Monday, August 17, 2009


(August 16, 2009) Tour of the Napa Valley Century-100 miles, 5'000' climbing. Start at 7:00, no Stephen not here, 7:05, no Stephen so I'm going back to the car, 7:15, see Stephen putting on suntan lotion or the stuff Barry Bonds used, so 7:20-@2:20 w/ Ward, Stephen and June. 17.7 avg (inc 1 ½ miles of two slow trips from lower parking lot to registration and 6mph zone of @10 stop signs 200' apart at the end in Yountville.) **180 Course Rating***

Below-armada of hot air balloons launch from where our ride begins
This used to be the seminal ride. Back in the late 1990’s when I had to walk my hybrid a significant portion of the “impossible” 4 mile climb-Ink Grade, 'how did anyone stay on their bikes'-I wondered. In 2002 when my knee injury prevented me from doing the 100 miler as I was jealous of the Delta Pedalers who could do it—and their tales of the super steep Mt. Veeder. 2003 when Gruppo Pumpkincycle disappeared from the start, and I time trialed the course with Jerry, a mountain bike racer, and did the same in 2004 with Big Mike. Then really fast Diablo Cyclist rides—one year with Livermore Racer Brian and Michigan Tom hammering the course and the rest of us holding on for dear life.

This year there were 6-7 Diablo Cyclists scattered around the course and 4 in our 100 mile group—a very small showing, though not as small as the zero Delta Pedalers signed up. But our group would be good, Ward and Stephan great all-round riders, and June fast on the climbs, and can hold onto any paceline as long as it is steady. I think she is the Schleck sister no one talks about. Luckily the day before Ward and I took it easy on the 50 mile Diablo Cyclist ride--I kept my bike in the small chainring so I wouldn't be tempted to get caught up in the moment.

I was happy going into this as still had great form from the Mt. Tam Double training, and though this is a fast course with lots of pacelining, a few rollers, and two attention getting climbs, this should be a piece of cake. The doubles are not only twice as long, but the timed ones go ball out from the start, and if you can you best get out of the rest stops 30-40 miles apart in 6 minutes or less, living on carefully selected food. On the century we could slack off and we’d only pick up the pace voluntarily, meaning of any riders passed us that we didn’t like—and we could dawdle at rest stops 20-25 miles apart and eat any crap we wanted (though this probably meant locking up when we first leave and gain 2 lbs on the ride.)

Ward and I are usually Mr. Prompt, while Stephen acts…well like the musician he is. We had hoped to start at 7:00 but Ward cut Stephen some slack for a 7:15 start. How Stephan rode in France for a month with Jack, the King of Promptness-Getting Out of Rest Stops fast I’ll never know.

Ward and I were going to have a contest—who’d get po’d and yell at more cyclists. I only did two organized century rides this year--I’m now used to Doubles where by mile 75 you don’t see many people on the course, and self supported century rides with only our small group together. In his next life Ward will be returning as a bike riding safety instructor. On the Napa century they’ve figured out a route to get 3,000 riders in each others way by “mushing” the different routes together—many riding 3-4 abreast, blocking the road.

Stats for the ride “The Diablo Scott Passed Them: Passed Me"Ratio (better stats below in the writeup from Ward Industries award winning tech writing department.)

? : 2 I can only recall two riders getting away on the climbs , I have no idea how many people we passed (do people changing flats count?)

1 : 2 Ward yelling: Jay Yelling Ratio. Ward yelled once at a lady who was riding on the left side of the road and wouldn’t move over when he called out. I yelled at NO cyclists, but did scream at two cars, one who decided to pass cyclists on the other side of the road in our lane and a convertible who shaved us when passing late in the ride.

