Wednesday, July 29, 2020

2020 SMR 24

Injury Update:  same as Wednesday.

Had a call with Colonel Al yesterday and he said the Park will be putting in  FOUR NEW BIKE TURNOUT LANES!  These are four of the most dangerous places on The Mountain - the places where cars make stupid passes, this will be a big advance in safety.  Check out the GoogleMap Links, Number 3 is Clavicle Cracker!

Mount Diablo State Park Bike Turnout Project Locations

#1: Southgate Road (Approximately 1.72 miles from the Southgate Entrance) 
GoogleMap 1 Link

#2: Summit Road (Approximately 3.5 miles from the Junction Ranger Station) 
GoogleMap 2 Link

#3: Northgate Road (Approximately 4.34 miles from the Northgate Entrance) 
GoogleMap 3 Link

#4: Southgate Road (Approximately 3.88 miles from the Southgate Entrance) 
GoogleMap 4 Link

Al didn't know what the traffic survey was about, but he did say the Park has to do these every so often just for state law like any other roads. He also said there's a lot of South Gate drivers that go to the neighborhoods or the school and don't make continue up so the Park staff might want to know that.  I decided to document the placement of these things with photos and captions in MY BLOG WHERE FREE SPEECH IS TREATED WITH REVERENCE!  The single tube installations only count vehicles, and the dual-tube installations count vehicles and measure speed. Some of the manufacturers claim they can tell the difference between cars and trucks, and some of them claim to be able to detect bicycles, I'm investigating those claims, standby for my expert report.

Saw Al at Junction. He was riding with Jeff who is also interested in cycling safety improvements... chins were wagged.

This guy had a cool bike, looked custom. He passed us too fast for me to get a good look at it though.

North Gate air tube #1 - Single tube installation, 1.7 miles from The Gate.  Moss Landing.
HEY - this was a dual tube installation on Wednesday!

North Gate air tube #2 - Single tube installation, 2.7 miles from The Gate.  Last Chance to Breathe.

I like green bikes, this guy merits a photo.

North Gate air tube #3 - Dual tube installation, 3.6 miles from The Gate.  Retaining Wall.

Al says if the road totally fails the Park can get emergency repair money, but if it just cracks and sags nobody will pay.

North Gate air tube #4 - Dual tube installation, 6.4 miles from The Gate.  Junction

These things work by air pressure flipping a switch inside this box. when a tire goes over the hose.  JB and I reminisced about running over these things on our bikes at gas stations when we were kids to make the bell ring. In our experience... less than 50% success rate.

Summit Road air tube #1 - Dual tube installation, 0.5 miles up from Junction.

Summit Road air tube #2 - Single tube installation, 1.5 miles up from Junction. Blue Oak.

OH LOOK! A company and phone number!

Quality Counts  Interesting info there, I'll be perusing.

2020 WNR 22

Injury Update: At least 90% back to normal. Back pain is manageable, and sensations of good health are abundant.

Another double Junction day. Last year when I could still drive, I'd go hard on a solo ride at 3:30 or so, come back to my truck, eat a Clif bar and reload with cold water bottles and then do a social ride with my little group about 5:30. This year since my seizure I have to come all the way home so it's longer between the two rides but I get in more miles... it's different, it's the way it is; DiabloScott plays his best hand with the cards he's dealt.  I think that's an appropriate metaphor, but I don't play cards.

AM Junction:
A fast group of three guys came around us at The Gate, but they had multiple mechanical problems and we saw them at the side of the road twice fixing stuff.

Charlie usually starts out a little faster than I would ride if I were solo, so I have to dig a little to do his pace, then (before my injury) I would ride faster the last couple miles and he would struggle to keep up.  Since the injury I haven't had the stamina to push at the end, but this morning I had a little extra and that was a good feeling.  I think it was the first time since May that I've beat him to Junction.  He said he had one of his faster times too, so this wasn't a fluke... I'm actually getting some fitness back.

PM Junction:
OK, getting hot. Left the house at about 4:30 and determined not to over-do it.

Seems like there's a lot of broken glass on Bancroft and Walnut in the bike lane... so far I've avoided it but it would be nice to get some street sweeper trucks back to work.

Not so many riders... notably didn't see the interval guys who make me feel like I'm not working hard enough.  Did see quite a few more riders on my way down though.

