Saturday, June 4, 2005


(June 4, 2005) Sierra Century (Plymouth), 123 miles, 10,000' climbing, 16.9 mph, 6:30-3:00, BEST CENTURY EVER!!!! w/ Big Mike, Jack, Ward Doug

Comments I left on the Sacramento Wheelmen Website--who knew that by next year the greatest ride would be kicked out of one of the two Counties they were in, and meet disaster on the modified route, and in two years would be no more.

"I’ve done most of the century rides in Northern California and yours is consistently THE BEST. Apart from the great route and having everything spot on from well stocked rests stops to an organized registration, your bike club/ event workers are so incredibly enthusiastic—it is really appreciated. I do have to laugh though—a few years ago the bonus 120 route was a “secret”—now it is on your satellite photo poster.

Speaking of routes—this same weekend there is another double metric that is supposedly a tiny bit harder. Oh no. You should consider adding a Shenandoah Road (out of Volcano) option to the ride. (ouch)

Thanks again for a great ride.-Pumpkincycle"

From 2004 Ride Report

Donna is now starting to climb much better—if she keep working at it, and gets inspiration from looking at my “I tamed Slug Gulch” pin during the next year, she’ll be able to do Slug Gulch next year.

Real festive post ride atmosphere at the Amador County Fairgrounds, with a simple pasta meal combined with good salad, and specialty bread. Ate outside on the lawn, and as karma would have it about 20 Diablo Cyclists all were eating next to us—more impetus for the need to ride with a group that rides centuries together.


For a few weeks prior to this ride Donna was worried about Slug Gulch. So I had proposed and she readily accepted a Slug Gulch trial run, whereas you start from Plymouth and hit it at mile 25. I wanted to scout the approach so I wouldn’t hammer on the severe rollers before Slug Gulch. So, a day after a hard ride racing Tunitas (for me) and Morgan Territory (for Donna) we went up there and I was surprised how easy it was. Donna didn’t want me to stay with her on the climb so I slacked a little and bs’d with an engineering professor, Ed, from Sac State. When I got to the top I told him I’d turn around and ride back for my wife who didn’t want me to climb w/ her. He said—you’re living dangerously, but I figured that Donna would be off the most severe initial sections. (I had told Donna that it gets easier-but professor had said-tough part up ahead.) I went back down-got her in the middle-Donna said she thought I was going to be around the next corner—but she did it, the hardest section, and gained confidence for Slug Gulch the next week. Donna didn’t expect to do a “metric” that day, but we continued on the “secret 120 miler” rout to Hwy 88, and then up to Cooks Station for 60 miles.

Noted that when you make sudden left hand turn Slug Gulch wall appears there are about 4 steep sections—each about 2x the length of the Mt Diablo ramp. After that there are just a few steep turns but after that the climb is very doable—with the last 2 miles almost gentle.

We went up early and we got to Plymouth at @12:15—early enough to have a chance to check in at the Shenandoah Inn (that I had made reservation for 8 months earlier as wanted to stay in Plymouth.) On the way up Donna told me Jo Jo sagging Chris at Tahoe Century—last year this news from Donna was devastating as I was still wondering what had happened to Gruppo Pumnpkincycle (and didn’t know punchline yet) and us not doing the Sierra Century signified the death knell; this year—who gives a fuck.

Of course last year dad had just died—and didn’t get on bike for 2 weeks until two days before ride. This year doing lots of long miles with Diablo Cyclists, kind of not focused on losing weight so +5 more than I should be, and may not be as fast as last year—but my endurance/ climbing is much much better. After bonking on Slug Gulch last year I did it great 2x on Plymouth-Slug Gulch metric short course, but I was looking to exact revenge this year and I was going to attack-attack-attack. Ron, the king of the oldtime members of DC said the gruppo was leaving at 7:30 but I had told him no way, I was leaving at 6:15. Since then some other DC’s indicated that they were in for the 120 and 6:30 would be a good starting time- and I knew Jack would have everyone leaving on time—so I decided I’d leave at 6:30 but not a second later, otherwise I’d go off solo.

