As if doing Mt. Diablo once isn’t enough, we have to do repeats? Well, it’s the last weekend before the Devil Mountain’s Double (DMD), and a few friends of mine wanted to get in this 10,000 feet + climbing ride in, to prepare them for next weekend. So why the heck am I doing this too? Beats the hell out of me … I guess I’m just sheep. But I’m not the only one who fell into this … Michael and Richard aren’t doing it either, and we went along for this ride.
Richard and I came a little early, so we could get in some flat miles, before the carnage of the climbing took place. For once, Richard (aka Beaker, aka RichardW1 on twitter) came out to do a Wrecking Crew ride. He definitely has the athletic requirements for it … beats me up any hill.
Unfortunately, Marco couldn’t make it today. Taking the day off … but hear he’s got some kickass ride tomorrow … I think I’ll join him for that one.
The rest of the gang all showed up. When I look at who was participating in this ride, I felt I was in real trouble. I mean look at everyone … they all have at best 5% body fat on them. So I was anticipating I would be far behind, dragging in the tail of the pack, and I definitely was.
Right off the bat, the pace had an incredible level of testosterone. All I could see was Richard and Eric charge up the hill. I’m not a natural hill climber, and even when I was in the best shape of my life, I wouldn’t be able to sustain that pace. I remember Michael asking around if everyone is going to maintain such an insane pace. All I knew was I definitely was not. However, as it turned out, I was only able to hang in with the group for about 2 or 3 minutes. After that, I could no longer see anyone from my group, so I might as well just get into a rhythm, and hopefully I will be within striking distance of everyone.
Even though I was severely distanced by the rest of the group, I did feel a little bit zippy. When the grade wasn’t an insane > 10%, I had enough energy to stand up, and get on the hoods, and attack (well attack somewhat). I knew I could sustain it for a little while, but definitely not for the entire duration of the climb (knowing how long the climb is). The good thing is I didn’t get passed by anyone (at least until I stopped a few times to catch my breath).
As the climbs get steeper and more sustained, I could feel my stamina start to suffer. I was starting to strain, and started to feel my back start straining a little bit. Time to loosen up on the pace. It also started to get a bit warmer, as the clouds started to break away. Mind you, we were also climbing above the clouds.
I was getting close to the summit. Only one more right turn U, and then the sharp pitch up. However, I then saw the pack come storming down the other direction, and Chris urging me on to come down to North gate. I was so close to the summit, and I could have just continued on, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t distancing myself too much further than I already was … so I made a U- turn there. Damn … 500 feet short of the summit. Oh well, looks like I won’t do it today. I guess this also relieves my back a little bit.
Ok, on to north gate. By the time I got to the bottom, I was still about 1/4 mile behind everyone … I guess I could try to distance the gap, but by the time I made the u-turn, I couldn’t see anyone in front of me. 6.5 miles of climbing till we get to the ranger’s station … this is going to be tough.
This section is definitely a bit warmer … I’m not sure if it’s because the cloud breaking up more, or if it is generally warmer on this side. I think it is the latter. I’d have to say this side is definitely more pastoral, as all you see is lots of green hill sides. Contrast that to the south side, where most of the road is filled with drop off cliffs … I think the south side is definitely more scenic, but the north side does have its moments.
As I got closer to the top, I was starting to feel problems with my right knee … that’s the one where I had my stupid office accident, with a fairly sizeable gash in my leg. It just didn’t feel that strong, and my fitness is still not quite there. I had to bite the bullet and sent a text message to everyone, telling them I won’t be able to even attempt going to the summit. Well, maybe I should re-phrase that … I didn’t want to go up to the summit. 🙂
I let them know I’d meet them at the ranger’s station. All I know was I had already done 5,000 feet of climbing in roughly 35 miles. That’s a pretty huge clip. By the time we all got back down to the bottom, half of us decided to call it quits. Besides, I’m not the one doing DMD next week, so there is no incentive for me to kill myself, any more than I already have.
Distance: 39.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 5167 feet climbing
Oh, here’s a slideshow of the pics I took on this ride. Neat new feature on wordpress … yay!