Thursday, March 15, 2007


In honor of my two fixed gear buddies--a Spoke Card for the special edition Anna Nicole Smith Memorial Breast-Paris-Breast..

(March 2007) 300km (190 miles) Davis Bike Club semi supported Brevet from Davis to Cobb Mountain and Back. with Don & Cal.Mike as they qualify for Breast-Paris-Breast (sic), 8,589' climbing, 18.6 mph when we hammer to 1st control @ mile 65--16.8 mph when we make it a social ride

Don and Mike at the start-why are they being stared at?

I missed the 200 km brevet with the flu--and had promised California Mike last year I'd do it with it him (it rained last year and neither of us did it.) Now Don, our best long distance rider, is also going for B-P-B (my loss, Mike's gain as with Don's help I thought we could finish top 25 in Mt Tam double after finishing 35th two years in a row..) So though the thought of riding at nite doesn't thrill me (brevet starts at 7am-late for a double), nor the need to pack food as there is minimal support, I kept hearing in my head "Museeuw is always full of surprises." After f'ing up Mines Road last week (2nd to Junction, then last behind little kind with big wheels back to Walnut Creek), and promise of good weather, and as I have an easy schedule this, oh what the hell. Don and Mike fun to ride with. So this will be one big surprise.

California Mike In the Pelaton

Lots of peculiar rules to a brevet to get ready for. Simple, Need NON blinking lights in the back. Harder, Need a REFLECTIVE vest or a reflective sash that makes one look like a school crossing guard. After making fun of the people who do doubles wearing their sash in the middle of the day, I wasn't going to get one--so I hurried up and found a place in Texas that would sell me a little reflective material (most places have 100 yards minimum, and curiously they were out of silver-they only had orange in stock)-then took my one plain cycling vest (orange) to my favorite dress shop so they could do a rush sew order. Usually a 200 mile brevet would have few people, but as a B-P-B* qualifying year-Mike told me about 200 people on the first in the series, the 200k. While we hammered up Diablo on Wednesday night, Don told me that the Davis club does support the brevet and there was food at the 200k turnaround. However, I expected the worse (Planet Ultraesque) so packed 1000g of carbs of food and sports drink powder in a cleat bag that I modified to fit onto my bike rack. Gain 5.5 lbs. Another 1.5 lb for the lights that I would have to carry. But price is right-less than half the cost of the usual double. (*yes, I know I switched the cities around.)

Don and Mike, early morning in the flat farmland. My bike is loaded up so might as well have a special camera holder on the front.

Nice easy check in at a park and ride north of Davis--no number or wristband--you get a card that will be marked at the 3 controls at 67 miles, 95 miles (the turnaround) and 122 miles (same place as the first) on the out and back course from Davis to Cobb Mountain. It actually is a very familiar course--almost identical to the first (better) half of the Davis Double. Easily obtained a map and route sheet from the Davis Bike Club website (compare to Planet Ultra website for Solvang "Note: Route sheets are NOT available prior to rider check- in; so please, please don't ask us to send you one.") Surprised that some free food at the start--already beating Planet Ultra non support at their Solvang Double. Spot legendary sag driver Lee Mitchell--another plus over the more expensive Solvang. I go back to the car and sleep for a half hour, when I wake up parking lot is jammed with people talking about "Paris." While setting up my GT with the 5.5 lb stuffed brevet bag (that I wouldn't need) and lights, Cal Mike and Don spot me--Mike not really surprised to see me-he thought I'd be here. Only bad thing is that it is a brisk 52 degrees (albeit sunny)--I hate the cold. Suddenly a riders meeting that, as usual, no one can hear and we're off. Two women Mike knows from Fresno ride with us but too damn cold to do much talking.
Through the farmlands of Davis a huge pelaton easily going 21--except at most of the turns and little rises a very sudden slowing. About 1/4 of the riders carrying more crap than me with huge bags spilling over sideways off of racks, like a rolled up blanket behind a horses saddle---but most riders not carrying anything at all.

Don at Moscowites Junction store-our first unofficial stop at mile 45

Accordion group goes on for 24 miles, to Winters. Guy next to me tells me he has the hub generator light which weighs 2lbs, which he'll need for all the nightime riding in B-P-B* (sic, yes I know*) We lost most of the other people with huge oversized bags, reflective sashes and glow in the dark triangles. I like my brevet bag which is streamlined--unlike the super oversized Rivendale bag flopping off the sides of some bikes. Folks have 20 hours to complete this brevet--but it will be dark in 12 1/2 and that is when I'd like to finish.

