Filtering by Tag: Sierra Rd

Devil Mountain Double

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!

Ride Overview:

Into the Cloud

No I'm not turning this into a tech blog. On my ride today I litterally went into a cloud. The weather continued it's unreliable nature, on what was supposed to be a rainy day it turned out to decent at least for the morning, so I headed out for a quick climb on Serria road. It was actually fairly warm out, but the sky was turning. The climb up Sierra road was good. At the was the Cloud, just waiting there for me. As I started my decent towards Calaveras the rain came. As my speed was aproaching thirty mile per hour, road conditions were rapidly changing becoming slippery. I slow my pace to maintain control and to prevent becoming another puddle on the road. However just mile along the road the changed again returning to mild conditons I started with. Back at the car I was slightly chilled and soaked to the bone, but good ride none the less.

Sierra Rd, my friend it has been too long...

Today's training ride, was short but good. It was late afternoon, the day had been grey and the clouds were starting to break. In had been a while since I had done the Sierra Rd climb, so I headed out to see if the climb was as painful as I remembered. In short it was :-) I've the climb a number times before, the first being at mile 160 of a double century. The certinly wasn't as bad as the first but left much to be desired. The views however were great and the down hill was fun but chilly :)

Race Conditions

Back from Louisville and recovering from a cold, this really was my last chance for training before taper. It was hot, very hot. The difference in humidity was very noticeable, I had acclimatized to mositure in Louisville and now the air felt very dry.

To simulate the race conditions, I headed out 10:30pm with lights and a support car behind me. I choose Serria Rd, for my night route. Let me first say, I regret the large dinner I had, it was good but not the best thing before steep climb. So i started the ride, it funny how having a car constantly behind pushes you faster. Of course we also had to be mindful of other cars on the road and be sure to let them pass. The night was clear a view of the lights of the valley was great. As I was about halfway up the hill I could feel my stomach turning, but I told myself this just meant for better simulation afterall by this stage of the race I wasn't going to be feeling great. With the car behind I continued with a strong pace. This being the first time I had done the climb in the dark, I found myself constantly looking down at my Garmin to check the mileage and the elevation to get my bearings. The twists and dips in the road meant that all of sudden I could lose the light from the car's headlights, which was part of chalenge and something we would also face during the race, though it did make for some scary moments.

After reaching the top of Sierra Rd, I continued along the road and turned in towards Calaveras resevior. That steep turn is no better whether it can be seen or not. It felt just like I was on the race even though I'd only been out there just over an hour. It sounds a little crazy when you think about it. I could just see someone saying "What were you doing Saturday night?", to I'd need to reply "Well I was conducting some race simulation by riding my bike till midnight with a support car following me" :-)

Return to Sierra Road

Time for another evening ride and Sierra Road, was my mark. I had first encountered the climb a few months back on the Devil Mountain Double. It was the hill at mile 160 that just just plain mean. Today of course I was starting it fresh and the heat was not even close to madness I had encountered before. I naturally the climb was not tough as before but I still wouldn't call it easy. Also when I had it previously done it I had lower gearing especially for the task, this time I was running my regular 11-23 cassette. After the climb up Sierra Rd, I headed north towards Caleveras reservoir and did a quick out back there before completing the loop.



Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth):

1hr 27mins
3,320 feet of climbing



Heart Rate:
142bpm Avg.
196bpm Max



14.7mph Avg.
40.5mph Max

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