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Old 09-01-08, 07:39 PM   #1
Beaker
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Finally made it - Mount Diablo (Pics)

Posted a version of this in the road forum, need more NorCal scenery there I think. Anyhow, this was a good use of half of the morning I could get today. Hope you all had a good time down south....



Where I'm heading


I took the South Gate road, heading out from the Athenian School parking lot at 7:30, very clear and a little breezy.

Past the residential potholes once past the South Gate entrance the new pavement was fantastic Ė very smooth. The first 1-2000ft of climbing were relatively uneventful, great scenery a little bit of a breeze though, that would be a taste of things to come.

Climbing up past 1000ft


The views were spectacular today, with the early morning sun playing long shadows over the surrounding hills, and long uninterrupted views. The roads were also pretty much owned by cyclists at that time of day Ė I was only passed by three vehicles and two of those were park rangers.

Halfway up


Headed here -- the small blip at the top of this ridge:


I made the Ranger Station at the Junction in about 40mins, without too much of a sweat. I kept thinking about what Iíd heard about the gradient increasing on summit road and of course thereís the 17-18% wall just before you reach the peak. After a stopping for a couple of pictures, I started up Summit Road.

4.5miles left


It was a bit steeper but not too bad, the thing that got my attention was the wind though. It was absolutely roaring around Diablo, given that itís the highest point for miles, thereís nothing to stop it, especially on the southern facing roads, conveniently close to the edge of the hill. Turns out that the weather station at the summit was reporting gusts of between 50 and 55mph early this morning.

Early mornings on Mt D.


There were a few times when it felt as though the wind would push me to a complete standstill, or try to change my direction. What was nice was round the Devilís Elbow hairpin just before you come to the summit area, I had a fantastic tailwind that really pushed my up the hill. A bit more of that would have been nice.

Summit Wall - ouch. Everyone has to have this in their photo collection, right?


Closing in on the summit wall, I finally reached for the granny gear for the last few hundred feet, having kept it in my 39 ring up until that point. I reached the summit parking lot in about 1h 18min. Not too bad for a first effort, although the record to the top is apparently just under 45mins Ė truly frightening. Still, it was good to have made it without having to get off and walk and Iím sure I could have gained a few extra seconds without that headwind.

Summit Looking North


Summit Looking East (to Central Valley and Sierras)



After snapping some photos at the top, and accosting a stranger for photographic proof, I zipped up my wind vest and put on my arm warmers for the 11mile, 4000ft descent. Glad to say that I didnít overheat my rims, but the wind gusts definitely made me cautious. It was a really nice ride down, once I got to ~1500ft, I was welcomed with pretty pleasant warm breeze. A fantastic start to the day.

Beaker at the summit
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Old 09-01-08, 07:55 PM   #2
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Nice report and good pics. I wish I could have ridden there today. One of these days I have to get some time to do some of these great rides, especially with some of my fellow BFers. Before I do a climb like that though, I'm getting my Giant with the triple out.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:52 PM   #3
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Nice ride report!

Doing that climb 1hr18min would have put you in about #600 in The Mt. Diablo Challenge. I think you're ready for it.

Imagine how fast your climb will be with out the wind or stopping to take some nice pix.

See you there in October?

BR
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Old 09-01-08, 08:57 PM   #4
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Great job Beaker! I too did Diablo for the first time, but it was on Saturday (with Alex - x136). I didn't stop to take pictures along the way though, just one at the top (semi-busted camera).

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Old 09-01-08, 09:04 PM   #5
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Wow, Diablo looks like a completely different place that early in the morning. Very pretty. I may have to try that someday when I'm feeling ambitious (it's an hour and a half drive to the start, so it'd be a very early morning).

Congratulations!
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Old 09-01-08, 10:00 PM   #6
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Thanks guys.

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Originally Posted by BenRidin View Post
Nice ride report!

Doing that climb 1hr18min would have put you in about #600 in The Mt. Diablo Challenge. I think you're ready for it.

Imagine how fast your climb will be with out the wind or stopping to take some nice pix.

See you there in October?

BR
Yeah, I noticed that ranking too! I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't curious, not sure I can fit it in the schedule, while maintaining sufficient brownie points with the wife. The wind was unbelievable today -- there were a few points going up Summit Rd where I questioned my sanity to keep going, let alone what a nice gust might do for me at 30mph downhill. Is that typical?

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Wow, Diablo looks like a completely different place that early in the morning. Very pretty. I may have to try that someday when I'm feeling ambitious (it's an hour and a half drive to the start, so it'd be a very early morning).

Congratulations!
The countryside was simply gorgeous this morning, especially early on. It was one of those rides where you just want to savour every last drop. I'm going to have to be paying more trips back there, for me it was a 25min drive - sorry! At least the daylight hours will be working in your favour.

