Wednesday, April 28, 2004

No ride today… it's my birthday!

And the wife and daughter are taking me out for gnocchi and chianti. And there will be lots of other riders up there, BUT last night JB went part way up the mountain and on the way back down he ran over a snake and crashed hard! He said it was about two turns above Moss Landing, right about the point where you can really carry some speed into the straight section for a high max speed. Anyway, he said the snake was crossing from left to right as the road bends to the left. JB tried to anticipate the snake's trajectory and go left of his tail but the snake stopped. JB ran over the snake's tail and skidded to the right while leaning to the left. When he regained traction he high-sided over to the right, still clipped in to his pedals until he landed on his right side and his Della Santa got thrown down the road about 10 meters. His description sounded a lot like what happened to Joseba Beloki in last year's Tour. Another rider behind him stopped and made sure he was stable before leaving. JB had to do some emergency on-road maintenance to get home.

Physical damage: road rash and bruises, no fractures or head injury.
Bike damage: both wheels pretzeled, dent in the down tube - may be serioius, too early to tell.
Snake damage: the other rider said he saw it lying belly up but when they went back to look it was gone.

Help us think of an identifying name for this location now -
Viper's Vengeance?
Culebra Corner

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Diablo Junction 26 miles

I was first to the Gate this morning, JB showed up a few minutes later. The Devil Mountain Double was today too so there were lots of double century riders coming down from the Summit in groups of three and four at mile 30 of their epic and grueling journey. We expected Rick and Nicole to show up a little late so JB and I did a warm up ride to the Double Dips and back. At 8:10 I called Rick and he said they weren’t coming.

It was a pretty warm morning and JB was in his vest and arm warmers so he stopped at the Gate to doff them and I joked that I was going to attack. I set off by myself, not too fast, fully expecting him to catch me within a minute or so but he didn’t. I figured if he was a little tired when he caught up to me I might be able to stay with him since I also noticed he had forgotten his water bottle (again) and he might have some performance deterioration so I picked up the pace a bit just for fun. Near the bottom of the Bump (still alone) I noticed a group of four fast riders approaching me, one of whom I reasoned was JB. Turns out it was a gruppetto of leg shavers with club kits (one was Galaxy Granola, I didn’t recognize the others) so I didn’t know how far back JB was and I started to think he’d had a mechanical or something. Anyway, I stayed with these guys up the Bump and felt pretty proud of myself and one of them even started to fade before the Ranches. Another one of them opened up about a 1 minute gap in front of us and I rode behind the two guys in the middle. The strong gusty winds above the Ranches were a serious challenge and I used these two guys as wind blockers whenever I could but didn’t glue myself to their wheels. I did the last three miles in under 20 minutes and finished in 40m39s, which was excellent given the wind conditions and slow start. JB showed up a few minutes later, saying that he couldn’t get his cyclo-computer to reset at the start and his time was 40m41s (2 sec slower than me!). The guy in the group of four that flared out finished a few minutes behind JB so he must have really bonked.

We watched another dozen riders or so come in to the Junction from the north and the south, and then Peter came down from the Summit. Peter and I reminisced about Primavera last week and then we all went our own ways.

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, April 21, 2004

Diablo Junction, 17 miles

Regular Wednesday after work ride today. The Diablo Cyclist club must be starting at 5 because we didn’t see any of them at 5:30 like we do later in the season. Just me, JB, and Nicole tonight so we noodled along for the first couple miles and socialized. My left knee was telling me that the tendonitis I felt in the century on Sunday was just under the surface and ready to come screaming back so I was happy to take it a little easy.

