Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Devil Mountain

p2k-2001-bgWalnut Creek is home to Mt. Diablo State Park. The centerpiece of the park is of course Mt. Diablo. Well, ever since I bought my tri-bike, the Cervelo P2K pictured here (stock photo, not my actual bike - mine has an upgraded seat and Rolf wheels), this mountain has been taunting me. Granted, it's only been two weeks, but I thought, "Hey, I'm an endurance athlete, let's do this." (I was speaking to my bike. I haven't named it yet, as it still feels like I'm just borrowing it.)

So off we went late Monday morning. I would have started earlier, but I had to hold my son down while the doctor tortured him. That cry. Ouch, makes me sweat. Horrible. At first, I wasn't really planning on going to the top. It is a 3900 foot climb over about 12 miles. That seemed a little too aggressive. I entered the park and the climbing began immediately. Switchback after switchback after switchback. I passed several people and was passed by several people. I quickly learned one thing. Tri-bikes are not made for climbing. They are made for speed. Oh I was wishing for some bigger sprockets or at least a granny wheel up front, but I had to make do with what I had.

Early on, there was a climb that almost caused me to puke. I haven't had that much lactic acid in my system since I ran cross country in high school. But I made it through. I passed the 1000 foot marker. I passed the 2000 foot marker. I passed the ranger station. I passed the Livermore lookout. It was at this point that my legs were beginning to get a little, actually more than a little rubbery. They just weren't used to this punishment. I made it up to Juniper ridge (a lower peak at around 2900 feet) and looked up at the summit. I didn't have it in me to go the rest of the way. Another 1000 feet over a mile and a half just wasn't happening. I wish I had had my camera because that was one steep road. It made the puking, lactic acid climb look like child's play.

I reluctantly stopped and it was at that point that I looked around. It was pretty amazing. I look forward to summitting the peak in another two weeks. I'll bring my camera this time.

The ride down was another story. I'd never gone 40mph on a bike before. I'd never gone 40mph down a narrow, steep, windy road on a bike before. Now that was a rush. Terrifying, but definitely exhilerating. I did use my brakes, sparingly. At one point, even though I was using my big gear up front and my smallest gear in the back, my hips were rocking because I couldn't pedal fast enough. It was extremely entertaining. Now if only I didn't need to share the road with those pesky cars. A guard rail would be comforting as well.


Anonymous said...

Since you quit this small mountain, you are probably going to quit the race next year. Too bad. I was looking forward to squashing you.

Anonymous said...

Endurance Athlete?

Is that an official title?

Anyways... the legs getting rubbery... I totally understand.

My eyes got rubbery just driving up it!

Anonymous said...

Nice bike. When is the first Tri? I have my first Olympic at Turtleman (check out We have no mountains here, but hills and wind aplenty.