In any event Donna and I were able to check in, and we took a 20 mile out and back to Shenandoah School Road (uphill rollers into headwind) to Sobol Winery--12 mph out, with Donna slacking on the uphill rollers, 19 mph back with Donna doing a good job staying on my wheel. Then noticed it was getting hot—unlike last Sunday—hot tub was a little to hot, finally pulled my chair into the shade and would doze off for a few minutes, and wake up to the sound of some bike yentas sitting across at the pool. Lucky us—there was no one else around, and without them all we’d hear would be the birds chirping in the Oak Field behind the hotel.
Plymouth area becoming Napa North--lots of wineries springing up. Losing up bike ride taken in the area the day before--fitting to do it in my PUMPKINCYCLE jersey.

Drove over to checkin—less than 1 mile away. Finally know that fair grounds parking lot is left turn by old brick building. Checkin as usual was great—beautiful patch given out--lots of maps with routes, and satellite poster for sale —including the “secret” 120 course. I found Neil, the ride director, and gave him a hard time for not disclosing route before Jo-Jo and I did a practice run 2 years ago.. Neil said that by now many people know the "secret route." That OK—I had no doubt that even with 6:30 start we’d get to 2:00 cutoff in more than enough time. On Sierra Century map Donna commented that Slug Gulch didn’t look much harder than Rams Horn.

Drove to Jackson for dinner at Buscaligia’s—Jackson the most interesting town in the gold country and only 12 miles away but some slow portions through Amador City (interesting windwill/garden store) and Sutter Creek, so it takes more than a half hour to get there. Jackson has interesting stores and nice motel—but glad we wouldn’t have to drive over any earlier in the morning. In Jackson good used book store where I found the perfect cycling book for John “Around the World On a Bicycle” by Thomas Stevens. It is about an around the world trip that the author took on a hi-wheeler in 1884. Originally published a 2 volume diary, this centennial reprint whittled down to 133 pages, full of woodcut illustrations, and ancient english language.

Met Jack for dinner-good meal even if we couldn’t shake much bread out of surly waitress. Dinner salad and mushroom appetizer very good-pasta fair, but end of meal I wish we had sat outside as restaurant was very noisy. Big Mike was somewhere in Lodi at the time. Dinner over before 8:00—good coffee takeout at Martel, I went back to fairgrounds to see if I could find Doug and Ward—they were camping out in tent city behind registration hall. Found their cars and tent site uninhabited—bike unlocked (they’re not from NYC), left a note. Went back and pinned number on tri top jersey with funky pockets and promptly fell asleep at 10:00.

In 2003 real nervous and up at 3:00. In 2004 dad’s death, doing ride solo, death of Gruppo Pumpkincycle—not nervous but thinking about a lot of things and up early. Tradition held, I was up again at 3:00—but not nervous as all—just anise to get going. Put on MP-3, rolled out of bed at 4:45. Plan was to leave motel at 5:45—around time we had first started the ride the last 2 years. Magic Italian feed bag-soy cake, odswalla bar, banana, mini muffin from conti breakfast, along w/ bad coffee. When we got to fairgrounds and had to park “in the fields” for first time in 3 years. Donna soon ready to go, and she took off at 6:00 to do the 100 mile course with Slug Gulch. I had gone to registration and dumped off raffle tickets, took a bunch of goo packs, and had another banana. Got bike ready and it was 6:15—I was ready to go but with the promise of good group of Diablo Cyclists to ride with I went to the can again, and then went over in front of registration. Jack, who I did the Davis Double and half of Santa Rosa with, was ready to go. Doug and Ward, who had brought me back to group in Santa Rosa soon appeared. Told that June and Steve were leaving later—too bad, June great climber and Steve strong all around rider. Also MIA was Big Mike—he knew about DC start time but was nowhere to be found. Oh no—great riding with him due to our divergent (complementary) styles, except for big climbs he’d be strongest rider in group—so he’d be missed, especially during fast first segment of course.

