Tag Archives: Morgan Territory

Spring is Here and Hopefully Rain Is Gone

It’s April and it looks like the weather is starting to look like it.  After a record rain season this past winter, I’m ready for it to dry up.  Temps got to 80° this past weekend, and that’s good news for cycling.

For the first time, I didn’t have to wear arm or knee warmers for a ride.  It was nice (although I kept a light windbreaker, just in case it got windy or cold).

I went with Al, my co-worker, to do an epic ride, up Morgan Territory (which we normally descent).  This is affectionately known as “the plunge”, but we’re doing it in reverse.  The reason why we do this is the road is not completely passable on the other side in Clayton.  So the plan is go up Morgan Territory, then down, then over to Mt. Diablo.

It was a gorgeous day out, however it was also very windy.  Morgan Territory had some stretches of 12-15% grades, and some stiff headwinds, as well as some crosswinds.  It made a tough climb even tougher.  I think my fitness is starting to come back as I got to the summit at the same time that Al did.

On the descent, I wanted to be careful of the crosswinds, and make sure I don’t get blown off the cliff.  There were a few times in past DMD events where a rider went off the cliff.  Luckily, the crosswinds didn’t kick up too much while on out descent.

Onto Diablo, and we were heading a little bit into the wind.  I kinda like flat stretches, going into a headwind.  I get down into an aero position, and just power it through.  I may not be fast, but get some steady power, and it feels good.  Al didn’t like the headwind, so he was more than happy to draft behind me.

All that pulling may have had an adverse affect on me, when we made the turn onto Blackhawk and onto Diablo.  My legs were not feeling it, and my knee even felt a twinge.  I didn’t want to push it too hard, and I was way behind.  I decided to just go up to the junction at the ranger’s station, and head back at that point.  It took a lot out of my legs.

At least on the way back it was easier.  There was a nice fast stretch on Collier Canyon on the way back.  However, with the winds, and the vegetation out there, it really attacked my allergies.  Eyes were all red, sneezing left and right … Yeah, spring is here.  My allergies were kicking into high gear, but that’s ok.  I can feel the fitness coming, and it feels good.  This was a much tougher off-season than in years passed.

Devil’s Mountain Double was Epic, but DNF’d

I finally got the courage to enter and ride Devil’s Mountain Double, despite the advertised 206 mile, 18,600 feet total elevation.  However, the result was a DNF, but it’s not that I am disappointed at this.  I am pretty happy with my performance.

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I got really good news on Thursday, that my co-worker, who lives 12 minutes from the start, was offering to let me stay overnight.  Cool.  I was originally going to drive over at 3:30 am (meaning I’d have to wait up by 2:30 am).  This meant getting at least an hour more sleep, and a much shorter drive, and a civilized start of the day.  This was better than a 5 star hotel.

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We rolled out at 4:59 am, and started out with Curtis and Rick.  I made sure I took it easy at the start, as I knew we’d be heading straight up Mt. Diablo first.  I was amazed how many riders had the bad luck of having a mechanical, even before starting the climb.

This year, DMD is not one of the Triple Crown Stage races, and the organizers wanted to stress being able to enjoy the surroundings, and enjoy the scenery.  Ok, I can do that … don’t have to twist my arm.  One thing I’ll have to say … early morning Mt. Diablo climbs are spectacular, and even the best pictures, and best descriptions don’t do it justice.

Curtis and Rick ended up summiting Mt. Diablo before I did.  I was trying to stay within comfortable limits.

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When I finally got up to the top, my friend Victor was helping support the ride, and he was taking pictures if everyone summiting Mt. Diablo. Funny, he didn’t realize it was me until I pass by him. Very cool.

OK, down the hill, and here I made up some time because for some reason, I acclimated to the cold better than others, which caused them to be a lot more cautious on the descent, and I eventually caught up with Curtis and Rick.

We continued ride together through Morgan Territory, then over to Livermore, but split up by the time we got to Paterson Pass. This was the defining moment of the ride, as this is what kicked us all in the ass. We had gale force winds, plus the Double digit grades we had to climb. This combination was brutal.

I descended down the other side, and the route merged with the Wente RR.  As they pass me, I get a real cool kudos from the lead pack.  “Is that DMD you’re riding?  Awesome” … that’s pretty cool to get kudos from some hot shot racer.

One thing I have always feared was making the time cut off. We had to get to the Mines Road checkpoint and leave no later than 1:30 pm, then get to lunch at The Junction by 4:30 pm. It was pretty flat getting to Mines Road but I wasn’t sure how well I was doing on time. There were other riders near me, so that made me feel a lot better. We ended up getting there a little past 1 pm, so that’s one hurdle we crossed.

