Saturday, August 14, 2004

Diablo Junction, 24 miles

The company picnic was this morning so I only had time for a quickie Junction ride. Nicole’s Explorer passed me on Walnut and then I met up with her at her usual parking spot. JB rode down from the Gate and met us there too.

Shortly after we started, a guy with a full HammerGel outfit passed us, and then before the Double Dips three other guys came by us as well. Two of these guys had aero bars and triathlon type setups and when they passed us they kind of smiled to themselves, happy to be passing three cyclotourists so easily, but one of them had a classic white steel Eddy Merckx road bike and I figured he knew the game. I asked JB how far ahead of us we should let them get before we chased them down and he didn’t think we had a good chance of catching them. I had my Mapei shorts on, which are very recognizable and I knew if I did catch them they’d remember me. So it was the three of us until Moss Landing where Nicole said good-bye, then it was two of us until the bottom of the Bump where I switched on the main engines.

I climbed the Bump in my 21 and kept the power up all the way through the Upper Washout, leaving JB way back. I saw the group of three ahead of me and I planned “the perfect pass”. There’s a section after the Upper Washout where the grade eases up quite a bit and if you know the Mountain you can really power through it in a big gear and I caught the three right at the beginning of this stretch. They were using the opportunity to recover from the effort up the Bump (newbie mistake) so I came around them with an impressive speed differential and had a huge gap by the time I had to downshift and settle into my sustainable pace for the last two miles. Schooling newbs is a tricky business - it must be done convincingly but without arrogance so that the pupils come away from the experience with both reverence for the master and personal ambition for themselves. Heh heh heh.

Then I saw HammerGel guy! He was quite a ways up the road but I figured I’d try to chase him down as well. Peter was on his way down and he saw me at the Upper Ranch and did a U-turn to ride up again but he never caught me. I was chasing HammerGel guy and got pretty close but he beat me to the Junction; he said something to me like “good ride” when I got there. Then came Peter, then the group of three, then JB. The guy on the Cervelo triathlon bike confessed to one of his other buddies that he wasn’t prepared for how difficult the course was going to be, but all three of them seemed to like the ride.

Wildlife Encounter : Yet another coyote on my descent near the Cold Shoulder. I hope there’s never an incident between a coyote and a rider, but it’s getting to be worrisome.

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