Saturday, May 20, 2006

Davis Double-2006

(May 20, 2006) Davis Double, 204 miles, 8,000 climbing, w/ California Mike, Doug, Don (on Fixed Gear), also started with Jack and Steve; 5:31-7:02, 17.4-17.9 average

After muscles fell apart on Devil Mountain Double (now hard to believe I ever did it) and I fell totally apart on Central Coast Double, had mixed feeling about Davis Double. Glad this wasn't a timed event and could ride together with a bunch of Diablo Cyclists, and try to regain whatever form I had last year when 3 hard doubles in a row were easy. On the other hand Davis is the ride that has killed me the past two years. Hadn't had a good experience on a double all year (at Solvang because of the rain and piss poor support)--if this one turned out to be lousy I'd go back to my favorite distance--120 mile rides.

Unfortunately after a great week of training, great coming down Mt Diablo at 90 degrees, it suddenly turned cool and a 50% chance of rain was predicted. On evening before checkin after Mike, Doug and I checked out two great bike shops in downtown Davis--one full of great high end road machines, the other stocked full of bike clothes and components, it suddenly got freezing cold and a downpour ensued. Poor folks who had signed up for the outdoor dinner put on by the Davis Bike club--which included old casual hybrid ride buddy Aunt Pat--who at 67 was now going to try her first double.

I'm in great college/ biking town of Davis with bike art and two great bike stores across the street.

Indeed the Davis Double is a great first double to try. Some 200 mile courses are easier but no one combines a relatively flat doubles course with great support Rest stops every 20 miles--loads of sags--well marked roads and volunteers guiding you in early morning.

The course is flat for 35 miles from Davis to Winters. Then two mediocre* but noticeable climbs to the Napa Valley and loads of rollers going North for about 60 miles. Then 45 miles towards and back from Lower Lake involve two more climbs. This year, because of a road washout, the key climbs at the turnaround were 4 miles longer and 800' more than in the past. Then 60 miles back to the south that are slightly downhill (deceptive elevation map makes it look like you are going down a ski slope) that usually involves a crosswind. *Of course with Don riding his fixed gear for second of three doubles he planned to do on it, every climb was significant.

Some of the boys, California Mike, Jack, and Doug at Davis Double no frills checkin the night before-temperature is plummeting and heavy rain within an hour. "If you want to pee in the bushes, do it a mile or so before or after the rest stop, not in someone's front yard."-from Davis Bike Club Davis Double Instructions

Diablo Cyclists planned to leave at 5:30--first light--which is a little after most people leave. First ominous sign was that my expensive, new, wireless odometer NOT working--oh crap, I'm going back to a wired model. Sky was overcast but no rain, so I was overdressed in 4 layers including thin rain jacket, and hat under helmet.. (After a while I managed to pull off the vest but jacket sleeves caught under arm warmers, so it stayed on while I looked like Batman with jacket flapping about..) Toe warmers and knickers but after 90 degrees midweek I only had brought mesh gloves.

We rode past Rivendall Veronica who is going for Triple Crown status. To Doug's chagrin, we passed rest stop 1--intending on following Jack's plan for skipping every other rest stop. We soon passed Aunt Patty, which was a bad sign as she started an hour before us and we were only 25 miles in the ride, I had expected to pass her closer to mile 50. Later learned that she had taken a wrong turn at beginning--later on pedal would break, she'd fall when trying to unclip, and her light wouldn't work-but SHE FINISHED!. (Though Pat/ Veronica both Delta Pedalers Pat did all her riding/ training in Arizona overwinter, and Veronica trains by herself--no club support like in the Diablo Cyclists.)

At one point around Winters Jack and Steve jumped on a tandem train. Don, on fixed gear was limited to a top end speed of @26. Heck, not a timed event, great course for a social ride, -so I figured I'd ride Don's pace, and so did Mike and Doug. We'd stick together for the rest of the ride--when we came apart on hills we'd always regroup. And on the flats and gentle rollers Don keeps going to the max consistently so lots of times it is hard trying to keep up with him. (At Solvang Mike called Don "an animal", I promptly proclaimed him a penguin in the hope he'd slow down.) While Don's top end speed was limited he'd keep us honest by keeping the minimum speed consistently high.

On Cardiac Climb a guy with orange rims shot by and I chased--I rode his pace up the climb-passing all riders in sight. (I'd stay on lead riders wheel throughout the day, not wanting to pass as then we'd have to do more of a regroup further down the road.) To regroup on this downhill I pulled off for an impromptu Sierra Club dedication--Davis had asked all riders to use porta-potties, not pee elsewhere at rest stops (as is the habit on timed events) and if we have to go pull off 1 mile up or down the road from the rest stop. Perfect timing--I just about finished when Diablo gruppo came roaring by. Later a fixed gear guy blazed past Don, I told him my job was to chase anyone with orange wheels or a US postal jersey up hills,, his was to catch all fixed gear riders--sure enough Don eventually reeled in the other fixie. Don was helped by riding in our paceline to the fixie, as I was helped all day getting pulled to the hills by Mike and Don , and then Doug would lead out into the climb where I could then play.