Anyway ride was well supported—check in was easy. Festivities began when arriving early at the Yountville Veterans Home, where traffic-parking tie ups are common closer to 7am, so I parked in a paved parking lot far away and took a half hour nap while hot air balloons were launching nearby. I cycled up to check in where there was a big spread of bagels and good pastries—you can easily gain weight on this ride—and many outhouses were scattered about (the lack of outhouses at the start a chief complaint on most organized rides.) Saw Ward when I checked in, as Stephan not there yet cycled back “down the hill” to drop off map-patch, and saw Stephen riding up—bet he thought it was past 7:00 and I was taking off. Cycled easily back up the hill where many cyclist hammered past and after Stephan stopped at his car for suntan lotion……we……were……finally……

Beginning of the ride is a straightaway for a few miles along service road next to highway. A few folks passed us but we quickly got on their wheel, and would lose them on the climb ahead. Uneventful except for group riding three across the road with woman blocking the traffic lane and wouldn’t move after Ward called out. Even though a looker she got a mouthful—Ward is nondiscriminatory. After a few turns we are going up Mt. Veeder—a climb of a few miles—mostly an easy grade with a few short serious but no killer sections. It's cool and damp which F's up my breathing so I plan to take it easy--but the plan goes out the window when a big group of Sacramento Bike Hikers come by, and they are really setting a nice pace as a pack up Veeder—I close and stay in the back of their group. Half way up a few of them start falling off—the Sacto Bike Hiker who was in the front is down the road and I’m closing in but a gaggle of cyclists are across the whole road. Only Sacto Bike Hiker in front of me rides to the “wrong side” to get around them, but then we are on a curve so I wouldn’t cross the center line, and am I’m blocked in on the “right side.” After getting past the rolling road block I can’t catch the Bike Hiker leader but zoom past everyone else.

Actually there is one Diablo Cyclist up the road—it is Michigan Tom. I catch up to him and tell him how we yesterday derisively recalled the year he and Brian hammered us to death on this ride. Tom (who had a baby) said that was 30 lbs ago, and that he recently ran into Brian (now w/ injured back) and they fondly recalled the same highlight.

Nice thing is that it has quickly gone from cool to warm on the climb—so I (a little too early) pull off vest and arm warmers.

The next part I dislike—a curvy narrow road, tree lined (so full of shadows) and the special Napa pavement with cracks and potholes hidden in the shadows. Here a few guys go past that we’d catch on the next section once the road went up—with Ward stayed behind me riding shotgun warning me when someone was about to pass.

We regrouped at the base of the climb and started a nice section that was a series of rollers. We were going at a pace just fast enough not to get passed, when we got behind two guys wearing Patriot Bicycle-Fair Oaks jerseys. They were moving at a good pace and I was content to ride behind them (I’m lazy until something gets my dander up), but soon Ward called out “on your left” and got set to pass.

We quickly learned on this ride that calling out “on your left" means

One of the guys breaks formation and goes off like a bat out of hell. That quickly got me out of my lethargy, I sprint up to him, and Ward and I would take turns attacking on each roller. Then on one downhill roller—around a blind curve—there was again a gaggle of cyclists blocking the road and Patriot Bicycle #1 went downhill on the wrong side of the road. Are cyclists nuts?? second time someone jumped on the wrong side of the road on a blind curve. When we safely got past the group of cyclists on the road Patriot Bicycle #1 was well down the road but his buddy, who was real friendly, rode hard to catch up and brought us back before the start of some more rollers where we then went up hard again; I attacked on every uphill roller, then slowed to see if June and Stephen could get back on, and Ward attacked on each alternate roller, where Patriot Bicycle #1 would try to chase back to Ward and I'd zoom past. The story has a happy ending—on the flats we slowed to have Stephan and June regroup with us—they must have been laughing at the antics, and we all rode in cooperatively together with the Patriot Bicycle pair to Rest Stop 1 (mile 30), and later we’d do the same later heading into lunch.

Knew this rest stop was NOT on a good double as no Hammer products but not a Planet Ultra ride either as loads of fresh fruit, coffee cake, bagels.

