Sunday, October 25, 2009


(October 24, 2009) TOURNING (sic) of the LEAVES METRIC, Diablo Cyclist Club ride.

As one may recall, the Santa Rosa Wine Counrty Century, the BEST century (actually 120 miles) to do keeping the Club together was rained on this year and broke up after slogging through 50 water logged miles. This almost made up for it. Another great metric ride on a beautiful day, cobbled together by our resident route tinkerer, Stephan. Before the ride Dr. Dave and I proposed numerous alternatives, as Stephan is apt to do on any route, though his are more grounded in reality than ours. One last minute change was a climb up Sweetwater Springs which is really ducked in the middle of nowhere.

Photos by either Ward or I. If he's in the photo I took it, if I'm in the photo he took it. If its a good still life photo I took it, if its a great action photo Ward took it.

The official Elevation Graph-suitable for framing-from Ward Industries.

Ride leader and resident route tinkerer Stephan asked for suggestions for the route--my proposal had us detouring a bit to go through Central Park (leaves really tourning (sic) there) and then the Paris Roubaix velodrome...

.. . while Dr. Dave submitted a metaphysical one, but not realistic like mine, so I don't think Stephan will ever ask us for suggestions again...

...So we were "stuck" doing Stephan's route, which started among kindergarten art in Windsor--that tries to create a village feel...

..Somehow, Ward, Joe and I were nominated to proudly stand by the devil...

...We did Chalk Hill backwards--against the Santa Rosa Wine Country century route. Our first regroup at the end..Ward just arrived as he thought he was on the Century and threw his water bottle at an imaginary rider wearing an IPOD...

..At first real rest stop--while Johnna wise NOT to turn around, she does see Joe's plastic bike melting against a live BBQ (caption suggested by Joe)......The sun is finally on the right side of the road--on the other side of the vineyards, on Dry Creek Road (Ward and I stocking up on lights for next year to use as strobe flash fills, when shooting into the sun. If I was a little faster I could have gotten into the frame--but I like the way it came out. (Ward photo)

Ward and Joe imitating art by the dogs playing cards and taking photos. Only time Joe would stay still all day--rest of the time he was attacking with Brother Joe.

Stephan leads the pelaton, while thinking about a route change, on Westside Road rollers (Ward photo)...

Regroup where we are going to decide who is going to do the Sweetwater Springs Climb...

Johnna, Jack and Jandy (we told Andy he has to change his name to get into this J club photo) by the regroup (Ward photo)...

... While starting the road up to the Sweetwater Springs Climb there is always time to mug for photos. (guess who took which one)......Man, Sweetwater Springs nice and desolate, not steep either, maybe Stephan got something with this route change (Ward Photo)

...hmmm, later on the climb gets steep, as Beth found out...

Ward brought along the Ward Industries mail clerk, who turned out to be the slowest of the climbers. We had to wait but at least he bought a Club Jersey (Ward photo)
..I probably went through a set of brakepads on the downhill (Ward photos)

Back on the flats--well flats punctuated by steep rollers, on Mays Canyon Road (Ward photo)

The psycho house....
The Diablo Psychoists pose in front of the psycho house (Ward-o-photo) Unfortunately the ride is almost over.

Monday, October 19, 2009


...Pumpkincycle two cents on Foxy Fall's Century-2009

I'm an addict--I Want just ONE MORE GOOD LONG DISTANCE RIDE for this GREAT 2009 Cycling Year

Some Notes On:

1) First Century ever I did ill prepared at the last minute
2) Philosophy of "grifting" a ride, including components to rating an Organized Ride
3) Food eaten on this century (as I carried the food around I remember it all)

No, this isn't the course map. Two days before Foxy' my daughter, wife and I took one of our looooong walks around SF--Haight to Clement to Union to Chestnut down Fisherman's Wharf to Embarcadero. 11 miles. Cyclists like to think legs are tough but using different muscles bad case of shin splints through the weekend. Map my Ride good for walking stats also--though it wouldn't let me bike down the staircase on Lyons Street.

Last Minute Prep
Twelve hours before this ride started I wasn’t sure I was going to do it. Weekend before was cool and on Tuesday a monsoon had moved into the Bay Area. Until Thursday morning it was drizzly. Meanwhile Chairman Ward was off on a business trip, I suspect inspecting the Ward Industries Sri Lanka Thong Plant compliance benchmarks and wasn’t due back from the business trip until Thursday were he’d figure out of he wanted to do the ride. On Friday morning Big Jim emailed that he and Jeanne were doing the ride, a windless day was promised (with sort of a promise we could draft off of him if it was windy--though we might encounter Jeanne's wrath), a few more Diablo Cyclists were riding though they’d probably cut a few miles off the course (Don on a fixed gear and Brian just getting off the disabled list.) And as Friday continued the day got nicer and nicer.

At 8pm Ward & I talked each other into doing the ride as it was going to be a beautiful day. Ward said he’d get there early and see if he could register—and now there was a $60 fee! Sixty fn bucks. I said that I’d do the ride but go self supported like I did on more than a dozen 100 mile rides this year. I did check the Davis Bike Club web site which indicates $45 registration is closed and there MAY be some slots open morning of registration for $60. (Jeanne says the $15 is NOT a late fee but rain insurance.)

Bad Mood
As I didn’t think we’d be doing this ride on Thursday, when my daughter came to visit, daughter, wife and I took a little walk around San Francisco. Walking through a city is great and you keep passing interesting NON chain stores and homes with interesting architecture. Our little walk took us around Haight to Clement through Pacific Heights down Union, around to Chestnut, back through Ft Mason and down the Embarcadero back to the Ferry Building/ Bart. For those not familiar with San Francisco, there are a few hills involved and the walk is a little short of 11 miles. I like to think I’m fit but walking muscles are a little different than cycling muscles, and I got a bad case of shin splints that only subsided slightly by Friday night.

Still sore on Saturday morning and my blitzing out on starting/ driving time didn’t help. Jim said he wanted to start at 7:30. As it takes 1 1/4 hour to drive to Davis I should have left at 5:30-5:45. But I wound up leaving at 6:05, meaning that with even a perfect trip I arrived in Davis, parked on the street about a ¼ mile from the venue, and had 11 minute so set up my bike and ride over to the start--as when Ward and I say a ride is starting at 7:30 it starts by 7:31. But Jim much more lax than us, and 3 of 4 Diablo Cyclists had to check in, so in reality we left @7:45 and there was no need to rush. But I did rush so I was already wound up.

So sore and cranky from rushing where I zoom to the start, looking around for group and finally spot Big Jim and A CAR STOPS IN FRONT OF ME—I JAM ON BRAKES BUT DON’T CLIP OUT, do a soft landing on lawn but also twist my bad knee. Oh F.

Of course co-2005 triple crown rookie Sacto Doug spots me after I get unclipped and comes over being super friendly as he usually is while I’m super surly. (While Doug is super friendly his timing is super shitty, last time he wanted to stop and chat was when I was sprinting in at the end of the Mt. Tam double.)

Luckily the morning weather is nice—some warmth and humid—not the damp wetness that F’s up my breathing but (kinda like) steamy if it was a little warmer.

Turned out to be a great ride with our larger Diablo Cyclist group keeping the pace steady, 19-21, to the first rest stop, and coming in from the last rest stop our long haul group kept the pace at 20-22. Both times joined by lots of grateful cyclist to be pulled around, and they did a nice job keeping in order in the back and letting DC keep together at the front. (I figured if we died out near the end I could ask our new friends to come forward but there was no need to.) A really nice group ride over a pedestrian course, and I was surprised by the average speed as very few digs put in during the day, and a few places where we slowed to regroup. See Ward's prior entry for ride details.

Early in the morning through the ag fields around Davis. (above) Jeanne, (below) I'm w/ Jim. (Ward photo)

More early morning ag fields around Davis. (above) Brian getting off the Disabled List. (below) The large Diablo Cyclist pelaton before our group eventually split apart. (Ward photos)

Grifting the Ride
Philosophically I am trying to work out if it is OK to grift a ride. Hands down yes if the ride is closed, up in the air if it may be closed and a significant day of fee is being charged. Let me know what you think. The facts:

1) Decision to do the ride was just made the night before.
2) It was still raining in the Bay area until mid day Thursday.
3) The route/ ride is nice but nothing special. A chunk of it was on the Fondue Brevet we did last week.

Which leads off onto a tangent “What makes a ride special?” (apart from riding with friends that made doing this ride appealing) :

Support-How is the pre/post ride venue? Do you see sag wagons often (bonus points if you hear good music from Lee Mitchell’s)? Are the rest stops crowded? Is there more than 1 toilet for the 100 cyclists that arrive around the same time to Rest Stop 1? Is the food pedestrian or unique? (either gourmet unique local or high quality performance food). Is the course well marked?

For FF the Davis bike club does a wonderful job marking the course, sending around sag wagons. Rest stops looked crowded and didn’t seem to have anything special. Good that they put extra porta potties at the beginning of the ride where the lines to the building restrooms used to be ridiculous.—Fair-Good
Road Condition-As to get off of main roads with lots of traffic, cycling events often send one on back roads, some well paved, some that frequently have road hazards, or if in Sonoma County pavement repair hasn’t been invented yet.

