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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Extemporaneous Double & A Crash

I didn't eat for it. I didn't sleep for it. And, frankly I didn't plan well at all to ride Mt. Diablo twice on Saturday. I was more like an accident. I bumped into the bottom and went back up.

Dinner Friday was woefully short on calories and protein, and breakfast was a banana with peanut butter and half a cup of coffee. I did manage to fill 2 water bottles with an Accelerade mix, and snag a snack bag full of roasted mixed nuts and raisins before I headed out the door at 6:28 am.

Vince was already throwing a leg over his bike in front of Peets in Pleasant Hill as I rode up. He must have been there since 6.

If a day could be more pristine and pleasant for riding, I certainly can't imagine it. A slight breeze kept the slow climbs cool, but the sunshine was a fixture and rapidly banished the morning chill (Below 3,000 feet anyway). Vince and I took a very leisurely pace for the first summitting and managed the top in just under 90 minutes. The windbreaker and arm warmers were back on for the ride down, but working the flat section near the bottom made getting them back off a priority.

I had started considering a double summit on the way up, since I had friends who had mentioned driving to the top later in the morning. I could likely meet them on my second ascent. The guy shedding layers at the bottom to return for his second trip pushed me over the edge, but Vince held his ground and after grabbing a handful of raisins headed home. I rode the first 5.5 miles with Carl - a new stranger training for the Death Ride. Having turned toward the top again, I guess it had become a training ride for me too. We weren't the only ones, as there were herds of cyclists on the mountain, many doing multiple passes, and most of those Death Ride hopefuls.

We heard sirens as we neared the ranger station, and instinctively I knew what had happened, and said as much to Carl. "There's a rider down up there..." About that time a REACH Helicopter crested the ridge and began a slow circuit of the last switchback below the ranger station. Sirens from below began to accompany the whack of helicopter blades, as we reached the switch back and the first of several park vehicles with flashing lights and first aid kits.

Kinda hard to see. That dot in the sky is the REACH guys.

Walnut Creek Fire Department

I'm really not sure how someone takes a dive before the switchback? Oh well - Things happen.

It would make for a great story if the cyclist had been unconscious or still lying in a heap, but fortunately for him, the excitement ended pretty quick. He was sitting up, holding his knee and chatting with his buddy. I rode past a few hundred feet, and dismounted to shoot some pictures of what must have been several thousand dollars worth of emergency response. I would like to think that things would have to be far more exciting than that, for me to agree to calling in the medics. I'm not sure how much of the REACH flight or ambulance ride my insurance would cover, but I'm certainly not willing to find out if I don't have to. I'd much rather pay the $10 entry fee for a friend or my wife to drive in and scrape me off the road.

The balance of the ride went pretty quick with me looking over my shoulder for my friends. They finally passed me near Devil's Elbow, and waited at the top where we chatted before I dove back down the second time - toward home.

For all of North Gate Rd, Walnut Blvd, and most of Bancroft I drafted off a group of 3 riders also heading for home. That masked my decreasing stamina, and gave me enough respite to make it home in decent form. 70.13 miles. Approx. 7,000 feet of climbing.

At home I "hit the wall" hard. I put the bike away, set a plastic lawn chair in the sun, and melted into it. Lunch went down with effort, and I couldn't stop drinking. Within an hour I was sacked out on the recliner.

2 hours later I awoke with my tongue plastered to my soft palate and a list of chores no shorter than when I passed out. Both vehicles needed cleaning - inside and out - so I started drinking water again, picked around in a freezer burned carton of orange sherbert, and stumbled back into a stunningly beautiful spring afternoon.