Now it’s onto Mines Rd., which Eye on the Bay called “the road that goes to nowhere”. That is such an appropriate adjective, as it just kept going on forever. I also had Scott in the SAG wagon, checking up on me just to see how well I’m doing. I started thinking if I’m the last rider, and will I make the cutoff for lunch? About 10 miles from lunch, we had a water stop and they confirmed I’m not the last one … It just felt like it, with no one behind me.

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Finally, I get to lunch, and there are still people here .. Woohoo. Victor was there to greet me, along with Kermit and a few other Double Century notables. More importantly, they had food here … Mmm chicken sandwich never tasted so good.

Off to climb Mt. Hamilton. I didn’t climb from the Junction to the top of Hamilton in a while … Maybe I should have? I forgot about the double digit grades at mile 10-12. I thought it was all from mile 5 but they still have some kickers before that. At this stage, the climbing was all a matter of survival .. Just turn the crank and keep moving. I had just done this climb a week ago, so at least my body is used to this, except I only had 25 miles in my legs, as opposed to 120 miles. The one saving grace is at least there is still some sunlight left.

I get to the top and only one person passed me. I was a little surprised by that. I thought there were more behind me. There was no rest stop at the top, and I had to go down to Brothers, so time to layer up, and get ready for a cold descent. I had no toe covers so I just gotta suffer through it.

The sunset coming through the clouds was a cool and eerie sight. I was descending this but really enjoying the scenery (I guess you can say I’m taking Scott’s advise, and take in the beauty). I wasn’t cold either, and this was probably my favorite part of the ride, as I’ve never descended Hamilton at this time of the evening.

The rest stop is off of Crothers and in someone’s home. Now that’s the way to have a rest stop. Nice warm soup awaits. I caught up to Curtis here, not knowing he was ready to their in the towel, due to cold, and not being able to keep control. That’s too bad, as I finally was able to ride along with him.

Ok, continuing on, and Sierra Road awaits. Lucky for me it’s dark so I won’t have to see how steep the road is that I have to tackle. As I climb, a group of DMD volunteers were parked in the hill, cheering me on, ringing cowbells … I I’ve that enthusiasm and I really appreciated it. This was just awesome .. Now if only I can finish the climb. Well that’s easier said than done.

I was struggling to find leg strength and it just wasn’t there. I found myself stopping about 5 times. I even walked a few hundred steps, but I had to keep on going. Another push, then I see a car coming down thinking “I wonder if that’s a SAG wagon” … and it was. I officially throw in the towel at this point. Checking my Garmin, I’m at 159 miles and just under 17,000 feet climbing. Wow these stats are out if this world.

http://www.strava.com/activities/134737680

So I DNF’d … I still feel great about what I accomplished. Some couldn’t even fathom doing this. I started but I simply did not finish. As my friend Lynn says, consider it as a kick ass training ride.

I got to chat with some of the finishers at the end, and it was refreshing to find out Patterson Pass affected them as much it affected me. This was brutal. It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t hot, but the wind made it so tough. Now that we are off the road, we’re all smiles.

 

Finally Got in Mt. Diablo Morgan Territory Loop

I’ve been trying to get this ride together for awhile, but one thing or another gets in the way.  First time, I tried with a PSBBG++ ride, but only had 1 taker.  And even when doing this, both of us didn’t have it in us to do the whole ride.  Then, last week I scheduled it, but this was the day after doing Hicks and Metcalf.  That would have been a bit much.  So I got a request from Marco asking if I’d be up for it this Saturday … Hell yeah.

When we got to the climbs, that’s where we got separated.  I just concentrated on getting a good cadence, not going into zone 4, and just maintain a comfortable pace.

Even when you do ride Diablo solo, you do find camaraderie with others who ride solo, and sync up with others at about your pace. This happened to me on this climb. I climbed with Dave, who is FC 508 veteran. Chatting with someone at your climbing ability really make the time go by, and make the work not quite so bad. We chatted away until a idle past the 3000 foot level and that’s where he went on ahead. I was not in a hurry to try to catch him either.

 

By the time I got to the wall, I still felt good. This was a out better than last time, where everything ached.

Got up to the top in about 1:30, which is one of my better times. Funny how when you don’t try going for it, you get a surprisingly great time, and when you go for it, you end up languishing.

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Getting down the hill, Marco and Ruth definitely had the advantage over me. They go down fast. They’d wait for me, and on the uphill, I’d have the upper hand, and I’d wait for them. We took our time getting to Morgan Territory, as we know it will take its toll on our body.

