Wednesday, September 30, 2020

2020 WNR 27

Last ride of September.  I am ready for winter already.

Oh boy, hot and smoky today. I saw a few people coming down when I was just started up and a couple people at Junction and that was it.  I knew it was going to be hot and smoky and I went anyway... I was not overwhelmed, but it was bad.

At Junction I met a guy from San Diego who took a week off from work to ride from San Diego to Mount Diablo and back... 200 miles per day! He was staying in hotels at night and he had a giant saddle bag with his gear in it... I assumed pajamas and electronics chargers.

Check out my new inversion table  - really gets the kinks out of my spine. I got it for $20 at a garage sale last week.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

2020 SMR 29

 A heat wave is coming, brief but intense. This morning was beautiful though, but the smoke was a factor.

Very busy on The Mountain, including one club from Berkeley. We saw them at Junction coming up SGR, and I stayed ahead of all of them except for one guy whose job was to take photos of people suffering up The Wall.

Report is that the water is turned back on at Junction, if you need it.

DiabloShoutouts to Jim, Nancy, Bernie, and Bharat.

I saw Nancy and her crew on my descent at Juniper where they were quitting because of the smoke.

Lots of motorcycles today too.

I'm getting a bottom bracket kind of creaky noise from my bike - I should probably overhaul and re-grease stuff.

Work is progressing on the Bike Turnout at Devil's Elbow also.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

2020 WNR 26

Charlie went early. JB went late. I was in the middle. 10:30 at The Gate is a real nice start time.

Great weather too. I had visions of doing an easy ride to Junction, and then going down SGR for a PB attempt Kiosk to Junction. I checked Strava before leaving... 17m18s, that sounded fast, but there's a bunch of my Strava friends with better times than that who have no business being faster than me.

A couple days ago, Blog-Reader Midland rode by the Diablo Homestead when I happened to be out washing the atmospheric ashes off my truck, and he asked how come Strava rated my last ride as so difficult when it seemed like a normal Saturday Morning Summit. Since he had a heart rate monitor that Strava uses as a gauge for suffer score, he didn't realize the rest of us just have a little self-evaluation button, and I guess I over-stated my effort!

I just have this little slider bar, and somehow Strava converts it to a Suffer Score.

So up NGR and I felt good, but started to feel not up to a PB attempt and started thinking instead about a 10 Minutes of Summit Road Challenge... been a while since I tried that one. That's strictly a personal challenge too, because Strava doesn't have timed challenges for distance, only distance challenges for time.

I pulled over at a wide spot to let a huge truck go by, and then a little bit farther up I saw that they were putting in a bike turnout at Clavicle Cracker!  All right, things are happening now!

At Junction I recovered a little and decided to go for the 10-minute challenge.  SCORE! Made it to Blue Oak, beat my previous record of Toyon, not sure it's possible to make the Rick Roll.

Then I recovered a little and decided I'd do the Kiosk to Junction thing without going for a PB. But when I got to the Kiosk, a guy on an electric bike was coming up so I thought maybe I'll see if I can just keep up with him. That worked until the easy section when I decided to pass him and then try to stay in front.  He caught back up to me just before Junction, and I got my 2nd best time in the Segment Trophy.

It was a special kind of smug satisfaction in passing an electric bike.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

2020 SMR 28

 The last Saturday of Summer. The Mountain was crowded with folks enjoying the clean air and mild temperatures.

Before I left home, I did a regular bike safety check and had to do some brake adjustments. I also noted that my rear tire should be perfectly worn out in time for the end of the season. When I got to The Gate, my rear tire went soft and I had to change a flat - found a tiny wire in there.  JB arrived and we discussed all the things you could screw up while changing a flat during a ride:  1) Not finding the thing that caused the flat  2) Putting the punctured tube in your saddle bag and forgetting you needed to swap it out  3) There must be something else.  I used up a CO2 cart and it had been so long since I had used my inflator, I had to think about it for a minute - worked fine though.

In the first mile or so, we came upon group of riders who were riding the width of the whole road. We expressed our disdain for their cluelessness as we passed.

Wildlife Encounter: one deer

At Junction there were lots of bike riders talking about riding bikes. One guy had been using the Repair Station to do something to his tire and then it exploded. It was so loud we all thought it was a fire cracker or something, and it sounded like it came from higher up on Summit Road, but then the guy admitted it was him and he had screwed up something  (oh yeah, that's #3). He seemed like he didn't have a lot of experience with bike mechanics and wasn't sure what he did wrong. It was even louder than other blow-offs I've seen, might've been a tubeless tire.

I talked to a rider from Merced who said it was her first time on Diablo... she really enjoyed it and wanted to know about the famous Summit Wall. 

While the air quality was not bad, the visibility was poor - the smog was obscuring all the normally beautiful views.

The UpWall was closed for tree trimming, so they had both directions routed to the DownWall today.

Big house fire in my neighborhood yesterday - the FD was there today investigating.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

2020 WNR 25

 Best air in weeks!  

Seizure recovery update:  Had a teledoc appointment with my neurologist at 9am and he said I'm cleared to do everything, so I should be getting my driver's license back soon. We decided I should stay on the anti-seizure medicine for a while though since it's not having any side effects and it might be preventing another seizure.  He said people who have a seizure of indeterminate cause like I did, have about a 40% chance of having a second one, but after 4 months (like now), that number drops to 5-10%, so I'm pretty far out of the danger zone, but not exactly out of the woods. I told him I had a vague sense that my balance and reflexes were not as sharp as I'd like; he asked if I had stumbled over my feet or anything like that and I said "No, but I can't hold a red light track stand as long as I used to."

Charlie and JB agreed to a 1030 start this morning so I could do my appointment. On our way up NGR, we talked about health care and air quality.  Usually Charlie pushes kind of hard for the first couple miles, but I think today he was going easy on JB, so we all stayed together until after The Washout, and then I put in a harder effort to Junction and that felt good.

As I laid down my Junction Sprint, I passed a woman that I talked to a few minutes later. She had a good story about how she had schooled some newbs a few weeks earlier. She was 72 years old, and the newbs passed her but then farther up the road had bonked and she passed them back and they were impressed with her fitness and graciousness.

Autumn 2020 is only a week away! That seems like it'll be a nice transition into good times.  When I got home, I thought about getting my winter bike ready to ride, and cleaning up The Klein before I hang him up for the season... he's about ready for new tires and handlebar tape so that'll make for some satisfying maintenance.

Not the kind of blue skies that people write songs about, but way better than we've seen in weeks.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

2020 SMR 27

 Heat wave is HERE. 

Fractured vertebrae recovery index... 9.5.  Still kind of achy, but didn't slow me down.

Tarantula Tally: ZERO.  Folks been seein'm though.

North Gate went normal - except there was the smell of something dead around Big Shady Oak... didn't see anything but I suspect it was a rat the size of a horse, decomposing in the sun, behind a rock or something.

Diablo Shoutouts to regulars Jim, Kasters, Steve, Bharat. There were also a higher than usual number of newbs who were stopped in places that newbs stop at because they weren't ready for RIDING THEIR BIKE UP A MOUNTAIN.

There was also some guy in a bright blue dune buggy - kind of odd, but he was driving safely.

Things were pretty quiet at Summit, people seemed to just be conscious of how hot it was going to get and just wanted a little break before turning around and facing the rest of the day.