After successful series of fast paced 120 rides looking forward to Davis Double even though was worst ride of last year when I raced through first 130 miles and was in the ether zone for the remaining 70. Ironically, roomed with Domo Tom and he had also collapsed at a late rest stop last year after trying to race through course, and he indicated he would ride sensibly this year.
Good news is that big group of Diablo Cyclists were doing this ride—though four of nine on fixed gear. There is a discernible split in the club between many of the oldtimers who have done doubles for years and now don’t do them, or now ride alot with a fixed gear, and a handful of newcomers who are just now going for the CA Triple Crown Jersey, want long weekend training rides where we can push the pace. Jack transcends both groups—he is a veteran of doubles, is not in the fixed gear clique, and rides sensibly—never terribly fast but never slows down. As I needed two years ago, (and needed at the beginning of last year when Jo Jo bailed) I decided that Jack would be the “director sporteiff” for this ride, and I’d just follow his pace—and even his penchant for getting in and out of rest stops very quickly. Unfortunately Don, a strong rider who also sets a high aerobic but not racing/aerobic pace, and like to pull the paceline, was going to do the ride on a fixed gear.
Before heading up to Davis picked up my Diablo Cyclist club kit--picking it up felt strange, making my divorce from the Delta Pedalers (where I had been a club officer and learned about biking) complete.
Got up to Davis early Friday, and did my loosening up warmup ride from Davis to Winters. Davis, a college town and suburb of Sacramento, though on the edge of the farm belt is known as a cyclist mecca—especially for triathletes that like the flats. Tons of cars in Davis proper—3 waiting for each available parking space downtown. But quickly on the flat farm roads with very light traffic—when foreshadowing what would happen the next day a car pulls up alongside me and rolls down window—young smarmy lawyer type whose voice gets higher as he thinks he is asking most intelligent question ever, whines “can I ask you a question—why aren’t you riding on the bike path.” Yes—next to road with no shoulder but little traffic, where most cars have easily passed me 6’ away, is a bike path running down the side of a farm. Could have answered that bike path pavement usually much worse than the road (which it was), could have answered that with weeds growing on both sides of path afraid of getting goat head in tire, could have answered that as bike path suddenly crosses main road every few miles real dangerous just like in Tahoe where Donna went into a tree. But didn’t even want to expend any energy with the fool—so just said “because I am on the road—bunjuerno” Smarmy lawyer paces with me for a half minute—waiting for more that never came, and then drives away. Anyway downtown Winters was nice but desolate-5 parking spaces for every one car.
Night before met up with most of the Diablo Cyclists at registration, and we ate at Pasta?, where I thought that CA Mike was going to have a neck injury scoping out all of the coeds. Doug and CA Mike already have one double under their belt from last week, so figure we’ll have a good 5 man gruppo with Jack, Domo Tom, CA Mike and Doug for this relatively flat ride (7000 feet, just 3 mediocre climbs) Second week in a row that ate at a pasta place day before ride and ordered ravioli—which meant I got smallest portion of anyone. Waiters spoke in Italian, which was cool—unlike Italy we finished meal in leas than 1 hour.
Walking around the safety pins had weaseled out of my registration packet—so when almost back to motel I had to go back to no frills checkin. From a springtime of perpetual 65 degrees it was now mid 80’s and would be the same tomorrow, so I drank and drank and drank. Luckily it was going to be warm as knee warmers still not returned by Mt. Hamilton Challenge organizers. Opened up tons of Diablo Cyclist clothes I picked up earlier in the day, deciding what to wear—racing cut jersey perfect fit, racing cut wind shell vest—perfect fit, sleeveless tri top—same size and cut as vest—OH SHIT—DAMN TIGHT, and with only one little pocket. Kinda useless—so even though like to ride sleeveless when warm I’d have to go with regular jersey. The next day someone would tell me that anyone in club who ordered them in the past used them as tee shirts. Pinned number on jersey, wrapped number on top tube of bike, and went to bed early but was up every two hours, not from nervousness like last year but to take a whiz.
Diablo Cyclist oldtimers had decided that we’d leave at 5:30, right after sunup, which was fine as last year no fun riding for an hour in the dark. A little worried that I didn’t drop lights off the night before to be picked up at the last rest stop—as I finished at 6:30 last year, then with the same ride I’d come in around 7:20—so about a half hour “fudge factor” to dusk. Second week in a row nice continental breakfast at motel—then drove the 15 minutes to the start of the ride. At breakfast Tom had me worried, he now was talking about riding as hard as he could over the course on one of his classic bikes (he has a stable of classic bikes) The regular bike group was rearing to go but Jack had us circle the parking lot looking for the fixed gear gruppo—so eight of us (Tom pushed on ahead) started in unison.