Leaving this rest stop we wound our way through nondescript suburban Napa until hitting 20 miles of the now uncrowded Silverado Trail. Early in the AM this is the most picturesque part of the ride with fancy wineries on both sides, but no one had a chance to be a tourist as on this relatively flat section with a few gradual uphills there is always serious pacelining. Here a couple of Z Racing guys drove the front of the paceline with a little help from others, and about a dozen of us were content to sit in the back. The paceline was very uneven—would fluctuate between 17-24 depending who came forward to pull, or if the Z Guys started goofing around. Woman racer behind me kept calling out “slowing” “slowing” “slowing.”

One thing slowed the paceline down to a crawl—a clusterfuck that you could see develop. The 60 mile course was merging onto the Silverado Trail from the left when some woman didn‘t wait (wonder if she would have came out if Hummer was going down the road) and slowly made the turn-slowly crossed two lanes, and slowly rolled in front of the paceline. Luckily no cars were trailing as most of us had to swing far left into the traffic lane to avoid a collision.

We were getting close to the turnoff to Lake Hennessey, a 2 ½ mile gentle climb to the rest stop—usually with a slight tailwind. I had told my group before the ride I was going to attack on Hennessey. I always do, and we usually arrive at the turn with our group driving a big paceline that now can be broken up. But here I was with really fast guys—and I was debating whether just to sit in to the rest stop. But about a mile before the turn the “Z’ guys sudden ramped up the speed—2-3 guys in front of me lost their wheel, and I had to sprint out and barely got back to them and the remnants from the front of the paceline. Luckily I recovered in the back until the turn to Hennessey and by that point, as the group had been blown to shreds I thought what the F and shot by right after the turn, jumped ahead, and kept the speed a consistent 22 ½-23 mph so as not to be passed. I have no idea if anyone was trying but I was first to the rest stop (mile 47)

Rest stop at Hennessey is nice but I’ve been on too many doubles—I was ready to go after 10 minutes but no one else was. Luckily in the extra time Ward found out that they were collecting drop bags of excess clothes this year—great not having to carry tee shirt and vest. Finally on the road continuing the gentle uphill of Hennessey while Stephan dreamed of changing the route “NO,” and had to settle for planning future rides.

Now a long but gentle uphill on Pope Valley Road that would eventually become semi flat with a few rollers kicked in. Racing girl from huge paceline joined us for the start of the climb. This gradual uphill was perfect for June to set a businesslike but steady pace. Not much traffic but lots of “Napa Road Ruts” to be mindful of. Soon we catch up to the Patriot Cycling Guys who look like they lost some of their earlier zip—and no games played (except for June attacking on one serious roller) when we formed a paceline past Deer Park General Store where loads of cyclists stopped?, Hubcap Ranch and onto lunch. We kept the speed up and towards the end the Patriot Guys were happy to let Ward and I pull which was fine, as I was feeling real good. The other side of the road is crowded with 60 mile cyclists leaving lunch when a car decides to pass them on our side of the road. I quickly tie Ward in the yelling contest.

Lunch (mile 66) is where I really broke down—I’m usually watching what I eat on a double when warm but today I expanded my diet and actually left the cheese on premade deli sandwiches and filled bottles with dreaded Cytomax. I’d taste the cheese for awhile. When we pulled in it was definitely warm and the tubs of ice had been raided and emptied by the 60 milers who had arrived earlier—but before we left the rest stop workers had made an ice run to the joy of all. Nice shaded spot among the Oak Trees, we could have stayed there for a long time—and Stephan probably wanted to. Racing girl says she is taking it easy to enjoy the sights-I tell her I’m jaded and am now nonplussed seeing grapes grow—or hubcaps in a field (Hubcap Ranch) When ready to leave June and Ward start text messaging each other--rumor is that they will try this later on a pace line. Then June discovers that she lost one of her cleat covers so we hung around longer while she vainly tried to hunt it down.

I'm at lunch spot actually sitting which you can't do on a timed double, we're gonna be here for awhile as Stephan has his shoes off..

