Saturday, August 21, 2004

Diablo Summit, 24 miles

I met Peter at the Gate at 8, and JB showed up a few minutes later. Peter had a new saddle and a new pair of shorts – he said he went to Livermore Cyclery to look for a new saddle and the salesman convinced him what he really needed was a new pair of shorts so he got both: a WTB saddle and Louis Garneau shorts (the most expensive he’s ever owned). I noticed a group of two riders, another group of two, and a solo rider going up as we waited and I wasn’t sure if I’d be catching them or not, but I would at least remember how many there were. I had forgotten my phone this morning so I didn’t get Rick’s call saying what time he and Nicole would be there so the three of us started up at about 8:10.

I wasn’t feeling especially vigorous today due to a lack of sleep (I think I even yawned a couple times after we got going) so I didn’t mind the easier pace for the first couple miles. We all wondered what kind of road kill that was just past the double dips – probably a coyote judging from the head but it was picked pretty clean by the vultures and coyote road kill is exceedingly rare.

All of us were together near the top of the Bump when Peter increased his speed enough to drop JB. I was pretty close to maximum trying to keep up with him too for a while but either he slowed down a bit or I found my rhythm because it got easier around the Lower Ranch where we passed the solo guy and one of the two pairs we saw at the Gate. Peter is getting used to my keeping up with him now, although I think he’s still perplexed because for years he dropped all of us well before the Ranches and I was usually the farthest one back. He asked me if I had done any different kind of training this year and I told him that I did a lot of intervals in the early season – he seemed to accept that explanation.

We passed the other pair of riders below Chainbuster and then I said to Peter “OK, let’s go!” but before he decided to come with me he asked “Are you going to the top today?”. I guess if I wasn’t going to save anything for the Summit then he wasn’t going to try to stay with me to the Junction. I told him I was so he stayed on my wheel for about a half mile, but I had a big gap soon after that. I realized that I hadn’t been looking at my splits so when I looked down and saw I was at 38 minutes I thought I had a slim chance of breaking 40 and I went for it. I put the hurt to myself for 117 seconds and finished with a 39m57s Junction time.

And there was WILL! He called me yesterday and said he might get an early start to meet us here, but I had forgotten. He said it was a pretty tough ride but he enjoyed it after not having ridden for so long. Peter rolled in, then JB while I was still doing cool down laps around the parking area. And then Rick came in a few minutes later so there were five of us. We discussed the Napa Valley Century (AKA Tour Napa Valley – watch this site for a ride review) coming up next Sunday and it turns out Rick didn’t get signed up in time because they reached their maximum 2,000 rider limit. He’s going to try sweet-talking his way in, or maybe scab the ride, or maybe just not show. JB will be riding his Atlantis – he probably wants to bond with other Rivendell groupies. And Peter has to hurry home after the century to go to his daughter’s birthday party so we’re not sure about car pooling.

Peter, Rick, and I did the Summit but JB and Will went down. We were together until Blue Oak where Peter pulled ahead. Rick was in the middle and I was last until around Muir Picnic Area where I passed Rick. I didn’t see Peter again until the Summit Wall which I started just as he was finishing. Rick was about 50 meters behind me at the bottom and I heard a giant diesel pickup coming up, passing Rick. The Wall is NOT wide enough for even a Cooper Mini to pass a bike safely (it’s one-way, one-lane going up and another lane goes down on the other side) and I wasn’t going to let this moron try that with me so I kept the middle of the lane for the last half of the climb. He didn’t honk or anything but he was still a dope. Rick said the place where he got passed was pretty wide and he was OK with it.

Rick ordered a new Campy gruppo to refurbish his bike – he’s having lots of shifting and drivetrain problems from worn-out gear but he’s staying with 9-speed Veloce. We talked some more about saddle and short choices but then we called it a day.

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