Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thu, Oct 25

The month is winding down. We just got back from a week's stay in Orlando, and while real estate prices and temperatures after 6pm are way more appealing there than here, a Florida cyclist really doesn't ever have to look at an elevation profile, simply because it's flat as a pancake there; it is so flat, that you can usually already see on Friday who's coming to visit on Sunday. NB: the highest elevation in Florida is a staggering 345 ft. So I'm happy to be back, and be able to climb Mount Diablo again on Sunday, also having much more bearable temperatures for cycling than in the Sunshine State. This weekends' ride(s) will be my last for the next four weeks / five weekends after this one, as I'll be spending a month in China. I guess that my blogging will also wind down until something note-/rant-/comment-worthy comes up. Until then, zai jian !

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sun, Oct 14

I didn't know until today that there's something called Diablo-Fatigue. Not only that I was a little bit tired from yesterday's ride, but when arriving at Athenian School today, it dawned on me "Diablo ? Again ??". Well, it was my choice, for the fifth Sunday in a row, so I literally crawled my way up to the summit. Compared to last weekend, I was about 13 minutes slower today; yes, it was that pathetic.

On top of that, riding through Danville always raises my blood pressure. In all that time I've passed through that town, I've seen THREE police cruisers. Today it was that third time, when a cop pulled over and cited a cyclist who rolled through a red light before it turned green two seconds later. I really wonder where the cops are when Escalades and Porsches speed and/or harass and honk at cyclists on narrow and windy Diablo Road. Don't get me started on CARS running red lights, including not stopping on a right turn. It's an anarchy out there.

Unless the last weekend in October won't be rained out, I won't have any opportunity for weekend bike rides until December 8, so it appears that Pommi's 2007 bike season is already winding down quickly. With 2624 miles so far for the year, I have surpassed my goal; I participated in one century, and won the 2007 Mount Diablo Challenge in the category "1:24:29 or worse". My goals for 2008 are not completely defined yet, but riding Mount Diablo in 1:20 or better on a bike lighter than my current 22-pound Trek is one of the goals. The quest for a new bike continues, Trek Madone or Specialized Tarmac ? Who has an opinion ?

Today also marks Floyd Landis' 32th birthday, Happy Birthday! I would've hoped that Floyd would not appeal his case to CAS, but rather move on and get his life and sanity back. What are the chances that CAS overturns the 2:1 decision of the arbitration panel ? Slim at best in my opinion. Therefore the story continues; CAS should have made a decision within four months of the appeal, so by end of February, we'll have almost the ending of the ongoing saga. 11 months later, in January 2009, Floyd is free to race again.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sun, Oct 7 - Diablo Challenge Debrief

7am: 44F in Danville, 50F at the summit, blue skies. The parking lot at Monte Vista High School in Danville began to fill up with riders, some already warming up on trainers, others assembling their bikes, and some deferring the inevitable cold by remaining in the car with a cup of coffee in their hands.

After I finished putting on several layers of clothes, I was told that the Husky race has been canceled due to lack of snow and ice ... just kidding. The ride over to Athenian school was as brisk as the temperatures, to both get the blood circulation going and the old body warmed up.

I was in wave #4, and we started at 8:45am. All the chatter around me was suddenly replaced with heavy breathing, and I tried to make my way ahead of the bunch. From the start. I was going at a higher than usual speed, and hoped that I could sustain it. South Gate in 22 minutes, Junction in 42 minutes (both personal records). From hereon, I tried to pace myself so to not run out of steam before reaching the summit. TBV started in the wave before me (5 minutes earlier), so I was on the look for him since I wanted to catch him (and almost did), but he did a great ride himself, and he finished ahead of me by 38 seconds.

As for Floyd Landis, he preferred to be in Europe today (so I was told). No record was broken, the winning time was 45 minutes and change. Jenny Slawta from Medford, OR, was the fastest woman for the third year in a row. I think we should have two more categories next year: amateur racers and weekend warriors; then maybe we wouldn't feel like we were so slow, looking at sub-60-minute finishes.

Official results are now available, and my rank/time is 707/1:24:29 (personal record).

Some pictures:

@Devil's Elbow

View from the summit:

View of the crowd:

Training Log - Mount Diablo Challenge Oct 7

Oct 7 - Debrief

Oct 6:
T minus 1 day until the race. There still hasn't been word whether Floyd Landis will participate, but we'll know for sure by 8:30am tomorrow; my guess is that he'll be a no-show.

I dread the anticipated cold temps tomorrow morning, but it seems we're in for a little warming trend: at least this morning at 7am, it was already 40F at the summit, and by 10am a whopping 43F. Good thing that I didn't experience it personally, because I had decided to rest today, therefore slept until 10am. Instead I ventured into the yard for some exercise this morning, but my wife insists that I should go for a ride. Ok then, I'll think about it.

GMR, thanks for the best wishes!

Oct 3-5:
Rest days.
The temperature outlook for Sunday morning: COLD; this morning at 7am at the summit: 34F.

Oct 2:
Lunch ride, 16.9 miles, 1956 ft of climbing. This brings my total mileage since Aug 26 to 401 miles.

