Thursday, December 31, 2009


I finally got a Triple Crown jersey. Not that I hadn't earned it before--I did 3+ doubles in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 5+ (the next recognition level) in 2006 & again in 2009.

In 2005 all I wanted was to finish 3 of these insane rides to get the resplendent Yellow Jersey. Had a hard time finishing the "easy" Davis Double and an easy time finishing the "very hard" Terrible Two. Had signed up for two more doubles that fell in the middle in terms of difficulty, so getting 3 and earning Triple Crown Status seemed assured. (Though on doubles 10-20% of the riders, even the good ones, don't finish.) That YELLOW TRIPLE CROWN JERSEY WAS MINE!!

Then on the "fun ride," the Death Ride (much easier than a double) I was following a guy in a Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon jersey on the long twisty downhill on Ebbets 1. This is where the Death Ride gets its name, as the slower riders first coming up are bullshitting 3-4 across the road, well across the center line if there was one. We reach a hairpin--hours ago I remember going up the 14-18% tun. Blind curve. All of a sudden there is an asshole IN THE RESPLENDENT YELLOW TRIPLE CROWN JERSEY SOLIDLY ON OUR SIDE OF THE ROAD. No doubt asshole is looking for the shallowest way around the hairpin. Pink Floyd almost gets wiped out. So does my desire for the Triple Crown Jersey.

A year later, in 2006, after I struggled through 6 doubles, I had a special Diablo Cyclist club jersey made. The official Triple Crown 5 double jersey proudly indicates that the rider did 1000 miles of doubles in a year. I have that down on my jersey--but in roman numerals, along with the Diablo Cyclist symbol, the symbol for the two hardest doubles (Terrible Two and the Death Ride) and the Lion of Flanders.

So, with another year of 6 I decided to get an official Triple Crown jersey. But I really don't like the red-white-blue combo (blue is too dark) and the yellow one is still out. The last alternative is a custom jersey that identifies what doubles you've done.

Problem is I derisively refer to this custom jersey as the "Admiral Dewey Jersey"--its white with gold ribbons. One triple crown rider wrote to me and said it seemed very popular with the older set riding the flatter Southern California doubles. But still, it would list the 6 doubles I did--which I'll probably never do in the same year again.

OK-the Admiral Dewey jersey it is . Fist we'd have to order it with NO gold medals. Then we'd have to "alter it." My fashion plate daughter (who is scared for life when I dressed her in tye-die tee shirts that she made) did some research and found out you can tye-dye polyester but you need special dye and the water has to be VERY hot--hotter than in a washing machine. (Good thing as I can hear my wife yelling about me doing something to the washing machine.) The dye company says that there are many different types of polyester and the dye may NOT take.

OK-strategically placed rubber bands for white lines around all the jersey art. was out with the old camping stove and we simmered jersey soup for 60 minutes. I then simmered the bottom of the jersey for another 30 minutes in the hopes of getting it darker, which didn't quite work out.

Voila, after washing once results are below. Circles and lines came out nicely. Not a vibrant orange, a much more muted orange-peach. Do horizontal lines make me look fat??? How about dressing like Jerry Garcia?

Got some paint swatches. 9-10 are the deepest oranges and not even close. But neither close to 1-2 which is peach. Closest to 6-Orange slice.
1-Peach Crayon, 2-True Peach, 3-Orange Sherbet, 4-Juicy Cantaloupe, 5-Luscious Mango (do hungry people buy more paint?) 6-Orange Slice, 7-Orange Marmalade, 8-Sunbaked Orange, 9-Pumpkin Patch, 10-Fresh Tangerines--Funny names by Glidden. So jersey came out close to #6. I later re-dyed the top and bottom (and inside out-low setting ironed out the wrinkles), so now the color fades from somewhere between #8 & 9 to #6.

So lesson learned is that jersey's can be tye-died successfully--which may bode well if the Diablo Cyclists order white jersey's this year (our US POSTAL blue ones too damn dark for the summer, and white "winning" over light DOMO FARM blue.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Easily the best year of cycling ever, only thing missing was big group of Diablo Cyclists on doubles and some good folks on Club rides.

