There was another DMD trainer ride, and this would be a good opportunity to get in a good 100+ miler 2 weeks before my Solvang Double. The route would be in excess of 100 miles, but damn … what a difficult way to get in those 100 miles.
Dan, our fearless leader, showing his stretching prowess
My friend Dan, aka lanceoldstrong, was the mastermind of this route. He was originally going to do this with his buddy, and it was going to be just a two man ride. Well, he had to bail, and so the ride plan goes on twitter … well, a two man ride turned into a 9 man ride. Woohoo … the power of twitter. Most of the usual suspects showed up .. myself, Bassem, Chris, Marco, Donald, Ben, and a couple new faces I haven’t seen before … Keith and Yu Hua.
We were originally going to start at Mines Rd, to pick up along the DMD route, but a bunch of us derailed that idea. Longer drive than we wanted to, so we started from Bart in Fremont instead. This was a nicer option, as it does give us a nice 25 mile warmup before hitting Mines Rd, and second, if we started from Mines Rd, we’d hit climbing immediately.
The pace out of Fremont Bart was brisque. Of course, anytime you head out on Niles Canyon, and get into a paceline, you can’t help but have a fast pace. At least this gives our legs a nice warmup.
First flat of the day
After a quick jaunt on I-680, then onto Vallecitos (Hwy 84), we suffered our first flat. Keith was the unfortunate victim.
We forge on ahead to Livermore
Chris signaled us to move on. Chris and Ben stuck along side with Keith. They are guaranteed to catch us (and they eventually did on Mines Road). So we forged on ahead. I assumed my normal position .. in the back of the pack.
We made one last pit stop before heading out to Mines Road. However, Donald got a flat there … two, and counting. Bassem took some time to take a few pics. For once, I’m in the picture. This is a rarity.
Starting the steep climb on Mines Road
Onwards to Mines Road. A left turn to continue on Mines Road, and suddenly, I lost visible contact with the rest of the group. Oh well, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone, but this is ridiculous. Anyhow, time to get into a groove, and just try to limit the pain. I did eventually catch up with Dan, but only because he was disrobing …. uh, taking off base layer that is. But a funny thing happened from this … when he redressed himself, one strap from the bib was just hanging out. I should have taken a pic, but I refrained from that. Had to give our leader some respect. :p
Eventually Dan did pass me up, partially because the tourist in me is stopping to take in the views, as well as more pictures.
Re-group due to Marco's flat
I could feel the steep portion was over, as I’m able to pick up some speed and actually descend! Then, I see a group off to the side … uh oh, not a good sign. Whaddayaknow … another flat. Flat #3. This time, it’s Marco.
Onwards for more rollies, then, Yu Hua gets a flat. That’s #4. Everyone was getting a little antsy, so I stuck in with Yu Hua, and decided to meet everyone at The Junction. We didn’t catch anybody, as we were struggling with the rest of the rollies on Mines Road. These rollies kept going on and on … I kept looking at the mile markers on the road, and couldn’t remember exactly what mile the Junction was at … it’s mile 19. The last few climbs before the Junction were kickers, and we just wanted it to end.
Lunch at The Junction
We finally get to the Junction, and Dan had already left at that point. We did get to chat with a few of the group, but they went on ahead. Sandwiches at the Junction take a while, and that meant we’ll most likely not see anyone the rest of the day. I saw Britpower, who was leading the Cinderella training ride today. No wonder we saw so many riders on Mines Road today. I wasn’t sure if this was the norm, but it was good to see so many riders out today.
Britpower was waving a number of times at me today, but I was so out of it and tired, I didn’t recognize her, until she came up to me face to face. Duh. All I knew was I needed food in my stomach. I could feel I was hungry about 3 miles before the Junction.
Beginning of the grind on the backside of Hamilton
Finally got our lunch, and we headed out towards Hamilton around 1 pm. I knew at this point I would not be able to catch up with anyone else. Yu Hua and I traded leads for the first several miles or so, until Yu Hua’s legs got into gear, and then it was a slow grind up the backside.
All along I knew this was just the beginning. Yes, I do see the mileage markers on the road, but what I was really looking for was the bridge, because that’s when I know the real climbing starts. Cross through about 3 or 4 cattle grates, and then finally, the bridge.
From this point on, it’s 12-14% climbs up until about 1.5 miles from the summit. This is really where you have to dig down deep into the pit of your soul, and muster more energy to just turn the crank.
2 Miles to the Summit. What a welcome sight to see.
And of course, I was so happy to see the 2 mile marking on the road. Although there is still a bit of climbing left to do, I knew the end was near.
Summit is right around the corner
A little further up the climb, then I see the big 120-inch telescope Observatory … ah the worst is over.
Once at the summit, I get a text message from Ramon. Chris is not feeling well, and a bunch of folks decide to skip Sierra. It’s 3:09 pm, and I need to get going if I want to finish the ride in daylight. So I made the decision to skip Sierra too. By the time I get to the base of Sierra, it’s already 4:31 pm … uh no, definitely not doing Sierra. Plus, my legs just don’t have the energy to even make it up the first bump.
I finally made it back to Fremont Bart at 5:54 pm, and without needing lights. I later saw a tweet from Dan at 6:18 pm, indicating he just finished. This was one tough ride, and simulated actually doing DMD. So should I even consider doing DMD? Well, after this ride experience, I would say an emphatic NO!!!! I think I’ll just stick to volunteering this ride. I’m glad I did it, and even more glad that I made it all the way through. I think this training ride is overkill for preparation for Solvang, but it should all be good.
For more pics, go to https://picasaweb.google.com/ronster/MinesRdHamilton#
Here is the strava stats: