Saturday, July 29, 2006

Quickie Junction Ride - 25 miles

Me, JB, and Rick

JB went to the A's game yesterday so I was hoping he'd feel a little off his game today, but no such luck. Actually I was the slowest one to the Junction and that wasn't a good feeling.

After the Junction we decided to ride up Summit Road a ways to check on the re-paving work. There were quite a few sections where there was nothiing but gravel. No one was stopping any riders from continuing, but it wouldn't be kind to your tires and descending would be pretty dicey. We went up less than a mile and then turned around.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Quickie Junction Ride - 23 miles

JB came over to my house at 7:30 to watch Floyd's TdF ITT. I had it TiVo'ed so I paused the DVR when FL got in the start box and then when he came over I hit play so we were about 15 minutes behind real time which allowed us to FF through the commercials. It was a hot morning already and I drank a half gallon of ice water before we finally left and JB didn't have anything. I figured he would suffer and then I'd beat him to the Junction but it didn't happen.

We started up the Mountain and soon found out that the "Pat Caurant Memorial Ride" was happening at the same time. Pat was a local racer who died on the House of Pain ride a few weeks ago. Adam sort of knew him - he was on Team Spine

Wildlife Encounter: A fast lizard, a swallowtail butterfly (the heat really brings them out), and a cute little bunny.

I hadn't paid any attention to the time but I had promised DW to be back by 10:45 and didn't think that would be any issue at all. It was absolutely the hottest Saturday morning ride I've ever done and then I realized it was partly because we didn't start until 9:30 because of the Tour. Adam was on the Memorial Ride so we saw him at the Junction and he mentioned that the time was 10:24 and then I realized I was going to be late getting back home so I screamed down the hill and sprinted all the way home and just for fun I timed myself at 33 minutes. I'm sure that's a PB. No time to take any photos though.

Got up to 111°F today in Concord - the hottest day in recorded history.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Junction from Work

Adam said a friend of a friend that he'd met recently wanted to come up North Gate with us today but Adam wanted to do a fast ride so I agreed to take the new guy up and make sure he got there. He was supposed to be a good athlete but new to biking. So we connected with Jason out on Walnut Avenue and rode to the Gate together. We were kind of concerned because he seemed to have trouble keeping up on the road out there. Turned out he just wasn't comfortable riding close together.

JB had gotten a head start and then Adam dropped Jason and me after about a mile. We talked a little but he was going pretty hard for a newb. I was sure he'd have trouble with the Bump so I dropped back a little bit and let him ride his own ride but he didn't have any trouble at all. He even waited for me around the bend at the top.

After that he poured it on and dropped me again! That was a little embarassing but what the heck, he'll be getting good at this. It was pretty hot and I think I was kind of dehydrated because my pulse was high even though I didn't think I was working that hard. Plus today was the day Floyd Landis cracked in the Alps so that was depressing. Anyway, Jason did 42+ and I did 46+. There was a sign saying Summit Road was closed but there didn't seem to be much construction going on - a few places where they had put in some new drainage components to keep the roads from washing out again, some spilled gravel and the like, but nothing that tears up the pavement yet.

Adam and Jason went down South Gate to their homes and I went down North Gate solo. Just before the Bump I came across a woman that I'd seen at the Junction with a flat tire. I offered her a tube but she said she was with a friend who could help, but the friend wasn't there so I started to help anyway. She said that it was her back tire and when it flatted it made a really loud noise. I didn't think of it right away but she was probably riding her brakes the whole way and had a hot tire blow-off. Then her friend came up and helped her so I took off again. Later I wished I had warned them both about how to prevent that. Only happened to me once, but that was enough!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cougar Mountain Classic - just as a spectator

Went with dear daughter who enjoyed the bouncy houses more than the racing. I'd never been to Sears' Point raceway before even though I've driven by it hundreds of times.

The race course is really interesting. I did most of my viewing from the main grandstand which is the long white rectangle near the middle of the photo. Just past there, the riders (going from left to right) make a left turn and go up a hill that is about as steep as the Summit Wall! I didn't see anyone climbing it in the saddle, it looked really tough.

Most of the racing on Sunday was MTB but there was also a roadie endurance team event that was kind of interesting. This is the transition zone and the finishing rider had to dismount before the first line, pass off a transponder(?) to the starting team member, who then had to run past the second line before mounting his/her bike. I think the laps were 2.5 miles and they were generally about 7.5 minutes each. I heard one guy say that three laps per rider seemed to be the magic number. It was a 6-hour event and there weren't that many teams so mostly it was single riders or small groups going by. Would have been more interesting with a couple hundred people on the track at the same time. The course itself was very interesting (pretty much the same as for car or motorcycle racing) and there was a tail wind through the start/finish.

There were also some kiddie events like a bicycle obstacle course and short course races - This is the smallest Colnago I've ever seen - lucky kid.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quickie Ride to Junction

A mile from my house, I see my long-time friend through the buildings and trees.

