Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Road: A Ride up Mt. Diablo that I Sort of SAGg’ed, but Not Really.

SAG, acronym for Support and Gear in cycling.

It was Derek’s idea to do this road ride. It’s goes from Pleasanton Reginal Park through Pleasanton, climbs to the top of Mt. Diablo via the South Gate, drops down through the North Gate, traverses east, climbs up Morgan Territory (9 miles of gradual climbing), drops down into Livermore, and eventually traverses back into Pleasanton.  Over all, Derek’s cycling computer showed 87.7 miles.

I would have ridden it with Erik and Derek if it had not be because of a cold.  It got ahold of me on Friday.  I used to subscribe to the theory that you can sweat a cold away, but in the past few years (after I grew old), I’ve found it not true. So, I decided to rest it off. It was not an easy decision because I’d been dying to get back on my bike since my weird ankle episode. It’s not fully recovered yet and feels a little unstable. Any jarring, as in what sometimes technical mountain biking does to the body, would be bad, but I was confident that with road biking, I could keep the motion of my ankle in control. But then, the cold! I stayed home on Saturday, and wanted to get out, so I told Erik that I would SAG when he and Derek rode.

It was really cold when we got up on Sunday. I was glad that I would not be riding. Shortly after we got to the park, the start of their ride, the sun came out and it looked really nice even though the air was still a bit crisp. I regretted that I could not ride.

After seeing them off, I went for a short hike (2-3 mi) at the park. At the beginning of the ride, I was wearing a puff jacket and fleace pants as an outer layer. A third way into the hike, I had to take them off. There were a lot of hikers enjoying the morning walk too. Every time I encountered a mountain biker, I looked at them enviously. Near the end of the hike, I started feeling a little sore in my ankle. Time to go.

I thought I had plenty of time, so I started out following their route on the local roads. But I first got lost and took a long detoure towards Livermore before turning back, then I had to stop to get gas where I saw Trader Joes. Perfect, I went in to pick up some lunch items. Oh, I should go to a coffee shop to get some coffee for Erik. Bet he would like it at the top of Diablo. After all that, I realized a lot of time had just passed, so I hopped on the highway to get to Diablo as fast as I could. I tried. Still they got there at least 15 minutes before I did. Lucky for me that they did not seem to mind and appeared to be happy to see me. There was a cheerful atmosphere hanging at the top of the Devil mountain.

After sending them off, I walked around as a tourist before dropping down the mountain only to stop at the intersection of Morgan Territory Rd and Marsh Creek Rd when I saw them chatting with two other cyclists, who seemed to need some directions back to Pleasanton for fear of running out of lights because it was already 2pm. Seeing one of them was on a recumbent, we suggested them go the most direct way — up and over Morgan Territory.  Off we all went. It took me half an hour to get to the top after 9 miles of driving. Considering it was a gradual climb and the guys already did 50+ miles, I took a hike down some trails and popped out on the road about 1 mile before the summit. That was about 70 minutes after I last saw them at the bottom. They should be coming by very soon. I sat down and started to read my book.  I waited and waited and waited, and nobody on a bicyle showed up. Okay, maybe I just missed Erik and Drek, but what about that guy on the recumbent? There is no way he could be fast, right? Oh wait a minute. It just dawned on me that those two guys had a strong European accent. Those Euros! They are beasts! It turned out to be true. When I hiked up the road to my car, and I found a headband hanging on my windshield wiper that belongs to Erik. And those Euros? I learned that they passed Erik and Derek half way up and they were not even breathing hard!

I jumped into the car thinking the only chance for me to redeem myself was to make it to the finish ahead of them. I got a call from Erik when I was still 10 minutes away. They were there already! Then I took a wrong turn (to be precise, I was rushing down Sunol Blvd that I missed the turn I had to take), which added even more delay. When I got back, my husband with his bare skinny legs was shivering in the chilly air while talking with Derek by his truck.

I think this is my last time SAGging (or attempting to SAG) for the good of all human beings.