6:25-“time to go,” but we waited around another 5 minutes to see if Big Mike appeared. No sign of him, so without him I figured I’d do a lot of early morning pulling—plus it was cold, and the course starts off on a fast downhill. I was amped and cold, so I started hammering from the get go—even if a little scary with many riders on the fast downhill on Old Sacramento Road with cars first coming to the event squeezing the road from the other direction. I kept wanting to latch us onto a longer paceline where we wouldn’t have to work, but we were passing scores of riders. Finally spotted two riders wearing Bike Planet kits—reminded me of me and Big Mike, though to a lesser degree. The bigger guy pulled on the flats and the other guy sped up on the eventual uphill rollers. At one point I lost track of the Big Guy, and after a series of uphill roller asked the other guy if his buddy was up or down the road. Funny answer—“if the road is going up I’m in front and he’s in back”-if the road is going down he’s in front and I’m in back.:”
Doug, Ward, Jack ready to go at the Amador County fairground start--where the heck is Big Mike to clear a path for us on the fast part of the course??

Real cool when we got to Hwy 16—CHP stopping cross traffic for us to go through.

After Hwy 16 severity of rollers picked up. Our four man group held together very well, and “Bike Planet” guys fun to ride with. Road was crowded, some people riding 4 across, and there were some definite rough patches on Irish Hill Road that would suddenly appear. All of a sudden on one downhill-uphill combo some geek in red shorts flew down, cut everyone off and got to top of roller. I got on his wheel and on the next roller combo I just jumped out ahead of him. Same on next roller. Later found out that guy had dropped back but continue to cut off riders, and Ward told him he was weaving-and red shorts took offense. I can’t imagine Ward saying anything with ill will (Jack, Ward and Doug all mild mannered.)

Donna and I on early downhill rollers. Think Jack is the mystery Diablo Cyclist is in front of me--and I think taken by Photocrazy.

Close to Ione I was bsing w/ Bike Planet guys, when suddenly I told Diablo Cyclists that we are skipping 1st rest stop and going to secret bathrooms. I had previously told Jack, but when we hit Ione and I turned left while ride turned right, Doug yelled out where I was going-I yelled back “secret bathrooms.” Not enough time to tell “Bike Planet” guys about it. I continued on, figuring that they’d catch up with me later, but Ward, Doug, Jack following me—which is dangerous as I tend to get lost in Contra Costa. But real secret bathrooms by the Steam Engine, Doug hadn’t brought goos so I split power bar with him.. I had only drunk 1/3 of a bottle for first 21 miles—not enough. Jack had us out of there in less than 6 minutes. We had gotten to Ione with an average speed of 21.7 mph—had left 41 minute after last year but now only 35 minutes behind (had left 48 minutes earlier in 2003, 42 minutes behind)--6 minutes faster over previous years. Rollers and small hills (Italian rollers) on backroads from Ione to Sutter Creek where we'd catch up to Donna.

With Big Mike we would have gotten to Ione faster—but at least he’d be pooped by the time he caught up to us. Now rollers to Sutter Creek were becoming steeper and longer—no longer rollers but a series of small hills. After the first fast section a little impetus had left, we all backed up but don’t recall more than a couple of people passing us. Sometime we were just bsing—I was sky high and bsing a lot—when girl in front of us yells out “Jay, Jay?” Turns out we caught Donna. Pulled out the camera-took her photo, and off we went. Everyone took turns leading the charge up the next hill. Suddenly we were on fast downhill, and going into Sutter Creek-I joked with Doug that there were secret bathrooms here. I think he wanted to stop but Jack/ Ward were pushing on to start the great 12 mile climb to Volcano. Entering the most picturesque Gold Country town of Sutter Creek.

