Saturday, May 19, 2007

DAVIS DOUBLE-out and back edition-2007

(May 19, 2007) Davis Double, 200 miles, @10,000 climbing **** rerouted course ****w/ CA Mike and Doug. Also started w/ Kitty, Jack, Steve, Joe and crossed paths with Don and Brian en route. 17.3 average, 5:30-7:23 , whopping 142 minutes of stopping for untimed event.

A few months before going into this ride thought about trying to crack 12 hours. But as NOT doing Terrible Two (daughter's graduation), so don't need "quick rest stop" training, rather just enjoy the untimed event--with only incentive to just come in before nightfall. Also will try to keep part of our group together--a plan which failed miserably two years ago in Knoxviille but worked out a few times last year. Joe (clubs best long distance climber) is new Doubles rider, so I send a course description to him, and cc everyone as I want to lay out what rest stops I'll be skipping. Using the modified Jack plan (he/ Kitty can easily skip every other one), I detail that I'm skipping #1 (jammed up deep with riders), #3 (long walk to refreshments and next stop less than a fast 20 miles away, and #11 (near the end.) I don't want to lose Doug to rest stop #1 like we did in 2005 or stop at #3 when he did in 2006--and if we skip every other one at the beginning then Jack/ Kitty may be more amenable for short stops later on. But all plans went to hell unexpectedly...

Weekend is getting nice and warm, and I take an easy 35 miler from Davis to Winters on Friday. (Last year rode local at Los Vaquaros to get warmed up before big rides but I really like exploring the venue) Easy as I keep it in the small chainring. Fun going through the crowded downtown and campus where coeds jam the streets talking on their cell phones--then a few minutes later suddenly being in miles and miles of ag fields (did I just really see a big college campus???)being in mile I had a real busy week and forgot to take a map of the Davis area--my route to where I thought Winters was was a long circular one near the freeway to the east--so lots of traffic on the road--but most drivers around Davis give you 4-6' when passing as they constantly see bikes from the big Davis Bike Club. Suddenly in old Winters--2 years ago lots of cool old buildings but place was a ghost town--now lots of stores, including a high end bike shop--in the rehabilitated buildings. In bike shop I was told that best way to get to Davis is was take old train bridge to Putah Creek Road--heavily tree lined and little traffic-turn on Stevenson--and then take bike path on Russell. Much more direct and very little traffic--though the bikepath kinda sketchy as it crosses driveways (lucky two cars turning in very aware) and crosses Russell sharply in a few places.

UC Davis quickly leads into miles and miles of ag fields. If you get lucky you wind up in sleepy Wintes. Restored Putah Creek train bridge leads into beautiful Putah Creek road. Then go over graffiti laden Stevenson Creek Bridge and onto Russell Bike path back to Davis.

I take camera and wax on about preride route, as figure I wouldn't have much to tell about Davis Course I am now doing for the 4th time in a row, and a few months ago did the great first half on the 300k brevet. At efficient check in on the streets of Davis the evening before, hear many people looking at map and boringly saying "oh-same route as last year." Davis Bike Club runs good event--only pain is that you have to put a number on jersey, and helmet and bike, Mike and I will later debate if we should blow off bike number. Hit the numerous bike shops in Davis and eat at our usual preride eatery--Pasta?, where I somehow wind up with a small bowl off spaghetti that could have been dumped out of can. But bread was good though Mike disappointed that busboy and not hostess brought us the bread refills--and Mike/ Don talk about the highlights (Steve, Jack, Doug and I wonder if there are any hi lights except ending the ride) of their 600k brevet. .

(1) The bike theme in Davis even is found in front of the barber shop. (2) Hotel mural dedicated to IDIOT CYCLISTS? They were certainly out in force at Davis Double.

Next morning, kinda cool but you know it will be warm in 2 hours, and Don on fixed with Brian start at 5:10. The rest of us wait until 5:30--first light--but it is kinda cloudy so not getting warm by rising sun. I wanted to ride efficiently so rode the first 10 miles in small chainring--which didn't help much as pelaton was doing the usual 20-22 through the farmland surround Davis, slowing for a turn and then going balls out for about 1/4 mile (the accordion effect.) Lots of Breast-Paris-Breast (sic) talk going on; damn, most people look like they are cruising and I'm staying very very tight. Maybe not a great idea just to be wearing a knee wrap in lieu of knee warmers--but I don't want to have to carry knee warmers for 170 miles. (Every double should have a clothes drop bag at rest stop #1 or #2) OK--a freeway overpass coming up, can get out of the saddle and start moving forward towards Mike and Steve who have been riding 3rd-4th wheel. Lots of Mario Ciapollini's become turtles as soon as the road goes slightly up. It's 6:30--we've been riding for an hour--and I move up about 6 bike lengths--still about 3 behind Mike/ Steve when CRASH, one guy near the front catches his wheel in the crack between road and highway overpass-goes down hard and takes a few cyclists with him--he grazes Mike. Most of us stop, get volunteer at nearby intersection to call for help. Opportune time to piss on side of overpass--as we are skipping rest stop #1, Doug spots me, says "good idea," but we know he'll be there awhile. Wonder if 5-0 (cop) we saw racing to the scene a few minutes later was going to the accident or to arrest Doug. In any event everyone started to leave--we yelled ez rollout--which meant just 18mph, so Doug (who just came back from business trip) had to chase back by himself until Mike dropped back to help out.