For FF-The Solano roads are well paved, some Yolo roads are a tiny bit rough (tractor indentations in the blacktop)—Good

Traffic/ Controlled Intersections-Are you seemingly cycling on the shoulder of a freeway, or a freeway with NO shoulder, or is there just sporadic traffic? Additionally, are you grinding to a halt every mile due to stop signs/ traffic lights, crossing main roads, or are there limited intersections with limited traffic controls?

For FF-Good-Little early morning traffic to Winters, picked up a little in Wooden Valley. Back toward Davis traffic picked up again but most cars around Davis give cyclists 6’ when passing.

Oh Wow Views/ Hill/ Ambiance-When you are riding around are you really “in a different place?” Riding along the ocean, in a pine forest, surrounded by a snowcapped mountains, rolling vineyards or strange architecture? Of are you in subdivision hell or on the side of main roads or industrial parks.

Additionally are there certain spots on the course that have that “oh wow” view that you’ll remember for a few years and be po'd that you didn't bring a camera (and the first time you do the ride and see the “oh wow” view you are almost knocked off your feet.)

For FF- Fair-Ride starts out doing flat ag roads between Davis and Winters. Significant section on service road next to freeway and then suburbia (luckily the Knoxville double goes through this stretch—in the dark.) Wooden Valley has some nice rollers among vineyards. Only attention getting climb near the end of the ride before back in the ag fields surrounding Davis. Service road/ suburban portion is not a big part of the ride, but No OH WOW sections either.

Challenge- Is this a ride you have to do some serious training to do? Is it a ride that most people have to do some serious training to do? Do most people have this incredible feeling of accomplishment when it is over? Usually this is directly related to elevation gain, which has a byproduct of putting one on lightly traveled roads with incredible views.

For FF-poor-With only some rollers and one mediocre climb, no one is confusing this route with the Death Ride. Very good beginner century.

With this in mind;

4) Pre registration for the ride cost $45.
5) After deciding to do this ride only option was (if still open) $60

After deciding to NOT register, I was NOT going to sneak food. But I did get some benefit of the David Bike Club organizing the ride;

6) During the ride this is what I used that was provided (reminder: the roads and the park one of the rest stops is in are public entities.)
-whizz at outhouse at the start—no one waiting before or after at them
-water from a hose (that goes into one of those multi pvc contraptions) at the first rest stop.
-water from a water truck that Chairman Ward got from me from the guarded lunch area.

-quarter slice of watermelon Ward left over (he wasn’t going to return it)
-obviously followed the arrows on the road, though I could have done the ride using a route sheet from a few years ago.
-a chair in the Hall where the end o ride meal is (I brought my own food)

I did make a donation to the Davis Bike Club for accessing their water along the way.

At first rest stop Don inspects Doug's exploding spokes with Brian looking on (Ward photo)

Doug joins up with me when we ride through some suburban neighborhood that looks familiar (Ward photo)

I'm not attired properly to eat at this 5 star restaurant (though note long food lines) so I contemplate life outside the fence while there was no waiting on my Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Butter Sandwich. (Ward O photo)

As I brought my own food I know exactly what I consumed. I always bring a full Hammergel grenade but only use a significant portion if it (1/2) on a double. I tried to get all the remnants of a mega bottle of gel in a grenade, which was then totally ful and I had to cart around for the whole ride—smart wife then asked me why I just don’t take 1-2 goo packets for shorter century rides. Duh.
Food brought along worked out perfectly. (Ballpark for carb intake per hour of solid riding is 60-80 per hour, Burke & Pavelka, Long-Distance Cycling, p. 99. If it was HOT out with lots of climbing, and my solid food digestion suffers, I'd be downing more HEED & PETPETUEM & SHOT BLOCKS)

Ward got these two photos near the bridge between Davis & Winters and I like each for a different reason. I like the top one as a riding photo, Jeanne and I turning onto the bridge. I like the bottom one for the bridge itself (Ward-o-photo)

End o ride meal with Sacto Doug I (same Triple Crown Rookie Class as I was in.) I had another Pumpkin Butter/ Peanut Butter Sandwich, Rice Puddings, and a Protein Shake, but Doug put me to shame by eating a heaping pile of vegetable treats. (Ward photo with some creative licence by Pumpkincycle Still Life Artists.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009


(October 17, 2009) Foxy’s Fall Century, 106 miles, 18.4 average, 3,500’ climbing, w/ Ward. Jim, Jeanne, started with Don (on fixed gear), Brian and Karin who were going to eventually turn onto a shorter/flatter alternative.