What a cool sight with eight long shadows cast across the ag fields. And the fixed gear guys were pushing it—a nice steady 20 mph pace which has us pass scores of riders—seemingly the most popular start time is 5:00. Flew into first rest stop-could use a porta potty, but when we looked over there is a huge line for just 3 portas. Fixed gear guys announce they are pushing on-Doug and Mike announce they are stopping, I indicate I am stopping to—when Jack says that he is going on.
Jack know what he is doing, so I am also.
Suddenly Jack semi-sprints—which he never does. For some zen like karma reason he hooks onto the back of a tandem with a stuffed alligator in the back,. Though i got killed here last year hooking up with speeding tandems I jumped and got right before Jack. Boy did Jack pick the right locomotive—until the hills this tandem pulled us at 22mph, never really going much above or below this speed. Nice couple on the tandem, we’d bs on occasion as ride went on.
Hit Cardiac Hill rollers and free ride stopped—but Cardiac is not as ominous as its name. Eerily not riding with many people—the Elite and nighttime start riders were well in front of us, and most others were well behind. Jack and I rode up Cardiac together and soon we were at #2 Cardiac rest stop at the Dam, our first one. Jack indicated we could stop at this on....unfortunately also only 3 porta potties so line was long. Smartly I had grabbed a banana and some fig newtons while standing on line, as a few minutes after I came out the fixed gear boys pulled into the rest area and Jack said “time to go”-as it was seemingly mandated that we had to stay ahead of them. Ron was slightly up the road, when we passed him it was the last we’d see of any Diablo Cyclists (except one older gentleman wearing a DC kit I didn’t recognize) all day.
Another climb soon started, and then a long downhill that last year filled me with trepidation, but now was having fun. When climbing to the reservoir we had been hit cold blast by a stiff headwind, but now conditions had calmed down. The next 90 miles were great—flat to slightly uphill rollers along lightly traveled roads—until a line of super sized pickem up trucks towing boats towards Lake Hennessey would recklessly pass. There was a huge presence of CHP and sheriffs on the road—so I think the boaters were on good behavior until 5-0 disappeared, and then it was a free for all. One black pickup (didn't notice the Raider decal) had swung out and came back into the lane about 6” from me (with no shoulder) when oncoming traffic appeared.
Some cyclists were causing problems also. On the slight uphills Jack and I were keeping up a solid pace and Jack had a rear view mirror so he would indicate when it was OK to pass a slower cyclist. However, some cyclists weren’t slower—they almost stopped in their tracks when a line of cars/ trucks passed, forcing a quick maneuver around them.
Jack kept riding at a quick but conversationalist pace (no shortness of breath) and we kept passing lots of riders. Occasional a paceline would pass us, and Jack or I would just rev it up just a little, and we’d rejoin and repass about 80% of the time. Strange phenomena, some people work really hard to get past you—and once they are in front they slack off.
One person we didn’t stay ahead of was the “on your left” girl. At Cardiac Dam rest stop I heard a women declare that her riding time for another double was really fast, but she stayed to long at the rest stop. All of a sudden, on a section with lots of traffic, I heard a bellowing “on your LEFT!, on your LEFT!” It wasn’t a friendly greeting, it was more of a “get out of my way.” The woman from the last rest stop whizzed by and I picked up the pace, first on her wheel and then on an uphill roller went ahead of her with Jack right behind. But then the road straightened out, and soon heard “on your LEFT!”, on your LEFT.” I again picked up the pace but Jack said we were going to fast so I slowed down and the “on your left girl” flew by. (A few days later relating the story to CA Mike and he starts describing her to a “T” and mimicking her “on your LEFT!”—chuckling he/ Doug also saw her near the lunch stop and were annoyed at her condescending tone. Ironically—as he/Doug were about 30 minutes behind Jack and I at that point, I guess she did stay at a rest stop way to long.) Further irony--in later years we'd run into her often--nice person--off the bike, and it would take riding w/ CA Mike on Davis years later, and passing her, to make the connection.
Jack has us skip rest stop #3, so we did hit #4-Pope Valley, the Gateway to the Napa Valley. Each rest stop is about 20 miles apart. Instead of ten 20 mile rides we now were going to do five 40 mile rides, though Jack did indicate that we “might stop at consecutive rest stops later on. " Pope Valley had 3 different flavors of cytomax—tried the peach that was good. Same beautiful rolling roads in the middle of nowhere, but now devoid of boat traffic—or any traffic, sun glistening off of vineyards to the sides. We started riding with a couple—strong riders from the Sacramento Wheelmen who will be at the Slug Gulch rest stop on the Sierra Century. So naturally I talked with them for awhile about my favorite ride..