(1) CA Mike, Don and Doug at checkin (2)Don miffed that my fixed gear has a larger chainring than his, so he is about to remedy this with a new fixed gear

Now a little shaken we are getting close to Farnham Ranch Rest Stop #1-mile 24, it is @6:45. I'm happy as we'll get alot of cyclists off the road who stop at this rest stop, and then we head SW towards Winters, then rollers , into mini hills, over Cardiac into the Napa Valley, that will further thin out the pelaton. But we get to intersection before rest stop and ??????--cyclists coming back our way--course is going NE. Someone says we are doing course in reverse, and it was probably done as now we'll miss the high traffic in the Cache Creek Casino area by doing it this early in the day. But I'm pissed--this means immediately a lot more flats that everyone will hammer on. It means that when the flats end--instead of the gentle rollers in the Napa Valley we'll have some seriously long climbs that we'll probably lose Mike on, before we even get to Cobb Mountain--the SERIOUS climb of the day. And now the rest stop mileage tape on my stem and the rest stop plan (skip #1 & #3) shot to hell. Damn, why didn't I look at the map last night when everyone was saying "its the same course???" Yes, a tandem comes by and its a mass free for all following it down the road--I'm almost dropped on a sudden downhill roller when there is a tremendous acceleration. Should have brought the American Classic deep dish rear wheel. Traffic is very light but when we pass Cache Creek Casino the parking lot is already crowded--how early did everyone get here--Joe correctly notes that got here yesterday and NEVER left. Usually it takes me just 10 miles to loosen up but now mile 30 and still very sore.
Still going very fast--we catch up to Kitty (resplendent in her Triple Crown Stage Race Winners Jersey) who never stopped at accident site and then Steve who jumped on an early morning breakaway but "everyone wanted me to do all the work." As one point Mike/ Joe up ahead and pass a big lawyer who is wearing a jersey advertising his Oakland shop--lawyer quickly jumps back ahead of them and starts to pull. Showing that I need to learn more from Professor Jack I see a tandem come up so I rotate back to get a free ride back up to the front--but soon apparent that the tandem is going slower than i was--meanwhile everyone further up the road. I have to wait until first uphill roller to make an effort and catch up--meanwhile big lawyer fell off badly and looked like he was riding backwards. Pull into GUINDA, rest stop #2 (usually #8), mile 41, 19.5 average speed. Only major fault of Davis Bike Club is that they don't collect extra clothes for drop bags at rest stops #2 or #3, but this year they couldn't be faulted as scrambling about. .
We stay together as everyone out in 10 minutes--though it should be noted Jack the last to be ready to leave. Now the uphill rollers start, with a warm tailwind--my favorite conditions. We stay together here, joined by a blond, and we are going at a nice climb. Once in a while some numnut will put in an effort to shoot by us, I'd shoot out and repass them while they died off, and soon our Diablo Cyclist paceline would come by. Embarrassing moment #1--once after I chased down an attack I head someone right on my wheel--I figured it is our best climber , Joe. So I didn't turn around but said "Joe, is that you, Joe, you there, hey Joe." I finally turn around and it is the blond, and I blurt out "oh, you're not Joe, you look much nicer than Joe."
Now mile 68-average down to 18.2 and lots of cyclists off on the side of the road on a lot next to a fruit stand. See Don-Brian here. It is an impromptu rest stop with not much food, no porta potties and NO water. Here is where we learn the rest of the story--a huge FIRE started at Lake Berryessa 2 hours before the ride began--the roads into the Napa valley are closed--so Davis Bike club scrambled to make this an out and back. So now we'll be doing the worst part of the course twice--but ironic that I did the best part of the course twice a few months ago on the out and back 300k brevet. Truck filled with bottled water arrives as we just scored some ice--and as not sure where next rest stop is we hang out and join the refugees at the arriving truck while Kitty/ Jack/ Steve leave.

We only spent 12 minutes at this stop but it seemed longer--now Joe-Mike-Doug and I regroup, get into a good paceline with lots of other cyclist but soon feel too much road "thunk"--rear tire is going flat. Damn. Brian/ Don come by. Dig out piece of glass and change flat--but this means no getting back to Jack/Kitty in this section, and we start Resurrection ascent from opposite direction as usual--and I know this is steep as this is where I enjoyed Don on his fixed gear cranking downhill 160-170rpm in the opposite direction last year. Traffic has now picked up but good shoulder. Joe goes off ahead, Doug and I set a target for Mike in the middle to keep him motivated but the climb is harder than it should be--at the next rest stop I find out brake is rubbing against tire--and I am not that happy when Doug gets my dander going by saying how we should ride to the extreme right of the shoulder--where all the glass and crap and sewer grates are--instead of my habit of being near the white line. As we'd see later when a car wants to get you when you are in the shoulder it really doesn't matter where the hell you are.
But I quickly get more po'd at IDIOT CYCLIST #1, who is slowly riding ahead of us side by side with buddy. Doug in front of me, comes close to IDIOT CYCLIST #1 and politely says--"on your left" IDIOT CYCLIST #1 makes no attempt to move over-speed up--nothing--he just keeps riding side by side with buddy--blocking up the whole shoulder. I swing around Doug, get next to IDIOT CYCLIST #1, yell "ON YOUR LEFT," and jump in front of him. Mike came by about 30 seconds later and heard IDIOT CYCLIST #1 say to his friend "maybe I should move over."

We then meet an interesting group of cyclists who are wearing "Fixed Gear Gallery" jerseys and doing the Davis Double on...what else. They rode across the country on fixed gears last year--averaging 130 miles a day. Wow. Later met Campy Eric, also part of this group, who rode the 600k brevet Don/ mike on a few weeks back--on a fixed gear.

