A bit delayed but the Resolution Ride, the club’s annual start-the-year-off-right jaunt to the top of Mt. Diablo, finally happened today. Although it wasn’t raining on New Year’s Day and we could have had a fabulous ride, the state park was closed because of mudslides, road collapses, and sundry debris imperiling the roadways. So the ride was postponed a month since this was the first weekend that Stephen, the ride leader, would be available. It’s just as well because the rains went on for three more weeks.
Of course the rains would have to return for our second stab at this ride as well! The forecast was looking ominous all week but it looked like the rain wouldn’t hit until Saturday night. With some trepidation the four of us—Stephen, Paul, Roger H, and I—left Pleasant Hill BART up North Gate Road. One benefit of this postponed ride would be that New Year’s is always a moshpit on Diablo with hordes of cyclists, hikers, and car drivers trying to make their way up to Rock Springs, Juniper, and the summit. Today it was quiet—hardly any traffic—making for a really pleasant and undisturbed ascent. Diablo is greening up nicely, the cows were out, and the overcast skies made it a placid scene torn right out of the Swiss playbook (well, minus the Alps!)
On the way up we noticed the damage from the earlier storms: a couple of sections of road that had been cleared of mud, one new major road slip reducing the road to one lane, and a couple more sections of road that have nasty cracking through the pavement and some settling.
The plan was to make a decision at the junction whether to continue up or not because showers were increasingly likely to hit after 1 PM. We were at the junction by 11 AM and it was looking no different than when we had left, ie. midlevel overcast skies with nary a hint of rain. But Roger never wanted to go higher and I had had my fill by the junction—I could have gone to the top but it would have pushed the lever from “I’m having a really chill time riding” into “fuck, I’m busting a gut now”, and anyway I like riding with my husband. And as I mentioned to Paul and Stephen I’m becoming more a porch dog with every day.
So Roger and I cruised down South Gate to Danville but we skipped the ritual lunch stop and went directly back to BART whereas Stephen and Paul were determined—more like consigned—to getting to the top. There is something to be said about commitment, a milestone, and enduring.
Roger and I had an uneventful ride back except for encountering the hundreds and hundreds of South Asians streaming north on the Iron Horse Trail. It turns out tomorrow is Thaipusam, a major Hindu festival day, and this was the ritual pilgrimage done the day before. It was like Woodstock for Hindus. Just as we pulled into Pleasant Hill BART it started to rain. We sure were glad to be off the bike now, lucky us! The rain waxed and waned until we got home at which point the sky actually opened up and dumped just as we got into the garage. Lucky us again!
As for Paul and Stephen? I presume they made it to the top. But Stephen texted me later that they got soaked and were chilled to the bone by the descent. Paul’s report:
“As Stephen mentioned in his text, we had the kind of descent no one wishes for… particularly Mt. Diablo in the cold rain… When we got to the top, it was misting/raining, but we figured it might still be dry below the Junction. No way – rain all the way down, a scary descent (my non-disc brakes aren’t wonderful), and then a bit more rain as we made our way to a dry and warm Starbucks near the PH Bart station – thank goodness for those great Starbucks employees, who plied us with coffee and hot liquids, to warm our core (which in my case was cold to the bone, along with our soaked clothes and bikes). But a good ride nonetheless, and a chance to talk to Stephen, who is a great riding companion … Glad you guys didn’t get wet. Look forward to the next adventure, perhaps not as daring, though. Thanks!”
Now that’s a proper Resolution Ride!