Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gate Junction Hole

Started off solo again. Full booties this time along with my other cold weather kit. Not quite freezing and no wind so it was actually pretty nice.

JB caught up and passed me just after Chainbuster. Hardly saw anybody else all day. We decided to go down the South side.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gate Junction Juniper Gate

Thought I was going to be solo today and started off really slow looking for photos. Serious cold, 33°F at the Summit. Full gear except for booties and neck warmer (should have had the booties)..

I added a little vertical enhancement to this photo I took yesterday. White stuff = snow.

Stopped for a sunrise photo and JB rode up along side me. He got back from a trip earlier than expected.

At the Junction we decided to go up. It kept getting colder.

Dudley Driveby: Descending from Summit Road at Junction with a new pair of cycling tights!

At Juniper the road was closed. Didn't look like any snow was up there... they'll probably open it up later in the afternoon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gate Junction SGKiosk Gate

I was expecting frost this morning like we've had the last few days, but it was clear and mostly dry and not intolerably cold.

Rick and I met on NGR and we got started a couple minutes early. Not very many riders today, I think we only saw two on the whole way up. Sun got pretty strong around the Bump but it was still cold. Hard to believe we had a post-ride Jamba just a few weeks ago.

There were a few more riders at the Junction, but no big groups. We went down SGR and it was a lot windier and wet over there - we almost felt like a paper airplane in some places. We saw some big groups of tent campers too; that must have been a cold night. We turned around at the kiosk and rode back to Junction.

Just below Junction I got this photo of an old tree that had been partly sawed off and partly broken off, wonder what the story there is.

Rick kept on climbing and I went down NGR.

From Upper Washout on North Gate Road you can see South Gate Road along the ridge up their at the top.

The rest of the way down NGR was slow because of the headwind... no speed records today.

Dudley Driveby: Blue Oak Speedway (according to a text message from Rick)

For today's nature lesson we have:

The California Coffeeberry Bush - you'll see a lot of these - those berries look like coffee beans and aren't poisonous but not very good tasting either. Indians used to use them to make face paint though.

The California Buckeye - the tree in winter has no leaves at all and it drops these giant chestnut-looking things (size of a small apple) on the ground. The wood of the California Buckeye is supposedly one of your better choices if you ever have to start a fire using the rubbing sticks together method.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gate-Junction-Tire Poppers-Gate

Woke up to wet thick fog; low visibility and dripping trees. I grabbed Eddy and pumped him up.

Came upon JB and Rick on NGR; JB was fixing a flat. He has a new technique of putting a stem nut on the inside of his rim and another on the outside so that the tube/valve joing will ostensibly experience no wiggling forces from the pump. I remain skeptical as always about such things.

Rick said he was sure the fog would break because Pleasanton was clear and the fog was local to Walnut Creek. He was right, when we came up around Penny Lane everything suddenly changed - clear, bright, and really warm. I took off my gloves and unzipped my jacket.

It was also crazy windy in some sections - I was out of the saddle just trying to keep forward motion.

We only saw a couple riders on North Gate but there were a bunch of people at the Junction. This guy pulled the classic "slow motion topple stuck in toeclips" maneuver, and took down the guy next to him as well. I decided to immortalize his embarassment with a blog photo.

Then down to the Tire Poppers. SGR was a completely different world than NGR. It was clear and bright and warm and not windy, and there were dozens of riders. I did a quick turnaround and got a head start on JB and Rick and managed to stay ahead until about the Kiosk.

Ride back down NGR was a slow because the wind was still quite strong. Still fun but you have to know what to expect.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gate-Junction-Tire Poppers-Gate

Cold - coldest ride of the season so far.

Late start, Rick's car wasn't there, rock on the post, JB ahead.

On the shifting soap opera, after last week's almost perfect performance this week was diappointing. Pulled over near Moss Landing and fiddled and futzed and it didn't do too much good. The second-biggest 24t is the worst but it can happen in any gear. 27t is the safest but that's supposed to be my give-up gear!

Wildlife Encounter: big flock of Turkeys at the Cold Shoulder.

So JB was at the Junction. We shot a little breeze and then he went to a Hawkeye football party. I decided to do the Tire Poppers and back up.

Sometimes cold air is the clearest.

So cruising back down NGR I'm really enjoying myself and thinking I'll do a little Dips sprint even without Rick's lead out and I honk out a good one when this dude dinks his little bell at me to pull over and he came around me so fast I barely had time to get my camera out when I recognized him.


Saturday, November 15, 2008


Wasn't sure about the weather this morning; went with tights over shorts and short sleeves over a T-shirt. JB and Rick were at the Gate and we took off.

We chased the two riders in front of us most of the way up.

There was a wind storm last night and lots of branches were down.

Including this big one near the Bottom of the Bump.

At the Junction Rick asked what was next. What I was hoping for was anything but the Summit but if I said that out loud it'd be the Summit for sure so I didn't say anything and it was Summit anyway. I took off my tights and rolled them up and stuck them in my jersey pocket. It was really getting warm.

We took it pretty easy on Summit Road.

Dudley Driveby: in the Blue Oak Speedway. First sighting in several rides.

I took a preparation lap around the Lower Parking Lot before I started up the Wall; I usually need that extra bit of courage from my suitcase.

Rick and I found these cool helmet decorations.

And here's a shot of JB just to be inclusive.

It was surprisingly clear at the Summit. We could see snow on the Sierras, the GG Bridge, and even the Farallon Islands.

It doesn't look that great in the photos of course.

In case you need some help finding them.

And here's a shot with a little digital enhancement.

Warm enough for a cold smoothie.

X-mas decorations out already in the Countrywood parking lot.

