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

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