Great—nice and tight for the big 4 mile climb of the day—Ink Grade—that gets steep in the middle sections. Two miles to get loose—or get on someone’s wheel when they try to pass but have to peel off when June stung by something. Suddenly we hit Ink Grade.

Ever since I had to walk my bike up Ink Grade I’ve attacked it—and always time myself. I think I had my best time ever but Mr. Stupid (me) didn’t start his watch. I think it was easily my best time as Stephan and I are usually compatible climbers—last year on this we raced up and he got me by about 30 seconds. Today he was riding well and I got to the top @4-5 minutes before he did.

I hadn’t planned on going hard—I hit the climb after going hard to put some distance between someone who had closely passed when we started up after June’s bug bite, and I re-passed and now wanted to put some distance on the guy, but also ride tempo and keep the group with me. I’m slowing when some other guy shoots by with a music phone on loudly, which caused me to lift my speed. I can’t get back up to him and vainly chase for another mile. Though I’ve lost music phone guy but have a good rhythm on the climb, flying by many riders. I flash back as many people are struggling on the climb and a few people walking bike-I flash back 11-12 years; so I yell out encouragement whenever possible.. Apart from music phone guy no one passed me on the climb.

Stopped at the top and then circled back for our group who was now on the flat final section. The guys then all stopped at the water station while June went on ahead for the downhill—she hates downhills much more than me. Another steep but short climb and then a long long downhill which Stephan and Ward scrubbed speed off on so I could stay with them. Actually on one section they still got away, but when someone sped past me on a wide open section, pedaling like a maniac, I drafted behind him and when he almost caught Stephan and Ward who were soft pedaling for me to catch up—I yelled out “Postal” just when the uphill rollers began and we all started going up the climb hard to drop the guy. One cyclist we catch up to has a homemade jersey that says “Dopers Suck”—I yell out that it should say “Dodgers Suck.” Friendly guy says it can be read both ways.

We regroup and now back on the Silverado Trail, now full of winery traffic. Though we have a medium width shoulder lots of riders in it from the slower and shorter rides. Some riding next to each other. “Goood god” as James Brown would say.

A real treat was a fast but steady paceline of “Peninsula Velo” came by—and we just jumped in back of them. Two benefits—the easier ride behind them. Second benefit, they had to deal with all the dumbasses riding two-three abreast in the bike lane/shoulder—so many times they looked back and smoothly jumped on the road between motor traffic pockets to pass cyclists and we followed. One mini convertible did come by and shaved me and I thought it was going to get stuck at the next intersection—which might have resulted in a squirted water bottle, but unfortunately they didn’t stop, and the Peninsula Velo team kept rolling when we turned into the last rest stop.

(below) Ward and I riding behind the Peninsula Velo team, suddenly everyone branching out as Photocrazy robot cameras surrounding us--way before their traditional spot much further down the road. Hey Mr. Crazy, can't you get grapes in the background??
Now it was real warm—and the fresh nectarine at the stop hit the spot. No more ice but obviously there was an ice block in the drink jugs, as the drinks were very cold. Then got a slice of my favorite hot rest stop food—a plain slice of wheat bread, and it was time to finish up the Silverado trail.

One great thing about our quartet—we all took turns taking pulls and as we ride together a lot we can tell when someone is losing steam, and someone else jumps to the front. At one point we started having a lot of people join the back of our line—we were content to pull--and we kept the pace high but steady and after a while everyone had fallen off.

Usually the course doesn’t change but surprisingly they took us straight into Yountville instead of doing a final loop. This was OK until we realized that this meant an additional 6-7 stops signs (one on each block) in town, with anxious cops ready to give out tickets and ride workers out there urging us to stop every 200’.

