Thursday, January 13, 2005

Party Pardee from Hell & Chico Wildflower 2005

Note: In October 2009 Yahoo Geocities--their free web page service for dummies, is going to be shut down. Luckily I started using (the better) Google Blogger a little over a year ago. From old reports on Geocities there are photos I hope to transfer over in the next two months, and some summaries of seminal rides. (*** full writeup) Another post that Yahoo Cities lost prematurely early but I still had the notes the report was based on

(April 2, 2005) PARTY PARDEE FROM HELL, 125 miles, 7:30-5:38, w/ BigMike

Rest Stop 1-mile 14-skipped
Rest Stop 2-mile 32-19.9 mph, rest stop 9:04-9:16 (12)
Rest Stop 3-mile 50-18.4 mph, rest stop 10:30-11:05 (35)
Mokelumne Hill-mile 63-16.9 mph, rest stop 12:10-12:20 (10)
Railroad Flats-mile 83-14.8 mph, rest stop 2:25-2:45 (20)
Ione-mile 125.2-15.2 mph-5:38

Traditional opening day of the cycling season—though now it feels like I played winter baseball year round. In 2000 went out with large group of Delta Pedalers (we left Antioch at 5:30, or we were supposed to while people arriving late and looking for Starbucks coffee), ate lots at lunch stop-not realizing hills come right after lunch (I couldn’t climb anyway) and got left in no mans land between Mike-Dave-Frank who took off and the girls behind. In 2001 flipped over dog week before—shot up with morphine I insisted we fix my bike as I was going to ride next weekend. I couldn’t walk. Rained next weekend and I want riding. Next year, 2002, did OK until mile 40 –knee locked up (6 months after surgery), and I lamely drafted home off of Joann, Frank, Verena, Dave. In 2003 rode hard with Joann, Bill and Bruce—in 2004 large contingent of DP’s on the road—boded well for season, and rode hard with Big Mike and Bill, whereas we doubled back at end and did about 16 bonus miles to come in with Donna leading the pelaton.

Now 2005. Last week rode a self supported Century--which would become typical for Diablo Cyclists. Club ride was Crockett-Pinole loop, and then I made the "mistake" asking Jack if he wanted to do bonus miles--figuring maybe 10. So Big Mike and I go with Jack from Pinole via the Bears, up Tilden, down Skyline, on to Redwood, and through Castro Valley where we return to Walnut Creek. 98 total miles at 16 mph for this climbing Century.

Our official Party Padee Photo (Photocrazy?)Unusually warm for 5:30am. Ride to long for most Delta Pedalers and too short for Diablo Cyclists. Can’t see paying $35 for a metric, and need more miles anyway, so game plan is to ride Party Pardee route but be self sufficient, and the head off into the hills. (Couldn’t sign up even if we wanted to-registration had closed early.), Big Mike arrive game, he is trying to build endurance as much as I am, we packed up and left about 5:45. Hit the Burger King bathrooms. Not to many cars on road, none with bikes. Passed through Ione/ Howard Park about 7:10—lots of cars lines up slowly crawling in. Mike said he had told Bill the day before that we’d look for him at 7- at registration area, but it was well after 7 and it would be a mess if we tried driving in.

Parked by locomotive by secret bathrooms. A few cars with cyclists setting up—guy next to me from Erma’s Diner. He said Dr. Steve Honeychurch retired, so he usually doesn’t wake up this early to ride. Chill in the air but sun out—decided NOT to wear knee warmers as would overheat on climb, but had on two jerseys, vest and arm warmers. As knee tender had on ace bandage. Big Mike only wearing a jersey—we are usually only one layer apart so someone was going to be “wrong.” Turns out both of us didn’t know how to dress properly.

Its cold so I start hammering right away to warm up, and when I want to slack off Big Mike goes to the front. At one time we are bsing and someone says on your left and passes us but not very fast, so we hammer after and I pass while standing over bars on hill. Guy must have tried to chase me, as when I slack off after top Big Mike comes by and I grab his wheel and were off—would have dusted the guy but got stopped at Hwy 88 crossing and we were rejoined by a dozen people.

Cop waves us through and guy goes to front. Big Mike paying attention to 2001 PRT DVD as he just sits on the guys wheel. I wait until there is an uphill and then I go to the front. As we are not really on ride, at one point we see BOTH white and red arrows pointing in different direction, and as we made a commitment to red arrow we then had to ask someone if we were going the right way. Luckily we are on longer100km route.

