Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Solano Ramble + Knoxville Loop-2011

(October 1, 2011) Solano County Ramble with Knoxville-Pope Valley bonus miles, w/ Ward, Jack, Cisco Dave, Andy, 120 miles, 17 mph (what! we didn't do enough hills to get down to 15.5 mph) Trena, Dr. Dave, Tom, Brian on Solano County metric OK--elevation looks scary but no long climbs (Ward O Hill-Meter)
Andy and Cisco Dave with Lake Berryessa in the background on the bonus portion of the Course. Nice flat ride. (Ward Industries photo)


Wow, summer gone. We haven't done a self supported century in a few weeks. The Diablo Cyclist club ride is one of the flattest/ fastest which usually has a big turnout--incorporating Pleasant Valley Road which ends the Knoxville Double (see last week's blog.) A few of us will throw in the Cantelow Loop--a short but hilly loop off of Pleasant Valley Road--and then we can regroup with the rest of our club at Lake Solano. Then is the only real climb of the Solano Ramble, up Cardiac--as seen on the Davis Double (and Knoxville Double but from the opposite direction.) Ward figures we can then take a detour and loop around Lake Berryessa to make it close to a double metric. Sounds good.

Weather is blah!, not cold but heavily overcast. Supposed to rain and rain and rain next week. Best turnout for an out of town ride this year but still lower than in past years. Someone suggested the riders in the Club are getting old re the lower turnouts. Dr. Dave hit over the head with the Fall Blues like I am--and not into doing bonus miles. Trena on the comeback trail shows up--she used to be a regular. She is planning to lead the Tunitas Creek ride in a few weeks and needs to extend her miles.

Ride starts out real fast--we are joined by a rider from Texas who I mistakenly thought has started with us--but he just joined us on the road. Strong rider--which means Cisco Dave will push the pace as he does when another fast rider is present. I goof around and go twice around a traffic circle (is that a statue of Touchdown Jesus in the middle of it?) and then have to work hard to catch back to the pelaton. Ward, Cisco Dave, Jack and Texas Josh detour to the hilly Cantelow Loop--last year a slam bang affair with Davis Bike Club riders with full carbon wheels attacking, but this year we are relatively alone on the loop. Then its a fast straight shot to Lake Solano where the rest of the Club is waiting (48 km)

After Cantelow the bad news is that Ward and I would start having to worry about where to take photos --as shadows had returned. Yep, the SUN was finally out--yippie. Now we just had to worry about doing intervals back after taking photos.

Ward and Jack on the Cantelow Loop (PC)

The three troublemakers (Buffalo jersey Photos)Dr Dave ready to demonstrate that this year has now gone down the sewer (PC)Lake Solano (Dr Dave)

Cardiac is a mediocre climb--but from this side a long pain in the butt in 2-3 tiered parts. After a downhill that puts us in the foot of Pope Valley we'll have another rest stop (74km) where the bonus mile group will depart from the main group.

Trena and Brian on the Cardiac Climb. (PC)Greeted at the top of Cardiac by the Monticello Fire Marshall (WI)Brain and Tom look nonplussed about bonus miles, but we wrongly thought Trena was volunteering to lead on the 200 km course. (PC)Dave forgot his food at the start--but was worried about eating Odswalla and Z Bars--instead he picked up a special power bar later in the ride for a special sprinters sugar rush. (PC)I forget if Trena said she did or didn't want photos of her eating --we'll I'm sure Ward took these with her permission. (WI)

The bonus mile group of Ward, Cisco Dave, Jack and I departed.......and Andy. Andys is a great guy to ride with, and if we sheltered him a little he'd put in a big effort not to slow us down. Ward and Dave--our two fastest guys, did a nice job the rest of the day controlling the pace in the front and I played ticket collector alot so if Andy dropped off I could bring him back. We soon made the right turn towards the Lake Berryessa Loop--as last year they were running a tri event but last year we came across it just when it was breaking up--this year it had been over for hours and we just saw the clean up crews.