At the bottom of the Bump though, it was time for business. I pounded up in my 21t out of the saddle in my normal manner and felt strong but JB was right behind me; usually he lets me go here and catches me while I’m recovering… somewhere around the Upper Washout. He was staying with me but he was breathing really hard and I thought he was going to burn out but he never did and he still had enough left to pull in front of me after the crest. I didn’t think I could stay with him the rest of the way to the Junction but I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to make him hurt so I got right on his wheel until the Upper Washout and then motored past him keeping some good speed going as I approached the Ranches. But JB’s strongest feature is that he recovers quickly and can hold a higher effort for longer than me so he came around me for the last time with a couple miles to go and finished a little more than a minute ahead of me. One of the statistics I track is my time over the last three miles and I was less than 20 minutes today so that was good. My perfect ride would be: 18m at Upper Washout (3mtg), 24m at the speed limit sign (2mtg), 31m at Big Shady Oak (1mtg) and sub-38m at the Junction. Should be able to nail one later this spring… stay tuned!

Product Review: Shower’s Pass Jersey

I got this jersey for Christmas last December. My mom had my brother help her pick it out for me and he did a great job (he said he considered keeping it for himself when he saw how good it looked up close). Shower’s Pass is a small company specializing in rain gear for outdoorsy people and they’re located in Ukiah, about 100 miles north of Mt. Diablo. They make a lot of their own stuff but they contracted this jersey from Aussie Apparel. Aussie mostly does custom club clothing and they’re located in (of all places) Petaluma, CA, not too far from Ukiah. This jersey has interesting graphics, bold colors, good stitching, and a nice long zipper. The material feels good, I’m sure it’s some high tech sweat wicking aero stuff but what you notice is that it feels just right. It’s cut kind of loose so it’s really comfortable too, with plenty of room for your undershirt, bib straps, and heart rate transmitter belt without that “visible panty line” look you can get from those pro-fit jerseys. Shower’s Pass also advertises on the free e-newsletter I get from the dudes at so that’s a good thing too. You can buy one on the Shower's Pass website for $50. I give this jersey my highest rating : 10.

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure charity ride for diabetes on May 23.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Just a Photo
Here’s one of the photos Lois took of me on the Wednesday night ride last week. Quite a shot I thought.

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure charity ride for diabetes.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Primavera Century, 104 miles

First century of the year. Woke up at 4:30 and ate a huge bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar while I stretched, packed, rubbed in the Icy Hot and got dressed. The forecast was for a cool overcast day with possible showers so I decided to wear my tights over my bibs, a mesh T-shirt under my jersey, and arm warmers. I Picked up Peter just 2 miles away at 5:30, and then Rick in Dublin at 6:00. Got to the start in Fremont at about 6:30 and we met Joe who had decided to drive himself. Check-in was very well organized and we all rolled at 7:05.

For the first few miles we meandered through McNeighborhoods full of McMansions to get out of town while staying off of the busier narrow streets like Mission Blvd. I was feeling great and riding just a little bit faster than the other three and before I knew it I was way ahead of them. I even stopped to take a phone call from my wife, expecting that everyone would catch me but none of them did. There seemed to be quite a few flats and mechanicals the first fifteen miles or so. Then we started a steep but short climb up Calaveras and people were dropping like flies. One guy threw his chain of the granny gear and barely got unclipped before he fell over. Another woman took like two strokes and then totally stalled out. I burned by everyone on the climb but then stopped at a little park where there were some outhouses and I saw Peter riding by just then. If I had looked at my map I would have realized that the first rest stop was only another half mile up the road! It was at mile 20 in Ed Levin Park and they had banana bread, muffins, fruit, and bagels. There was much anxious talk about the upcoming "Calaveras Wall" but I actually looked forward to it. All four of us left this rest stop together.

The second leg consisted of about 15 miles around the Calaveras Reservoir. This was some really neat terrain on rolling, twisty roads with almost no traffic. Rick and I were in the lead and testing each other with little accelerations (I won them all) but he knew the road pretty well so he was faster on the descending sections. Then there was the Photo Crazy guy who took this shot of me:

Next came a nice long descent to rest stop #2 at mile 36 in Sunol Glen School. More of the same breads and fruits here, very friendly volunteers and a mechanic just in case.

