Saturday, February 16, 2013

Solo near-century, with adventure

start solo century_0013

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.

canal trail solo century_0014

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.

Pleasant Hill crossing solo century_0021

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.

tire solo century_0025

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.

Peet's coffee meeting solo century_0026

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.

low gears solo century_0029

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.


  1. Gorgeous picture of the Canal Trail in the early morning. Congrats on not letting the mishaps ruin your day! I'm going to go look at my tires right now...

  2. I think they only have those painted crossing near the schools... I like them.

    Never heard of Monument Cyclery. Interesting dilemma though... do you pay too much for the tire you really want, or too much for a temporary that will sit unused after today?

    1. I brain-farted the name. It's Pleasant Hill Cyclery. And I got a really nice tire, just like the one I have in my tire drawer at home. But for $30 more.

  3. Midland5:21 PM

    Great to see you Curtis, be proud of that jersey and vest you earned. It's what tipped me off that I was seeing a "serious" cyclist's, then I recognize the bike, then "Hey, that's Curtis" Pretty epic ride you set out for, sorry about the flat...and what you expierienced just trying to get it fixed.


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