Volcano Road is one of the nicest sections that is shaded, with creek alongside. Even though uphill it is really not steep until the last 2 miles (Fabio Hill), broken up by a false flat—and for some reason (flag was totally neutral) it feels like a magnet pulling you up. I pulled for a long time-then Ward went to the front for most of the climb and we were going over 20mph. One guy with a Trek went to the front—good, let him pull, but then Ward dropped his chain. After getting it back on I brought group back to Trek guy, Ward went back to the front and kept pace high—he gets Enrico Carsarni award.

We go close to steeper Fabio Hill and two guy came flying by. I got on their wheel and one guy dropped off. Smaller guy went out strongly and I just stayed on his wheel to first false flat. Next time road went up I went out hard but not in great interval condition like last year so expected guy to be on my wheel. He wasn’t so I went into time trial rhythm and went hard up to last climb from stop sign. Now 18.1 average speed, and 25 minutes behind 2004, 11 minutes behind 2003. (Remember we left 40+ minutes earlier in past years.) I got bike set down, helmet off, grabbed some grapes from tuxedo shirted guy, and had camera set when Diablo Cyclists rode in—but when they came in they made sharp right turn before tuxedo guy—bee line to outhouses.

I walked over to restroom (not drinking enough-still dark yellow) and then refilled bottles—great rest stop where I had banana, breakfast bar, some fig cookies (better than fig newtons.) Could have had sandwich or about 20 other things. Also downed 3 cans of V8. No Rosie in town. They only had Gatorade (or water) but I still had some cytomax power from Ione rest stop. Anticipating Jack’s “ready to go” I went back to my bike and Doug yelled out—he’s holding a BIG BIKE where top tube was by his neck—Big Mike had arrived! Great. He may be fastest century rider but slowest person getting ready-he had left close to 7:00.

Big Mike had hammered to catch us, and we were making great time. Jack set a nice but not killer pace up Rams Horn, figured that Big Mike probably needs a rest so I just rode up a Jack’s pace—commenting on wussy poetry on burma\ shave type signs (“Spin Your Gears and have no fear”,,,,”Soon the top will be really near.”) I figured they needed to incorporate the word “beer" into more of their signs. Group kept together, and I warned them of the false flat and stout uphill to and right after Daffodil Hill. But then I thought what the heck am I doing—Jack, Ward, Doug and of course Big Mike are great downhillers and I’ll be off the back on the 11 mile downhill to Fiddletown Road. I had to get off the first half-which is windy and curvy, before being passed, as the second half features more level portions punctuated by small uphill rollers I could regroup on. So I took off after Daffodil Hill—rode with a guy who I pulled to the Fiddletown turnoff. He promptly passed me on the downhill—which I expected. On the downhill I expected everyone to pass me. But surprisingly no one else did—until—BIG MIKE shoots by. He said he was going to take it easy until he knew I was up the road—I told him that I had to go early as I expected to fall off the back from whole group if we all started together. Big Mike slacks off a little so I can stay on his week, and I follow the big guy towardx Fiddletown. With about 2 miles to go I go to the front, Mike wants to repass but I tell him that he should take a rest, so if anyone near Fiddeltwon starts to sprint he’d be ready to go. This would foreshadow what would happen later.

Into Fiddletown with a 17.8 average. Now 29 minutes behind 2004, 12 minutes behind 2003. As started much earlier both those years, actually running 12 minutes ahead of 2004 and 36 minutes ahead of 2003. More importantly, was dead at this point last year—now I felt great. Jack, Ward and Doug roll in a couple of minutes later. Bonus to hammering to rest stop is that you gain a few minutes on Jack’s real tight schedule.
Oh no--Big Mike has his shoes's off--that usually means a 25 minute rest stop. But he did take alot off so I could stay on his wheel to Fiddletown.