When we finally started climbing Morgan Territory, the scenery was a little lush, and the climbs were like a stair steep climb. It would climb, level off, descend, then climb again. It was also deceiving, as I would see what would appear to be the last switchback, but it would still continue. It’s like this climb would never end. At this point, my back was starting to ache. This is the same feeling I had the last time I did Diablo, but at least I felt stronger this time.

It has been a long time since I last did Morgan Territory (about 3 years), but it all started to come back to me. The last descent before the final pitch up to the park is one I remember. Finally, I slowly rolled into the park, and I remember having my head bent down, and just taking long deep breaths, just to help recover.
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After some much deserved rest, and recovery, it’s time to take the plunge … A hair raising fast descent. This is what it’s all about.

From here, it was a spring back to the cats, and drafting behind Marco and Ruth, powering the tandem all the way back. What an awesome day, awesome ride … It was hard, tough, but it was all good.

April’s a Wrap #30daysofbiking

Another April it’s done and another 30 days off biking is in the books.  It was also the month for Strava’s Classics Challenge, which was to see if you could ride 1319 km in the month of April.

The challenge of 1319 km seems daunting, but I figured if I ride every day, at least the distance to and from work, I might stand a chance.

As it turned out, I finished the challenge on the last weekend in April by doing a double metric, l’etape du California, which put me over the edge. Up to that point, I missed 4 days, but kept at it. After completing the challenge, I needed a rest, so I missed a total of 6 days. But the goal is to get on your bike, and that’s what counts anyways, right?

Now onto May, national bike month, and bike to work day. I just love this time of year, where the excitement of bicycling is in full bloom.

Epic Suffering on L’Etape du California, Mt.Diablo

It is the peak of the century riding season, and so far, I haven’t even begun getting into any events.  DMD was this weekend, Wildflower is also this weekend, so I decided to tackle L’Etape du California, which does the same route that ATOC Stage 7 will be doing.  I didn’t really decide until Friday night, and the ride was Sunday.

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As part of the registration process, they required everyone to sit through a safety talk first, then register.  They wanted to stress that this is not a race, and to point out the danger areas.

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Since I had to drive this far, I might as well bring my bike and do a quick Patterson Pass loop, and do part of tomorrow’s course. Good thing I did, acclimated my body to the heat. It was friggin hot out there, and no wind.

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Okay, Sunday morning and it’s a mass start at 7 am. The turnout was a little less than they expected .. 300, and they were expecting 1000. I was up near the front with all sorts of racer types. We rolled out pretty quickly, with a brisk pace. I started wondering what did I get myself into. People were passing me left and right. Even more people past me going up Morgan Territory.

Morgan Territory is the first climb of the day. We normally descend down this road and we call it the plunge. However this time we’re climbing it. Epic. After we crest this, it’s down the hill on the other side. This is a rough surface, and I know others are hurting, because all the different bumps. My Volagi did just fine, absorbing then all, making it a bit more comfortable than if I brought the Seven. One thing that was annoying was a slow descender, and wouldn’t allow many to pass. Took me awhile, but I finally passed him. Sheesh!

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At the bottom, rest stop #1. They need to learn how to support social rides as they only had 1 porta potty. This added time to the wait. This was also the only rest stop until the finish which had bread for pbj. Epic fail.

From here, the route to the next climb would be pretty flat, out Marsh Creek onto the city of Byron. There is nothing out here, and it’s brown. Nothing scenic about this, but at least it didn’t stink. I latched onto a pelaton of about 8 riders. Nice pace, not too fast so I didn’t blow myself up, but brisk enough to make some good time.

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Rest stop 2 is at the base of the Patterson Pass climb. This is their second time doing this in two days. I conserved my energy in preparation for this. It was about 10 am when I started the climb, which is a lot better than 1 pm, which is when I started this yesterday. I did do a lot better. There still was not much wind. This is Patterson Pass, which usually had wind. For once I was wishing
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Diablo, Morgan Territory, and Patterson Pass with wind #30daysofbiking

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?

Altimont Pass

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.

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

Morgan Territory and Mt. Diablo in Reverse

We’ve all done Mt. Diablo – Morgan Territory route before, and Ramon decided we needed to mix it up, so this ride was to do things in reverse.  We all started at the Sycamore Valley Park and Ride.  The Wrecking Crew was there, which include Ramon, Donald, myself, Michael, Chris, Marco and Ruth.

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We left the Park and Ride at 8:30 am, and there was still a chill in the air.  It felt a bit nippy, so it was difficult to determine exactly what to bring.  Michael decided to don the ninja cycling look, trying to keep warm, and not catch a cold.  I eventually went with light long fingered gloves, and vest.  I didn’t want to bring too much, as it was going to be 65 F, and bringing a full jacket may be a bit much.