Road ahead is blocked by horse trailer going 15 mph, who then turns and stalls on uphill. We finally go by and start bsing with young guy on bike. He just came in from Europe, and he wants to know what 100km course is like, he only signed up for 50km. What-he’s fast and hammering away. We tell him he should do the 100km Conversely, Mike and I show little sense, we are going at the same speed and are going to be doing 60 hilly bonus miles.

First rest stop is at mile 14 which we can easily pass up. While riding hard we pass loads of people, who I try saying hi to. At one point pass an older guy wearing a Rossi Siena Bike Shop Jersey. “My favorite bike shop: I exclaim—I tell guy that when I was over there I get tour of bike shop though I can’t speak Italian and Rossi couldn’t speak English. “DOESN”T MATTER AT ALL” exclaims the rider, who had the same experience.

We get to some little climbs and downhill rollers and we are still maintaining the pace well in a 3 man-I’m usually leading the charge up the hills, Big Mike down them, and the young guy fits nicely in the rotation. On big downhills life is unfair, I can work real hard and stay with Big Mike until he gets into a full tuck which instantly increases his speed 3 mph and I’m off the back. But we are keeping it all together—but just when I exclaim we have a good working group the young guy stops pedaling and thinks he has a mechanical. We leave him behind—he’d pull into the next rest stop when we were ready to leaving saying his bike was OK, “he thinks it was his legs

Around mile 25 we hit a nice uphill and I start cranking—now running the two man and on the flats we are working well together but on the hills our conversely opposite styles are hard to mesh. I have to crest and go over the hills well in advance of Mike so that he doesn’t fly by me in a tuck at the start of a downhills—near the base I have a chance of getting into his draft and hanging on. So I stand and crank to loosen up and I hear someone behind me—so I push a little harder and guy (Mike?) is right behind. I push it up a notch, push harder, don’t sit down after 55 strokes (my original intent) but do the whole climb standing. I crest and Mike right behind me, but it is not Mike. Guy complements me for leading the charge over the hill, we get down to the base together and no Mike—I tell guy that I’m going to slack off and wait for my friend, he says he has to do the same thing, they are probably riding together. We start basing about century rides—in about a minute Big Mike and other guy's friend come by and go past. We’re still bsing while Mike and other guy running a time trial—all of a sudden they are 100m up the road. Oh shitty, what’s the use of chasing—Mike is faster than me on the flats. Person who I’m riding with says “ah, we’ll catch them on the hills” but then I point out that there are no hills for about another 10 miles. So we continue to bs—finally Mike stops running a two man time trial, and when the road goes up a little we work hard to regroup.

Now we have a good 4 man group—all of us taking turns near the front. Intuitively the other climber and I go to the front when the road goes up, and Mike and the other big guy stay in the front on the flats. Guys are both firemen who have planned out their century schedule against weekends they have off—but don’t recall which ones they are doing.

Get to uphill before reservoir and firemen are falling off. Guy in red who is a good climber but slacks on the downhills joins us. He makes a comment like just a few more miles to lunch stop (mile 50-55), we tell him that ride is only beginning for us and we are not really on course. Firemen indicate that they are going to take it easy-we look ahead and there are no other riders in front of us. Seemingly impossible that we’d be in the front of the course, we started a half hour after ride began, and only when first joined by young European guy and fireman did we crank really hard—Mike and I spent a lot of time bsing, as I had with young guy and fireman. And while we may not be the smartest riders in terms of pacing we didn’t go crazy knowing we still had 80-100 miles to go when everyone else had 15-35 miles. But soon sudden downhill, and we were at lunch stop around 10:30, average 18.4, and only 4 riders were there. We’ll we weren’t actually AT the lunch stop-as we hadn’t paid we hung out by park bathrooms about 100 feet away from rest stop area—still got to hear bad music, and munched on our packed peanut butter sandwiches and we saw many of the riders we had passed come in.

Mike kept wondering what happened to Bill—but as I never hear from the guy and just get messages passed to me—eh. We hung out at rest stop way to long. To disprove my competitive spirit I declined a racing challenge, some 8 year old was showing off his jumps on his bike and came over to talk to us. Nice kid who then wanted to race me around the parking lot. I’d probably lose. We tried to impress upon kid that he should be wearing a helmet—it sounded like the dogs at his mom's house was using it as a chew toy.

We then went down the road to get some more food and drink at a mini mart. There was a large group of Alpine Velo who had the same idea as us—they were going to Moklelumne Hill also but then turning towards Jackson. Mike showed them our plans and one guy came over impressed. I had held out going to park porta potty but some lady had locked the bathroom key in the restroom. Oh shit.

