Saturday, May 10, 2008

Series of Self Supported Century Rides

(March 22-April 13, 2008) Great thing about being a Diablo Cyclist is that a number of us do "bonus miles," so we have numerous 100 milers in before the Century Season/ Doubles hit. After a 120 mile ride around Oahu and climbing 10,023' of Haleakala, the weekend I returned from Hawaii I led a club ride to Pt Reyes Lighthouse (90 miles, 16.6 average, 6000' climbing,) Now is the time of the year to go out to Pt Reyes as the weather is better than it is during the foggy, windy summer, and cars are pulled off the crappy undulating road half way to the lighthouse as it is whale watching season, so instead of a stream of cars only a bus would pass every ten minutes or so. Lots of hammering at the beginning when we were passed by some racers and a few of us jumped on their wheel and then started revving up the pace--actually I was on good behavior for a second before I figured what the hell--then was ready to jump back as I was supposed to be the ride leader, but over one shoulder was our flatland powerhouse, Big Mike, and our best climber, Joe, was on the other wing so we had to go for it. The great treats as usual at the (#1) Bovine Bakery, and a dance party across the street that some of the clubs women partook in. On the way back some of us got a little climbing in by detouring to the Cheese Factory. Then I got to relive my great run in from last years Mt. Tam Double--a section I love through Nicasio as it is a consistent gentle climb with a tailwind.
Pt Reyes Photoes (1) The motley crew at Pt. Reyes Lighthouse (2) Ward grabbing a good camera away from some tourists (3) Da Girls in Pt Reyes Station, later they'd be dancing in the street (4) Big Mike along the run in to Pt. Reyes Lighthouse (5) Joe thinking about riding down to the lighthouse.

A week later we started the club ride, which is usually a stream of attacks, and then Ward wanted to do bonus miles so we rode past Sunol and out and back over Calavaras (100 miles, 16.7 avg, 4,000' climbing) Bonus miles are usually done at a leisurely pace--the motto usually being when there is a large group we try to split it apart, when there is the small bonus mile group we try to keep it together.

The following week did an out and back from Winters to Middletown on a fixed gear. (121 miles, 13.6 avg, 6,700' climbing.) This is part of the Davis Double course,which I've done 4 times and now will attempt on a fixed gear. Donna is attempting her first double and wanted to see what this course was all about, so is Professor Dave in his recumbent. Ward swears he'll never do a double but likes the 100-120 mile rides. Lots of climbs, long uphill rollers out which I liked--a few times we had to slow and wait for Donna with Ward taking his usual dozens of photos. Long climb over Cardiac-past Pope Valley--past Hubcap Ranch--almost to Clearlake. On the way back course much faster and I had trouble keeping up. The recumbent is the anti-fixed gear, on climbs Dave (who did the Death Ride on a recumbent) suffers--how can one climb when they can't stand?, and then on the downhills he shoots past like a roach.

(1) Donna on her longest self supported ride ever (2) me on my longest fixed gear ride ever (3) Professor Dave on the recumbent

Final self supported ride was with the King of Bonus Miles, Jack, with Stephan and June, on one of the first hit days in the Bay Area. Sunol-Calavaras and Sierra Road (105 miles, 15.2 average, 4,800' climbing) This is harder than the climbing figure suggests as all the climbing is together and Sierra Road is a miserable climb, around 4 miles at 9%. The Tour of California features this climb, as does the Devil Mountain Double around mile 150. Early in the day my piss was the color of stale beer; I knew I wasn't hydrating well but figured I'd "catch up." Trouble is you never catch up. We pulled in to get drinks before Sierra Road, I downed an ice tea, took the Endurolights, had a banana--all the things I was supposed to do. Everyone left the convenience store on their own, first June, a minute later Jack and Stephen, and then me who promptly got stuck at a light. OK--back about 30 seconds and everyone is a strong climber, but I go hard on the beginning 10+% section and pass Jack/ Stephan. I'm feeling good when suddenly my heart starts racing, I slow down, but my heart is still racing wildly. I get thirstier than hell and tired. Soon Jack/ Stephan repass me and it seems that I'm going in slow motion--I am 3.4 mph. At the beginning of the climb I lamented that I didn't bring chalk to write the great Johan Musseuw's name in the road while waiting for everyone else, now at the top everyone waiting for me. Still had to do the Calavaras Wall and then 80-90 miles back to Walnut Creek whereas Jack pulled me in. Almost fell off the bike at every stop light that were now never long enough--and at the end Jack ups the pace to race someone on Danville Blvd. (Which he never does) Not a good way to end the preseason before the spring classics.

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