While some of you brave souls were off in DD hotville (and others were out in Sonoma on the Backroads Challenge), i was doing my own little solo, abbreviated (2-bear) version of my upcoming Rapunzel ride (listed on June 17th). Started very late in the morning (didn’t leave Fremont BART until about 11:30 a.m.), so was climbing Sierra Road in full sun, mid-day… just a few folks out there, mad dogs and Englishmen, and me. On the way up there were three very skilled and properly equipped teenage skateboard dudes (knee-pads, helmets, elbow pads maybe?) with another, adult guy running SAG/Sweep in an automobile who passed me twice in the opposite direction/lane on their descent loops as I climbed. All three pretty conscientious of other road users (i.e., totally stayed in their lane), as they practiced some interesting sideways crouching skid moves to slow down a bit after each hairpin, really wonderful scraping sound of wheels/asphalt. Nice to see the safety measures and parent involvement in their daring-do adventures. A few trees and faint breezes now and again, otherwise just hot hot, scorching throat reminding to drink water hot, but so worth the views and the feeling of accomplishment getting to the top!
Tempted to just keep going on the descent/Felter, but just had to stop and snap a few pictures. (here they are, my sad attempt at a 360 degree panorama from the top (plus one shot of one of the Bollywood movie promo posters at Fremont BART advertising the Starz TV South Asian channel…. appealing to that market niche in the South Bay, and this particular poster depicting my favorite Indian actor/celeb (Shahrukh Khan, as G-One from last year’s fantasy, sci-fi action thriller, RaOne… actually, miss this one unless you’re bored) and also bare-chested Ajay Devgan (real-life hunky hubby to SRK’s special leading lady, Kajol)… ooh la la!!
On my descent down the other side, Felter feels FAST and LONG on the one-lane road portion (i.e., most of it), but is maybe one of the most beautiful descents around. Wonderful transitions between the long, deep canyons at the top and wide panoramas in the lower sections over the reservoir…. Many photo ops, didn’t stop…..
i almost took the fast & steep right-hand turn directly up Calaveras Wall but decided to abort the turn, stick to the “route” and head on down to my “scheduled” rest stop/regroup at Ed Levin Park instead. Nice break, washed the salt off face/arms, reapplied sunscreen, filled up my bottle, munched on my PB&J sandwich, then off I went. Had considered “optional bailout #1” (back through Milpitas/Fremont to Fremont BART), but felt Calaveras calling my name…. so doubled back up Calaveras and up the Wall…. I really love Calaveras Road in this direction…. once done with the “Wall” (short and over in a flash, really), the traverse is just so sweet…(i like the other direction, too, but find that to be mostly an uphill grind the whole way until the final descent down the last two or three turns and then down the “wall”), and the descents and long, flat stretches to Sunol are fun, too…..a lot like sailing or flying, maybe skiing. Always feel lots of power. Bypassed Sunol completely… toyed with the idea of “optional bailout #2” (Foothill back to Dublin/Pleasanton BART), but felt dedicated to at least completing the portion my ride of Niles Cyn road, then decide&ride for bear #3 (Palomares), as I was really running about 2-1/2 hours behind schedule due to my late start…. so just kept going on Niles all the way to where it becomes Niles-Alvarado (at Mission), and continued on the few miles to Union City BART. Total for the BART-BART portion, 54.25 miles, 12.2 mph (as opposed to 63-ish and another fun but big hill, Palomares). Of course on the “real” ride I’ll start a lot earlier (9:30) and do all three of the “bears”…. can’t wait! I felt on Saturday I had plenty of energy to to Palomares but was really up against the clock to get home faster. For the scheduled ride in June, it will be my last training opportunity in my local, familiar hills before the week-long Alta Alpina “vacation” and high-altitude training and route-section scoping. Can’t wait! For all of it!
Meanwhile, all i could think of the whole time Saturday, as this route still has the ever-present DMD markings (from the start of Sierra Road to/including/beyond the turn up Palomares), as do all my other favorite east bay roads (Mt. Diablo, Morgan Territory, etc), is “Jeesh, i feel pretty good, pretty strong, and i’m doing a hard ride, but it’s only 1/4 of what my buddies do on the DMD!! WOW!!! Big, deep bowing, kudos, praise, awe, respect……
Yeah, that’s it, mostly a whole lot of respect!
ciao… thanks GPC for all the great inspiration you feed me daily!!