Here it is ... a separate ride report and pics thread ... to separate it from the announcement thread ...
Brrr ... it was friggin' cold out there! Before I headed out for today's epic Sierra-Calaveras-Palomares ride (hey, that rhymes), I checked out weatherunderground, to try to check out weather conditions. Couldn't find a weather station near Sierra, but at home, in Santa Clara, it was registering 31 F. Dang, my thought was I'm going to freeze out there. Maybe this should have been the Pesky Penguin ride, but I don't want to mix venues with that theme.
With the cold, chilly weather awaiting me, I had to re-think my wardrobe for the ride. I decided on my semi-goretex jacket, arm warmers, leg warmers (I originally was going to use knee warmers, but it's cold enough to warrant a full leg warmer outfit), wind resistant gloves, full shoe cover (not just toe covers), and skull cap.
We had a full crew of Gladiators to come ... Ramon, Ben (Silentben), Michael (mellum76), Donald (dl33), Jack (superunleaded), Marco (who rode all the way from San Mateo), and Chris, aka ygduf (who rode all the way from Mountain View). Marco is the crazy one ... he was riding today with shorts, and toe covers with a big hole in it. Ruth, I think you know what you have to do.
Sierra came at 3 miles in ... should I have planned for more flat miles before hitting that climb? It is, after all, a TofC Category 1 climb. Oh well. Marco immediately charged up the front, and he was climbing the first ramp of the climb like it was an all out sprint. All I know is I'm taking my sweet time.
I wound up in the back, joined by Jack. We pretty much rode the majority of Sierra together, trading leads. It was refreshing chatting with him on such an epic climb ... I usually climb huge hills like that on my own. We both are in the same boat ... love climbing, but don't climb with speed. We both know where the problem is ... it's not the riding, it's the food intake ... we just love food way too much.
The group was graciously waiting for us at the top of the climb. It was such a gorgeous view, and pictures just don't do it justice. We descended down through Felter ... one thing about Sierra/Felter ... the view of the road ahead and the drop off is amazing. It's almost surreal, how the road continues on, and has the illusion of the road being the edge of the earth. Several times, I just want to stop, and just take in the view, but I was far behind everyone, I didn't dare do that.
Made my right on Calaveras, and there was no one in my party to be found. I figured I was so far behind, but hope it wasn't a matter of 10-20 minutes. I eventually caught up with Chris, who had stopped off the side of the road, about 2 miles from the false summit. He wasn't too familiar with the route, and thought maybe he was on the wrong road. Seeing me approach must have been a relief to him, and we continued to meet up with the rest of the gang.
We continued on through Sunol, and that's where we had to decide which way to go. I mentioned that the straight stretch back on Niles Canyon is not too bad, but some of the gang was leery of that road. I was outvoted, much to Michael's dismay, and we continued to do an extra 20 mile loop around Dublin Canyon and Palomares. Palomares also added an extra 800 feet climbing.
We stopped off for a potty stop, and then Jack started getting cramps. I heard a loud yell ... that was Jack yelling in pain. And we still had Palomares to climb ... bad time for a cramp. Eventually, he decided to move on, and do Palomares with us.
I must have gotten my second wind, as I was able to keep in a paceline with Donald, Ramon, Marco, and Ben. That felt particular good, as it carried over to when I climbed Palomares.
We finished the ride around 4:10 pm ... good thing I started the ride at 9 am ... Marco and Chris still had to ride home. I'm pretty sure they would get caught in the dark ... a few of us offered to give both a lift home, but they wanted to get in that century. Hope the ride home was good guys.
Stats ... 68.64 miles, 6018 feet climbing (if you want to believe motionbased). Wind??? It really wasn't a factor at all ... the biggest factor was the temps. Even though the sun came out, I could not take my jacket off at all ... thermal gloves stayed on, and the shoe covers stayed on too. I didn't have to worry about stuffing jackets or extra stuff in my pockets ... I had to wear them. This had to be one of the coldest rides I've done in a long time ... and we didn't even see any frost!