Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Diablo Junction - 30 miles

Since this is Bike to Work Week, I promised myself to ride to work every day no matter what. Last night they said it was going to rain today so I planned on riding the Belgian Beast in to work and ride up the mountain from there – I wasn’t going to let a little drizzle make me break my promise.

It started about noon. Drizzle became showers, then the rain got quite heavy and the wind started to blow. By 3 o’clock it looked like a hurricane outside my office – the trees were bent over and I half expected to see a trailer house go flying by. JB and I were the only ones committed to going – he told me I could back out if I wanted to, and I said “I’ll quit if you will…. NOT!”

By 5 o’clock things had settled in to a mild downpour. JB and I met up in the parking garage and set off for the Mountain. We were hopeful that we’d get a break in the rain, but not optimistic. We wondered if we’d see anyone else riding today.

Saw two guys coming down just as we were starting up – they were the last signs of human life we’d have for the foreseeable future. There was definitely a feeling of venturing out into the great unknown with an indeterminable amount of risk involved.

Wildlife Encounter: A mother deer and two TINY little fawns. The little ones were a little curious about us, but mom hustled them across the ditch and down to safety.

We cleared up a few things early in the climb – there would be no hammering, no attacks, no solo breakaways; we’d just ride a regular pace with the goal of getting through it and having bragging rights in the morning.

It wasn’t really cold so even though my shoes were full of water, my gloves were like saturated sponges, and my jacket was sticking to me like flypaper, I was reasonably comfortable. Then the wind started. Not enough wind to blow you off the road, but enough to make bike handling difficult while still providing propulsion.

My computer crapped out at mile three. The numbers were still there but it wasn’t picking up my wheel and the stopwatch function was stalled. Oh well, not like this was going to be on my short list of fast rides.

There was absolutely no sign of the storm letting up. The higher we went the darker it got. Around Big Shady Oak JB looked down and noticed that there was a bubbly FOAM on his knees - it took him a minute to reason out that it must be residual detergent in his tights that his washing machine didn't rinse out and the pumping action of his legs brought up quite a head of suds!

Then suddenly, we were there. At the Junction we gathered our courage and prepped ourselves for the descent. My glasses were foggy so I started down without them but the rain hitting my eyeballs was a little too much to take so I stopped and put my glasses back on.

From then on it was pretty much a controlled freefall, riding the brakes the whole way down with limited visibility but we made it. I had to continue on back to work to pick up my backpack and finally there was a break in the rain for the trip home from there.

No comments: