Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Year In Review and I Joined the Crazy People

2006 Year in Review

Disappointed that I didn't finish the doubles triple crown races by DNF'ing at Central Coast--but in the other two events--Devil Mountain and Terrible Two--I felt so beaten up by mile 175 that I stopped caring about finishing time. That is why Mt.Tam Double was so cool--fell apart early (came in with injured foot) and rebounded strongly. For that reason Mt Tam was my favorite double of the seven I started this year--and also that I rode whole course with clubmate Don. From last year experience and talking to double's veterans from other clubs--riding a timed double with a someone seems impossible. Don and I also rode untimed Solvang, Davis, and Knoxville together--where we started with even more clubmates but didnt chase early breakaways. On untimed doubles I relax, and get psyched going into the timed events. In 2007 I will not do the two hardest rides DMD & TT as don't want to train intensly over the winter--but plan to hit them again in 2008.



In retrospect after my intensive care accident and daughter's serious surgery--doing any doubles in early 2006 was amazing--hopefully in two years will go into season completly healthy and have no nagging injury problems. But who knows--always suprised as to what goes on.


Favorite moment from 2006.



When at @ mile 175 of Mt. Tam Double a trio of riders wearing Terrible Two jersies 30 seconds down the road, and after telling Don we were going to catch up to them and then pass--we did.



But too many down moments--biggest bust was Sierra Century, a double metric that I love--first course changed, then two tire blowouts and then found out rider had been killed in a run in with a tractor while locals pissed that changed route had tied up the road.



Last 70 miles where I lost it on Central Coast and had to sag in, and when I almost lost it on last 70 miles on Devil Mountain Double. On any ride I did from last year--the Death Ride, Terrible Two, Knoxville, Davis Double, Mt Tam Double--it seemed I finished 30 minutes later than in 2005, when I was always going balls out. This year was too f'n hard.



Another great moment--seeing Doug from 2005 Triple Crown Rookie Crop, finish his first TT and Death Ride--as he gets overly stoked whereas I'm getting a little blase after doing these a few times.. Unfortuantely a few clubmates had their own health issues--so instead of a big frat house up at the Death Ride, we had a reduced team..


Mt Hamilton from the Hard Mines Road side--3rd time a charm. End of October Diablo Cyclist ride up Mines Road to "the Junction"--about a 60 mile, gentle climbing out and back. We started with about two dozen riders--racing to the Junction so we don't have to wait an hour on a long food line. Then Jack, Joe, Sarah and I decided to contine on to the top of Mt Hamilton--the steep side--making it a century with 7,5000' climbing. Early in the year the "bonus mile group" (doubles riders and other crazy folks who don't do doubles but train for them) had started in Walnut Creek and did a 120 miler to the Junction, and a few weeks later we aborted our first attempt to Mt. Hamilton when it started drizzling. Now, with the season ending our bonus mile group dwindled to 4--but great to do on a beautiful October day. My tee-shirt coming off at the Junction. (Ward gets shot of club on early part of Mines Road)

Doubles Recap

(On easier doubles, like Knoxville, 95% of the starters finished, while only 66% finished the Terrible Two.)

March-SOLVANG SPRING DOUBLE (6'800' climbing) Hit by cold rain, lousy support, and 5 flat tires in our group. not timed, @13:35


April-DEVIL MOUNTAIN DOUBLE (18,800') Zoomed through first 130 miles, wondering what the "big deal" was--then every muscle in my body came unglued for last 70 miles. 79th of 146 finishers (17:24)


May-CENTRAL COAST DOUBLE (13,800') Went on hunger strike at mile 90 as sudden inland heat did me in DNF @ mile 161


May-DAVIS DOUBLE (7,400') Usually my least favorite double, twice fallen apart at the end--so funny thing happened while waiting for repeat of the usual to happen--finished feeling great. not timed, @13:31


June-TERRIBLE TWO (16,000') From Central Coast experience cautious at the beginning and heat (100 degrees) and steep climbs on second half conspired to have me rest/ stretch for long times, but I finished feeling good. 102nd of 181 finishers, 283 starters (15:48)


August-MT TAM DOUBLE (14,800') Foot problem had me "bonking" at mile 80 but had a great recovery after mile 120 and finished very strong. First timed double ridden with clubmate. 35th of 188 finishers, 233 starters (14:17)


September-KNOXVILLE FALL DOUBLE (12,000') Hit by car the week before so thigh/ knee killing, but rode with bunch of clubmates and completed my 6th for the year. not timed, @15:00

Ranking Events (diificulty rating, % of Death Ride)

excellent


Mt Tam Double (great course--good support) (90%)


Terrible Two (very good course-great support) (150%)


Wine Country Double Metric Century-Santa Rosa (very good course-good support) (55%)


Knoxville Double (good course-very good support) (80%)


good


Tierra Bella Double Metric-Gilroy (fair course-good support) (70%)


Davis Double (fair course-very good support) (75%)


The Death Ride (good course-good support) (100%)


Devil Mountain Double (good/ poor course**-very good support) (130%) **parts of course beautiful-parts along very busy roads


fair


Sierra Double Metric Century (revised course)-Plymouth (fair course-very good support) (75%)


Tour of the Napa Valley-Yountville (good coursde-fair support) (45%)


Central Coast Double (good course-fair support) (n/r)


Riverbank Century-Riverbank (poor course-good support) (40%)


poor


Solvang Spring Double (fair course-piss poor support) (70%)


Great article by Don on the Diablo Cyclist website >>>click here<<< about the 2006 doubles season and his attempt at 10 doubles. As I started 7 I was on many with him and he provides a little different perspective than my accounts (though our recaps are pretty close.)

Donna summarizes Don's article "When Don is doing good you're hurting and when you are doing good he is not." Actually Solvang (albeit freezing rain) and Davis was fine for both of us and everything finally came together (forgetting 20 miles of foot fracture self-dx) on the last timed double of the season--Mt Tam, which we rode together, which was a blast.


2006 Quotes & Photos Review

Quote of the Year "Jay, Your wife said you were not going to be riding!"--Veronica, rest stop worker at Knoxville, upon seeing me come in 7 days after I got hit by a car.

THE COBBLES BABY--A film by Scott Cody about Paris Roubaix. Years ago Jo-Jo was pimping The Tour Baby, a LAF benefit film by Scott Cody about the Tour de France, actually about Scott Cody at the Tour de France as he plays like Hunter S Thompson and interjects himself into every scene. As not really interested in TdF or Scott or LAF didn't find it that great. So when someone told me The Cobbles Baby was coming to a theatre near me--I really wasn't that gung ho about seeing it even if Paris Roubaix is the hardest and my favorite race and unknown by most people. At last minute Donna and her cycling friends decided to see it, and it sounded like a good idea.

Director Scott was in the theater lobby and turns out to be a real nice guy--so then when he is "stealing"every scene I didn't mind. The movie is actually short so they built an "event" around the film--I ran into Professor Dave who knew that Freddie Rodriguez was in the lobby, and pulled me along to get our photo taken with him. I was decked out in a Museeuw shirt and a goofy Domo stocking cap--Freddie hadn't had the greatest time on Domo but he was gracious as we mugged for photos. I was jazzed as Freddie had been a part of the greatest team (at least on Easter Sunday) of all time. He later told a story that at 2002 P-R he had just ridden hard back to the lead group from a mechanical when he heard that teammate Museeuw was going to attack on the next section of cobblestones. He asked Musseuw to hold off attacking but Museeuw was locked in and shortly started his 20+ mile solo charge to the finish. Later Freddie called George Hincapie to say hi, Domo's arch enemy--I don't think George and Freddie have ever been teammates but in cycling it seems that common national identity is stronger than the team that you're on.


Freddie Rodriguez, Scott Cody, Professor Dave and me. I'm wearing a shirt with Museeuw winning 2002 P-R; Freddie latter indicated he was unhappy at team victory party as he had not been part of the winning move.

Donna had mentioned to Scott that I put cobbles under my trainer--he was jazzed about that and later called me up to tell the audience why I loved P-R. I stammered about how it is the ultimate test of cyclists over a demanding course--later I though about it and the real reason I love watching P-R is that when I'm on a hard 200 miler I sometimes can lock into visuals from 2001-02 P-R and almost channel energy from Musseuw-Knaven etc.



Wish the movie was longer and focused more on the riders not named Hincapie. (But then again surprised that Lancypants wasn't gratuitously mentioned) After all this was Museeuw's last race where he flatted in the lead with 5K to go. You'd never know this. Also Scott missed out on The Forest of Arenburg--the scariest part of the race with the narrowest cobbled road. Actually from the film you almost never know who is leading the race, you just see the riders charge by and Scott racing around back roads in a car trying to see the race from numerous cobble sections. But lots of good behind the scene stuff--like the Roubaix Velodrome--which complements the actual Liggett-Sherwin race videos. The actual DVD has a bonus feature of Museeuw's farewell in a minor race near his hometown which is great.