Started up sharp climb on Tyler Road—last year pooped out while chasing Bill up this, but now Ward setting a nice pace and I’m just hanging with him as everyone else right behind. Soon we are on Bridgeport School Road where a 6-7 paceline shoots by us. I thought Big Miek would go to the front and run them down, and I’d ride 2nd wheel, but no one came forward so I bridged up to the group and jumped ahead on an uphill roller through the pockmarked forest. One guy came out of the group and we slugged it out for 5 miles until Cedar Creek Road—I slowly rode up Cedar Creek-no Diablo Cyclists so I thought someone had flatted, I started peddaling back when the DC pelaton shot by. In the back was the surly guy on Domo Bike from Davis—he was a lot friendlier today. Big Mike passing some of the isolated real estate in the area.

Approaching Mt Aukum Road-we had riden so far to this point (70- miles) but in reality only about 15 miles from our starting point. Ward suggested we take it easy as Slug Guch soon approaching—good idea, so even though we were keeping up a businesslike pace Big Mike wasn’t hammering off the front on the downhill and everyone was well behaved on the uphills. This is portion I had ridden with Donna the week before so very familiar. Now short and sharper uphill rollers--a few riders tried to pass, but I’d go and stick on their wheel—and then slow so we’d regroup. Jack started opening it up here also. I had already drained one bottle and with 9 miles of Perry Creek/ Slug Gulch I wanted two full ones. Both Jack and Big Mike said they weren't going to stop, and would give me water but I decline the offer. So, we passed Perry Creek Water Stop-Jack and Mike went on ahead, and I pulled in with a sense of urgency—to get back on terms with them.

So instead of getting off the bike I spot drink container-big line for one of them. I roll to empty one-in between crowd of cyclkists-start filling up bottle. "Its lemonade" says one”, I don’t care—I turn bike around while on it-wack someone. “Sorry” I blurt out and off I go—figure I am 2 minutes behind Jack and Mike. Ward and Doug roll in, but they are going to refill at rest stop at leisurly pace-so off I go. Don’t want to do what I did last year and blow up while chasing, but want to catch Jack and Big Mike, so again try to time trial without going crazy. A triatalete who had never done the course catches up yo me, I tell him about Slug Gulch so he stopps hammering. He is in for the 100 miler. I give him the advice to be ready in his easy gear for sudden left turn—which I am still not sure where it is.

UNTIL SUDDENLY I AM THERE. Sacto Wheelmen do a great job hanging PVC signs on all the seminal turns but instantly recognized this one. You come off a sharp downhill where you are tenmpted to be in a medium gear and all of a sudden a sharp left and THE WALL is in front of you-18-20%. Some guy on side of road yells-“Down Shift,” I yell back I already did.

My hammys now a little tight but otherwise I feel great hitting Slug Gulch. I’m in compact 27, which is like having a 31 in the back of a standard double. I’m standing but effortless climbing past lots of people wheezing and deep breathing. It’s not easy but not hard either. Darn-I imagine how good I’d be doing if I lost the 5-7 lbs I should have. Off first hard section-reprieve, and see Big Mike up ahead. I try to sneak up to him and try to make shadow puppets behind but he has a mirror and knows I'm behind. I see Jack in the distance and start cranking towards him—catch up to him on 2nd hard section and then I take off. Catch up to racing girl who had paced in Bridgeport School Road Forest—Holly who races with “Palo Alto Velo is thin and a good climber, she is also standing on the pedals. I catch up and she says “you attacked your group again.” I laugh-I told her I didn’t attack—they left me behind at the water stop, which got me going. I take off, standing for longer than the usual 55 count strech. Flat part and then on SUPER STEEP number 3 or number 4. Here I lost track as there was one more steep section than I expected—I countinued to fly past other riders while I was humming “When the Music’s Over.” Certainly I couldn’t keep this pace up for a long time but I was exacting revenge for 2004.

Boy on side of the road with hose—went by, I yelled out “HIT ME BABY” and he doused me with cold water well after I passed. Still felt great. Only problem some hot food developing—NOT pain at bottom of foot that plagued me on the Davis Double and in subsequent rides (corrected with an additioan cheep Dr. Scholes layer.) Oh, another prblem, bug flew inside jersey so I spent a few minutes playing squash the bug and dump it ouf from jersey bottom. Glad Photocrazy wasn’t on this part.

