July 30, 2011

Revolutionary Thoughts

One advantage of my chosen route today was that it afforded variations on a theme. Just the thing for someone with commitment issues.

The theme: Mt. Diablo, from the South Gate. I thought I might just make a u-turn at the top, expecting all sorts of adversity. I could be too tired. The weather could be too hot. The rest of the group could be too fast and I would not want to ride alone. The whole enchilada was a route of about 64 miles that looped around the mountain (after climbing it, of course) via Morgan Territory Road.

The climb was surprisingly comfortable. The weather was cooler than expected, and there was barely a breeze at the summit. I conceded that it would be a fine day for the full loop, after all. Once I stopped shaking, that is.

Oh, that dreaded final hundred yards to the summit! From the bottom, it looked less intimidating than I remembered; it hurt as it always does. I rode straight up the middle. Seated, as is my wont. [Yes, that is possible.] My heart rate peaked at 186 bpm, a good six beats lower than I remember. The driver of a large white pick-up truck trailing me was completely gracious. Not only did he never honk or crowd me, I'm pretty sure he put the truck in neutral and waited patiently for half a minute or so.

The fastest members of our group were long gone. Not wanting to hold up the remaining riders, I plummeted solo down the hill to gain some time and took a quick lunch break near charming downtown Clayton. My timing was nearly perfect, as the first rider from the group caught me about a mile short of the summit on Morgan Territory Road.

The group got well ahead of me again after I paid a surprise visit to some friends who live along the route. Far from home, I faced the headwinds and braved the last 15 miles of the loop alone. How radical! For the day, 64 miles and a healthy 6,305 feet of climbing.

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