We are in for a treat--we have a guest ride report, Chairman Ward of Ward Industries. If you rather see his nice sharp ride analysis on Doubles instead of my long winded diatribe, write to Chairman Ward and tell him to do Doubles. Send your cards and letters to:

Chairman Ward
Ward Industries World Headquarters
Heritage USA
PO Box 666
Fort Mill, South Carolina

The opinions expressed by Chairman Ward are his alone and not necessarily endorsed by Pumpkincycle, our affiliates, or little round orange cyclists anywhere
The Chairman at an early morning regroup. Note the balloons in the distance--one was off course and landed near us.

Foxy's fall Century
October 17, 2009

Ward's Century (and general ride) Guidelines.

1. Hold your line and don't do anything stupid.
2. When you get passed on the road, don't repass everyone at the next traffic control (stop sign/red light) so you get repassed as soon as everyone gets rolling again.
2a. Don't try to use the shoulder to sneak past faster riders who are stopped at a red light/stop sign (applies double to know-it-all tandems).
3. If you get passed by the paceline, join at the end. Don't try to bust into the middle. It's dangerous and messes up the rhythm. (Applies double if you are going to get gapped and force everyone to work extra hard to come around you to close the gaps).
4. If you are sucking wheel on our paceline for miles, then try to race around without taking a pull or giving a wave you will be chased and sat on until you die.
5. Leave the iPod/MP3 player at home.
(I can't resist and have to add my two cents here--Pumpkincycle)
6. If you wanto to BS, you can really do it without riding side to side (to side) blocking the shoulder or the road.
7. Calling out "on your left" when you pass is courtous and safe. (Zooming past 2 inches from my handlebar is a sure way to get my dander up.)
8. Calling out "on your right" is MANDATORY when passing on the right--no one expects you to pull a racing move on a fun ride and be there.
9. (from Mrs Pumpkincycle) When your paceline passes don't cut in so sharply to cut off the rider you just passed.

Ride Stats
Distance; Climbing; Speed

1) Davis - Elmira School
25.14 miles; 180 ft.; 18.7 mph
2) Elmira School - Wooden Valley School
36.42 miles; 1630 ft.; 18.2 mph
3) Wooden Valley School - Solano Lake Park
22.55 miles; 1440 ft.; 17.4 mph
4) Solano Lake Park - Davis
21.43 miles; 240 ft.; 19.6 mph

TOTAL: 105.5 miles; 3480 ft.; 18.4 mph

A note regarding the statistics. The DC group worked at the front for almost the entire ride. The only times we sat on someone else's wheel were for two short stretches following Rule 2 violations.

Stage 0
We were not really planning on doing this ride since the weather can be iffy this time of year. As a result, we planned our self supported 200k (Solano CC to Middletown) last weekend as a year ending long ride. I was traveling last week and when I got home, the weather looked like it might be good so I emailed Jim and Jay. Jim and Jeanne were registered and Jim guaranteed a wind free day. On Friday the weather still looks good so on Friday evening I call Jay and we decide to go. I make some PB&Js and bag up some drink mix to carry in case we cannot register and need to ride self supported.

So it's Jim, Jeanne, Jay, and Ward in for the century (which one of these is not like the others?).
On Saturday morning I get out of the house late and drive fast.

As I approach the start, I see Jim & Jeanne parked on the side of the street so I pull in behind. I gather my stuff, check the tires, and run off to registration to see if I can do a day of the show. They take my $$ so I dash back to the car to remove the sandwiches and bars from my pockets, 5 pounds lighter already.

Back to the start and we see Sacramento Doug.

We're ready to go but the slackers (100- miles) are not here/ready. No big deal as today's ride should go quickly and it's still early.
At the start we got excited when we thought Dave and Mrs. Dave were on the ride on their tandem recumbent. (Ward Photo)
Stage 1
We start slowly so that we can get the group together (what are they doing back there?). Some guy rides up and tells us he read the part of the DC web site that tells you how to ride a double century (pedal a lot?). It's early and I want quiet but this guy keeps talking. Is it too early to attack?

I want to pee. The orchards look good but there is too much mud. Where is that rest stop?

Lots of 90 degree turns through the fields. A moderate pace so we can keep the group together with everyone from the DC group taking longish pulls. On a couple of stretches of road where we are heading south I take the camera out and try to get shots of everyone in the morning light.
I need to pee. The orchards look good but there is too much mud. Where the hell is that rest stop?