Sharp uphill right turn, but remembered it would get flat soon—in fact I remembered riding back to the exact spot for Jerry in our post Sierra ride last year. Now road was much more gentle, I went into a harder gear—passed a few more riders and suddenly was at Omno Ranch. Felt great-let me have the pin! 12:20—1 ½ hours before cutoff. Now 4 minutes off of 2004 (but 37 minutes net ahead) and 35 minutes ahead (83 net ahead) of 2003. Put bike against school, got some bananas and fig bars, took off shoes and sat in beach chair by wading pools when Jack rolled in. A few minutes later in came Big Mike and a few minutes later Ward and Doug—who had leg cramps. This is one of the great rest stops of all rides--uncrowded and surrounded by trees.

Again getting to rest stop early paid off—when you hit this beautiful oasis at the top of the world—I could have lounged out for 90 minutes, tken a snooze, and left right before 2:00 cutoff. But of course my legs would have felt like shit and everything would tighten up. So after 24 minutes, probably 21 for Jack and 18 for Mike, Jack sounds the “ready to go” alarm. Big Mike as a huge plate of food and gummy bears—he looks like he is ready to lay out for his 55 minute lunch. But I urge him to stuff gummy bears in pockets and lets go -- no sympathy as Jack didn't let me have lunch on the Davis Double. Jack is right--though I’d love to hang out its best to keep pushing on. Doug indicates he is staying behind, I’m not sure about Mike. Jack and I leave, Ward catches back up to us and then I’m happy to see Mike arrive—even though he is chocking/ chomping down on food.

Riding at a nice pace through the Omo Ranch road towards Hwy 88, when a trio of riders fly by—Holly and two others. On the uphill rollers Holly and I pick up the pace-here is where I learn she is a Cat 3 who hates to do intervals—as I tell her why I didn’t like racing. Her husband is a Cat 3 also. On an uphill when I take the lead she tries to stick with me, at one point I jump out and pull shzrply left-Ward yells that I’m weaiving. I turn to show him that I pulled out the camera and was setting up for a photo, when I see that Holly was right on my wheel exepcting the next jump. We get to one long section and I start to go, with Holly chasing, and her husband yells out “HOLLY NO!” She jumps back in line, so I drop right behind them so I can get a pull up to Highway 88. But when they pass the water stop guy yells-“commerative bottles” and they pull off. I continue onto Hwy 88-stop to take photo, and pleasantly surpirsed that monster cattleguard has plank over it. Unlike last two years, this stretch actullay passes very very quickly—in fact whole ride is shooting by.
Big Mike, Ward, Jack and Doug. This looks like the great El Dorado Forest but Doug had stayed behind when we hit that--so maybe run in before Perry Creek Road/ Slug Gulch.

This is part of course that Big Mike is going to own, like Jerry did a few years ago, but Mike isn’t up yet so I start going down Highway 88. Jack jumps out and I get into his slipstream. Lots of fun flying down. Quick turn onto Shake Ridge Road and we are continuing on downhill rollers—though puncuated by some sharp uphill rollers. On one Mike goes flying by and I start chasing but it is useless. Woman ahead of me is going at a good clip so I draft behind her to rest—then thank her and take off after Mike again but to no avail. Soon Jack and Ward come though and I get a nice pull from them.

We hit the Fiddletown Speedway—more downhill rollers punctauted by some sharp uphills—Ward notes that the uphills much more noticible the 2nd time around. Some guy on a Rex bike passes on an uphill roller—can’t allow that—so I repass on the next one and we start upping the pace. We hit a downhill section and I’m smart enough NOT to challenge on a downhill so I just stay in the Rex guys draft. We can always see Big Mike down the road—but don’t think we’ll get back to him.

