We left my house at 5:15 to arrive at the start by 6:00 so we could be ready to check in at 6:30 and ready to roll. We arrived right on time at 5:58 and were "mostly ready" by 6:30. Long story short, we rolled out of the parking lot at 6:47, the sun was just coming up. 100 mile riders left between 6:30 and 7:30, the 100k riders were to leave between 7:30 and 8:30.
|first rest stop|
I was unfamiliar with this route to Mt. Diablo. As a matter of fact, I was unfamiliar with this entire 100 mile route I was doing. We had no ride leader to tell us what was coming up either. About this time we were really missing our other princesses we have been training and riding with since January.
Now it was time for the big climb of the ride - Morgan Territory. I took off my wind breaker in preparation for the climb. The only time I have ridden up to Mt. Diablo, I went up on the western side. That road was two lanes and a mellow, steady climb with nothing *too* steep. This was the eastern side of the mountain. The road got narrow and it got very steep. It was beautiful and tree covered though. I was continually being passed by people that looked like very accomplished cyclists. This was becoming much different than the fun, casual, all female Cinderella ride we did two weeks ago. I was getting more and more discouraged by the minute. As the road got steeper, the further behind I felt like I was getting, even though this wasn't a race. I kept wanting to stop and I couldn't figure out why I had signed up to do something like this. Since it was just Erin and I, I was trying to make sure we stayed together. I would pull over and wait for her every once in a while, during the climb. She was never
|Mt. Diablo, here we come|
We finally made it to the second rest stop, the top of Morgan Territory at mile 33. How it could only be mile 33 was beyond me. I was BEAT! I had absolutely no clue how I was going to continue another 67 miles. I ate some peanut butter and pretzel sticks, put my wind breaker back on because of the very steep descent that was coming up. As soon as we left the rest stop we climbed up a little more and went smack into the thick, cold fog. Very thick. It was a long descent and I took it very fast, enjoying every second of it. Suddenly, I was feeling a lot better.
At the bottom of the hill, the course split off - 100 mile riders to the left, 100k riders to the right. Erin doesn't enjoy downhill portions as much as I do so I waited for her for a little while. Believe me, if she would have even hinted to me that she wanted to go to the right, I would have gone, no questions asked.
|view from the top|
From there we got onto Foothill, taking it to Dublin Canyon Road. I was feeling good and ended up pulling far ahead of Erin, knowing she had someone back there keeping her company. I passed up a couple of guys on a hill and they rolled up next to me at a light. One of them commented on my bike, saying it was pretty cool the bar tape and cable housing matched the colors in the bike. He asked me my name and introduced himself as Bart. When we turned onto Dublin Canyon he told me to "feel free to draft". As soon as we turned east and I felt the headwind, I had no problem tucking in behind him. Sadly though, the climb and the wind kept me from sticking with him very long. But, his friend was slower than me on climbs so he did keep turning around and going back for him so I did get to use him a few more times. He was more than willing to help me out, a very nice guy (as you will see later).
We entered Castro Valley and went onto Redwood Road, another tough climb. Nothing like Morgan Territory but it was L-O-N-GGGG. I tried not to look up the road too often but it seemed like every time I did, it just kept climbing and there was no end in sight. Matter of fact, this is when I thought up this nice little poem and I kept repeating it over and over and over as I climbed up Redwood Road.
I do not like this Redwood Road
This Redwood Road I do not like
I do not like this Redwood Road
Especially riding up it on a bike!
Maybe half way up, I got a flat. My first flat ever and I was riding alone. Perfect!! I turned my bike upside down and took the tire off. Oh, who's this I see coming around the corner? Bart! He jokingly asked if I was pulled over waiting for him to catch up. I told him the obvious, I had a flat. He got off his bike and immediately went to work with my tire irons. Since I've never changed a flat, I watched intently and thanked him and his friend Dwight immensely for their help. Every rider that went by asked if we were alright and one SAG vehicle pulled over to make sure we had everything we needed. Erin came flying by and said she would wait for me at the rest stop just a few miles ahead.
|Bart and Dwight|
|the final rest stop|
I had some more peanut butter. This time it was covered in chocolate and called itself Reese's. We asked how the rest of the ride was. I was not in the mood for any more climbing. Lord have mercy, tell me we have no more climbing. One of the SAG vehicle drivers asked us if we were "feeling strong". I asked her why she wanted to know? Was there something she needed to tell us? She explained the roads and said there *was* more climbing but nothing like we had just done on Redwood Road. Then, my answer was yes, we felt strong.
We changed our shoes and put our bikes in the car before checking in and enjoying the barbecue that was prepared and waiting for us. Chicken, salad, vegetarian pasta and fruit. We sat at a table with four people we had seen throughout the final 45 miles of the ride and talked about the ups and downs (literally) of the ride. We were all punch-drunk-happy. I think all but one of them were first time century riders.
Erin and I were having trouble believing we actually completed a century. I'm very proud of Erin and I'm even proud of myself. I'm still soaking it all in. It was quite an accomplishment. It wasn't easy. At several points in the ride, I was convinced I would not make it the entire way.
But, I did make it the entire way. I couldn't be happier about it.
Thanks for reading.
04/08 - 1.5 mile walk
04/09 - 1 mile walk, 40 mile bike ride, 1.5 mile walk
04/10 - 1 mile walk, Body Pump, 1.25 mile walk
04/11 - 1 mile walk, Body Pump, 2 mile walk
04/12 - "Camp24" class
04/13 - 1.65 mile walk, Body Pump, 2 mile run
04/14 - 2 mile walk
04/15 - 4 mile hike, 1 mile walk
04/16 - 3 mile run
04/17 - 100 mile bike ride!
04/18 - 2 mile walk