I'm at the front and we're catching some guy on a Rivendell product (obviously not the new Roadeo/Craignago since we can't catch those). As we get close he must hear us chatting because he's watching us in his mirror. He speeds up to try and stay in front and keeps glancing back to make sure we are not catching. I stay back about 20 feet and whenever he accelerates I match his speed and make sure I'm on his left so that I am easily visible in his mirror. He starts wobbling more that usual and slows as we approach an overpass. Off we go.

I really need to pee. The orchards look good but there is too much mud. Where the hell is that rest stop?

The sun is coming up and the light good. Lot's of green in the fields, maybe from last weeks rain.
I really really need to pee. The orchards look good but there is too much mud. Where the hell is that damn rest stop?

At Elmira school we see Doug again. He's still riding with the explosive spokes. I need to remember not to ride behind him.

Special Davis Bike Club Sag Wagon (Ward Photo)

Stage 2

On Vaca Valley, we get passed by a gaggle of riders. It looks like one guy doing all the work with a dozen hangers on. As soon as the guy at the front eases off. the paceline turns into a clot with no one else willing to work. When we turn south on Pleasants Valley, Jay goes around them and takes a dig just to stir things up. What a troublemaker.

Along Lyon Road (next to I-80) Jay and I stop for a nature. While we're stopped Doug rolls past and slows while we catch him so we can ride together.

Coming down the hill on Vista Grande (tract house heaven) for the right turn onto Waterman Blvd, some guy ignores the stop sign and passes the group by swinging to the left then out onto Waterman where he would have been crunched if there was any oncoming traffic. A woman with a unicorn (?) on her jersey rolls through the stop sign behind him. We quickly catch these two and I sit on the woman and let the guy work. And work. And work. When he started to look shaky I start my Phil & Paul commentary, "And they are really starting to suffer at the front of the peloton, will the sprinters teams come to the front to help?". The woman started to laugh, but she did not go to the front so she must not have been on a sprinters team. The guy visibly slows, so off we go. As I pass he says something like, "help at last". Well, if you had not violated Rule 2 then help would have arrived much sooner.

We're trading pulls on Wooden Valley Cross and Wooden Valley proper. Jim is powering along in the big ring while lot's of folks are trying to jump on but nobody sticks. After we ease off a bit some guy in a white jersey gets on the train. He's back there for a long long time.

I'm thinking we're on Wooden Valley Road when we're really on Wooden Valley Cross Road so I miss the approach of the county line and there is no Stephen Herrick memorial sprint. I later notice that the county lines are marked on the route sheet, maybe I should look at that once in a while?

I'm taking a pull when I get stung by a bee in the little opening at the top of my left glove. I got stung a couple of weeks ago (Amy's Ranch Ride) and had a severe reaction which required lying down (since I could not stand up). The group was worried that I was going to have problems but I figured I had at least 20 minutes any issues would arise (or sit down). So let's get to Wooden Valley School before then. When we slow down to discuss things the white jersey guy passes without saying a word and without looking over. I see that he's wearing ear buds.

So sorry, that's a rule 2 violation and you will be chased. There is an extra penalty for the Rule 5 iPod violation.

I jump immediately (to the apparent concern of my group) and stick on this guys wheel. He gives a dig or two (and looks back after each) but it's no problem to stay glued on the back. Jay soon appears and shortly afterwards takes a flyer. My guy does not (cannot?) react and I sit on him for a bit longer. I have time to notice he's got the full Assos getup, socks, shorts, & jersey. He takes a few more digs but is starting to wobble a bit. One more wobble and I go and am quickly on Jay's wheel. I look back and Fred is fried (no where to be seen).

We pull into the Wooden Valley School lunch stop and they have security guards protecting the bananas from the poachers. I take my bottles and Jay's and go in to fill them up, then pass them over the fence. I ask around for antihistamines but there are none to be found. I take a couple of ibuprofen and hope for the best. Grab a bit of ice from a cooler and put on the sting. The food is guarded better on the Foxy's Fall than the Gold in Ft. Knox (Ward photo)

Stage 3
I make a last visit to the little house of blue water so I'm last out of the stop. Then I can't get clicked in as I've gotten mud in my cleats. So that delays me for a minute or two more while I find a stick and try to clean things out. As I start I see Jay circling ahead. He probably thinks I'm passed out in the mud.

The road starts climbing immediately and, even though our legs are stiff from the lunch stop, we are passing lots of folks. We gather up Jim & Jeanne but I'm feeling good and don't want to slow down so Jay and I keep a moderate pace up the climb. We rode this section of road last week so I know what to expect and can enjoy the rolling sections of the down hill. There is no hurry so I coast down most of these. We finish the final descent through Muscowite corner and look for a shady spot to wait for Jim & Jeanne.