We still had to ride a little portion of the Pardee Route out of Valley Springs before the Pardee ride would turn left for the last 15 miles, and we’d turn right for 75 hilly miles. After a long double rest stop and knowing that the hard part was just beginning, the impetus to hammer was gone when we were passed by a long paceline of the Ophir Milano woman’s race club. On a false flat they split and I jumped in—Alta Velo group far up the road now turning right. When we got to the intersection the Ophir Milano group started shouting at the Alta Velo’s “wrong way’-“wrong way” –it must have confused them even more when Mike and I made the right hand turn. Sign said Mokelumne Hills-10 miles

Paloma Road nice uphill road off the beaten path with some noticeable but not killer grades. Mike, has a rear view mirror and said “oh no the pelaton is coming.” The fastest group of Alpine Alta\ Velo was charging up the hill-and I figured I’d go with them to the end of the uphill road. Guy pulls up and sees our “Grizzly Jersey” and calls out—"aren’t they the friendliest people." Agreed, except for no need for big breakfasts before climbs (or jesus slogans, but I keep that to myself.) Mike slipping back and then the groups leaders cleat comes off of his shoe. Mike is relieved—gotta watch this guy-after he also wished for rain at the grizzly and that also came true.

(below) (1) I'm off the Party Pardee Course, climbing on desolate on Jesus Maria (2) Big miek doing the same

The next segment have no f’n clue what happened. I thought we turned left on a side road, which had a nice downhill and then left us on the right side of Hwy 26. Huh, now I was all turned around and couldn’t figure out the way to go. We pedaled back and forth on the shoulder until we say that Jackson was the way I thought we should go-so naturally we needed to go away from Jackson. And of course Mokelumne Hill was only ¼ mile away. Stopped at winery looking for bathroom-no dice, but Sierra Trading Post let us use the “private-not a public restroom” restroom. Mike had another huge gatorade—he is determined not to run out of fuel on this ride. I had some cereal bars and saw the sign Railroad Flat-14 miles away so I didn’t get anything for the road. Mistake-as Railroad Flats would be almost 20 climbing miles away as we were not taking Hwy 26 but going on the Jesus Maria side road.

Down Highway 26 and then a sudden steep uphill that starts Jesus Maria—then a long long long fast downhill. I think Mike as happy but I reminded him that we’d have to climb that sucker on the way back, and I was hoping for more uphills on the way out. I got my wish. 70% of the road out was uphill in the middle of nowhere. After riding alongside a well running stream we started to climb, climb climb. Some really steep sections, but the views in the valley were beautiful. I had only done Jesus Maria once before and didn’t remember so much climbing—but now was going much faster than a year before. On the big clinbs took the camera from Mike-to help him save 5 oz and also to grab photos of him screaming and cursing but he kept a good demeanor and a steady pace. Great photo taken by Big Mike as we're riding Jesus Maria.

Finally mile 14 and still on Jesus Maria Road.. Came out and left turn to Railroad Flats Road—where I’d have loved a carb or two but hadn’t anything but Hammergel. Gave Mike same warning Jo Jo gave me lat year-when we get to the store someone stays with the bikes. Seems every deadbeat in the county lives in Railroad Flat.

Passed by a few cars-Trans Ams circa 1970’s. Pass a few mobile home parks. Where is this place?-the uphill rollers were getting hard. Finally downtown Railroad Flats—the general store-with a contingent of guys holding paper sacks of beer across the street by the “award winning school” (as told to me inside the general store when someone tied to pay for some beer with food stamps and a declining ATM.) We were greeted by someone who may have been our age but looked 60-came over to Mike and wondered if we were riding to West Point—another 5-10 miles away. When Mike said no-guy said we should do it—he did it when younger on a bike with no derailleur. He quickly bonded with Mike—even when Mike made a quip about the bike with him being ancient. Big Mike at Railroad Flat--kinda looks quaint.

General store had tons of candy but only 4-5 breakfast bars left and bananas looked like crap. People walking around in a haze were generally engaging, wanted to know where we had ridden from, and amazed as to what we did. A small kid in his bike came over (no helmet-cowboy hat) and checked out our tires. Unfortunately while leaving town some asshole pre- teen wanted to show off and started doing jumps near us, which he never did successfully. Every time he crashed on the road the deadbeats would egg him on, and he do some idiotic thing again. While check out that he didn’t come close to me I accidentally reset my odometer—luckily I had written my vital stats down.

