Today was a slightly shorter DMD North ride than planned, but a good one nonetheless. I parked the car at the Sunol Time station and took off a bit after 7:00 AM down Niles Canyon. I hate Niles Canyon due to lack of shoulder and scary drivers and the reason I started here was to get it out of the way. It took me 13:18 to get to Palomares from Sunol moving well over 20 MPH for most of it. I started moderately hard up Palomares but ran into the Christian Cycling Club (CCC) and they pushed me a bit harder up the hill than I might have normally gone. I crested out and remembered how easy this hill is when your fresh. I cruised down the hill as the CCC train came by and I caught on for a bit of a draft. I hit Norris Canyon in 1 hour and 12 mins and made quick work of this hill and dropped into San Ramon and into the Hotel where the DMD starts in 1:37:20. Doing analysis of the 2003 and 2004 DMD results, this would be the 4th fastest time of 120 recorded. It is of little value to compare this section between a fresh rider and one with 175+ miles on their legs, but it was interesting to see how I ranked.
The section from the hotel to Diablo started ok, but I lost confidence in my navigation skills and sat on the side of the road trying to get the iPhone Map to show me where I was. Turned out 10 minutes later I was right on course and I hit the start of Diablo at the Athenian school in 35 mins of riding time from the Hotel. I think I could pick up 5 mins on this easily as I did not push too hard. The ride up Diablo started great and I felt like I was making good time. I hit some nice winds half way up and suffered a bit from the Junction with the North and South roads to the summit. I got to the top in 1:26. Nothing to write home about for sure, but I kept the heart rate pretty reasonable in the 150's the entire time. I ranked 111/175 with my 2:01 time from the Hotel to the Summit. The 111th rank would equate an 18:15 overall time which is over my goal. I think the most I will pick up on race day is 5-8 minutes on this climb as I cannot afford to kill myself. While I started in Sunol today, my 2:01 time was not bad, but not great either.
The descent of Diablo is supposed to be one of the best around. I could not get over my fear of sliding out as their was a bit of gravel on the road. I felt pretty weak at this point of the ride, and a bit down. I did not descend very quickly. The section to Clayton is always deceiving as you climb quite a bit, but it does not look like you are, so you can get discouraged. Need to remember to bear down here as its not a fun section. I grabbed some salty snacks in Clayton and headed up Marsh Road to Morgan Territory. The climb from Clayon is a few hundred feet before you drop to MT. It took me 91 minutes to get from the Summit to MT. Pretty bad and something to really work on for the DMD. I think I could shave 10 mins from this if I can get some descending legs. The V8 kicked in and I had a great ascent up Morgan Territory. I really enjoyed the beauty of the climb and the isolation. No water in the rivers, however, due to the paltry rain this year. I hit the top where the aid station is in 6:01 total riding time, or 2:23 from the top of Diablo. This ranked me 120/175 which I attribute to my poor descending. I climbed MT strongly and I guess my rank on this would have been well in the 70-80 of the field.
I dropped down MT road and hit the intersection of N. Livermore and May School Road where the DMD heads towards Altamont. I decided to call it a day as I needed to get back home. I managed to hammer hard the last 16 miles back to Sunol in about 50 mins and loved the nice tail wind back to the car.
Ranking my times on the 3 sections I did, I was 42/120. My very fast time on the Sunol to the Hotel is what moved me up. Of course, this is riding time, so when I add an agressive off bike time of 20 mins, my rank would have been 52/175. One can only assume that my time will fall of as I have to ride up Mines and Sierra making a lot of this data more interesting than truly predictive. Overall, I would call today a pretty good day, especially for Jan. I will hit the remaining sections later in the month or in early Feb. My biggest weakness is my descending, especially when compared to people that fall in the 16 hour time range in this ride. The only way I can make up for this is to not get off the bike. I might need to pull of less than 30 minutes of off time if I have any chance. I cant imagine that my fitness would improve in the next 3 months to make much of a dent on the over-all time required. I could see a few minutes per climb and that wont add up to enough. I would put my odds of breaking 16 hours in the 25-50% range at this point.
7:13:08 Riding Time
8:00 Total Time
13.8 MPH Moving
9383 Feet of Climbing