Thursday, January 8, 2004


(August 21, 2004) HOLSTEIN HUNDRED-108 miles, 16.4 mph, 7:15-2:27, solo,

Probably last time I will do this ride—as I found out from all the “wrong” arrows on the road—the Marin Century held two weeks prior is better attended, cheaper, and has more route options. (Diablo Cyclists has shown up as a tour de force at the Marin Century, only one riding the Holstein Hundred yesterday—of course no Delta Pedalers to be found..)

This one has a little history with me. Donna and I had done the metric a few years back (1999?)—on a 100+ degree day, and were dying on the hills, while smelling ALL of the cow shit from the hundred of Holsteins, and barely got by it.. Discovered they really have cows in Marin. Last year tried it again and had a very successful ride, I drafted behind Tom and Veronica’s tandem for the flat middle portion before the climbing began, and had lots of energy to drive home in the headwind past two astonished (racing?)girls riding a “two man.”.

This year they changed the route so there were more substantial rolling hills at the beginning. It still ran over familiar territory. Also with arrows from the Marin Century, Mt Tam Something, old Holstein route and Lung Association ride all over the place it was easy to get lost on the triple figure 8 loop that ran north to Occidental (Santa Rosa Century) south to Petaluma (Nicasio loop), crossing Tomales twice. I am slowly realizing close everything is that used to seem so far apart. Also that a ride can be tough with lots of small steep climbs instead of the proverbial “Wall.”

Did this one solo, but unlike the beginning of the year no expectation of company—and after Davis, the Death Ride, and my Sunday solo recovery rides it really doesn’t matter. The ying and yang—riding with Joann in 2003 made me a better rider, abandon by her in 2004 also made me a better rider. So unlike the spring century rides, where I was concerned before I did em’, I didn’t even think much about this one—didn’t even watch any Johan videos.

Ride coulda started at 6:30, which would have necessitated a 3:45 (usually 1 ¼ hours to get ready—on the road by 5:00.) Forecast said cool weather—it was only 100 miles—plenty of parking--so why start THAT early (taking a page from Whiney Mike’s book) Set the clock for 4:00, then when yapping dog woke me up at 3:15 I reset the clock for 4:15. Hit 140 on the scale-ah shit (really 146 ½), heaviest I’ve been this crazy year. Got out the door at 5:20—luckily stopped at gas station along the way (another Century with only 2 toilets at the start which is at Tomalas High School), and when I rolled in a few minutes before 7:00 cyclists already been on the road for awhile.

Apart from lack-o-toilets checkin was fast with some snacks and a goody bag provided. Map of route was piss poor-xeroxed from a road map. One thing that leapt out was 7 rest stops for 100 miles; figured with me starting so late I’d skip the first two and stop for the first time at mile 36. On the road at 7:15.

Start is from Tomalas to Valley Ford on a clockwise loop. Cool outside and the rollers started immediately—and as usual I felt like shit. But passing scored of people—heard one person say to another “he DID the Death Ride” in reverent, hushed tones. Yeah—I remember when that ride seemed unimaginable—it wasn’t that long ago.

Whizzed by the first rest stop and then start clockwise section of top of triple figure 8—partially on Highway 1 to Bodega and then a back road, and then back to Highway 1. First I ran into a Diablo Cyclist who I had done the Santa Cruz ride with (?, I gotta improve on names) and talked with him for awhile until I sped off on one of the climbs. Then turning into Bay Hill Road the air became thick with fog, and the roads wet, and another big climb. I started powering up on it, standing a lot as felt good and the climbs weren’t that long, just steep. Passed a long legged girl with a tri bar setup and she called out “you make it look easy.” Laughed and answered that it wasn’t and kept up the pace. My glasses started to fog so I cut speed at the top of the climb and tried to ride with em’ on the bridge of my nose. The frequent road markings had disappeared, no bikes around me, had no clue if I was on right route. All of a sudden tri girl zoomed by with her fogged glasses in her mouth. Still was able to talk and tell me about Serotta (too heavy for climbs?) and on a downhill section kicked my butt, and I almost lost it going wide on a left handed turn. When I caught up to her on an uphill section I told her that I don’t think she touched the brakes along the way—she just laughed.

Somewhere along this stretch passed the event photographers--first setting up. Jesus, I’m 45 minutes late to start.