It was a little after 2:00 and great ride was over way to soon Man, did it go by fast. Still had loads of energy. Saw Quackcyclist Jessie in the parking lot and he had a stash of Anchor Steam beer so I broke down and had my 2nd beer of the year (later I’d have my 2nd Ben & Jerry’s of the day.) Now walked up the long hill to the crowded BBQ with great BBQ chicken, garden burgers and fancy veggie salads (ssssh! Don’t tell Sacto Doug I had veggies.) Woman from Santa Rosa Bike Club confirming how bad the roads up there are—worse than Napa and Marin’s which are in crappy shape. Live music a little too C&W for me but they eventually played “Gloria’ and did a nice cover of it. Club members Craig and Recumbent Tom who had done their own thing on the ride joined our group as we recounted the high and low points of the ride (mostly high) and helped Stephen plan an out of town epic where he’ll come up with a great route.

Over the years the Napa Century had lost some of its luster. It was certainly surpassed by the Sierra Century, but that is no more. I had the Wine Country Century and Chico ahead of it also but the Eagle Cycling Club had come back strong with little things like drop bags for excess clothes and a better lunch stop—and this was as good as a 100 mile ride gets.

(below) (1) Stephan and June at the finish (2) We're joined by Craig at the meal (3) Ward inspecting non FSA complaint bike parts so he wouldn't have to dance.

As a special treat we got the head tech rider from Ward Industries to break down the ride below:

I used the laps feature of the Garmin to separate actual riding time from the time spent rolling around in rest stops where riding a normal pace would be stupid (e.g., the long run into and out of Aetna Springs). That said, I goofed and segment 4 includes the exit from Aetna Springs so the speed for this section (over Ink Grade) is a bit low. The data is below:

Distance @ Speed - Climbing
(1)Veterans Home - Northwood School-(Mt. Veeder)
29.2 miles @ 17.2 mph; 1700'
(2)Northwood School - Conn Dam
15.8 miles @ 21.3 mph; 360'
(3)Conn Dam - Aetna Springs
18.3 miles @ 18.6 mph; 1120'
(4)Aetna Springs -Napa Valley College-(Ink Grade)
21.4 miles @ 16.5 mph; 1350'
(5)Napa Valley College - Veteran's Home
12.1 miles @ 19.0 mph; 290'

96.9 miles @ 18.06 mph

Data from the Cateye for the 4 times I've done this ride is shown below (I only have complete Garmin data for '08). The differences in distance (while small) are attributed to when the computer was turned on/off for trips between the car and the start/finish area, and rolling around at the rest areas. I do not know why the climbing distances for '04 & '06 are so much different, but the Garmin and Cateye climbing data for '08 are very consistent so who knows? What this does show is that we did a much quicker pace than years past (even though we were down on horsepower on the flats (Michigan Tom, Big Mike, Big Jim). This shows that it is important to "make friends". Also, our average for this year was 17.7 until all the stop signs in beautiful downtown Yountville knocked it down to 17.6.

Year-Distance @ Speed-Climbing
2004-98.3 miles @ 17.3 mph-5920'
2006-100.5 miles @ 17.1 mph-5840'
2008-100.7 miles @ 17.0 mph-5100'
2009-100.8 miles @ 17.6 mph-5070'

Idiot of the Ride - Contestant #1
I only remember "talking" to one cyclist; the idiot woman who was in the middle of the lane while riding 3 abreast down Solano Ave (parallel to 29 at the very beginning of the ride). Even after getting passed by a large pickup truck with a horse trailer, this rider would not budge from lane center. I was at the front and gave the usual "on your left" and she held her line down the middle of the road, forcing all other riders to go over to the center line to get past. (I retrospect, maybe I should have blasted between here and her talking partners). There was a reasonably sized bike lane at this point and at no time did I see her pay any attention to what was happening behind her.

As I passed her I said "You might try riding single file or at least ride in the bike lane." There was no time to explain that I did not care if she got herself killed by riding in the middle of the road (as long as she killed herself behind me so I would not have to wait while they cleaned up the results), but I did not appreciate her stupidity endangering me and my group.

