of annoyed that we were riding such a cyclotouriste pace.  When we got to the Bump, JB said to me “I hope you’re reveling in your ability to drop me at will, because this atrocity will NOT LAST!”  I told him “Well, it’s better than the other way around!” 

Finally Peter and I started eating up the road and lost JB.  I rode Peter’s wheel for a mile or so and then we rode up to a couple guys near the upper ranch who looked like posers; in fact I saw them go through the Gate while I was waiting there.  Anyway when they saw us one of them pulled ahead of his riding buddy and took the middle of the lane.  Peter called out “on your left” and the guy didn’t move – in fact he hugged the painted line like he was trying to block us!  He didn’t seem to be a jerk, just stupid, and maybe he actually thought he was leading a 3-man pace line or something.  We stayed back enough to avoid any stupid moves on his part and in about 30 seconds he bonked and we rode by him without saying anything although there were plenty of things I thought about saying. 

So I still felt good and figured I’d pull up even with Peter or maybe even let him sit on but before I knew it I had opened up a gap.  I tried to slow down a bit because I thought it was too early to go but he didn’t catch up so I got aero and pushed it all the way to the line for a 39m41s elapsed time.  Peter later said he just gave up when he saw the gap, that’s not like him but he had already been up once this morning. 

I didn’t even get off my bike, just rode a few laps around the Junction parking area and when JB got there he went straight up Summit Road so Peter and I headed up too.  It was the final ITT stage in the Tour (TIOOYK) today so we were all doing our Powerbar commercial self-talk.  JB fell back again and Peter pulled ahead of me above Juniper but I almost caught up with him at the Summit Wall.  He said, “You win based on total time.” Which was cool because he was 3 or 4 minutes later than me to the Junction.  Good day on the mountain – I felt a little like the “patron” of Diablo.

Peter was planning on doing South Gate and then back to the Summit again, and JB had something going on, and I had to watch my tape of the ITT stage of the TdF on OLN.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Diablo Junction – 16 miles
Today was the hottest ride I've done this summer.  Not the hottest I've ever done certainly, but definitely hot enough to sap your strength and ruin your attitude.  When it’s REALLY hot you can see the heat waves rising out of the pavement trying to melt your bike; I don’t like those days at all.
Nicole is on vacation so I gave Amanda a ride to the start.  JB rode from work and I figured that was all of us.  There was a reasonably large Diablo Cyclist crowd at the church so JB and I started out with a good pace to get a head start.  It became clear very early that the heat was going to be a factor though, so we weren’t at full speed.  We stayed together until the Dumpster Gate and then he slowed down a bit and I pulled away from him gradually.  Shortly before the Bump, Mark motored by going about twice as fast as we were; he was wearing a lycra jersey and he ALWAYS wears wool so you KNOW it was hot today! 
Then down below Clavicle Cracker another guy rides up and asks me if I’m Diablo Scott!  “Yes!” I said, “that’s me!”  He introduced himself as the guy that I “nipped at the line with panache” from my blog entry last month (see June 23, 2004 blog entry).  He said he liked my blog writing and that he tried to start one of his own a year ago but didn’t keep up with it.  He explained that he sat up that day because he was training for the Death Ride and was going to the Summit – once he realized that the rest of us were going to stop at the Junction he eased off.  Anyway he’s the first person I’ve met who knew me from my blog and that’s pretty cool.  Then he rode away from me easily and mentioned how he LIKED it this hot.
I was on a manageable pace given the heat.  Even though I had two bottles of cold drinks it seemed like too much work to actually drink from them.  In my mind I pictured Lance’s time trial in last year’s Tour (TIOOYK) and how he got dehydrated and finished with his mouth caked with salt.  I couldn’t convince myself to go any faster so I rolled into the Junction at 40m41s and then drank everything I had.
The usual socializing at the Junction plus Tour de France commentary (today was the Alpe d’Huez ITT).  I was surprised when Jeff rode in because I didn’t know he was coming.  Then we all split up and it was over. 

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Diablo Juniper 24 miles
Rick’s doing the Seattle to Portland ride today.  I showed up at the Gate and found Peter there, then Nicole rode up, then JB.  Nicole said she wanted a head start so the rest of us talked and stretched for about five minutes.  When we started up we kept it pretty easy, not picking up the pace until near the Bump where we caught Nicole.  Then Peter ramped it up and I stayed with him but JB fell back.  I rode behind Peter but he kept gradually increasing his speed until I finally couldn’t hang near Chainbuster.  My Junction time was 40m48s, not bad at all given the slow start.
We all regrouped at the Junction but JB and Nicole had things to do so only Peter and I went up.  Rick called my cell phone and said he was at the lunch stop of STP – 53 miles by 9:20am.  Then I turned around at Juniper because I had stuff to do too.  Lots and lots of riders on the road today – may have something to do with the Tour de France. 
 Rick called me again later – 140 miles by 3:30pm, his overnight stop.  Tried to convince me to do it next year too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Diablo Summit – 25 miles