On next hilly section rode away from tri-girl and was soon on back on Highway 1 at Bodega Bay—where I had gotten lost on the Santa Rosa ride. There spotted a rider wearing the Devil Mountain Double Jersey with the crazy elevation gains (week before when off the front and riding the Santa Cruz mountains with June and person who knew Ish-wearing DMD jersey, the DMD rider crashed over a rock.) “Marlin” was training for the Furnace Creek 508, and was riding the strangest bike I’d seen—looked like some clunky first edition of a Softride with an aluminum broom handle as the beam. Exchanged pleasantries re our respective jerseys, and stuff about Double Century rides (I think he told me to do Solvang.). He was another rider with ortho problems. “Marlin” leapt out and put a little distance on me on the rough portion of the downhills, but I rejoined on the flats and we pacelined on Highway 1 to the Coleman Valley Road turnoff. On the climb I paced him off my wheel. Nice guy-I gotta check the Furnace Creek site to see how he does.

Coleman Valley Road is the one that you drop down onto Highway 1 on the Santa Rosa ride—on the steep downhill—now was going up it with nary a problem. Eventually wound up coming down at Occidental, where the Santa Rosa 120 cutoff is, and continuing the clockwise loop on the top circle back to Valley Ford. Here is where things got interesting, a rider decked out in full Mapei gear came along and zoomed past me—didn’t say a word. And full gear meant the funky Mapei bib that didn’t have the shorts built on—just a weird cutout in the back for the shorts to peek though like “chaps.” I jumped on his wheel and hung in. Had my Domo Arm warmers rolled up so tried to straighted em’ out so he could see the enemy” team. (most non Italian riders on Mapei formed their own team--Domo, in 2001.) Big downhill came about and he slowed down—worse downhiller than me?, wants me to pass? I let him stay in front and he was taking it slow, he tried to ride me off on the flats but nothing doing—when we flew by people I’d still send out a shout; Mapei was too Euro-cool to talk to anyone. I took a turn or two at the front but knew the 36+ rest stop was coming up and didn’t know if we’d be sprinting. I rode up to Mapei’s side but he wanted to stay in front, I obliged and stayed on his wheel. and that is how we came into the rest stop, 1-2, same time. I had talked and called out potholes along the way, he didn’t say much except when we pulled in he wanted to know what mile this was. Strange bird.

Rest stop only had two porta-potties and I (again, have to stop having cereal the day before an event) had semi runs. Tried to get out as fast as possible but still 14 mintes at the stop. Great banana bread.

Rest Stop 1-37.58, 9:37-9:51 (2 hours, 22 minutes; 142 minutes), 15.9 mph

Next section was back in the middle loop again, this time doing a clockwise route back to Tomales along pretty flat roads.

When I started off one guy dresses in mountain bike shorts and spinning 150rpm zoomed by everyone. I dug in and caught up him, definitely tiring watching him pedal—plus he was weaving in and out. With crosswind I went to the front, and then we switched off a little. Came upon two Benecia Cyclists and asked them about Peter Van Slyke-racer I trained with at the Fremont Crits. They laughed-oh the refinery guy???, but said they’d pass on my greeting. I kept going strong and spinning guy wearing baggy shorts (anti-Mapei guy) with tattoo on his leg, who surprisingly told me that no, he wasn’t a mountain biker—just from San Francisco. He soon died out when the hills began.

Unbeknownst to me we were going back to Tomales High School. On the rollers into a slight headwind two guys shot by and I stuck to their wheel, while we passed a dozen cyclists. At intersection on Highway 1 we saw right run arrow back to Tomales, after turning someone realized that we had done it this morning, and we were now supposed to go left, along the counterclockwise lower loop. We then doubled back to the intersection, which would take us along the rollers on Highway 1 to Marshall. A big paceline came through—heading South on Highway 1

Traveling slightly downhill at first, about 10 riders now in the paceline.. Guys that I joined by Tomales High School went to the front. Mapei guy was in it, plus another guy wearing a counterculture type moon jacket. I just sat in the back, seeing how things developed. Soon the steep rollers started and the paceline broke into two, with me joining the 4 people mentioned above. Mapei went to the front and I went and sat on his wheel—he powered over the first two rollers in first position but I was having an easy time hanging right in back of him.

On the next roller Mr. Counterculture viciously launched an attack and I spun up and got behind his wheel. I was just playing Museeuw at 2001 P-R and killing the attacks.

Next roller and Mapei went to the front and again I just sat in 2nd wheel and easily stayed behind him. OK—time to play also. Next roller was big one and I decided to open it up, I went into it hard, shot up and stood, no one came near me.