Thanksgiving Day, 2006-Club ride up freezing Mt Diablo. I'm riding with two people I did most of my seminal rides with in last two years, Don in 2006 and Big Mike in 2005. Its a holiday so I have the bike stereo out, if you look hard you can see the Blaupunkt speaker in front of Don's knee. "Patti Smith-baby"--Photo by Ward

NEW BIKE--I JOINED THE "CRAZY PEOPLE"


THE SPUTNIK HAS LANDED



It was just a matter of time. Surrounded by loads of riders in Diablo Cyclists who love bikes and riding. So much so that many of the long time members already did the California Triple Crown--Devil Mountain Double--Terrible Two and now as something different they ride a fixed gear. Of course we have a large contingent that in 2005 did the easiest double (if any are easy), Davis, on fixed gears. Don took that to a new height this year, while riding 10 doubles, he did 3 on a fixed. (This brings me to the "crazy people" story. Diablo Cyclists made such an impression with their fixed armada at Davis in 2005, a few months later on the Knoxville Double another rider spotting my jersey asked me where our fixed group was. Later I pulled into a rest stop and set my bike aside. At the food table a girl saw my jersey and asked me "are you on a regular bike or a fixed gear?" I blurted out "I'm not with the crazy people." Crazy indeed--each hard ride becomes much much harder. Oh yeah--a fixed gear. No shifting. You want to go faster you have to increase your cadence. And something else a tad different--no coasting. You always have to pedal--and on a downhill the pedals take a life unto themselves and spin 150RPM while you have to keep up with them. Riding a fixed gear is the classic off season way to train as it helps build your cadence. Now it is the classic messenger bike.


If 2005 was the year of the "rookie doubles crop" 2007 may be the year of the "rookie fixed gear crop." Cal Mike picked one up--so did Rusty. And now me. "DON/ BRIAN-NO!"-I am not doing Davis on a fixed!!


I decided to ameliorate the "black cloud" of growing old by getting a fixed gear for my birthday. I love when I know nothing about something and can dive in to something totally new. Seemed to be two price points for a fixed--an off the shelf beginner model for around $500, and a $2000+ hi-tech machine for banked track racers. (Actually there is a 3rd subgroup--as fixed gears have replaced the mountain bike as the "in bike" among urban messengers, who go "dumpster diving" for parts and regal in their ability to build a brakeless fixed gear for less than $100--even if the frame has duct tape holding it together.) Besides the cost track machines were out. They don't have brakes and usually brakes can't be added (you slow and stop by going up the steep sides of the track), they don't have water bottle bosses, the bottom bracket is high, and the seat far forward--maybe comfortable on a smooth track but a killer on a road with bumps and ruts.


Another option is the "conversion," finding a frame from the 1960's-70's which has horizontal dropouts for adjusting the chain tension (most new bikes have vertical dropouts) and building it yourself. (Fixed gears need special cranks, and rear hub.) My "dream" was to build up a classic Colnago. But finding a good used bike would take months, and I also remembered that I don't know much about bike mechanics--so I'd be spending lots of $$$$ on a bike mechanic doing the build.

The Sputnik is "more orange" than my orange framed Litespeed. Special orange rimmed rear wheel built for it and special Paul Cranks with suit of cards added.
Basically that left the off the shelf basic fixed gears that most of the "big boys" and lots of independents are now offering. The problem with lots of the independent offerings are that they have bike messengers in mind--no brakes, track like steep angles, 'cheep' parts or heavy steel frames. The major company offerings aren't much better--many aluminum frames on bikes that try to be part track with kinda steep angles in the smaller sizes and high bottom brackets (as you have to pedal around corners higher bottom brackets are good, but incredibly high one lessen bike stability.) Then I saw that MASI was coming out with an ORANGE FRAMED fixed with slacker angles than most. Cool--but two sticking points. Made from basic cromoly metal (like my hybrid) so would be a bit heavy and the fork was steel which I would want to replace. Also, to capture a low price point the wheels and half of the other components were "not the best." I then saw a JAMIS SPUTNIK online (you can only see these bikes online as bike shops usually don't stock fixed gear.) Frame made from better metal, carbon fork--in fact many parts really good.

Only thing apart from the wheels junky--though I have 172.5 cranks on (low bracketed) Litespeed and 170's on GT, the Jamis bottom bracket wasn't high for a fixed gear--and as I don't want to bottom out on turns and the purpose of my riding it is to increase cadence, I'd want to switch out of the 170 stock to 167.5 or 165's. (@ 1/4" less)

Of course timing bad as all the 2006 models sold out with 2007s coming out in a month. Additionally, while the 2007 came down in price, it did so at the expense of the cranks that were now "no name." But almost all other parts still good--basic Ritchey. Luckily, at a bike shop I've used for a year, while they weren't a Jamis dealer, my favorite mechanic was related to one, so he was able to get the bike and then took care of the modifications.


JAMIS SPUTNIK (***modifications)

Frame-Reynolds 631

Fork-Easton EC70 Carbon

Brakes-Campy Veloce***

Brake Levers-Shimano Non Series*** (Should have gotten Black Somas)

Brake Cabling-Animal Non Linear ORANGE Cable***

Crankset-Paul Pure Road Cranks, 46 Teeth, 165mm, Suit of Cards Design*** (Needed shorter cranks and with a few smaller teeth)

BB-Campy Centaur*** (Paul Cranks need Campy BB)

Headset-Aheadset (Yeah-NOT Intergrated--will replace with Orange King one day)

Bars-Ritchey Comp Road Bars

Stem-Ritchey Pro Stem*** (Needed longer stem, painted silver face plate)

Seat Post-Miche Black*** (A work of art)

Front Wheel-American Classic 420*** or anything else I have laying around. (Don't like AC on Litespeed as too harsh--one day will build another Deep V with an ornage King hub.)

Back Wheel-Velocity Deep V Orange Wheelset with Paul Hubs***

Fixed Cog-Surley 17t for 73gi.*** Bike was set up for 86gi. So my gearing now is like having something between 39x14 and 39x15.

Freewheel-Shimano 20t*** (If I flip the wheel for a huge climb-a local ride takes me to the Los Vaquaros Dam, a 2000' 9% climb, which I can barely do in this gear)

Saddle-Selle San Marcos Rolls Classic*** (Matches all of my other bikes)

Pedals-Time Impact Steel*** (Hard to clip in while pedals constantly turn--STOP IT!)

Water Bottle Cages--Orange Velocity Cages***


Bike weight 19.5-19.75 lbs. Had to wait for cranks in production so no fixed gear for Thanksgiving weekend. But ready the first of December-Ian did a first rate job on the build--and looking forward to JUST TRAIN on it. (Donna says I shouldn't delude myself--I'll be doing a double on it.) .















Postscript-Before doing any fixed gear Diablo Cyclist ride I wanted to get some practice in. Donna/I went to Los Vaquaros on the maiden voyge (not counting short rides at night where laughing inflatable Frosty the Snowmen were everywhere.) Sunny but 40 degrees--Donna laughed when I stopped at an unsightly monument with Mt Diablo in the background--perfect for a Fixed Gear gallery photo. Trouble is that I had to strip down to my tank top to get my homemade Diablo Cyclist jersey in the photo. Great ride--only had trouble clipping in spinning pedals if I didn't do it right away. Too lazy/ cold to turn wheel for Los Vaquaros Dam climb (2000' 9% grade) so I did an extra out and back (5 miles) on flat road in Los Vaquaros. Saw my original bike mentor, John, at coffee shop and we sat around and bs'd for a couple of hours. Mid week I got to work at home. Work is cool about this and without a commute I start working at 6:30am, so I can take a 3 hour lunch--another fixed gear ride out to Los Vaquaros.
Finally--the day to put on the doofy over-the-calf-socks and go on a Diablo Cyclist fixed gear ride. A half dozen other crazy people also out. This was supposed to be a Fixed Gear Friendly ride--oh shit--we are going up Bollinger Canyon--6 miles at 3-5% Which of course meant a loooong downhill. Was shocked how fast we made it up the climb as Brian (fg), Steve (fg) and Ward (new Kelly) were bsing and chasing Big Mike/ Joe who were all chasing Don (fg.) Then a little nervous for the downhill--was going to flip my wheel but no one else was so.....it was an f'n "E Ticket" ride. Unbelievable fun.. Few times stumbled while clipping in--have to get 2nd foot in before I go over 5mph and cranks windmill and not be ancie by traffic behind or club members taking off. Once I'm going over 5mph I can't clip in. Told that my 73 gear inches a little high for our long/ hilly rides, but frustrated that couldn't keep the speed up when going into the Diablo Blvd sprint (where I try to take a turn and go as hard as possible until our sprinters come around.) At that point I wanted a 53x11. We shall see...


MILES in orange TRAINER MINUTES in black

Suddenly the year really over and even though did MMCCII + 161 miles of doubles (you figure it out) had 300 miles less than last year. But then again I didn't start riding till mid January coming off injury and just stole moments through Jessie's tumor thru February. My trainer minutes ranked as an all time high like 2003 when I was training for all the rides I was scared of--and in 2003 I had my Hybrid Bike with low (48 chainring) gearing set up on a low resistance trainer--not a 53 chainring Road Bike set up on a hi-resistance Kirk Kinetic Trainer. So 2nd best annual total in both road miles and trainer minutes. Nice combo. Plan is to take it relatively easy in 2007 but as I know from the past I'm always surprised by what actually happens.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

RIVERBANK NO WINE NO CHEESE CENTURY-2006

(October 15, 2006) Riverbank Wine & Cheese Century, 110 miles, 16.1mph, 7:30-@3:30-inc stop at a crash. End OP Season Party Pace w/ Jack, Doug, Jeanne, Anna (Sandal Girl), Sara (Trampoline Girl)

This years organized cycling season came to quick thud. No one interested in traveling to the middle of nowhere and do a beautiful but hard climbing century, the Grizzly, as done the last two years. Fleeting thought to bring back weird memories by doing Pedal Round the Puddle (last done in 2003 as last Gruppo Pumpkincycle Ride) but rebuilding a string of wheels and wanting a fixed gear left me short of $$$$, and didn't feel like paying at another cheesy motel just to do a century. Then two 2nd tier century rides "Foxy's Fall Century and Riverbank" held on the same weekend so couldn't do both, and which ensured a split Diablo Cyclist squad. Don and the crazy fixed gear contingent, picked Foxy's Fall. Jack reasoned that we'd been over parts of that course multiple times, most recently on Knoxville Double, so we choose Riverbank. With no single event in focus interest in both was light-- Ward, the Mike's, not eager to do either. It's been a long year. Just in terms of timing seemed like the NFL Pro Bowl Game--season is over and done with.....and then something thrown in with little interest or excitement. Luckily Doug, fellow member of Triple Crown Rookie Class 2005, would come down from Sacramento to do this ride. So would Jeanne, who used to race and is as competitive as I am. At the start joined by Sara--last seen being pushed by Doug off a trampoline (see previous page), and Anna, who I'd never ridden much with but always rides with cleated sandals and had given me the idea to get a pair for my hybrid coffee run bike. Riverbank is in the middle of the farm belt, and a long, cold, dark (sunlight now about at 7-, damn, there were some doubles we started at 5:30 when the sun was up.) On the way out I tried remembering things about this ride from last year but very nondescript. Mostly flat farm roads and minor highway shoulders that goes East in the Am with tailwind and back West in the PM with headwind. Nicest part is big climb before the turnaround at Moccasin Dam Power House. Knew I drove in a different way than last year as actually went through the town of Riverbank--old movie theater-downtown district--looked like plunked out from the 1950's (though of interchange now big strip mall with Starbucks and other ubiquitous stores.) Lots of nervous people at the beginning of the Century leaving at first light. One stoker lady on a tandem told her captain "we are NOT going over that", pointing to a bump in the parking lot. Captain was going to be in for a long day. Then I had a drug flashback--guy in bike clothes on rollerblades leaves the parking lot--drafting behind a bike.

Small group ready to leave at Riverbank High School--most people left a half hour earlier. 7:30 and still cold--yes!-those are sandals with cleats on Anna's feet. Doug not in photo as he is taking it.

Ride is run functionally well but has no soul. Registration easy, workers friendly, nice sag support, some good bathroom facilities at the start, Turlock Lake & Knights Ferry rest stops.. But out of 119 miles, 27 miles of lousy riding:
23 miles highway shoulder
4 miles pissing among subdivisions (8 turns in 4 miles)

Almost everything else is going up/ down/ around nondescript farm roads. Only 19 miles really memorable. 9 miles of climbing up and then down to Moccasin and right after Chinese Camp 10 miles of rollers off the beaten path.

At dumpy 2nd rest stop on side of Valero Station-rollerblader who did the 110 miles.
We had a good group,, weren't going hard but we kept the minimun speed up so never any lagging--with Jack, Doug, Jeane and I splitting the pulling. One race group shot by and I got on their wheel and then slugged it out with their lead rider on a few steep rollers, but soon flipped back--no impetus to go hard and I needed many other Diablo Cyclist around to make it interesting. Jeanne would have played but she made a pact to say with Anna. Back in the group Jack was laughing--said I was like a dog chasing fire trucks. Otherwise I was on good behavior and we stayed together. I'd pull, early could ride side by side and would bs with Jack, Doug or Jeanne, or just sit way off the back taking in the scenery and making unusual observations--Jack and Doug have huge seat bags that look like they are going around the world and have a change of clothes, Jeanne with her racing background has one so small it barely holds a tube. With the tailwind we were flying into mile 48 rest stop where we met up with rollerblader, who said this was his first 100 mile attempt, though he had done 87 miles previously.
Sara saw my Peets Coffee Bag and thought I brought coffee on the ride ( the stiff 1/2 lb bags the best things to carry extra sports drink powder in) The rest stop were nondescript with some fruit and gatorade. Big climb now up where we'd split up, but lunch right after that where we'd group. Jack promised he'd be on good behavior and not rush us out of the lunch stop. Nice rustic road which starts of with a little climb, then a long swooping curvy downhill before the serious climb starts. Now it was coming back to me--I was almost hit by a car last year when it came around a turn on my side of the road. Jack-Doug and Sara quickly zoomed away on the downhill. I eventually came around a hairpin where I could see the climb starting, the club trio off in the distance and a lone rider way ahead of them.. My goal was to catch up to lone rider in the distance and I felt great so I stood on bike and probably the quickest on a climb I had been all year. Feeling good and a working bottom bracket helps. I was in "the mode" and shot by my clubmates and didn't slow until I reached solo rider in front of them. Then set my sights for next rider up the road and wanted to go as hard a possible, as 2 mile curvy 12% downhill at the end and had didn't want to be passed on it, where I'd be one of the slowest cyclists around.
Zoomed to the top--frequent cattleguards but the rumbling over them just got me pumped up. Paris-Roublex!. Now the fun over for me as downhill started. Damn-came around one corner and one cyclist on the road yelling "SLOW DOWN-SLOW DOWN", beyond him two other cyclist kneeling over girls body--she had just skidded out and crashed a minute before me. Too many f'n accidents on rides this year. Helmet cracked, blood everywhere. At least she remembered her name and friends name. Jack came by in a few minutes--he had a cell phone that actually worked in the middle of nowhere and placed 911 call. (Gotta find out what service he has) While waiting we saw rollerblader come by--his technique for going downhill was to hang onto the back of a pickup truck. Crash victim established her friends were ahead of her--so I then went downhill where they were waiting at the base, and had to give them the bad news, and then stayed with them for awhile. Lunch/ rest stop at Moccasin Dam just a mile away, we rolled out--and real somber lunch. By the time we were ready to leave most riders had already split.
Camel on top of steep climb out of nice Knights Ferry rest stop. Thanks to Doug for photos.
Luckily the sun had broken through--and though Sarah established that she is a worse cold wuzz than me (as her jacket NEVER came off), for me it was now non vest-non knee warmer weather. Yippee. Anna was now dressed perfectly in her cycling sandals. She had an odometer that gave loads of information, elevation gain, temperature, stock market readings (well maybe not stock prices), when I told her she was an information center like like Ward with his multicomputer/GPS information, she then refused to tell me any of their readings. Ride back was in a mild headwind which started out on an 8 mile section on the road shoulder next to a thin arm of Don Pedro Lake--somehow I got a quick flashback to riding next to Lago di Corbara between Orvieto and Todi. I had lots of time to daydream--either I'd pull or I'd fall way off the back to get some more training in and pull anyone up if they fell off the paceline. Dangerous left turn over train tracks off Highway 49-120 into Chinese Camp, but this was a delightful stretch of rural rollers--now it seemed like I was on the backroads of Trequanda. More time to daydream, as like a double, (only @300 riders at event, our tardy start, and waiting at accident) almost no one else around.
On the rollers Sarah zoomed out and on a significant roller she passed two guys ahead on a climb-I was bs'ing with Doug and we started predicting if the guys she passed would be po'd and ride harder, and/ or if Sarah, with JACKET on would stall before she got to the top of the roller. She didn't, but next person she passed, some tri guy, put in an effort to repass her on a flat section. Doug came up and took a long pull and tri guy just sat on his wheel for a long section of flats, and also when the next big roller started. I expected tri-guy, who was getting a free ride, try to shoot past Doug, so I kicked it into gear and flew by them all on them on the uphill. Doug regrouped with me but at the end of the rural road, which was going back onto the windswept highway, we slowed for the rest of our group. Tri guy came along and darted across traffic well in front of us, and some of our group got stuck until traffic abated--which caused a delay. Once together I started the pull to get us motivated, and then Jack took over. I think he's the master for reeling in someone slowly. We weren't going that fast, but fast enough to catch the tri-guy down the road Once past him Jeanne, Jack and I kept the pace up until we again could get off the highway shoulder onto secondary road leading into Knights Ferry-Odd Fellow Hall, which I remembered from the old flat Manteca Century. Strange century as have no clue what time we pulled into Knights Ferry (mile 85) and didn't care. Finally broke my habit from 2004 when, doing loads of century rides solo, I always "ran against the clock." Leaving Knights Ferry short but steep hill Stephan attacked on last year, but this year everyone on good behavior and not killing ourselves. (I don't recall starting with him but he wound up in our group)
In fact, when we regrouped at the top of the hill there was a farm with a CAMEL, which we all had to stop and marvel at. Farm roads for awhile to Oakdale, where we then hit a huge clump of subdivisions that had us stopping and changing directions consistently.. At one point I'm leading the pelaton and traffic circle ahead. Trying to recreate my infamous looping the traffic circle on Chris' wheel on Mt Hamilton Challenge so I ignore arrows and continue around traffic circle to chorus of "Jaaaaaay, this way." . Last laugh on the group--they went the wrong way up a dead end street (though until we backtracked I had no idea where we should really have gone either.) Finally out of suburban hell and last stretch of farm road back to the start where I luckily started a sprint to get average speed nudged over 16. Salty chicken and lots of salad/ cubed fruit at the end with lunchroom low key and half full. One girl we had passed earlier came in stoked--her 1st century. Now 3:30 and only a few hours from twilight--and air getting real cool. Another century done, yawn--I remember when I got stoked like the person doing her first. Unusually slack ride, but nice to have a laid back ride and bs , and much easier than the usual Diablo Cyclist ride where people are always going off the front. Now the organized century season is over, and so is my youth..

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Great Summertime Irony-2006

Now that long distance season over, been staying local on Sundays and doing an out an back to Los Vaquaros Reservoir with Donna-a flat, windswept 35 miles with a short/ steep climb at the turnaround. Nice to start whenever we wake up--finish breakfast, and then get back before noon to do other things. My old club--Delta Pedalers do THEIR RIDE (they don''t do much else) on Sunday mornings from the other direction--so at the Reservoir I see many people I know. Many people really nice, but somehow when they get together mass dysfunction ensues.

