It’s a week until Eastern Sierra, so I decided to do a short out and back climb up to Mt. Diablo. Plus, there was the NorCal BF Mt. Diablo Challenge, where we needed to provide our best time to the top, so this was a perfect time to check my personal best.
There was another group, that was leading from Fremont, over Palomares, then over to Mt. Diablo. That’s a bit more than I wanted to do, 1 week before a double century. On the other hand, my rooommate for next week, Chris, went ahead and rode from home in Mountain View, and ended up riding over Dumbarton, to Fremont, over Palomares, to Mt. Diablo, then back up Palomares again, then over Dumbarton, back through East Palo Alto. That was 140 miles … now that’s fine for a training ride, but 1 week before the double?
Ok, anyways, I met the group at Athenian School, which was the designated start of the time trial up Mt. Diablo. One problem … since we started from there, there was no warmup … absolutely no warmup before the actual climbing. WTF
As expected, I was trailing the pack. Richard (Beaker), far right in the picture, shot up the hill like he was Levi Leipheimer. I didn’t see him till I got to the top of the hill. I eventually hung in with Brent (furthest left in the picture), and we traded leading the climbing through the first part of the climb. We were chatting quite a bit of the way, and that seemed to make the time pass away quicker.
About 1/4 mile from the ranger station, we were thinking “are we close to the ranger station”? Next thing ya know, we are at the ranger station. Wow, I must have been feeling pretty good, because I didn’t really feeling like I was pushing it.
We didn’t see the others waiting there, so onwards we pushed. I was going at a pretty good groove, and eventually, I started to distance myself from Brent. Then, I saw Cliff ahead of me. I caught him and passed him. I also saw a few BF friends coming down Diablo, so that was cool.
Soon after passing Cliff, I started feeling a twinge in my lower back. Oh no, did I go out too hard too fast? Brent passes me, and Cliff passes me, and now I’m struggling to finish. It’s a good thing I’m only about 500 feet from the top. It’s only a few more switchbacks before I make the final push up the hill.
As I climb, I notice this awesome sheet of clouds in the distance. I didn’t want to stop, but I had to to take this shot.
With the pain in the lower back, I just wanted the climb to end. I tried to just grind it up the last part of it, but even that was painful. Of course, the last few hundred meters is a steeper pitch (as expected … what else were you expecting?). The crest was in sight, and I decided to push the threshold of pain deep down under the pit of my belly, and gun it to the top. I’m grunting with every pedal stroke, trying not to think of the pain, and just go under one huge adrenaline rush. What’s funny is everyone was thinking I was sprinting up the final climb … I just wanted to get it over with.
One oddity on this ride … there was a convoy of Model-T Fords climbing diablo. There were a few cyclists, who were caught on the climb, and they just needed to beat the Model-T’s up to the top. Those unfortunate ones who were behind the Model-T’s had to suffer the exhaust they were spitting out while making the climb.
Oh, the results … well, before this, the best time I had was 1:39. This time, I made it in 1:32. Brent was commenting, the way I was climbing down below, that at that rate, I would definitely make it in 1:30 … that would be fine, except for the back ailments. If it weren’t for that, I definitely would have made it in under 1:30. Oh well, next time.