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Great job Beaker! I too did Diablo for the first time, but it was on Saturday (with Alex - x136). I didn't stop to take pictures along the way though, just one at the top (semi-busted camera).
Thanks -- there's a definite absence of too many on Summit Rd from all the pics I took. Something to do with avoiding falling off the edge....
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Old 09-01-08, 11:15 PM   #7
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Nice - and Beaker, that's an awesome time for the first trip up! I still struggle to get under 1:30, and I've been up that pile of rocks a few times. Congrats to everyone.

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Old 09-01-08, 11:16 PM   #8
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Nice shots!

That pic of the Wall, where the shrubs are closest to the road, maybe 1/3rd the way up -- that's where my afterburners died last Nov. and the tandem came to a halt. Very humbling/humiliating to push a bike up to the top. Never again. Next time we do it we'll do what it takes to pedal to the top.

In June I rode from Safeway on Ygnacio Valley Rd. to the Junction, then down the south side, then up, then down. That was training for the hill climb, and it was invaluable. I can't wait to do it again. Your pictures convey how solitary a ride it is. You may have a friend to ride with, but in the end, it's all up to you.

Good job, B!
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Old 09-01-08, 11:29 PM   #9
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Yeah.. you beat me according to last year. On your first time up. Hit that a few more times and you'll get the T-shirt!!

I think that sub 45min. is what Ms. Incredible is training for.. since she always rides with that backpack full of lead shot and sand

Well done on your ride sir. Well done.
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Old 09-02-08, 03:10 PM   #10
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1:18? Nicely done. I was 2:08 and ready to lay down and die. I made 2 stops-- before the 1st station (between 1k and 2k feet I wondered if I would vomit before my heart exploded, or after...), and at the 2nd station.

I'm hoping to get another ascent in this month. If my first century doesn't kill me, I may do the challenge in October (I'll be the guy in the waaaay back).

RL
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Old 09-02-08, 03:33 PM   #11
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When we were on Hamilton, If I looked real hard and squinty I could just see you! Did you see me wavin!?

Nice report and Congrats

Hey Paula, Maybe let me see your camera, I'm getting pretty good and putting back together the incurable!
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Old 09-02-08, 04:25 PM   #12
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Hey Paula, Maybe let me see your camera, I'm getting pretty good and putting back together the incurable!
Thanks Pete, actually it all works perfectly fine except for the LCD screen, which I seem to have completely killed. It'd take a miracle.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:02 PM   #13
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I like your take RedRider, a ride does end up being a solitary challenge, even in a group (I'm not antisocial, really), how many times do you start off a climb as a group only to end up in your own little concentration zone trying to work out how to survive long enough to remember an epic climb?

Thanks everyone for your kind words and encouragement - I realized that the part I had not include in my report was that this was the goal I'd set myself this year, from closing out last year riding 15-20miles on my hybrid. It was great to see an opportunity to get this one done and find that the climbs I'd been putting myself through seem to have helped me pace myself and really enjoy the climb.

It's funny, back in the office today, I kept thinking about how much I wanted to go back and do it again -- it occurred to me that it really does take a few rides to really get to know a climb. Hmm, think I'll hold that thought for another post.

PS - Pete, straining a biit I think I might just have, yes possibly did see something moving to the south. It must have been you.
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Old 09-03-08, 04:23 AM   #14
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The countryside was simply gorgeous this morning, especially early on. It was one of those rides where you just want to savour every last drop. I'm going to have to be paying more trips back there, for me it was a 25min drive - sorry!
sounds like you live in berkeley/oakland? next challenge... ride from the bay to the summit.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:58 PM   #15
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sounds like you live in berkeley/oakland? next challenge... ride from the bay to the summit.
Close, I'm in Orinda. Still thinking about my 09 goals, I'm pretty sure that riding a century done will be a part of it (Tour of Napa was my first metric), I think I need something else around climbs - perhaps other landmark hills in the area. I can just trawl the Norcal archives to come up with a very long shopping list.
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Old 09-05-08, 06:01 PM   #16
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Hey Richard, great to finally meet you today.

Here's the link for George's East Bay ride that we mentioned.

Also, this site has some nice ride descriptions, the fun thing is that they all start/end at BART stations and most of them have different levels of difficulty.
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Old 09-05-08, 08:28 PM   #17
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Likewise Paula, catching you and the gang was a nice perk for my lunchtime ride! Next time, I'll try to actually start a ride with you guys so we can talk for more than 5minutes.

That east bay ride looks great! I know that route really well and it's right on my doorstep - how could I refuse?
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