Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Foxy's Fall Century-2011-New 100 mile Speed Record

(October 15, 2011) Foxy's Fall Century, w/ Ward, Stephen & Jack. 97 miles, 3,376' climbing (ride claims to be 2,000' climbing, other measures on the web are much closer to what Ward recorded), 19.2 mph. Average speed of 20.2 for first 24 miles, including 3 miles of 16mph when leaving Davis with a pack and slowing at traffic controls. (WI)

All of a sudden we are in the rainy season of California--so many of us wait until the long term weather report shows dry before registering. But a week before ride registration was CLOSED, with a few spots saved for 'day of' registration. Many in our club were planning to do the ride--but about half only in for the metric century.

Stephen isn't in for any ride--our 'plan a route' leader pimping for another self supported century in the area--one we can start at 8:30, instead of 7:30. But we've done sooooo many self supported century rides, it will be nice to ride without pockets stuffed to the gills. We also ride too nicely (easily) with each other when we do the bonus miles; riding a century with lots of good riders will push us a little out of the comfort zone. But route has been moderately changed and a few of us anxious to do tinkered course--which is relatively flat so we can stay together.

Weather looks great for the weekend, only negative is throat tightening evening before--F, cold coming on. On drive up stop at gas station for bathroom (know it will be a zoo at the start) and throat lozenges, run into a CHP officer who sees my bike and wonders if I'm doing the Foxy--he's working the event. We talk a little about bozo car drivers, but also bozo cyclists who insist on riding all across the road. Conversation is prophetic.

Apart from bathroom zoo--Ward remembered best to park on street as parking lot will also be a zoo. So arrive at 6:30 checkbook in hand and walk into nearly empty cafeteria--great, can register quickly. Oh no--worker says applications are in the dark courtyard outside--they are and so are about 200 riders. One line preregistered riders waiting to check in--other line is for day of ride registration, and worker handing me applications sends me to the line to the right. On my line are many nervous cyclists who wonder how they'll ever leave at 7:00. I have a pen but two low voltage lawn lights not sufficient to fill in appy. Why didn't they keep us inside where lights and tables are???

Doors open in about 15 minutes and my line is allowed in first and moves fast--OK, but everyone in front of me sorts out at 6-7 lines at the pre registration table. Crap, I was in wrong line and only 2 people working the 'day of ' table. I quickly go there--filling out application/ waiver as I walk (I have crap handwriting, and this ain't helping.) I'm first at table--worker snaps I need to complete check to keep things moving, which I do in 3 seconds--and then am constantly berated by vice principal working registration "what does this say"-"i can't read it" "is that an O, it doesn't look like an O" " we can't read your emergency contact, how will we call anyone if we need to" (I think--bitch, I have emergency number on my road ID, if you were sooo concerned you wouldn't have a long line standing in the dark;I should have bogarted the ride...) I finally get the precious wristband and map, and turn around to put on wristband and there is a line of 50-100 behind me. Luckily after registration support from Davis Bike Club first rate. Worker taking my day of registration, she seems familiar.

Religious icon in back of seatbag (PC)

I go back to car and catch half hour sleep until Jack knocks on window and wakes me up--he's concerned I hadn't checked in yet. Get bike ready and meet group in front of Vets Building at 7:25--here is where tall Jim is invaluable as he's easiest to spot and gather around. Unfortunately he and Jeannie haven't been riding much towards the end of the year--and they are in for the metric. Our full century group delayed a little because of registration woes and we finally left about 7:40.

OK, my handwriting is shitty, I napped, I'm checked in, lets roll. (PC)

Route to first rest stop is as flat as a pancake--a few miles in the college town of Davis and suddenly zig zagging through the agricultural roads. A few traffic controls (all monitored by Davis Bike Club and CHP) and loads of cyclists filling up the shoulder and right lane of the busy road. We're only going about 16 mph, and a few cyclists going by way to the left at 18 mph--I'm anise but it's safe where we are. Ward indicates we'll open it up out of town.