We see many cyclists going back in the opposite direction as we get into Lower Lake, and approach high school lunch spot, mile 87, at 10:48, 18.1 MPH. Bring my air to mechanic for tire to get fully pumped when discover that wheel badly rubbing against brake. This is traditional lunch stop--but not sure if lunch ,meant for now or when we return from Cobb Mountain. Heck, we join Don/ Brian who are eating so we all go for lunch, I have a massive bread-cold cut--NO pickles, NO mayo, NO onions, NO cheese, NO mustard, NO lettuce sandwich--nothing I can retaste while riding. Mike tempts fate with killer pasta salad. I'm out of HEED so start mixing 1/4 Cytomax to 3/4 water--but packets of Hammer Recoverite so I mix a bottle with that--how bad can it be??? Stupidly, as pockets kinda full and not THAT warm decide to leave tee shirt on for Cobb Mountain Climb. Don and Doug at Lower Lake Lunch Stop (first or second time) Campy only photo

Don/ Brian left before us and didn't notice if they turned around here--as a few cyclists were doing, or continued on to do the Cobb Climb which Don was going to bypass on the fixed if we did the regular route. So now bellies full we begin gentle climb of Siegler Canyon which will become the hard climb of Cobb Mountain. I ride pace with Mike/ Doug--Mike suffering on climb as he usually does, but I know once we turn around and course is mostly downhill when we return he;ll be real strong. Doug also suffering from his business trip fatigue. Meanwhile Joe worried that we wouldn't finish before dark--though we easily should as I expect return trip to be much faster--and he takes off. Doug then starts talking about turning around and not doing the Cobb--I tell him that if he does I'm calling the "DNF hotline to report him, especially as he didn't do the Dutcher Creek loop in Santa Rosa." We hit Cobb and Doug DOES continue on, and Mike gamefully digs in.
A good climber comes by, and I get on his wheel and we each take turns setting the pace. Soon we see IDIOT CYCLIST #2 one the steep Cobb Climb with moderate traffic filling the one lane in each direction. On a steep pitch in front of us one cyclist (rider #606) zig zagging the climb-which tends to make it easier. But he is not zig zagging in the shoulder--or even dangerously zig zagging in the one lane of traffic moving uphill--he is zig zagging across the whole road--yes, even across the center line. He is moving across the center line again when another cyclist--now returning from the Cobb Summit and speeding downhill, yells out "MOVE OVER YOU IDIOT." Passing IDIOT CYCLIST #2 (rider #606), me and other guy continue to go hard which actually makes going up Cobb fun. But I soon become Idiot Cyclist #3. Partly because wearing tee shirt and I hate being warm on a climb. But Recoverite wound up tasting like shit, so figure I don't need two bottles and will dump it--so I mistakenly dump one with water/ Cytomax. Fuck. For rest of uphill swirling Recoverite in mouth and then spitting it out. See Kitty/ Jack going downhill while I'm near top of climb. Short fast downhill and we are at beautiful turnaround. 12:26, mile 99, 16.2 average.
YES-Don did come up here with fixed gear. Great rest stop in the middle of the woods--same turnaround point when we came in from opposite direction in the Davis 300k brevet. Don later opined that though the steep section on Cobb was harder from the Lower Lake side, but from the Middletown side the climb is longer and gains more elevation before you hit the "leg buster" section. With everyone together except fro Joe who took off after Jack/ Kitty, we stayed for a ridiculously long 24 minutes--which gave me time to down a regular Mounatin Dew (Don's choice of drink) as I was thirsty after not drinking on Cobb Climb and to get Recovorite taste out of my mouth. Talk to Campy Eric to tell him really happy with new Campy Record brakes that replaced Zero Gravities--he said some like "oh, you were tired of the chatter when braking" --how did he know???
So overall 7 hours to go 100 miles which included 87 minutes of rest stops including an accident stop and flat tire--but unless distaster hit we'd finish way before dark as course going back much faster, and I knew Mike would now be loving life as he has tons of endurance. Now going down fast Cobb Mountain downhill where I yell at IDIOT CYCLIST #4 who is slamoning up the road and coming menacing close to the center line. Mike was looking for a church supposedly chock full of cheepo statuary--but just saw one concrete garden marvel over the entrance. Soon realize that Doug in trouble as he can usually fly by me backwards on downhills but he is far behind. Doug regroups with em and we hammer over the slightly downhill, tailwind, now smooth (last year roug road) Siegler Canyon. In any event we return to Lower Lake High School Stop in :42 minutes, it took 1:13 the other way. Mile 110, average speed nudged back up to 16.6, and this time we only stayed for 16 minutes
Now headwind near Lower Lake getting out to Ressurection Climb--wind and traffic would pick up from here on in. Mike climbing really well here--I think he wanted to get to the next rest stop fast (from his medical connections he knew something was up), while Doug faltering. As Mike slowly becoming indoctrinated on these ways of brevet life, he started pointing upwards--at least not yelling "thank you jesus"-- every time before he stood. Guy came along with a nicely painted Lansshark and we paced each other up the gentle climb, 2:54, ,mile 132, 16.6. Great rest stop with lots of ice and two friendlty, good looking nurces that had tums, endurolites, and wanted to know more about the ride. One with short skirt was sunburnt and it seemed every guy made mention of that to her and ready to voluenteer for sunscreen duty. Hard to get Mike to leave-25 minutes here. Mike tells me it is 85 degrees-tee shirt finally off.
Steep downhill and ride now turns worse as traffic picks up as we drive through congested roads with inconsistant shoudler. Now on Highway 20. Cyclists going 35-45 but that's not fast enough for some rednecks. I'm going downhill on shoudler line when one pickup with wood sticking out the back goes past me--pulls on shoulder, and jams on its brakes. FUCK. I skid stop towards the center line to avoid hitting pickup--he then starts and tries again. Miek comes by and yells at driver as driver peels off. We see a cop within 5 minutes and try to flag him down but he just waves as he passes by. We are soon on Highway 16 but it is just the start and we'll get a reprieve from heavy traffic until we get to the Cache Creek Casino. The area aroud Cache Creek Park is beautiful and we form a fast paceline with Mike and I trading pulls, and Doug hanging on. At one point passed by a tandem with the couple wearing Terrible Two jerseys-(how the hell do you do a TT on a tandem??) I jump on their wheel, and they get us to Guinda. Mile 157, 17.2, 4.32.

I'm sitting while Doug walking out of photo at Guinda rest stop. Campy Only Eric took photos.

