Riding Off That Turkey … Morgan Territory and Mt. Diablo

Ah, thanksgiving … a time for family get togethers, and a time for feasting.  This means everyone is eating till they get a food coma … so that means Friday, day after thanksgiving, you gotta work it all off.  So I decided to ride Morgan Territory and Mt. Diablo from Pleasant Hill (with local route guidance from Dan).  This was originally going to be an epic 69 miler.

Much to my surpise, my old friend Pete, came along for the ride.  Dang, I haven’t seen him on a ride in about a year.  Great to see you back on the bike, and back on the road, Pete.  Hopefully, we will see you out on the road more often.  Also along for the ride, Curtis, Tricia, Dan’s friend Steve were all on the ride.  Noticeably absent … Marco and Ruth, Ramon, and Chris … all couldn’t make it.  So this didn’t turn out to be the hammerfest we were fearing it would be.

We were all bundled up in as many layers as we could get.  I had for layers … base, jersey, long sleeve jersey, and jacket, along with leg warmers, bootie for my feet.  In general, I stayed pretty comfortable, but the face was the one part that was exposed … so for that, I had my ninja mask, covering my mouth and nose.  The temps didn’t dip too low … I think the lowest on the ride was 44 F.  It would have been a lot more frigid if we made it up to the top of Diablo.

Pete puts the hammer down. Dan and I fight to stay within striking distance

Pete really surprised us all.  Pete, Dan and I were at the front climbing Morgan Territory together, then all of a sudden, when the really climbing began, he kicked it up another level.  I guess all those spin classes, and fixie rides through the city pays dividends?  He’s also a big time sandbagger … telling Dan and I he’s not feeling really strong … yeah, right.

I just barely had enough in me to make it to the park area before Dan, but Pete had gotten there well before me.  After a re-group, we’re ready to descent Morgan Territory, aka “the plunge”.  The descent is fast and very tricky.  There were quite a few off camber turns (exactly the same type of turn where I went down a few years ago).  Needless to say, I wasn’t keen on seeing how fast I can get down (my top speed coming down was just 33.5 mph).

Panorama shot from bottom of Morgan Territory

We had a pit stop at Starbucks at Blackhawk plaza, to get a caffeine boost, and some sugar to prepare us for the Diablo climb.  We were running short on time … by the time we left Starbucks, it was already near 2 pm.  We had two flats along the way, which took some of the time away from us.  Just so we don’t get caught in the dark, we decided to skip the summit, and just make the climb up to the junction.

Steve had a real boost from Starbucks, because he was just cranking it up Diablo.  Pete was way up a head, then Steve, then Dan, and I.  There were a couple of times where I could almost reel in Dan, but I just didn’t have enough in my legs.  Curtis actually caught me, but I had a little reserve left in my legs to push up to the junction.  We all got up to the junction in pretty good time, and the gaps weren’t that great, so we didn’t have to wait too long.

Pete with a flat ... the third one for the group today

As we descend Diablo to the north side, the temps were dropping, and it was getting crisp and cold.  Damn, forgot to put my ninja mask on, and my face was feeling it.  Unfortunately, Pete got a flat, so good opportunity to stop, and bundle up.

Panorama, looking up at Diablo

Also gave me a good opportunity to take a few more panorama shots … I love the panorama feature on my Droid X.

Even though we didn’t get to climb the summit (which in retrospect may have been a blessing in disguise), this was still pretty epic … 62 miles, 5059 feet climbing.  That’s pretty respectable.  Pretty big ride for November.

More pictures at http://spingineer.smugmug.com/Cycling/Post-Turkey-Ride-2010/14822935_3gXkk, or you could see a slideshow of the pics at http://spingineer.smugmug.com/photos/swfpopup.mg?AlbumID=14822935&AlbumKey=3gXkk

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