Sunday, March 6, 2011

DAVIS 200k BREVET (2011)

(As an aside) Can't wait for daylight savings time to begin, and start going up Mt. Diablo Tuesday and Wednesday's after work. Now stuck on the trainer, which I've made into torture.

Have a good Kirk Kinetic trainer (on the cobblestones) that offers more resistance the faster your go (just like wind resistance increases the faster you go on a bike.) Trouble is, in order to get through the boredom of 1 1/4 hours on the trainer I have to make a game of it.

GT will special trainer wheel (11-21 cassette), on Kirk Kinetic Trainer with homage to Paris Roubaix underneath and on ceiling of garage.

First step, turn on college stereo--LOUD. Second, after a 10 minute warmup have to time trial--go as hard as I can for 60 minutes--trying to increase my speed consistently. The holy grail is to keep over 20 mph, which I've only done once in the last two years. Trouble is, if I start out to fast I flame out.
***Time trial program is 60 minutes go as fast as possible after 10 minute warmup and 5 minute 1 leg cooldown. Alternates are hill climbing w/ ankle weights and have to stand for 2 minutes every 5, and sit and spin program where I have to keep my butt in the saddle and maintain an 80 rmp cadence.***

On Tuesday for whatever reason I couldn't get started. After 15 minutes I was going at a 17.6mph clip--1 mph lower than I usually like to start at--and I was having trouble keeping this speed going. Sometimes things don't go as planned--instead of slowly dying for the next 45 minutes I called it a night.

On Wednesday I was supposed to do the rollers through the neighborhood on my fixed gear (actually on the side of a Regional Park/ Golf course so no cross traffic/ intersections on the loop) but was so bummed out from the trainer session the night before did the time trial program again. This time 15m splits were 19.1-19.1-19.2-19.4 mph, max 33.6 mph, so average watts were 242. I much have rather been on the fixed gear but this does much more for my cardio, which usually goes faster than my legs on a long ride.

(March 5, 2011) Davis 200k brevet, with Mike, Dave, Jack, Collin, Jeanne and Matt. 130 miles, 17.4 average, 5000' climbing.

This ride is the beginning of the 200k-300k-400k-600k series for rider wanting to qualify for the Breast-Breast-Breast ride, which Mike and Collin are hoping to do. Being sane Dave, Jack and I will stop with after the 300k brevet, we just like the two shorter rides as on a good route, nearby, inexpensive, and supported better than many expensive Planet Ultra Doubles.

This ride almost got washed out. After a few weeks of sunny but near freezing weekends, weather forecast was for 30% chance of rain. Oh crap. 30% chance is the borderline, whereas if its over I'm not starting the ride. With 30% chance of rain, I scrapped the plan to take the Litespeed and instead prepared the GT with the rack/ brevet bag so I could take a raincoat. (Not many people had racks/ brevet bags on this one, though a sizable minority rode with huge backpacks adorned by a safety triangle.)

The day before the weather forecast changed for the better--now it was a 70% chance of rain--BUT AFTER 4PM. Before 4PM there was only a 5% chance. Great. Stayed with GT as speed would not be an issue--we'd comfortably finish before dark and before rain showed. We also had a disparate group. Young Colin was by far the fastest rider. Jack and Mike our best endurance riders. Dr. Dave on the 'bent could whizz ahead on the flats but would lag on any steep series of rollers. And Jeanne and Matt had never ridden 130 miles before. In short, with no worries about time we'd get in, we'd just ride to our slowest rider at any given moment.
It was 50 degrees when I left the house at 5am--OH GOD I HATE WAKING UP IN THE DARK FOR BIKE RIDES. Temperature steadily decreased toward the ag fields surrounding Davis to a sunny 45.

Had preregistered but got to checkin early so I could take a short snooze in the car until some crazy guy parked next to me and banged on the window. Surprised no food provided (luckily had taken banana with me for the start)--on this short brevet the only rest stop with food was in Pope Valley--65 miles out; the longer 300k brevet would have 3 provided rest stops. Jeanie had asked how much food to bring, though stores along the route we want to bring enough to be self sufficient without being weighed down.

My initial answer to her was:

8 hours (16.5 avg for 130 miles) at 40-60 carbs an hour, 320-480 carbs for the ride.

With food/ drink averaging 75% carbs then 1700-2560 carbs for the ride. So I'd take:

Bottle 1 -2 scoops HEED 54 carbs

Carry -2 scoops HEED 54 carbs

Bottle 2 -4 scoops PERPETUEM 108 carbs

Bottle 2 -1 shot HAMMERGEL 23 carbs

So liquid refreshment would total 239 carbs

Carry -2 CLIFF SHOT BLOCKS (great while riding) 96 carbs

Carry -2 CLIFF BARS (or similiar carb type) bar 82 carbs

Carry -2 shot HAMMERGEL mini grenade 46 carbs

Lunch Stop-Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich 45 carbs

Solid food, 269 carbs, so total 508 carbs.