At Guinda rest stop we see Tall Doug from Sacto dead on his feet from the heat--we had passed his s.o. Joanie about 15 miles back--usually she is exhuberant but she was grouchy until she recognized my voice ("Doug always says he can tell your voice"--I do bs alot when riding unless on the attack or dead on my feet., Mike thought she was the "on your LEFT" lady from two years ago) Give Doug some endurolites--I have more that arrived in a drop bag, which also had Perpetuem (a nice COLD rest stop BOSCO shake) and a small "just in case" light. Introduce our Doug who now lives in Sacto to Sacto Doug, who wants to know whay Doug rides with US. I quickly jump in that "he hates the Sacramento Wheelmen" based on a story that Doug has told of a real bossy ride leader. Doug explains and tall Doug agrees--so two of the nicest guys agree that this ride leader is an ass... We finally leave in 20 minutes, and soon traffic is heavy and shoudler nonexistant.
Mike and I take turns pulling, fine to help out Doug, but we soon have a few more people hanging on. We rotate so Doug is in the front but quickly get him to drop out so a couple of hanger oners pull--and when they do they are burnt off and drop off. Steady stream of trucks, minivans, cars, SUV's for about 10 miles--when I'm in the front I wave at each one that gives up 3-4' to encourage good behavior by the cars behind, and for teh most part we do get a wide berth. Finally we make the right turn off 16 and are suddenly zig zagging on desolate ag roads in the Davis-Winters Valley. Two guys pass and I don't chase as we want to keep Doug aboard, in fact Mike/ I have to slow for him. But then some guy in Ohio State shorts that has been passing Doug all day goes by and Doug zips up the road to repass as Mike and I almost fall over laughing. Good, Doug has some energy so we can keep the pace up so no one passes after the Farnham Rest stop around the next turn, mile 177, 17.3. And we only stay for 9 minutes.
Now continuing to zig zag in the ag fields to Davis-either getting the benefit of a tailwind or knocked around a little with a crosswind. I'm determinded that no one will pass us for the last 23 miles--there is one more rest stop but we're not going to stop. Mike and I take turns pulling with Doug in the back At one point somne guy flies by and I jump on his wheel and then stay off to his left., and I think that only @8 more miles, I'll see Mike/ Doug at the end. Suddenly sprinter starts to slow down as we are passing the last rest stop and he wants to get to the left side of me--rest stop, with only 8 miles to go--only if it was dark would I stop. Mike/ Doug come along and Mike/ I get back taking turns pulling, we pass two larger pacelines who then try to repass but I up the speed, knowing that Doug can grit his teeth and hang on. Don't spot the UC Davis water tower but suddenly we are in Davis proper. Ride with a guy who is from the Grizzly Peak Cyclists and doing his first double--congrats to him.. We get in at 7:23-7.3 average. 65 minutes of rest stops in the second half, so our lazy asses did pick it up.
Before I checked in called Donna who was worried that I had zoned out like I had done in 2004 and 2005. Talked to a guy in the parking lot who did Planet Ultra's Solvang last year and we reminiced about their poor support, he heard them tell someone who wanted to sag "go call a cab." Nice end of ride baked chicken and DIET soda (a rarity) meal, but Jack/ Kitty/ Joe had finished 1 1/4 hours ago and were gone, Steve finished somewhat after and he had already split, and Don/ Brian came in about 45 minutes after we did. But a fun day even if we had to ride the worst part of the course 2x with the Davis Bike Club doing a great job scrambling during the sudden emergency/ road closures. Felt young at the end of this ride--but old a few hours later as off to Chico to see my oldest graduate from college. Didn't I just graduate from college and then move to California??? (But 30 years ago had trouble biking the 6 miles to grad school.)

Thursday, May 3, 2007


the next day (May 2007) Stockton Delta Century-100 miles on a fixed gear, appx 100' climbing but 20-29 mph winds @ 15.4 mph, 7:15-2:35 w/ Donna

Support B+, Course C+Very good basic support-probably the most sag wagons seen on any ride--the best (real ) bathrooms (though backed up at rest stop #1) and peeled tangerines nice touch. Starting/nding venue in vineyard nice touch. Course is totally flat-windswept, and would be terrible (though little auto traffic) if mostly through ag land, but every time course became monotonous we'd wind up crossing a drawbridge, riding on the top of a levee, or passing a mansion in the middle of an area that time forgot.

Ride starts out riding throug the vineyard

This was strange, back to where I survived my first metric century ever. 60 miles, wow. I returned once after to try the ULTIMATE-back to back metrics the day after Santa Rosa but a cold rain had me pulling in early. A little trepidation doing this as usually I tighten up like crazy the day after a ride but we didn't go balls out yesterday so only hammys a little sore. Looking
o riding a Century with Donna, we hadn't ridden together except for a metric the last day in Italy, as she decided to befriend and ride with the witch I usd to ride with, but long rides have fizzled out and Donna has usually had to do century rides solo. She's kind of given up on the secretive Delta Pedalers Coffee Club, and has started to ride Sundays with the Diablo Cyclists--keeping a good pace over time and not slacking to b.s. has really helped her increase her speed. My riding a fixed the day after a double metric on a flat course should keep us together. Thanks buddha I can wake up late--4:40--for this one and the start of the Delta Century has moved closer to Lodi--in an areas of upscale wineries (OK, not nearly as upscale as the Santa Rosa ones, but no long featuring Tokay Wine in a screwtop bottle.) On drive over Donna says "it doesn't look too windy"--right.

Already nice and warm at 7:00--don't even think about taking arm warmers. Check in is in the middle of the vineyard, checked in by the excitable Joanie who always seems super upbeat, and now gets more excited when she sees that I really did bring the fixed gear (saw her/ Doug, both now mainstays on the doubles, at the end of Foothill and yesterday at Santa Rosa.) Doug working parking control, after everyone is gone they plan to ride the 100 mile course. Course has up weaving our way Northeast to the Delta, I remember from the metric--10 years ago--that we somehow wind up in Walnut Grove. I also remember that we get a ferry ride--at the time I was disappointed that the metric didn't get the ferry ride--and subsequently learned that the ferry is a little less than I imagined.