Hey, here's something new - traffic counter hoses!  Four places on NGR. Usually these things are done as part of a study to determine traffic speed, volume, vehicle type, etc.  I'm optimistic they need to do this to justify doing some repairs, and not because they think the bikes are going too fast and are thinking about speed bumps or something ... watch your descending speed anyway, just in case.
Road tubes are used to detect vehicle axles by sensing air pluses that are created by each axle (tire) strike of the tube in the roadway. This air pulse is sensed by the unit and is recorded or processed to create volume, speed, or axle classification data. While one road tube is used to collect volume, two road tubes can be used to collect speed and class data.
AM ride was faster, but PM ride was probably better for my conditioning. There was a guy chasing me the whole way up and I managed to hold him back and WIN... BOO YAH!

Hey, here's something else new - apparently there's a water supply issue and the Park has secured the flush toilets - I didn't verify but I did notice a self-contained hand-washing station at the Junction bathroom.

Got stuck behind a slow car on the way down. I don't ever want to make a driver go faster than they want to, so I pulled off for a stretch and just absorbed some of that Diablo awesomeness from a stationary perspective.

One reason I go to the extra hassle of posting photos on my blog is that it makes the photos available for anyone who wants to refer back to them whenever they want... unlike just posting them to Strava. Also, I get a few extra editing options. So enjoy and copy and paste wherever you like.

Photo credit: Charlie
(note Alpe d'Huez jersey)

Road Tubes at Moss Landing

Portable hand-washing station at Junction bathroom

Stretch break

Saturday, July 25, 2020

2020 SMR 23

Injury recovery update: I had an appointment with the spine doctor on Thursday and he said I'm healing up just fine, but it's going to take a while so get used to be sub-100% for the rest of 2020.

One of the things the doc asked was about leg weakness... and I said "I have a pretty high bar for leg strength." He understood I was a cyclist and said of course I have lost some endurance. Then I said "I used to be able to do The Bump in my 17 cog, but Wednesday I was in my 19 so I'm almost there."  Turns out he was more concerned about the kind of leg weakness that happens when your vertebrae pinch your spinal cord and then your legs buckle up and you fall down... he doesn't think there's any sign that's happening with me.  

Today's ride started out with this friendly ranger raising the colors. She didn't have much experience and had to re-do it when something went wrong. The flag is back to full mast today.

Wildlife Encounter:  deers and butterflies... it was like a Disney movie.

Man, we are having some great weather lately.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

2020 WNR 21

Charlie wanted to ride early, so I went with him.  Then I went AGAIN at 4pm, because it seemed like a good idea.

Wildlife Encounter: a raccoon looking for a handout at Junction.

So the morning ride was a little chilly, and I brought my arm warmers, but rolled them down after a couple miles of climbing. At Junction,  I noticed a pair of arm warmers someone had left on the hand rail.  On my second trip in the afternoon, they were still there.

Diablo Shoutout to BlogReader KEN, who didn't recognize me I think, and also to Deadhead Mike who always does.

That interval guy with the Mike's Bikes shorts and the Eddy Merckx was riding circles around me again ... I just had no response.

Charlie laid down a viscous attack at Big Shady Oak.
Retired Ranger Carl made an appearance.

Old guy with touring bike and panniers passed me... and that's OK.

I passed this guy with the tennis shoes and flat-bar hybrid though!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

2020 SMR 22

Wildlife Encounter: deer and turkeys

Broken Back Status: I felt good today. I've settled on the proper dose of Ibuprofen before a Diablo ride so pain was managed.  I told a few friends I saw that I felt about 85% normal, with brief forays into the 90% range.

I experimented with some lower tire pressure this morning: 92/95 instead of 98/100 in my 25mm tires and boy I think I could convince myself that I felt a positive difference!  JB said that he himself had experimented with HIGHER tire pressure with 110 in his 23s and he could feel every grain of sand on the road.

HEY! There are PEOPLE standing on TOP of Devil's Pulpit!  I didn't know there was a way up there!

I think it's about time for a spiffing-up with some new handlebar tape.

Attention Diablo Newbs - if you have to stop, don't do it at a bottle-neck!

I'm not sure if this guy was pumping something out of the buried tank, or something into it.