Usually when we do this loop with its gentle roller after roller someone is taking a flyer off the front--but this year with a smaller group we were very cooperative. In committed a faux pas, we got close to Spanish Flat where we always take a long break--and I took a 1 mile detour to see the Monticello Cemetery. Figure it may be cool as its the town that flooded out when Lake Bereyessa was built. Nondescript cemetary and when I got back to Spanish Flat bonus mile group raring to go--bonus milers don't break as much as our regular Club. Ooops...

Cisco Dave opined that this was the "worst" out of are Club ride we've been on. Well the comparison are two A+ rides (Sierra Century and Tunitas Creek) and B+ ride (Santa Cruz Mountains) which are more interesting with less traffic. But for a "flat" ride this isn't bad--and good change from another ride down to Sunol (a standard feature on most of our Club rides)

Pull into same Lake Berryessa staging area that was a rest stop last week on the Knoxville Double. Now we'd be riding the Knoxville Course "backwards" --instead of going on the desolate road to Lower Lake we'd head back to Pope Valley. Kinda strange that rest stop full of life last week is almost empty. More rollers and vineyards and then to the general store. At the general store we met a dad getting his boy's birthday party together--and he just started biking so loads of enthusiastic questions. Sometimes, by accident, it looks like we know what we are doing.

Peloton makes turn to go around Lake Berryessa. Road surface gets better and less traffic. Now Ward has to scramble back to get to the end of the train--a photographers interval. (WI) Fresco of me somewhere on the route. (WI with Diego Rivera's help)Jack with Lake Berreyessa behind him. (WI) Dave and I going around the Lake (WI) Dave and Andy going towards Pope Valley while Ward scrambles back after taking a photo. (PC)

The peloton gets closer to Pope Valley. (WI)Frozen fruit bar ahead and Dave and I go past a vineyard-mmmmm, maybe they'll have grape. (WI)The bonus group at the Pope Valley Store, Andy (far left) looks happiest. (birthday party dad)

After the Pope Valley Store it is back on the rut filled road typical of Napa County--we know it too well from the Tour of Napa clusterfuck and Knoxville. At least we are going the slightly uphill" way so its slightly slower and more time to dodge potholes. Then we make the sudden left on the "recumbent friendly" (short steep rollers) back road where I try to get ahead an take photos of all the group passing with the vineyards in the background. My tiny camera with lousy shutter lag doesn't get much but Ward picks a better angle and gets some good photos. Andy & Dave (WI)Jack (WI)Cisco Dave (WI) Master Photographer Ward. We then had to do a hard chase back to the group. (PC)

Andy (WI)

Another break at the start of Pope Valley--now the end--and instead of going over Cardiac we'd now be following the course the rest of our group took hours ago--first a few more stiff rollers and then a really fast course back to Fairfield. Close to Fairfield started some cool pumpkin farms--it was photo time again.No pumpkin picking (PC)

Ward said he saw a big chicken over a fence--didn't seem worthwhile to cross the street-glad he took the photo (WI)

Gratuitous pumpkin photos always make this blog (WI)

I could have sworn I saw a statue when we were doing traffic circle crits earlier in the day. In a stiff headwind Cisco Dave, Ward and I took a mile detour to see if I was having a flashback or something was really there.....

Statute of Trena? No--Cisco Dave and Ward inspecting Mother Earth (PC)

Mother Earth doing her best Touchdown Jesus (WI)

Great 120 mile ride. Weather turned out OK--especially considering rain in the forecast all week after tomorrow. Didn't need to ride two days in a row--my ultra events are over--so went over with Donna for one of our torturous urban hikes. One of the greatest weather days in SF ever--hard to believe forecast is so dreary. We started in the Haight and walked all the way North to the Presideo and then West to the Pacific along a trail hugging the Bay/ Ocean. Walking alot always demonstrates to me the muscles I don't use when cycling.

Donna and I by China Beach overlook--Sea Cliff. If the weather was always this nice we might still live in San Francico. (unknown)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice picture of you and Donna.
-- Dr. D