Saturday, November 12, 2005

Diablo Junction plus Hole in the Fence - 36 miles

Forecast was for a beautiful day so I just brought my windbreaker. Another 8:30 day so I figured JB and I would do some sparring before Rick and Nicole got there. But I didn’t get to the Gate until 8:10 and I had seen Rick’s car so I wasn’t sure what was going on.

About a half mile below the Bump, I came across a descending JB who invited me to turn around and start over. I hesitated but eventually did so. Back at the Gate he said he had seen Rick just a little way higher than me but it looked like he didn’t turn around.

So JB and I started up again and rode a pretty good pace. He had a new fanny pack on for holding his Gore-Tex jacket which he usually takes off at some point in these autumn rides.

Wildlife Encounter: A jackrabbit with ears higher than my hubs bounded out of the ditch near the lower farm and I thought there was no way I could hit that thing and stay upright. Luckily he saw us, changed directions to run parallel to the road, and then decided to jump back into the ditch. JB was oblivious to the whole thing because he was futzing with his cyclocomputer. Anyway, a jackrabbit is much bigger than a ground squirrel, but thankfully much smarter as well.

Below the Bump, I noticed JB was breathing hard and I thought that was kind of strange. A little while later he said “Why are you in such a hurry?”, and I joked “I’m trying to catch Rick.” But it was clear he wasn’t having a good day, and I like when that happens. When we got to the Bump I decided to do a big gear drill in a 21t and that was kind of fun. I slowed down just after the 1,000 foot sign waiting for JB to catch me but he was farther back than I expected. This was kind of fun so every time I went around a blind corner I did a little sprint and every time I knew he could see me I dropped it down into an easy spin. With a mile and a half to go, Rick came down and said “hi” to me but didn’t turn around until he met up with JB. Then Rick bridged back up to me and we discussed the recent Roberto Heras doping story while we pretended we weren’t riding too hard. He also explained that Nicole woke up this morning, stepped outside, and seeing her breath… pronounced it too cold to ride.

After Chainbuster I did another big gear drill and dropped Rick. That felt pretty good too. Junction time: 42m28s… hey, it’s November. But the itch to kick ass is starting to bubble up.

Rick had a kiddie party to go to so JB and I went down SGR without him. There was some kind of search and rescue practice going on near Rock City, and the weather was getting really nice now. I led all the way down at a comfortable pace and then we turned off at the Hole.

The rest of the way we stayed together and chatted and I’m learning my way around those back roads, but I did make sure to do a little interval on every elevation increase… feels good to inflict some pain.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Diablo Junction plus South Gate and Blackhawk 40 miles

Nicole talked us into the 8:30 start time again, I have to say I don't mind too much. It was COLD when I left and I had on my winter jacket and full gloves but by the time I got to Northgate Road I was already too warm. I got to the Gate at 8:10 and saw JB's rock. I knew I'd never catch him so I stopped and tried to reset the clock on my Flight Deck but I had forgotten how and wound up resetting everything to zero EXCEPT the clock. I figured I could re-enter the data when I got home because I keep track of that kind of stuff, and Flight Decks allow you to enter the odometer so you don't lose that number on a battery change or screw up. What I didn't realize was that I also reset the speed to kilometers per hour so I didn't have my usual reference units telling me how well I was going. I can work just fine in metric units, but I just didn't know if 25kph was faster or slower than I usually go in this or that particular section. Also made me realize how much feedback I do get from my computer - I don't even know if I’m having a good ride without one!

Anyway I rode up a ways and then turned around. I found Rick and Nicole coming up so I turned around again, and a little ways farther up we saw JB but he had to go back to the Gate for a an official odometer data point. We all rode together until the bottom of the Bump when Nicole dropped back. Stayed together for another couple of miles and then Rick made the first move. JB and I came along for a while and then JB tried something. After Chainbuster I dropped back and let them go. I was maybe 20 seconds behind and saw that Rick was ahead but JB made a failed attempt at a sprint so Rick was the strongest today.

Product Review: PowerBar Endurance Sports Drink - Got a free sample of this stuff from Performance a few weeks ago and decided to try it instead of my usual Cytomax. On the Diablo Scale of 1 to 10, this gets a 2. Tastes bad, doesn't mix well, no apparent performance benefit. Any future free samples I get will be summarily shit canned. Only redeeming feature - it didn't give me a stomach ache.

We didn't wait around long at the Junction. Somebody said "Blackhawk?" and off we went. I led the gruppetto down South Gate Road but probably not as fast as Rick or JB would have gone. When we got to Blackhawk Road I started dishing out a little pain myself. Opened up a gap on both of them and increased it all the way to Camino Tasajara. After that I waited for them and when they caught me I rode their pace for a while but still sprinted up the little hills just to see them suffer. On Danville Blvd I pulled most of the way and Rick held on but JB fell way back and when he rejoined he made some excuses about how slow he was but he didn't even convince himself. Felt good to be on the giving end for a while… maybe had something to do with watching a tape of Boonen's amazing 2005 Paris-Roubaix this morning.