Mount Diablo

Last weekend, (pardon my 1-week delay) the second part of a back to back ride was up and down Mt. Diablo.  My legs were quite tired from the day before which made it pretty hard to spin the legs around with any sort of force.  Looking back, it was a good reminder that I have zero 2nd day endurance and will have to build that up in order to survive 7 days back to back.


It was a pretty day though.



This photo is from near the base of the hill, just at the start of the climb.  I believe I took it from Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd.





Lots of climbing ahead.  3849ft summit.  I was going pretty slowly at this point and really unhappy with how I was riding.. but my legs just didn’t have any juice.




We finally reached the saddle point where North Gate and South Gate road meet.  We saw a few AIDS LifeCycle riders who were part of the organized ALC ride.  It was pretty inspiring to see people tackle that climb for the first time.  I felt better after a little bit of rest and some calories, but things got tough again as soon as we started climbing.  My annoyance at my body kind of shifted towards anger as I decided that I’d push harder up the second half of the climb to get it over with.  It felt like a race.  I was yelling and cussing at my legs with every pedal stroke to get them to spin.  At one point, I looked to my right (above photo) and thought to myself, “Are you freaking kidding me?”.  Pretty steep pitch.  This was my third time climbing Mt. Diablo and I didn’t remember it being so hard the last two times.  Maybe I was in better shape, or maybe my body just needed a lot more rest.




We finally made it to the top.   It was a pretty day and was popular for motorists as well as cyclists.  At the summit, there was a line of cars about 6 or 7 deep waiting to find a parking space.  As I sat catching my breath, I even saw a bit of an argument when one person took a parking space that someone else had been waiting for.  My girlfriend got us a snickers bar for a celebratory snack since they ran out of ice cream.




View from the summit.  The observation deck was closed due to leaks but the views were still nice.




It was a bit chilly descending from the summit back to the saddle point but I didn’t mind since I enjoy the descents.  My fingers were a little tired from braking though.  We met these two guys riding a greenspeed recumbent tricycle.  Looked like a pretty sweet setup.  They said it was hard to climb but the descents were fast as anything.  I was feeling much better at this point since, of course, the hard part was over.




We took off and headed all the way down to the base.  I waited for a bit to rest, took a picture or two and then WHOOSH, saw the recumbent trike go flying by with one of the guys waving.  I’d love to try one sometime.


We rode back to Walnut creek BART and called it a day.  49 miles in all.




Skittles for a post-ride snack


I heard news yesterday of a cyclist killed in a hit and run by a Ford F-150 while riding a 600k in Southern California.  Really sad story and the guy was a friend of friends.  It’s sometimes hard to work out in your head that despite having the strength to be able to ride 375 miles in one go, our bodies and lives can be so fragile – and that one person’s mistake or impairment can destroy all of that in a matter of seconds.





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First April ALC East Bay training ride

April 2nd was the first training ride that I’ve participated in in a little while.  The weather finally cleared up.  We rode from Actual Cafe in Oakland up Tunnel Rd and then took Grizzly Peak to Golf Course Rd to Shasta and then Wildcat Canyon down to the east side of the hills.   Then, we did a counterclockwise loop of the bears.


Here are the photos:

reading the safety speech




Saw a fire from somewhere in Berkeley.  Dark smoke.




Saw members of the Cal Triathlon team at Bear Creek Rd and San Pablo Dam Rd.




Fields of yellow mustard




Cruising through the streets of Berkeley on the way back





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A day in the city

Vienna sausage cans in the rain on a paper Trader Joe’s bag




Another great drink from MA’velous:   Stumptown Hairbender Cappuccino




A walk up polk st




bike lane, covered.




WE ROCK  HARDEST Ben Eine – bad ass.








googly eyes on BART




got off at ashby bart




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ALC from the Golden Gate Bridge to Petaluma and back

We rode in one of the official ALC training rides last Saturday.  I took the GF1 along on what turned out to be a gorgeous day.  Grand total: 92 miles of training ride, 108 miles total and I felt pretty good.

