Saturday, February 16, 2013
Solo near-century, with adventure
What an opportunity for a long solo ride. I had Friday off, and not many other folks did, so I carefully planned my route and figured out launch when there was enough light in the sky I wouldn't need lights.
Forty degres makes for a cool start, and I'm a wimp. Even though it would mean hauling clothes once it warmed, I left looking like I was dressed for skiing. I'd have to start peeling layers in an hour or two, but being warm for the first leg was worth it.
Some days you just start off feeling good. This was not one of those days. But maybe I'll feel better as I warm up. I just took it slowly at first and enjoyed the morning.
Eventually I'd climbed out of Antioch via Willow Pass Road, taken a brief ride on Hwy 4, and exited at Port Chicago only to hear my name being called out. Looking around I realized riding buddy Steve Monroe was yelling at me from his truck. I don't know how we ended up in the same weird place at the same time.
I took the Iron Horse trail to Pleasant Hill then headed west. I was amazed to see the new cross walks they've installed at their trail crossings. They're painted red, have walk buttons and flashing lights embedded in the road. Amazing. I sure wish Antioch would do that.
My plan was to head up Pig Farm Hill, do the Bears, then loop through Danville, ride Diablo's Southgate then head home. But things when wrong.
Climbing toward Pig Farm I realized I had a flat. When I started working on it I saw my tire looked awful. I could see cord. I didn't want to be descending at 40ish with that tire, so I put in a new tube, turned around and headed for Pleasant Hill Cyclery. They weren't open when I got there, so had to wait outside for the privilege of buying a new Continental GPS 4000S at painful retail prices. I have one at home, so having to buy one on the fly really hurt.
I realized I was now way behind schedule, so I gave up on the Bears and Diablo and headed out Reliez and eventually to Danville for a Peet's coffee break. I shared a table with cyclist Trish and her friend who were enjoying the now-warm day and their new team kits.
I only got mildly lost getting through Concord on my way to Kirker Pass. I'd wanted to get there before it got afternoon commute car crazy, and I did. At the summit I smiled at one of my favorite signs; the indicator the climb is over and something fun is coming up.
When I got home I discovered I was without my Triple Crown vest. Perhaps it blew out of my pocket on the ride. If I don't find it, that will mean, between it and the tire, this ride cost me more than a dollar a mile.
All in all, it was still a good day, even if I did come up a few miles short of 100, and came out financially damaged.