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.)
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)
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) :
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
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)
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.
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.)