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.

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