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.)

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