A few weeks ago I went to their meeting as my friend John was presenting a slide show of his trip to France. Before the presentation a new bike shop showed up, and cool owner said that he'd be happy to open early so that club can start ride from his shop, he'll leave out a pump etc. I just started chuckling before he was shot down--this concept already boobytrapped 2-3 years ago. Last week Donna started getting an email stream debating when the start time should be changed, if the ride coordinator can unilaterally change the start time, what THE BOARD decided years ago, the weather for the first week of daylight savings time next March, blah, blah blah. This week at Los Vaquaros when I was about to leave one of the DP groups pulled in (they don't regroup like the Diablo Cyclists so only 1/3rd of the riders there, and some had started at 8-, some at 9-) and one of the Club Founders was pestering everyone ad naseum regarding the start time.. He looked at me and said "I'm not asking you as you don't ride with us anymore." No shit, wonder why. Earlier I had seen the earnest ride coordinator who had tried to set the start times and was wondering why he took such a thankless job. (One person showed up for his last out of town ride) Later leaving I saw my friend John who rolled his eyes and said this start time redux had gone on all morning.

Didn't have the heart to tell the Founder to check the latest issue of Cycle California (October 06) where the ride is listed. Earlier this week, when Donna told me about the start time controversy, I checked the newest issue of CC to see what start time was listed. Everything up to date in Delta Pedaler-ville, Jo Jo and Whiny Mike listed as the ride leaders--maybe accurate 3 years ago. How f'n ironic--perfect on a lot of levels.How cute-Whiny Mike & Jo Jo listed together as the ride leaders 2+ years after everything blew up. Gotta love it.

Meanwhile, new club, Diablo Cyclists, have riding events with minimal fuss. Diablo Cyclists Up Mt Hamilton From "Amy Ranch"Finally made the sorta end of riding season bbq-ride at Amy-Mark Family Ranch and it was great. In 2004 I really didn't want to bs with anyone after Gruppo Pumpkincycle debacle, in 2005 I was on the East Coast, so this was first time attending. Great 35 mile ride up the EZ side of Mt. Hamilton. No one wanted to go down the west side and climb the hard side--mostly me as still suffering from riding Knoxville while injured. Mt Hamilton ride brought back non-fond memories of Devil Mountain Double--where on this part any bump was shooting through my foot.--Top of observatory brought back strange memory of Doug/ I getting snowed on last year, and people out of it running Mt Hamilton Challenge. Back to the present with great bbq with surreal view of San Jose valley beyond trampoline. Photos by Ward








































































































Saturday, September 16, 2006

KNOXVILLE DOUBLE-2006

CRASH

After self supported century I was feeling great. Looking forward to doing another self supported century and then going into Knoxville Double in the best shape all year--no hand, back or foot pain. Don / I coming off of a 35th on Mt. Tam Double. My climbing coming around and though I'm one of slowest Diablo Cyclists descending, all the times up and down to the Junction of Diablo (usually 3-4x a week) paying off. Usually Diablo Cyclist mid week ride ends in a wild sprint down Diablo Blvd.--I get more of a benefit for the doubles for holding a high speed for as long as possible and just now getting close to holding 28-29 mph for a 1/4 mile until our sprinters launch. Life is good. Only negative, Don had fallen when his chain slipped 3 weeks before but seemed to be recovering OK. So one nite I'm coming down Diablo with Ward--we already went down the technical (narrow South Gate) side, another beautiful nite, but unfortunately twilight is setting in. Wouldn't be able to ride Diablo after work for long. I'm trying to talk Ward into doing a double next year, enjoying the warm weather, and telling him that I finally feel GREAT. Now going down North Gate which is wider but has some blind hairpins. I'm taking turns nicely to the outside and cutting back in. Not to many cars on Diablo that night as Summit is still closed. Come to biggest hairpin, not going that fast (at least for Ward) move outside, close to yellow line OH SHIT, A CAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. He's close to yellow line too, I'm on it, I see I'm going to hit so I go in to car to take hit on my thigh--then get tossed in the other direction. Keep hands on bars but land squarely on bad knee. Lots of bloody cuts--bike wheel taco'd....


Motorist nice guy who lives on mountain who is po'd about gravel trucks riding all over the road. Get lift back to my car by park worker who makes sure construction crews don't run over endangered species. I'm shaking like crazy. Fast forward--next day home and slept all day. Could barely walk as thigh and knee banged up (and multi cuts on left shoulder and elbow.) Email work that I'm going to try riding easily on Sunday (in two days) as I have a double in a week-and a half. They think I'm nuts. So I miss Saturday potential self supported century. Sunday rolls around and I can't even think of getting on bike for an ez ride--hell, I still gotta takes stairs like little kids--2 feet on before going to next step. Ice packs always on knees and thigh. Great being a member of Diablo Cyclists as I hear from many people in the bonus miles gruppo--even get an email from Don (who has a secret email address/ phone number--rumor he is a spy.) Real nice, but I think Knoxville is going down the toilet. I give myself until Wednesday nite as the drop dead date to cancel motel etc--will need 3 successful trainer sessions to go through with Knoxville. On Monday nite I can't stand on pedals and can't spin a 39x15 more than 66rpm. Now, I already have a shitty cadence but this is absurd. On Tuesday I go on for another hour and can keep a 39x14 to 70rpm. Also can stand for 100 pedal strokes. Lots of ice afterwards but things are coming around. Wednesday I can stand for some of my favorite standings songs (Bush "Little Things")--4 minutes and can turn 39x14 at 80rpm. Good improvement, not near what I'd want coming into a hard ride, but now possibly doable. Unfortunately Litespeed is in shop so will take heavier GT with rack--heck, can use it to carry thigh wrap I wore for most of week with me if needed. As Thursday, two days before an event is an off day, I wish I had one more day before the event to train and return to near normalcy but I don't. I decide what the hell, in the year of doubles I'm going to do Knoxville. It is not timed, should be fun, and I may actually finish... .

(September 16, 2006) KNOXVILLE DOUBLE 201 Miles, 11,900' Climbing With Don (10th double of the year), Jack and Steve 5:35-8:35 , 15.4 mph 6th Double Finished + 161 Miles for the Year





15 Hours-but KNOXVILLE was over way to quickly as end of doubles season. Here the crazy folks of the Diablo Cyclists ready to leave at 5:30am. Later, on gentle climb of Knoxville Road--just like the Death Ride I should look much happier, and didn't think I was hurting THAT much, but my face shows too many body parts hurting from injuries. Don, Jack & I, and Steve. Thanks to Nevada Doug for early morning photo and Redbike Photos for closeups on Knoxville Road. Kitty also on the course so we had 5 Diablo Cyclists on this ride.
If this had been a timed double, usually run on a real hard course, I would have dropped out but this is supposed to be an easy/ friendly double that the Quackcyclists put on to make up for their demonic Devil Mountain Double earlier in the year. Funny though-- Knoxville "only" has 11,600' of climbing, and Mt Tam Double has +3,200' more, and both years came in well before nightfall on Mt Tam while was in the dark for 1/2 hour last year on Knoxville. But as Mt Tam timed I'm super motivated to ride hard all the time and try to get out of rest stops quickly, while last year I was screwing around on Knoxville. Knoxville also starts 30 minutes later than Mt Tam, and sunset now comes about 30 minutes earlier. But I figure that even if I ride MUCH slower than last year--if I don't vacation at rests stops (last year got a mid-ride massage and looked for a clean restroom, and waited for teammates) I should finish about the same time. And apart from excessive rest stops last year I couldn't recall why it took so long last year--I mostly remembered a few gentle/ short climbs and the long uphill on Knoxville Road, which is 20 miles of nothingness but it usually goes up a gentle 3-4%, and then some real short series of long rollers at the end.

The nite before, at dinner with Don and Steve, I told Steve that after lunch Knoxville course was relative flat and I fully expected to see him go flying by on his aero bars. The ride description confirmed my selective memory. "2/3 of climbs in the morning, nothing quite gets to 10%" This was the OLD ride description. Due to "winter rains" the bumpy Big Canyon descent, which was now worse than usual, was taken out and a smooth Cobb Mountain descent was substituted in. Of course this necessitates 3 additional miles and 400' additional climbing "featuring some 10-12% stretches." But the middle section offered "some relief," final part "sheltered by trees" and downhill traffic "light-moderate, but not an issue."

(1)Beautiful park checkin area where the next night we'd have post ride dinner(2) Jack leading the pelaton in the early morning after Vacaville becomes quickly rustic (3) Steve passing Silverado Country Club, where are his golf clubs?















