Saturday, November 25, 2006

Clear skies and very cold

this morning. I was concerned I would over-dress again, but it was REALLY cold so I risked it and wore my full winter gear other than booties.

Came across BlogReader Chris at the Gate and we talked for a while about recent events until JB showed up, then we all started together.

I felt pretty good, but not fast so it was a gamble to stay with Chris when JB started to drop back but I figgered "what the hell".

By the Bump Chris was ready to ride away but strung me along anyway. By Chainbuster we couldn't see JB anywhere so I assumed he was having a really bad day but then suddenly he was right behind us. So my Junction time was a little over 45m and that was better than JB's by half a minute or so. We noticed they've finally patched the little driveway up to the Junction Picnic Area.

Chris went up Summit Road. I called Part 2 last week so it was JB's turn and he called the Hole. It was a cold descent and then a fun little romp back to Walnut Creek for a yummy Peppermint Mocha coffee at Peet's.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

JB and I

had a plan to sneak out of work a little early on this long Thanksgiving weekend and get in a ride up the Mountain. I wasn't sure our plan would materialize so I had Jed, the uber urban commuter with lights and fenders and tennis shoe pedals just in case.

The deal was to meet at the Gate at 2:30. He went home first to doff his gear but with about 50 pounds of bike and backpack it took me a little longer than I thought to get there so he got to the Post long before I did at 2:45 so I removed the rock he left there and started the slog up thinking it was good weight training.

When I say "slow slog" I'm talking just barely above hiking pace. In my backpack I had my work clothes, a bunch of old CDs (don't ask), my jacket, and all the junk I normally commute with. It was pretty warm but due to turn frio by dusk.

Never did catch up to JB but had a nice ride anyway and I enjoyed the different perspective that riding so slowly offers. I also developed a new respect for riders who do this on MTBs frequently; this was HARD work.

JB collected my ticket somewhere near Chainbuster and rode me back up to the Junction. We chatted for a while and then wished each other a happy T-day and then split up.

Somewhere on the way home I picked up a piece of glass in my new Serfas MTB slick 1.5's but managed to make it on a soft tire and not stop for a tube change.

Man, that was a workout.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

It was a really big rock

that I put on the post this morning at 7:58. The ranger was raising the flags and he probably removed it because JB didn't see it so he "waited" for me and my two minute head start wound up being about twelve.

I rode the whole of NGR solo through a thick lens of fog that was at its most dense near the Bump. Only saw two riders descending the whole ride. Kept expecting to see JB chasing me but never did of course. Finally popped out over the top near the Lower Ranch and it was suddenly quite warm. Now my jacket started to get wet inside the sleeves and it was pretty uncomfortable. Usually I get my clothing selection right but today I should have gone with arm warmers and I probably could have even worn shorts.

At the Junction I munched on a Power Bar and talked to a guy who came up NGR behind me. He said he was 47 and had daughters aged 5 and 7; he was fit and trained and said he used to ride the Mountain every week years ago, but now it was rare to do so.

Finally JB showed up and gave me a little raz about not putting a rock on the post - that's when I realized the Ranger must have removed it. We talked about going up but it was honestly too hot for me so he suggested the Hole and I talked him into Blackhawk. Within a minute we were already descending into the soup. It was even thicker on the Easy Side and my sweaty sleeves were now cold and soggy. In Danville though it was pretty much clear so we had good visibility and played our normal games of sprinting up the little rollers all the way home.

On Camino Tassajara we saw the House of Pain ride go by the opposite direction. A few minutes back was a smaller group that looked like they'd been dropped already - we called it the House of Minor Discomfort.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bring on the Wet!

JB and me today, we both got to the Gate at the same time. It rained last night so the streets were sloppy and the trees were still dripping but nothing was coming out of the sky during the ride.

A slow slog up in the damp fog. JB had his Trek 520 with fenders and one pannier holding his heavy jacket. Hardly saw anybody the whole morning. A few guys coming down on hybrids - I think they were dropped off. A few cars going up. Visibility was nearly zero so not much reason for the usual automobile day users to be up there.

Roadkill Sighting: A couple of big frogs.

Not much to write about, so today's post is photo-heavy. This is not a lens problem, the fog was really that thick.

Took it really slow on the way down, looking for things to photograph.

First wet ride of the year and of course I get a flat! Looked like a sharp piece of rock that splintered off some of the rip-rap. Maybe even a flint!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Up and Around This Morning

Man I felt like a slug today, first ride of Daylight Wasting Time. Dressed for cold and it was foggy too. Peter, JB, and Rick were already at the Gate when I got there. I have my winter wheels on Eddy now so I guess that's my excuse. I need to move my brake levers up a little bit on this bike to match my now preferred "cobble position" - just like Tom, so I'll probably need some new
handlebar tape too... that'll add some speed.

Rick got a new job and told us about how he turned in his resignation letter to the boss from hell. Peter's back still gives him trouble but he's an aerobic beast as always, even on his Cannondale comfort bike. As we climbed up through the fog I started to get too hot so I pulled down my arm warmers and took off my gloves. Also, I put on my OLD (1988) Look pedals because I broke the pedals on my fixie and swapped things around and don't have my new SPDs yet... anyway, I'm sure those old pedals were slowing me down too and that's why the fourth horseman fell off the back of the gruppetto somewhere near the Bump. Oh yeah, my chain was rubbing the front derailleur in my smallest gear, lots of extra drag that.

The fog layer topped out about Chainbuster and it was sunny and warm. At the Junction Rick and JB went up to the top of the Horseshoe while Peter and I talked. Then Rick and JB and I went down SGR and Peter went back down the North. It was so foggy that visibility and wet road surface were concerns so we took it pretty slowly. Rick thought that we were planning on going back up the easy way but we went through the Hole (muddy) and around through the golf course.