After regrouping, we roll along until we reach the start of the climb up to Monticello Dam where J&J fall back a bit. Jay and I ride hard (well I was riding hard anyway) (pumpkinnote: An EZ climb--I brought the speed down so Ward could stay with me up the climb and he returned the favor scrubbing speed on the downhill so I could hang) and we're gathering in lots of folks. (Looking at my data, the first part of this climb only has 450' vertical gain, it seems like more when you're on the bike). One guy in a Death Ride jersey decides to sit on and he's there for a while. He drops off a bit on the descent to the marina but reappears on the rollers along the lake. He tells us we're doing a good job and takes a short pull, then he blows and is gone. We do the last of rollers and Jay takes a pull before the descent; then we're at the bottom and all the climbing is basically done.

We look for shade and wait for Jeanne and Jim. Jeanne arrives first and tells us she cannot stop since her cleats will not release (more mud from the lunch stop). So we roll slow while Jim catches up.

We cruise along Putah Creek in the low 20's. Then the Davis Bike Club racing team zooms by with a big group of dingleberries in tow. In the spirit of keeping together, we stick with our more moderate paceline.

As we get to Pleasants Valley Road, Jay pulls into the store to get an ice cream bar (pumpkincycle correction: iced fruit bar) while we "official" riders head to the park for expensive bananas. Jeanne gets one foot out and is able to stand while she loosens the other shoe and takes her foot out of it so that she can work on the mud issue.

We hang out at the park for a long time. What's the hurry, there are only 20 miles to go and it's not even 2 o'clock.

I hear people talking in hushed tones about some scary climb that is coming up.

Jeanne and Doug at the last rest stop by Lake (large pond) Solano. (Ward-o-photo)

Stage 4

So this scary climb that had lots of folks worried is the rise right outside the park. It's hard only because legs stiffen a bit when you sit around. About 100 feet of vertical and not particularly steep.

A few small rollers but nothing "attention getting" on the run into Davis. We keep our speed in the low 20's and the four of us trade pulls. I'm feeling a bit tired and I think my turns are getting shorter but I don't want to let the speed down.

We have an ever growing parade behind us as we pick up slower riders on the way into town. Everyone is well behaved and there are no rule violations as we roll into Davis. At one stop light some guy (from Grizzly Peak Cyclists?) thanks us for all the work and shakes everyone's hands.

I tell Jeanne that we are a lucky bunch because "even our women will kick your ass."

I check my average speed and the Cateye says 18.3 mph. I don't want to loose any of that so I accelerate fairly hard away from the traffic lights (and try to stop late). Jeanne rolls up and asks me what the heck am I doing.


The 4 of us eat our Pasta and salad with Doug while war stories are exchanged. We see a couple who got married at one of the rest stops. The story we are told is that they rode in on single bikes and out on a tandem. They have kits made up to look like a Tux (him) and a wedding dress (her) and she has a headpiece thing on her helmet. I wonder if it's been wind tunnel tested.

Final stats are from the Garmin (which was not activated until we started rolling and does not include trips to/from the car at the ride start and trips to the plastic houses).

I iced the bee sting area when I got home and before bed. Two days later and my hand is still noticeably swollen and very itchy. F'ing bee.

A great ride and a good last long ride of the year (unless we do another one next week).


Pumpkincycle 2 cents on following blog>>>>

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The ride announcement:

Levi's Grand Fondo too commercialized. Then you'd like
Dave* & Ward's** Grand Fondue
*published Lance hater, **certified Bush hater

Saturday Oct 10

An Unsupported Century: Fairfield to Middletown and back. Start at the Solano Community college, take Suisun Valley Rd to Highway 121, Highway 128, Knoxville Rd, Pope Canyon Rd, and Pope Valley Rd to Middletown. Return Butts Canyon, Pope Valley Rd, Lower Chiles Valley Rd, Highway 128, Highway 121, Wooden Valley Rd. A brisk pace will be needed to get back before dark. For strong riders who like Hendrix' 'Are Your Experienced' only.

Leave Solano Community College on Suisun Valley Rd north of I80 at 8AM sharp.


