I first did the race in 2008 it was my second double century and certainly the toughest I'd faced. That year I stayed hotel was where the race was starting to get as much a sleep as possible before the race. The second year I did the race, I decided to spare the hotel cost and do the extra drive in the morning to get there. This year I took it to a whole another level and decided to ride to the start from home, starting at 1:30am in the morning, adding another 40 miles to race.
After 3hrs sleep it was time to get up and ride. The ride up to San Ramon was mostly uneventful, though it is interesting what you see on the road at 2am in the morning. As I passed over Calaveras, I encountered a number of cars, who appeared to be organizing there own private road race, but I'm sure they were wondering I was doing out there too.
I arrived at the race start just past 4am, plenty of time to get checked in for the race. I was then I noticed that my new saddle bag, freshly filled with tubes and C02 was no longer attached to the bike. Two miles to go and no spares, well good thing it was a supported ride.
5am at the start line ready to I was ready to go. The first few miles are just riding in a sea of red flashing lights until the base of Mount Diablo, that's when the real race kicks in and people start to separate. There was some very strong wind near the top of the mountain, making it hard to stay upright in some instances. The views as the sun comes up are spectacular. You can all the way to Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Stockon on clear day, and this was a great day for it. The climb just before you reach the summit of Diablo is what they call the Wall. I still remember my very first climb on Diablo, when my heart rate reached 200bpm, on this short stretch. A few years later I'm a little wiser (only a little) and know how to pace my self better and made the up like it was just another hill. I was also better prepared for the chilly decent and kept my jacket, until I reach the next rest stop at mile 50 on Morgan Territory Rd.
While the decent on Diablo had be fairly mild due to the speed restrictions in place, found the decent on Morgan Territory Rd, to be quite the thrill ride. A combination of a tail wind a good decent, meant before I knew I had hit 48mph and was quickly trying to slow down.
The wind was with us and against us all the way through Livermore and to Mines road where the next major ascent was, Mount Hamilton. I've done this climb a number of times, 44 miles to the top, of course it isn't all climbing, but it is all work. The lunch stop is midway through the climb and after lunch I was energized and charged up the rest of the mountain like I was on mission.
After Hamilton, there are is still the infamous Sierra Rd, to tackle. I remained strong completed the ascent. The weather was warm but not hot and definitely made the tough climbs easier then previous years. From there onwards it just time in the saddle, though at point I'd already ridden 200 miles and was starting to feel it. But I had course to conquer (again) after a brief struggle through Caleveras, I reached Sunol. At this point I knew I only had another 20 miles to go, so I continued with all I had.
Finally back in San Ramon, just miles from the finish I'd joined a pack for the last short climbs. I was on pace and feeling good now. I had just come down the last decent and just one more mile to go, when... my chain got jammed into the crank preventing me from pedaling. I pulled over and took look, the pin that prevents this from happening was no longer there and my chain was wedged. I decided to freewheel the last mile and I was able to rock the crank back and forth to keep some momentum going. It cost me a few minutes but I finished, 246 miles with 22,000 feet of climbing!