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.
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.
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.
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.
Nice lunch area on mats/ pillows laid out in a schoolyard. Had my protein special--turkey-roast beef--bread--nuttin else. (WI)
The beauty of a Century ride (WI Greeting Card Division)
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.)