I was the first one to the Gate, so I decided to go up and take some photos.

Absolutely no wind today... not even the slightest breeze.

Usually this doesn't say "HIGH" unless it's windy AND hot.

They put up this sign a couple years ago. I really like it. I never noticed before I took this photo that the sign is in the shape of the Mount Diablo... I thought it was just a generic mountain. On the back it says "THANK YOU FOR COMING".

This ranch is just up from the Gate called "Arroyo Del Cerro" (Stream of the Hill). I always wonder about the windmill back there; I don't think I've ever seen it turning.

While I was taking photos, this guy rode by so I took his too.

This is the loading dock where the Diablo cattle begin their final voyage. Sometimes there are hundreds of cows here wailing with fear.

Another view from the Lower Dip.

Top of the Lower Dip (closer to Gate), near Arroyo del Cerro.

This is the Upper Dip. I love to sprint up these two little climbs on the way down after a ride.

This gate leads to some trails that I think go to Castle Rock Park, but they also keep cattle in here so they ask folks to keep it closed. There's a pretty good rappoir between ranchers and trail users.

After my photo shoot I went back to the Gate and met up with JB and Rick. We started off a little slow and discussed recent Tour de France events. JB had been to some kind of exhibit of the fire arts in Oakland last night so he had some stories. I was feeling pretty good and did a little solo breakaway past Moss Landing and then let them catch up to me again.

We stayed together through the Bump and I figured we were being a little nice to Rick who's out of condition recently. Then after Chainbuster, JB poured some gas on the fire and I hung with him until the Ranger House but couldn't keep up past that. I thought I was wearing him down and would be able to out sprint him but it never came to that. Junction time = 45m. Then I went home and got ready for the Chuck E. Cheese bday party.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Junction from Work
It was supposed to be hot today, but it really wasn't bad. JB got called into a 5 o'clock meeting but Randall said he wanted to go and meet me there at 5:30. So I rode to the Gate by myself and waited until 5:45 when JB and Sarkis showed up.

Then JB saw that he had a flat tire and it took him a long time to fix it but I waited. A couple other folks from work showed up and headed up... still I waited. Then when we finally got going it was JB, me and Brian. I went slow to take some photos.

Here is the speed limit sign to look for - from this point it's two miles to the Junction (2mtg). Just past here you can see the Lower Ranch.

Here's the stationing mark on the road : 105+00 means 10,500 feet and that's two miles. The 00+00 mark is a bit past the finish line at the Junction - sort of in the middle of the three-way intersection.

Here's the Lower Ranch - aka Diablo Ranch. You can see all kinds of farm stuff down below the road, and MTB/hiking trails below that. It's privately owned and had a FOR SALE sign on it a few years ago.Above the Lower Ranch is the Upper Ranch, AKA Turtle Rock Ranch. The sign's gone now though. They used to have group BBQ's here.

The Junction - where we all re-group. I had stopped to take a bunch of photos so I was one of the last ones up. Sometimes the bugs are really bad here. We went down and met up with Jon to ride part way up with him but I had to go back and didn't make it all the way up again.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Danville to South Gate - Watching the Diablo Time Trial

I really like riding SGR, but the access to actually get there sucks - narrow roads with no shoulder at all and the cars drive too fast.

North Gate Road was closed today for a USCF santioned time trial. The course was 10km from the North Gate ranger shack to a line near the Ranger House just below the Junction. I guess they didn't want to go all the way to the Junction because then it would interfere with auto traffic coming up South Gate Road. The plan was for JB to meet me at my house at 8 o'clock and we would ride to the Athenian School to meet Rick at 9 o'clock. JB called and said he was sick though, so I rode to Danville by myself. Nice warm day, very little wind, and I felt good.

I thought about doing this race - it would have required me to buy a one-day license so it would have cost about $35 with reg fees. I wanted to help make it a successful event so they'd continue having it but it looked like they were going to have a great turnout without my help. I haven't been putting in great times this year, so I guess I'll make it a goal for next year.

It took me 53 minutes to ride to the School at an easy pace. Passed a guy on Danville Blvd with a full Kelme kit including faded green shorts. Rick showed up just a couple minutes later and up we went. I think he looks like Robbie McEwen in this photo.

This is the Hole in the Fence - a short cut to Danville through mansionville that bypasses some of the hairy stuff on Diablo Road.

These are the Tire Poppers - a gate here can block incoming traffic in case the park's closed for fire danger or something, the tire poppers prevent cars from going around the gate. This is where I always time myself from when I ride South Gate Road.

South Gate Road has a bunch of sharp hairpin switchbacks just a ways past the Tire Poppers, I'm never sure how to handle these on the way down so I err on the side of caution, but on the way up they're fun little curves. Rick and I passed a kid and his father on the way up and then we saw Adam down below waving at us. He said he might show up. Adam kept trying to get me and Rick to attack each other but we took it kind of easy. Finally, past the helicopter pad, I put on a little extra speed and held on the rest of the way. Junction time was 37m21s from the Tire Poppers - so that's a benchmark for an easy ride, I think I've done this under 30 minutes… I've been sloppy about my record keeping.