We started off in Portrero hill.  We rode through Mission bay just after sunrise en route to the meeting point at the Presidio Sports Basement






Sun over mission bay





Riding along the Giants Promenade by AT&T ballpark





Fast forward to the climb up White’s hill from Fairfax along Sir Francis Drake Blvd..  A huge group of 20+ cyclists powered past us on the climb.





The always popular Rancho Nicasio.  Lots of Dolce Vita riders representing.





I forget where this was – probably Point Reyes Petaluma Rd / Red Hill Rd





Beautiful shadows on the rolling hills









The cheese factory – Marin French Cheese Company









At the top of Wilson Hill Rd





Lunch at the apple box










Climbing back up the hill on Petaluma Pt Reyes Rd





I treated myself to an It’s It at the cheese factory





The view of San Francisco from Sausalito along Bridgeway





Looking west from the Golden Gate Bridge





Always a spectacular view







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citrus at berkeley bowl west

I don’t even remember what kind of citrus fruit this was anymore.  I was standing in the produce section of Berkeley Bowl.  I saw it, picked it up, stared at it for a while (another shopper even stopped for a second to stare at it with me) and then I bought it.  Then I took a picture of it and ate it.  It was decently sweet and easy to peel.  I wouldn’t necessarily buy one again except for its looks.






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dinner at southie

.. was good.  finished it off with a bacon-infused chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream,  marshmallow and shortbready cookies.  the pudding wasn’t very bacony but it was still a great dessert.


Southie – 6311 College Ave, Oakland CA




sidenote:  GF1 @ ISO1600 is pretty noisy!


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a hilly and chilly february ride

we went for a not-too-long (no 300k for me) but hilly and cold ride yesterday that started in the low 40s and probably warmed up to the high 40s.   We got off to a late start, which I didn’t mind – I was able to get some food in me in advance and my body had time to settle from the espresso buzz.  We would have had to have left at around 6:30am to get to San Francisco in time for one of the official AIDS Lifecycle training rides.  I was okay with missing that because 1) I would have been tired and groggy and 2) the temperature was about 34 degrees at 6:30am.


It was still cold despite departing quite a bit later.

plastic bags + socks = windproofish.  despite this, one of my toes was definitely a little purple when I examined it at the end of the ride.  the tingling in the shower scared me a little bit.  but they seem okay.  no gangrenous tissue so far.








we took tunnel road up the hills.  The clouds were beautiful and the steady mild climb kept me sort of warm.   At some of the turns, you feel like you are almost in the sky.







a bunch of hikers at the top of tunnel.  we noticed that there were a lot of tree stumps on the left side of the road during the climb – what gives?





We turned onto grizzly peak.  I was pretty cold by the time we reached south park rd.  We made the descent to save some time since we got such a late start.  It was probably my slowest descent ever – I was freezing and the wind would have been way too much.  I looked carefully for newts on the road but didn’t see any.  maybe it was too cold for them,


Wildcat Canyon was a chilly descent as well – though it’s much slower than south park so there was less wind in my face.


We stopped for a second on Bear creek rd to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the beautiful wild mustard that was blooming.





beautiful day on papa bear.  super wide shoulders are nice but probably necessary given the speed of vehicular traffic.  We took the short climb up happy valley and turned back along sundown terrace to miner rd and took wildcat canyon back over the hills to go home.






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Hayward to San Jose to Fremont

I did a very flat 60 mile ride to San Jose yesterday with the commuter bike and a pannier.  I didn’t want to spend the entire day on the bike, so I took BART from Hayward and started there.

I needed to repurpose my old iphone 3G and finally found a worthwhile use – GPS using the Trails Lite app.  I created a route on (yes, I used them despite their obtrusive ads), exported to .gpx and then loaded the .gpx file onto Trails Lite.  I can’t tell if it’s the app or the jailbroken OS (which I had to do since I lost my old sim!) that’s unstable but it crashed maybe 8-10 times over the course of the 60 miles.  GPS works reasonably well without a network and a compass.  I do wish that the screen were easier to read while riding and the app would tell me when to expect my next turn and which road to turn onto.  But, I guess that’s why there exist turn-by-turn navigation apps.  The iphone was held on there with one of those gorillapod holders.  It works decently well but it’s definitely not as secure as a clamp.