We start at 7:15--and soon readily apparent that not many cyclists on the road, and most we pass are riding hybrids etc. Twist and turn through ag land, and every time we head North get a nice jolt of headwind. One-two freeway overpasses which is nice, as I can get out of the saddle. Now on freeway frontage roads around the Lodi International Airport--not nearly as nice as yesterday. Donna hanging on my wheel and I'm trying to keep it steady. As mile 10 there is a water stop and I joke with Donna to see if she needs to stop--knowing the answer will be NO!.

One of the great rest stop foods of all time--pre peeled seedless tangerines.

7:55 Winds 7 1/2 MPH Out Of W-NNW composite from Stockton Airport & Sacto Executive Airport

As soon as Donna says "we haven't seen any riders for awhile" a big paceline passes, and they PO me as no one says "hello," "on your left," good morning." They're about 50' up the road when Donna says "I know you want to chase--go ahead." I think about it for a second or two, first reason that even if I catch them, I can't get on the line as Donna will never get back, but I have another idea. They are now about 100' up the road. Doing my best Don impersonation I spin the fixed cranks like crazy, quickly get up to the back of the paceline-after a short moment I recrank and shoot by the front and way ahead of em. Now what to do, I don't want to stop and have them all repass. Now in a small small town, so I take a side street right, hoping that they'll follow. No one does but I loop behind the block and come back up to Donna. I keep pulling--now heading West (more headwind), and though can see the paceline in the distance consistently losing ground to it. And anyway, I've never done close to 100 miles on a fixed so I better stay on good behavior for the beginning of the ride. Luckily a young guy in a race kit comes by with a big older guy (my age) in Chico jersey and woman, at first it looks like Donna can't up the pace to grab my wheel who is grabbing theirs, but she does a great job and we are on. Wow-much much easier. But after being pulled awhile the US Postal jersey guy jumps out, I resist the temptation to chase. I'm 3rd wheel, I call out that when guy in front gets tired to call me up-girl turns and tells me that her friend "never" lets anyone pull. But he has a change of heart in a few miles from the battered headwind--girl takes a nice pull and then I take a long one. We pull into New Hope School rest stop at 8:30 averaging 15.6.(steady 6mph NW wind), nice venue with food set up on lawn and GREAT pre peeled seedless tangerines. Bathroom area has a real long line so I find a rose bush in the courtyard that needs watering (why don't all century rides get loads of outhouses. to their first rest stop--as cyclists arrive in big bunches?)

10:55 Winds 16 MPH w/ gusts of 25 Out of N

Continue west on ag roads. Wind is picking up and stupid me--I forswore the deep dish American Classic front rims on hilly rides, as though super light I get knocked all over the road--so I put it on fixed (it is one of the lighestest wheels imaginable, meanwhile my Veoicity in the back is one of the heaviest) The cross wind is so bad "the bike is going all over the place."

We soon pass two guys and a tandem and they hook on--one guy has local Antioch bike store jersey and has done a ride with Delta Pedalers. After I pull for a long time jersey guy goes in front to help out--then his friend does but will sprint out to the front at 18mph and quickly die back to 12mph. Donna does a nice job staying on the wheels--even when I go to the front and up the speed a bit if it falls too low.. Tandem soon falls off, we hit an uphill and suddenly on the top of a levee. The guys have to stop for a Sierra Club dedication and Donna and I continue into the wind. Rest/ lunch stop at mile 48, 10:30, 15.4 average at a winery in a majestic building, the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg. Simple deli sandwiches-great mini muffins and more seedless tangerines. Donna sitting in full sun while I hid under a big shade tree. Big friendly dog keeps circling around Donna and eventually sits down next to her. At this stop I talk to Dr. Steve and some of the Erma's Diner Boys-the club I almost joined in 2004. Upon leaving Erma's isn't going much faster than us but Donna can't hold my wheel, so I fall off which means more battering as we continue NW.

Donna outside making friend at Old Sugar Mill, see, she does sit and rest Jay inside.

12:55 Winds 13 mph NNW & NNE with gusts of 23 mph
I'm kinda miffed that we lost the Erma's Diner paceline as we continue West as me/ bike are battered while pulling Donna but this was fortuitous. Soon route briefly heads South with a tailwind and me on fixed/ Donna wouldn't have been able to keep up with Erma's paceline. Then a local comes by, Dan, who is riding a fixed gear. He's a real interesting guy who lives in a turn of the century house heated by a corn burning stove, he helps pull, and we bs as we ride though the "middle of nowhere"--on the far west side of Prospect Island--which would be close to Davis if a road existed that went over the Sacramento Deep Water Shipping Chanel.and the end of Putah Creek--but now the "middle of nowhere" is interesting as Dan shares local knowledge as we head to Ryer Island and Grand Island. Now many miles on the top of levee roads that are almost like bike paths with little traffic. Dan doing the pulling really helps, as well as some of the Southern turns we make when we pick up a tailwind.

Donna/I near Courtland. Miles took great photo.
During this time we don't see may riders and aren't passed by many--one paceline shot by on the levee and around the next turn they were all off the bike resting-stretching as we never saw them again. Dan/ I consistent and Donna doing a good job staying with us--especially in crosswind sections. Then a water stop right before the Ryer Island Ferry--NO NOT A BIGWHEEL TOM SAWYER TYPE BOAT---basically a raft pulled across on a cable. At water stop--mile 70--which we share with some motorcyclists. It's 12:25 and average speed is 15.3, and Erma's Diner group at the water stop. Then it is a short but steep downhill to ferry--where some grandma on a motorcycle debarking ferry keeps gunning teh engine and not moving. Continue Northeast on Grand Island; from time to time we'll see a nice victorian which I mistake for the Grand Island Mansion Dan told me about--we eventually pass it--a huge Italian Renaissance building that suddenly appears. Dan close to where he lives so turns off as Donna/ I continue back to the Sacramento River and Walnut Grove.