The third leg started with about 15 miles of mostly flat Pleasanton and Livermore roads which I mostly rode with Peter; Rick and Joe were back a ways and together. Peter and I happened to join up with a man and two women who were clearly ultra-marathon cyclists (one of the women had a California Triple Crown jersey on). These three made really smooth position changes in the pace line and wasted no energy in unnecessary movement yet they were pleasant and conversational at the same time - I guess that's just something you learn when you do double centuries - I'll never find out for myself! Still they were slowing me down (really!) and Peter and I rode away from them a few miles out of Livermore. There was an optional water and outhouse stop just before the next big climbs so we stopped for a few minutes then left. Peter and I hit the bottom of Altamont Pass together and he warned me that it was a long one so I let him go and sat up to spin my low gear. Then I felt the first few drops of rain on my face - mile 55, I was also starting to get a little left knee pain at this point (tendonitis I think) so I didn't want to push it too hard. I'd never been on this road before; it crosses over I-580 at the top of the pass, then winds around all the windmill farms (pretty cool to get that close to some of them) and then drops down again. After a couple of rolling farm type roads we climbed back up over Patterson Pass Road where the wind started to get stronger too. So my knee was aching and the rain was falling and the wind was blowing but I was still feeling good mentally and physically as we turned in to rest stop #3 for Lunch at Rios-Lovell Winery, mile 68. They had make-it yourself sandwiches, Cup 'o Noodles, bread and fruit but the lines were pretty long so we wound up spending too much time here. Rick arrived about 5 minutes after Peter and I did, and Joe showed up just before we left. Rick said Joe was a tough guy and he'd make it at his own pace so we needn't feel like we had to wait around for him. I popped a couple Advil for my knee, Rick took three for his back, and Peter just tolerated whatever pain he was in without benefit of medication - the three of us started the fourth leg together.

This was the ugliest, rottenest section of the ride. The wind got a lot stronger and the terrain got a lot less interesting as we worked our way from Livermore through the Dublin Canyon including a stretch of the freeway frontage road that was obscenely noisy with traffic. Rest stop #4 came suddenly at mile 89 at a little farm house complete with goats and crowing roosters. I got here first and I joked that I was taking too much HammerGel and that's why I was going too fast - actually it may not have been far from the truth…the HammerGel was flowing and I was flying.

So why did they put a rest stop at mile 89? Because the last leg included another 5-mile, 900-foot climb up Palomares Road. What a grunt, it just went on forever and I did start to feel a LITTLE fatigued in here but the same scenario played out as over the last 3 or 4 climbs: Peter pulled ahead on the climb and Rick fell back with me in the middle, then I caught Peter on the downhill and Rick caught us both on the flats afterwards. We picked up quite a few single riders in the last five miles: it was still raining and windy and they appreciated the group effort. We got back to my car at 3:40pm (after my final solo escape to beat Peter and Rick), quickly loaded the bikes on the roof and headed over to the cafeteria for the post ride meal of lasagne, garlic bread, salad, and brownies. On the way home Rick called Joe to make sure everything was OK and Joe said he was too tired to eat the meal so he just threw his bike in his truck and left.

Ride Statistics:
104 miles
6,000 feet climbing
6h 30m ride time
8h 30 m total time (too much time at those rest stops!)
16.0 mph average speed

Ride Ratings (1 to 10):
Course/scenery 8
Support 9
Difficulty 8

Calaveras Reservoir alone would have been worth the fee; Altamont, Patterson and Palomares were nice bonuses. The SAG wagons were efficient and numerous, the volunteers were great, and the food was reasonable. There were a FEW miles on flat roads with no wind or rain… but not many.

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure charity ride for diabetes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Diablo Junction - 17 miles

Lois asked all us Tour de Cure riders to show up in our team jerseys so she could take photos. There were forecasts of thundershowers and it turned out most people couldn't come anyway, just Nicole and I at 5:30 so Lois had lots of time to get us in several different poses (race face, smiley face, sprint, etc). JB was coming but got held up at work (and he wasn't wearing his team jersey anyway) so I noodled along with Nicole until the bottom of the Bump.