At mile 64 we passed rest stop #3-Nichelini Winery, and Doug pulled in (9:00) --and I kidded him about blowing (now absent) Jack's schedule. On one hand didn't need to stop at a few of the rest stops, and this is one we could easily have skipped, as the next one is only 13 miles away. We could have saved an hour of rest stop time and been non the worst for wear. In fact leaving every rest stop my legs felt dead/ sore and I would try to spin in small chainring for a mile--but soon I'd be 300' down the road--at last rest stop of the day I finally left early so I could spin for a mile. But on the other hand we only stayed (albeit 40 minute lunch-more on that later) for about 12 minutes at the rest stops and after skipping a bunch of them last year it was fun pulling into them (we skipped #1 & #10). After my hunger strike at Central Coast I was eating much more than I should to kind of prove to myself that I had an appetite on these rides. I had bagged some Maltodextrian and Perpetuem and sent some to rest stop #8.

Davis Double rest stops are more like Century rest stops than Hammer product laden stops on climbing Doubles--NO bulk Hammergel or Endurolights, but plenty of peanut butter sandwiches, fig neutons, corn chips, bananas, strawberries, cereal bars or mini-Cliff Bars, and sodas or Cytomax.

Very quickly (9:50) to rest stop #4-Pope Valley Hall. As my odometer not working I was just counting off rest stops. Past the part of the Tour of the Napa Valley where Jerry /I, then Big Mike/ I racing people while oblivious to hubcap ranch off to the side. This stretch is my favorite of the ride-rollers for 20 miles along lightly traveled but nicely paved (usually doesn’t go together) Butts County Road, past Lake County line, to Middletown.

On these rollers played going up hard when attack by a Santa Cruz Team and their friend in US Postal kit. At next few rest stops we'd see Mike's Fresno friend Lori, a great rider, and we'd be hop scotching each other all day. Only "disagreement" when Mike snapped at Doug that he needs to let everyone know when he is standing.

We arrive at Middletown, mile 95, at 11:05--we started 5 1/2 hours ago and are almost half way through the ride. So far the course is the same as in the past two years, but now we'd soon be going up Cobb Mountain. The climb supposedly had 10% grades on it, but it wasn't bad except for the f'n traffic on Highway 175. A few times cars came close to the cyclists who didn't have much of a shoulder. Don didn't know if he was going to stop and flip his wheel on his fixed gear. I started signing "When the Music's Over, " great climbing song though everyone much rather have heard Jim Morrison. Unlike earlier rollers no one going up hard on this climb so I rode Doug's pace to the water stop 9 miles into the climb and 1 mile from the summit. After using the porta potty, reloading the Maltodexterin and Perpetuem bottles with water, and getting samples of Energy Jelly Beans, one of Lori's friends from Kansas (no hills) , who wasn't a fast climber, came in and said that Don/ Mike had passed him a while back. So where were they? Now Doug and I figured we may have missed them if they rode by and they didn't stop. We waited a couple more minutes and then took off--figuring we'd see Mike at the lunch stop and Don on the road, hindered by his inability to coast downhill while spinning furiously in a relatively small gear.

Though overcast (it looked like it might drizzle soon) on the climbs I was po'd that I was wearing knickers and a tee shirt. But at the summit -2910'- I pulled over to put my vest back on, which may have been the good move of the day. Doug went on ahead--and he is a good downhiller so I had no chance of getting back to him. Damn-it was cool--at least first event ride of the year my glasses hadn't fogged over in. It was real fast and cool going down towards Lower Lake, but luckily apart from a big motorcycle group that had gone down when I pulled over, it was relatively quiet and the roads were smooth. After 7 miles back we were back on the old route-rural Siegler Cyn Road which leveled off but was also real fast with a tailwind, and not the best pavement; at one point a gravel section rapidly approached and had no choice but to fly through it, keeping wheel perfectly straight. . Always expected to see Don around next turn. Got into a pack and quickly into Lower Lake lunch stop at mile 117, 1:00pm.

