Monday, May 19, 2008

My East Bay 200K RUSA permanent is up & running

... and the first DNF was me, naturally. :^)

This is a pretty challenging ride. I wanted to keep it for the most part on scenic roads, preferably shady, with little traffic. Alas, in the East Bay, that means climbing. I tried to keep it under 6000 ft of climbing, but between RUSA's constraints with respect to designing permanent routes, and my own self-imposed contstraint to avoid yukky urban sprawl as much as possible, the best I could do was about 7000 ft. Oh well, most of the studly randonneur types I know can do this easily.

Speaking of, congratulations to Veronica, aka Princess Zippy, the first finisher of the EB200 permanent !
Pending verification and rubber-stamping by RUSA, of course :^)

I started out strong & feeling fine. Veronica and I left the start point in Dublin at about 6 am, so it was very pleasantly cool out and the car traffic was about nil.

Calaveras Road was lovely. Along the way we passed a couple of deer, some quail darted across the road in front of us (quail are so doofy, they always make me laugh), and lots of turkeys - the bird kind, that is.

I had a flat after about 30 miles, and I discovered my Topeak road morph frame pump wasn't working properly - I could pump my tire up to only about 60 psi or so. Which was fine on the flatlands, but Palomares Road was a truly painful slog, I have never felt so awful going up that, I felt I was pushing a tank uphill. (yeah, yeah, some of you might think I already push a tank uphill, but trust me, this was worse).

At the top of Palomares, I asked a passing rider if I could use his frame pump. He galantly pumped up my tire, and then while disengaging the pump he broke off the valve. Ooops. Glad I carried 2 spare tubes. He galantly changed the tubes and inflated the new tube with a CO2 cartridge. I halfway expected it to explode, but yay, no more disasters.

I was only at about mile 50 and I was getting stressed out knowing that I was riding with a defecto pump and no good tubes left. And the way my luck was going I knew that was going to come back and bite me, so I managed to get a hold of Lee who met us out at the golf course and gave me his (working) frame pump and a couple of spare tubes for the rest of the ride.

We had been wasting a lot of time with all my pump/tube mishaps so I made V go on ahead to the next checkpoint.

Climbing up Redwood Road wasn't near as bad as Palomares, but by then I was really off my game and feeling stressed and lousy and it was getting hot. I was climbing so slowly that I was worried that I wouldn't make the next checkpoint in Moraga in time. Then eventually I decided this was BS, I just wasn't enjoying the ride any more. So I phoned ahead to V as soon as I got a cell signal at the top of Pinehurst Road and told her to just keep going, I was going to bail when I reached Moraga.

Once I reached Moraga I bought myself a Diet Coke at the Safeway - and wouldn't you know it, even with my glacial climbing and dawdling on the phone the receipt showed I made it 10 minutes before the checkpoint closing time.

I hung out in a shady spot waiting for Lee to pick me up. And I started feeling a lot better. I shouldn't have been so hasty to bail, I suppose, particularly since almost 3/4 of the climbing was done. I couldn't keep going since I had already called Lee to come & get me. Oh well, lesson learned.

Lee & I drove out towards Martinez to check on V. She was looking strong and going great. freak. We met up with her at the train station and chatted a bit and then we went on our ways.

I might give this a try again next weekend. With a working frame pump. :^)


Pete aka Taxi777 said...

You get an "A" for effort. I already know you can do that ride... what's a Fair Maiden like you doing out in the crazy heat anyhoo? Make sure to clear your Schedule for Alan's HMB ride...

Thom said...

It's official. I've been verified and rubber stamped by RUSA. :-)