Saturday, May 13, 2006

Diablo Summit – 31 miles

Karl from Seattle e-mailed me last week saying he was coming to town and wanted to ride. I offered him my foul weather bike and he was very grateful. Karl also came down in August of 2003 and did an after work Junction ride with us on my Eddy Merckx – it’s blogged in the archive.

He pulled up to my house in his rental car and I knew I was in trouble – he looked lean and strong. I gave him a water bottle, we got the seat adjusted, and headed out.

At the Gate Karl did another little adjustment and then JB showed up. We all rode together for a while but Karl was feeling his oats and riding pretty fast. I stayed with him but JB dropped back. By the top of the Bump Karl had a big gap on me and I was losing time. I stayed within eyeshot of him the rest of the way up but he still beat me by almost a minute. I also knew he’d want to do the Summit since he obviously enjoyed making us hurt so much. JB said he wanted to do Southgate but consented to do Juniper at least.

There were a lot of riders on the Mountain today – not like in the Death Ride training period, but more than I would have expected for a mid May morning. It was already warm and the bugs were getting pretty bad – biting bugs that really pissed me off.

The ride to Juniper was a little slower but it was still the same order – Karl, me, then JB. Since I was saving something for the Summit I let JB pass me near the top of the Blue Oak Speedway. So we hung around the Juniper parking spot for a while and Karl talked about how nice it is to ride with hardly any traffic and I knew he was right. It’s nice to be reminded of how special this mountain is for me and the other people who ride it.

Then JB went down and Karl and I went up. I had entertained private thoughts about stopping at the lower parking lot (skipping the Summit Wall). Would I be cheating myself? Would I feel like a wuss? But as I went around Devil’s Elbow I felt fine and knew it wouldn’t be a problem. Karl waited for me at the bottom of the Wall and I told him to start first. I thought I left a big enough gap behind some other people who started just before us but I had to pass them near the top – not a problem, I just prefer to have the whole width of the lane available for weaving if I need it.

The bugs were bad at the Summit too so we didn’t stay long. I didn’t want to challenge Karl to any descending contests since he was riding MY BIKE, so we took it easy all the way down and then he bought me a Jamba Juice and we talked for a while.

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