No Don or Mike at lunch stop--later we'd learn that Don had stopped to flip wheel and Mike had flatted on climb. We had caught up with Steve, an inspiration as he is 60, has to wear an ACL brace, and upchucks once a ride--yet he hammers the flats and downhills. I proved my bravery by sitting right in front of Steve, but he felt great (and wouldn't throw up on this ride.) Doug urged me to eat my veggies but I made the meat eaters sandwich special (make your own sandwiches-turkey, ham on wheat, banana, corn chips-NO DEADLY PASTA SALID that I tasted over and over two years ago.) But I did have a couple of V8's that has 7-8 different vegetables. After 15-20 minutes Don and Mike arrived; Steve and Lori and Kansas friend left We wound up not leaving until 1:40--Jack later said that if he stayed at a rest stop for 40 minutes or ate a big lunch he'd fall asleep. Yep, upon leaving it took me a long while to get loosened up again. Out of rest stops I'd soft pedal in the small chainring but almost immediately Don /Mike / Doug would be 300' up the road--a few times I'd use the Museeuw tactic and wait for someone to come pass me to bring me back up to the trio.

After going back down to around the 1000' level it was back up to 2000' on the Resurrection climb. Here there were alot of people who were going up the climb hard so I also went real hard and again successfully passed everyone. Damn, how come Devil Mountain/ Central Coast wasn't this easy. Then again-in 2004 I was falling apart here but in 2005 I felt great here and fell apart at the end--so I was still a little worried. This year the Resurrection rest stop placed a little further down the road (mile 140 instead of 134), and we hit it at 3:05. Great stop--one worker had done Solvang and was almost embarrassed when we talked about Planet Ultra Piss Poor support. Now, even though the elevation map looked like it was straight downhill to Davis, but from past experience knew plenty of uphill sections with crosswind and traffic coming up.

On the Double’s Camp's Only Eric seems always to be nearby with a camera. I'm on left side of photo on double yellow line, Doug next to me looking down the road at water stop before Lower Lake Lunch seeing if Don and CA Mike down the road.
Actually the section coming off of Resurrection is a fast downhill, and last year I joked with Jack that I wanted to see the fixed gear boys do it. So, now a year later, I rode behind Don and counted his pedal strokes for a minute--140, 141, 142, 143! and I'm sure I missed a few.. Earlier in the ride we rode with someone in the yellow triple crown jersey (no, not the moron who went up the wrong way in last years Death Ride.) Now we were joined by someone who had ridden with Doug recently on Mt Hamilton Challenge. This was great as section into Guinda nicely paved, rustic, traffic is light, and is slightly downhill to flat with a nice tailwind. I kept asking what mile we were at, as if any paceline passed us here I'd have been off. No one passed and we pulled into Guinda, mile 163 at 4:24. Delta Pedaler Mary working at rest stop-waiting for Pat--and was quiet.. As this is the only rest stop you can send things top, and I had sent some drink mix here--on Resurrection I had taken on some Cytomax as my stuff was pretty diluted, but now I could dump and mix a high concentrate of Maltodextrian (NOT a simple sugar so can use 3 scoops) and Perpetuem. Kept proving to myself , after last week, that I could eat on these rides so enjoyed a handful of peanut butter cookies.
Now we started on the nasty section--15 miles of Highway 16 that gains lots of traffic around Cache Creek Casino. However we were lucky--as wind seemingly coming up directly behind us. Doug/Mike spotted another guy they knew (think also named Mike) and we now had a 6 man paceline, joined by another guy in a Terrible Two jersey. Every so often we'd have to remind a "new guy" that we can't go nuts when pulling as Don on a fixed gear, but Don holding his own, and as usual doing alot of pulling. So was Mike, and I was feeling great so I went to the front more--but still thinking about how I flamed out last year in the last 15-20 miles. What seemed like an eternity with auto traffic we finally made the sharp right turn off of congested Highway 16 and onto farm roads, weaving about to Farnham Ranch at mile 181. It also doubles as the first rest stop (which we skipped) in the morning. Now we pulled in at 5:42. My only criticism of the support on this ride is that there were no bike stands/ racks at any rest stop--so bikes were thrown/ leaned all over--but at this one they did have loads of PVC racks. Another shot by Campy Only's Eric at a rest stop--this one on top of Colusa County Summit at mile 140--moved from previous years as CAL TRANS dumping supplies at old (more picturesque) rest stop.)
Doug is talking to Davis worker who also had heard of the horrors ("no sag for you--you should have known about the freezing rain") of Plant Ultra' Solvang Double. I'm wearing my "Domo Diablo Cyclist Farm Frites" jersey--modified from what was left of my Domo jersey from Winter 05' accident. I felt great, just knee sore, but so what? I felt good here in 2005., and last year I was quickly toast afterwards.. I reminded everyone we skip the next/ last rest stop 8 miles from the finish. While downing another banana, corn chips, fig neutons, and adding water, (also living dangerously, a slice of watermelon, which wasn't as bad as cantaloupe last year but should have avoided it.) Lori and "Kansas" pulled in and she wanted to ride in with us. I didn't want to wait a long time to have everything tighten up again and also a little anxious to see how I'd handle last 23 miles this year--so I indicated I roll out slowly. I stayed in small chainring, was passed by a handful of riders, but was able to loosen up for about a mile when Diablo Cyclist + friends caught up with me, and now I felt great jumping onto the back of the paceline. "Kansas" was a strong rider in the flats, and he pulled for a long time as we rushed by the riders who passed me earlier when I was loosening up. Shades of last year, a combine on the road ahead at the same point Jack almost got hit, but luckily it turned off as we approached. One new rider went out to front but had us going a little to fast for Don, so I took over and tried to keep the speed comfortable--something I can never do when I have an odometer. Now, without an odometer, I took a real long pull and later, new Mike told me that I had it exactly at 22 miles per hour the whole time. The pace was great for Don who was always on my wheel. However, at one point I motioned for Don to come up, looked back, and no one else was there? Seems all the hard riding by Doug finally caught up with him so he dropped off and Mike stayed with him. Now only a few miles from Davis so Don and I two manned it. At one point familiar rider comes flashing by--it is Sacto Wheelman Doug who we rode with at Riverbank last year. I sprint up to him and tell him we are keeping speed down for fixed gear, and Doug helps out. He told me why Slug Gulch out of Sierra Century (nearby wine fest, damn Later, when we'd get to the parking lot a great scene--Doug's significant other going crazy with joy as Doug got the "Triple Crown."
In at 7:02--but as is tradition I put away bike, called Donna and change clothes before going in to check in. Loads of riders "run in" to have their earliest possible time recorded. Jack had skipped loads of rest stop and had been there for about an hour. Steve feeling good-he even ate more than usual. Steve thought I was going to go hard with him and Jack in the morning, but after so many competitive/ timed doubles, I looked forward to this one sticking together in a group. Good pasta meal and ice cream--first time I am ever hungry at the end of Davis Double. We had skipped rest stop #1 and #10 and stayed much too long at lunch stop. In retrospect could have skipped #3-Nichelini Winery, and #6-Cobb Mountain School--otherwise a great ride. Felt WONDERFUL leading in a paceline at mile 200. I could never be a stage racer though-next 3 days legs/ knee so sore--so glad when next day OFF THE BIKE and family spent a day kicking around SF while the predicted rains finally arrived.

