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
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.
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!.
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.