Wildlife Encounter: A beautiful red-tailed hawk flew right over my head, only about 10 feet off the ground. I'm not much of a bird watcher but that was pretty cool.

Passed up a couple of other women riders who knew Lois from somewhere else and Lois drove up in her truck taking photos of all of us at different points along the way. The sun was pretty low and there were some dark clouds to make for dramatic pictures, watch my Tour de Cure page for them - I'll try to rotate one per day after Lois gets them to me, and post one or two here also.

I did the last three miles in 20 minutes so I got some good training in there. I put on my arm warmers at the Junction and turned around to ride back up with Nicole (and maybe get my picture taken some more too!). JB had caught up to Nicole and was riding his fully fendered touring bike with panniers and everything (because of the weather forecast). He had a built in excuse for when he lost the sprint but he made a good go of it anyway; I stayed right behind him until there was only enough room to win by a wheel so it was very easy and looked cool with me throwing my bike at the line… too bad Lois didn't get that one on film.

Next ride: Primavera Century on Sunday!

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure charity ride for diabetes.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Diablo Summit - 33 miles

Saw Rick at the corner of Ygnacio and Bancroft where we both arrived at the same time (him in his Explorer, me on my bike). He parked on Doncaster and we rode to the Gate from there. JB showed up a few minutes later and we got rolling. Lots of bugs on the road today - for some reason they cluster in the parts of the road when you're likely to have your mouth wide open so you suck in a good dozen before you can react and maybe spit out half that many. We rode casually until the bottom of the Bump where I started my intervals. I stayed ahead for a lot longer than I would have thought but did get caught around the Upper Wash Out. Rick's back has been hurting from too much manual labor so he started to fade and JB and I played a little cat and mouse the rest of the way up. I pretended I didn't care about beating him and he pretended he was riding his own ride but he opened up a big gap well before we got to the point where I can usually out sprint him. My time was 41minutes and change so it was a good second half after a relaxed start.

Ride up to the summit was leisurely and we didn't stop at Juniper, we all got to the bottom of the Wall at the same time but I let them go up first so I'd have a clear shot - and anyway I like to ride a few laps around the Lower Parking Lot to make sure I've got maximum lung reserve before I start up. No problem though - it's always a great ego feeder to make it up the Wall without hitting the wall.

Dozens of riders were coming up as we were descending. Even saw a guy with a Klein wearing a Klein jersey at the Junction - I gave him a ring of the old Incredibell as I went by.

Please sponsor me in the Tour de Cure charity ride for diabetes.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Diablo Junction - 18 miles


Today was the big day. First Wednesday of DST and first Wednesday after work ride. There were quite a few people from our Team BC Tour de Cure group that I hadn't met before and most of us had our new Team BC jerseys on.

I got out to North Gate Road a little early because I was hauling Rick's bike and also my Rockhopper that Dave (from our Denver office) was borrowing for today. When I unloaded I found Rick's front tire was totally flat and wouldn't hold air. I called him and offered to fix it before he got there and he said to go ahead and use the spare tube in his seat bag, so I did. Then I warmed up a little bit in the residential neighborhood around there and played with my derailleur adjustments. I took off my seat bag to reduce the bike weight a little and just had a tube, levers, and CO2 inflator stuffed into my jersey pocket. JB, Rick, and Adam showed up soon and JB borrowed my floor pump to top off his pressure and pulled the valve right off of his tube so he had to change a flat too - this was getting to be portentous! Then Jeff showed up with Dave, then Edgardo and then Raymond so there was quite a crowd hanging around and a few of the slower riders had already started up.

So my goal was 38 minutes - I didn't think I'd really be able to do that but I wanted an ambitious goal to shoot for rather than playing it safe by sandbagging my estimate; 38 minutes would be 50 seconds faster than last year's hurl ride and 30 seconds better than my all time personal best (PB). The plan was for everybody to get to the Junction at 6:30 so that meant my start time was 5:52. I tried a few explosive accelerations out of the Gate to pick the right gear and helped count down some of the other riders.

