I found out at 7:50 a.m. last Saturday morning that my sonís 9 a.m. Saturday baseball game was cancelled because his team was traveling a few miles down the road to a place where they close fields if someone sneezes on them, and although it stopped raining 9 hours before game time and the ground is dry enough for the fields to soak up the water pretty well, still, no game. Admittedly, if it had been a home game, they would have cancelled it because if someone sneezes on our fields then close them.
My wife and my son both went back to bed and slept more. I decided Iíd better take this opportunity to get in a good ride. I hadnít been planning on one, and I was in a hurry, I didnít really check the weather (although I did know I wasnít supposed to rain any more until at least very late Saturday night), and I didnít really think about any events going on. I just made a spur of the moment decision to do a 40 mile loop out Patterson Pass and back Corral Hollow Pass.
It took me a little while to get my body fueled up and everything ready, so around 9:30 I park at the sports park at Vasco and Patterson Pass. Naturally, Livermore is less protective of their fields, so their 9 a.m. baseball games were going on when I arrived. I headed east on Patterson Pass, and part way between Vasco and Greenville, the bike lane was filled with cars. I notice the ďNo Parking Bike LaneĒ signs all had plastic bags over them. It didnít take long to realize that I was passing by the staging area for the Wente Vineyards Classic Road Race. Riders were zipping by on Greenville as I wanted to cross Greenville, so I had to wait a half minute until they had passed. Then not too much further up, I had to wait for a pack coming down South Flynn and heading up Patterson Pass. Between South Flynn and Patterson Pass, I got to have a good handful of racers pass me, and then when I got to Cross, I had to be very careful that nobody was wanting to turn right into me as I went straight up.
As I grinded up Patterson Pass, I notice more riders coming down than usual. I was very happy when nobody was coming down at the wrong time when less than a mile from the top, a car gave me an extremely wide berth, drove on the far left side of the road, and was on the very far left of the road as it went around a blind left-hand curve. Boy, if any of those riders coming down Patterson had been coming down at that moment, ouch. I could not believe anyone would drive like that. When I got to the top of Patterson Pass, where it was windier than usual, a guy had stopped to put water from his Camelbak into his bike bottle. So I asked him if he was part of an event going on. He said it was the DMD. Slap forehead!! Of course, a Saturday at the end of April, must be time for the DMD. I warned him to watch for the Wente Classic riders when he made the turn on to Cross, he seemed to be aware of the issue. Down Patterson I went with a nice tail wind, and plenty of DMD riders grinding up the hill in a nice worse than usual head wind, and a couple of SAG vehicles also coming uphill. I felt sorry for those DMD riders and not that happy for me, a fierce tail wind pretty useless on that downhill run because I don't really need to pedal anyway to get the speed I want.
As I headed east on Schulte Rd. in west Tracy, I realized I was really zipping along those flats. When I saw a guy going the other way tucked in his aerobars and working hard to make headway, I realized that there was a reason a slow rider was zipping along as well as I was.
This all gave me cause for concern about heading up Corral Hollow. My concern was not unfounded. The headwind was pretty nasty all the way from 580 until I started the real climb. The last 1.9 miles to the top of the pass is a grind, but most of it is wind sheltered. Unfortunately, the parts that werenít had pretty nasty wind that about knocked me off my bike as I climbed very slowly. Big gusts of crosswind when you are going about 3.5 mph really arenít fun.
The ride down Tesla was as miserable a descent as I can remember. Nasty, nasty fierce head winds and cross winds, slowing me down, continually changing direction, I just had to keep moving forward to stay mostly stable. When the metal For Sale sign on a ranch wasnít hanging down straight, but was at a 45 degree angle to the wind, I knew it wasnít my imagination. Iíve always enjoyed the downhill ride on Tesla. Not this one. No fun. Got to Cross, the Wente Classic people made me stop for 2 riders coming down Cross and turning right onto Tesla. Really, I could have quite easily kept going and eased in well behind them without losing all my momentum. But no, had to come to a dead stop and then get going again into the stiff headwind. Had to stop for several seconds again at Greenville to let racers turn right on Greenville (next to the "DMD Riders yield to Racers" sign, but the DMD riders were long gone). I then went straight back to Vasco, then back Vasco to the car.
Lessons learned. I usually check event calendars and wind forecasts. Donít let the last minute nature of the decision to ride prevent those checks. Running into the Wente Classic and the DMD wasnít a big deal, especially since I wasnít along those routes for very long, although if I had known, I probably would have avoided them. But the wind, boy, that was not fun (except when I was getting pushed along really fast out Schulte Rd.).