Don through the Napa Valley

I'll have to whizz and take off my two vests before the first control/ stop at mile 67 so Don and I decide we'll stop at mile 45--where a store is at the intersection Highway 128 & 121. I wish I could take off the vest now but don't want to fall behind the pelaton--though some have already stopped at a market at mile 24 or a park at mile 30. In front of the park a guy with a huge safety triangle on his back cuts in front of me and slows down--I yell that he should hold his line and that he needs a BIGGER safety triangle. Don is also getting tired of the stop-start-stop and weaving, especially when a group trying to hold on to a tandem's wheel cut him off. We are near the front of the pelaton so when the rollers start Don tries to escape and I try to help him but on the downhill rollers we are bridged back to--by the line of people who are riding the tandem's ass--including guy with triangle. .

Cardiac Climb starts-2 miles at 6%. Triangle guy shoots by. I tell Don, (who has already told me "remember, this is not a race")--" heads or tails?," do an imaginary coin flip "ITS M for MUSEEUW." I don't care if my bike weights +7 lbs, and now I'm overdressed wearing two vests. I take off and shoot by the guy who tries to get away by standing but I can stand for far longer. OK--I may, once again, pay for this later. At top I go to dig out the camera but Don is too fast--only a few seconds behind--behind him is triangle guy. It takes me a few seconds to put the camera back, and by this time both are off on downhill. Luckily Don knew where we'd regroup, and Lori, the women's Terrible Two champ came by so we shot the breeze for a while. She's riding with a guy from Mexico whose English is not that good--explains earlier when Don tried to make a break and I was neutralized as the Mexican guy was riding in middle of the road and a Davis Club guy came riding up and., (to no avail) started yelling for him to move over, and then to us that if we didn't ride single file we'd be dq'd from going to Paris. I thought "dq me, what do I care," but stayed on the far right until pelaton came back to Don. Mile 45-Moscowites Junction-18.8 mph. Unofficial stop. Unfriendly store with loads of "no bathroom unless customer," "water machine NOT for customers use," signs. Do what I need to do anyway, no Mike, so Don and I press on. The fast brevet riders who can go longer without stopping are long gone--many other ones behind us who stopped in Winters or still on Cardiac.

I'm at Pope Valley-Control 1 (in English, a rest stop) -Mile 67. Wearing Mr. Rossi-Siena jersey to give proceedings an international flair
Mike filling up with water; what no bottled water, these brevets are rough.

We ride a fast two man through Napa into Pope Valley--the only thing slowing us down are the loads of ruts, bumps on the road. Napa spent $7 fixing the road--putting white paint triangles and arrows around the potholes and ruts. I got my heart rate around 300 when a dog came out and chased but a motorcyclist luckily got between me and the dog. Very familiar with route as on Tour of Napa Valley, and Davis Double. We flew past lots of cyclists and hit Pope Valley Control Station at mile 67--average 18.6 mph.

Lee's famous Sagmobile with speakers. "Lee-Play the Doors"

Pleasant surprise at Pope Valley control. No need for me to have brought 5.5lbs of food and sports drink powder. PBJ & make your own deli sandwiches. Carb snacks (breakfast bars), cookies and fruit. HAMMERGEL packs. SUSTAINED ENERGY already premixed. Cytomax (which worked out later putting just 5% in plain water for flavor.) Also spotted the Lee Mitchel sagmobile, which had already passed up about a half dozen times on the road playing tunes. (Lee-play some Doors!) And this is a brevet????-did I mention much more support than Planet Ultra's 2x as expensive Solvang double.

Mike & Don in front of Hubap Ranch

Now getting warm, and with food provided my brevet bag now getting stuffed with knee warmers, arm warmers, sock liners. Knew rollers to Middletown and then big climb of the day, so mistake NOT also taking off wool tee-shirt. Mike rolls in and our plan is to ride together to Cobb Mountain. We start off together past Hubcap Ranch and Aetna Springs Road--where the Tour of Napa Valley has lunch. Soon rollers start and Mike falls off, so Don and I pull away--no longer at a breakneck speed but at a serious pace--and riding a two man paceline doesn't help the gap. At one point we get on a beautiful rural road, narrow and no center line--kind of reminds me of riding in Italy. In any event not much traffic. And soon into Middletown where Don takes away the (getting lost) club championship from me by getting lost TWICE

Cobb Mountain climb near the top--another steep uphill section

Now mile 86, big climb of the day is about to start up Cobb Mountain, 5 miles between 6-11%. I remembered it tree lined and Don did on a fixed gear last year (I think 42-19) so only fleeting thought to taking off wool undershirt. But as I quickly found out-not tree lined, it just was cloudy last year. Between the extra 7 lbs of food & lights, and being overdress I am miserable. It is about 75 degrees and sunny. With gears Don easily glides up--I do what I don't want to do--get off the f'n bike to take off the f'n Rivendell woolen undershirt--which makes the rest of the ascent bearable.. Adding insult to injury loads of riders now coming back from lunch and having fun shooting down the mountain--we are truly the "achtervolgers."

Don with Campy Eric at Cobb Mountain-two crazy fixed gear riders.