I slowed to regroup at the top and gang-o-four back on. I think Mapei guy went up the next roller first with me sitting on his wheel. In any event we hit the next big roller and I went hard up it again, and then there was a sharp left handed turn up Marshall-Petaluma Road—the one with the peace bell we usually come flying down. (Left hand turn came at suddenly—some signs with arrows and early warnings would be nice.) . I continued to pound on the pedals, it was mile 60, and 4 more miles to rest stop—and I was was not going to get passed again. Hurting and dug in on the climb, false flat,, another climb, mile 64, no rest stop. Long downhill-more uphills-damn it was getting warm. I turned around once, no one behind me, but kept up a strong pace. Finally, Mile 66 ½ the rest stop finally appeared. Secured bike and went and got a drink before Mapei appeared—not saying a word..

Mile 66.9 11:28-11:40, 239 minutes, 16.8 mph.

Fortuitously at the rest stop took off undershirt—though it wouldn’t get broiling it was now pretty warm. Was now going to ride counterclockwise lower loop-- “backwards” along Marshall Petaulma road. Was it that long ago that Delta Pedalers did this ride from Olema, or Jo Jo organized arthritis ride of last year?. How things change. Out of rest stop in 12 minutes after b.sing with the ham radio operator for awhile. Passed three girls from the morning who had commented on my Death Ride kit—this time they commented that I had passed them in the morning. Later I found out the made a wrong turn and never did one of the loops. Not to many other riders on this section. Came out on Hicks Valley where Tom and Veronica were beat from the climbs going in the opposite direction last year. No road markings on the road, no cyclists around, made a left turn but then dug out the map to doublecheck.

Rest stop at mile 74 quickly coming up. Figured that was a good place to top off and skip the next rest stop. This rest stop was at Union School—and was deserted-3 workers, 1 porta potty, no bikes. I quickly went in, had some great banana nut bread and pulled out. Only 10 minutes in this one. While I was there the ham radio was loudly indicating that there were many riders lost, doing the wrong route etc. Hard to know who was doing what with so many arrows, AND the Oakland Yellowjackets who I saw en masse all day were either doing the ride or doing their own thing (saw them going in the other direction previously.) Was told that 250 riders were on the 100 mile route, I was number 28 (not bad for starting 45 minutes late) and only 9 riders had stopped at the Union School rest stop.

Mile 78.42 12:24-12:34, 282 minutes, 16.7 mph.

Got my ass kicked, and it was my own fault. Leaving Union School road started to go up and there was a nice sized hill. My legs were starting to feel heavy. Guy comes along setting a nice pace along the hill and passes and said hi—he was standing and motoring,. Figured I could sit and spin onto his wheel like I had done most of the day. I sat and I wasn’t coming close to him—by the time I figured this out and stood and was able to keep pace he was long over the top of the hill. Standing wasn’t bad, and I could have kicked myself for not putting in the effort earlier.

When getting close to Petaluma sudden left turn and then we were in subdivisioon city. Scores of riders going the other way, but I had checked map and I was on course. Mapei racer and moon jacket friend were coming in from a different direction-like they had taken a rest at a neighborhood park off to the side. This part of the ride was disappointing, looked like the Balfour Loop.

Finally tuned in to Chilenos Valley Road, some small climbs, passed the girls who told me they missed a loop and may do more miles—that gave me the idea of doing an extra 20 at the end as wasn’t tired and would be good training. With this in mind I stopped at mile 88 rest stop just to top off and grab something to eat—here they ahd free sample Endurolights, Cliff Shots and Cliff Bars. Unfortunately my pockets were kinds stuffed with my vest and undershirt. Ready to leave I saw “Marlin” on the side and gave him a nod. I got out of this rest stop in 5 minutes—great-rest stop[ times going down all day 14-12-10-5 (plus 1 minute to check map)..

Mile 88.64, 1:13-1:18, 321 minutes, 16.6 mph.

Started riding and felt that someone drafting off of me. Slight headwind, I felt good, no problem. Figured good situation. I would have someone to switch off with during the rollers into the wind part of the course. Turned around, it was tri-girl, big smile on her face, now down to a halter top.. I kept pulling and then was tired and told her we’d have to switch for just a minute or two-which was OK. Problem was that on the hills she fell off badly, and on the slight downhills she’d motor to pass. Apart from this her speed in the flats was excellent, she said that she hoped she wasn’t slowing me down, told her that I was going to do bonus miles, so non killer pace into headwind was OK, UNLESS someone tried to pass in the last 10 miles. Words weren’t out of my mouth when Mapei guy shows up with friend and Mapei guy flys by. I think about it for a split second, and then jump to catch up to Mapei. Jeeze, one year later and I’m like Larry U. at Lodi looking at guys legs instead of the women.