I started off as fast as I could but quickly realized I'd have to think about managing my effort because my legs started to complain. Rick started 30 seconds before me and I thought I might pass him in the first few miles but that he would pass me back later on; I only got to within about 15 seconds of him before he started increasing his lead. I did hold an excellent pace all the way through the Double Dips and up to Moss Landing though and then started to gauge my level of effort for the rest of the climbing. I figured I could do the last three miles in 7 minutes apiece (at maximum effort) so to meet my goal I'd have to be 17 minutes at 3mtg, 24 minutes at 2mtg, and 31 minutes at 1mtg; breaking it down like that made it clear how hard this was going to be.

Three miles to go (Upper Washout) - I was at 18m45s and I thought I still might make it in under 39 minutes.

Two miles to go (25 MPH sign below Diablo Ranch) - 24m53s - less than a minute off my goal pace at this point!

One mile to go (Big Shady Oak) - 32m37s and I still might break 39 minutes if I can dig deep enough.

Junction - 39m20s, an excellent result but quite a bit slower than I was hoping for. Still the season is just beginning and I have less than a thousand miles in my legs so I'm satisfied for now - and that 38 minute goal will just roll over to my next PB attempt in a month or so.

Adam came in at a hair over 30 minutes so he'll be doing the "eat crow" ride next week in cutoffs and sandals… heh heh heh.

Jeff (46 min), Nicole (48 min), and Rick (37m30s) all PB'ed so everybody was happy for them. It was Raymond's first time up so I guess that's a PB too - 55 minutes I think… he sure looked knackered but seemed glad to have done it, he might become a regular.

Back down at the bottom we found out that Edgardo had broken two spokes on his rear wheel and couldn't finish the climb! They were probably broken before he even started but he didn't notice until his bike handling got a little too squirmy.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Diablo Junction 23 miles

Saturday I went to the Family Education Day for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis; my 4year old daughter has this affliction and she’s doing quite nicely but we are always aware that it may reappear at any time so we keep informed by staying involved.

Anyway, since the Handicapped Hurl Ride is Wednesday I wanted to have a good ride in me before then so I went Sunday morning by myself. Before I got going I logged on to to read the live coverage of the Ronde van Vlanderen – definitely my favorite spring classic – Hincapie, Boonen, van Bon, and Musseuw were all there near the end so I couldn’t tear myself away. I also noticed the “Low Battery” indicator on my Flight Deck so I changed that while I was following the race.

The time had just changed to DST so it was barely past dawn when I started up at 8am. I was hoping for a warm sunny morning but I got cold and windy instead. The headwinds the first couple miles really slowed me down but I steeled my resolve and pushed hard. At the 3-mile to go point I thought I had a chance of breaking 40 but it would take everything I had. With two miles to go I didn’t think I would make it but I kept my head down and my cadence up. With one mile to go I knew it would be a good time but not sub-40 and I continued to hammer and finished at 41m18s.

When I got home I put on my new tires (purple Pro Race again), polished up my frame with Bike Lust, and fine-tuned the brakes and gears.

My goal for the Hurl Ride is 38 minutes flat: that’ll be 30 seconds faster than my current PB and 50 seconds faster than last year’s Hurl Ride. Last year my goal was 40 minutes and I beat that by over a minute so this year I figure I’ll toss caution to the wind and go for the glory. If I don’t make it at least I’ll have the satisfaction of stirring things up a bit – since it’s a handicapped race we’re doing a staggered start and JB will be forced to set a faster goal than me or else I’ll be starting first… he won’t agree to that.

One more bit of news – Adam won the Cat 3 race of the Santa Rosa criterium Saturday – a well deserved trophy.

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

Thursday, April 01, 2004

zoot katz blows goats
Just for RBM pranksters.