Now 70% downhill-downhill rollers-steep downhill—though as Mike noted on the way up when we were finally on smooth pavement, the downhill on Jesus Maria consisted of flying down pothole strewn roads, and you couldn’t pick the best line as a car would come through about every 5 minutes to keep you honest. At one point Mike fell off the back-huh-turns out his handlebars had loosened. After tightening the bars the world was again the way it should be with Mike leading the charge and me doing my best to stay a few bike lengths behind him. Then we hit the BIG CLIMB to get out of the Jesus Maria adventure—Mike was in trouble-I grabbed the camera and took some photos. I think to get even he told me to go ½ mile back down the hill, and he’d take some photos when I arrived at the top. Where he situated himself I could have gone 20 feet back.

Flew past Mokelume Hill without stopping and the mostly downhill bypass and Paloma Road—Finally we were there-back on the desolate Pardee Course by Pardee Dam. I should have grabbed the camera again as nice backdrop to last big climb of the day. (in reality the big climb of the Party Pardee but we had done at least 6 harder ones today.) Really really strange with road being empty. On downhill Mike didn’'t tuck so we could stay together and then pulled past Buena Vista to Hwy 88. Nice tailwind-we were hitting 30 mph. When we crossed the road it turned uphill so I went to the front for as long as I could hold it—tried to set Mike up for sprint past graveyard but my legs felt it passing Howard Park—now deserted—and cut some speed back to secret rest stop/ parking area in Ione.

We were actually NOT the last rider out—a guy with a Delta Velo jersey had also done a solo ride. Trying to estimate the climbing he said that in the Gold Country every 10 miles usually means 1,000 feet. He recently went to Railroad Flat via 88-said the ride to West Point was a crappy one. Sun was going down-it was getting cold—and reflecting on the ride, considering the non support and hills, though only a killer pace for 50 miles or so, this would probably be the hardest century we’d do this year.)

(April 24, 2005) CHICO WILDFLOWER, w Big Mike, 96 miles, 5,300' climbing, 6:50- ;17.4mph- bonus Durham Loop , 123 miles, 18.0 mph

Paradise Rest Stop, Mile 25 (hard rain) 8:26-8:46 in rest stop (20m) 14.9 avg-after Honey Run (2004 14.1, 2003 13.8)
Oroville Rest Stop, Mile 47 9:46-10:00 (14m) 17.2 avg (16.5, 15.6)
***flat**** 10:06-10:33 (27m)
Lunch, Mile 62 11:28-11:45 (17m) 16.6 avg -after Table Mountain (15.9, 15.2)
Durham, Mile 75 12:20-12:30 (10m) 17.4 avg (16.6, 15.9)
***train*** (4m) 18.0 avg
Chico, Mile 96 1:36-1:37 (2m) 17.9 avg, (17.4, 16.4)
Durham, Mile 102 1:59-2:05 (6m) 17.7 avg-had slowed on bike path
Chico, Mile 123 3:10 18.0 avg

Heavy overcast on Humboldt Road and Honey Run Climb (it rained on Donna on Humboldt Road 20 minutes before)

Hard rain from Honey Run Top (Paradise) to Paradise rest stop
Light rain in downhill

Light rain Table Mt Top to Lunch stop

Sunny at Oroville (esp flat tire change), Table Mountain limb, Durham to Chico

In past years left earlier, but set 6:45 as we’d have a group (I thought) of Big Mike, June and Stephen. Nite before June calls and says Diablo Cyclists leaving at 7:30 & did I want to do ride with Diablo Cyclist group but 7:30 too late—run into Honey Run is already jammed with cyclist and the climb is way too crowded earlier. In any event looks like made the right choice as DC’s skip Humboldt Road and pull into Paradise Rest stop when we were leaving, so looks like they started well after us-and got rained on Honey Run climb.

Donna took off at 6:35. Mike suddenly appeared and we took off at 6:50. Tried to get a guarentee from Big Mike re NO RAIN , but could only elicit promise that he wouldn’t ask for it. Actually was (@55-60) but heavy overcast-light clouds overhead but dark clouds to the east-where Table Mountain is. I left rain jacket behind-which was a good move, but stupidly left hat in car, as I think getting rain on glasses bugs me more than getting arms wet.

Took vest off going up Table Mountain. Lots of water on climb-Donna told us that this is where she got rained on--@20 minute before. Nice to be able to see potholes, as not rising sun in eyes. Went hard last ½ of Table Mountain, as I knew Mike would go barrelling down the ski slope downhill.