As noted earlier it was warm-I was down to one jersey, Tri Girl was down to a halter top. Mapei still has his Mapei arm warmer on his arms, and a Mapei vest over a Mapei jersey over his Mapei bib chaps. OK-I didn’t expect him to take off his bib chaps. (As Liggett or Sherwin would say--it looks like someone spilled a pot of paint on the guy.)

I sprint and get up to Mapei easily, and when I recover ride at the side of him. He is either sandbagging or he is tired—as he isn’t riding as fast as when I pulled to the side of him at the beginning of the ride. Once again, if we do enough miles people slow down to my speed. This time he talks a little, says that the important thing is to “pace yourself”—(?, flying by riders ain’t pacing yourself.). I commented on how Domo Farm Freites dislikes Mapei—I don’t think he knew the history.. Then we get to a curve with a little hill and I go to the front and dig.

I ain’t looking back. I don’t hear Mapei on my wheel but if he regroups with his friend they can run a two man. Against me is that we’re riding into a headwind along Tomales Petaulma Road. On the upside there are a series of significant rollers where the two guys had contacted me before Tomales/ Highway 1 on the first go around. I am hammering, passing riders, still saying hello.. The thought of doing 20 extra bonus miles has left, maybe a few just to cool down. I pass the house I drove through earlier with a bunch of American flags in front, wasn’t THAT far to the High School from here by car. But I’m not in a car. Keep passing lots of cyclists as all of the routes have now come together—have to keep an ear out for any cars approaching from the rear. Hey, my odometer says 100—where is the f’n finish. It is at 102+. Finally I see the school, look back, no one is there.

I ride past the cutoff to the school and circle back. Mapei guy is about 2 minutes behind-scowling. Tri girl waves, about 4 minutes out. I go down the road with the benefit of a tailwind, but don’t want to do the bigger rollers again, so come back with 5 extra bonus miles.

Come back at 2:27 and 107.79 miles. Odomoter says 16.4 average. 7 hours, 12 minutes total time, with 42 minute s of breaks 6 hours 30 minutes-390 minutes or 16.58. About half a mile faster than paceing off the tandem for half the ride (an easier route) last year.

Go in for postride meal—volunteer asks if I want chicken of veggie—veggie is something called a “fretata.” I want chicken but want to try both--she says it is against the rules but will give me a piece—a SMALL piece. I can’t understand it, when you pay $$$ (this one $50) and ride 100 miles it should be all you can eat—especially when the rest stops weren’t that well stocked. Don’t like the cow theme but the tee-shirt was orange so I bought one. Not that many riders eating in Courtyard—lacking the energy at the end of Chico, Sierra, Napa. Chicken, rice and salad was quite good—then drove up to Rohnert Park to look at new bikes and thought about how a 100 miler isn’t that “special” anymore..

August 28, 2009, Tour of the Napa Valley, 97 miles, w/ Big Mike, 18.5 mph **ALL TIME MPH RECORD FOR A FULL CENTURY**, 7:00-1:25

Walked around SF with Jessie yesterday, it was over 90 degrees, so excepted it to be a furnace in Napa. Weather turned out to be perfect—one of the warmest starts I recall (Big Mike “you sure you want to take that vest") and while it got hot it never got oppressive.

Real different “negotiating” the time this year. Big Mike had emailed earlier in the week wanting to leave at 5:30-6:00 which would have gotten us started at close to 8:00 (he's game to begin early but is always late,), I had suggested leaving at 5:15 with an eye to a 7:00 start time. “Sure” said Big Mike. Much different than the endless negotiation with Whiny Mike last year and the resulting last minute “bike rider mystery bug” story weenie Mike and Joann concocted that couldn’t pass the smell test.

In any event lots of history at Napa—from the first year on the metric where as a new Delta Pedaler Dave S. invited me to join a three man pace line and then had to walk up Ink Grade with the hybrid. Talking Donna on the 30 mile loop when she first got started (with two valve flats at the beginning.) Only trailing Frank and Dave “a minute or so” up Ink Grade after Dave fought fires the whole week—and then watching him get “toasted” and sing Polka songs at the end of the ride. Jealously watching Mike, Joann and numerous other riders et out on the 100 while my knee kept me on the 60—which I rode with Verena, limped around at lunch, got passed on Ink Grade by two women, watched Verena do a tremendous downhill run, and then knee buckled when going to see Rachie play soccer directly afterwards. Then last year, after the promise of riding with a big group I just set out with Jerry and we hammered to what was up until today a new record of 17.7 average speed, with our catching Mike/ Joann on the Silverado Trail, and my wheel tacoing at the end.

