Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Determination Defeats Diablo…..Darkness Dominates Descent

Last night of course was Tuesday, and Tuesday of course that means the Diablo training ride….

We had 5 riders, 4 of whom have made it to the top and 1 that is still working towards that goal…

Lynn, Jack and I took off and Jerry and Gary followed. Gary is a fairly new rider and on his first attempt at defeating the devil last week, made it to the 2000ft mark before calling it a day. This week, his goal was the second ranger station…

The weather was definitely warmer than last week which was a double edged sword. Yes, it’s nice not to be cold, but it didn’t take too long before I was sweating like fat lady in an aerobics class….

We seemed to be making pretty good time. Arrived at the first ranger station in an hour and were on top in two. Granted we’re not going to break any records (click here), but I felt like our pace was good and I was definitely working to keep up (Hopefully as time goes on I track these stats and see some improvement)

Just as we got to the upper parking lot and were getting ready to climb the last 1000ft section (which is 19% btw) a truck and trailer went up. We waited and started up after him. Now this section is really narrow and REALLY freakin steep. Most drivers realize this and will follow behind if a bicyclist is climbing it. Not so last night though….I was about 1/3rd of the way up when some goofball in an SUV decided he just HAD to get past me….whatever….

Well, when we got to the top, the truck and trailer, as well as the guy that had passed me on the climb, were there unloading bikes and teenagers….the adults were in scout uniforms so I’m assuming they were there for some sort of merit badge. Now, I may be an old fart, but I don’t see how you earn a merit badge for riding down a hill….I think that you should have to ride up to earn the badge and the downhill is the reward. Kind of like my mom giving me dessert only after eating all my vegetables….(the other thing I noticed was that the only guy not wearing a helmet appeared to be the scout master)

Anyway, we took off before the group of teenagers so as not to get caught up in the fray and about 2 miles back down the hill we came across Gary and Jerry making a run for the summit….Wow, I thought he was just going for the second ranger station, but he decided he was making the summit and would not be deterred….

You could see he was tired but determined….I guess once you get to a certain point, you might as well finish….

So, Lynn, Jack and I turned around and decided to ride shotgun back up to the top…bonus miles for us and moral support for Gary….it’s a win-win…

If suffering really does build character, then Gary must have a LOT of character now….through sheer determination he actually made it to the top.

Of course, now it was getting dark so we raced daylight down the hill….unfortunately we lost and by the time we got to the last ranger station on the way down, darkness had taken over.

We finished the descent and started out through Diablo Country Club riding by braille. There was one near miss when some idiot spaced bricks out across the road….not sure why anyone would do that and luckily no-one hit one although I did scrape up my rim when I clipped one as I went by…oh yeah, we also saw this guy starting his rounds at the second ranger station….

All in all, a great ride. I ended up with 31 miles and about 4500ft of climbing. A great workout for all and a huge accomplishment for Gary

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