102.5 miles, 5875' ft. (w/ bonus Calaveras Wall), 15.8 avg, 7:30-@4:00 (217 course rating)
'The bonus mile group' (or as Jack would say, 'the extra credit group') did this a week back on a Sunday, minus the Sierra Road part. I ride with Donna on Sunday’ so I didn’t go so I was psyched all week to get my first century of the year in. Our club was going out to Calaveras—a beautiful, gentle climb so I suggested early in the week that the bonus mile group add the pernicious Sierra loop—Jack responded with tepid support and no one else acknowledged, so I thought Sierra Road was dead. I left on my training wheels (Mavic Open Pro’s with Ultegra hub and x25 cassette as opposed to Open Pro’s with Hugi hub, butted spokes, and x27 cassette or even lighter American Classic medium deep rims with x27. ) The extra rim grams no big deal, but Sierra Road is not something you want to do with a x 25 cassette.
All week I was sky high that weather was finally promising and we’d do a century. But waking up extra early with a damp 42 degrees brought me back to reality—reminded me of the extra early morning part that sucks about any ride. Didn’t help that it was so foggy that water was dripping off our helmets, and my odometer went our and lens popped out of glasses at the same time. Luckily when Ward got a flat close to where we’d meet up with the Club, the sun had broken out.
Dr. Dave (the Doubles' Doctor) and I in our Official Triple Crown Jerseys on the top of Sierra Road, with a younger Rusty moving in the podium platforms. (Ward-o-photo with special Pumpkincycle enhancement)
Ride was high paced, as someone usually upping the pace at some section, with ever Shifting alliances. Some highlights:
On run into Sunol Brother Vic does most of the pulling, so when we get to the fast three tier climb and he starts to stall I pass tell him I’ll just ride tempo. Ward comes alongside and together we block the road to cut off any attacks.
On Calaveras, a long climb but not steep with multi hairpin, Dave and I slow down the pace to keep the group together, while dodging the Team needs Training obstacle course at the beginning. Brother Vic attacks a number of times, I counterattack too much and am hurting after the last one so I vow that if we get rid of Vic we stay away for good. Dave and I finally broke clear and then work together—though at the end Ward and Christine were pulling Vic back very fast so we’re lucky the course ended when it did. I think we were slowed when Dave had to slow and say hello to the recumbent riders we passed near the end.
On Sierra Road-a 4 mile climb (550 meters) I never do well, (steep with no recovery sections) I had pulled my back on it every time we had done it last year, and had to stop 1-2x on it to stretch every time—so I was a bit wary. Dave and Christine had never done Sierra. Dave stayed with me on the real steep beginning, and then spun away from me on the middle section, opening a 30 second gap. I kept chasing hard, and closed it down to about 15 seconds, which Dave started to nudge back up near the end. I finished at 35:16 and I was happy; with stretching time I was never under 40:00 last year.
Earlier, I never thought we were doing Sierra Road—even 5 minutes before we made the decision to do it. When we finished the race up Calaveras—Brother Vic yelled “aren’t we doing the wall” which is a steep but short climb beyond our rest stop. (Mentioned by the folks at the Primavera Century as the famous Calaveras “Wall”, one site pegs it at 15%. I thought he was joking but Vic went on ahead so I figured what the hell and followed. (.4 mile and 56 meters) Of course later, after we come back from Sierra Road we have to do it again, so I wound up doing the “feared” wall 2x. Funny comment heard when I crested the wall the first time, one rider telling his buddy “I was even passed by a guy on a single speed.” (Don!)
When at the end of Calaveras I thought we were going to turn around with the main group, ride back to Sunol. and then the bonus milers would do the Palamaras Climb. But while I was playing around on “the Wall,” Jack said he’d only hand out extra credit if we did Sierra Road (or maybe he was handing out Lincolns’) and I was surprised when told that Sierra Road it is. We were also joined by Rusty—who had not read the ride description as to where we were starting, and rode out to join us—and he was game for Sierra also. Rusty one of the strongest riders on the flats, and a beast on technical downhills, but he’s not a climber—so if he wasn’t complaining about Sierra Road, I certainly wasn’t going to though I had the wrong fn wheel for it.
The bonus mile group on top of Sierra Road. I was NOT doing the Sierra Road climb unless Ward had his camera. (Ward-o-photo)
Nice thing about Sierra Road. It was a vest/ tee shirt/ knee warmers type of day—even in the sun there was a slight chill, and it was cold on the downhill ramp from Calaveras to Milpitas But Sierra Road is so “out in the open”*** it was hot—beginning of climb was spent trying to roll knee warmers around ankles w/ tucking the chain sides ones into the sock so they don’t get caught. (Reflection/ glare off of all the white legs even made it warmer)
After chasing Dave, and our regroup on top of Sierra, our group stayed together the rest of the day, bs'ing about how fast the Wine Country Century closed out (May event, closed out February 4th!!), or that you can’t get a motel room in Davis for the Davis Double weekend. Yep, it was just Festivus, the cycling season was quickly upon us.
Last rest stop on the porch at the Sunol General Store, Ward still can't sit on the padded chairs that have been investigated by the CDC. It seems we were just there (well we were, a few hours ago)--winter has gone by quickly. Nice paceline down the long stretch on Foothill without many traffic controls, Rusty turns off to go home, and we continue cooperatively down San Ramon-Danville Blvd with all too many traffic controls that mean frequent stops and starts. At the end no other club is coming up "the Blvd," Dave does a lead out and we all are content letting Dave pass through the finish line first while he is waiting for someone to come around.
Great ride, with more climbing than most regular century rides, but shows that I have alot of work to do. Usually if I start to fade it's energy related. Energy level was good yesterday, but damn, were my muscles fatigued whereas I'd have trouble going another 40 miles at speed.
Footnote-self supported Century so didn't want to blow the food prep. Took 1 bar with me for every 20 miles, and a 2 scoop solution of HEED & Perpetuem--Hammergel fortified, plus and extra portion of Hammergel. Had an extra scoop of HEED I was supposed to take with me, but left in the car (note to self: don't forget extra bags of HEED and to defog glasses) and later picked up a banana and didn't eat one of the 5 bars I took. So, for the 6 1/2 hour ride ride:
Only mistake was at mile 75 only had drunk 1 1/2 bottles, which was way too little, and something was the color of brown mustard. Paid for that after the ride-couldn't drink enough the rest of the day (even with hemp protein-Cliff Recovery-pumpkin butter shake right after the ride)