Saturday, October 26, 2019

2019 SMR 34

After Thursday's ride, I made the tiniest rotational adjustment to my handlebars and it felt like a totally different bike.  A little too much though, so after this morning's ride, I rotated them back a half as much.  Standby for updates on this critical news.

The sun is no longer in my eyes as I ride down Walnut Avenue in the morning... unfortunately it wasn't out at all today and it was pretty cold until about 8:30.  I toughed it out in arm warmers.

The Ranger at North Gate asked us not to stop in the zone of the kiosk.  This is the place JB always takes off his jacket or something right before we start.  We're never there for more than a minute and we weren't blocking any traffic even if there were some traffic.  I'm not sure what he was concerned about but I wanted to oblige - he said just a little farther ahead or a little farther back would be fine.

JB's bike is still at the shop - he doesn't want the builder to feel rushed.

Wildlife Encounter:  lots and lots of deer.

Above The Bump, one male with a good set of antlers found himself in front of us without a clear exit strategy.  We tried to calm him with soothing words describing our peaceful intentions, but he was a bit panicked.  He trotted along ahead with frequent glances back at us to see what we were up to, and then he finally found a place where he could get off the road into a safe bushy area.

There's a pretty big forest fire going on in Geyserville - 80 miles to the northwest but you could see the smoke in the air and I could feel it a little in my throat.  Supposed to be some really serious wind the next couple nights too - could get a lot worse.  Diablo will be closed starting tonight, they're expecting power outages too.

THERE'S the sun!

 Fire is that way.

  These guys had their emergency lights on, but weren't in a hurry.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Off Script Junction

Me and JB and Charlie are hoping to get Wednesday Afternoon Junctions going next week.  Just me today though.

My plan was to put the Klein away for the winter after Foxy's and bring out the Merckx.  Mission accomplished.  Had to dust off some webs, but he was in good shape and ready to ride - I must've done a good job putting him away last April.  It's a good-riding bike, and it only took me a short time to get reacquainted with his style.

It was warmer than I thought it would be - should've put ice in the water bottle because my iced tea got hot.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Foxy's Fall Century 2019

When Rick messaged me about doing this ride, I had to consider.  Rick's way faster than me, but he knows that and asked anyway.  I haven't ridden with him in a while and we have some memorable riding experiences together over the last...~20? years, including this ride multiple times, as well as some of the most memorable rides of my cycling life. Also, he offered to drive.  I decided to upvote his suggestion, recognizing that I'd miss my regular Saturday Morning Ride up Diablo.

Check in went fine - really nice atmosphere with tons of cyclists of all stripes.  I determined to go with Clif Bars and Hammer Gel, bypassing the pastries and other offerings.  We clicked START at about 7:30AM and were on our way.

Segment 1 was fast, and we were mostly passing big groups of riders.  I felt damn good, but knew I needed to hold back a little bit because CENTURY.  I imagined that the other riders were envious of my smooth style and obvious hardman-ness.  Somewhere in here I thought I smelled Parmesan Cheese... but then I realized it was cow poop.

Segment 2 was hilly and pretty, climbing around the south side of Lake Berryessa.  Still felt great and still passing most everyone because I am a climber!  Rick seemed happy with my pace.  One woman passed us who was of notably admirable physical condition, and Rick recognized her as ex-pro cyclist now triathlete Ali Battig.

Segment 3 was hilly and windy, I still felt good but welcomed Rick's offer to do most of the pulling.  I started to get the first twinges of leg cramps and let him know.  I reasoned that the switch off between fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles is what triggers my cramps.  I drank some pickle juice at the rest stop (these guys GET IT!) and a few more electrolyte capsules, and kept the cramps at bay.

Segment 4:  Rick says "Scott, I think you're running out of gas."  No use denying that, so I said "You're right, but I feel OK and I know how to pace myself, but that means slowing down a bit.  I'm digging a little too deep for 15 miles to go."  So we dropped our speed a hair and rolled on.  After a while he asked if I was ready to burn another match and I figured I had a couple left so I gave him the OK and he pulled at about 22mph for about 5 miles.  I told him "No use to finish the ride TOO strong."  I've finished centuries much more spent than this one; I felt perfectly used up, without feeling wasted.  Under 6 hours ride time; seems like that was good.  Under one Diablo worth of climbing though, spread out over 100 miles.

Post ride lunch was acceptable - I bypassed the tacos and just ate a huge plate of salad with some tortilla chips and an ice cream bar.  The dining room atmosphere was classic cycling event with classic cycling people and I felt a warm sense of belonging and shared culture with a couple hundred folks with whom I shared part of my identity.