Wet road downhill, and on GT bike WITH FENDERS, didn’t hit breaks (luckily new) and was going 33. Guy comes along at 37 and I sit behind him—near bottom I sit up to regroup with Big Mike, he comes barrelling past—think he hit 50 on downhill. Had pulled off vest before top-o-climb and never stopped to put it back on, but was surprisingly warm and suprisingly relaxed on wet downhill.

Conversationalist pace to Honey Run Road turnoff, where road is crowded with 65 milers. Four guys motor past and we jump on their wheel. We see some familiar faces. First we pass Donna, riding nicely down the road. I’m mid train so can only yell out while holding the wheel in front. Later I am pulling the train and spot-A DELTA PEDALER JERSEY—Mike is sitting 2nd wheel and I tell him I’m slowing to say hello. See who it is and yell out “I can’t believe you’re wearing a jersey”—It’s Jim Stegmen who was riding my wheel when I had the big dog accident in 2001. When there is even a hint of warmth he usually doesn't wear a jersey. A few second greeting and we take off. Don’t stop at Honey Run water stop, guys on paceline are motoring on climb, Mike has fallen off, so I drop out also.

Actually climbs are not “in the bag” today. As storming left the Litepeed at home and took the GT, which I added fenders to. And as I didn’t want to get Hugi hub wet riding the CXP-33 with a x23 in the back. So no compact cranks, no x27, gain 4 lbs on the bike. Feet still got wet (need to add a piece on bottom of fenders) but no skunk strip on the back of jacket nor constant spray on feet.

At one point on Honey Run want to pull off buff and glove inserts, while pulling off buff almost get hit by a weaving fixed gear—so I slow down a lot and Mike takes off. Then I spend a lot of time working hard to catch up to him—and want to hit Photocrazy together—but they are NOT on their traditional spot near top of Honey Run. No problem doing Honey Run in a 53/23 (62 gear inches) but had to overuse legs as no spinning to relax as in a 53/27 (53 gear inches, 15% easier.) With compact crankset I’d have a 50/23 (59 gear inches, 5% easier), but 50/27 is overkill (50 gear inches, 19% easier.) Perhaps should get a 25, (as 50/25 is 54 gear inches.) Long and the short of it-doable with heavy duty gearing but took too much out of legs as opposed to cardio.

As soone as we hit Paradise it started raiing-hard. Couldn’t see out of glasses-soon had them on the tip of my noise. Rides all jamed under an overhang—went straight to restroom but only 1 fixture in it so pissed behind building Went straight fo great baked goodies-best coffee cake and apricot crumb something—need on calories to keep warm during what seemed what would be a couple of misrable hours of riding (weather report –morning showers turning to slight chance of rain) but in about 20 minutes it let up.

Before leaving stopped by Paradise Bike shop booth and thanked them gfor saving my ride last year. Lady said “oh did you send us the thank you postcard-husband keep it by work shop bench throughout the year.” When pulling out we saw the Diablo Cyclist pulling in.

-At this point my ride report pre write ended so don't recall many specifics. Weather turned out nicely. Lake Oroville the best rest stop as it is only on the 100 mile course so it is not as crowded at the other ones. Sunny when Mike gets a flat after we leave Oroville-tiny wire in his tire he has a bitch fo a time digging out so in the future I carry tweesers. At lunch both Mike and I say we're not that hungry then we exclaim gleefully in unison "sandwiches" when we see the array of big hero sandwiches. We hammer the flat Durham Chico loop and then vowing to take it easy, go back and do it again--again racing.

I wanted to find out how to get back to Durham and when we got tot the rest stop I asked worker if a nearby road was the fastest route between Chico and Durham. The road we the official bail out road for folks who didn't want to do the Century, and the worker kept saying "yes, you can cut the ride short and head back to Chico..." and we'd keep telling him, "no, want to ADD to the ride, where do we pick up the road in Chico," and he'd go right back trying to help us cut theride short. Turned out we had no problem finding the road once we looped back to Chico (help up by passing train for the first of two times,) but took our life in our hands as part of the road to Durham was on a bike path--and we were swimming against scores of cyclists cutting the century short--even Big Mike up front couldn't get them to move off our side of the path.

Donna waiting for us, we joined the rest of the Diablo Cyclists. Ron, who was revered by the clubs old timers as he used to lead the double/ century groups had been the one to decide to leave late, and then to cut off sections of the century he didn't like (Humboldt Road)--but Mike was thinking about doing the 5 pass Death Ride this year, and I was dare to think about doing three 200 mile rides for the California Triple Crown--so leaving early and doing more of the route was in order for us. Over the next few years the "leave late and cut off sections" attutude would disappear as new members were now riding.

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