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.
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.
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