Ryer Island Ferry Boat Ride--not exactly Mark Twainesque

Donna by Grand Island Mansion

Donna/ Dan/ I near Ryde

Over another draw bridge (must have crossed a half dozen) and hit Walnut Grove rest stop, mile 82-1:30-still 15.3 mph. This brings back memories as was turnaround for first metric I ever did--and swore I'd never do 60 miles again. Now 85 degrees and shade look perfect--Erma's Diner gang that had passed us on last stretch all sprawled out.
1:55 Winds 16mph North with gusts of 22-28 mph
I suggest to Donna we do the same--she takes a page out of Kitty/ Jack book "only 18 more mile--lets go." Thankfully now zig zagging thru farmland in a Southwest direction so get frequent tailwind--where Donna will go out and pull--otherwise I stay in the front and crosswind picking up.. Legs still feel good-only thing sore is backside from not being able to stand much on fixed gear. One rider from the Gold Country gets on our wheel but is soon off--and we never saw Erma's Diner after leaving them at the rest stop. We're building average speed but Donna disappointed as she was in Chico as her speed piss poor--much lower than mine but we essentially rode together and our mileage is the same. I "guess" her odometer is NOT turning off when she stops, and sure enough that is the problem. As soon as Donna says she hasn't seen a cyclist in awhile a paceline passes us, but I rev up and jump onto their wheel--so Donna and I can ride in together. Soon turn into secret orchard entrance way--ride through vineyard, and ride is suddenly over. Finish 2:35-average 15.4.

Donna leaving Walnut Grove School and inviting shade.

Nice end of ride sun dried tomato pasta picnic in the vineyard. Wine glasses give out instead of patches. Some Stockton Wheelmen talking about how Doug/ Joanie left after working registration, and set out to do 100 mile course. Others talking about how F'd the roads will be on the "New" Sierra Century Route ("if they didn't like Hale Road last year...") DJ playing music--at one point he announces "if anyone rode this on a single speed, come up, introduce yourself, and get a prize"--Joanie must have tipped him off, and I could hear Don yell "its not a single speed--its a fixed gear.". Well, a century on a fixed gear done--and I felt like a newbee for much of the ride--not being scared or overly challenged, but when I first began cycling I'd look at odometer and see it hit 20 miles and say things like "wow, the most miles I ever done." Well, after 50 miles on the fixed gear I was constantly thinking "the most miles I've ever done on this thing." (In the wind I was also thinking "we could use a paceline.") Apart from the wind Donna had a nice time.
post ride meal in the vineyard

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


(May 2007) Hell Weekend (Hardest part waking up early) Santa Rosa Wine Country Century-125 miles@4,800' climbing @16.8 mph, 7:33-4:40 full route with Ward, and Joe. Most of route with June, Steve, Johana, Brian, Doug, and Big Mike (who had to retire early).

Support A-, Course A- Nudges slightly ahead of Chico into 2nd place for century rides (with #1 being vacated as Sierra Century moved) Compared to Chico do support basics better (pbj sandwiches, more sags), while having exotic items (roasted potatoes) also, only fall off at lackluster start site w/ long registration lines, no food and few bathrooms.Course is also better with rollers and very interesting man made (ocean, vineyards and modern winery architecture)--now if only Sonoma County would pave the roads.

Looking forward to doing 100 miles on the fixed a day after doing 125 miles on a route we usually hammer. A little worried that my legs will be blown up the 2nd day. Also looking forward to riding a century with Donna, we haven't done one together in years. My riding a fixed the 2nd day on a flat course should keep us all together. Nice little challenge, back to back century rides, while Don and CA Mike are just on ONE ride this weekend (a little 600km brevet to qualify for Breast-Paris-Breast..) Besides them missing in Santa Rosa, Jack and others also not in as registration closed very early for this event.

Without Jack ("time to go",) and Don ("squeak toy to get everyone moving") we truly became the achtervolgers--getting into lunch 5 minutes AFTER they ran out of roast beef and starting the Dutcher Creek loop 5 minutes after it closed and Ward/ Joe/ I told "there wouldn't be any support but go ahead." That is what happens when your 9 person group leaves a few minutes after the last riders are supposed to leave for the 120 mile course, and someone always has something more to do at the rest stops so we stay at them for an unJacklike 10-16-6 (regroup)-19-30-10 (down to a trio) minutes; though they had a nice Hawaiian Theme at Wohler Bridge--what the hell were we doing for 19 minutes. So leaving at 7:15 (18 minutes earlier) and spending 12 minutes max at rest stops and 18 minutes at lunch would have gotten us "ahead" by 3/4 hour.

Additionally, as the Diablo Cyclist chaos/ anarchy reigned--and we didn't know who was cutting out the the Dutcher Loop (an 8 mile loop with some short but steep climbs that is a pain after lunch) until lunch ended, Ward/ Joe/ I should have left lunch 15 minutes before everyone else, and then we would have had a good chance to catch everyone. Apart from this, our group had a nice serious pace (one level down from the hammerfest of last year) between the rest stops. the weather was great, the roads much better than last year (now they are just poor, not piss poor), and we all stuck together before lunch--except for Big Mike who usually owns this course, but he was suffering a respiratory infection. After suffering at the end of Mt. Hamilton I wanted to ride hard and do lots of work, and was happy that I felt very good.

I don't want to be the traditional person arriving late and chasing back to the group so I got to the venue at 6:30, put up the Lion of Flanders Flag on the roof, and went back to sleep until 7:15--where Ward and Doug spotted the flag and parked next to me. Last year 200K riders were supposed to be on the road by 7:00am--this year by 7:30 and we certainly waited till the last moment. As a 1 1/2 hour drive from the East Bay hard to leave much earlier unless you stay up there. In any event, at 7:33 cars still coming into the parking lot while tons of cyclists trying to get out--a real cluster fuck and average speed was probably 2mph, or however fast a bike goes when you are pushing it along with one foot. We finally get to the road and at first overpass with red light half the cyclists in California are waiting. Ward-Johnna pull a fast one--go way off to the extreme left so when light changes we can get in front of everyone. Sun is out but it is cold (damp mid 50's) ) so I have to hammer as I'm freezing. But within 20 minutes so rollers and we all stay together as we make lots of turns through lands pock marked with little vineyards and orchards.

