Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesdays with the Devil…..

No, it’s not some alternative religion where we offer up dead animals ….you should know me better than that….it’s a training series. (although, I did feel like a dead animal when it ended)

From now until the end of daylight savings time, we’ll be riding Mt Diablo on Tuesday evenings. The goal being that over the summer those of us that have made the climb before will get faster and stronger and those that have never made it to the top will, in time, work their way up the mountain week by week…..

Mt Diablo is probably one of the tougher climbs in the bay area. We start in Danville so the total route is 28 miles with about 3400ft of climbing. Granted, only the first 14 are hard after that it’s a piece of cake.

Last night we had 5 riders. Three made it to the top, and two were smart and turned around before the clouds. It was actually a nice ride for most of the way up until about half way between the 2nd ranger station and the top when we rode right into the clouds.

Then it became cold and damp with limited visbility. We would see riders coming down the mountain appear out of the mist like wraiths in some weird horror movie...

It seemed that every tree was holding it’s moisture right up until we would ride under it whereupon it would shake itself and give us a nice dousing.
Sure, you can try to tell me that trees can’t control that stuff and it’s just a matter of the wind and the moisture in the air, but hey, we’re on a mountain named The Devil so I choose to believe differently.

Actually, it wasn’t so bad going up since I was sweating like crazy, but coming down was less than fun. I didn’t think to bring long fingered gloves so my hands went numb in the first couple hundred yards. The road was slick and the visibility was terrible so the pace was very slow and by the time we got down to the second ranger station, we had to stop so I could bury my hands in my pockets to try to restore the feeling.
Once we got down near Rock City, the visibility improved and the pace picked up. After all, the best part of this mountain is the descent…..

We got to the bottom, through Diablo Country Club and were in the home stretch when I flatted. Still freezing, I’m pretty sure I broke some sort of record for changing a tube in an effort to get moving again and warm up.

All told, the trip was 29 miles, 3400ft of climbing and 3 hours start to finish. I think our time to the top was just under 2 hours. For me, this week was about seeing if I could make it to the top without dying. Next week, I’ll start actually keeping stats and splits on our time to the first and second ranger station and the top. Hopefully, I’ll be able to track some improvement as the weeks go by....

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