Year started out with Ward, Jack and I concocting crazy training rides. Wound up doing 6 Doubles this year, same as in 2006, but as I struggled through the early ones in 2006—this year rode faster and had a harder schedule (trading in relatively flat Solvang for what the F rerouted Eastern Sierra Double.) Still wish I had been faster on Devil Mountain and the Terrible Two, but was cautiously guarding my back that I kept straining/ pulling early on. But later—Death Ride, Mt.Tam Double, and Knoxville were loads of fun.

My downhill kept improving but instead of continuing my climbing decline I had a reprieve and got faster. No doubt the Tuesday-Wednesday nite loops of Mt. Diablo helped. Tuesdays were slower so Ward and I could bs (we passed one guy who later said at the ranger station-"I can't believe you can ride so fast while talking",) and Wednesday was the Diablo Cyclist time trial.

Best Rides of The Year
1) Plymouth/ Slug Gulch Sierra Century
2) Mt Tam Double
3) Knoxville Double

Hardest Rides of the Year
1t) Devil Mountain Double & Terrible Two
3) Eastern Sierra Rerouted into Death Valley Double

What About the 6th Double
Davis Double-Shouldn't be hard but hot day and hooking onto faster and faster pacelines, so I made it harder than it should be

The first person to spot Rusty (bonus points if pulling a paceline) was passé this year as he didn't show up in the middle of our rides that much. Ward and I had a new contest "who can take a better photo of Jack." Something to do while suffering when climbing Sierra Road 2x in a day. This led to Ward's quip "it's like Jack is riding with his 2 grandchildren" which led me to announce on DMD "he's my grandpa" when we'd get into rest stops together with consecutive numbers and check in person would say "you must be related." (No wonder Jack rode away from me on the Terrible Two.) But Ward, our Ansel Adams of cycling, won the photo shoot.

Sign of the Year
OK--some modifications were done--but everything Florida-centric. And while in Florida rode the Velodrome a couple of times.

High Points of the Year
Donna seeing the snow capped Bishop area for the first time and our doing a metric between storms the day before the Eastern Sierra Double.

Another High finish on Mt. Tam Double, even with it being part of Triple Crown Stage Race series (so field a little stronger than usual.)

The Real Sierra Century Diablo Cyclist ride in my ancestral cycling homeland—where we do the best (leave out the flat parts) of the old 120 mile course backwards.
Low Point of the Year
Getting hailed on in Death Valley on the rerouted Eastern Sierra Double.

Flanders Award for Toughness
Dave getting his first Triple Crown after his recumbent was stolen.

My finishing the Eastern Sierra Double as I hate riding when it is cold, and almost half the field didn't finish after the hailstorm.

Johnna doing climbing rides, including the Death Ride, with a racing cassette.

Three crazy people doing the Sierra Road climb 2x.

Record Set Losing Riders
I led an early season ride to the Pt Reyes lighthouse when the road is close to motor traffic. We started with about a dozen riders. But half way there most of the group turned around. I think Ward pissed them off, as the slackers claimed the threat of rain. As you can see--no rain when our three tough riders reach the Pacific.
Great Equipment
Getting rid of crappy FSA compact cranks and replacing them with Shimano Dura Ace cranks and Chris King Bottom Bracket . No more play in the cranks, no more dropping the chain.

Great Bike Shop
Unfortunately the guy I liked at old bike shop, who was thoughtful and we could throw ideas back and forth, went back to school for his advanced degree in physics. His replacements were like car salesmen—indicating 9 speed was passe and I better replace everything—even the brakes, with 10 speed.

Started going to Robinson Wheel Works which is fun, again get to throw ideas back and forth. Chris Robinson put on the 10 speed cranks which works fine with all the other 9 speed components.

Action Cycling Photo (my entry)
I can't take photos while riding, so on a DMD training ride I leapt out of the group and found a perfect place for Jack and Ward to come through with Mt. Hammy in the background.

Oh Crap Training Rides

The two before Devil Mountain Double with Jack and Ward that involved Mt. Hammy (from the hard side) and Sierra Road in multiple combinations.

Oh Joy Training Rides

The three variations of the Marin Century that the Diablo Cyclists bonus mile group did before the Mt. Tam double.

Sitting on the Fence

Obama or McCain?? No. Tryng to leave the Oakland Zoo we rode partially down a steep hill--and saw that the exit gate was locked. Shoulda gone back up but "No problem" many in the Club proclaimed, we'll just hop the fence. Hmmm--with clets and bikes, but we can hand the bikes over and the fence looks short. Well I eaisly got to the top of the fence where my shorts got caught on the wire on top, stuck. Loosening myself ripped an air conditioning vent --just as a zoo worker opened the locked gate. Timing is everything in life.

