This years organized cycling season came to quick thud. No one interested in traveling to the middle of nowhere and do a beautiful but hard climbing century, the Grizzly, as done the last two years. Fleeting thought to bring back weird memories by doing Pedal Round the Puddle (last done in 2003 as last Gruppo Pumpkincycle Ride) but rebuilding a string of wheels and wanting a fixed gear left me short of $$$$, and didn't feel like paying at another cheesy motel just to do a century. Then two 2nd tier century rides "Foxy's Fall Century and Riverbank" held on the same weekend so couldn't do both, and which ensured a split Diablo Cyclist squad. Don and the crazy fixed gear contingent, picked Foxy's Fall. Jack reasoned that we'd been over parts of that course multiple times, most recently on Knoxville Double, so we choose Riverbank. With no single event in focus interest in both was light-- Ward, the Mike's, not eager to do either. It's been a long year. Just in terms of timing seemed like the NFL Pro Bowl Game--season is over and done with.....and then something thrown in with little interest or excitement. Luckily Doug, fellow member of Triple Crown Rookie Class 2005, would come down from Sacramento to do this ride. So would Jeanne, who used to race and is as competitive as I am. At the start joined by Sara--last seen being pushed by Doug off a trampoline (see previous page), and Anna, who I'd never ridden much with but always rides with cleated sandals and had given me the idea to get a pair for my hybrid coffee run bike. Riverbank is in the middle of the farm belt, and a long, cold, dark (sunlight now about at 7-, damn, there were some doubles we started at 5:30 when the sun was up.) On the way out I tried remembering things about this ride from last year but very nondescript. Mostly flat farm roads and minor highway shoulders that goes East in the Am with tailwind and back West in the PM with headwind. Nicest part is big climb before the turnaround at Moccasin Dam Power House. Knew I drove in a different way than last year as actually went through the town of Riverbank--old movie theater-downtown district--looked like plunked out from the 1950's (though of interchange now big strip mall with Starbucks and other ubiquitous stores.) Lots of nervous people at the beginning of the Century leaving at first light. One stoker lady on a tandem told her captain "we are NOT going over that", pointing to a bump in the parking lot. Captain was going to be in for a long day. Then I had a drug flashback--guy in bike clothes on rollerblades leaves the parking lot--drafting behind a bike.
Small group ready to leave at Riverbank High School--most people left a half hour earlier. 7:30 and still cold--yes!-those are sandals with cleats on Anna's feet. Doug not in photo as he is taking it.
Ride is run functionally well but has no soul. Registration easy, workers friendly, nice sag support, some good bathroom facilities at the start, Turlock Lake & Knights Ferry rest stops.. But out of 119 miles, 27 miles of lousy riding:
23 miles highway shoulder
4 miles pissing among subdivisions (8 turns in 4 miles)
Almost everything else is going up/ down/ around nondescript farm roads. Only 19 miles really memorable. 9 miles of climbing up and then down to Moccasin and right after Chinese Camp 10 miles of rollers off the beaten path.