Saturday, October 31, 2009

Las Trampas

JB called to say not to wait, so I decided to do the Club Sport ride this morning. I had to hammer down to Walnut Creek to intercept them.

Nice riding - a little cool warm for October.

Roadkill Encounter: a pumpkin.

We did a little time trial on the final stretch to Las Trampas, so I really got my heart rate up in there.

Fun riding with these guys - not as much of a workout as Diablo but more mileage than I usually do.

This one's from last night.

From Bollinger Canyon Road this morning.

The Iron Horse Trail bridge over Treat Blvd has been under construction for about a month. I'd guess it'll open in February or so.

After the ride I found that I had trapped an opossum in my squirrel trap in the vegetable garden. He was probably fearing the worst but I turned him loose at Lime Ridge.

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeeen!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NGR - SGR - Blackhawk - Danville

Started off solo, JB was late.

I guess the kiosk ranger was also late.

I almost signed up for the Cruella Century today. I know a couple of the women on the Links for Life team and a bunch of folks from my Club Sport team are doing it... but it was $70, a small field, and the post-ride meal was hosted by Lawrence Meat Company (I'm vegetarian). Also I had a lot of stuff to do at home. But the ride came up the Easy Side as the first part of the course and I got to see all of them coming over.

So right about the Dumpster Gate this guy on a triathlete bike passes me pretty quick. He was obviously pretty good but something about him didn't quite seem legit. When he was a couple hundred meters in front of me he stuffed up a shift and couldn't get his chain to settle anywhere... he lost momentum and was almost stopped when I came around him and then he made some kind of excuse. A few minutes later he passed me back again, but after the Bump, he was pulled over on the shoulder playing with his Crackberry... looked like another excuse to me.

Passed-em:Passed-me ratio: 1:3

After Chainbuster I see a guy closing in on me and I decided that resistance would be futile. I expected him to blow by but it was blog reader Rozel who slowed down to tell me JB was a few minutes back. Then we decided to sprint and he nipped me by about ten bike lengths. I told him to make it look like he was cooked after that effort for the photo.

Unfortunately I think I photographed him in LANDSCAPE mode or something so it's a blurry shot. He's a photographer so this mistake is especially embarassing. Sorry kaibigan ko.

I waited around for the last of the Team Club Sport folks to make it up SGR, then JB and I went down toward Blackhawk. Also talked to one guy who showed us the route map and I didn't realize the full century came BACK over the Mountain at the end of the ride... kind of a neat route. I'll probably do it next year.

Roadkill Observation: raccoon on Blackhawk Road, just inside the bike lane - I rode by real close to it because I didn't want a car to pass right there and run over it and spew raccoon guts over me.

We took the Iron Horse Trail up to Danville - sure is nice in there... long stretches with no street crossings.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gate Junction Juniper Gate

Beautiful day, a little cool at the bottom, calm and sunny.

JB and I met at the Gate and started. We figured Mark H was up there again but he wasn't.

At one point JB shifted down to his biggest cog and the chain jammed because he was in the big ring and the chain was too short and I gave him a ration but he said that only matters if you're too dumb to use that gear... he didn't seem to see why I thought that was funny. He said he followed the Campy instructions for chainlength... I dunnno.

I don't think we saw a single vehicle the whole time on NGR.

At several places we got big strong whiffs of something that smelled like Mentholatum - not sure if it was from a rider in front of us or some kind of wild herb.

So we didn't try any funny stuff until Chainbuster when JB upped the ante by a few mph. I barely hung on and was in the red zone but by the "STOP AHEAD" sign I was only about 20 meters back so I flicked it up a few gears and pulled out a sprint win.

Lots of guys at the Junction. We joked about kids in flying saucers in the news.

Wildlife Encounter: Not a durn thing... very quiet on the Mountain today.

Nice view of the whole Bay from Juniper.

Tarantula Tally: 3

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gate Junction Summit Gate

Just a bit chilly this morning; I brought arm warmers. JB called and said he would be late.

Passed-'em:Passed-me ratio = 1:1

This guy was just a LITTLE faster than me.

Last week when I wasn't riding, JB said an old friend showed up and wanted to get back into it. Mark H used to ride with us back in the really early days - he was even with me during the famous "Chainbuster Incident". He moved away and adopted a sedentary lifestyle and now he's back; he said he loved the feeling of his lungs ripping open. It was fun catching up.

Some low fog in the valley made for nice vistas.

Mark has no pretenses about bikie style - motorcycle gloves, basketball shorts, and a beanie.

JB finally rolled in to the Junction and we talked for a little more but he went down SGR, Mark H went back down NGR, and I went up to the Summit.

Wildlife Encounter: A coyote in the tall grasses between the Ranches.

Roadkill Observations: two squirrels, two tarantulas, baby snake, and a mouse... it was real carnage today.

A little bit cooler up high. Lots of riders too.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Diablo Challenge 2009 Volunteer

My third year as a volunteer! Dear daughter came with me too. My job was to load the riders' backpacks and gear and drive it all to the Summit before the race.

Got up way too early this morning, got to the start at 5:30 and dinked around for half an hour before there was anything to do. As always, there was a last minute clusterfork and some people's stuff didn't make it... but it wasn't my fault... I was COMPLETELY loaded. There were guys stuffing arm warmers and stuff into the truck bed up until the last second, even as I starting driving.

The winning breakaway of four riders came through at 9:15 and a guy in a Cal jersey attacked them at the bottom of the wall and won the race. It was a little too cold and windy for a record pace but 153 men and 5 women broke the 60-minute barrier.

The famous "Pink Pannier" lady and local icon, Allison.

Blog reader Chris was the official photographer and rode the pace car on the way up. He got some great shots including the one below of Rick at the finish line draped over his bars, verge of spewing. Lots more good ones at this link SLIDESHOW.

Rick's been trying to break an hour in this race since before I met him (12 years ago maybe?) and this year he finally did it. Awesome job buddy.

So my daughter and I watched the first 100 or so riders finish, then we walked around and ate the cookies, bananas, and ClifBars that were being offered. We talked to a few people that we knew and helped riders find their bags. It was a good time and she wants to help again next year too.


1. Number of backpack drivers: There were three vehicles for ~1,000 backpacks: my truck, the Dublin Cyclery truck (half full of other stuff), and a PRIUS! People pay a lot of money for this ride and they should be able to expect that their stuff makes it to the top; two whole boxes of stuff didn't make it to the top because the organizers didn't have enough volunteer vehicles. They need at least three dedicated trucks; no excuses.
2. Volunteer communication: The check in people were telling the riders they had to put their stuff in the boxes that were marked with their starting wave - all the stuff went in the same trucks and to the same place at the same time... it didn't make any difference what box their stuff went into but it would have helped a lot if they put their backpacks in the boxes closer to the front so we didn't have to carry it so far. There's no reason for any boxes to be back farther than 50 feet from the starting line.
3. Distance: SMD has been saying for the last 20 years that this ride is 10.8 miles; they're WRONG. It's 11.3 miles and they should know this. My 18 years of riding experience on this Mountain, everyone I've ever talked to, and even Google Maps attest to this fact. They have timing chips that record to the tenth of a second but they're off by half a mile on the distance and that's just ridiculous. I don't care why they're wrong but they should start doing it right; they also calculate average speed based on this incorrect distance so the results page is wrong in this regard.

Seemed like a good day to make a video:

Diablo Challenge 2009 from Diablo Scott on Vimeo.