In short, this is the Century with the most history, and what started out as the century with the MOST climbs (Mt Veeder, Mt Veeder, Whiney Mike would warn about) and used to be number 1. But like the old movie house—it’s luster is fading fast.

Diablo Cyclists were riding this one, but many doing the 60 on a fixed gear. Big Mike and I planned to do this one; in a year no one else had ridden centuries we had done Pardee and the second half of Chico and the Sierra together. In a year of incredible irony, if there was anyone who rides like Jerry (out after getting hit by a car at the beginning of the year) it is Big Mike—hammering on the flats, not wanting anyone to pass them, and tearing up the downhill’s. In short—another powerhouse, though not as tactically aware as Jerry (but few riders are.) And where I get excited when I see a rider ahead and want to catch up to them, Mike is aware of riders behind him and wants to stay ahead.

Trained hard on Tuesday-Wednesday and Thursday with Wednesday setting a new record up Mt Diablo (66:25) But with “Italy I Wanted to Cancel” trip readily approaching have been busy scrambling for bike routes- and whole year with all the bullshit hard to concentrate—so weigh finally crept up over 140 (142 on scale so in reality 148 ½.) THIS WINTER—getting to 136.

Big Mike & I hammer through the 100 miles of this semi-hilly (@5,000' climbing) at 18 1/2 mph--mostly on Big Mike's effort on most of the course and mine when he started to tire near the end. We also rode a smart 2 man--Big Mike pulling on 80% of the course, and I'd take over on the uphill grades or when I sensed he was getting tired. Great Photo by Photocrazy near the end.

We set out at 5:15 and got to Napa at 6:15-6:30, what I thought was good time but there were already tons of cars at the Yountville Home. We had to park on a rolling grass field full of goatheads by the swimming pool, with Mike’s SUV on a severe tilt so the doors wouldn’t stay open properly.

Had to walk up the big hill to registration (probably should have gotten bikes and ridden up—my bad call.) For once not chilly at the start and registration lines were long—lots of riders had already set out. Couldn’t get a second route map which didn’t even have mileage in the back (we ran out last year), they no long give out headbands, and had to go on another line to get the patch which used to be free. No food at start and freebee bag had a patch kid and a cliff bar-whoopee. At least they brought in a few porta-potties. Saw Frank and Verena riding up as we were ready to leave.

Hard getting bikes ready on undulating, thorny parking area—carried them to sidewalk, Mike’s cleats filled with mud after he talked me into leaving vest back in car. Left at 7:00 even.

Leaving the heavily tree lined avenue of the Yountville Veterans Home, saw about a dozen hot air balloons hovering straight up that had just launched. With tailwind we hammered down Solano Avenue, I was kind cold so didn’t mind setting a nice pace to warm up by. At long traffic light one rider commented—so you are both going to hammer the whole route? “Why not” I responded—“it is only 100 miles.”

Honest response—though two big fair climbs and one long uphill grade no really steep killer climbs and no series of leg weakening rollers. I just had to worry about keeping Mike in sight on the downhill’s and staying on his wheel in the headwind. Already figured where Mike would lose me would be where Jerry lost me last year—on technical downhill off of Veeder., and I was right.

Noticed area where only rider who passed us last year had done so, but this year knew that Veeder not that steep and we kept the pace up. I took a little off so I wouldn’t ride ahead of Mike, but he working hard and I didn’t have to take much off. Air was weird, cool and damp, and if I put in a bigger effort probably would have had a coughing fit. Passed scores of riders, near the top a girl shot by on the climb but I just followed, staying on her wheel. No used to passing anyone now with downhill section to follow. Someone playing fiddle at the top—but was like funeral/dirgie music.

Started the long downhill and Mike jumped out. Road was crowded, I was passing lots of people, and as expected a few people were passing me. Lots of sharp curves, missed one and went slightly into oncomming traffic lane. Ah shitty. Looked like Mike took a little off a few times so I could catch up but I’d soon be off the back again. Some uphill rollers started and here I’d put a big effort to catch up to Mike, but he was hammering over them, and there were sudden downhill,/ curved dropoffs on them. A US Postal rider went by and Mike and he started racing, I barely caught up and jumped to the front but was totally winded, and when he took off on Mike I couldn’t help at all.