As it turned out I didn't touch the Hammer Grenade, but did have 4 carb bars; and had a turkey/ ham sandwich + banana at lunch in lieu of PBJ. Also took one scoop of Sustained Energy to add to my Perpetuem mix. So I took in about 30 carb more than planned, or 538.

Surprise when we were ready to roll and worker ran up to us with a box of Brubar Power Bars (very good) and grabbed one while rolling out.

(side) Dave's not yelling at me, yet, when I go for his neck that he sometimes strains during long rides (above) Cuing up for mass start

We got stuck at a traffic light right outside the park and ride and started shivering uncontrollably. I had my rain jacket in the brevet bag--but wasn't wearing it as I knew that once we got going I'd be miserable wearing a jacket unless it was raining. To get warm I went to the front and started going hard, but also stayed in the small ring---seems to help on long rides just to spin the first 5 miles. I was on good behavior when a guy with a spin worse than mine-bowleggedly mashing the pedals-shot by; shortly after a lady wearing weird half leggings did the same thing while weaving--surprised Jeanie wasn't chasing her. Our group joined me while I watched the odometer--4.7 miles, 4.8 miles--NOW--5 miles, can go into the big ring.

I don't recall if we joined a bigger paceline or a bigger paceline joined us, but it was a clusterfuck going to Winters through the ag land. Our group (which usually meant Colin) was doing most of the pulling, a double paceline formed, and anarchy ensued. Our group was usually 2nd, 3rd and 4th wheel but next to us were folks we didn't know--some riding straight, so weaving like crazy. The woman who passed earlier, later nicknamed "crazy lady" (and worse), wound up 3rd wheel on the right side and needed more than 3 feet width of road. Jeanie (who used to race) said she though brevet riders knew how to paceline and she was unpleasantly surprised.

Best move of the day may have been when Colin was in the front but indicated a whizz stop was in order, and that sounded great to me (did I mention it was cold.) Over the Pedrick overpass he went straight, I followed, and everyone else went left. Well, after taking care of business we had to bust butt to catch the pelaton on the very flat course, but with Colin doing 80% of the work we were both out of the mass lunacy and got warm in a hurry chasing back.

When we finally got back Mike was driving the paceline--after being lazy for the longest time and sitting on the back, after we accordioned for the seemingly millionth time (paceline accordioning is terrible at the back) I dug in past 25 riders to see if Mike needed help--just when I got near the front he was rotating out, so we both got n 4-5th wheel. Jumped from the pelaton before first good bathroom stop at Lake Solano Park-28 miles from the start, and I figured that the park stop would be jammed, so I suggested to our group that we go to the campgrounds across the street. Good move.

Peacock at Lake Solano deserted campgrounds--swarm of them cheered us on when we arrived (Dr. Dave Photo)

Many brevet riders may be slow but they are great at not needing to stop--at least half blew by the Park/ Campgrounds. Our group didn't and took our time leaving, something that we wouldn't be able to afford on the 300k. Jeanie had a leaking bag of sports powder (need to double bag!)--reminiscent when I tried carrying sports powder in a Peets Coffee bag. Now I use an empty Hammer grenade. Now the ride would get interesting, rollers up to the Cardiac Climb and then the rollers through Pope Valley.

We stayed together to Cardiac but then became unhooked. From the side we had a two stage climb, an easy one to Monticello Dam and then a much longer climb to the end of a Lake Berryessa "finger." Climb was nice even if I was still wearing a Nordic headband and undershirt for freezing weather. At least wasn't also in a long sleeve jersey. Pulled over near the top to take photos of our group coming up--was in front of someone's unique mobile home homestead.

Interesting front yard at the top of Cardiac. Heard that last year occupant was in his front yard cheering on the Davis Double riders.
Colin and Jack near the top of Cardiac.

The climbing recumbent doctor has already attacked two riders and ready to mow down a third... ...oh, those two riders were Jeanie and Mike.

Long downhill where Mike checked his speed so I could get behind him and arrive with him and Jeanie to the next stop at the 121/128 junction at mile 45 where Jack, Matt and Colin were waiting.
When we were ready to leave we heard someone whine about which way to go now, are there more hills, their bike is broken; a lady on a Litespeed had her chain stuck--Dr. Dave preformed the operation and fixed her bike. Later dubbed the "Cat Lady"--good for her for doing the ride but amazed that she would finish it though a brevet gives riders incredible amounts of time to do same.
Now our group is basically alone and we began to paceline through the gentle rollers in Pope Valley. One guy in a red jersey joined us and took a nice pull.
Grapes are not the only thing that grow in Napa Valley--there is also Americana folkart.
At mile 53 had to take a sudden right and go on a pothole strewn backwater road--nice except for the occasional car zooming in the other direction that had us taking corners gingerly and far to the outside. This road had very short but steep pitches which did not make our recumbent doctor happy.