Joe learning from our Terrible Two 2006 champ Doug, how to mug for the camera, on early morning climb..

Nice lesson learned early--as I'll be riding with Donna tomorrow. A good cyclist and his significant other riding together at a good tempo but he doesn't like when we pass so he picks up the pace to stay ahead of us--meaning he drops SO, and then has to wait to regroup while SO tries hammering back to him. Not the way to ride together. On a few noticeable climbs I do hammer up--but that is so I can find a spot on the side of the road and take photos of my compatriots.. I've gotten lazy this year--Ward, carrying in the tradition that Big Mike started and then I continued, now always carries a camera---so he winds up with 100 photos a ride but none of him. I'll try to rectify that. Meanwhile a guy with a Diablo Cyclist jersey and huge backpack appears--its Big Mike who couldn't get into the ride so he brought enough provisions to last for a trip to Canada. He's been sick so decided at the last minute to do this ride.

Lots of climbing towards the Ocean Song rest stop. On Graton Road I'm leading the charge on uphill rollers (my favorite) when BIG sign indicates 200k course to the left and 35m course to the right. After passing loads of cyclists I make the left with Joe and Johnna on my wheel. Everyone else stops behind and yell out, led by Steve's deep baritone, "Jay, You are going the wrong way." F-we circle back-it is figured out that only the 3 "J's" can read, and all the people we just passed on the last few rollers have to be repassed. Soon in town of Occidental where 120m route splits from 100m, I bug Stephen that this time he is correct-he keeps insisting that sign was wrong??? But I know this route well, we soon we pass familiar Joy Road which I had wrongly taken a few years back on this ride, and I had my best downhill ever on last years Mt. Tam Double. Some serious but short hills to beautiful Ocean View rest stop on top of Coleman ridge. Kind of weird that it seems like we have been riding hard but only 15mph. (To Ocean Song rest stop, 26 miles, 2225' climbing--in at 9:19 for 10 minutes, stats courtesy of Ward Sports Bureau

Great having Ward snapping photos on rides (AFTER we get a restraining order for no more pissing in the back of the outhouse shots or gratuitous butt shots which have the women hammer away from him. I don't know what is better his photos or captions, he called this "Coleman Valley--NEVER Take Directions from this Man." Lady asked me if any way to get to ocean without going down dreaded Coleman Road--told her she could go back a few miles, go down Joy Road, and wind up 15 miles S of where she should be--I did that in 2004. I was po'd that I didn't stop and get photo of skeleton but both my hands firmly on brakes going down Coleman Road, luckily Ward got one --
Now beautiful ride along ridge line, steep descent right onto Highway 1. Cross/ headwind not nearly as bad as when we saw Tour of California. Doug feeling good and pulling, June went to the front and gamefully pulled but she gets battered in the wind and I went to the front to offer shelter. I got psyched when we make the sudden right turn at Jenner--away from the Ocean with a nice tailwind that picks up as we go though Duncan Mills.

The big Belgium Cycling Club-Domo Diablo Cyclists Farm Frites, had a dozen riders doing the Century-I didn't see any other club nearly as large--here is our 9 person group at the Pacific Ocean after coming off of Coleman Valley downhill. Wow--I'm getting to know this course and didn't get lost like I did a few years ago when I wound up 15 miles south in Bodega Bay. (we go up steep Coleman Valley on Mt Tam Double.) Photo by ???? it came out of Ward's camera but Ward in the photo so who the hell do we credit.

finally, a photo of Ansel "Ward" Adams without his camera out. Brian trailing.
4 mile run on rustic Moscow Road is usually fast--Doug picks up the pace to about 22mph, Stephen then takes a long pull upping the speed and then I try finishing it off (don't know how fast or for how long) but with about 1/4 mile to go I was pooped and had to drop off the front, which po'd me when I finally realized how close we were. Joe and Ward with us--Doug complains that he started doing the work and then we dropped him. Truth be told I was waiting for Big Mike to zoom past--his not pulling on the Coast and his not zooming past at supersonic speed told me he wasn't feeling well. Ward and Brian also having medical issues, while I think Stephan and Joe respecting the distance of the century and don't want to get overtaxed. Monte Rio Rest Stop, now overall average. 16mph. (18 miles, 700' climbing, ), in at 10:35 for 16 minutes--we wouldn't leave.

Part of our group passing The Pink Elephant-Monte Rio--many odd, unusual or funny man made structures along the route. Photo by Ward

