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.
Don at Moscowites Junction store-our first unofficial stop at mile 45
Don through the Napa Valley
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
Lee's famous Sagmobile with speakers. "Lee-Play the Doors"
Mike & Don in front of Hubap Ranch
Cobb Mountain climb near the top--another steep uphill section
Don with Campy Eric at Cobb Mountain-two crazy fixed gear riders.
My insurance against getting sleepy later on.
Took two rolls of film to get a great action photo--CA Mike and Don on Butts Canyon Road.
Mike on Butt Canyon Road
Don waiting at Aetna Springs turnoff (lunch on Tour of Napa Valley).
Tire repair at Control 3.
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.