Brevet master Mike on backwater Lower Chiles Valley Road. It had warmed up so he took off his PI Ultra-thin floppy jacket that he had worn under his jersey--which looked like Steinfeld's "puffy Pirate shirt"
At mile 56 back on the main road and we started seeing the fastest riders coming back from the turnaround--9 miles away. Pothole road (Napa never fixes their roads unless a Mini-Cooper sinks into a pothole) familiar from the Tour of Napa Valley, Davis Double, Knoxville Double etc...

Seemed we were at the Pope Valley Turnaround/ Control, mile 65, very quickly. Apart from Sustained Energy and made to order sandwiches, had alot of "crap" (donuts, cookies) that I think Colin liked.

Pope Valley Control where we saw many people we encountered earlier.

We stayed at the Pope Valley Control for @25 minutes--definitely 15 minutes too long for the 300k ride, but this was the 200k and the sun was out (so much so I pulled off thick undershirt and was just a bit cold riding with just a jersey/ but better than being bundled up.) In total we'd have stopped 1:15 for 200k, we should easily improve on this by 25% for the 300k. Jack was being antisocial and perhaps spooked by the late rain report, he started down the road well before we left--knowing him he'd only stop one more time on the return trip and we'd never catch up to him. Jeanie and Matt-our two riders extending themselves, said they were feeling good.
We started out very sluggish on the return trip--the same ez rollers I died on and gave up the ghost on last years Knoxville Double. Riders first getting to the control/ turnaround were riding en masse on the other side of the road. Dr. Dave and I were playing a game; after a few miles the riders on the opposite side of the road had thinned out and seemingly stopped for a few minutes--when a recumbent rolled by. I bugged him about a recumbent rider bringing up the rear, but he got a sense of satisfaction when a half dozen diamond frame bikes were soon spotted really bringing up the rear.
Soon the wind shifted (gentle all day) and we picked up speed to the backroad turn off. Rollers a little steeper in this direction--not Dr. Dave's favorite section of the ride but he wasn't far behind--especially when stuff started falling out of Colin's stuffed pockets (who nicely clinched his rain jacket behind his saddle with reflective straps). We then kept our group nicely organized back to the 121/128 junction.
Group photo at 121/128 Junction stop, mile 85. Mike recreating the "We're #1" sign he gave here 4 years ago on the 300k brevet while dressed in his brevet crossing guard uniform.

Mixed blessing for Dr. Dave here. The run in to Cardiac is fast and he easily zoomed away from us-but from this side the climb up Cardiac is much shorter but steeper. I like it--Dave doesn't. Here our group spread out again so we regrouped half way down the downhill. Then passing Lake Solano half the group didn't need to stop but we deferred to the half that did.

Folk art at Lake Solano campgrounds.

I really wasn't looking forward to the end of the ride--it would just be pancake flat through the ag fields of Winters/ Davis. But I was nicely suprised. Earlier in the day Jeanie complained about the disorganized pacelines--this time we caught ("we" means Colin doing 80% of the pulling and I'm doing 15%) a big group from the Davis Bike Club where they were more than happy to let us do most of the work. That was OK, they took a few short turns. The tranquility was broken about a mile from the finish when all of a sudden--OH shit, a woman with an anti-PETA seat and someone else in the Davis club did their traditional sprint for the City Limits sign. I was so surprised I didn't have time to yell "Postal" to warn Colin and try to set him up.
Back to the car 3:45. Sign the brevet card--in about 9 months when I forget about this ride I'll get it back--stamped by some secret society in France. Packing up and -- rain drops --- it's 4:01 -- the weathermen nailed it (rain would pick up from 4:20-4:50)
The 200k brevet route is the first (and last) leg of the 300k brevet, the additional 100k beyond Pope Valley has serious rollers and a serious climb up Cobb Mountain. We definately wouldn't be doing 17.4 mph that day, and will be returning at nite. So better read up on all those reflective vest, reflective ankle band, no blinking lights rules and regulations.
Ironically our techno geek Colin's (he really isn't one but more than anyone else in our group) Garmn said we had climbed 8,000' which we all agreed was way to high. Matt's GPS had 5,000' which was more like it. Mike decided the descrepancy was due to Colin being taller.

(above) Colin and Mike signing in at the end of the brevet. (below) Dr. Dave and Jeanie doing the same.

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