As I rode up to the place where Nicole was parked, I saw that Amanda was having some mechanical issue. I stopped to adjust her old and crappy cantilever brakes and then the DBC peloton rolled by so I wouldn’t be off the front today, but I figured I could catch most of them if I didn’t start TOO late. Then Leif, Clint, and Adam – the Organic Athlete (OA) team contingent came by and stopped to group up with us. Crossing the line together, it was soon a gruppetto of five including JB and me. We lost JB at the double dips and I pulled off the train near Moss Landing, doing the rest of the ride solo. I did pass a bunch of riders over the next 6 miles but I felt “off” – I think because I had a very salty Mexican lunch and the heat was intensifying the sodium saturation situation. I WON’T be making that mistake again next week… much better to skip lunch all together and then have a Powerbar before the ride.

Coming around Chainbuster I caught up to a group of six that included Tiffany and Cindy from work – they must have had about a ten-minute head start. I said something encouraging and then put my head down to drive my Quantum Pro in for a 39m40s ET. That makes five consecutive sub-40 Wednesdays!

Just a little socializing at the Junction, then the OA3 and I headed up to the Summit. Promises of “andando piano” were quickly forgotten and I shortly exploded out the back and rode another 40 minutes solo and slow for a Summit ET of 80 minutes – even had a bit of a tailwind going up the Wall. Leif brought his digicam and we took a few photos that I’ll post when available.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Diablo Summit

Rick, JB, and I met up at the Gate. Just the guys this morning, so it promised to be a sufferfest. Rick announced he was planning on riding one minute intervals every five minutes, JB announced he was NOT going to do intervals but would ride steady-Freddie and would then go back the long way, down South Gate.

So Rick and I synchronized our cyclecomputer stopwatches and the first interval came at 5 minutes – we pulled way ahead of JB, I stayed on Rick’s wheel and didn’t really dig too deep. Then JB caught up to us in the recovery.

Wildlife Encounter : A coyote chasing a jackrabbit. Looked like the coyote was going to have a big breakfast but I didn’t see the capture.

Over the next few intervals we pulled farther away from JB and I also started powering away from Rick, but we always re-grouped during the recovery minutes. With each interval my peak heart rate got higher and so did my recovery heart rate. About the forth interval JB started getting ahead of us during our recovery phase and then we’d catch him during the hard effort, but at the sixth interval we were totally fractured. Interval number 7 came at 40 minutes but I stretched it out a little longer and crossed the line at Junction in 41m10s, just a few seconds behind JB. Rick came in about a minute later looking like he’d been mauled by a bobcat. Good interval workout, should help my time on Wednesday.

There were a lot of fresh faces on the mountain today, but a lot of the regulars were away doing the Death Ride. I expect to see some new 2004 Death Ride jerseys this week on the Wednesday ride. While we were waiting around at the Junction, Peter showed up and convinced us all to go up. I stayed together with Peter until Juniper where I knew JB and probably Rick would turn around. Then Peter and I went to the Summit and my total Summit time was 77 minutes. That Diablo Challenge thing might just be worth doing this year!

Met Rick for a Jamba Juice, which tasted great after the ride (the 16oz size in one of the new low-cal flavors… I’m in training you know).

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Diablo Junction plus South Gate Kiosk, 22 miles

We had a big group from work today. It hasn’t been as hot the last couple evenings and the weather was very nice tonight. JB was late getting back from a meeting but the rest of us all started up pretty much together including Adam (first time since before his wedding) and Leif. We splintered up a little bit and I was riding next to Cindy when the first couple of Diablo Cyclists came by and I joined them: Cadex guy and Dave with the Paramount. Cadex guy had his Trek carbon bike back now though so he was faster than usual, but I’ll still call him Cadex guy because it’s easy to remember.

Adam and Leif took off about this time and pulled well clear but my little group was riding a pretty good tempo. As we got to the Upper Ranch we caught up to Adam and he rode with Cadex guy while I fell back a bit and Dave dropped a little bit more. It was like that for the rest of the ride but Adam shed Cadex guy before the Junction. Leif finished much earlier but Adam has lost some speed over the last couple months because of all the wedding planning: he promises a strong come-back though. So we finished in this order: Adam, Cadex guy, me, Dave. I crossed the line at 39m51s making this the fourth Wednesday in a row that I’ve broken 40! Since this is only my second ride in fourteen days I was happy with that time.

At the Junction, Adam, Leif, and I decided to go down South Gate for extra riding. They went all the way down to the bottom, but I turned around at the Kiosk.

Wildlife Encounter A coyote on the road, hiding in the shadow of a large tree as I was returning to Junction from South Gate. A car was passing me from behind and also saw it and pulled over to observe but they didn’t see the other coyote in the ditch right next to where they stopped until they started to get out of the car. That surprised them!

Back at the Junction everyone was gone except for Jeff and Amanda. They said JB and most of the others had gone up to Juniper just a few minutes before I got there. I declined to chase them but Jeff and Amanda decided to go up Summit road a ways too. I hung around for a few minutes and then went back down North Gate.