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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351

    3.1 Miles, 1540 feet and a TRUCK!

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    Thom and I went over to the the start of Jo's ride. We thought we'd do Welch Creek, Calaveras and then Sierra . That translates into a whole lot of steep climbing. But that's what I need to be doing to prep for DMD. We got to the start a little late. We had to take the kitties to the vet for their last round of shots. The group was pretty much ready to go, so we told them not to hang around, as we weren't really going to be riding very far with them.

    The five miles over to Welch Creek are pretty flat, a nice little warm up. Welch Creek Rd. is maybe a lane and a half wide, with a very steep drop off to one side as it follows the creek. Eventually you do move up from the creek and the drop offs lessen. It's been repaved since the last time I rode it and the pavement is nice. This road is steep! In three miles you climb 1540 feet, an average grade of 9.4%, with some long sections, 300- 400 feet that are above 15%. My average heart rate for the climb was 183 with a max of 191. I had an average cadence of 51 with a low of 32. There were some sections where I wondered how on earth I was still upright. Sometimes the wind seemed to be blowing me right back down the hill. It was pretty though. The sky was overcast but the hills are super green right now.

    Three miles brings you to the false summit. We had planned on only going this far. It's a dead end road. The views are much better at the false summit. We put on another layer and turned around. We were both taking it pretty slowly, only doing about 15 - 20 mph because the road was damp and we were cold. I was leading as we went into the final turn and there was a huge truck right in front of me - on my side of the road. I was already on the right, maybe two feet out from the edge.

    The first thing I did was hit my brakes - HARD and I steered for the extreme right edge of the pavement. The rear locked up just a bit and I released it almost immediately. But it was enough to send my rear wheel off the pavement and into the dirt. I kept the front wheel on the edge of the pavement and squeaked by. That sent my heart rate up twenty beats!

    Thom says I barely missed the mirror of the truck, by less than an inch. He thought for sure I was heading off the edge into the ditch when the rear wheel went into the dirt. I could feel the dirt grabbing the tire and I just kept focused on the pavement. Fortunately, we were not on the drop off side. I'm not sure how fast the truck was moving as he came around the corner. He was definitely on my side of the road and he had a few extra feet to his right.

    All I could think was I'm so glad I have good bike handling skills and I don't panic - until after. We got to the bottom and I was shaking as I pulled off into the dirt, partly from the cold and partly from seeing my life flash before my eyes - again! I was breathing almost as hard as I was on the climb. After a minute or so and a hug, we got back on the road.

    We debated heading up Calaveras, but I was getting my usual bad event adrenalin headache. So we went back to the car. As we got to it, it started sprinkling. But the time we had the bikes loaded, it was a full on rain. I'm glad we decided to head back when we did.

    We decided we would ride Welch Creek again, but be even more cautious on the descent. Probably not try to tie it into Sierra though - it is freakin' hard!

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    Wow, that is scary! So glad you have good bike handling skills!
    Whew!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,473
    WOW on the ride itself, and glad you're okay. I wish I had those skills at that automatic level. Hope you are now commensurately relaxing. Scary.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    Holy cow !!! Lee mentioned he didn't pass you guys when he headed back and that your car was gone by the time he returned, so I assumed you may have only done Welch Creek. But geeze, I'm so glad you came out of that OK.

    I really dislike Welch Creek - not because it's a tough climb but because the descent is so difficult, you can't relax or enjoy that descent at all.

    And if I'm going to suffer on a climb I should at least be able to enjoy the descent !


    Looks like we missed out on the rain you expereinced. Timing is everyting...

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,975
    Whew! Nice bike handling. Thom must have been scared out of his wits seeing you so close to that mirror.

    Glad you are both ok.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    691
    Dang Veronica!

    I knew you & Thom were in for some exciting riding when you peeled off to go up Welch Creek, but it sounds like you got more than you bargained for.

    Glad you're OK!

    -- Melissa
    I'll get back on the bike soon, I promise!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Concord, CA USA
    Posts
    1,299
    Scary! Glad you (and Thom too) are OK.

    Welch Creek is pretty scary on a good day. The uphill is enough to cause a coronary, and the downhill is where I discovered that the brakes on my Kelly really don't work well at all. Add in traffic, and I think it stays off my must-do ride list.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Benicia, CA
    Posts
    1,320
    Veronica - Ditto from me re your remarkable bike skills! You are one skilled and tough lady in my book!

    I haven't done that road, but from what everyone says, it's one tough climb! Now it sounds like it's one tough descent as well.

    Glad you made it back safely (and dry) to the car!
    Nancy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    It is a tough descent. It is so steep and curvy, you can never let up and just let the bike go because you can't see that far ahead and you really don't have your own lane to take.

    Thom says he was about 15 feet behind me when we came upon the truck, so the truck had moved over to his side of the road and Thom had a reasonable amount of room. He did say that distance behind was a little too close for a descent like that because I went from 17 mph to 0 pretty fast!

    I really like it (sort of) as a climb. Good news - my knee held up just fine!

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    What a ride, eh?
    Good to hear your knee continues to behave itself

    And thats one heckuvalot of climbing, way to go V&T

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    It is a tough descent. It is so steep and curvy, you can never let up and just let the bike go because you can't see that far ahead and you really don't have your own lane to take.
    Hee hee. Not to mention the cows! Part of that area is cow grazing land - hence the lovely cow grates in the road.

    The last (and might I say only) time I went partway up & down that road, cows were roaming about on the steep hillsides & along the ravine alongside the road, and occasionally clumsily lumbering across the road.

    Lee had to hit the brakes really hard on his descent because a cow chose a particularly inopportune moment to decide to get to the other side.

    Perhaps not as terrifing as a big truck, but certainly up there on the scale.

    But must say it is good for honing those bike handling skills.

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    Ahh... yes cows. There were no cows out yesterday.

    One of my favorite memories of my grandmother is her wading in between the cows on their farm and just pushing them out of the way. She was trying to convince me that they weren't scary. She wasn't successful. When you're five, cows look big and scary!

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,059
    So glad to hear you are ok. Sad to hear the truck didn't stop to check...
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Wow V. What a crazy story. The climb itself is adventure enough but that truck.... eek. Good on you for not panicking!! Bike handling is so important.

    You're my hero.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    north central North Dakota
    Posts
    29
    Ditto what KnottedYet said. By the way, for those of us that live in vertically challenged areas of the earth, what kind of gears are you pulling on a 9 and 15% grade?

 

 

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