I remembered that this nicely situated rest stop offered hot tortillas but forgot that they collect clothes and ship them back to the start--great--it is now in the mid 60's but sunny so bye bye to the vest-arm warmers-knee warmers-and camera that is almost out of film--luckily Ward has a digital. Stephen/ June go down the road to buy some food while Mike camps out with his huge backpack. Brain had thought a few times before doing the 120 mile route-now he looks like he made the right choice. It seems like eternity before we collect everyone and push off--and we soon hit my favorite part of any course--a series of serious but short rollers. Some Alpine Alpina cyclists come by--including a tandem--Ward makes pronouncement that "we'll catch them on the climbs." but knowing how good a climbing club they are Doug and I jump and then stick with them--until we get to a series of downhill rollers which I am the last person to ever contest--at that point I suggest to Doug that we pull over and regroup. We regroup 3x--after a couple of minutes almost everyone catches up, then another couple of minutes for Brian--but where is Big Mike. Last year he/ Chris were zooming away from everyone here. Another few minutes for him and then we are off to Wohler Bridge keeping close together as the rollers get smaller and smaller after Green Valley Road.. Wohler Bridge rest stop, mile speed up slightly to 16.1. (23 miles, 1380' climbing) In 12:25 after 6 minute regroup at Green Valley, now here for 19 minutes!.
19 fn minutes at this rest stop--and I have no idea why we stayed that long. This was close to the point I caught on two years ago after chasing all day after being late--and Ward told me that I just should whizz behind the trees, and then he'd wait for me. This year Stephen/ June looking at a map to try to figure out where to eat when we go to lunch--but that didn't take 19 minutes. Nor did listening to Hawaiian Music, eating fig bars or peppered small potatoes. By the time we leave we are truly in the back of the ride--though there are still plenty of folks on the road.. Real "man made" scenic area of the course--all along Westside and Eastside Road vineyards and modern architecture wineries. We have a good paceline now.
Luckily we get into last group of photos Miles takes--it is 12:50, are we really that late. Doesn't seem like it as still lots of riders on the road though no one terribly fast (in past years we seem to be hauling butt with some other group.) Weather is beautiful, but a steady head/ cross wind. One "Klingon" (Ward term for interloper) cuts into paceline but wouldn't do any work, we soon get rid of him. Another rider, Mr. Francasie Des Jeux, is willing to do some work, and absent Big Mike his help is gratefully accepted. I do some sweep work in the back--look out for any riders falling off and bring them back into the paceline. Instead of the usual fast run into lunch (slight downhill) it is headwind all the way. Stephen/ June turn off towards Geyserville to get their lunch. It's 2:00 and we have upped the average speed to 16.4 (this segment 21 miles, 860' climbing.) Great rest stop in shaded grove where the Santa Rosa Bike Club makes you the sandwich of your choice--BUT 5 MINUTES AGO THEY RAN OUT OF ROAST BEEF. So I only ask for ONLY turkey between two slices of wheat, but that prompts the followup questions "how about mayo? "NO" "what about tomato's?" "NO" "any cheese?" "NO" "some pickles?" "NO"

Great photo of the Domo Diablo Cyclist gruppo thru the vineyards--oh note Ward riding behind June/ Johnna but his camera is away. taken by Miles Photography.
At this point some folks contemplating cutting off the Dutcher Creek loop, an annoying climb out of lunch that leads into an additional (over the alternative) 6 mile, 320' climbing (Ward-o-metrics) loop before rejoining the rest of the course. Most of the time the disorganization, lack-o-planning, chaos of the Diablo Cyclists ("just ride baby") is cool, but while we all sat around for 30 minutes Ward, Joe and I should have left after 15--as no one else doing the Dutcher Loop--so we'd have a chance to recatch leaving 15 minutes early, and the loop "officially" closes at 2:30. A course worker flags us down and says that we are free to do the loop, but it is "closed" and that we will do it unsupported. Wooooo-just like Planet Ultra. Joe, our best long distance climber, is the only person enjoying climbing after lunch, after I loosen up I enjoy the rollers. While Joe/ I have a reason to do as many miles as possible--a double coming up--most valient effort is Ward cause he is not feeling that great, and no motivation to do it--just as my mantra on bonus mile rides is to keep group together I make sure I stay between Joe and Ward on the hills/ rollers to give Ward a target--Ward regroups on the flats and we paceline past scores of riders--getting excited when we think we see Diablo Cyclists in front of us but it is always a mirage, but no matter it helps keep the impetus up. Fastest segment of the day gets average speed to 16.7 when we pull into Alexander Valley School at 3:35 (22 miles, 750' climbing, did segment in 18.6 mph.) Its mile 110--I remind Joe that in a couple of weeks we'll have 90 more miles to go--additionally Joe's knee hurting which is the worst thing on Doubles--once a body part goes you are F'd. But our trio actually get out of the rest stop in 10 minutes.
Now came the infamous Chalk Hill for the last 14 miles of the ride--remember when it used to kick my butt. Now it is a nice touch as it slows down many of the cyclists who would try to hammer home, and spreads folks out so you don't come riding in a tired pack. Here we'd go at our own pace--so Joe/ I would kick up the pace on the "Italian Roller" (too long to stand) climbs and Ward would crank it up and catch on the downhill portions--he was especially motivated when passed by a Rivendale. One or two final rustic hillside vineyards. Soon we are suddenly in surburbia where Joe spots his girlfriend and Ward missed the photo op of the day when Joe snuck up from behind and gave her a special greeting. Now flat with lights for about a dozen blocks, while starting from a light that just turned green some schmuck comes barreling in, turns suddenly in front of us, and cuts off some beginner riders. Its Ward's style to yell but I just get my dander up, chase, and sit on guys wheel till we are back to the Mark West Wells Fargo Center. Last segment had 640' climbing over 14 miles. Final time 4:40, average speed 16.7. Not as fast as in the past but building on average speed all day. 91 minutes of rest stops-sheeze.
Our "almost 120 mile minus Dutcher Loop" compatriots got in about 10 minutes before us--and some other members of out club who did the 100 mile loop also there. Stephen made up for his erroneous "Jay YOU are going the wrong way" by having a 6 pac of Guiness Stout--something I had started at this venue in 2003 and had since abondon, to celebrate 120 mile rides. We saw Trena, but she looked out of it and then suddenly disappeared--later we learned that a friend of hers had crashed in front of her on the 100 mile route and had gone to hospital. Nice weather--good roast boneless turkey/ pasta dinner with DIET soda--perfect atmosphere being under the tent. Saw Miles who was showing photos on a laptop--great photographer and nice guy to deal with but disorganized as usual. Finally party over and time to go--had to wait a 1/ hour for a shake in Ronart Park--the 1 1/2 hr drive home seemed sooooo long as had to set up for tomorrow and basically go to sleep for another early wakeup. But at least I'm getting some sleep, CA Mike/ Don on their 600k brevet now riding through their 2nd night.