the day before newest version of selection lottery, someone asked me about how stoked I would be to get into Death Ride again. Basically told them I now have done all passes 2 years in a row, did 4 pass self supported 3 years ago, and have since have done much harder rides, so if I get in and Donna doesn't I'd give her my ticket. As it turned out Donna got in, I didn't. Still arranged to go up with a bunch of friends--heck, I'd do Luther & Blue Lakes and Carson in some combo that equals 5. Two days before Sierra Century contacted by Dr. Dave who has injured his back, and was able to buy his ticket. My thank you email below basically summed up my feelings towards the Death Ride.

"I was really pissed at the Death ride organizers for basically coming up with an EBAY commodity (this years tickets can be bought and sold on the secondary market)--they've now changed the way tickets are distributed 4 times in 4 years. So I was ready to 'show them' and do my own 5 passes 'for free.' Of course that wouldn't show them anything and I'd have piss poor support during the day while trudging along solo. Now, while no symbolic protest I'll enjoy the ride. Grazie."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Crapping out on the CENTRAL COAST DOUBLE-2006

(May 13, 2006) Central Coast Double-2006, start w/ Jack, Kitty, Don, California Mike and Steve. Have the pleasure to ride with Kevin (Wolverine from Furnace Creek 508) and Lori up the Coast.

Damn-I thought Yapoo Geocities lost this one for good. But "thanks" to the Ward Industries recovery project, you can read about this one in every sickening detail.

Lots of nice things to say about this ride. It is really like a longer Tour of the Unknown Coast--meaning real rustic, rural, and picturesque. Start inland in Paso Robles, take poorly paved secondary roads out to the Coast for @45 miles. Then up the foggy/ overcast Coast on Highway 1 for @45 miles, half on relatively flat rollers (past Hearst Castle) , then on attention getting ones. Then at mile 88 we turn back inland for big 9 mile climb of the day, while thermometer goes up 30 degrees. But while TUC ends after climbing the "Wall" and "Endless Hill," at mile 90, on Central Coast there is 120 miles left of rollers through Fort Liggett (don't picture a Fort, picture a big, barren meadow in a valley that the heat lays in, with some non descript buildings thrown in,) larger rollers and more heat back inland, and then south near (or partially on) Highway 101, while the westerly winds build towards twilight.

While support is uneven (some rest stops well stocked, some not so; some bulk Hammer products while other staples of doubles-bulk Hammergel and Tums missing; no ice at some stops, limited sports drink), almost all the rest stops have REAL BATHROOMS (when does that ever happen) and plenty of sags passing by. Except on Highway 1, usually the only vehicle passing all day is a Sag vehicle. Luckily two impromptu water stops en route--the second one is when I cashed in my chips...

