This is nondescript century ride through farmland and some rolling hills among vineyards in the middle--improved by the good support of the Davis Bike Club. Two years ago this was my fastest century ever as I could follow powerhouse Big Mike on much of the route. Today would be difficult as our other club members were doing an abbreviated route fixed gear version--so I am riding with Dave on his recumbent--and it is impossible to draft him. If we didn't make friends it would be a long day with a steady but not oppressive wind blowing from the West.
This ride tied together much of the great Century season. Dave and I (and Big Mike) got stormed on early in the year on the Tierra Bella., when Dave was just thinking about doing the Death Ride on a recumbent and I was geared towards finishing in the top 25 on the Mt Tam Double. We both agreed that the impetus went out a little after our epic rides. This course would touch upon parts of the Davis 300k brevet (where Don and CA Mike were hoping to qualify for B-P-B without knowing it was going to storm in France), the Davis Double and the Knoxville Double. (Heck--it was nice finally seeing the Knoxville markings on the ground--last time we were here it was dark.) No pictures from the Foxy--this is from the Death Ride. Anyone could get a recumbent to 30mph on the flats, but not to many people could climb like Dave did on the Death Ride--as he leads a group up Ebbetts. I'd get a motorcycle if I couldn't stand on a climb. Westworld.Images
The Davis Bike clubs only misstep is at the beginning at registration--1 toilet for 2000 guys. Saw Craig on a line that looked like was cuing up for Rolling Stones tickets. Then saw Don in the parking lot who has seen me do my favorite pre ride activity--sleep in the car. He was leading the fixed gear gruppo. Just turned light around 7am and many nervous beginner century rides took off at first light--worried about finishing this course. Brought back memories. Dave joined us--we continued to bs until 7:30 and then we took off on a route that would begin by skirting the ag fields surrounding Davis. Not many people leaving when we did and luckily Davis volunteer's stationed on all the big turns (and it is a well marked course)--luckily as I am the club leader in getting lost and Dave did hold that distinction for awhile when he got lost on the Terra Bella. Cool enough to f my breathing (Dave wonders why I'm hacking as been quiet all summer) and crisp but not cold--crisp enough to ride hard at the beginning into the headwind to stay warm. We're passing scores of riders--the typical Team in Training clusterfuck where they have a beginning paceline on the shoulder but idiot mentor is blocking the road rolling near the center line yelling instructions. Apart from blocking our bikes--don't think the few cars on the road appreciated being blocked either. (Took only two "on your left" to get mentor to move over--Dave commended me for not trying to squeeze between the paceline and mentor--which would have surly lead to disaster.)
I'm a lously crosswind rider and when we didn't have headwind that is what we got--but no choice then to carry on. Up ahead it would look like there were a few cyclists that we could latch onto--but before we knew it we easily caught and passed them and the hopes for a paceline was gone. I told Dave that I hoped a paceline would be coming up from behind us but none was--then finally one shot by. This was our salvation and we hustled on to the back of three guys. At first I thought they knew each other but as we rode on I wasn't sure, as one guy did all the work and the other two guys just sat in. When I thought they were a group I didn't want to bust up their paceline and would be real content for them to do the work--but after a while the pace slowed slightly and no one else came forward so I moved up and volunteered to pull, and my offer was gladly accepted. About 5 miles to the 1st rest stop, with one mile to go Dave moved his recumbent to the front--upped the pace--and now tired I did everything I could to hang on. A flat but windy 24 miles-18.5 mph.
Next section starts off North (crosswind) thru ag land, then heads West (headwind) and finally South (crosswind) on Pleasant Valley road where the grape covered hills offer some protection from the crosswind. Quick water stop at mile 43-where average fell to the mid 17's. Here they had some new Cliff "gummy bear: energy chews--Dave got excited until he saw the flavor "Margarita-Salt" I had one and tasted truly disgusting. On the rollers would lose Dave and he'd hustle back--passed by a few riders but I was on good behavior--until a "Team in Trama" guy drafted off of us and then attacked on a hill. First time I passed him I had to laugh--we were entering the only suburban section of the ride--where Big Mike/ I counterattacking a few years back where we missed a turn after one attack. But now I know the terrain as this is the start of the Knoxville Double--the good portion as we get benefit from the streetlights. Soon out of suburbia onto a rural road, (which is totally black on Knoxville, so finally saw that the road markings DO exist for that ride. Rollers getting steeper so I'd lose Dave--I caught and passed a whole line of riders including "Team in Trama" guy for the 4th time, then pulled into a driveway and did loops until Dave arrived. He could sense I was getting anise--and after lunch the terrain would be more to his liking (flat after a big climb) so he told me to go for it--I hammered past the same cyclists again--caught the fastest one---and we rode a two man to lunch at mile 61--average still in mid 17's.WHERE THE HELL DO YOU DRAFT BEHIND THIS ?? Professor Dave zooms down the Road on Tour of Napa Valley--background very similar middle section of to Foxy. Photocrazy Photo
