Saturday, November 20, 2004

Diablo Junction plus Southgate Hole in the Fence, 30 miles

Peter, JB, and I met at the Gate. It was cool and very windy this morning, definitely in the top 10 or so of windy North Gate rides. It got more windy around every bend it seemed, and the winds were strong and gusty. Fortunately there was a strong tailwind going up the Bump so that was fun. Near the Lower Ranch I started to fall off the viscous pace Peter was setting so they got ahead of me. Honestly it was sometimes more effort just to stay upright than it was climbing in elevation. Coming around Son of Chainbuster was like running into a wall. Junction time: 51 minutes.

Our plan was to go down South Gate to meet Rick and Nicole for some flat riding and coffee. Descending in those crosswinds was treacherous. I felt like a dog on a leash and mother nature was yanking on my handlebars trying to get me to go some other direction but I managed to stay vertical and on the road... but just barely a couple of times.

We met up with R&N in the country club area and went for coffee at Cherubini’s in Alamo. I think it should be spelled Cerubini and they should have better bike racks, but the latti are good.

The end.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Diablo Junction plus Southgate Hole in the Fence, 29 miles

They were forecasting rain all night, expecting it to end sometime this morning. I was glad to see that it was all over by 7am and the skies were clear but the streets were still wet. I dressed for cold and rode Eddy to the Gate. I passed a woman with a UCSC outfit on just before the Gate and I recognized her from some other rides this year; she was wearing shorts and her legs were cherry red from the cold. JB and Rick met me at the Gate and we started off right away. We rode with UCSC woman for a while and chatted; she said it was her first Diablo ride after her recent knee surgery, and she was hoping to do the Summit. We rode away from her and wished her well.

It was nice riding up well past the Bump but we could see that the higher elevations were enveloped with dark clouds. Near the ranches the wind was quite strong and I let Rick and JB pull ahead. With three miles to go I was at 23 minutes and I figured I would finish in about 46 – turned out to be 48.

At the Junction we found Peter who was coming down from the Summit. Then UCSC woman rode up and declared that her ride was over at that point. JB, Rick, and I went down South Gate to the hole in the fence. Back behind the golf course I suggested to JB that we switch bikes since we both had SPD pedals. He agreed and we did a quick swap. I rode the Rivendell Atlantis for the next 8 miles and here’s my review:

The high handlebar position is really interesting. It was totally comfortable in the hooks and it felt a little odd to be on the hoods, even odder out of the saddle. The ride was remarkably smooth but I think most of that was the Phil Wood hubs. Even the Brooks saddle was comfortable and I am not one of those guys who “needs” a Brooks, it just felt like the kind of saddle that someone who sits on it for long hours would appreciate. You don’t really notice the extra weight of the heavy bike on the flats, but you certainly would on a long climb. I would definitely like to have a bike like this for cycle touring or for Paris-Brest-Paris (HA! Like that’ll ever happen.) I would go for wide handlebars and STI though instead of the barcons and non-aero brake levers that JB uses; there were just way too many cables interfering with hand positions the way he has it set up.

At the south side of Walnut Creek we decided to check out the construction site where a large explosion made the news last week. They still haven’t opened up the street but there was an overpass that we climbed up to investigate. Not really too much to see but it helped bring the whole thing into perspective.

Back on Eddy after the bike exchange again and I realized how quickly I had gotten used to that high bar position – Eddy felt like a track pursuit bike compared to the Atlantis. Maybe I’ll look into one of those stem extenders?