Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Double Diablo

I wake up at 645 and eat some granola. I begin to consider working on a paper instead of riding. This means it's time to get out the door. I haven't worried about that paper all week but the minute I know something hard is coming I'm dying to work on it.

Most of the way out, through I guess Lafayette and part of Danville, is peaceful because of the holiday. Everyone's doing the sensible thing and staying at home. Finally, I make it to Diablo and begin to ascend. The first part's candy like it always is. Let the ego get nice and inflated. I see the sign for 1000 ft. Ahh, that was easy I think. Then I remember that first 1000 is basically a freebe since you start at around 500.

I make it up to the ranger station which I guess is about half way up, around 2000 feet. I'm feeling good so I keep going without stopping. Five minutes later it hits. Out of nowhere I look down and I'm going 5 mph and soaked in sweat. I've bonked. I think it's around the same spot as it happened last time.

Finally the last switchback comes. I feel a little magic in my legs and get out of the saddle to crank. I look up to realize that magic wasn't in my legs, it was in the grade. The road has flattened out considerably. I take what I can get.

Around the last turn and up the narrow, steep walkway to the summit. "Ma-ma, ma-ma." That's all I can ever say at this point. I try to focus on the ground below. When I look up and see how far away the summit is it hurts worse.


So sweet. But only for that first coast across the parking lot. Once I arrive at the water fountain it's all over, just like always. Back to "how do I look?" and all that other crap.

I survey the sights a bit. Clouds are covering most of the bay so I can't even see Berkeley. I call Chris. Blah, blah, blah. Playtime's over so I head down.

The descent is amazing. I stay around 30 most of the way down which is pretty fast for me. A few times I pull an "oh shit!" because I choose a bad line (read: almost go over the edge). That doesn't stop me from barreling around the next turn.

I get closer to the bottom and I hear the dreaded question: "why aren't you going back up??" "Um, uh, uh, well, time is, uh, an issue." No excuse. Back to the homework, "oh yeah, I've like got that paper I really wanted to work on, you know the one I wanted to do instead of ride this morning, yeah." So I think to myself the same thing I always think when there's the question of going further "what would Chris do?" Shit.

I get to the residential area at the bottom and turn around. I eat my last bit of food, put it in a low gear and begin the climb. Going up the first time I kept worrying about my white handlebar tape that was turning brown from my gloves. This time I could care less.

I see the 1000 ft sign again and then the ranger station around 2000 ft. I begin thinking about doing it a third time. Typical. One thing I love about riding far is watching the ego at work. First it was "you should stay home" and then "you should go back home, you don't have time to do it again." Then it switches to "hey you should do this three times! or four!" Keeping me safe and comfortable but completely unfulfilled.

3000 feet. Not hurting too bad because I haven't been going that hard. I hit the last switchback and again get the surge of energy. It'll be over soon.

The last stretch. Same story, I get out of the saddle and try not to look up at the summit.


Ahh, 10 more seconds of pure glory. No one claps and I wouldn't be able to hear it if they did. I refill my water bottles, take a quick glance at the vista and head down. This time I take it easy on the turns knowing if I ate it I wouldn't be able to get up! I have no thoughts of going for a third.

On the way down everything is fine until a car crosses the yellow line. They aren't close to hitting me-I'm familiar with the ways of cars-but it does piss me off. I give the cyclist snarl! It's funny to see how quickly I go from "ah, what a nice descent" to indignant.

A little more time passes, at least until the next car crosses the yellow line. So much for my spiritual experience. This one laughs! "Yeah it's funny, except it's my life!" I think. Until I realize she was just remarking about how quickly I went from 0 to victim! I smile and keep on pedaling.

Near the bottom I see a few cute cyclists riding up. Still no thought of a third, I'm dead.

I pedal on toward Danville, thankful it's mostly downhill. And that there's food waiting. I know just the trick, a little black magic. Yep, I decide I'm gonna do it. A whole cup of decaf...with sugar! That'll do it.

I arrive in Danville only to find out the Peet's is 15 minutes away-it was probably only a few blocks but the guy saw my condition. I pass by the Starbucks right across the street. With all my 1 cups of coffee per month I still have to be a snob about it. No relief.


I see a "High Tech Burritos" place, bolt in front of a few cars and dodge the truck that almost runs me over. I pout my way through the whole burrito over this. Danville this, Danville that. Despite the mediocre taste of such a technical burrito it still does the job. Blood sugar is back to normal so I head next door for that cup of coffee.

Sure enough. A few sips and ol' Tin Man is back to moving like (insert very smooth mover). I call the grandparents, text Chris, and finally muster up the energy to get back on the bike.

The rest of the way home is pretty easy, excepting anything remotely uphill. I end up near Orinda and don't feel like taking Wildcat all the way through Tilden. I just on 24 and head to Fish Ranch Road.

Two hours later Hunter, my roommate, finds me on the floor naked and napping on my yoga map. Livin' the dream...

1 comment:

  1. J-
    Great journal entry. Can't wait to ride Diablo with you so that when we get to the top you can text or call someone else as I won't have my phone with me. Hope the paper was worth all the distraction and wins a pulitzer. Miss you.