Finally pass the "Davis Town Limit" sign, cross big intersection, and drop into big chainring; our paceline rev's up to about 21. All is nice and steady until some skinny guy zooms by with another guy mashing pedals on a hybrid right behind him. We jump behind these guys--now going 24 mph. After last years accident a little wary of riding behind guy on hybrid as he's wobbling a bit with each pedal stroke to stay behind the thin guy pulling. Ward goes up and asks if we should help out--turns out young guy is a junior racer and he says he can go this pace all day. Turns out guy on hybrid is his dad who is more of a runner than cyclist but doing great--on a hybrid I'd be lucky to go 11 mph. I get into zone where guitar/organ from Dead Disco loops in my head.

Around turns the junior racer never slows down, and at first we have to scramble back to him--but later we speed up on turns and he slows a little. He also goes hard into controlled intersections which we caution him about. Sometimes he slows a little and Ward/I take a pull for about 30 seconds before he goes back to the front. Any sanity is gone when another junior racer joins us--now its always minimally 24 mph. Soon Jack and Stephen are off the back along with "dad."

These two junior racers are incredibly polite--so much so that when we come across a group riding 3-4-5 across the road and they quietly say "on your left" there isn't much movement. So Ward/I take over yelling "ON YOUR LEFT"--"MOVE OVER." I'm annoyed as my throat hurts and about 20% of the riders blocking the middle of the road are wearing earphones. Near Lake Solano there is the first hint of an uphill (gentle rolling uphill) and a huge group of Sacramento Wheelmen are Critical Mass'ing the road. I take over at teh front and yell early and often so we get have a clear path on our side of the road. (Earlier one of the junior started riding on the wrong side of the road--only way to get around a blob and wanted to avoid this.)

We hang with these good guys to the first rest stop. When Jack and Stephen pull in (our ride coordinator and de facto new member coordinator, respectively) I tell them I signed these guys up for our bike club. "Noooooo" Jack and Stephen yodel in unison as they picture every ride going 21-24 mph.

With two junior racers (and good guys) at first rest stop. Sign them up for the Club. (WI)

Next segment of the course has many rollers (Sal Maglie and Eddie Stanky) thrown in. First its a straight shoot down Pleasant Valley Road and much of the beginning of the Knoxville Double, but this time Jack/ I not doing it in the dark. Ward/I promised Jack/ Stephen we wouldn't hammer with young racer again, and we said goodbye when he passes--but we did start hammering the rollers when other people try to fly by--until tall woman in Zion jersey joined our mini paceline and then took a pull until road turned hilly again. (She later complained that she's from Mt. Sacramento so needs hill training) There Ward/I got into a small paceline line keeping the speed up so group would stay small as we got to lunch where average speed dropped to 19.7 mph.

Our club usually leaves late on a century ride and with a big group we don't get out of rest stops that quickly--and often we seem to be in the back of the ride. But we didn't leave very late today and with a small group we weren't dawdling at stops (not that Jack would let us)--when we pulled into lunch there is no line for food, when we left a 25-50 person line is cued up on the sandwich line.

Nice lunch area on mats/ pillows laid out in a schoolyard. Had my protein special--turkey-roast beef--bread--nuttin else. (WI)

Hills coming up and Jack leaves early as we waaaaaaaait at the porta potties. (WI)

The beauty of a Century ride (WI Greeting Card Division)

From lunch there are a few significant (Sal Maglie) rollers, then a fast run in to the two tiered Cardiac climb. Jack had left lunch about 5 minutes before us. Stephen hadn't done Cardiac from today's West to East direction and Ward/I tell him it seems much easier than in our usual way.