A few strange things. We checked in nite before at K-Man cyclery (ironically had stopped here when going down to Solvang Double.) They wouldn't give out numbers--indicating they'd be picked up at the start as last year some people checked in but never rode so they were looking for people not on the route. Damn-this would mean that we'd hastily have to blow 5-10 minutes in early morning doing a sloppy job pinning number on. We also were told that we need photo ID to get onto Fort Liggett--more on this later.

Mike found this new Italian Restaurant in Paso Robles, and he made reservations for four as we were going to be joined by some of his friends from Fresno, Lori, a top endurance cyclist competing for 1st place in the stage races--I had met her and ridden part of Mt Tam Double with her last year. Her friend Kevin, who had raced the Furnace Creek 508 5x also joined us. The next day I did the first part of the coast with them, basically Kevin pulling us along, so 'thanks Mike--good dinner planning.' As we ran into all Diablo Cyclists during checkin Mike had to scramble when we got back to restaurant and change reservations to 9--muscle-bound but good natured owner kidded with us but no problem. Food was great and nice meal in outside courtyard, though noticed that while it was very warm at 6:30 the temperature rapidly dropped an hour later. (Forecast was a high in low 90's during the day but high 40's overnite-what a swing) Lots of good stories all around with so many doubles vets, and Mike having now done a 400k brevet just north of here a week ago. Funny seeing Kitty and Lori interact--both going for top female rider crown in 3 stage races (total time from Devil Mountain, Central Coast and Terrible Two) but very friendly and complementary to each other--I was thinking what other sport would this occur in? Kitty reveals that she researched Lori's training miles on the 'net. Then like all pre day doubles--great evening ends too early as early to bed as ride begins at first light 5:40am.

Mike/I staying in, a town I can't pronounce which he finds funny. (I find interesting that while Expedia had all rooms in Paso Robles booked there are a few vacancy signs., so we didn't have to stay in Ascandato.) I sleep well until 2am, then just toss around until 3:30 alarm. No MP3 as it broke last week-tough week as home computer net not working either after attack by ad ware--a little more riled up this past week than I'd have like to have been, and little stupid things didn't get done--like actually ran out of coffee.

Actually lots of things didn't get done--I'm much lazier than last year. For example at mile 43 there is a legendary 12 mile downhill to the Coast on Santa Rosa Creek Road. Jack, Don and Steve all agreed that this had to be one of the worst roads they had ever been on- sharp turns, loose base, potholes-and years back a couple of Diablo Cyclists had wiped out on it. (Also heard about a steel bridge someone did an endo on last year) What I wanted to do was take out the mountain bike once during the week and practice downhill over rough roads--but when it came time, nah, didn't do it. Last year I would have found time to go mountain biking almost every day. Damn-forgot camera to bring to great dinner at Paso Robles, and didn't drive by myself so couldn't retrace course and take photos next day. But for a week leading up to Central Coast heard about California Mikes 400k brevet into the Valley headwinds--right above where we'd be riding at Central Coast. In bleh! town of Greenfield (1950's cheap strip mall after strip mall) he had stopped at a bakery where counter girl though his Diablo Cyclist jersey meant he walked with the devil. We rode through town and the only unique, modern, cool looking building was California Mike's Devil bakery.

Early next morning we make 10 mile drive to Paso Robles town square--seemingly only thing we've seen for days that is not 1950's strip mall ugly. (note to self-try staying in Paso Robles next year. Pick up numbers. Takes us a while to set up and we are ready just a couple of minutes before mass start. Though we are going to start right away on gentle rollers it is cold--breathing labored and feet cold as not wearing liners. Some brave soles anticipating the 90's later not wearing knee warmers but I am glad I have them on.

I don't like start of ride as with shallow rollers the mass keeps together on the uphill and then flies down at close quarters together. A few times I hammered on the uphill to give myself some space on the downhill, but that just meant getting passed ASAP once we crested. Don enjoyed this part as he shot away--never to be seen again--but with a mass start I wish it was either flat or severe rollers so we could string out the group. Besides, climbs not long enough to get warm but downhills were both crowded and cold. Finally after a dozen baby rollers and a few better sized ones things started to thin out.

