Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Diablo Summit, 25 miles

Adam was in a finish-line crash in the Suisun Criterium on Sunday; he’s been showing off his tarmac tattoos the last couple days. Then this morning he had his bike on the roof of his car as he backed out of his garage and … well we all know what that means. His bike isn’t damaged too badly but he feels it’s time to consider a new one. Robin’s new bike hasn’t come yet – she ordered a Marin Portofino from some eBay dealer in Colorado, so today was the farewell ride to her old clunker. The office had bikes stashed all over the place today.

At the start it was Nicole, Robin, Erik, and me; JB and Adam were coming but not there yet. Robin suddenly had some kind of chain problem just as the Diablo Cyclist peloton was approaching so I didn’t stop to help her – I felt a little guilty about that but hey, this is the Wednesday night hammerfest. Erik said he was going to try to stay with one of the DC subgroups when they went by, and I said I would be going with one of the faster groups. It seemed like forever before they caught up to us and I was just tooling along but no one was passing me. I figured I was now a marked man and they weren’t going to let me sit on anymore so I accepted my position at the front - imagining a dozen or so riders having an easy time in my slipstream. When I finally turned around to look it was just Mark and Jay – I had snapped the elastic and exploded the field all by myself. They thanked me and then dropped me like an undoped domestique.

By the top of the Bump I could see that Mark was a hundred meters ahead of Jay who was a hundred in front of me, and Dave was a hundred behind me. With three miles to go I was at 18m26s - EXCELLENT. I didn’t quite have the motivation to kill myself for a potential PB, but I did decide to push hard even though I was planning to go to the Summit today. By the Junction Mark, Jay, Dave, and I were in the same order but the gaps were closer to 200 meters each. My Junction time was 37m33s - 28 seconds over my PB. Erik did a PB of 41 minutes – he’ll knock a couple minutes off that with a little more experience. Then JB did a “post crash PB” of just under 40 – also his best time on the Atlantis… he’s ready for Napa for sure. I didn’t see Adam come in, but he was there and told me he could feel some residual crash pain and his bike was handling funny.

Erik and I went on to the Summit at a more leisurely pace. It got cold and windy as soon as we were in the shadows. Some guy at the Upper Parking Lot took my photo just as I crested the top of the Wall, maybe I’ll be famous! Elapsed time to Summit: 76 minutes.

Wildlife Encounter: FIVE tarantulas - first sightings of the year.

Coming down from the Summit, still above Muir Picnic Area, the sun was really low and it was hard to see the road. DAMN! DAMN! Took a hard pothole hit with both wheels. Then… the unmistakable sound of air escaping from my rear tire, changing pitch and volume every time the source passed by my seatstay. It was a lonely flat-fixing episode on the side of the road, in the gravel with the sun setting and the wind picking up. My last flat was 720 miles ago, and my average is 540 miles between flats – there’s an interesting statistic for you! Anybody else keep track of that one? I’m running Michelin Pro Race with Michelin Ultralight tubes (long stem), and no liners or Slime. Anyway, I seemed to notice some funny noises like maybe I whacked the rim out of true also so it was a slow ride down.

Rick’s going to ride Napa on the Sly! It’s going to be an interesting ride – JB who never does centuries on his Atlantis, Peter who has to ride fast and get home early for a party, Rick who has to pack his own food and hide at the rest stops, and me who likes to hang out at the finish and people watch.

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