Steep rollers after lunch are not the most popular and when we first hit the straightaway we didn't go balls out--until young racer came by and said "I know you guys can go faster." So we jump on his wheel and told him we'd ride hard with him until we caught up to Jack. Now great to paceline as crowds from the morning all broken up and road nearly empty. When we caught Jack we dropped off junior racer's pace but Stephen-Ward-I still motoring, so when we hit Cardiac Climb I did a U turn and rode back to see how Jack was doing--turns out he was only a few hundred feet behind us--cleverly riding behind two "Doubles triple Crown" clad riders. Right after lunch light is right with vineyards behind. In Knoxville we go by this just when sun is coming out and too dark to take a good photo. (WI)

I'm either gonna push Stephen up the next roller or grab his jersey so he doesn't take out another sprint at the County line. (WI)

First tier of Cardiac climb great--much shorter in this direction, and we all stay together. Start second tier and a guy shoots ahead, I just keep pace with him. Turns out to be a good guy--we bs a little when we get to the top and I pull over to regroup (no rolling regroups to kill average speed--its dead stop.)

After regroup-- there is a little climb left until a fast run in to THE COUNTY LINES. Yep--two very close to each other and I know the master of the county line--Stephen, will be going for it. I try to jump off the first climb, Stephen/ Ward come back on the downhill, and then we all take turns trying to get off the front on the flats where Stephen comes around and gets a well earned victory. Ward though remembers what's ahead--puts in a much easier dig, Stephen/I too pooped to try to follow, and Ward gets the next one.

OK--unlike earlier junior racer guys--Jack/ Stephen endorse trying to get Mt. Zion girl in club. (WI)

Our happy group hopes ride doesn't go down the toilet (Mt. Zion Girl)

Nice shaded rest stop at Solano Park. Its warm--I feel warmer than I should be as running a slight fever so drink-drink-drink here--even a non diet soda. (against my religion.) Very empty when we get there--quickly fills up 15 minutes later. When we start off Ward meanders off across the street to take a photo of a statue he's passed and somehow missed numerous times--I roll in with him--only time forgetting all day about sanctity of average speed.

We slow for statues (WI photos and commentary)

Funny "Doubles Mentality. At Knoxville first rest stop (mile 37) is in Napa Valley--one mountain over from our lunch (mile 51--2nd stop) stop today. While riding today I thought that three Century stops for the ride is really pampering us---later Stephen voiced that he thought that they need one more rest stop so they could be @ 5 miles closer together.

Rest of ride i great. Some gentle rollers but mostly flat--but this time without huge groups all over the road. Usually I call out when we pass someone but my voice is shot so when I was pulling my Clubmates had to give a shout out. A few people joined the paceline, I didn't care--following Grizzly Mark's advice not to care about freeloaders and have our group control the line--which we did. I had no trouble slotting into 4th when I came off the front, but Ward reports many folks (aka persistant parasites) who wouldn't open up a slot in the paceline or didn't know what they were doing.

En route past ag field with time trial bike sculpture--rumor has it that person put it up so when Tour of California came by their house would get on TV. (WI)

Jack and Stephen in the back of our paceline over grafitti covered Stephenson Bridge, making some more friends right behind them. (WI)

I spotted the Photocrazy Outpost up ahead, and told our group to slow and fan out--while waving to guys in back of paceline to slow also. We fan out across the lane and Jack yells out "what are you doing" until he realizes slave cameras up ahead. We need to practice-Jack (blue jersey below) neecded to be on the extreme right side of the road.

(above) OK--our group in the photo--barely. (below) I think Jack won the photofinish sprint(Photocrazy)Entering Davis had to slow for some traffic contols and mile through neighborhood. Guy we had towed sprinted out near end--usually I'd be pissed but that just caused a mass acceleration which would keep average speed up. Disappointed that we had gone down to 19.2 mph at last rest stop and stqyed flat to 19.2 to the finish.

Bike flea market outside and very good pasta dinner inside. Great group ride on a real great day. Turns out weather was about +10 warmer up here than the Bay area. Didn't feel sore at all and looked forward to a great recovery ride the next day--until I couldn't get out of bed with fever. F'. This would usually be the end of our cycling season but next week is the Cruella--a Century with 3x the climbing.

Ride meal artwork (WI)

Jack contemplating desert, while Stephen's a musician so he might get a tatoo. (PC)

And yet another riviting cycling fish story gets the rapt attention of the audience--thanks for reading

(Diablo Cyclist stock photo)

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