Jack and I were doing a good job of tag teaming—when one sensed that the pace was falling the other guy would go to the front. At one point Jack said that I had to watch my speed, as I was a stronger rider then he was, and he couldn’t go as fast. I told him that maybe for 120 miles, but for 200 miles I’d bet on him. For a long stretch we bs’s about some old Delta Pedaler members that had found their way to the Diablo Cyclists, and Ish—everyone’s favorite long distance cyclist.
Jack said we were going to pass rest stop #5-Middletown, which is kind of a nice rest stop before the big climb but I was committed to running on Jack’s timetable—though I joked about now missing out on the pickles they have at this rest stop (still remember from last year-why?) Then it was on to Big Canyon Road in the middle of nowhere—a steady climb which has sections marked by huge potholes. It was over this section last year, when wondering what happened (didn’t know the punchline yet) to Whiny Mike and Jo-Jo that I hooked onto two Diablo Cyclists who told me about their Club-for the life of me I can’t remember who they were. What a difference a year makes. At 11:45 we hit the 100 mile mark—I felt great. Joked that we have about 10 miles of downhills, and the last 20 miles really wouldn’t count as close to the end, so we only have a 70 mile ride remaining.
Jack let us stop at #6-Big Canyon, which is a small rest stop which I bypassed last year. Domo Tom said he saw us here but we didn’t see him. Two strange things were happening at this point. Most troubling was that ball of right foot was hurting—not hotfoot but pain especially when standing on pedals. Second, right butt was hurting in one spot—some weird chaffing that a few days later would peel and scab over. In any event told Jack that I couldn’t stand as much as usual, he said “when my backside hurts more than my foot I’ll be standing." But every time we hit a patch of rough road the vibration from the pedal was hurting my foot.
Big Canyon was a fun climb--but part of the road in disrepair and every year it has gotten worse, so in future years we'd be doing the harder Cobb Mountain Climb instead (unless on a fixed gear.) Here having fun keeping Jack's pace and skipping rest stops--at least for 190 miles. Photocrazy photos.
The curse of Jay getting lost overwhelmed Jack, who knows all of the routes. Entering Lower Lake he took a wrong turn and we actually had to backtrack about a mile. Suddenly we were at the lunch stop—which Jack said we (strongly suggested) "could" bypass. Jack is definitely the anti-Mike (who still believes in the lunch “hour”)
A little headwind on more bumpy roads and then out towards the last big climb-Resurrection. Last year this is where I started losing it—this year albeit my foot (and butt) I felt great-breathing good, legs good. At base of climb was passed by a dozen riders, I decided to pick up tempo here as a good chase would make me forget about my foot, and getting to #7-Resurrection rest stop before Jack would buy me some time before he said "time to go.” So I went up hard—but not at a killer pace, and repassed everyone who had passed below.
Resurrection is a cool rest stop, but it signifies the end of the great portion of the course. Now traffic would pick up in the glare of the day. We had done 133 miles at an average speed of 17.2????—actually my average speed was slower than last year. But time stopping was way way down and I felt much better. Now kinda sorry that I didn’t do Devil Mountain Double as lathered up with suntan lotion and drank 3rd of 4th V8, along with banana, watermelon, fig newtons and some corn chips for salt. (This was my fare all day as never touched peanut butter sandwiches.) Filled up the cytomax and was eagerly “ready to go?” when Jack inquired (last year wanted to stay for hours) A rare photo-Jack lets us go into a rest stop. It actually is a good idea to skip every other rest stop early on the Davis Double-which has twice as many rest stops as other Doubles.
When leaving rest stop I accidentally erased my odometer setting—which sucked as the rest of the ride I had to use new math to figure out how much longer-how long to next rest stop. But was stoked when we covered the last 66 miles in 19.9 mph—and this is with me falling apart for the last 10—but I digress.
On the Resurrection downhill (would love to see the fixed gear boys do this, as I couldn’t keep up with the pedals in a 50/12) joined by two guys who made a strange team. One guy was real talkative, happy we were riding a 4 man, and kept inviting us to come our to ride with the Marin Bike Club. The other guy was kinda surly, like he was pissed we were now riding with them—and never said a word until I told him that I wanted to get his bike frame and hang it in my house. Which I do—as it is the Mercx bike used by Domo Farm Frites—but surly guys bike was in Domo Lotto colors. When he barked out “its better to ride it” I told him it is better to have one painted in Domo Farm Frites colors. In any event on downhill talkative guy and Jack kept coasting and drafting off of each other, it looked like a horserace as one passed by a neck, and then the other by a nose. I just enjoyed watching this. Then we got into a nice paceline which was quickly joined by a few more people. No one was trying to go hard except Lotto Domo guy and he wasn’t going fast at all. At this point I felt like the strongest rider in the group.