At the end of the series of uphill rollers, at mile 31, we are soon at the first rest stop--which is the only piss poor one of the day. One rickety outhouse on a trailer has a few guys doing Sierra Club dedications off to the side. No bulk Hammergel, just a few packs. One guy grabs a few and is told to leave some for the riders behind us. Except for bananas no real food or Hammer type liquid food--someone promised that next rest stop would be more fully stocked. This glorified water stop signified the start of the dreaded Santa Rosa Creek Road. I quickly left as didn't want to be passed by hordes of riders first coming up, and expected the worst. While it did start off steep and with potholes it was much better than Coleman Valley Road was last week--it was just a very winding Morgan Territory (north.) Luckily when passed the isolated rider called out "on your left"--half way down Steve hammers by and shouts out that road now starts to level off. (Later everyone acknowledged that many repairs had been done to it from last year.) About this time Lori, Mike's friend who joined us for dinner the night before, came by. While road was rough I stayed about 100' back but when road smoothed out/ leveled off some more I drafted for awhile and then took a pull at 19-20. Felt strange that I was helping someone who is competing with a clubmate for overall fastest woman rider--but Steve had warned me that I better get into a paceline up the Coast, and as I had ridden with Lori at Mt Tam last year it was almost like riding with a clubmate. This dilemma was short lived, however, as suddenly Kevin, five time Furnace 508 racer, comes past and basically would pull us at 21-25mph until the midpoint stop on the Coast.

Overcast and light fog--though not enough to have glasses fog up like they have all year. Go through nice looking town of Cambria--looks like they have interesting shops unlike useless ones in Solvang. At mile 45 we turn up Highway One-past Hearst Castle (past where I had camped years ago where it was windier than hell before sunset.) Most of this section of Highway One is relatively flat, with a nice wide shoulder. Sky clearing as we pushed on, and slight wind from the northwest. Kevin kept the pace consistent but high --he'd only slack off a tiny bit on a pronounced uphill, where Lori would pick up the pace (someone said she finished 1st on Climb to Kaiser.) A few times I'd go to the front but only for a minute until a rested Kevin would zoom back to the front--at dinner he had indicated that he rode a Litespeed and he had never seen an orange one, I'd now joke that the only reason he let me go to the front was to see my orange Litespeed.

All along we could see a large paceline about 1/4-1/2 mile up the road-- one Steve had hooked up with. We'd get a little closer when road turned uphill but the uphills weren’t long enough or steep enough for us to catch, and Lori made a good call "we'll catch them at the rest stop." Once in a while we'd fly by a lone rider but no one joined us. I was so happy not to be riding this section solo as I'd be going 5mph less if doing so. Finally pulled into rest stop #2 at mile 67, joining Steve and his paceline mates. Real rest room and nice spot overlooking ocean, but wanted to make time to leave with Lori, Kevin, Steve and larger group. But they had hidden the Sustained Energy & Endurolights (last year someone took the bottle) and when they finally pulled it out a short line forms waiting for "hits" so I left rest stop @2 minutes behind Lori & Co. Unfortunately not a good selection of sports drink (the hated Revenge) and no Tums, nor much food so I had a whole banana with a bottle of SE.. Highway 1 now turned steep-- "Italian rollers" (ones you get out of the saddle on-trying to power over, then you see how far away the top is and you plump back into seat) and shoulders were useless on curvy downhills. Sun breaking through but still cool--glad that still had kneewarmers and thin woolen tee shirt on. Could see paceline up ahead far in the distance and on each uphill-downhill-uphill segment they'd seemingly loose one person who I'd pass on the uphill segment. Some riders would pass on the downhills but I'd quickly repass on the uphill. Steve must be doing great, thought I'd pass him on this segment but I never did. One guy and I kept leapfrogging each other, so we decided to ride together as much as possible. Winds up this guy is NOT on our ride but a racer training on Highway 1 who'll take photos on the way back when he is on the ocean side. Once he found out I was in for 200 miles he was happy to pull me to next rest stop at mile 87 (where workers kept yelling at him to give them his number until I told them a few times that he wasn't part of Central Coast Double.)

Another rest stop overlooking the Ocean. Another banana, another bottle of Sustained Energy, and downed TWO cereal bars as knew I should have eaten a little more. Already went through most of my Hammergel and a foil pack from last stop--they still didn't have bulk refills, good sports drink, or big selection of food. Took some time at this stop taking off wool tee-shirt, arm and knee warmers (unfortunately they DON'T collect clothes--this would be perfect place for them to do so) as now turning back inland for 9 mile long climb of the day, Nacimiento-Ferguson Road. While I was leaving Jack pulled in. Sharp right turn over a hidden cattleguard, and steep road where a higher and higher view of the ocean was seen from every switchback.

