Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gate - Junction - Juniper - Gate

This one was worth 4 points on the Diablo Scott Belgian Hardman Scale.

Rick called at 7:00 to make sure I was going to be there... he also called last night... this is not the kind of day you want to be miserable without anyone to share it with.

When I got to NGR ,there was Rick putting on his booties over... HIS SANDALS !! He forgot his shoes and decided that wouldn't stop him so he rode the whole day without cleats on his Look pedals, what a hardman (all hardmen are a little bit nuts). Then JB rode up too and off we went.

I stopped for a whizz at the bottom of the Bump.

This isn't it... just a rain puddle.



We half hoped to find snow somewhere up there but visibility was almost nil. The fog was as thick and wet as I've ever seen it; most places were completely un-photographable so you're only seeing the few clear spots. Rick predicted we'd see no other riders, I was sure we weren't the only ones. Note to self: time for the mudguard.

No sense hanging around at the Junction any longer than necessary, we went up.

Dudley Driveby: 9:20 at Blue Oak on his way down (!) We did see about a half dozen other riders too.

More fog seemed to be forming in the little valleys between slopes and rising into the air. It was hard taking photos with frozen fingers.

I stopped at Juniper despite R&JB's taunting to continue. As soon as I started down, I knew it was a good decision... it was a long, cold, soggy, low visibility descent. Rick later called to say it took them almost an hour to come down.

Brrr is right.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Some Photos

Found these while browsing teh internets. A couple of views you don't see very often.

Fron Concord somewhere.

From an airplane over Suisun Bay... does it always look that brown?

From Tilden Park.

And from Danville? Covered with snow.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gate - Junction - SG Kiosk - Gate

Colder than last week! I had on a polypropelene undershirt (never could figure out how they make T-shirts and pipes out of the same material), jersey, full jacket, tights over my bibshorts, winter socks and booties, neck gator, ear jock, double layer of gloves, and SportKilt bandana under my helmet. Must have been 10 pounds of clothing, but I was plenty warm after my toes thawed out.

Met Rick and JB at the Gate at eight. It's been rainy this week but this morning was clear and not windy. JB said it was 34°F at the Summit - did you know there's a weather station you can call? The number is 925-838-9225 and you get a recording that gives the current temp and wind conditions.

There were a few guys riding today - but no Dudley... hope he's OK.

At the Junction a guy asked me about my booties, he didn't have any and wanted to know if they worked... YUP. He admitted his feet were pretty cold.

Then we went down to the SG Kiosk for a quick loop and back up. Some guys passed us on the way back up but Rick caught all of them save one.

And then Bagle Street Cafe at Encina Grande Center, it's a great apr├Ęs ride place but understaffed so you sometimes have to wait a long time just for a bagle and a cuppa.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gate - Junction - Blackhawk - Peet's COLD!

There was a crisp cleanness to the cold air this morning that piqued the senses. I became painfully aware of this as I pulled on my jacket and realized I should have washed it after the last ride...

JB and Rick met me at the Gate and we started up. We were all dressed for the cold - as for me: bibs and tights, jersey and jacket, winter socks and booties, gloves with liners and an ear jock... the only thing I left off was my neck gator and a thermal undershirt (for sub-freezing conditions or icy winds).

Dudley Driveby: Didn't see him !
Wildlife Encounter: Didn't see any of them either !

We did see a few folks coming down and a few more at the Junction so we weren't the only cycle-locos out there, but all the dumb animals had the sense to shelter in place.

JB turned around at the Junction; Rick and I went down the South Side. I remember thinking it was warm enough that I wouldn't need all the warmies for the descent but I put them on anyway because I'm usually wrong.

It was pretty slow going down through Blackhawk but it started to warm up a little. Then we made our way to Peet's in Danville and I had a peppermint mocha (a 9+ on the DiabloScott coffee rating scale). Also met a guy with a classic old Klein Performance who had recently put on a carbon fork and a triple crank to go with his 8-speed rear end and friction shifters on the downtube... sorry this photo didn't turn out too well.

Also happened to see Adam and his wife on their way to Pegasus for some X-mas shopping (not for me).

Then it was a semi-fast trip up Danville Blvd... no cement trucks to draft this time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cycling in TV Commercials

This is a slick Euro TV commercial with a cyclist advertising a Belgian window and door company. Only 30 sec.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Solo to Juniper

Just me today, riding the Eddy Merckx.

About half way to the Gate, I was wishing I had chosen warmer socks. After a week of fog and rain, today was clear and dry but very cold. I knew Rick wasn't coming, JB called while I was en route and said he wouldn't be coming either. I decided today would be a good day to take a bunch of photos; especially of places where I don't normally stop. I kept my eye open for an unusual cast of a shadow or an interesting pattern in the trees; let me know how I did.

I took some extra time with these shots today, so please enjoy. There bigger than usual too if you click on them.

I stopped at the steepest part of the Bump for a photo and a guy with a Pegasus jersey climbed past me... he didn't see my camera, probably thought I was a newb that couldn't make it without a breather.
Most of the Bump was still in the shade.
At the Lower Ranch I saw two guys who looked like they were in a bit over their heads... both looked knackered and under-prepared but in good spirits.
Didn't see anybody else going up or down until Chainbuster where Dudley was stopped, on his way down trying to get some warmth back in his legs I think. I said "hello" but then a little ways up I pulled out my camera for a photo. I don't think I've ever really made fun of Dudley (other than assigning him an unusual nickname) and I truly do admire his determination and consistency. He doesn't seem to fit the mold of other cyclists that ride the Mountain on a regular basis though; he usually wears street clothes with a back pack and bike shorts. Today he would have benefitted from some tights.

Here we have the only known photo of "Dudley".

You can see the Ranger House in this shot, right about in the middle at the top.
At the Junction I met a guy with a 7-Eleven jersey who admired my 7-Eleven replica bike. There were also some MTB guys there who rode up NGR and were going to do some trails on the way down to Danville. Then the two guys I saw at Diablo Ranch came in as well; one of them had a cool Scottish accent and the other guy kept complaining that he was going to die. They jokingly asked if there was any coffee up here and I said it was at the Summit but they didn't bite.

So off I went, not knowing how far I'd go before turning around. It did get colder and windier up there though so that would be my excuse.
At Juniper I decided I'd had enough and started down. I stopped at Junction again to put on some lip goop and then some other guys were there who also verbally admired my bike... I said "I paid $800 for this frame 14 years ago - that's real quality."

I think my chain is worn out though, it kept getting hung up on the chainrings when I'd back peddle a half stroke around corners.
Back down near sea level and the sun was high and the air was warm.
Notch up one more excellent day on Mount Diablo.