Saturday, December 30, 2006

Last Ride of 2006

Feakin' frigid this morning - good thing I dug out my toe booties earlier in the week. {sidebar: it really pisses me off that the traffic sensor on Bancroft to cross Ygnacio doesn't pick up bikes} The goats down by the kennel even looked frozen... frozen goats = FROATS ? This photo was taken after the ride when it had warmed up a little, glad to see the froat survived.

Rick and I met at the Gate and waited a while for JB but he didn't show up. We saw Mark A coming down but other than him, no one else at all. Only one or two cars also... it was a quiet morning on the Mountain, and we enjoyed the ride. We also talked a bit about the Tour of California (Best Week of Racing award from VeloNews) which is only a couple months away now and how we would make it better and there was no question we'd be there again as rabid racing fans.

There were a few people at the Junction; interesting people on different kinds of bikes... cyclocross, loaded touring, road racing, MTBs; people who were there because they like riding and appreciate this gem of the State Park system. My water bottle was still 90% full because you just don't get thirsty on days like this. The flags were at half-mast in honor of President Ford; I remember laughing at his ineptitude in high school but think more highly of him now.

So Rick nursed a ClifShot and I gnawed on a chocopowerbar and then we decided to do the SGR kiosk. When we got there I took these photos:

On the way back up I flatted at a very convenient spot; there was a nice retaining wall to sit on while I changed my tube. Rear tire's getting pretty thin, I think it's time for my winter maintenance - Mom and Dad sent X-mas money so I got some good stuff to put on too (tires, chain, new handlebars and cables). Rick watched me use the CO2 inflator again and admitted that it was a pretty cool alternative to a mini pump... he's ready to convert.

We finished off the ride with a Starbucks at the Encina Safeway - the Peppermint Mocha is a treat but it can't compete with Peet's.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Save Mount Diablo

The Contra Costa Times did an article on the 35th Anniversary of Save Mount Diablo and the guy who started it... who was (is?) A CYCLIST! Click HERE and be sure to also click on the "Audio Soundslide" feature below Mr. Bonwell's photo.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Diablo Summit - Merry Xmas!

About a mile from home I was sorry I didn't don my toe booties. It was biting cold, but not too foggy and not windy so tights and a sleevless jersey under my Barrier Jacket made for perfect protection... only my toes were froze. JB caught up to me just before we got to the Gate where Rick was waiting. JB said to remember that the slower we ride up the warmer it'll be when we have to come down.

Wildlife Encounter: Three feral pigs near the loading dock - first time I've seen some. I later confirmed with the Junction ranger that none of the ranchers on the mountain are farming pigs so these were definitely feral. He also said that there was an eradication program and they "remove" 500 pigs a year or so because they do so much damage.

The rest of the ride to Junction was casual. At one point we noticed a fast guy catching up to us and when he caught us he rode behind us for a few minutes without saying anything, and then passed us up with just a nod.

At the Junction we quickly decided that we didn't want to hang around too long and we started up Summit Road. It also started to drizzle but it was very light and only lasted about 10 minutes - had to wipe the face off my Flight Deck a couple times, but that was the extent of it. We saw a woman changing a tire and she declined our assistance. I stopped at Juniper for a few minutes but JB and Rick kept going. I took a couple photos and then drank a pack of Enervitine.

Product Review: Enervitine I've seen this stuff in catalogues and figured I'd try some when I saw it at the California Pedaler last weekend. I was a little surprised that it was a liquid and not a gel. It had the sweet taste and consistency of concentrated Kool-Aid, or maybe a melted popsicle. Easy to drink today but I think it would be difficult to swallow on a really hot day. I can't report that it turned a mule into a thouroughbred today but I felt good the rest of the ride so I'll probably buy a couple for my next century just to have some variety from Hammer Gel. This product gets a provisional DS rating of 6 outta 10.

So I rode the rest of Summit Road solo and just enjoyed the scenery.

This pavement was so bad for so long; and now it's like glass!

Make sure you save a little for The Wall.