Suddenly a guy comes along the right side of me and squeezes past the Rex guy in about 6” of space to the dirt shoulder—without saying anything. I say something to the Rex guy, we are now both pissed at this sneaky intrudy, and we get on his wheel. On an uphill roller Rex or I go to the front but intruder stays with us, and then on the flat-downhills he pushes ahead. We draft behind him and soon we are back to Big Mike.

At this point I just want Mike to be able to kick intruders butt in a sprint finish. I go ahead for some pulls so Mike can rest, but Mike keeps sprinting out, with intruder on his tail. First two times we get back on terms and situation repeats. Third time I’m get lazy and sit in fourth wheel, figure Rex will bring us back to Big Mike and Intruder, but Rex has lost steam, and we are suddenly 100 feet behind the two big guys going crazy up the road. Rex and I ride hard trading pulls, but all we can do is keep Big Mike and Intruder in sight—and it is all over when I go to the front and Rex drops off. About 200’ behind now, and they disappear from sight. When I pull into Fiddletown I ask Mike who won the sprint—he says they were both dead so they rode in together.

Jack and Ward pull in about a minute behind. I razz Mike that we have to sprint to all the rest stops to get a bonus minute or two before Jack says “time to go” and that today we had lots of time compared to Jack’s brutal Davis Double timetable. Remembering what happened in Davis I fill up one water bottle with plain water—what a novel concept—which works out great. Our speed has inched back up to 16.8—and just 6 minutes behind 2004 (with our starting 41 minutes later, net 35 minutes ahead.) Feel great after 113 miles—can’t believe ride is almost over.

We hit Ostrom Climb right away—I figure may as well keep it together so stay at Jack’s pace—who is definitely going faster than he did on Rams’ Horn when I also paced with him. We get to a women who is stetting a nice pace, but someone yells car back so she just stops on the side of the hairpin. We pass her and a dozen other cyclists and suddenly finish this short—2 mile-- but steep climb.
Jack on Ostrum--he is real steady until he can "smell the barn" and then picks up the pace.

Hit the Shenndoah intersection-all downhill from here—and was going to wait for Mike and Ward but Jack smelled the end of the ride and took off so I followed. We had slowed to make the turn as some of the 100 milers were steaming down the course, but we soon repassed them all. At Davis I thought that Jack just doesn’t get any slower from the start of the ride to the finish, , but now he was riding faster than he had done all day. I’d go to the front for a halaf mile, and then Jack would go by and take a fast pull. For some reason the course was changed so we didn’t make the sharp left on Shenendoah School Road, but stayed on the main drag. A 4 man paceline about a ¼ mile in front of us—and though no uphills I figured we could catch them and Jack and I dug in. Unfortunatley a cyclist at the midpoint, and for some reason after a line of cars passed us they stayed behind the midpoint cyclist—effectively blocking the road into Plymouth.

Total time 6:30-3:00, 8.5 hours., ride time 7:16 for 123 miles, 10,000 climbing. Average speed 16.9. Later Mike was kinda disappointed that his average speed was under mine (16.5) as he definitely was faster both times to Fiddletown, but the climbs killed his time. If Mike had been with us at the beginning of the course, no doubt our average speeds would have been over 17.
Back at fairgrounds our group links up with some other Diablo Cyclists who did shorter course and had left later. Psuedo Western Town in fairgrounds one of the nicest venues to finish a ride at.

Go to car and change—ready to go to food area when Donna pulls in--her greeting to me, “damn-you finished before me.” But she had done the whole 100 miler—including Slug Gulch. Great. I walked over to see if anyone around yet-ran into Peter the Benecia Cylist racer. Donna and Miek walk in-give Mike the ceremonial Guiness Stout. Later we are joined by all of our Diablo Cyclist gruppo, and Paul, June, Stephen and one or two people I didn’t know (inc Johanna who'd I ride parts of the Death Ride with in future years)—in the exact spot on the lawn I saw the DC gruppo come in last year when feeling like shit. Feel incredibly great this year.

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