Quackcyclists run a nice check in at Pena Adobe Park Gazebo--lots of free swag--Quackcyclists socks, Quackcyclist t-shirts from last year, reflective ankle bands (that no doubt Planet Ultra would sell for $5.), Hammar bars (...Planet Ultra could offer these at nondinner at Solvang...) Only surprise, nothing would be carted to rest stop #6(@185 miles) as not to many people used it to pick up lights last year. I had as I came in 10-15 minutes before twilight--but now I'd have to send lights to rest stop #5 at @158. A little to early--and still had notion that no way I'm not finishing in the dark--send lights to the finish. If I wasn't coming off injury I probably wouldn't have sent lights.,

Last year I really enjoyed downtown Vacaville but this year it or "the outlets" didn't catch my interest. Nice when I ran into Steve at checkin and later he, Don and I would eat at a decent pasta place in at strip mall. Quickly back to non descript motel for as much stretching as possible and nervous setup for 3:45 wakeup. Nervous as injury and time on trainer took away from time I use to get ready for these events and I had already discovered that I forgotten a bunch of little things like a Mapquest Map of where motel was, to an extention cord in case I wanted to use a helmet light. After my 4-5th trip to the car figured it best if i just relax and go to sleep. Next morning met up with Don/ Steve at 5:25. We thought our timekeeper Jack was late, we reminisced that we started the century season months ago with Jack being late to the start at Solvang, but Jack was just waiting for us up the road. Into the darkness we started, around the lake in the park, over the highway, through the Vacaville suburbs, and then into the wilderness. Any notion of this being a "fun" century quickly eroded. I was having trouble getting loose, thigh and knee tight (wearing a knee warp and knee warmers and a wrap over elbow.) with Jack and Don pushing the pace on the uphills and Steve pushing on the flats/ downhills. Night riding and cool air didn't help, so I just hung way off the back feeling out of it. Sun up in about 45 minutes (mental note, @45 minutes left on lights for end of the day.), which was great as road out of town was pockmarked, and it started warming so I felt looser. Last year we left with lots of people but not to many riders started with us this year--soon we were passing lots of riders on the road. Feeling better, but wondering how long I can hang in for. Actually, once thigh got loose no trouble the rest of the day--though knee remained an issue.

All of a sudden I get much slower, what, oh damn, REAR FLAT TIRE. Must have been from one of the pothole I went through. Unfortunately, though fingers/ hand strength almost back to where I can change soft Verensteen tires on Open Pro rims, I'm riding American Classics with Michelens, and on the GT where the seat stays are about 10mm to narrow. Damn. I also just cleaned GT superficially instead of great shape I keep Litespeed. Luckily everyone stopped and Don helped me change tire. Campy Eric shows up in a SAG wagon--first of list of usual double riders working this event., and also helped--and at this point I'm real flustered as I've just been focusing on how to finish ride. Then Steve says "Jay--more bad news--you're front tire is flat also." One of the guys changed the front as I was pissing around with the back tire. If I was alone I probably would have ended my ride on the spot.

Below (1) Don on second climb of the day out of Napa Valley (2) We saw more grapes on this ride than Tour of Napa Valley-Jack determined in front of them. (3) Victoria--who got her Triple Crown this Year and Tom working the Lake Berryessa rest stop--looking much warmer than when I saw them riding in Solvang downpour. (4) Don at start of Knoxville Rd. Bottom (5) Me on the GT with thigh wrap on bag rack, on desolate (except for men with rifles) Knoxville Climb--at lunch I'm getting a massage which I need need more than food.





















We had our first climb over Mt. George to the Napa Valley--like usual Steve got left behind on the climb and then zipped by on the descent. In Napa, along familiar routes (part Terrible Two, part Tour of Napa Valley) we pacelined, with Don doing most of the work to rest stop #1. Near the rest stop I fell off badly, as on the turn there was some ambient glass and I slowed while wiping the tires--Don, Steve, Jack just 100' down the road--usually no problem digging in and getting back on the flats but knee and overall leg tightness was saying "no you don't." Damn-only 36 miles and it felt like I had done 100.

Rest stop has BOTTLED water (not the crap from the hose) but unfortunately no mechanic as gears slipping. At rest stop an old club member, Nevada Doug, was working and he was joking around how we all lagged in behind Don but I wasn't in the mood to joke--still lots of doubt I'd finish the ride. Lights off bike, and soon ready to go (didn't record times but @10 minutes or less), 1/2 Banana, Hammer Energy Bar and a Sustained Energy/ Choc-o-late Hammergel "Bosco" shake, I was on that for most of the day until rest stop 5 when I finally got sick of SE & Heed. But still always felt dehydrated?? On Silverado Trail we picked up a few more riders, some would stay on paceline and then try to take off but we'd almost always get them, back. Damn, I wanted to jump on wheels but was on good behavior. Don learning from me (or maybe he was still hurting from his fall)--actually let a stranger do the pulling. A modest climb that I didn't remember soon came up, Howell Mountain Road--Steve told us he was dropping off for a Sierra Club dedication and we knew he'd be slow on the climb but I expected to see him whizz by on the downhill-but we lost him for the day.

Climb OK but I WAS SHAKING ON THE DOWNHILL --IT WAS FULL OF RIGHT HAIRPINS where I just got to relive the crash on Mt Diablo over and over. I was really unnerved by the time I reached the bottom and only way to cure that was to hammer for awhile along series of rollers to Lake Berryessa rest stop.

It had been real windy in the Bay area the last few days as temperatures suddenly dropped 20 degrees--but today warm and a light breeze of @5 mph was coming out of the Northwest. So sometimes a hard 15mph unless in a paceline, at other times the road would turn and 20 was effortless. At @70 mile rest stop #2, Veronica was checking in riders as she had done last year. She yelled out "your wife said you WEREN'T GOING to ride this!"--she had seen Donna right after my accident. Tom was gleefully hawking food and basically said the same thing while offering Advil, Tums, Endurolites and more Advil. Long line at porta-potty, and I was in a better mood, so when I went off to the side and Nevada Doug yelled out "I know what you're doing" I just yelled back that he forgot to water that shrub in the morning and it needed water.. Now started the 20 mile Knoxville Road climb in the middle of nowhere. But for a middle of nowhere road it is well paved. Very very very little traffic. It is mostly a gentle climb with NOTHING on it except for one tunnel overpass and the entrance to the Homestake Gold Mine. Jack-Don-I passed lots of riders, I felt good--but then I saw the first guy with a rifle slung over his shoulder. Soon another guy with a huge rifle and camouflage outfit up the road. Don't know what they were hunting but kind of unnerving. Think 1-2 riders passed, but no reason to chase and would be stupid if I did. Also Steve would probably be be able to regroup with us at lunch if we didn't go balls out.

Soon my knee was bothering me and I was dreaming of lunchtime massage that I passed up on timed Devil Mountain Double or Mt Tam Double--especially when we hit the last section that gets steeper with a strong headwind. Also was getting low on energy, and laying on massage table with eyes closed for 10 minutes also sounded great. Those yellow signs with the trucks falling off a triangle to signify a downhill were a welcome sight all day as I could recover. Soon mile 100 ! YIPPIE and into Lower Lake rest stop. I knew Jack would be ancie but I made a beeline to Ish and Nonnie's masage table. A massage was more important than food. They were working on Grizzly Mark, and had heard about my run in with the car. Don told me to "take 10 minutes"--I thought he was anxious as Jack to get out of there as my double flats had put us back 20 minutes--but in reality he was content to stay at lunch stop as long as need be. Got a great massage from Ish--the whole back of my thigh (NOT where I was hit?) was super tight. In reality without massage probably couldn't have finished the ride. I started grabbing food, could eat on the run. When we were pulling out Steve was pulling in--smiling like usual. Now it was up new section, Cobb Mountain. Oh, did I mention that my gears were slipping--earlier in the day I found out I couldn't stand on 24 cog and best once I got into one that I didn't shift again. So even if I felt good enough to jack-in-a-box stand-sit-stand-sit on a climb like I like, I was resigned to find one gear and try to stay in it. In any event, Cobb Mountain (which we flew donwhill on Davis Double) was brutal. Sun baked*, no strength in my leg and couldn't change gear. And later I found out that brake rubbing against wheel. (*Next year NOT doing climbing rides in dark blue Diablo Cyclist jersey) Don/ Jack easily rode away--lots of people passed and I was in no hurry to stay with anyone. Just determined NOT to get off the bike, as after you get off once it is to easy to get off again and again. But the 39x27 felt harder than my 36x21 usually felt--and I avoided standing much due to possibility of gear slipping and energy it took which I didn't have. This was the point in the double Steve talks about where one asked themselves why they are doing another %#!$&*(! double. Funky sign in front of store--downhill sign, and nice smooth road down to Middletown, though with much traffic. One guy came off the downhill in front of me and we pacelined to Middletown. He had the directions tacked onto his bars--I told him that was cheating. Now we had wind from the north and I had trouble keeping 20?? Finally I let the guy ride away from me instead of trying to keep up. After the next rest stop- when trying to spin/ rub the dirt off the wheel, the wheel wouldn't bulge, and I then discovered that back brake solidly rubbing against the rim.
*
At Pelican Lake Rest stop, another Doubles notable, Jennie working the rest stop. Don and Jack there--seems Don got in before Jack but Jack "Ready to Go" before he locked up. Kitty-who had started much earlier than us, also there and ready so Jack/ Kitty rode off. Don/ I decided that we'd wait another 10 minutes to see if Steve rejoined us--I was grateful for the extended rest and gave Don a chance to drink his energy drink of choice--a Coke. BS'ing with Don (the man of 100+ cadance) I was surprised to learn that he also suffers from "energy laspes" on these rides, and he also was sapped on Cobb Mountain, all of -which reminded me to take my mid ride Vitamin B. That is what is great riding with Don, Jack and Steve, I find out that many "doubles dysfunctions" that I think are unique are really universal.





RAAM finisher Ish and wife Nonnie, both Massage Therapists, waiting in Knoxville. After passing them up on timed Devil Mountain Double and Mt Tam Double, I wasn't going to bypass this opportunity--I probably wouldn't have finished without them.