Funny-on century rides doing a major climb at mile 87 would be something that legends were launched about, but here we still had half a ride to go. On beginning section, steep pitch, my lower back went out--which meant I could only sit and spin, which I'm not the greatest at on a climb. Smartly I got off the bike and took 1 minute for impromptu stretching, and then stayed seated until the grade diminished somewhat. Midway up passed Steve-he yelled out "what took you so long." Joined by Grizzly Peak's Mark who I had ridden up Mt. Diablo on DMD, and while he is a veteran of doubles--he told me that he did not finish DMD due to stomach/gut problems. Did not finish, wow, what could happen to a good rider to DNF??--unfortunately I would find out later About 3/4 of the way up I got into my rhythm, my back loosened up and I was able to stand and scurry up the rest of the climb--GREAT-I thought-half the ride and hardest climb over with and I feel good.

Now long and unsteep downhill to Ft. Liggett lunch stop in the middle of the valley. A few people flew by and I jumped on the end of the paceline Felt good but no tremendous zip in the legs so had to be attentive as too much work to get back on if dropped. It was hot in the valley and I was getting real real thirsty--going through water and SE bottle to quickly, with salty rind forming around my mouth. Geeze-3 hours ago my feet were cold. . But the only thing I was worried about was steel bridge going into Ft. Liggett; last year Lori's riding buddy caught a front wheel in one of the gaps on bridge and went end over end-resulting in serious injury. Enter the fort--ready to stop at guard shack and pull photo ID that we were told was needed to enter--no guard on duty??? (nor when other Diablo Cyclists came by at different times.) But soon at mile 113, steel bridge no problem, and picnic lunch spot set up outside. Lori and Kevin there, taking leisurely lunch. I take my meat eaters special sandwich on wheat (ham, turkey, bread, nothing else that may provide aftertaste) -grab a banana and a soda, go over and stretch on table. Now time to eat-look at food-I AM NOT HUNGRY! Can barely get the piece of ham down. I don't/ can't touch anything else.

I wouldn't know it at the time but probably onset of heat exhaustion--my body shut down whereas I was ALWAYS thirsty for the rest of ride, increasing nausea, and eating anything was repulsive so I didn't/ couldn't eat a thing apart from finishing the Sustained Energy drink between mile 88 and 162. So, for final 5 hours would take in 60 grams of carbs--should be near 300--and they were mostly from soda. In retrospect I should have put Endurolites in my water bottle, and taken Tums with me. At lunch when I shouldn’t eat and thirsty I should have made a Sustained Energy drink and just downed bottle on the spot--but I didn't even look for SE as Jack had warned me that it taste like shit when it is warm. No matter, I since found out that there was NO Sustained Energy at the lunch stop.

Stretch on table, still not hungry-but down 1/2 can of soda re thirst. Lori and Kevin staying at lunch--Jack rolls in and quickly rolls out while I'm drinking soda. I set out-probably not at stop for more than 15 minutes--my longest one of the day.

Jack had warned me that uphill rollers out of base were in a valley with still/ hot air, and while probably not over 90 it was definitely warm. Hmm, rollers not that bad. Climb a cement barricade to get out of base and on Jolon Road, which supposedly is going downhill but a headwind has us going 14 mph. Hook up with a few people but now having trouble staying on wheel as I'm quickly getting very very tired--both sleepy and fatigue with some nausea. When I make the turn I see a driveway in the shade, I go to sit against fence for a few minute but aggressive dog behind fence has me getting up quickly. Kevin and Lori roll by and we ride together for a few miles over pronounced rollers. I have quickly downed 1 1/2 of my water bottles and both Lori/ Kevin also drank most of what they have--luckily an unplanned sag/ water stop was up ahead with ice water. When road flattened out Kevin picked up the pace and I couldn't hang. Now feeling nauseous about 30% of the time. Pulled off again and for a few minutes closed my eyes as I slumped on someone’s mail box--pickup truck pulled over to see if I was OK. Back on bike--pass Jack changing a flat-I didn't stop as now determined to get to 4th rest stop at mile 145, and I was barely hanging on--figure I can take a long time at next rest stop and then ride with Jack.

Get to Harden Square rest stop--with an old community center type building in the middle of nowhere. Very sunny outside with two cyclists already slumped in what little shade there was. Grab can of Mountain Dew, and when I go towards the bathroom I notice entrance to hall--walk in and in a BIG WHITE ROOM surrounded by big windows and a Grandfather clock ticking away. Two cushiony chairs in the back of mostly empty room that sound of ticking grandfather clock reverberating in. Looks like movie set. I stretch out on chairs for about 20 minutes, go outside, Jack has arrived. I try to eat--ice pop and 4 corn chips is about my limit. I try some Gatorade but it is repulsive. Then told that they had some V8 tucked away (lots of food hidden at rest stops on this ride) but after soda and Gatorade don't want to mix in tomato juice. Still incredibly thirsty and more spurts of nausea. I tell Jack that I may drop off his pace but at beginning we are doing OK-trading pulls. But I'm drinking like hell--in a few miles one water bottle downed and soon feel like throwing up 70-90% of the time. I keep sticking finger in my mouth trying to make it happen--ask Jack how Steve, who barfs once on each long ride does it. We hit some rollers and I am rapidly losing it. I'm so zoned out that at one point Jack (being Canadian nice) tells me to pull my jersey down as my midriff is going to get burnt--actually it is up in the back and I'd get a burn a little higher than where "plumber crack" begins. Jack, like at end of Davis last year , says I should drink some plain water and I tell him that is all I've been doing so for last 50 miles,. Again I'm almost out, just 15 miles after last rest stop--with another 19 to go to next one. Jack mentions that June hammered this section last year--wow, as I can barely keep going straight.

