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East Bay Cogal 2014 Report

East Bay Cogal 2014 Report

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@Nate’s take
This year it was time for the Bay Area Cogal to visit my home turf in the East Bay. To make it more than just a long ride on roads I have ridden many times, and instigated by @EricW, the plan was to feature several sectors of dirt fire roads. A few scouting rides later, the route was planned. We rolled out on July 5 with @DaveR, velomilurker TomB and I, all in Witte Velominati jerseys. (@EricW alas was in sick bay owing to a crash. @xyverz missed the ride, but thankfully not on account of misadventures with an RV. Next time, gents).

Soon we were on the first sector, through Wildcat Canyon in the Berkeley Hills. The road was hardpacked, dry and fast. I think I saw a few deep, narrow ruts from a recon “ride” Eric and I did in April just after a rain storm, when the road was the consistency of peanut butter and a fatbike or better yet a hovercraft would have been the steed of choice.

Next was Old San Pablo Dam, then around to the backside of Pig Farm, both good fun. By midday we found ourselves near Mount Diablo, on Shell Ridge. Mt. Diablo must be called that because it is Fucking Hotter Than Hell out there in the summer. As in Rule #9, mad dogs and Australians under the midday sun hot, and with no shade. It was easily 25 degrees hotter (Celsius) than when we started under fog in Berkeley. Of course, this is a classic feature of Bay Area summer riding: cool fog on the bay side of the hills, blasting heat on the other.

We thrashed around Shell Ridge for a while, tried and failed to blow or melt tires off rims on absurd descents, violated rule — by walking up a hill (except for DaveR) and addled our brains in the sun. Then we repaired to a tacqueria for burritos for lunch. Refueled, we began heading back toward the bay, shade and hopefully cooler temps.

It was still hot in Castro Valley so I filled my arm warmers with ice and put them down my back. Then we rode up to Lake Chabot. Working our way gingerly past holiday barbecues and suppressing the urge to steal a thirst quenching watermelon from the revelers, we found more fire roads and rode them all the way up the canyon. We even took in a little bit of single track when we had to detour around some park rangers investigating the scene of a minivan that wadded it up on a gravel road. From there it was the home stretch back to Berkeley along Skyline in Oakland, then ripping down Claremont Canyon. I was pretty well wrecked; some stupid computer reckoned the planned route was 164 Kms but it was more like 185, although it is hard to say with any precision because various gps units in attendance had trouble grappling with the awesomeness of the route, reporting distances between 175 and 190 Kms. Not that it really matters because Recovery Ales were had.
Thanks to @DaveR and @TomB for joining in and being such fine riding companions. To the rest of the Bay Area Velominati: you missed out!

Strava

@TomB’s take
Well folks, we missed you at a great Bay Area Cogal on July 5, 2014. While small in number (just Nate, Dave and me) we were large in determination. Befitting his great grandfather George Mallory (famous British mountaineer – Everest) the organizer Nate had mapped out a terrific, adventurous, loop route in and around the Bay Area starting from Berkeley and including Wildcat Canyon, Briones Reservoir, Reliez Valley, Walnut Creek, Danville, Mt. Diablo, Lafayette, Canyon, Redwood, Chabot Reservoir, Skyline, Tilden Park and back to Berkeley. My Garmin showed 180K, 2,975M of climbing, 8:10 riding time, and 70.8kph top speed. It did not show the number of bottles we drank on this hot day, the number of tacos/burritos consumed at the obligatory fuel stop, or the number of malted recovery drinks we sipped at the local beer garden when we were finished.

In honor of this year’s cobble stage in the Tour, Nate included about 40K of dirt roads/trails in our route, but it wasn’t flat like in the Tour, – it was always up or down. (Did I mention that Nate and Dave are lean and are terrific climbers.) Thank goodness for the cross bike with lower gearing and V-brakes.

This was my first Velominati Cogal, but with the fun I had I’ll definitely be back for more. Many thanks to Nate and Dave for the teamwork and support, and special thanks to Nate for his time and effort in planning and executing a great Bay Area Cogal.

@Dave_R’s take
Well, what to add here? Factually, not much. Simply put, this was a fantastic day on the bike, with all the elements to satisfy the soul of the Velominatus –

A superb, mixed route creatively linking pavement and dirt to tour the East Bay hills and canyons

A challenging ride: a full day in the saddle to complete the 180 km in the heat with a few moments of doubt about staying upright on some dirt secteurs

Great riding companions with strong legs, affable dispositions and determined spirits

Ending the day physically fatigued but mentally invigorated

We rode our bikes today. It was fun. We’ll do it again tomorrow.

Thanks, Nate and Tom for the ride. Thanks to the Velominati for the inspiration.

