Saturday, May 10, 2014
Completed DMD ... two weeks late
Two weeks ago I started the Devil Mountain Double Century. I DNFed at mile 150. But I can't stand that, so today I drove to the point I stopped — the Crothers Road rest stop in San Jose — and rode the course the remaining 54.9 miles (and 5000 feet of climbing)
In tennis, winning the four major tournaments in a year is called a Grand Slam. But winning four in a row outside a year is termed a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam. Therefore, I'm henceforth referring to my 2014 DMD as a Non-Calendar Devil Mountain Double Finish. Don't try to tell me different.
The pinched/compressed nerve in my neck that affects my shoulder and was the big reason I bailed out still hurts like something that hurts too much, but bothers me even more when I'm in the drops, when it hurts way way too much. I'm doing some doctor-recommended voodoo stuff, and I've raised the bars on my commuter bike to an embarrassing height. I may feel better some day, but it wasn't today.
Today was a lot like the weather of two weeks ago, windy and a bit on the cool side. I wore knee warmers, glove liners under my cycling gloves and a buff most of the day. I took along my very lightweight Pearl Izumi Barrier Jacket for the early downhills and I'm glad I did.
Because this was a point to point ride, I left home before 6 am and left the car at Crothers Rd. Tricia picked me up in San Ramon on her way to visit family, then dropped me to pick up our car.
From where I started the much-heralded Sierra Rd comes up soon. It's steep after 100-something miles, but it's steep even when you're fresh. And there's no lead in. You turn from a normal road, and boom, straight up. When I went with LanceOldStrong to see the Tour of California stage finish there I was amazed how hard it was even to stand and not fall over. It's that steep. (Gradient chart)
The morning sun slipping through the clouds, a beautiful view, and not being worn out helped make it less awful than I'd remembered. Still, I'm not making light of it. I think I went up about 5mph. It took forever.
After the rich people's houses, the road turns very, very narrow for a while and it's easy to imagine you are riding hundreds of miles from any city.
Later, along the beautiful Calavaras Road I saw a large shape in the road. It was ground squirrel-sized, but not ground squirrel-shaped. It was sci-fi quality big. Frighteningly big. I shooed it off the road after making a few photos. My naturalist son says it's a non-native invasive species and I should have considered leaving it where it was ... but I don't think I could have.
This, of course, is the kind of photo I'm forced to run when I'm not riding with Tricia, who is a much more attractive subject.
I eventually arrived in San Ramon, two weeks later than planned, with no trumpets or banners. Tricia, however, was there for me, with water and some Whole Foods sushi, so it was all worthwhile.