This is the view of North Peak from the Summit. The dark clouds mixed with blue sky for some interesting contrasts today.

Descending back down was an exersize in body heat maintenance, but it was a little warmer than earlier in the morning so I enjoyed it as always.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Really frosty this morning but no wind so it wasn't hard to stay warm. It's been raining and there was even a chance of snow at 3,000 feet so the roads were sloppy and I took the Merckx.

Rick and I connected at the Gate and decided not to wait for JB. We saw him a little later from the Bump and figured he'd catch us soon but it wasn't until about Chainbuster.

We hung around Junction for a while and I munched a PowerBar and announced that the plan would be to ride to Juniper and everybody thought that was a good idea. Not too many riders up there today, but more than one might expect given the temperature - thermostat at the Shack said 38° but it really didn't seem that cold to me.

The lens on my camera got a little foggy today I think.




That PowerBar gave me just enough boost to do a good effort up to Juniper..

JB's turn to get a flat today..

Monday, December 11, 2006


Rick found this clip of us on Sierra Grade during the 2006 Tour of California. I'm the guy waving the California flag and Rick's next to me in a red jacket.

LINK It's only a 12 second video, worth a look.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pinhurst in the Mist - 42 Miles

Rick and I have been wanting to do a Pinhurst ride for quite a while. Couldn't do a Diablo ride Saturday so today was our opportunity. He drove to my house and we left after the rain subsided but there was still some dark clouds and drizzle.

It was about 15 miles to the end of Canyon Road where we made a right onto Pinehurst. Canyon Road looks like it's been repaved recently and was quite nice. Rick thought this abandoned bike miles from nowhere would make for a good photo.

This is the corner where I start the stopwatch if I'm timing myself - the climb begins here. This is looking down hill, on your way up you'll see the gate and sign in the photo below. There were several mudslides in here and it won't be long before some trees fall down on the road too.

(off the right of the road)

Steep switchbacks like these, and the dense foliage are what make riding Pinehurst fun.

Wow, that's some good pavement.

At the top we turned right on to Skyline and rode as far as Grizzly Peak before we turned around.

Rick did a couple extra trips around this corner to make sure he'd get his photo blogged. This is a pretty good shot though.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I saw that the VeloNews site had a photo of Mt. Diablo in the photo of the month contest. This was submitted by Keith Thibault and shows a rider going up NGR approaching the Bump. Whoever took the photo must have climbed up some rock formation or something to get this angle.

Edit: Keith e-mailed me and had this to say about the photo:
"Regarding the photo, I was hiking around taking pics on the north gate road when I paused to shoot a couple of a cyclist climbing the road. I like the winter light, and the late afternoon mood. I was on the hillside above the road, as you implied." Keith - thanks for a great shot - any Diablo photo you take is welcome here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Damn it was windy this morning.

The wind was practically blowing the flags off the mast. Not as cold as I was prepared for, but this promised to be an epic ride. I got to the Gate a little early and rode up to snap a few photos. Then went back down to meet Rick.

We started up and it wasn't too bad at first. We were joking about other windy rides we've done like the Death Valley Century and Foxy's Fall Century.

Up a little higher the gusts of wind started to get harder to manage. You'd go into one bend compensating for the wind, not knowing if you'd be shot out the other side like a rocket or dumped in the ditch like a plastic bag in a hurricane. It was for sure one of the top 10 windy days for me on the Mountain. Several times I let out a primal scream and thought about the sub sailors in Das Boot who cursed the waves as they blasted through them.

Hardly saw anyone else on the way up and there were a few places where we nearly got flicked by the wind but it was a fun ride. We contemplated going up or around at the Junction but decided to return down NGR. It was a tricky descent - you'd go into a corner barely able to keep it vertical and come around the other side having to completely change your weight balance. There were a lot of people coming up as we got down lower - almost looked like some kind of organized group ride.

OH NO!!! They closed Mia Cafe! There's a sign in the window that says a sushi restaurant is coming soon. We went to the Bagel Street Cafe which has OK coffee but an assembly line kind of atmosphere.