Thursday, September 07, 2006
Coming Down The Mountain
I realize that I am somewhat obsessed with this mountain. I won't promise never to talk about Mt. Diablo again, but I'll try to incorporate other mountains such as this one into my endurance athletic feats, but for now, Mt. Diablo it is. At least this isn't about running. It's about cycling, something I only do once or twice a week.
My office is full of endurance athletes. Just about everyone has run multiple marathons and about half the office has done a triathlon, with one guy having just completed an Ironman. I'm not even the fastest guy in the office. Maybe second on a good day. And everyone rides. One of my peers lives in Danville, the next town over and once a week rides up Diablo from the south side. We decided to ride it together once a week. Yesterday was the first day.
I rode around Diablo to Danville, which is about a 10 mile ride, and then we took off. A shortcut through the Danville Country Club and we were on Mt. Diablo Scenic Boulevard. The south side is much different than the north side. It's more wooded, longer, and has some flat recovery stretches, which are key. On the way up, I'm gasping for breath and laughing at the same time. The guy I'm riding with used to be a professional mountain biker and knows his stuff. He likes to play the "Let's go 70%, let people pass us and get about 20 bike lengths on us, then hammer down and go after them" game. He especially enjoyed doing this when someone on a $5000 bike named after a very famous cyclist who he'd actually met passed us. Comments such as, "They better back that up." and "His jersey matches his rims, which match his bike?? He better back that up." were heard several times. Like I said, it was an amusing ride.
What wasn't as amusing, but was very surprising was the number of tarantulas crossing the road. I guess it's mating season. I saw two going up and probably another two going down. Almost nailed one, which would have been a mess as the things are huge.
Anyway, we got to the top, took a quick break, looked at the sun, and estimated that I had another 20 minutes of daylight. Time to bomb down the mountain. This is where it was almost spiritual. The picture above, while not taken by me, was what I saw. Mist covering the valley and the sun going down to my left. I laughed out loud at the beauty of it, which probably startled the two guys on a tandem that I passed going 40mph, but what can you do, my bike goes fast. I'm a little tired today, but not sore. It's definitely a ride that I'm going to do at least weekly.