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Friday, August 1, 2008

Diablo worst - & - Ride to work 2

All of these pictures and images are copied from the internet or from Google Earth. The bottom picture was downloaded from a local cycling club site. If you zoom in on the picture you can see the section marked 18% grade - yeah ouch.

Like the title says - I managed my worst time up Mt. Diablo last Friday. (3,849' - And since my house sits at 36', I get to climb most of that.)
I was energized all day looking forward to my afternoon ride. My plan was to get home by 2:00, jump on my road bike, ride to, and then up the mountain, ride down, meet some friends, and then ride together toward home. I got a later than desired start in the afternoon, having spent more time in the office than I wanted. I left the house at around 3:00 and made it to the base of the mountain by 3:45. I noticed on the way there that the mountain was barely visible through the afternoon heat waves, but was so intent on my ride that I didn't give it the attention I should have. I started my climb with vigor. My desire was to get my best time up the mountain that afternoon, and then brag about it to my friends. I had eaten right all day, and hydrated well. My muscles were poised and ready. Unfortunately my lungs were not ready. Somewhere nearby a grass fire was sucking the oxygen out of the air, and filling the valley with smoke.

The first part of the climb is typically the hardest for me. Though not the steepest part of the climb, the first few miles ascend rather abruptly, and my muscles take a few minutes of that to settle into the grind. I climbed through the first 500 - 600 feet before I realized I had a problem. I began to be very distracted, and my skin began to tingle and feel like it was going to shed right off my body. I slowed my faster than usual pace and attempted a recovery from what I realized was a pending "blow up". I couldn't shake it. I rode some of the more miserable miles I've ever logged as I climbed slowly. At the 1000' marker I considered turning around and heading home. I couldn't bring myself to cut and run, however, so I proceeded very slowly all the way to the ranger station. I met another cyclist there, who had come down and was likewise frustrated at his fatigue. With out allowing myself to get off the bike, I rode circles as we talked, and then headed for the hardest part of the climb. At this point I actually began to feel better. Though the muscle fatigue was finally starting to represent itself in some low level pain, I think I broke through to some oxygen, and was finally able to shake off the tingling.

I have to believe my rapid fatigue was a result of the smoky air, and the upper 90 degree heat.
Neither of those factors are unusual for the Bay Area, and neither have kept me off my bike in the past. But, a combination of the 2, and likely a stroke from the humbling hand of God, made for an unpleasant hour and a half. I called my friends from the top, and told them to go on without me, as I was an hour late.

My time was a frustrating 1 hour and 27 minutes for the 11 miles of actual climbing.
My best time so far was 1 hour and 12 minutes.
I was shooting for under an hour.

When I got back down to the bottom of the mountain I had regained some vigor and drive, and rounded off the ride by taking the long way home including another short climb on Ygnacio Valley road.

Total miles for the day was just over 50.

3 days later (last Monday) I rode home from work again, and bettered my previous week's time by 3 minutes.
Tuesday morning I rode back in to work and bettered the previous week's time by 2 minutes.
I'm not sure why it has consistently taken me around 5 minutes longer to ride the same distance heading west, than it does the night before heading east. Though minor, the actual elevation change is in favor of riding toward the office, and I should be fresh from a good night's rest the night before. Hmm??
I may change up my route home tomorrow and ride over the 3 bears for a change of scenery.


  1. This is Mama. And yes she's been thinking again.

    Interesting the ways that God resists the proud.
    IPeter 5:5"....God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble..." The Greek word for "resisteth" is a word which means to "range in battle against". God makes war against the proud. Quite a contrast to the times in the Bible when God promised His people that He would fight FOR them. The condtion being that they would focus on Him and not themselves. Interesting to ponder.

    Causes me once again to ponder how disappointed am I when I am hindered from my appointed time with God, or from an opportunity to spend some extra time in studying God's Word?? Is it, "Oh well, maybe tomorrow"? What is my passion level for something that is of utmost importance--getting to know more and more each day the God who loves me and patiently waits for me to come to Him to learn of Him and realize all that I have in Him. Am I willing to have my flesh take over and let tiredness or lethargy keep me from God's Word? May I always remember that strength in my spiritual life comes from knowing God. Psalm 28:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

    May I always be in the Word so that I am aware of the spiritual dangers around me. God has promised that with great delight He would surround,as with a shield, the righteous--those that seek Him and desire to do His will--and will bless them. (Psa 5:12) May I seek Him in His Word, so that I know how to be that righteous person that He will bless.

    Oh, Lord, give me a passion for pursuing you,like that of Scott's pursuit of excelling in cycling.

    Jeremiah 9:23-24 (KJV)
    23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
    24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD."

    I love you, Son. Thanks for the illustrations.

    Love and prayer,