Another weekend, another chance for a DMD trainer. Oh, BTW, I am not doing the actual DMD Double century, so why am I subjecting myself to this pain? I guess I’m a masochist. The route was simple, Mt. Diablo, then Morgan Territory, then Patterson Pass. I’d get in another 100+ miles.
Michael was going to meet us at the South Gate entrance of Diablo, but it just wasn’t his day. He texted me just before we were leaving … he had wheel problems. So it was Bassem, Marco, Ramon, Donald, and myself on the ride. I would be at the back the whole ride.
As soon as we got on Diablo, and the first hint of a hill, I lost visual contact with everyone. Oh boy, this is going to be one loooong day. It was an incredibly clear day, and I could see a green Mt. Diablo. That’s a rarity, as it would be either all brown, or visibility would be so bad you couldn’t enjoy the scenery. Today was crystal clear and everything was green.
I kept looking for the guys to see if they were coming down from the top, but never saw them. I guess I’ll keep climbing. I made it to the top at about 90 minutes. Not a bad time for me. I think that’s about my average. I didn’t see the guys, so I just refilled water. I think I was climbing the wall as they were descending the other side. I started thinking, did they actually go down and didn’t realize it was them? Well, no time to worry about it now, just descend down the hill.
The group was waiting at north gate … whew, back with the pack again, but then, once we got to a slight incline, the hammer went down again, and distanced again. It’s lucky for us the DMD route is marked on the road, so there was no question about where the route should go … just follow the markings on the road.
Followed a Team-in-Training group who was going the same way. Passed them up, without realizing, that was jonathanb in the group. But I was so focused on catching my group, I didn’t stop to realize that and say hi. Sorry Jon.
The group was waiting for me again at the turnoff on Morgan Territory. Thanks guys. On for the next climb up. It kinda lulls you to sleep before the real part of the climb starts up. There was unusually a lot of car traffic coming the other side (a lot more than I usually see). I did see the Team-in-Training support car, ringing their cowbell for me (even though I’m not on the ride).
When I finally get to the park at the summit, I see the gang there, taking deep breaths, resting up from the big climbs we’ve done. Team-in-Training had the support rest stop there, and I see PrincessZippy from bikeforums. Then, I see Jobob and Leebob there. Cool … great to see them out there. They were kind enough to offer us food and water. Thanks guys, even though we weren’t on the TNT ride.
Now for the “plunge”. In other words, fast descent down the other side of Morgan Territory. I was taking it easy here, as the descent can get pretty technical. Despite that, I still topped out at a max of 42 mph during that stretch. Crazy, isn’t it?
We zig zag our way over to Livermore, and here is where we first feel the effects of the heavy winds. It was hard to keep in the pack, but luckily this didn’t last too long. We continued onto Altimont Pass, and that had a really nice fast descent too, but not technical at all. Plus, that heavy winds I was talking about? Well, that’s on our back. Just get into a high gear, spin away, and have fun. Plus, the road surface is so smooth.
We have one more snack break before tackling the climb up Patterson, and the headwinds. This is the calm before the storm. As soon as we made the right turn on Patterson Pass Road, the head winds really hit us hard. I have no idea how strong they were, but I had difficulty in just pedaling.
In the past, when coming out to Patterson Pass, it’s either really hot (in summer where the hills are brown), or it’s really foggy, so you don’t get to see the green hillside, and the windmills. Well, this time, it’s not foggy, and we do see green hills … but we do have the winds. Can’t catch a break on this, can we?
I know there is one stretch at 20% near the top, which would be tough. However, that was the easy part. The tough part was the section right before that, and the winds were funneling through at such force, that the 12% climb was much tougher. I actually had to get off and walk my bike for about 0.2 mile. I just could not muster up any power to complete this hill. You can hear the windmills spinning hard at this point.
Once I got over this summit, I see the next 20% grade I have to tackle. The wind actually was calmer in this section, and that gave me enough respite to get my climbing legs up the hill. It was still windy, but not as bad as the previous section. I think it may have been because it isn’t funneling the wind through a pass like the previous section.
And of course, once I got to the top, we gotta take a picture of the windmill farm, right?
And just to prove I did the ride, Bassem was kind enough to take this candid shot.
From here, we head straight back to the cars, another 20 miles, but not all flat. Some hills, and yes, the winds stayed with us all the way back till we got to Sycamore Valley Road.
I’m starting to wonder if this is normal for this area, at this time of year, or was it just that the weather forecast was for strong winds today? Whatever it was, it made for a really tough ride, but it was a gorgeous day for it.