Diablo double-header

29-30 Oct 2022


random trip report

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I had a birthday recently, and that means the annual Diablo Reference Hike, where I compare the result (the speed, and more importantly how I feel after) with previous years, to assess the inevitable ravages of time.

This time I go with Seth, an accomplished hiker (he did the PCT!) who was Jonesin' for some exercise other than yoga and climbing.

The day is gorgeous; perhaps a touch warm because of the bright sun. At Murchio Gap I take off my T-shirt and spread it on my back for improved cooling; I should have done this earlier.





We take the shortcut from Prospector Gap to the summit. This is direct, but it's fairly steep and rocky; it's strenuous and seems to go on forever. I think the standard route, though longer, may actually be faster.

We make it to the summit in 2:31 - the standard time.









The descent is pleasant.









I feel all-over tired, but nothing hurts. I stiffen up a little on the drive back, but by 8 PM I'm pretty much back to normal.





If anything, the hike has seemed easier as time has gone by. I'm sure this will change at some point, but for now I'm enjoying my apparent age-resistance.

The next day

An idea pops into my head: since I feel good, why don't I go back tomorrow and ride up Diablo on my bike? I last did this in June 2020.

Once the idea is there, I have to do it. That's just the way I am. So the next day - Sunday - I drive to Danville and am on the road at 1:30 PM.

Again, the weather is pretty much ideal. I don't try to go fast. My pulse gets up to 150 or so and I don't want to push it beyond that. Various people on $5K road bikes whiz past me. One guy comments on my lack of water bottles (they all have two big ones). I say: there's water at the top. Actually there's a drinking fountain at the ranger station, and one at the junction hut (around the back). Plenty of water.

I mostly feel good. My legs have some bounce in them. At the junction I get off and rest for 10 min or so. After that my legs start to lose power, possibly a residue of yesterday's hike. I use my mental tactic of counting breaths up to 100, to make time pass.

I make it up to the first parking lot. I probably should have rested a bit, but I just head up the last steep part (400' or so). About halfway up my legs tell me that they've had enough. I get off and push the rest of the way, which is pretty hard in my metal-cleated bike shoes.



Marvin the Martian T-shirt







My bike!

Nothing hurts, but my legs are very tired. I drink some water and hobble up to the observation platform.

The ride down is fast, but it takes some concentration because there are lots of hairpin turns and the shadows are lengthening. There are a couple of minor uphills - before the ranger station, then right at the end - and my quads are almost dead - a strange feeling.

BTW, my bike has several maintainance issues:

  • The right pedal is partly broken and wobbly.
  • The rear shifter is misaligned; the chain often jumps, or shifts 2 gears instead of 1.
  • The rear wheel is out of true and goes bumpbumpbump at speed.
  • The brakes need tightening.

I'd been living with these for years. But the next day (Monday) I take it in to Missing Link and get everything fixed for only $65!

The ride is way harder than the hike. It takes pretty everything out of me (which is what I had in mind). Above a certain steepness, biking is harder than walking. I'm not sure why.

But neither activity produces significant soreness. What they do produce is muscular tightness, which is my bugaboo ever since the Ironworks abs class ended with COVID. My hips, groin, glutes and quads are absurdly tight. Many yoga poses are very uncomfortable, and some I can't get into at all. So that's my project for the coming year. Fortunately Lauren wants to become a yoga teacher and is eager to help me out.

Copyright 2022 © David P. Anderson