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 EspaƱa), 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.