At one point I called out, big uphill, and sure enough around a curve near a gated house a big uphill appeared—Mike promptly had to stop as he dropped his goo packet. Remembered uphull as here is where I got back on terms with Jerry last year.

So we lost US Postal rider but we had motopred past everyone else. Around mile 29 pulled into “Valley Floor” rest stop—didn’t spend more than 8 minutes at rest stop and was good to go. Unfortunately theis rest stop only had hated Revenge spirts drink—food wasn’t anythning special.

Rode past housing traks and subdivisions. Big Mike went to the front and we had a crowd developed, and suddenly markings/ sign said right turn,. I started making the right from the outside of him—he went straight—pelaton followed me after near miss crash and Mike riding on sidewalk. When he went to the front again I bugged him the next few intersections re the correct way to go.

Wound up on Silverado Trail heading north for 10 miles with a slight tailwind. Mike was hammering in the front and we were joined by a 3rd rider, so I let Mike know we could all take turns and we had a 3rd wheel. EXACTLy what happendd-at same sport-with Jerry last year. In fact as we passed one rider I called out and she was startled—same place I got yelled at last year “you scared me.” And then, when uphill rollers started (long but not steep) the 3rd rider was dropped—same as last year. I tried going to the front on the uphill rollers, on the flats I’d keep it at 22 and Mike would get “impatient’ and go back to 24-26. In fact, the biggest “hurt” was after I’d take a long pull, Mike would go to the front and not increase speed gradually, but just hammer from the get go.

Phil Liggett-"Knarven is falling off the wheel and is in trouble now, trying to hold onto Hincapie’s wheel. (Later) Peeters is on a piece of elastic on the back of the group—or is this it. "

What was noticable—real noticble—ws abundance of CHP Officers en route. Wonder if that was more to have cars behave or for us to stop at stop signs (years ago one officer was ticketing in Yountville for bikes not stopping.) In any event, never been on a ride with such a big police presence.

I must be real jaded now. The trip up Silverado passes mile after mile of rolling grape vineyards. Shit, when first moced to California was so impressed seeing them, But nicer vineyards, wineary buildings on Santa Rosa ride, and heck, even see grapes growing in Lodi. Much rather enjoy riding throughh densly wood forest sections, like the Lake Hennessey-Pope Valley portion coming up.

Got to intersection where 60 milers join us and quick turn onto road going up to Lake Hennessey. I went to the front and passed a large group of 60 milers seemingly moving backwards on the slight uphill grade. At mile 45 we were quickly at Lake Hennessey—another real quick stop of 8 minutes of less. Average speed 19.2! This rest stop thankfully had Cytomax—so pee-fill up bottles-banana and fig newton. Saw Diablo Scott with Mapei shorts waiting for his group. We also had caught up to big contingent of Benicia Cyclists who had started when we first were going to registration table (20-30 minute head start) and thought I’d seen Peter rolling out.

Continued up Sage Canyon Road to Chilies and Pope Valley Road—about 20 miles of mostly uphills, but nothing steep and usually with a tailwind. Kind of like the Sutter Creek-Volcano run. We made the sharp left past a watchful CHP officer—disappointed no Miles Photos out this year, and then we started to uphill.

Two cyclists jumped ahead of us and we sat on their wheel for too short a time, the road leveled out and Big Mike jumped out. I got back to him and suggested that I’d have sat on their wheel a little longer and tried to keep it a 4 man. Gotta take a gift-breather when you can. I slowed the pace down and the two riders regrouped (one also wearing a Sierra Century jersey-kind of like a team; other rider said he was to cheap to get jersey, told him I was too had been waiting for them to go half price but then got email that only a few were left. He said he was too cheap even to by them at half price.) One guy did a great job setting the pace on the uphill, when he’d slow I’d go to the front for a long turn. Mike was falling off a little so I tried to keep it at a steady, consistent pace.

Phil Ligett—When they reach the cobbles Museeusw give it everything he’s got. (substitute the word uphill for cobbles.) …Who would have thought that we’d ever see the same members of a team finish 1-2 again, nevermind 1-2-3."

When we got to the downhill section Mike and other riders jumped, and I mostly sat in the back. At one point a guy with orange rims and another rider joined us—on the only steep downhill section Mike took off and I couldn’t close the gap. One of the new riderrs did a nice bridge and I sat on his wheel going up—Mike was beat (serves him right for jumping) and I stayed with new guy until he bailed out at Pope Valley Store (lots of riders stopping there) and he gave me a push to get me back into the stop in the paceline. Here Mike and I hammered past hubcap rance, but no one racing this year, and we passed scores of riders.