No Steve so Don/ I took off and with favorable wind and chance of finishing before nightfall we started to alternatively hammer and bs. Passed Ink Grade/ Hubcap Ranch and started talking about the difference between century rides and doubles. Big difference is that double riders will usually spend less than 25 minutes at all rest stops through the first 100 miles, and that century riders are wowed when a big climb comes up at mile 70 when we see lots of climbs at mile 150. I wasn't keeping close track of time but it seemed that at 4:00 was has 60 miles to go--so for long sections our going 21mph made it seem getting in before nightfall was doable, but then we'd hit a significant roller which cut our speed. We were quickly at rest stop #5, Lake Hennessey, which meant putting on our lights, and passing on the hot dogs (someone sitting with Kitty, who we caught up to, barfed one out.)


Another 5 minutes, no Steve, so we were off and I was annoyed when top tube battery would slide down top tube on every uphill (rubber band around top tube solved problem.) Again very strange wind currents, mostly favorible. On one long uphill, with minimum pedaling, we were going 20mph. Unlike last year not much boat traffic on Highway 128. But no matter how fast we were going, and we were doing a good 2 man, shades of Mt Tam Double, finishing before dusk--7:30--always seemed elusive. Steve later said the same thing--he'd do a mental calculation which made finishing in daylight seem doable but then an uphill section would ruin momentum and calculations.. About 11 months ago I was hammering this section with Big Mike on Foxy's Falls, but that was after mile 70, not mile 170, and now we weren't going much slower. We had to climb the back side of Resurrection--which is not very steep but long. We flew past Davis Double Cardiac Dam rest stop but it was around 7:20 when we hit the last rest stop-16 miles from the finish, and 10 minutes to sundown. Last year, on an easier course and healthy , I was here 20 minutes sooner.. It was now getting quite dark.
*
On section from rest stop #4 to about a half hour ago weather had been perfect--sunny and high 70's with tailwind. But about a half hour before sundown, when twilight set in--started getting much cooler. I had sent arm / knee warmers to finish. Luckily still had a knee wrap. It had started to pinch and rub knee the wrong way, and I had pulled it down over ankle after rest stop #4--but it was certainly welcome now as it rapidly got cooler. Gotta remember that for rides out near the Coast.


1) A welcome sight-start of Cobb Mountain downhill. (2) Jeanie, one of top doubles riders, had a tandem failure/crash on Terrible Two and 2 months laster was top 10 finisher on Mt. Tam Double.
























So pulled into last rest stop with heavy twilight setting in fast. Another familiar face working the rest stop, Doug from Sacto, real friendly guy who we had first met on Riverbank while sprinting in, and I had since run into on the easier doubles. He wanted to know if Don was on his fixed gear--I said "no! the crazy person is on a regular bike today--though this is his 10th double." I was sick of SE and wanted real food--unfortunately didn't have any noodle soup. But they had some peanut butter sandwiches that just hit the spot and I exclaimed that they were "the best pb sandwiches I've ever had," Doug's coworker got all giddy as I guess she made them. Lights turned on, ready to go. Kitty and Grizzly Mark pull in when we are leaving.
*
It was just last year when I first met Grizzly Mark and rode in with him on this ride. See the same "crazy people" over and over on these endurance rides. I figured a half hour of riding in the dark but it is more like 3/4 hour; or how long we could cover 13 miles of a real rural (but nicely paved) road in the dark. Road is a constant 2-3% uphill, but still had favorible tailwind. Much more experience riding at night than last year, so while don't really like the dark no longer freaked out by it--as when cars coming from the other direction and blinded by their headlights. This was relatively quiet, not like the Niles Canyon Highway like the end of DMD. Don pulling most of it which was fine by me as I could just follow his bike--if he wound up in a ditch I would have followed. But we didn't, though a brief scare with a dog coming out.

ArmwarmerLESS arms in cool air kept me really awake. I'd keep light on 6w when going uphill to save battery life, then kick it back to 12w when road turned flat. I also had a little LED saftey light with me drooping from handlebars--I should have clipped it to my helmet so I could read odomoter. One other cyclist tailed us the whole way, never saying anything. When we got about a mile from the highway crossing I told Don I'd go in front as I wouldn't get us lost back to Cobb Mountain. I also congratulated Don on his 10th double, he protested that we didn't finish yet--I told him heck, I'd drag him across if he stopped now. I was wary of the trailing cyclist who might shoot off our paceline towards the end, and being ever competative I just went real hard on the last highway overpass. Damn, I felt better at mile 201 than 20, though knee was completly sore by this point and somehow, even with drinking all day I was thirsty as hell.

15 hours of total time.

Jack had come in a little after dark, and we all ate together, nice 4 dish pasta meal where you can take as much as you want (compare to Planet Ultra where you only can take as much post ride candy as you want.) Soon joined by Kitty where we did our usual kidding around about who was slacking more on the double. She was getting an award the next day for finishing 3rd among women in the stage race series. Don/ I waited around for Steve who was just about to lose power to his lights, especially after he flatted with a few miles to go and then took a wrong turn. As always he looked happy--I think it was because his beloved CAL beat Portland Junior High School by a half dozen touchdown. (He said he ONLY checked on the score 2x while riding--he probably has a mini tv on his aerobars.) Steve had calculated yesterday that only a dozen+ doubles and he gets into the doubles HOF, which you get into when you complete 50 doubles. With Don's 10 this year, if he keeps doing them at a more sane pace in the next decade he'd also reach the HOF. Jack, the doubles zenmaster, was typiclaly nonplussed and said if he gets 50 he gets 50, he doesn't care. I'm not shooting for anything but a nice schedule is one every two months once it turns warm and have had time to train--or 3 a year..

Soon not to many people around and time to go. I actually would have been happy to stay out at Pena Adobe Park for a few more hours as this signified THE END of my 2006 adventure. Six doubles was a culmination of a goal I had set last winter--pre intensive care accident, pre-Jessie neurosurgery. I had wanted to do 8 doubles, but Hemet was a pain to get to and I had DNF'd on Central Coast. I had thought I could place top 10 in the Triple Crown Race series and disappointed as I didn't think I rounded into shape at any time--even Mt Tam was harder than it was the year before--and really didn't get a competative attitude back until the Summer. All were hard except Solvang where we got poured on and Davis where I waited for my imminent collapse that didn't occur. On positive note I did the two damn hardest 1 day rides on the planet--DEVIL MOUNTAIN DOUBLE & TERRIBLE TWO. About 8 years ago I actually helped on the DMD metric course and though how crazy perople were for even doing the 120 mile route (no longer offered.) No harder one day rides to do.....
*
Though the Triple Crown rookie crop from last year kinda dissolved a great thing was starting doubles with so many Diablo Cyclist doubles veterans and finishing a whole bunch of them. I seemingly finished all of them with Don except for each of our worst "doubles of the year"--and we stayed together for the entirety of many of them which seemed impossible. Now adventure that started with Don and Ca. Mike in downpour/ hypothermia on Solvang, which seemed sooo long ago, finally ended. Next year I had planned to enjoy riding more and skip DMD (no intensive winter training) and TT--daughter graduates weekend of Davis, and I want to do Mt Shasta which is same weekend as Mt. Tam Double. So I may only do Knoxville next year, and perhaps Sierra Double if Sierra Century route isn't restored... Who knows--I'm even contemplating getting a fixed gear FOR WINTER RAINING PURPOSES ONLY!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mt. Tam Double-2006

(August 5, 2006) Mt. Tam Double, 200 miles, 15,000' climbing, w/ Don, 5:00-7:15, 15.4 mph, 35th of 233 starters

Wasn't going to sign up for this--not many Club riders doing it (none from our triple crown rookie crop) and back and foot hurting. But my aliments have been slowly clearing up, this was my best ride of last year (finished in top 16% of riders), and wanted to make sure (in case Knoxville falls through) I get to five doubles in a year--or as I quip in takeoff of California Triple Crown 1000 mile jersey I can get, "1161 miles of doubles in a year" (161 miles of Central Coast before I DNF'd.) I also plan to do Mt Shasta Summit Century next year so I'd miss this one (same weekend) So I registered for this at last minute and just got psyched a few days before.

Mt Tam Double runs in West Marin--where there are still lots and lots of cows, and aggressive drivers speeding on rural roads to the Coast from populated East Marin County. Not consistent climbing like the Devil Mountain Double or 20% grades like Terrible Two, but Mt. Tam Double is not easy with 15,000' climbing. . Longest climb of the day is at the beginning, Mt Tam at mile 20--a climb to 2466' but with a downhill to Alpine Dam after climbing for awhile that forces a reclimb. All in all (starting in Fairfax) a 13 1/2 mile climb with the worst long section 7.23%. Later on, at mile 125, is the steepest climb of the day, Coleman Valley Road, 3.8 miles but a 1.4 mile 10.7% section to start. The rest of the ride has plenty of "Italian rollers," the ones you think you can power over but lose steam/ momentum about 1/3rd from the top. Last year the climb of Tam was beautiful, I turned in my arm warmers, and then froze on the cold descent as heavy fog was just laying on the ocean side of Tam-the side we'd go down 12 miles past Muir Woods and then for our 13 mile morning ride down the Coast. This year weather forecast from OUR National Weather Service is worse- predicting bay area cooling trend (2 days before event) Bolinas & Tomalas -Mostly cloudy. Patches of drizzle and fog in the morning. High 60-64. Shit. The hot spot is far inland to Petaluma, and with a predicted high of only 78 seemed like bundling up with a tee shirt and keeping arm warmers all morning would be a good idea. After the early morning I'd need neither as weather turned out to be mid 70's-80's and sunny...National Weather Service blows it again and my pockets are stuffed with excess clothes and I wear knickers.

In run in from Petaluma to Nicasio we were flying--overtaking 4 people with Terrible Two jerseys on--3 that had been in a paceline 30 seconds up. I had brought us back halfway and now I'm hanging on Don's wheel-we are right behind them starting the reverse Cheese Factory climb.Photo by Photocrazy.