Tom does a Rusty
We saw (Michigan) Tom at the top of Veeder and he rode down to Dry Creek Road with us. Then he disappeared? I did not see him at any of the rest stops. Did he head down Dry Creek before we did and skip the rest stop or was he abducted by aliens?

Patriot Cycles
After we regrouped at the bottom of Mt. Veeder Road, we started down Dry Creek Road towards Rest Stop 1. I was in front and caught up to two guys wearing Patriot (Cycles, Fair Oaks) jerseys who were riding two abreast. I was doing about 22 mph and these guys were doing maybe 18. I called out "on your left" and started to pass.

The Patriot Guy (known as the "big guy" for convenience) on the inside looked up, made a very strange face, and just took off as hard as he could go. I thought WTF to myself and held my pace. Jay took off after this guy and it looked like they were contesting a sprint point. The second Patriot Guy (aka, "tall guy") slowly picked up the pace to keep up with his buddy, so I just tucked in and let this guy do the work. He rode nice and smoothly and pointed out road hazards. So I just sat back there until tall guy reeled in big guy (as described by Jay). I gave a little dig just before the one steep "roller" but only so that I could start the climb at the front (since I expected go finish at the back anyway). On the flat run into Rest #1, we picked up quite a crowd. Jay was at the front and seemed to slow a bit so I moved up from position 4 and kept the pace high. When I finished my turn there were on only the 2 Patriot guys, Jay , me, and a woman who had gotten into the sandwich and been dragged along for the ride.

We caught the same guys again above Lake Hennessey (Chiles Pope Valley Road). I'm not sure how things got started this time but we all worked together for a while. Then June got a run on a roller and I followed (again, better to start the climb at the front so you can slide to the back as you go up). Shortly after this the pace picked up and we lost June and Stephen on the curving descent into Chiles Valley (the road was really bad and hitting those corners at speed was more exciting that it would have been on a smooth road). We then lost big guy on the next uphill roller, so we slowed a bit for him to catch back on and I think Jay and I pulled the rest of the way into Aetna Springs.

It was along the last bit of road before the turn into Aetna Springs that show crazy lady in a Volvo Station wagon decided to pass cyclists by moving completely into the lane for oncoming traffic (where we were riding).

Team Z Spastic Paceline - Silverado Trail North
Exiting the Northwood school rest stop (#1) I started looking for strong riders who would be helpful on the run north to Conn Dam. A strong looking guy in orange kit went zooming past so I kept an eye on him. His strength was an illusion.

As we turned on to Silverado Trail, we were in a huge group and we were not near the front. When things started to get sorted out (i.e., everyone into the bike lane) a group from what appeared to be Team Z was at the front. The lead rider rode at a very inconsistent pace, rode with no hands, and seemed generally unaware that he had a large group behind who could not pass without riding into relatively heavy traffic. This established the pattern for the rest of the Silverado Trail. A very inconsistent pace, riders at the front riding 2 abreast in the bike lane so they could not be passed, and the rotation including a limited number of folks at the front.

The dilemma was, there was a headwind and to go to the front to try to set a steady pace would require passing a largish group and riding in the heavy traffic in the traffic lane. Then who knows what kind of cooperation you would get from the folk already up there? So we decided to save energy by hanging back in the group (although this was a bit of a false economy since all the little surges and slowdowns burned energy unnecessarily).

There was also a guy in a white jersey (just behind Jay I think,) (note: he was "weaving" directly in front of me-and was gapped when the Z Surge happened-I should have passed him earlier-j) that was all over the road. The woman behind him (call her Helen since she had a Helen Cycles jersey on) was having a difficult time dealing with this guys erratic riding (as anyone would since the constant speed ups and slow downs take much more energy than riding at a constant fast pace). On one of the last rollers before the Lake Hennessy turn, she finally had enough and moved to the shoulder to get out of the line. As this was happening, the pace at the front finally picked up and we were gapped. I pulled hard to try and close and Stephen came up to help, but we really didn't close up until right before the turn.