Then we watched the time trial. They had a little judge's canopy shelter and a couple guys with lap tops and stuff but no giant digital timer for anyone to look at. We got there shortly after the first wave of riders was done so we hung around for a while and then the second wave started coming in - these were mostly women in all categories, and then the Juniors after that. I also started talking to the father and son team I saw coming up. The kid was only 10 years old and he told me about some of his riding and asked some questions about racing. He asked how fast the pro's would be and I guessed about 25 minutes - turns out I was pretty close as only three guys were sub 25. I encouraged the kid to sign up for next year and he said his dad would have to get him some better equipment. Rick and Adam left so I started down North Gate and came upon Amy and Tom and Dave from the Diablo Cyclists who were watching the race from the edge of the road where there was a good view. We talked for a while but then I headed down. I saw Mark A coming up when I was near the bottom of the Bump and yelled something encouraging. Grant and his buddies were at the shady pull out right below that with camping gear - they were probably up here all night. Then I watched from the start line for a while. They had an elevated platform with a ramp and a guy to hold up the riders so they could start off fast. .

They have the results posted already - here's my summary with some extra data. The first time is the actual 10km time, and the second time is the projected Junction time using the same average speed:

Best time (P12) = 23m27s 24m44s
Med time (P12) = 26m07s 27m32s
Worst time (P12) = 32m10s 33m55s

Best time (E5) = 27m19s 28m49s
Med time (E5) = 32m14s 34m00s
Worst time (E5) = 45m28s 47m00s (that's a little skewed though - there were only two guys over 40 minutes, but they were way over)

Best time (M45) = 26m53s 28m21s
Med time (M45) = 29m40s 31m17s
Worst time (M45) = 40m56s 43m10s

Mark A. (M45) 27m20s 28m50s

I figure if I could re-create my PB ride of two years ago, I could do this ride in 33m54s which would have gotten me 18th of 20 in the Master 45 category, or 41st of 65 in the Cat 5 group. From the line to the Junction is about 1m50s more riding at my PB pace.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Diablo Junction from Work - 31 miles

Adam is just back from his trip to Italy so it was a fun day. Adam, JB, and I met Mark P and Jeff at the Church and then rode to the Gate together. Adam went to the front right away and Jeff got on his wheel like he was ready to do something so I got on Jeff's wheel and we had a little team going for a while. Jeff looked strong and smooth and Adam was having fun pulling us two geezers and making us hurt. JB and Mark didn't come along so we had a big gap as we approached the Bump.

It was pretty breezy so this mini paceline was certainly helping Jeff suddenly sat up so I accelerated to stay with Adam and he said that Jeff's good about going hard until he totally cracks. I allowed myself to think Adam and I could get a gap big enough to beat JB but then I saw him coming fast toward us. He caught us at the bottom of the Bump so Adam went with him and by the top they had about 30 seconds on me. There was another guy there who looked pretty good so I shadowed him from 20 meters back for a couple minutes, then passed him below the Upper Washout, then pushed hard to make sure he wouldn't have to pass me back.

Still windy above the Ranches and it was hard to keep a rhythm. Adam and JB were far gone and I was a safe distance beyond the guy I passed. My split times were mediocre so I just kept plugging. Actually got a little tailwind before Chainbuster so that was nice, and Junction time was 43m40s. JB must have been well below 40, then Mark came in saying he took two minutes off last week's time! We had told him his saddle was too low so he had changed it for today and I guess it worked.

Snapped these photos on the way down to use in my Location Names page. This is Dumpster Gate, aka Boundary Gate. Years ago there was barbed wire fence on both sides of the road here (and most of the mountain) and there was a gate where those traffic blocker posts are. This is the access point to some MTB and hiking trails down to Little Pine Creek. There was a dumpster where that photo sign is now. The fence, the gate and the dumpster have been gone for a long time but the location nickname remains.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Up NGR, Down SGR - 33 miles

Set off this morning after watching the Tour de France prologue stage. Met Rick and JB at the Gate and started up. Saw a solo woman riding up on a red Klein road bike but I didn’t recognize the model - it had very different graphics; kind of small letters with a circle around them. Someday I should compile a history of Klein road bikes for reference.

At the Bump things shook up a little bit and Rick dropped back. JB and I had some friendly challenges and I thought I was making him hurt a little bit but when we got about a half mile from the Junction (2,000 foot elevation sign) he sensed I was fading and finished me off. Still having some problems with my coughing fits. Junction time: 44m.

Word at the Ranger Station was that there would be no closures of Summit Road for at least another two weeks. Lots of people there talking about the time trial next week so I'm glad they're getting a good turnout for that. I'd like to do it but I'm just not putting in good times recently - probably next year.

Rick had to go back home so JB and I went down to the Hole and then back to Walnut Creek through the golf course. No squeaking yet on those new cleats.