After running in and out of rest stops on hard doubles, and no spending much more time on hilly double metrics, I was going to enjoy the moment. Large cushions spread around Wooden Valley Schoolyard which I flopped on. Guy with trailer with 8 car spearkers (and a woofer) that inspired my bike stereo there playing tunes. I had a big Turkey/ Roast Beef sandwich--nothing else but Turkey/ Roast Beef and bread. Though some Hammer products on ride no HEED-luckily I carried a 2 scoop baggie with me. Very sunny and even warm now. Lots of stretching as I remember serious rollers as soon as we leave lunch--Dave remembered them also as he was flying down them IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION on a club ride last year. Now heading North on Hwy 121 which would eventually become Hwy 128 and start moving East. Some traffic so good idea to stay in the shoulder--but almost an accident when guy in front of me on a short but steep section decided it was now time to suddenly and fully stop and get off the bike. Again I lost Dave on the recumbent but he was gamely chasing, so I rode to "set a target" (remain visable to rider in the back.) At one point I saw two recumbents up ahead--road flattened out--Dave caught up. I told him two more recumbents up ahead and he took off like a flash and left me in the dust--now had tailwind and easily going 20+mph but no getting back near Dave until I caught him and one other recumbents on the Cardiac Climb. When I passed I yelled out "damn roach coach"--other recumbent rider puzzled until he figured out that i knew Dave. I knew I didn't have a chance in hell staying with the recumbent on the long and fast downhill to Pleasant valley Road so I continued to go up hard--plus lots of targets in front of me to pick off as I had done at Knoxville. But before my head swelled one rider zoomed past me and I couldn't get on his wheel--he was seemingly 100' in front of me on the whole climb on Cardiac but I could never close the gap. Then a tandem with a sign "Foxy Tandem Roadside Assistance" (or something like that) shot by on the false flat near the summit. Past Mike's" Bi Curious Action" spot (as seen on the 300k brevet) but nothing going on. Very fast to one of my favorite rest stops--Lake Solano Park at mile 84. Still mid 17's. Had another roast beef/ turkey sandwich--hold the bread. Dave came in very soon and needed to recover from the big climb so we sat around for awhile and enjoyed the heavily treed setting until the wind picked up and the sky turned a little grayer--and it got a little cooler. We were there around 1-, though we'd might see the fixed gear boys but they had taken out 30 hilly miles from the ride and were here two hours earlier.
Another familiar road--the long dark country road that leads to Vacaville that ends Knoxville but here we suddenly turned left to get back to Davis. Now back in ag land--road is flat so Dave and I can stick together--and mostly East so we had a tailwind but there had been a little shift so a tad of a crosswind also.. We're again passing scores of cyclists, but unlike earlier in the day with the wind shift not to oppressive. All of a sudden we are passed by a big group of Sacramento Bike Hikers--which we then latch onto
Here Dave and I stay as the ticket collectors--for numerous reasons that had nothing to do with tactics (unlike Mt Tam Double as this not a timed event.) 1) Not training for anything nor cold (to get heart rate u) so being lazy as hell enjoyed the free ride. 2) We hate when someone squeezes into our Diablo Cyclist paceline (obvious when we are all in the same kits), so I'm not going to do it to a group riding together unless invited to "move up." One guy does a lot of fast pulling--a few Sacto Bike Hikers drop out--and then a woman takes over and keeps the speed up--and keeps the speed up-and keeps the speed up.....with none of her clubmates going to the front to help. All of the sudden two riders who had latched on and were sitting in for awhile appear on my right and launch an attack and the pass the whole paceline ON THE RIGHT without saying a word. They are already down the road when I wake up and am po'd by what they did and jump (on the left) and try to bridge but can't. So I wait for the Bike Hikers paceline and take a few long turns in the front.
OK--any reader who has put up with my long belabored prose about epic rides is now in for a treat--Professor Dave was riding behind the two guys who sandbagged in the paceline, and our own professor of English writes:
`"As for the young guy with the IPOD, he thought he was by himself out on training ride, so he had the music cranked up, and was oblivious to those around him. He didn't hear me when I went by him on a downhill, and was noticeably startled as I passed, even though I had called out. Then, when we are coming out of the final rest stop, he is in the road ahead of Jay and me, weaving back and forth as he tries to untangle his cord and get his earplugs back on. Them he joins us in the pace line, forces his way in front of me, and proceeds to pull the IPOD out about every 10 minutes to fiddle with it--looking down--no hands in a pace line!!--and swerves back and forth as he gets it back in his pocket. The people behind me couldn't see what he was doing, and I think they were wondering why I wasn't holding his wheel. Answer: I was trying to avoid a crash!! I was very happy when he took off, even if he did pass on the right and scare the crap out of the pace line leaders. -- Professor Dave
I felt great--kept the speed of the paceline up--and kept the gruppo together. Eventually the original guy who pulled jumped, I followed with one other Bike Hiker, and we rode a three man into Davis. All of a sudden out of the ag land and into suburbia--large car crash at the\corner--rumored that they hit a cyclists but didn't see any cyclist in the town teaming with comfy cruisers rolling up and down the street.
Velo sale at the finish--if i knew how to build a bike some nice prices on used frames--though I passed on the $1 USED sock sale. Good pasta meal in the same building the Davis Double finishes in. California Cyclist magazine booth outside--I lament the organized riding season is over and they mention the Solvang century--to laughter I remind them that I said organized so that precludes a Planet Ultra event. Its been a good year..