Made sudden left turn into goldf course/ lunch road/. Road crowed as hell, and we just rode at 12 mph from the 22-24 we were doing a few minutes ago., Everyone taking it easy. All of a sudden pile of glass on middle of road, rider we had passed now coming in like bat out of hell--”yelling on your left”—I moved over VERY slightly as to not run over the glass and wondering what this crazy person is doing in a "feed zone." Mike said he must have needed to got to the bathroom/ 66 miles and average 19.0 miles per hour. Think we were there around 10:30 but couldn’t swear to the time.

It was getting hot at the lunch stop and it was mobbed. Long line for the porta potties and drinks—even longer line for food. Downed a bottle while waiting for the outshouse,, Mike had made it halfway through line—wasn’t really hungry so asked him to grab me a banana and half a bagel. He came back with a spread—no sandwiches but two plates heeping with all kinds of fruit.

Found a spot in the shade, sat on long strip of cardboard as ground was rocky. If anyone overdrover the golf course green we’d get hit on the head. Saw Diablo Scott again. Saw Peter from Benecia bike club—came over and we b.s’d about racing. Another guy from Benecia Bike Club had seen me on Diablo Cylist ride and knew June from Contra Costa Times. When leaviung saw Jack come in. But I had never seen so many people packed into a rest stop. (not Volcano or Fiddletown, not top of Honey Run, or Santa Rosa Lunch stop—this was the worst.) Estimate we were at stop for 30-40 minutes, with 15+ minutes just waiting in line for food.

At lunch Mike and I made a good plan. Ink Grade was coming up and I’d probably beat him to the top of the 5 mile climb. The there is about a 10 mile wide open downhill that he’d easily pass me on. So instead of me or him waiting, we agreed that I’d just ride over Ink Grade, go on the downhill, and he’d either catch up to me or we’d regroup at the sudden/ sharp right handed turn near the bottom of the downhills.

Left and taking it easily on slight uphill—needed to get legs back. Suddenly a rider calls out “you need to pick up speed” it was Paul and “Michigan” Tom from Diablo Cyclists. Paul said they rode very hard to that point—but before I could ask him what his average speed was (can’t imagine anyone riding much harder than Mike and I) all of a sudden it was the sharp right onto Ink Grade, and I started to hammer.

Ink Grade was crowded, and now my breathing was good but legs were a little heavey from the 19.0 mph to lunch. Funny, on the Clearlake and back ride I solo'd a few weeks ago, I hit Ink Grade at mile 80, but had ridden at my own pace (@16) and legs were better than now at mile 70. But passed everyone in sight, and the didn’t want to get repassed. Was warm now but most of Ink Grade heavily shaded. At one point flew by US Postal Jersey guy who was also wearing shorts of guy who passed us earlier in the day. Like to think it was same guy but not sure. I was mostly sitting and spinning until I’d come to a hairpin turn and then would stand and power over them.

Passed house that burnt down/ water stop. They had a booming sound system playing Rolling Stones tunes. Was temped to just roll in there and end the ride. Funny, I have never stopped at that spot. But also didn’t want Mike to pass me easily on the downhill so kept hammering up. At the end the road was almost blocked by cyclists waitin for their friends—did Ink Grade at 22:25 (last year 22:49, @ 22:15 a few weeks ago after Clear Lake ride.) Disappointed but again a little bit to heavy, a little bit too tired, and no one had passed me.

After getting to the top of Ink Grade there are still a few sharp uphill rollers; one guy passed but I easily repassed. Then the big downhill that used to scare the heck out of me. This one is wide open—kind of like the Bears, and I was able to do it nicely. One guy passed and I followed his line, but he kept digging as he thought I was racing him. At one point caught up to him and told him that wans't racing but needed to get to cutoff before my friend—the big guy.

Funny-on a very straight ski slope section, all of a sudeen a FAT (as opposed to BIG) guy comes barrelling past us. Rider I was with looks back, I shgake my head—no, not him. But when the road became curvy again, and leveled slightly so you had to pedal, we both repassed the FAT (not BIG) guy.

Got to sudden right hand turn where I was going to stop (well marked this year) and I made a big sweeping turn so I wouldn’t jam up any riders behind em when stopping. Ah shit—someone had swept lots of glass to the side of the road I went to. Started talking to an Asian rider with a Meryx bike about his machine—he loved it; Paul came by about 2 minutes later and Big Mike about 4 minutes later.