My insurance against getting sleepy later on.

Cobb School-Mile 95--another control and the turn around spot on the out and back course. Good--as this route is much nicer than the rest of the usual Davis Double 2nd half course with increased traffic and headwinds. Don already sitting and relaxing and talking to Campy Guy Eric. Another great spread--but I just get some Sustained Energy with Chocolate Hammergel and am going to hydrate and catch some sleep. Already told Don not to worry, I'm not exhausted, but just don't want to get sleepy later. Found a nice spot under a tree and zoned out for 30 minutes.

Took two rolls of film to get a great action photo--CA Mike and Don on Butts Canyon Road.

Mike joins us and we lounge around some more. Lady gets out of car and can't believe that we started in Davis. Beautiful spot--truthfully I'd have lounged out for another two hours and then get transported back. Now shoot down Cobb Mountain--in direction of Knoxville Double (thinking back I think this is road we mistakenly went down on Pedal Round the Puddle years back.) About 35 riders now first going uphill. I'm going slower than usual as bike with topload is very sluggish around turns--and Mike and Don disappear into the distance. They'd ride slowly AFTER Middletown (I went the right way!!!) and we'd regroup at the start of Butts Canyon Road and ride most of the way together or wait for each other on the top of sudden short climbs..

Mike on Butt Canyon Road

After rollers we stay together to Pope Valley Control at mile 122, which was same spot as the 1st control of the day. Mike has a tire going flat--big hole in tire, so we spend some time there doing tire repair. We hit an uphill with a headwind but that doesn't stop Don, it slows me somewhat and slows Mike down a lot. It is also getting cool which bugs my knee. Again Don is waiting at Moscowites Junction--mile 145. I get water from unfriendly store but bathrooms are now locked. Hmmmm.

Don waiting at Aetna Springs turnoff (lunch on Tour of Napa Valley).
Tire repair at Control 3.

Mike comes in and we start putting on all the clothes we shed in the morning--and now we all laugh at everyone's reflective vest.. From here it is uphill for almost 2 miles at 6%. Don and I do the climb together--speeding by everything including nice looking young coed off to the side (in a picnic area pullout) in a bikini. We stop at bailout at top to wait for Mike, and lament that Mike needs to be faster on the climbs so he wouldn't miss the view we got. Mike gets last laugh--he pulls in and tells us that when he was passing by the piullout some "bi curious" action was going on by two bikini clad girls.. Don at Moscowites Junction--now 145 miles into the ride.
No truth to the rumor that this is photo of Mike when he came across bikini clad bi-curious action.

Funny--Don and I dawdled out of rest stops (albeit 4 instead of 5 as on Knoxville), but in September, starting 1 1/2 hours earlier, when we rode this stretch it was getting dark quickly while now we still had good light approaching the same turn. Maybe it was because we were now 160 miles into the ride and not 188, but with just 19 miles to go and riding a strong 3 man along the flats, we would probably finish just after sunset. But Mike's bike had another idea, his bad tire was flatting among the orchards--so we figured best to change it while we still had some light. All of a sudden Lee Mitchell and his sag wagon came by in opposite direction--Mike yelled "pump" and Lee pulled a "U" and helped fix the tire. Lee told us he had a tire if we needed--but being a brevet he was short some supplies, he wasn't carrying any extra wheels today.
Now like riding in a disco--as bike light really illuminating vest of rider in the front of our 3 man as we weave through dark farm roads. My Niterider (@10 watts) on bike and Princetontec (@ 1 watt) on helmet working well. We all have two back lights--as if you only have one that fails you could get dq'd. Mike's bag light isn't on, I stupidly mention it to him--so when he turns it on I can see his oversized saddle bag sway back and forth. OK--good reason to pull so I don't get hypnotized.. At mile 179, befopre freeway overpass, is secret control where we have to sign in-and can grab water and breakfast bars. Workers are gung-ho, "you are close to Paris." I tell one that this was a great ride, but I just enjoyed it and am not going to Paris. He told me that on non B-P-B year they get about 20 riders--heck, this could be a club ride next year. Get back into gear and see that one of the reasons I hate riding at night--no view--go over water crossing but can't see anything except reflective vest and bott dots. All of a sudden hit the overpass-back to quarter filled Park and Ride--turn in brevet cards. I'm not a member of RUSA--so will have to get brevet medal on Ebay. And while I'm not going to Paris, and 1 hour of night riding enough for me, this a great training ride and I hope to get back to Italy (this time do it correctly,) and also one day do the Tour of Flanders course.
GT BIKE with slick brevet bag-bungies holding it onto rack are on botton of bag through copper tubing

Mike & Don on top of Cardiac

Tire repairs also good time to put on lights

Lee comes along and helps out

Secret rest stop, control about 9mile outside Davis--they'll be out there until 2am.

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