What are the Odds
I'm stranded on Mines Road when my back hub falls apart. Next week Ward is stranded on Mt. Tam when his chain jams into the cogset/ hub. (Ok-it doesn't merit the same status as Big Mike and Big Chris breaking a frame on the same weekend a few years back.)

Unexpected Photo of the Year
Dusk is setting in on the Devil Mountain Double, Jack and I already had out "we're falling apart" moments, but now steaming strongly to Sunol. I'm thinking that it would be cool if we had a photo doing this ride, and it would be cool if the third loony who did the crazy training rides, Ward, was with us. Well.... along comes Ward driving by and snapping photos. Good deal.

Biggest Fake Out
Club does the Calavaras ride and a few of us continue to do the Sierra Road beast—one of the hardest climbs in the Bay Area. Dr. Dave rides out on his recumbent.. Unbelievable, he is going to climb Sierra Road on the bent. We get close to the intersection and Dave yells out "see you later, I'm going to visit my mom."

Test of Strength
Crockett is a micro mini Pittsburgh, with some old side streets going up @ 20%. When we loop to Crockett there is one street that runs 2-3 blocks that I climb up—the Mikes' (Big & California) used to do it with me. This year Ward went up with me. At the top there is a ½ block off to the right where the grade must kick up another +5%. I tried to do it 2x and couldn't get started—Ward shot up a couple of times.

Turns out that 2nd Avenue/ Rose Avenue are about the same length and grade of the famous Tour of Flanders’ Koppenberg Climb (without the cobblestones.) I gotta do it.
Most Unusual Area for Cycling
Glad that Donna traveled down with me to Bishop for the Eastern Sierra Century. Under threat of storms we did a metric ride the day before, and both marveled at being engulfed by snow capped mountains. The next day I'd be riding on roads that looked like those mountains going into Death Valley.

The Doug Eat More Veggies Moment
Pull into a park in the hills of Auburn where town is having their Labor Day BBQ. Eating powerbar 100' from giant BBQ that is covering area with great smelling smoke. Old guy on oxygen sits down where we are leaning our bikes, and says with a huge grin and a heaping plate of meat in front of him "today is tri-tip, yesterday was CHICKEN"

Music of the Year
Had two songs constantly in my head, one where I’d actually blurt out words. Ones that we had some fun with temporarily—the Museeuw song, though hard to sing as only word I ever remember is "knee," and for awhile we'd start having a sing along trying to capture Lindsey (5 octaves higher than Neil Young or Gwen Stefani) Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac fame "Go Your Own Way"—but unless you are a 4 year old girl your voice is guarantee to crack.

One that stayed inside me was when we'd revv up—Patti Smith doing Horses-Gloria finale at a Fillmore Concert that I was at—she starts off real slow, then goes into breakneck speed like a counterattack--then brings the song down, gets quiet/gets slow—AND THEN GOES NUTS (at 13:45 into the cut.) And last line--"and fuck you all" is so apropos when self promoting tandem blowhard blurts out anything.

Tune that constantly escaped was James Browns live version of Payback—yelling out "HIT ME-UH, GOOD GOD" every time hit a 10% hairpin seemed like a good idea. At least a better idea than starting into "Go Your Own Way."

Non Riding Photo
Ward took loads of great photos of the pelaton while riding this year, but I like this different one where I'm really relaxed at a rest stop on a Fall century.

Team in Training trying to Convert Mountain Bikers to the Road or maybe it is just being in Marin
Team in Training group stopped at the base of Mt. Tam, passing around the doobie.

Don't Beat Her Up A Hill or You'll Pay
As Jack found out when Christine drop kicked him on the top of Pig Farm
Can Craig Make a Peanut Butter Sandwich better than Sacramento Joanie?
On Devil Mountain Double I carted a vial of Pumpkin Butter 90 miles to the rest stop at the foot of Mines Road where Craig was working. When I make a PBJ sandwich I usually rush and just throw a lump of peanut butter in the middle of the bread, slab some jelly/ pumpkin butter on, and hope that by squishing the bread the filling will spread out. But today Craig meticulously mixed and spread the peanut butter and pumpkin butter evenly on the wheat bread. Damn good sandwich and should get an award--but I quickly fell apart on Mines Road so the FDA and the Alameda Health Department needs to investigate Craig's rest stop.