I felt good going out, and we had a few rollers going out before the first big climb on Morgan Territory.  I surprised everyone by leading out through some small climbs.  What can I say … I was just trying to get into a rhythm.  Besides, it would be one of the few times I would be out in front.

Left turn on Morgan Territory, and the climb begins (also known as “the Plunge”). At this point, my Garmin timer was stopped, and as I was starting out on the climb, I didn’t realize it wasn’t restarted … doh!  Ramon, Donald and Michael assumed its normal position at the front of the climbs.  I hung in as long as I could but I just could not sustain their pace on the climb.  Eventually, Chris would also pass me.  Marco and Ruth were still behind me, but eventually they would pass me.

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The climbs kept coming, and it was a struggle to keep pedaling.  I was able to manage a cadence in the high 30’s to low 40’s, but it was still kicking my butt.  The grade peaked at 17.4% (although Donald reported it to be about 19% at one point).  As I climb, I am just recalling how the ride the other way usually is.  Every time I think of it, I realize there are even more climbs coming.  However, I was able to take a few scenic shots.  I think this was after getting past the 17% climb:

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Near the top of the climb, suddenly I feel a woof on the left side … it’s Marco and Ruth.  Wow, I recall looking back to see if they were behind me, but nowhere to be found.  They really put the hammer down to pass me.  Later, Marco told me how hard he worked to catch me.

The rest stop couldn’t come at a better time.  Those steep grades really took a lot out of me, and I was really glad to reach the Morgan Territory rest stop.

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Next, the descent on Morgan Territory.  This is normally the section where we climb Morgan Territory.  The descent sucked!  Much of the descent was shaded, but luckily, my glasses are light enough, that I was able to make out the contours of the road going from light to dark.  It got really bumpy, and the road was treacherous near the bottom of the climb.  Marco and Ruth were glad they did this, but also say this is the first and last time they’ll do this descent.  I don’t blame them … this descent is nasty.  To give you an idea, just imagine descending 2000 feet on cobblestones.

After some junk miles to loop around through Clayton, we get to the Mt. Diablo climb, starting from the North gate side.  I’ve done Mt. Diablo many times, but those were all climbing the South gate side, and descending down the North gate side.  This time, we do it in reverse.  Now I’ve been told this is a much tougher climb than South gate, but I’m not sure if it was tougher due to the fact I’ve already done 40 miles, and 4000 feet of climbing, or if the weight of the camelback contributed to my slow climbing.  All I knew was my lower back started to feel more strained than it usually is.  With the exception of Marco and Ruth, I was pretty much behind the group on the climbs.  Marco and Ruth didn’t have much left for the climb, and they did not end up passing me.  I had to stop once, due to fatigue.  It’s a good thing I had an extra banana.  Since I brought my camelback, I had more food than I usually do, and the banana did go down well, and that gave me enough energy to make it to the Ranger’s Station.

My hopes were that the wrecking crew would be waiting at the Ranger’s Station, but I couldn’t find them when I got there.  They ended up continuing on the climb … damn!  Well, I guess I gotta go and climb this, so off I went.  It was a struggle, and I certainly was not going up with any energy, and my cadence was not very high.  About 800 feet from the top of the climb, I see Ramon come speeding down, then Michael.  Marco had texted us, that they are not doing the climb, and would meet everyone back at the Ranger’s Station.  I should have done that.  Soon after Michael passed by the other way, I decided to turn back.   I was still at least 600 feet from the top, and my feeling is I don’t need to go to the summit.  I’ve already seen it before, so I made a U-turn here.  So I didn’t make it all the way to the top … doesn’t bother me.   Funny, Marco had the same thought too.

Met up with the rest of the crew at the Ranger’s Station, but we were all waiting for Chris (he was just starting the wall, when Michael started descending Diablo).  We took our time resting at the Ranger’s Station before descending again.  It was cold, and we were trying to thaw out and get warm again.

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Now what’s funny here is Chris has traditionally had knee problems, but on this cold day, everyone else was fully decked out with leg warmers and knee warmers, but Chris goes with just shorts.  Aren’t you cold?

When we finally got back to the cars, I ended up with 67.1 miles, and 6344 feet of climbing (at least with http://www.ridewithgps.com, extrapolating for the data that was missing).  To see detailed ride stats, go to http://ridewithgps.com/routes/14031

More pics at http://spingineer.smugmug.com/Cycling/MT-Diablo-CCW/10241647_Vex2a#706224870_cg6DS