When Mike came by still a little downhill section and I wasn’t ready. He created a gap, and then slacked off so I could catch up—but a CHP car approached and I didn’t want to ride far from the shouldr and was jammed up by some slower riders. Put an effort in to catch Mike when we turned into “sewer plant road” when a rider shot by—who promptly dropped his bandana and had to stop. Told Mike if he comes by again we are chasing.

Left turn onto Silvarado trail at mile 84—and miled headwind as predicted. One of the worse endings for a ride and road now has tons-o-tourist cars and wide shoulders often blocked by slow riders riding 2-3 across. All of a sudden paceine shot by us which Paul and Michigan Tom were on, Mike and I jumped on but last rest stop at Napa College (mile 88) was quickly upon us.

Another very crowded rest stop—water/ sports drink buckets were running low—seemed that they only had water out. Another rest stop were were quiclkly out of in 8 minuts or less.

Now I was retuirning the favor for Mike doing most of the pulling on Silvarado earlier in the day, and passing scores of riders at acomfortable pace. All of a sudden a tandem came by with two riders in tow, and we HAD TO jump on. And this was climbing tandem (couldn’t figure out if two men or guy and girl)—so there was no slacking off on uphill roller portions. Guy with Gerenositler jersey in front of me, Mike behind, and this was the order we’d stary in riding into Yountville.

Wind was coming in from the right so rode slightly to the left/ rear of guy in front, but had to keep making sure not to overlap wheel as he (and paceline) had to suddenly come out to left because of slower riders on shoulder. One scary moment, riders across the shoulder and someone in paceline had to jam on brakes—and you couldn’t swing out far left with car traffic on Silvarado. Luckily guy in front held his line (he had done a few wobbles previously) and then I was scared that Big Mike would run into me—but luckily he was a few feet off the back. We started up again—Mike hurting a little but I was feeling fine. But damn, no one gets away on the last 10 miles, and our average speed, though dropping, was in the mid 18’s, so had to keep it there.

Until we made right turn onto Yountville Cross Road. Just like the whole f’n year the crosswind killed me, but I remembered it wouldn’t be long until we went back into the headwind and Photocrazy. Tried to ride on the right of rider in front but too many slow people clogging lane,. So had to grit my teeth and hang on for dear life. Kept hearing Phil Liggett’s voice about Servais Knarven holding on for dear life at 2001 Paris Roubaix.

Sudden left turn and Photcrazy sign, turned around and looked for Big Mike but he had fallen off a little. He didn’t even see the “Photocrazy ahead” signs. But as we both looked resplendent in the same Sierra Century jersey (nice jersey but damn, it was a day to ride sleeveless) slowed for him, and unlike Party Pardee there was no Team in Training Asshole to undercut the photo. Think Photocrazy got us both—we’ll soon see.

Another turn into headwind and I motored to get back to tandem, but soon at Yountville, so regrouped with Mike and rode in together, reaching the parking lot at @ 1:25. Not quite 100 miles,

99.6 5:23 riding time, 6:25 total time—18.5 average speed..

Of course as soon as we arrived band took a break, but for once they had a good band playing (no Polka or bike instrument experimental band this year.) Calistoga no longer a sponsor, I guess, so no free Calistoga’s, they had free soda fountain sodas but out of Diet Coke, so just got water. Very mediocre veggie burgers and very chewy turkey burgers (used be a sausage/ real hamburger paradise) but fantastic orzo salad. In fact went back for seconds, while long line for crappy burgers no one on line for salad only.

Found table in shade, met up with Steve , June, and Jack. They had started at 7:30 after meeting in Walnut Creek—had about 6-8 in their group. June introduced me to her friend as a great climber, which I never view myself as, but that was nice. Big Mike intrigued by a triathlete who after doing a 100 mile ride then runs and swims. We probably stayed for an hour, good times, longer than we usually do.

Pre Sierra, Death Ride, Chico,. Davis Double, . Tour Unknown Coast—Napa was the “Queen of the Classics.” But the Queen has lost some of its luster. Other rides are much better supported-better starts-rest stops and ending meals. Other rides have better/ harder hills/ routes with less traffic. Most importantly other rides—even ones that are filled to capacity like Santa Rosa, seem much less crowded. While it is great being in a century filled with cyclists (unlike Holstein or Pedal Round the Puddle) it is also nice not being caught in a traffic jam. And Little amenities (free patch, headband, Calistoga) have quietly disappeared. Napa is nice to do, and is convenient, but solidly behind Sierra, Chico and TUC, and I’d probably rather do Santa Rosa.,

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