Mt Tam double is run in conjunction with a Century ride, and lots of Diablo Cyclist members were going to do that. The Century ride starts about 2-2 1/2 hours after us--but skips the Mt. Tam climb and goes directly to the middle of our course--so when we get to our mile 80 at about 10:30 the century riders will already have been there for 1 1/2-2 hours as it is their mile 20 of a fast course. So I don't expect to see any of them. Marin is a real expensive place, so choices to stay overnite are real $$$$ hotels or sleazy motels along the freeway, so once again I stay in the industrial part of town where the poor people are separated from the downtown with a moat like canal. First time all year not a group dinner before a double. Downtown San Rafael is interesting, and nice place to walk around after cheap pasta dinner--lots of interesting unique stores in a real old downtown setting.. Worst thing about double is EARLY start--so it is a 3:15 wake up as the official start is 5:00. Probably could have woken up 15-30 minutes later but like to eat breakfast no closer to the ride than 1 1/2 hours before. At the school start see clubmate Don--one of the doubles veterans and probably the best long distance rider in our club. To celebrate his 50th birthday he planned to ride 10 doubles in 2006--with this being his 9th. Three of the "easiest" ones he rode on a fixed gear--I rode two of those with him and helped mashall forces so that we could all stay together. Don said he wanted to have a fun ride and just like the "untimed" events where we stay together (unlike the timed events where everyone goes balls out on their own) we should try to ride this one together also--I'd need to take a little of the climbs and Don would stay in back of me on the downhills where he usually flies past hitting his squeaky toy that starts all of the Diablo Cyclist ride. Sounds good to me, we made the "stick around even with flat tires" pact.
Many doubles are like the anthesis of the Death Ride--about 2/3 in you may go miles before seeing any other cyclist. I already had in my mind the places we could work together and two man like crazy--though Don insisted he didn't care about placement. Funny thing about this ride and placement. Supposedly a timed event--and the other timed events are real strict about mass start time. But when I pulled into the school at 4:20 already a half dozen riders taking off. Later Don quipped that there was not nearly 225 riders in our mass start and in retrospect he was right--it was more like 150. (Turns out this is kept track of-36 riders of 233 started early, with early riders starting early just to finish course.) 4:55-quick warning about a few sections of lousy roads still screwed up from the winter rain. (Winter rains for bad roads getting to be like Bush blaming everything on 9-11) Felt a little uneasy as I don't like mass starts, don't like riding at night, and don't like riding in the cold. For first half hour we'd be riding in the dark, and after climbing past George Lucas Land (culminating in a .8 mile 8.4% grade section where I dropped my chain last year), there is a fast 5 mile downhill in pitch blackness through tall redwoods. Last year my 1000 candlepower Cateye sucked so this year I started with 15 watt Niterider which I'd turn in at 1st rest stop. My plan was to started at the back of the pelaton--just passing the slowest riders on the climb--and Don then stayed behind me on the downhills so he wouldn't scoot away. Well this year in a small group flying down Lucas Valley Road was lots of fun--then sun came out when we hit the serious rollers to Fairfax where we'd start passing lots of riders and climb up Mt Tam.


With me letting lead out on downhills Don was taking an awfully big chance--that I'd take a wrong turn as I do so many times where we live. But I knew this route well and enjoyed the zig zag through Fairfax before we'd start our climb. Good news was that my back/ feet were not hurting. As Don kept me in front on the downhills I kept him in front on the climbs so I wouldn't get ahead. I may have more power and prone to spurts but Don is a real consistent climber and we passed lots of people. Hit Fairfax at mile 20 and the climbing begins, but short rest at mile 25 Pine Mountain rest stop. 6:30- though started in back of the pelaton 3 minutes faster than last year, but didn't waste 12 minutes after dropping chain in the dark like last year. Nice and warm for 6:30 but I know better--I'm KEEPING my arm warmers this year, dreading what I expected to see on the other side of Mt Tam. II had my lights sent to the last rest stop at mile 187-in retrospect should have had them sent to the finish (as later on could have then bypassed last rest stop.) Now serious climb of Tam started, average grade jumped from 5%+ to 7%+. I'd stand and power around the hairpins and then regroup with Don who was always close behind. I love sudden steep hairpins and Mt Tam has lots of them. Lots of riders we passed who obviously couldn't climb who must have started early.

After dropping down to Lake Alpine more serious climbing but soon we were to the top of Tam--well, kinda the top--where we still had to traverse about 6 miles of long uphill rollers with a mean crosswind. But damn--looking down towards the ocean you could SEE THE WATER--the fog was offshore. Yippie. Don and I took turns blocking the wind and then we started up the steepest section--the long parking lot-to the checkpoint. All of a sudden one of two cyclists who had been nearby from another club flew past--I jumped and shot past him. Was my finest climbing moment on a day where my climbing would quickly go down the toilet. Checkpoint-mile 38- 7:45-2 minutes behind last year.

Went to put on lightweight vest on top of Mt Tam and had trouble with wind whipping about. But downhill was real nice with sun out. Started off going past where Don had flat last year. I got passed by a few riders as expected but passed a few myself--with Don watching over me. Then lots of hairpins around Muir Woods but nice that could actually see. Seems like we quickly got to Santos Meadows-mile 50- at 8:20-1 minute ahead of last years pace. Last year was depressing as enveloped in cold fog--this year so nice I pulled off my vest and rolled arm warmers down. Bad thing was that with heavy duty light battery blocks my front water bottle and had not been drinking as much as possible on early climb and not drinking on descent-so a little behind where I should be on hydration. To keep my calories stoked up I mixed a bottle of Sustained Energy Apple-Cinn hammergel malted, which I should have drunk on the spot. Though Don doesn't rush out of rest stops* like Jack we were both eager to go and I figured I could make this up on the bike. Mistake. (*To mile 85 we only spent 17 minutes at rest stops.) Beginning of Highway 1 is a series of serious rollers. This year nice that we could see--but what we saw a lot of was that road was chewed up from 9-11, oh no, the winter rains.


Told Don that my "plan" was to organize a paceline on this stretch, which eventually flattens out along the 20+ mile stretch of Highway 1. Then when we reach Pt Reyes Station and move inland the rollers and hills begin and we'd hammer. As Highway 1 flattened out road surface also improved, and we picked up 8-10 more riders. One guy yelled "Team Diablo, Team Diablo," with my modified jersey I had to correct him "Team Diablo Farm Frites." Don got in the spirit yelling "Team Domo Diablo Farm Frites" as I went past guy and he spotted my modified jersey--big laughs. Trouble is that Don loves to pull a paceline--and has a great spin from all of his fixed gear riding. As I do with Big Mike when I ride 2nd wheel I'd let Don know when lots of riders hooked on so he could come off and rest. Don would have none of that--he'd stay on the front and pull for a long time, then drop in to 3rd wheel so he'd get to pull again soon. Hell with that--I watched my Domo tapes where they make Hincapie do all of the work--I just dropped to the back and watched the whole thing. Luckily an English guy named Julius doing his first double would do his share of the pulling--almost everyone else was a passenger. We got to Pt Reyes Station and local knowledge helped. There is a sharp right turn out of town which presents a 2-3 block severe uphill grade and then a longer but more gentle uphill--and then a long gentle downhill-uphill-downhill to the Cheese Factory Climb. We hit the turn and I planned to jump but I think Don read my mind. Don went hard up the steepest initial section--not jump out of your saddle hard like I'd do but just doesn't slow the pace. Julius and a guy in yellow who had shown he was a good climber on earlier rollers stay with Don and I fly past the rest of the pelaton from the back. I think left to his own devise Don would have pulled to the next rest stop, but to give him a rest and to make sure the pelaton didn't get back on I went to the front and kept the pace up over the gentle uphill. Helped that a Mellow Marin numbnut in an SUV came by and hit their horn for a long time though we were well off to the right side of the shoulderless road--that po'd me and I probably stayed in the front longer than I should have. When we hit the Cheese Factory wall (1.1 miles, 5.4% grade) Jules and yellow climber went off the front--Don and I lagged but no one came back to us. Then downhill to Lincoln School-mile 85-10:27, 4 minutes ahead of last year.
As previously mentioned, this was the first rest stop for our Century friends--their mile 20, and they were probably here 1 1/2 hours ago, so we saw no one.. Here I took off tee shirt and stuffed it somehow in my spare tube bag. Then drank half a bottle of Sustained Energy as had drained both bottles on Cheese Factory wall. Barely first double digit rest stop of the day at 11 minutes.