Oct 1:
Rest day. 6 days left until the race. Since Aug 26, I rode 384 miles, and climbed Diablo three times. My goal for Sunday: 1:30h; this means not taking any breaks.

My blog is is getting several hits a day, referred by search engines, where visitors queried for combinations of "Floyd", "Landis", "Diablo" and "Challenge". All I know is that Floyd Landis is registered to start in Wave #1, with Bib# 60; whether or not he will actually participate, is still an open question, but the outlook is not good.

Sep 30:
Another day at Diablo, 1:44h for the climb including 15 minutes worth of stops, riding time 1:29h, total mileage today: 41.1 miles. Today I also reached my goal of 2500 miles for this year; last year's mileage I already reached on Aug 12.

Sep 29:
39.3 miles, negligible elevation gain/loss. I'm not sure yet whether or not to ride Diablo tomorrow, but if I do, I need to wait until later that morning for the temperature to be bearable; this morning at 10am, it was just 44F up at the summit. Next Sunday's Diablo challenge starts at 8:30am (8:45am for my wave), so I should expect similar temperatures then. Time to go looking for the full-finger gloves.

Sep 26-28:
Rest days.

Sep 25:
Lunch ride with TBV, 16 miles, 1956 ft of climbing.

Sep 24:
Rest day.

Sep 23:
Diablo uninteruptus. Today we attempted to climb Diablo without taking a break at the Junction, so we continued. Women and 70-year old men blew by us. I could maintain a higher speed so I dropped TBV, who later had to abort due to a broken chain; I arrived at the summit ~1:33h after leaving at Athenian School. Now that I'm home, I'll soon a enjoy a really nice nap.

Sep 22:
The day started with rain and 52 degrees. By the afternoon, the sun came out, and I went on a quick, 15.5 mile ride in the hills around my house, 1859 ft of climbing.

Sep 21:
Friday = Rest day.

Sep 20:
Today I planned to ride, and I should have, but... well... . I doubt that today's verdict increased the likelihood that Floyd Landis will show up on Oct 7.

Sep 17-19:
Rest days.

Sep 16:
After yesterday's dismal performance, I was anticipating similar suffering for today's planned ride up Diablo. But with cool weather and TBV as an accomplice, I managed to pace myself well, even riding about half the time in the middle chain ring; in the end we clocked 1:38h, including a couple short breaks amounting to 12 minutes, bringing the ride time to 1:26h. In last year's Mt. Diablo Challenge, this would have been the 804th place.

Sep 15:
Finally; the first ride in 12 days, and it was as bad as I expected it. 41.0 miles, from Pleasanton to Livorna Rd, and then a failed attempt to at least climb up Diablo to South Gate; my legs felt like Rubber Ducky's, and I turned around about half way there.

Sep 11:
Today I received my bib# and wave# in the mail: 878 / 4; I bet I'll finish 878th. On Sunday, Sep 16, I'll tackle Diablo along with TBV; let's see how much damage those 12 days will have done. TBV's record is 1:37h, and I should not be slower than him (you know, losing face and that sort of thing).

Sep 8-14:
Mandatory rest days ... don't laugh; my parents are in town from Germany, so I had to skip this weekend, and it doesn't look any better for the remaining week. Looking forward to Sat Sep 15 ...

Sep 4-7:
Rest days. The haze due to the Moonlight Fire in Plumas County makes for some real bad air quality here today, so this is Sep 6's excuse. Sep 7 is a Friday, what do you expect ?

Sep 3:
68.6 miles, 6066ft of climbing.

Sep 2:
I think I mentioned that today would be a rest day. Today's also a day where it's gotten so hot that it's best to finish a ride by 10am; normally a time when I'd start.

Sep 1:
40 miles, Pleasanton - Walnut Creek and back, mostly flat. By the time I finished around noon, the thermometer read 91 F.

Aug 31:
Seriously, who rides on Fridays anyway ? Right here, from the front lobby to the 2nd floor of the parking garage: 15 ft climbing. I plan to ride tomorrow, and a longer ride with the crowd is scheduled for Monday.

Aug 30:
(cough, cough) ... but I have two excuses today:
1. TBV didn't show up for the Thursday ride
2. I'm hungry, so I rather go for lunch

Aug 29:
Looks like another rest day today ...

Aug 28:
Rest day; at least I rode the bike from the 3rd floor of the parking garage to the front lobby: 0.2 miles, 0 ft climbing, 30 ft descent.

Aug 27:
Rest day; and No, I won't be holding a press conference today.

Aug 26:
Last night, body snatchers replaced my legs with some real crappy ones ... at least this is how they felt when I started the Old La Honda Rd climb as part of today's 40-mile ride ( insists on a little bit less, but on 3728 ft of climbing). Or maybe it was the wine last night ?

Aug 25:
First order of the day was to finally get rid of my aero-bar; 2 pounds and further back pain saved. But preparations don't go well otherwise: today's anticipated ride was replaced by yard work and house cleaning, and I'm looking to an evening with wine, women and song, instead of getting a rest for the usual Sunday ride on the Peninsula. Oh well, there are still 37 days left; training can start tomorrow: Old La Honda Rd, Pescadero, and if I feel like it, Tunitas Creek. I also plan to ride twice during the week, skipping lunch for a quick escape into the surrounding hills.