Saturday, March 27, 2004

Diablo Junction + South Gate Road, 36 miles.

The weather reports said today was going to be clear and warm. A quick check out the window at 6:30 showed dry roads and blue sky so I figured it would be my first ride of the year without a jacket or tights. By the time I got out the door though, it was raining! I went back in, put on my jacket and tights, and changed bikes.

The rain was just light enough to make seeing though my glasses difficult, and the roads were just wet enough for everything to get grimy. I got to the gate and met Rick and JB. JB was in full winter gear and Rick had on shorts and a light jacket - the weather fooled all of us. We started at a moderate pace and then I did a big interval up the Bump and tried to recover without slowing down too much. Both Rick and JB know I like to do this and didn't interpret my move as an attack (and even if it were an attack it wouldn't have worked). We were together again by the Upper Wash Out and I did a few more intervals before I started to fade and they pulled ahead of me for good with about two miles to go.

At the Junction Rick wanted to go up but JB and I talked him into going down the south side. We did "the hole in the wall" which is an access through a fence into an exclusive country club neighborhood and a shortcut back to Danville that avoids the heavy traffic on Camino Diablo. Then we came back to Walnut Creek in some other neighborhood roads with lots of little sprinter hills and I jumped on every one. Rick tried to match me once and declared himself the winner when he pulled about a half length in front of me, but it was no where near the top of the hill so it was just a little joke. I really like those long epic climbs, but I'm much better at the little ones.

HELLO! Scraped a pedal on the way back to Walnut Creek. Remember I'm on my Eddy Merckx with the new Shimano M515s so there was lots of clearance. It was sort of an uphill left turn and the road was banked. I was pedalling out of the saddle and SCRAPE - a real wake-up call.

I’m riding the Tour de Cure charity ride for the American Diabetes Association. Please visit my sponsorship page and donate $5 – I’d really appreciate it. Thanks. Scott

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

No riding last weekend; my daughter got admitted to the hospital Friday morning for what may have been (but wasn't) appendicitis. They kept her for two days, we got discharged at 9:30 Saturday night, and she's fine now.

But I did get to do a fun bike commute to the Contra Costa Superior Court for jury duty in Martinez on Monday and Tuesday. Twelve miles each way on some roads I hadn't ridden before - turned out to be more interesting than I had imagined; a little help from my map making program found a good route for me to take. There's no bike parking facility at the court house but there were plenty of other things to lock up to and there was a big handicapped stall in the restroom to change clothes in. I got there a little early so I could walk around outside and let the sweat dry a little before I put on my jury duty clothes.

Two days of listening to the other potential jurors make feeble excuses about why they shouldn't have to serve. They went through about 75 of the 80 people called for my case but they had the whole jury picked before they drew my name for consideration, and I didn't get to answer a single question! Could have been an interesting case - a guy accused of stealing a car in El Cerrito.

Only ten days until Daylight Wasting Time ends!

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Diablo Junction plus South Gate Kiosk 29 miles

I showed up at 8 and waited until ten after but no one else came. Actually there was one guy I thought was Rick at first so I chased him down and then turned around when I realized it wasn’t him. So at 8:10 I put a big rock on the post (our signal for being up the road) and took off by myself.

The weather was great! I had originally put on my Pearl Izumi Barrier Jacket but when I left the house it was already too warm so I switched to just a short sleeve jersey, wind vest, and tights. I took off the vest before the climb and a couple miles up I started to think the tights would have to come off too! It got pretty windy the last few miles though, so the tights were appropriate. I passed up the guy I thought was Rick, and I passed up about a half dozen other riders before the Junction too. At about mile 5 I could see JB on his way up coming fast, but I was in no danger of being caught at that point.

Wildlife Encounter: A Monarch butterfly flew tempo with me for about 50 meters near the Upper Washout. One more harbinger of spring.

At the Junction, JB said that Nicole and he left together and he rode with her until Moss Landing; Rick apparently has been working a lot of late hours and decided to sleep in today. After Nicole got to the Junction I suggested that JB and I ride down to the South Gate Kiosk and he agreed. I was feeling good and led the whole way down. We circled the kiosk and then I took a flyer at the easy part. A couple weeks ago I tried this with Rick and Peter but they reeled me in easily; this time though I was stronger and held off JB all the way back to the Junction. He had some excuse, but I pretty simply out powered him… it was glorious. And then we three went out for coffee before we all went home.

I’m riding the Tour de Cure charity ride for the American Diabetes Association. Please visit my sponsorship page and donate $5 – I’d really appreciate it. Thanks. Scott

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Diablo Junction plus Blackhawk 40 miles

Rick, JB, and I met 8 at the Gate. This was my first ride in two weeks and the first time since last Thanksgiving that I’ve been on my Klein and the weather promised to be great so I was pumped for a super ride. I even had a big bowl of oatmeal for brekkie and wore my wind vest instead of my Barrier Jacket, which turned out to be the perfect clothing for this morning.

Wildlife Encounter: A calf on the road at Moss Landing. Not aggressive but he was scared and could have trampled us if he felt threatened.

We passed about a dozen other folks going up North Gate – all different sorts of people and all cycling abilities. Rick and JB started doing 30-second intervals but I didn’t join in because I thought we were going to summit so I wanted to hold back some. They both beat me by a minute or so, but JB said his legs were quivering so he was really digging to do that.

At the Junction Rick said he wanted to do the Primavera Century this year. I’ve been thinking the same thing because they’ve changed the route since we last did it. It looks pretty challenging and it fits in perfectly on my calendar.

JB asked us what we wanted to do from here and Rick said he wanted to do the Summit. I said I was up for anything but JB pretty much insisted on doing South Gate and around (I’m not sure why he asked us because he’d already made up his mind). I said I was looking forward to making JB’s legs quiver some more so down we went with me in front and I was descending like “Il Falco” on my Klein with the confidence-inspiring Pro Race tires. We were pretty much all together at the bottom (me still in front) and we bombed down Blackhawk Road. I decided my goal would be to crest every single climb in first place all the way home (but I didn’t tell anyone else about my plans). I was totally “no chaining” all the way on Blackhawk, Tassajara, Camino Diablo, and La Gonda: neither Rick nor JB could stay on my wheel and after every little incline (which I DID crest first) I politely slowed to wait for them. We saw the “House of Pain” ride on Tassajara – about 30 Cat 2’s and better on their way out to Livermore… impressive group. On the north side of Danville my wife called me on the mobile phone and I stopped to take it… when I caught back up JB asked “Did you tell her how badly you’re dusting us?”. I continued to set a punishing pace on Danville Blvd and all the way back to Walnut Creek.

JB went home but Rick and I stopped for the season’s first Jamba Juice in downtown WC.

Later in the day I took my daughter down the street to practice riding her two-wheeler and after that the whole family went for another 12 mile ride on the trails to Arborado Park. It was a superb entry into spring!

I’m riding the Tour de Cure charity ride for the American Diabetes Association. Please visit my sponsorship page and donate $5 – I’d really appreciate it. Thanks. Scott