Saturday, June 19, 2004

Diablo Summit 34 miles

When I got to the Gate at 8, I saw a rock on the post – the signal that JB had already started up. I figured he was just getting some extra warm-up climbing in and Rick and Nicole weren’t there yet so I went up also. I turned around after 5 minutes though when I hadn’t seen him and when I got back, there he was – turned out he hadn’t taken the rock down from last week (we have to get a new system). And he had his new, fully functional Atlantis bike so we talked about that for a while until the Explorer made its appearance at 8:15.

And we all finally started up about 8:30. We started slowly to keep Nicole involved, and we talked about JB’s new bike and about Adam’s wedding last night. And then things ramped up a notch. At the Bump they ramped up another notch. Quite a few riders on the Mountain today – lots of folks who looked like Death Riders, Team in Training groups, clubs, weekend warriors, has-beens, wanna-bes, and triathletes.

Around 2 miles to go, Rick and I gradually rode away from JB (whose legs still aren’t back to pre-snakecrash form). Rick pulled for quite a while and I stayed on his wheel but it was a lot of work. Then I led for a while and just a little bit faster to see if Rick had been holding back but he held on too. Then around Big Shady Oak there was this Clydesdale taking the middle of the lane around a right-hand switchback. Rick went around him inside to the right and I went outside to the left and shifted up at the same time. I thought it was too early to make a move and Rick hadn’t shown any weakness but suddenly I had a gap and he wasn’t trying to close it. I kept expecting him to catch up and I didn’t really max out until about a half mile to go when I knew I could stay ahead to the line. Junction time: 42m15s, Rick’s was about 20 seconds slower and JB came in about 2 minutes after that. Rick shook my hand and accepted defeat like a good sportsman.

I insisted that all new bikes must make their maiden voyage a Summit run and JB agreed and Rick was up for it so we started up Summit Road. It was a bit cooler at the higher elevations but still very nice riding weather. At the bottom of the Blue Oak Speedway JB dropped his chain on a downshift to the 24?tooth (yes, his low gear is a 24x28). We must have had a tailwind because we sailed though here and past Juniper, but around Muir picnic area I started to run out of gas and lost contact with my gruppetto. No troubles but my speed dropped a little and I got to the top of the Summit Wall at 82 minutes.

The wind dictated a cautious descent and handling was a bit tricky around some of the turns but it was another great day on Mt. Diablo.

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