Idiot of the Ride - Contestant #2
Somewhere along the Silverado Trail some idiot rider from a side street turned left into the middle of the paceline with the result that riders had to scatter all over the road to avoid Ms. Idiot. Someone said something to her because I heard her reply "That's ok, you own the road." WTF, she turned into a group of about 30 people (while going about 1/2 their speed) and does not understand why people would be upset or that she did something stupid?

Ink Grade
Oh Scary!
We rolled slowly out of lunch (Aetna Springs) towards Ink Grade. About 1/2 way to the climb, June stopped as she had gotten a bee in her shirt and the little bastard stung her. There was no shoulder so we cleared out quickly to avoid causing other riders to have to ride into traffic. I suggested stopping at the bottom of the climb (where there is more room) to check for a stinger but that was vetoed (note, this is two weekends in a row that there has been a bee sting). She found out later that the stinger was still in her side (don't scatch!).

It was hot 100°F by my thermometer at the bottom of the hill so I took it easy. There were a few guys who started just ahead of us that I was not passing so that was incentive to not go too easy. No worries in that they all slowed down about 1/2 way up when I was just picking up speed. There were a lot of people walking this year, seems like more than in years past. Were more people out of shape this year or was the salami on the sandwiches getting its revenge? My honorary Diablo Scott passed-them to passed me ratio was lots:3 (3=Jay/Stephen/June).

We don't usually stop at the top, it's a huge cluster* in the middle of the road, but when I got there I saw an orange helmet in the water line so I pulled over and handed Jay a bottle to get topped off. Jay was bummed that he thought he had done a good time up the hill but that he had forgotten to start the timer at the bottom. My GPS data tells me I took approximately 26:57 for the 4.0 mile and 1030' climb.

Then a bit more climbing before the fast fast descent back to Silverado Trail. It felt like I had a tire going flat so I took it easy. There was no flat so perhaps it is a case of square tire disease on the rear wheel, if my records are correct, that's only 1300 miles on an (original) ProRace.

Peninsula Velo
After coming down off Mt Veeder, we started down Silverado Trail at a relaxed pace. After a few minutes of this we were passed by a 4 or 5 man paceline from Peninsula Velo. After a couple of glances, June Bruyneel s tells us that she's content to ride at her own pace but that we are free to go ahead and play. So we pick up the pace and jump on the line. I was a bit tired at this point and did not know if I would be able to play. But these guys ran an extremely smooth line and, even when we had to move into the lane to pass slower riders, there was no drama I felt a little guilty that the PenVelo guys did all the work, rotating in front of us, but they seemed happy to do so. When we got to the Napa College rest they were continuing (not stopping) so we yelled our thanks for the pull and we turned off.

There was one exception to the non dramatic paceline. We were passing some guy on a recumbent while traffic was whizzing by. Just as Jay was next to recumbent guy, he (recumbent guy) swerved out pushing Jay into traffic just as a silver Mazda (Miata) was passing. That required a "whoa". Hold your line recumbent guy.

"Downtown" Yountville
We took a different route through Yountville this year. It was more direct but added a bunch more stop signs where coarse workers were stationed to encourage us to make full stops.
We used to turn down Finnel Road as shown below. Last time we did this ride I recall seeing a Mercedes on the side of Finnel Road with its windshield caved in. Obviously some sort of accident but I never found out if a cyclist was involved.

Perhaps this was a bone thrown to the local PD so they could generate some extra revenue in these tough times? At any rate, we lost .1 mph off the average speed and trying to sprint up the Veteran's Home driveway was not enough to get it back.


Diablo Scott said...

I couldn't imagine trying to keep passed'em-passedme statistics on a century... maybe some type of handlebar buttons with an electronic counter.

Sounds like a totally typical Napa Century - heat, pacelines, and dumbasses.

Jay said...

At least Team in Training was not there blocking the road en masse-j