There was a lot of flat, straight riding.  Some roads were heavily trafficked with fast-moving cars (but at least a decently wide bike lane) and others seemed a bit more industrial with few cars at all.  In the residential areas, I saw tons of yard sales.  It was a good day for a yard sale.

I spent quite a bit of time on Mission Boulevard.  The Holiday Bowl has a pretty awesome sign.  I wish it were still open so I could have checked it out.

It was kind of funny riding along the hills – my route was super-flat which made me feel strangely guilty.


The route got kind of weird at points.  I feel a bit uncomfortable near highway ramps but at least there was a bike lane.

Tri City Rock – Family owned and operated since 1978.  They sell rock.

This was a stretch on Warm Springs Boulevard.  Pretty during the day but a bit scary at night if you don’t have lighting.

I took a quick break in Milpitas in front of Yang Dental to have an orange.  I don’t think I’d been to Milpitas before.  There were a fair number of cyclists out on Milpitas blvd, probably either heading to or coming back from a ride in the hills.

Milpitas city hall

I took Capitol Ave for a bit and rode along the elevated platform of the VTA

Saw some lunar new year celebrations going on at the Lucky Seven supermarket.  Stopped to watch for a minute.

I just missed the dragon dance!

finishing up


Eventually I turned off of capitol ave due to the volume of traffic and rode along Leeward way towards the Reid Hillview airport

tons of yard sales.  seriously.

and finally remembered what it was like to ride up a hill.

I stopped by a birthday party for a bit and then headed towards downtown san jose.  Airplanes were landing at the airport.

the gate was open, so I took a picture of mounds of rocks.

Rode through SJSU for a few blocks

(proof I was there)

I ate some leftovers, hung out for a bit with friends, then started making my way back to fremont.  the ride back in the dark wasn’t as enjoyable but it helped me pick up the pace.

one of many intersections

I finished with a burrito at Chipotle before getting back on Fremont BART.  I know it’s Chipotle.  But I like their burritos..

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A rainy ride through Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Valley Ford, Bodega, and Occidental

Saturday’s bike ride was super soggy, cold, gritty and toe-numbing, but felt strangely rewarding. Here are some photos from the ride.

bikes lined up, pre-ride. lots of blue and white/silver going on. and gold handlebar tape.

the grand cru rolling through santa rosa, en route to sebastopol

joe rodota trail for the win! a pretty sweet, flat, fast trail between santa rosa and sebastopol.

on Sparkes rd, headed away from sebastopol.. things are getting a bit wet!  most of the weather forecasts had called for just a cloudy day.. but this day was mostly mist.  (toes partially numb at this point.)

our crew split up a bit further. here’s a foggy shot from a climb up burnside rd.  (toes mostly numb at this point.)

almost all fog.  but pretty.  but also chilly.

this photo sums things up pretty well.  (toes all numb.)we took barnett valley  down to bodega highway to freestone valley ford rd.  then we took the valley ford cutoff to bodega.  here’s the church from “the birds”

then we began our ascent of joy rd.  I didn’t think it’d be quite so intense.  Though, in retrospect, I do remember seeing a lot of wrinkles on the relief of the terrain map.  I didn’t remember the altitude profile looking so crazy though.  a quick glance at the topo lines shows only 800 feet of climbing?

we took bittner rd down to another small down – occidental – and then descended a chilly and wet graton rd.

I was pretty worn out from the climb and kind of put my head down the rest of the way.  luckily, it was mostly flat.  rain was spotty but there were patches of blue in the sky.

here’s the reward: taps and tastings at russian river.

photos were taken with the gf1 which survived its soggy stint in my back jersey pocket.

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