WoS Concord Sunol Calavares Dam
12/26/11: The day after Christmas, the plan was for something “out there” and riding what Nick called, “Getting my Grown Man On.” Would it be Morgan Territories? Or Palomares and Redwood to Castro Valley? Both are around 60-80. Morning of, slept in, made my espresso, and punctually, Nick was on his way over. We were undecided but equipped with an In ‘n Out and Peet’s gift card, freshly gifted by Santa Claus, it was a safe bet to head South on Danville Blvd. Both Nick and I have been under the weather due to a massive cold spell going around, so Morgan Territories was saved for another day.
While enjoying the rocket fuel, a few Macaframa/MASH SF clips played of Massan riding Jamaican down Centennial in Berkeley, Rainier in the bullhorns smashing up Twin Peaks and faster than automobiles on 19th in San Francisco. As soon as the espresso was sucked down, we were off on the road. I hadn’t realized that I didn’t fuel up on real food before leaving.
We passed by a trio of roadies going over Ygnacio, and they persisted behind us past Whole Foods, when a mountain biker on a hardtail jumped into the slipstream. We were hauling, 18mph down Danville Blvd, six deep. A year ago, a Danville loop was a “Grown Man Ride” and now it is a warm up to coffee. Cotton was able to slingshot and ride out on one of the roadies who tried to step up. I laughed in awe and dropped back while still maintaining 18mph, but it was clear that espresso does not equal food.
Pulling into Pegasus/Peet’s Coffee, we met Wendy and Josh of The Cuss, a two-piece band out of San Francisco. They had noticed the Chrome jacket I was wearing and we all spoke highly of our interactions with the Chrome SF crew of Paul, Maya and Michael. Dude on the right, forgot his name, but the next thing I saw was him riding on my fixie. I almost thought it was another bike with purple hubs. Josh jumped on the fixie and came back with a huge smile on his face, “my legs are singing with joy!” What can I say, the bike is really fun to ride! The Cuss x Rock The Bike x Bike Party, for 2012! Nick came through with a french press canon. I proceeded to drink cup after cup of water, also realizing that no food nor water was consumed, only espresso, before leaving in the morning. ”Our logo uses the Univega logo font,” as Wendy pointed out on her band card, as she rode off on her Univega mixte and Josh on his classic Ritchey XTR mountain bike. The Cuss: http://thecuss.bandcamp.com
We were riding light to light with Joe – he’d peel off and then he’d stop at a red where we’d pull up and pass him – this went for miles and was quite amusing. It wasn’t until Sunol that he recognized us as the two cyclists in Moraga having the party at the water fountain. We discussed routes from Sunol: Fremont, Oakland, Calavares Dam. We also discussed our friends who flaked on the ride – Joe on weakness: “I was supposed to have a bunch of friends riding with me today, but they all had their own little excuses, (making pussy faces), those fucking pussies (laughing).” It was twice in a month that Joe had crossed paths with us so he left knowing that we’d all see each other soon again.
From Sunol, we headed to Calavares Dam. It’s the same route on the Tour of California ToC, America’s biggest stage race. It’s just like riding Canyon up Pinehurst or Redwood, gradual climbing for days. We saw a team of ten or more roadies flying down the road as we danced on our pedals. We took turns pushing the pace. Nick would get out of saddle as I recovered, then the roles would reverse. Two roadies wearing super bright yellow fluorescent vests, seated and maxed out in spinning cadence, were up ahead. Instinctively, like a greyhound chasing a rabbit down the race track, we pulled out of the shadows of the tree canopy, into the rays of the sunshine – straight dancing on the pedals in the most immoral way – and dropped the roadies on a right upturn bank, then punched it to add fire. The sun highlighted the single speed drivetrain, the lack of brakes, brake cables, derailleurs, cable bosses, and shifters. The plush 32 tires, fixed drivetrain, brakeless track bikes, ridden by giant riders who muscle and dance up the hill, that’s what’s up. It’s those defining moments that are memorable to me.
We reached the Calavares Dam signage and did a victory bike circle in the middle of the two lane road before heading back down the same road we had just climbed. It wasn’t apparent to me how long we had been climbing – the descent went for days!
At about mile 60, still with no food in the stomach, I was so hungry and tired that I didn’t feel hungry nor tired. I just wanted to keep spinning and get back. However, I looked behind and saw Nick with the “face”. He was in the box but fortunately In ‘n Out Burger was coming up soon. It was sundown and the weather was getting more crisp and chilly. We stopped in for a cheeseburger and I put down lots of water – back to back cups, repeat. Nick threw in a bonus strawberry shake. Back in the saddle, it was intensely cold due to the cool down during the meal, however, the food provided much needed energy for the remaining miles ahead. “Gonna sleep just fine tonight!” were my thoughts as we pulled back into Walnut Creek.
Morgan Territories, up next!
Route screenshots below: