Saturday, June 12, 2004

North Gate Road, Summit Road, South Gate Road, Danville Blvd

JB, Rick, and me this morning. We started right on time, JB is still on his Trek touring bike with panniers but is feeling much better. As we approached Moss Landing I pulled away from the other two by slowly pedaling a big gear as if just for fun to see how far I could get in my 15-tooth. When I looked back, I had a pretty good gap so I opened it up a little farther to see how much I could get away with before the chase started. By the top of the Bump, I had probably three minutes on them and then I really let it loose, pushing hard all the way to the Junction. I could see Rick gaining time on me for the last couple of miles but as I rounded Chainbuster I was pretty sure I had him and I did finish about one and a half minutes before he did.

JB wanted to go to some Danville bike shops to look for a small part he needed to complete his Atlantis build, but the California Pedaler didn’t open until 10 o’clock so we decided to go part way up the Summit Road before going down South Gate Road. On the way up, we ran into Peter coming down and he turned around to climb with us. At the bottom of the Speed Trap we stopped to turn around but I talked with Peter for a while so JB and Rick were out of sight when I finally started down. So I’m descending alone, thinking they’ll meet me near the bottom of South Gate Road and my mind starts wandering and I suddenly realize I missed the turn and I’m on North Gate Road (!) down by Son of Chainbuster. I quickly turned around and hammered back up to the Junction and straight on through to SGR.

Near Stagecoach this guy descended past me pretty quickly and I decided he was someone I didn’t want to ride near so I let him get pretty far ahead before I increased my speed. By Rock City though he had already slowed down so I had to go around him and he got on my wheel. I slowed down purposefully to let him know I didn’t like that and he came around me again, saying something unintelligible as he did (I don’t know if it was something rude, or just a comment on the weather). Anyway we both came up on a car descending in front of us and the other rider didn’t even pause before he tried to pass the car around some blind switchbacks and the car didn’t slow down either – both the rider and the driver were clueless and dangerous so I put some extra space between us. Finally the rider got around the car and sped further down the road where I saw he was going to pass a white pickup that I thought might be a ranger truck. I thought, “I hope he tries a move like that on a ranger” and sure enough it WAS a ranger and he did get pulled over and got at least a lecture if not a ticket.

So then Rick calls my cell and asks where I am and I give him the story about the wrong turn and tell him I’ll meet him at Danville Bikes. As I got to Diablo Road though, near the country club, there was a traffic stop and an ambulance. I slowly passed the stopped cars, did a little safety check, saw a car cockeyed on a side road, and the paramedics loading someone into the ambulance. I cautiously proceeded through the gap to the spot where another police officer had stopped traffic from the other direction and he motioned me over and gave me a lecture about how bikes are required to stop at police traffic scenes like that when another rider came through the same way I just had so we both got the same harangue. He told us that the accident was a car vs. a bike and warned us to be careful and then let us go. The other rider told me that he didn’t see the bike but did see a water bottle wedged in the car’s bumper so it must have been a pretty hard hit. I didn’t think the officer really understood effective and safe cycling but as the other rider and I were proceeding toward town a couple of police cars came up right toward us in OUR LANE! They were passing all the stopped cars and didn’t have their sirens on and weren’t making that blast warning sound and if they had been going any faster we could have had a head-on with one of them because it’s wooded and curvy in that area and you can’t see too far ahead. Fortunately it wasn’t even a close call, but it could have been. I haven’t yet seen any report of the accident in the paper or the web, but I’ll keep checking. It appeared as though the car was making a left-hand turn into the country club and hit the cyclist coming down Diablo Road (just as I was doing).

I finally got hooked up with JB and Rick again and we went to three bike shops and none of them had the little rear derailleur pulley bolt that JB needed (although Rick bought some new Carnac shoes on sale at the California Pedaler) so we did some speed work on Danville Blvd back to Walnut Creek where JB turned off to go to Lafayette and Rick and I turned off to Jamba Juice.

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