(October 10, 2009) Dave & Ward's Grand Fondue, Solano via Knoxville Road via Pope Valley to Middletown and back, 124 miles, 6,400' climbing, 17.7 average. w/ Ward, Jack, Dave, Christine & Stephan, June with us to Pope Valley

Ride graph--Dave got very happy when he hit the fast recumbent heaven at the end of the ride (Ward graph)

All the usual suspects (the “extra credit group” as Jack calls us) on this end-o-season ride. A few weeks ago we were trying to find an end of cycling season century to do but the offerings “not the best.” Dave tipped us on an organized brevet that went near Winters, so we thought of the great Winters-Middletown route that goes through the beautiful Pope Valley near Napa.
Unfortunately, upon further investigation we found out that brevet ends in Winters and starts in the industrial suburb of Hercules. Eh. So we decided to do our own brevet, Ward and Dave worked out route details. But as daylight was short we figured we’d start at 8 instead of 9 so Ward/Dave figured starting at Solano Community College in Fairfield would save us some driving time instead of going up to Winters. (Mileage would be about the same as at Winters we’d have to cycle West, from Fairfield more cycling North.) Other improvement was that instead of doing an out and back on Chiles/ Pope Valley Road we’d outbound on Knoxville Road, the lower portion that actually runs by Lake Berryessa (Jack/ I had done the upper wilderness climbing portion a few weeks ago on the Knoxville Double.) It became a posted club ride, where our resident route tinkerer Stephan started suggesting change after change, and we suggested he post a few more great routes on the club schedule.
Wording in club announcement was “FOR STRONG EXPERIENCED RIDERS ONLY” which was unfortunate as this guaranteed a low turnout. On this route there are not many turns and there are many chances to truncate the ride. However we had a better turnout that predicted with 7 riders, 2 that were going to do an abridged version.
Though much of the ride is desolate (2 traffic lights and 2 stop signs), there are 3-4 spots to pick up food, including Middletown, our turn around route. However, I decided to do traditional brevet style, self supported/ sufficient as can be. I took the GT Steel Bike with rack and brevet bag filled with extra drink mix (2 scoops each of Heed & Perpetuem,) 6 energy bars, 2 Cliff Shots, backup lights in case we got stuck in twilight. All told about 10 lbs heavier than my Lightspeed. Don’t believe Luddite Grant of Rivendale when he “claims” that a heavier bike doesn’t noticeably slow you down. Climbing/ getting up to speed on the loaded steel GT is like accelerating truck.
But I was damn happy I brought the rack and brevet bag. Forecast called for a high of the day touching 80. Unfortunately it was 50 and breezy when we started at Solano Community College (the Flanders Flag I was flying to establish a meeting point in the parking lot was flying straight out from the flagpole.) Now 50 isn’t that cold, but I get my comeuppance for being one of the few people loving life when it is 95 degrees and we’re climbing Mt. Diablo—when it is 50 and breezy I can’t wear enough clothes. The knee warmers, glove liners and toe warmers were on. Jacket was over vest over wool undershirt. (At nearby Travis AFB it was 49 at 7:55 with wind speed of 17, the wind chill makes it feel like 31-42.)
Luckily ride started on rolling uphill through vineyards on Wooden Valley Road, then a jog onto two lightly traveled (except by pickups pulling boats or trailers) California rural main roads. No other cyclists on the road, and we had a good bonus mile group where we all ride cooperatively and keep a nice paceline. As rolling uphill Dave on the recumbent kept in the back, or would fall off slightly—at one point the road straightened out and he came to the front to pull but I begged to stay in the front as I was fn freezing and had to get my heart rate up.

The pelaton starts Wooden Valley Road--suns out but its COLD. (All photos by Ward except if he's in them, then I stole his camera.)
We soon came to the turnoff to Knoxville Road, where though I had been on it before you could have given me $1000 and I wouldn’t have remember to get there—though I remembered every attack point from the last time our club had an aggressive ride over it. We had an earlier quick rest/ regroup stop, and a but our first one of substance was a stop in Spanish Flats, mile 36. The sun had come up nicely, the breeze had stopped, and my brevet bag was now stuffed with all my extra clothes. Jack rides with a big saddlebag, which someone declared looked like a scrooleuiem and quickly many songs were made up using our newfound magic word of the morning.
Another quick vault toilet break where we turn off Knoxville Road (2nd rest stop on the Knoxville Double.) where we ran into two motorcyclists who had passed us earlier and were impressed that we were doing such a long ride. Now we were working our way backward on the Knoxville Double route and heading to Pope Valley where our second stop was the Pope Valley General Store—mile 47. Here June and Stephan were going to do some hills before riding back—but not before our incessant route tinkerer Stephan said he was thinking about making changes to his great “Turning of the Leaves” Sonoma metric coming up, and solicited our input. He may regret this.
At Pope Valley store--June is sad that she & Stephan are going to turn around (after doing some hills) or the seriousness of Stephan encouraging us to suggest route changes to his upcoming Turning of the Leaves ride. Ward, Stephan and Christine all contemplating route changes.
Started north to Middletown on lightly traveled and decently paved Butts Canyon Road (Lake County know how to pave roads—what the F does Napa County do with all their wine money and shitty roads.) Some serious rollers where we’d lose Dave, who is one of the best recumbent climbers, and then he’d shoot by us when the road straightened out and he was trying to gain momentum for the next roller. A few miles out of Middletown the road does level off and Dave went to the front and pulled us in—while you can’t draft off a recumbent like you can a regular bike, you do get about half the benefit.