For awhile the impetus had left Don/ I and we were just riding down the road bs'ing. Soon Jules and yellow climber hooked on and we started another fast paceline on the 5-10 mile run into the Marshall Wall back to the Coast (1.3 miles, 6%) Here is when I started to feel "not the best"--quickly drained a water bottle and had to dig in to hard to stay with paceline on a slight uphill where I usually do good. On the climbs transition from sitting to standing my foot started hurting a little so I'd hesitate and then have to get out of the saddle when group was suddenly 100' ahead over a roller. Had nothing when we hit the Marshall Wall and didn't even try to go hard on the climb--I enjoyed the fast downhill, though on a rough road, to Highway 1 as a chance to rest. Very strange as I usually live for the climbs and don't like the downhills. Back on Highway 1 we had 7 miles to Tomales and again I'd be going too hard to stay with group on hard rollers that I barely noticed last year. At mile 105 left turn to uphill back to Coast and I quickly lost it. Felt tired and thirsty--oh shit-shades of Central Coast. (Though this ride had Sustained Energy and Endurolites for some reason they had Gatorade instead of Heed, and the Gatorade cut with water wasn't doing it for me.)
Was concentrating too much on my foot--it hurt on transition and then hurt when I went to a harder gears--usually I can go 3 gears harder when I stand. Hard to stay with trio--I was able to get a short reprieve on the downhill. Told Don that at next at rest stop I'd take awhile to relax, take shoe off, and get hydrated. Luckily fast run into Valley Ford rest stop, mile 114 12:28, 10 minutes ahead of last year.
From here time would go downhill. When pulling in we saw Jack leaving--he was back from vacation so decided ONLY to do double metric. He had already done the dreaded Coleman (11%) Valley climb, so after stopping to say hello and he was off. Ate some real food- a small wrap which was good. Had some more SE. But made a mistake and downed a can of V8--figuring that salt and liquid would be good for me. MISTAKE. Next 10-15 miles I'd be tasting it and trying to barf it up. (In retrospect this is what I had on 2005 Davis Double when lost it at the end.) We stayed at this rest stop for 22 minutes (after first 85 miles with 17 minutes of rest stops, we'd spend next 57 minutes at rest stops during next 58 miles) but Don didn't mind as he likes to snack. We left with Jules/ yellow climbing guy but I knew I was in trouble--felt sick from V8-felt dehydrated-foot hurting right away, and we only had gone a few miles. On next climb yellow guy-Jules and Don easily pulled away, I no longer had any desire to try to keep up. I just wanted to take my shoe off, drink a gallon of iced tea, and take a nap under a tree. I pictured riding the rest of the way solo at 11mph (on the flats) With 80 miles to go and Coleman Valley climb ahead--I was in trouble. Luckily for me Don waited for me at first turnout up the road--I urged him to ride on but he said he'd stick it out with me. And stick it out he did even if I rode up at 1/2 mph on the Bay Hill climb (1.7 miles, 4.2%) at mile 118 while a handful of riders came past. I think Don hung out as he waited all year to ride with me when I was quiet and I didn't say a word, and I was real quiet until I screamed at another Marin SUV who came by with their horn blasting.. Downhill back to Highway 1 and only a few miles to Coleman Valley Climb, what the hell was I going to do?, --but here I caught break. A horse farm was running a ride and leading a dozen tenderfoots across Highway 1 with traffic stopped in both directions. Good time for me to unclip and massage my tenderfoot for the 4 minutes we were stopped.

Few minute reprieve really helped. We soon hit mile 124, the 10.7% 1.4 mile section that begins the steep 3 1/2 mile Coleman climb, and either the rest or knowing that a water stop was within 6 miles did wonders for me. Don and I passed a few people, one guy in a racing kit jumped past us--then we passed him while he rested and then he intervaled past us again. Stupid me--I chased, caught him but then faded badly--Don came by and said "don't chase anyone." Good advice--at least for now. ( I realized that when I stood my foot was sore but only when I stomped on the pedals and went into a much harder gear did it really hurt my foot and couldn't recover--so for the rest of the day when I stood but only moved into 1 harder gear.) Before I knew it climb was over and then just a bunch of annoying rollers that Don traversed easily and I lagged on. At mile 130 water stop I downed a Coke, which caused me to burp and effectively ended my V8 nausea, and took off my shoe for a few minutes which helped greatly. Now I looked forward to speeding downhill on Joy Road--the road I mistakenly took a few years back on the Santa Rosa Wine Country Century which got me 10 miles off course, and last year was terrified when going down the twisty road when passed by other riders. But this year downhill spelled R-E-L-I-E-F, and I enjoyed every second of it with Don letting me set the pace. Enjoyed it--even with the pavement chewed up. Another bonus, now we'd be usually traveling East--the direction of the tailwind Back to Valley Ford again for another rest stop at mile 143--at 3:16, 18 minutes behind last year.
We stayed for 17 minutes at the now nearly deserted rest stop--with most century riders long gone. Another Coke, mixed another SE malted, shoe off again. Don jokes that I should stick my foot in the iced water the cans of soda are bobbing in. Spent 17 minutes here but felt good to go when we started again. Things were looking up. Funny thing is that doubles are like the antidote for the crowded Death Ride, by mile 130-150 there may be long stretches where you don't see anyone. And Don and I didn't see anyone up ahead, or anyone come back to us, for most of the way on the back roads towards Petaluma. Saw lots and lots of cows. Eventually passed a tandem with Grizzly Peak doubles cyclist--Mark A. captaining coed tandem. Now I'd seen Mark on most of the doubles I did--if he was on a single bike he probably would have joined us for the rest of the ride. . Don and I were riding at a good pace but easily bs'ing, I recalled being out here during a metric Holstein Hundred when it was 100+ degrees-and I thought 60 miles would be the longest ride I'd ever do. (I still celebrate at the mile 60 mark for getting a metric in.) . Having a constant tailwind and rollers that we could now power over really helped. Passed a couple of other riders--including Jules and yellow clad climbing guy who had dropped his chain. Thought they might hook back on but never saw them again. Suddenly in the outskirts of Petaluma and riding though a few subdivisons--and into mile 170 at 5:11; 27 minutes off of last year.
Like last year our rest stop time would now diminish greatly. At the first 3 rest stops we averaged 9 minutes per rest stop. At the next two rest stops (and one water stop) we averaged 15 minutes per. But at the last two rest stops we got out in 7.5 minutes each--and could have skipped the last rest stop if I hadn't sent my lights there (Don later said he would have stopped for a Coke.). In Petaluma ran into Ish who had voluenteered to do massages--though about it but had to pass as have to finish timed event quickly. Outhouses were at far end of park-- I wanted to save time from my previous rest stop dawdling and it hurt more walking on foot than anything else--so told Don I'd piss on the side of the road and we were off.

Up ahead three Terrible Two clad riders had left a half-minute before us. Soon riding on a rustic road out of town--steep hills ahead. First Don/I again discuss which Terrible Two jersey is better. Then we turned on the gas and get over the hill in front of the TT trio. Don reminds me that if I want to piss better do it now as soon we'll soon be on the main road-I pull over and the TT trio comes by. Don and I start up--now there is a headwind, and counting when they/we'd pass a utility pole the trio in front of us was 30 seconds ahead. Don did a lot more pulling than me but I'd usually go to the front if anyone was ahead--and I did now. Hills are coming up and I want to get back to those riders before we hit the hills. I get the gap down to 15-20 seconds and then Don took over. We get to the base of the hill where the photocrazy guy is stationed and the Terrible Two Trio is 1 second ahead of us. We quickly go by. We then reach another Terrible Two jersey wearer--he tries to stay on our wheel but I go real hard--Don comes back and he just continues a hard pace and lone TT rider is off. We hit the downhill and I think 3 guys will paceline back to us. We pass and are joined by a guy with a tri set up that looks like our Steve B. I go hard to the Nicasio turn where the tailwind REALLY picks up (like always) and keep the pace high. Damn 28 mph at mile 185. Then Don takes a long turn at the front. Just when I start thinking about how to get the other guy to the front--he goes to the front and takes a hard turn. Nicasio-Mile 187 at 6:23- 25 minutes off of last year so not losing any more ground.

Riding in cow country. Trio of Terrible Two clad riders 30 seconds up on us when we left Petaluma. (I told Don that I was chasing one clad in the ugly old style jersey while he chased back to the ones in the orange jersey.) We caught them--and another TT clad rider-right at the beginniong of the Cheese Factory climb. Photo by Photcrazy-wish I could post a larger one but they refuse to send me the promised free one, One of rare doubles this year whewre I feell great at the end.


With 13 miles to go could have bypassed this rest stop, but I had sent my lights here instead of to the finish after rest stop 1. Wanted to protect placement, so went hard on gradual uphill with tailwind where 20mph can be maintained for long stretches. Flew past the beautiful redwoods we hadn't seen in the darkness 13 hours ago. Flew past the place where phony "Gruppo Pumpkincyle Joy of Cycling" photo had been taken. No one ahead or behind us. Road a little steeper closer to Big Rock, last real climb of the day, and Don/I going nicely. Then the twisty downhill I usually hate but didn't mind it at all today. I see some riders up ahead and take a hard pull but then are stragglers from the century route--then Don goes to the front and keeps the pace up until we are suddenly at the Los Galinas intersection. Is this a dream--the middle 20 miles were like a long, drawn out nightmare but the next 80 miles are over in a flash. Through subdivision where we have to cross Freitas Parkway--200' green light, start to sprint--I know what is going to happen--50' RED. Damn-3 minute wait while I keep checking if anyone catches us from behind. No one does--and we roll in at 7:15, 29 minutes off of last year's pace.
Nice end--ride meal from all the basic food groups BBQ-pizza-pasta-lasanga. Nice area in school courtyard with plenty of tables (and bathrooms) and TdF highlight projected on the side of the school. Jules completing his first double and yellow climber who looked so strong earlier roll in 30 minutes after us. Strange-lots of riders come in after us but at about 8:30 the custodial staff start putting stuff away--changing the festive atmosphere to one resembling a close out sale. It is getting cool and unlike TT they don't keep track of where riders are on the course-so we have no idea when Kitty will come in. At 8:45 now much colder and as dark as it was 15 hours ago it is time to leave most eventful ride. Great, strange ride--first 80 miles fun, next 20 hard work, next 20 I hated, and final 80 great. You never know. And now I can get California Triple Crown Jersey that says "1161 mile of doubles in a year." But it is not orange so I wouldn't.
(A few weeks later results posted Don/ I came in 35th of 233 riders, top 15% of all starters--and that is with me crapping out in the middle. I'm very surprise but really pleased. Same as last year).