I'm pretty sure the photo guys caught us at least four times, but I could only find this one:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

2019 Diablo Challenge Volunteer

I've lost track of how many times I've volunteered for this great event... but it pretty much matches up with how long I've owned my pickup truck.  I think I only missed a year or two since 2007.

After the race, I gave a ride down to a unicyclist from SoCal, and it turned out he was the guy who set a new record for the unicycle category.  Ben Soja; thank you for bringing GLORY to The Mountain.  Ben told me he is also the only unicyclist to complete the Everest Challenge.

One guy somehow lost his backpack, and it certainly wasn't his fault and I felt terrible for him, but I had no idea what could've happened to it.

Also on the way down, I came across a guy who had blown up his tire and needed a ride - I transported his bike but didn't have room for him, and another volunteer gave him a seat.  That's how volunteering works.

The weather was GREAT - no wind so the times were FAST and the gaps between groups were big. I almost didn't make it into position before the winner came by; I didn't get my video started until after the first three guys went past.  Kirk Carlsen WINS with a time of 44m50s, local legend Nate English was fourth, and Kevin Metcalf came in 16th... you know that was some fast racing!

As usual, I brought my COWBELL, and a whistle and did my super-fan thing at the bottom of The Wall.  Some folks seemed to appreciate it.

Cal Jersey autoblog

Video below; edited for brevity.  If you finished under 90 minutes I've probably got you in the unedited version - drop me an e-mail and I'll be happy to send you a clip - tell me your finish place and time and what you look like.   It is my privilege to support this event.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

2019 SMR 33

First ride of the season in TIGHTS!  and long finger gloves, and I was glad I had'em for the first hour, then my LS jersey got a little too warm after about 9:30.

The sky was beautiful but there was some smog you could see from a distance and you could kind of feel it in your throat.

Well the preventive power outages were pretty much a big nothing-burger.  The Mountain was closed on Thursday for high fire danger but that's what they always do for high winds and low humidity this time of year.

JB and I discussed vaccinations, Kurds, hurricanes, and movies.  Probably another three weeks or so before he gets his restored bike back.

Wildlife Encounter:  deer everywhere.

Diablo Challenge TOMORROW! and Foxy's next Saturday.

Roadkill Report:  raccoon on Walnut Ave.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

2019 WNR 30

The Wednesday Night Ride group all decided tonight would be the last WNR of the season.  Kathryn arranged for an early start and pizza after.  But Shawn got called out of town and a few others were out with minor illnesses or other issues so there were only three of us.  Also, fire season got a jump start and preemptive power outages were in effect and we weren't even sure The Mountain would be open.  So the last WNR of the season was very enjoyable and memorable, but not a big event.

We were talking about the best way to determine whether The Park was open, and Charlie related his phone calls with the rangers, I discussed the various web resources... and then this other guy who happened to be there says he checks the Strava segments to see how many riders have logged rides - filtering by "today"... BRILLIANT!

Well if you average out the three of us, we're average height.

Kathryn had never noticed the winery over there on The Approach.

Charlie gesticulates wildly at his own shadow.

Charlie sent me this photo - my leg looks ridiculously muscular.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

2019 SMR 32

First:  The Diablo Challenge needs more volunteers - will require getting up early on a Sunday.  Sign up HERE.

Wildlife Encounter:  deer at Little Pine Creek

Tarantula Tally:  one near the bottom of The Bump

I had my annual doctor exam on Thursday.  Told her I was ridiculously healthy, she looked at some numbers on her computer and agreed with my diagnosis.  Heart, lungs, BP, BMI A1c, TSH, PSA; everything was close to perfect.  Then I got a flu shot (just like every year because FLU!), and I think it made me really tired on Friday.

Today's plan was to attack the Junction to Juniper segment.  I needed to do it in 18m30s for a Personal Record - 17m45s to beat Kevin's time; I figured I had a shot, and I wasn't doing Summit so I could "leave it all on the road".  So at Junction I took my normal break and ate my normal Clif Bar and chatted with the other cyclists that were there and then I went for it.  I was feeling super great and I was passing a bunch of other riders and watching my time and it looked like it was working.  Ran into some gusty wind before Blue Oak but I didn't let it slow me down too much.  Then I became aware of how SMOOOOTH I was riding... I'm talking a Smooth Joey level of smoothness ... on top of a pretty big gear, high cadence, upper body still, and drinking up the road.  Suddenly, there was Juniper and I was in under 16 minutes.  Boo.  Yah.

Cal Jersey Autoblog

This guy was smooooth