On Thursday the Save Mount Diablo staff threw a thank you party for us Diablo Challenge volunteers. Great bunch of folks.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Coldest day of the season so far. No one at the Gate so I left solo. Didn't see anyone else climbing but about three guys coming down, none of whom were Dudley.

Near Chainbuster I saw JB down below.

Wildlife Encounter: Coyote near the Ranger House - a big fluffy one.

At Junction, Moss and his FIL appeared too.

JB and I decided to do SGR and then I decided I didn't have the motivation to do Blackhawk so we went through the Hole.

It was a bad season for fires but Diablo was mostly spared.

Check the My Videos link on the sidebar for my newest production.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Another Quickie JuncRun

School fundraiser this morning so no time for any adders.

Other than commuting this week, haven't ridden since Foxy's. The Quantum Pro had quite a few shifting problems there and today it was even worse. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what's going on. The chain skips and tries to change gears with annoying frequency and especially under high torque (sprints, climbing). It happens less in the big ring and at the outside edges of the cassette but today I could scarcely keep it in any gear anywhere. Putting on a new chain and cassette a month ago didn't seem to help at all and I have futzed with the cable adjusters to no success either. So while I'm hobbling up the mountain I come up with another couple possibilities I could check out when I get home - my new chain might be a link too long (doubtful but I'm desperate) or my B-screw might let me get my jockey pulley a little closer to the cogs; the other options were a crack in the derailleur, bent axle, or tweaked alignment on the hanger.

So I caressed the crippled cruiser to the cross-roads and cursed. Time to get serious about this issue.

Could have kicked some poser booty on the Dips but I was afraid I'd pass him and then have to slow down again with a chain problem so I held back.

Back at home I set up the workstand and inspected all the suspect bits and played with the B-screw but I wasn't finding the AHA problem. Until I noticed a slight chainskip that looked at first like a stiff link but upon closer investigation turned out to be a chain pin that was sticking out. That was the first thing that made me think I might have it - the pin would be causing the pickup ramps on the smaller cogwheel to snag and initiate an upshift.
So I pushed it in and the chain works well at least in the workstand but those Shimano chains are kind of fragile in the plate holes so I hope it all stays together, otherwise this'll be a short-lived chain.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Foxy's Fall Century 2008

OK today started out kind of scary. Dear wife has been sick with strep all week but I have avoided being infected... until yesterday when I started to get that pre-sick feeling; chills, headaches, scratchy throat, you know. I absolutely willed myself not to succomb and this morning I got up at 4am to prepare. I was a little achy but not nearly bad enough to cancel the ride. I figured worst case I could do the 100km route and suffer through it. Dropped some vitamins and ibuprofen and electrolites and started to feel not too bad.

Foxy's won't let anybody start until 7:30 and that was pretty smart because it was dark until about 7:25. Davis Bike Club has enough organizational savvy to pull off registration and everything else with ease.

Start time 7:30 am

Miles 0 - 10: Warm up, 18mph. Getting out of town it didn't seem to make sense to pass every little group of riders in front of us that was slowing us down.

Miles 10 - 25: Hammer to Rest Stop 1, 20-24 mph. Feels great just to not be sick.

Miles 25 - 35: Hammer until the terrain starts to get hilly. Legs start to hurt.

Miles 35 - 62: Rolling hills to Rest Stop 2. Speed drops; I was really struggling in here - I think my reserves were kind of low from the pending illness. Didn't feel bad, just not very strong. Legs and neck hurt.

Miles 62 - 84: Steeper and longer climbs. Speed drops even more. Legs, neck, and butt hurt.

Miles 84 - 106: Hammer back to Davis, 19 - 22mph. Legs, neck, butt and feet hurt.

Finish time 3:00 pm

Please enjoy my multimedia presentation in my Vimeo album:

Rick passes along his ride data.

Me with a mouth full of banana bread.

The lunch stop had pillows and packing blankets to sit on - why has no one else thought of this?

Some guy broke his fork just before lunch - incredible he wasn't hurt.

Rick compares Ride to Kaiser notes with another guy who earned the jersey.

No scenery to detract attention from the ride. Lots of farm equipment kicking up dust though. Quite a few vegetation burns as well.

Another DBC original; the Rapid Bottle Filler. Note the drinking water quality hoses you other clubs!

Load up now because later you won't want to eat.

Got a little windy but far less than normal for this ride.

Broadband comes to DiabloScott's PC. Everything's faster, no promises on quality improvements for the reader.

Update: Scanned in the Route Map and created my own elevation profile with y-axis chosen to make it look more brutal.

Foxy's Fall Century Elevation Profile

Foxy's Fall Century Route Map

Foxy's Fall Century Directions

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Calaveras Road - Foxy's Tune-Up Ride

JB and I drove to Rick's house and started from there. Calaveras Road is part of the Primavera Century and was also part of the Tour of California last year. It's such a fun ride with tight turns and rolling hills and great views.

After working our way through downtown Pleasanton and the outskirts of urbanization, we rode past the biggest tree nursery I've ever seen.

Wildlife Encounter: Turkeys in two places. I gobbled at them and they gobbled back; I thought that meant I did a pretty good turkey imitation but Rick thought they were laughing at me.

So this was an out and back course and when we got to about 22 miles we just turned around and made it about 45 for the day. There was a good stiff headwind most of the way so Rick and I got in some excellent Foxy's type training for next week.

Please check out this week's ride video at my Vimeo page: HERE. I'll add a link to my border bar too. I don't think I'll be doing this for every ride but it was a fun little project - leave me a comment over there after you watch it.

Vimeo is sort of like Picasa or Flicker for videos - perfect for sharing little movies like this with friends and blog readers without taking up space from my Blogger memory alotment.