Save of the Year
Ward and I get to the customary sprint finish spot, entering Walnut Creek on Danville Blvd and Rudgear Road--a four lane street of moderate volume traffic. We're ready to turn under the highway when Ward spots a small kid about 200' up the road on the other side of the street, toddling across the sidewalk and into the first traffic lane. Surreal moment. There is a trail that ends about where the kid is so we expect to see a parent come running out...but no one does. Ward cycles over-halts cars, and get the kid, about 3 y/o back on the sidewalk, we're joined by a couple (first thought it was his parents) who were driving by and got out of their car. A secluded house nearby and the kid rambles into the front yard, we follow and start calling out. After what seems like 5 minutes mom appears from a side yard--and all she can say is "his father was supposed to be watching him.

You Go Girl
Christine celebrating being first over the Ygnacio Valley Road Bike bridge (something no one contests) through her hands in the air in triumph and quickly almost went down. From there on in she did the safer Museeuw 2000 raised leg salute--much safer, for much better cycling accomplishments.

You to Can Be Part of A Video Game
Great way to come down from Paradise back to Chico (Neal Road) which eventually intersects Highway 99—one little problem—no overpass/ underpass. Asked guy at bike shop in Paradise best way to get back to Chico-he confirmed going down Neal Road. Asked him how to get across freeway—"make believe you are part of Frogger"

Another Chico Discovery
On practice ride up Honey Run where we weren't going balls out like we would the next day, on the usual fast approach to Honey Run, we saw actual buttes off to the side. Funny, never saw them the dozen times I've done the Chico Wildflower.

Racing Moment on A Century
It doesn't pay to be laid back. Ward called out "on your left" on the Tour of Napa Valley when two guys in front of us bsing. One one guy turned around, grunted, and took off like a bullet. More fun when we caught and repassed him.

Photo Ward Missed
Santa Rosa Wine Country weather was good for ducks, it was drizzling at the beginning and got wetter as we rode. At one point Dave goes into his recumbent trunk and starts pulling out clothes—in a few minutes he looks like a Professor from Paris with a rain jacket on backwards and a shower cap on top of his head.

Best Road Improvements
1) Bump on bridge at the end of the fast section before hitting the Papa Bear Climb now smoothed out – thank you Contra Costa County.
2) Sibley Canyon Parking lot, with water/ restrooms at the far end, now paved instead of graveled. Thank you East Bay Regional Park District.

Sonoma County still trying to discover paving material.

Congrats to
Ward for breaking 10,000 miles WITHOUT doing any Doubles - (even though a few thousand of those miles was riding from his house to the start of our rides on the trail or going out on the trail when the local High School Girls Cross Country team was out practicing.)
Dr. Dave getting his first Triple Crown Jersey
Christine doing her first 5 pass Death Ride Jack finishing 6 doubles

I hit 8786 miles and 825 trainer minutes. Only way year could have gotten better is if Sacto Doug and Hawaii Mike were around, along with Big Mike and Rusty (both in a non cycling phase) and Santa Rosa Wine Country/ Delta Century did not get rained out. Otherwise a lousy year for the economy but a great year riding.

Can't believe the decade is over. It was just the end of 1999 and we were afraid of Y2K, and nuttin happened. We should have been afraid of Y2ndBush. Both my daughters started in middle & high school and there was talk of college in "the future." Now one graduated college with honors, the other got in to the college she wanted and is doing great after suffering serious illness and a major operation while in high school.

I started the decade afraid of long rides (60 miles or longer) and any hill, I was hoping to do one pass of the Death Ride in 2000 and was so intimidated nuttin happened. If you would have told me in 2000 that I would be in 3 major bike accidents, but would come back each time super motivated and complete Death Ride 5 times this decade, do 24 doubles including the hardest ones multiple times, and while at the 'end of my rope' gone to Italy and just went off and rode 60-100 miles solo on unknown routes most days, I would have said you were nuts. Now this strange, unpredictable, and ultimately great decade with loads of trials and tribulations has come to an end. Happy New Year. Here is to a much better economy in the 2010's...