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// Cogal Report

  1. Merckx I do love seeing the vkit in action. string work guys.

  2. strong*…

  3. Looking sharp!

  4. So great to see Velominati riding the region of my birth and early childhood. That landscape still calls to me.

  5. What a great day out, thank you for sharing and yes, all looking very fit and hard. Blow me, great grandson of George M., that right there is legacy and must be the instigation of true hardness. If any ask, I think he made it and was on the way down…

  6. @Rob the topic of my ancestry only came up because it emerged that my ride-mates are experienced Himalayan mountaineers. I lay no claims that level of V-ness; they are two great guys especially if a long day in the saddle is involved.

    I like to think it happened on the way down too but who knows? And, as one of the members of the expedition, I think it might have been Noel Odell, said later , “there is the matter of making it all the way back down. “

  7. @RedRanger it was rad to muster up a ride with all of us in witte jerseys!

  8. Thanks again Nate and Tom for a great ride.

    To everyone else, if Nate organizes a Cogal, be there. It’ll be good.

  9. Nate, your Great granpappy is a GGILF. In a super straight way. What a hero. WOW!!

    Not to get off track too much but his story is just fascinating, obviously more so with the recent discovery of his body. Oh, if they had only found the camera! I read Last Hours on Everest last summer; one of the really cool things was how advanced the clothing was; we all assume they wore this crap kit but it was lighter and more flexible than the modern alpine suits, and just as warm, assuming it didn’t get wet or it was windy out.

    The romantic in me (which is about 97% of me) believes he made it up, but that book is very convincing in its studies. The route was tough to make based on where he was last seen and what’s worse is the storm that was brewing based on barometric data they found, making for similar conditions to the 1996 storm.

    What a cool history to be a part of. Massive respect.

  10. Also, what a great ride this sounds like. I can say from the Book Signing ride, that area is tits for riding. And mixing tarmac and gravel is always the best!

    @Dave_R sums it up best though:

    We rode our bikes today. It was fun. We’ll do it again tomorrow.

    This.

  11. Great job guys, thanks for sharing!

  12. @frank Come down for some more riding, and we can hash it all out over a few pints.

  13. Great ride and awesome photos!

  14. @frank

    Nate, your Great granpappy is a GGILF. In a super straight way. What a hero. WOW!!

    Whoooa kid, now I am worried? This is… just, I really really don’t know?? Maybe we don’t know you as well as we thought…

    @Nate, uhm, I’d back off from any post cogal activities with the Fronkster…

  15. @Rob I reckon @frank is either confused or was temporarily less inhibited than usual when he said that.

  16. @Rob

    @frank

    Nate, your Great granpappy is a GGILF. In a super straight way. What a hero. WOW!!

    Whoooa kid, now I am worried? This is… just, I really really don’t know?? Maybe we don’t know you as well as we thought…

    @Nate, uhm, I’d back off from any post cogal activities with the Fronkster…

    What’s wrong with wanting to “Friend” his great grandfather? Dude was super cool.

  17. @Nate – great ride for all you guys. Sorry I missed it. Probably would have needed the grappling hook to latch on to your bike anyway. Hope to ride with you soon.

  18. @frank

    @Rob

    @frank

    Nate, your Great granpappy is a GGILF. In a super straight way. What a hero. WOW!!

    Whoooa kid, now I am worried? This is… just, I really really don’t know?? Maybe we don’t know you as well as we thought…

    @Nate, uhm, I’d back off from any post cogal activities with the Fronkster…

    What’s wrong with wanting to “Friend” his great grandfather? Dude was super cool.

    @Frank,

    Sharing your interest in mountaineering history but being older and not hip to these Internet acronyms, I had to look that up. Somehow I blew right past @Rob’s concerned reaction. And recalling your reference to the Urban Dictionary at various times on here, I went there in my search. Bad idea. I can now not un-know the meaning of this term. And to have it associated with Mallory… sigh.

  19. @Dave R if you have to look it up on Urban Dictionary, you probably don’t want to know. Ask me how I know…

  20. @HMBSteve

    @Nate – great ride for all you guys. Sorry I missed it. Probably would have needed the grappling hook to latch on to your bike anyway. Hope to ride with you soon.

    Yeah maybe we can work something out this fall.

  21. Love seeing Followers out riding together and having fun!

  22. @Nate

    Great ride, All quality kit, bikes, and riders. I predict Dave_R will be smashing us to bits on the MN tundra.

  23. Sorry I missed it! Back on the bike with a few new teeth and a new appreciation of Rule #74. Will definitely try to make the next one!

  24. @EricW wish you could have made it. Is there some connection between past Rule #74 violations and the need for dental work? Warn Chris Froome!

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