Jack kept looking at his watch—at first I think it was to see when to take Endurolites but at this point it seemingly was to come in under 12 hours which was doable. But then a few things happened that damaged our chances. Lotto Domo guy flatted about 2 miles from #8-Gualda (sp?)Firehouse, and if they would have bypassed the rest stop I probably would have also. But after they flatted I told Jack I wanted to stop as my foot was killing me. We did (10 minutes) and I saw volunteer who gave me a boost last year when he announced that I was a double century rookie to applause. But still no diet soda at this stop—in retrospect I probably should have had a hi-test.
Now really on dog miles-Hwy 16 with heavy traffic that leads to Cache Creek Casino. Luckily a slight tail wind from the north instead of the cross wind from last year. At one point a four man paceline passed us and Jack said do you think we can catch them. Sure—and I took a hard pull back to them and we got on their wheel. About another mile down the road and an uphill grade—I didn’t even go that hard but I whizzed by everyone, and soon slowed down and looked back to regroup with Jack about 20 seconds behind.
Then I heard rumble rumble rumble—Oh shit, I flatted. Felt like Musseuw at 2004 PR. One guy I passed went by and said (sarcastically)“tough luck man.” –tire change (10 minutes) and we soon were on our way, off Highway 16 and on some twisting back country roads and suddenly at #9-Farnham—where I again wanted to stop to work on the bottom of my foot. Jack was OK with this as long as we didn't stop at #10—which i skipped last year and sure enough would skip again.
Don’t know what happened here. Stretched-took Endrolights,-actually put ice in the Cytomax-had two more V8’s-banana-fig newtons. Except for foot and backside I felt like I could go another 50 miles at speed. Before we left I grabbed a small piece of cantaloupe-figuring more potassium.. I’d taste and retaste and almost barf out the cantaloupe for the rest of the ride (like last years pasta salad at the Lower Lake lunch stop)
We get going and two guys come along, one is cranking a little, Jack has no problem staying on his wheel but I am. My concentration is lapsing, I am thirsty as hell but cytomax is just making me sick to my stomach. Figure just 15 miles to go—piece of cake. We fly by rest stop #10—if solo I would have stopped here. We’re not going that fast-22-23, but I am struggling to hold onto the wheel.
Then we almost had a big accident, Jack driving the paceline down a farm road and an oversized tractor taking up a lane and a quarter coming at us from the other direction. With 100 feet to go a car shoots around it and squirms towards us and then back in front of the tractor—no problem. Then a Hummer, which was sitting in back of the car does the same thing and Jack almost winds up as a hood ornament. Guy driving Hummer gives us peace sign, we give him the we’re #1 Bronx sign.
Jack gets an adrenaline rush, as he starts going faster than he has all day-dropping everyone. I ride back to him but am hurting, and slow for the other two guys. One of the other guys says he’ll pull for awhile—great—at first I have the same adrenaline rush but the miles aren’t ticking off fast enough and I keep feeling like i’m going to puke cantaloupe while my mouth feels real real salty..
With 5 miles to go I have to stop—damn it, I really thought I’d finish strong. I tell Jack to go on but he stops, tells me to take a hit of the plain water he is carrying. I do and fell much much better almost instantly. A pace line soon goes by and we both go to catch it—and suddenly we are in Davis proper.
Pull into parking lot at 6:09—12:39 of total time, without getting lost (2 minutes looking a map , 4 minutes to do extra mile, my needing to stop at rest stop #8 (10 minutes) and flat (10 minutes) and my bonk (2 minutes) we’d be down to 12:15 and i think we’d have found the extra time somewhere—especially if we’d have been joined by a compatible 3rd rider all day. And as noted before covered the last 66 miles at 20 mph.
Funny thing is people go running in with their bikes to check in an have their time recorded. But after slowing down I was lightheaded and I didn;t care. Threw all my stuff into car and changed clothes. Saw Bob M and Ish and bs’d with them. Called Donna who said I didn’t sound good—I didn’t. Then saw grass patch and laid out for 10-15 minutes hearing guys bs’ing about how tough B-P-B was—would anyone in their right mind do that. Finally I dragged myself in and checked in, got nauseuous from the food, saw Jack eating a heaping platter of lasagna, just got some water and went back out on the grass for another 10-15 minutes. Finally went back in again-Jack still had (another?) heaping platter of lasagna, good, he was making up for me as I went for a big bowl of ice cream, about 8 more glasses of water, and then picked the toping off the lasagna.
Couldn't figure out why I felt great and then almosyt zoned out at the end of the ride. Only one thing to do--sign up for the Terrible Two--the hardest double on the remaining schedule.