Saturday, August 07, 2004

Diablo Summit – 33 miles

Started the morning with a good night’s sleep, good legs, and good weather. It was going to be a warm one and I was sleeveless. Along the residential section of North Gate Road I came across a rider with full “Tour de Cure” kit and since I was wearing my Tour de Cure shorts we struck up a conversation – he had done the Napa 100 mile version of the event and really liked it. Then we got to the Gate and he rode on while I stopped and met up with Peter.

A few minutes after 8 o’clock, Nicole called my cell and said they had just gotten off the freeway and Rick wanted to know if we’d wait, so I checked with Peter and we decided that would be OK. After about ten minutes of stretching and chatting and watching another dozen riders start their climb, our two companions rode up and off we went. Slowly at first but we picked it up around the double dips and Nicole dropped off. By Moss Landing we were going pretty well but Peter was happy to set the pace. By the top of the Bump Rick started to slow down. Then Peter tried his usual “get rid of Scott” tactics but I had none of that and pretty easily stayed on his wheel. It was a very fast last three miles but at almost 27 minutes with two to go I didn’t think we were going to break 40. So I figured I’d just try to stay with Peter until the final turn and then outsprint him rather than go out on a flyer (especially since I had already beaten him that way a couple of weeks ago!).

Wildlife Encounter #1: A coyote crossing the road around a shaded hairpin below Clavicle Cracker – right in front of Peter and me, and between us and a descending rider. Could have been a close call, but it wasn’t.

Peter kept looking back hoping I wasn’t there anymore and I kept smiling up at him. With about 200 meters to go he opened up a sizable gap and I thought “OK, I can give up and hand it to him, or I can carry out the painful plan.” I accelerated hard, yelled out “inside!” on the final right hand turn and beat him to the line by several bike lengths. *AND* my elapsed time was 38m45s so it really WAS a fast last three miles. There were some other riders hanging around at the Junction parking lot – a few of them were first timers and I got a chuckle when one of them said, “We’re only half way? And you mean it gets even STEEPER from here on up?”.

Rick arrived a few minutes later and said he just didn’t have it today, then he slurped up a banana HammerGel pack from his birthday assortment. He said it tasted a little like banana cake frosting, not as weird as it sounded. It must have worked too because he stayed ahead of me all the way up Summit Road. My Summit time was an excellent 74 minutes! Rick had recently put on a new saddle and Peter tried it out in the Summit parking lot – seems both of them have saddle issues and they go for the newer cutout styles. Neither of them wanted to try my flat top Selle San Marco Era K with which I’ve been very happy. I rode both Rick’s and Peter’s and they just feel wrong.

Dozens of riders were coming up as we descended. Some of them were on the side of the road with that look that means they weren’t ready for this. I was singing the old Wayne Newton song “Danke Schoen” all the way down and they must have thought I was nuts as I went by. Another GREAT day on the mountain except for:

Wildlife Encounter #2: A wasp whacked into my upper arm at about 40mph and got smooshed there; I had to peel his carcass off while still riding. He died before he could sting me but some of his stinger found its way under the skin and now I have a small little tender spot there. Just one of those things.

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