Another water sag up ahead, mile 162, we stop to fill up but I can barely keep standing. One person who Jack knows pulls in and says that even with Endurolites I needed something in my drink and gives me a few packets of lemonade type mix but I can barely get it in the bottle and can't drink it. Sag driver has personal stash of Cliff Bars, which I love, so I ask for and get one. Take one bite and have to spit it out. Front seat of van in the shade looks inviting--I tell Jack to press on--I'm going to rest for 3 minutes..............3 minutes becomes 6 thing I know I hear "Jay is that you??" It's 20-25 minutes later, California Mike has arrived. I see him, yell, "great, lets ride" step out of van and promptly stumble around. Mike tells me I'm in bad shape, which I know. Maybe I should have gotten back in van, tried drinking, eating again and and rested another half hour--after all about half the riders were still behind us. But I felt like crap, disappointed that any chance for a good overall time was gone, and still had 19 miles and a major climb to next rest stop. So I did something I had never done before--"I'm calling it a day, I'll sag in"

Sit in van for about 15-20 minutes before sag driver starts me out to next rest stop. I'm so out of it when we pass a Diablo Cyclist jersey with a Camelback I roll down window and yell "go Steve"--I didn't realize that it was Mike who was also riding with a Camelback. Driver an older guy who had a stroke a few years back and still does some of the doubles. Nice guy, though I almost barf on the spot when he says "and at the next rest stop they have HOT DOGS." Route was still undulating but didn't look bad--of course I was zoning out in while riding in a van.

Pull into Bradley School, mile 179, see Kitty as she is ready to go. Shortly afterwards Kevin/ Lori pull in and wonder how I got there before them--I dejectedly tell them I sagged in. Bradley best stocked rest stop of the day--they have applesauce on ice--I down 5 in a row, and then just sit in the sun as it is now getting cool. When Kevin/ Lori leave they invite me to ride in with them but I decline. Short time later Jack pulls in--then Mike Figure there is another 2 hours of riding to end (mile 210) so I might as well sit around and try to get sagged in about when Mike will finish.. Two guys talking about someone who did Santa Cruz 400km rando last year and couldn't do this ride the next week--told them my buddy is doing it now. . Later on some guys talked about how they'd never do the Santa Cruz rando as Mike did as killer winds pick up in the afternoon. More testament to Mike's fortitude. Sure enough--the overhang starts blowing about and temperature is quickly dropping. I wonder what happened to Steve--and then he rolls in--now happy but told me that he laid outside the last rest stop for 30 minutes from exhaustion and he threw up twice. Another trooper.

Funny thing--I see lots of people straggle in who I rode with in the morning--now well behind Mike (including me.) Also, while most riders look exhausted, the ones at the end look happier--they’re keeping their friends together. At 7:30, when I had hoped to finish, I start pestering for a sag to take me in--they have no radio contact with the sags so they have no way to contact anyone riding the final portion of the route. It is getting cold, I have a cup of soup, and wonder if I'll get back at midnight just when legendary sag driver Lee pulls in with a full load but makes room for one more.

Felt a little better as 3 seasoned riders also being sagged--when I wondered what happened they all said "its the heat." One guy had even done Brest-Paris-Brest a few years ago from the intermediate start group, and I was trying to get tips from him for Mike. My nausea must have subsided as Lee chomping on a rest stop hot dog. He'd turn on outside music when he got close to a cyclist on the road, but kept admonishing rides to turn on their taillights, critiquing their placement and effectiveness--and why they should be on steady state and NOT blinking. Heck, I have the worlds smallest taillight, after this I went out and got a powerful one. This part of the route near the freeway, relatively flat but with crosswind.

Finally got back to Paso Robles at 8:30. Though I dq'd I still got a patch, which will be hung upside down. No sign of Mike who has car keys so I put on my lights to ride to church where post-meal was. One block up was Mike who had gotten lost so we rode to meal together. Loads of folks we knew--turns out Kitty and Lori rode in together, Don had set a blistering time, and Jack did his usually steady thing--while Mike and Steve also finished nicely. I was kind of po'd at myself--and didn't understand what had happened, but great having such a good group to eat with--even if everyone is much happier than I am.