Gray clouds skirted across the top of Mt. Diablo obscuring the twin peaks yet adding emphasis to its dramatic prominence amid the green hillsides slow to tan in a cool wet spring.
Except when its raining - in June.
Today is the 3rd of June and it will rain again tomorrow, like it rained on the 1st.
So I pedaled away from the daily grind in the early afternoon and headed for the hills under lowering skies. With the Death Ride looming only a month away, my training rides are becoming a recognized though easily distracted priority. With only a few hours available I decided to pack them full of hills. In under 4 hours I managed at least 5000' of climbing in 48 miles.
Pig Farm, Bears, Wildcat Canyon, South Park, back to Happy Valley - up and over, and then back up and over, Bears, Pig Farm hill, home. These hills are so steep that the descents flash by and you're climbing again before you can gulp two bites of a Power Bar and a swallow of water.
I started out strong and fast, and paid for it at the end. With my route never more than 20 miles from home or a few miles from cell phone coverage, I pushed hard knowing I could blow up and call for SAG if necessary.
Just before blowing, I remembered the gorp (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, or Gobs Of Raw Protein) in my jersey and downed the mix greedily. The recovery was obvious, and I remembered what I had learned about long rides. If you get hungry - you're toast.