Vineyards in Pope Valley. (above) Jack (below) Me

Some great Hubcap Ranch shots by Ward. (above) Christine and (below) Dave--who needs to stop and get some Spinergy Rims on his ride.

Christine getting very aero in order to draft off of Dave--nearing Middletown.

I'm thinking of all Davis Doubles that took us to Middletown in 100 degrees.
Spent awhile at the Middletown Quickmart where we bs’d about some of the great rides we did in 2009 and goals for 2010 while Ward was having a fig newton fest.

Some highlights of 2009:

- Jack and I motoring on Devil Mountain Double toward Sunol during twilight when Ward, coming back from the Terra Bella, drives by and takes photos.
- Riding past the last rest stop on the Death Ride and seeing Christine looking like she is enjoying life at the rest stop-knowing she’ll finish the ride.
- Dave looking like a French Professor wearing a shower cap and rain jacket backwards when it was pouring on Santa Rosa Wine Country Century. Oh yeah, scrambling and achieving the Triple Crown after his recumbent was stolen.
- Ward always doing our training rides (eg. Sierra Road 2x, Mines Road-Mt. Hamilton-Sierra Road loop) no matter how insane, always taking photos.
The GREAT Middletown gas/ market stop. Great as they have tables, ice, and clean bathrooms.
Where do you put a chrome bike rack on this car?

On a brevet you have to collect receipts to show that you got to certain check in points. Alas the gas station with no gas store at Muskovite Corner (stop 1 & 6) couldn't print receipts.

Yea team!! By a scenic water crossing right outside Middletown.
Time to go South where now there was some cross/ swirling wind—some weird swirls where at some point you zoom up a roller at 20 mph. My finest point of the ride occurred here. Usually we try to keep our bonus mile group together, but on the fast tailwind points Dave would zoom by—even when he was soft pedaling, and of course shoot ahead on the downhills. Meanwhile, I get pissed at myself when I lose the group on a downhill. So on one downhill Dave and Christine storm ahead and I hook on to the back of Ward and Jack chasing. When the road levels off I bridge up to Dave/ Christine, but a tailwind roller starts, I am cooked as they again zoom ahead. Now I’m really po’d, but I know the MOST SERIOUS (longest/ steepest) roller is going to soon start so I hammer up—pass them, and try to stay ahead on the ensuing downhill until I reach Aetna Springs Road—success, and Christine does a nice job bridging up while I slow to wait for the group. Later my worst part of the day was near the end of the ride, when I cracked after Dave jumped on a fast tailwind aided straightaway (F, after 110 miles we were going 28-30) and luckily Ward and Christine got me back to the group.
But I jump ahead—back on Pope Valley Road I quickly wasn’t happy, which was mostly my fault. I like to stand and pull up on the bars when on a climb, which usually means I have to tape my right hand. But I didn’t think I’d need to without a “big climb”—mistake, my hand started blistering. Then my riding gloves should have been permanently retired—the palms were quickly disappearing. Finally, when I went to shift I mindlessly hit my nail on the shifter (this is why we needed “experienced rides”—I deserve to get left back, which somehow cracked my nail and blood started oozing out. The blood was soon remedied by “Spidermanbandaids at the Pope Valley Store, but my hand and thumb were killing me for the rest of the ride.
Now went back on roughly paved, pot holed Pope Valley Road. Some parts made me long for my woolen tee shirt—now in my brevet bag. Took a secondary/ back road at one point with even worse paving which killed me, and some short steep hills which killed Dave. Back on the main road we took our last stop at Muskovite Corner.
Ward gets into the Cowboy spirit.

And we only though French Canadians curse, though Jack did say this with much more good humor than a New Yorker would. (Still photo and caption supplied by Ward Film Industries) There goes my chance of getting Hammar as a commercial sponsor.
Now mostly downhill rollers, and when the road straightened out we had a nice tailwind. Dave always 200’ up the road—Ward put in a nice dig to finally get back to him and after one rotation Dave took off again and I was just ready to mail him a postcard. But one of the two traffic lights had us regroup, and then the final mile back into windswept Solano Community College.
Holy f—our average speed at Middletown had been 17.2, we finished at 17.7. Seven hours exactly for the 124 miles, @ 9 hours of total time. Christine had taken on the role of providing us with good food at the end of our rides, here she broke open a cooler filled with grapes and figs. What a great riding season.