Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Madness (2012)

Right after the 200k Davis brevet left to visit mom in Florida.  Added bonus, my sister and her two daughters are coming down--and I haven't seen them in 7 years.

Mom lives in one of the massive retiree condo complexes (think Del Boca Vista.)  Lowlight of the trip was when I was bs'ing with my sister in a common area patio and a resident came over and asked me

"so did you just move in?"


I shouldn't be surprised by this.  Twenty years ago the  NY Style Deli by mom's new house played 101 strings, Mantovani type music--YECH.  Last year I was shocked when the Door's Light My Fire was playing--one of my favorites.  This year they played something by No Doubt--my daughter's favorite group. 

My sister and I have the same philosophy--we don't like sitting around.  As my sister put it--we both think if we're both walking down A Street the greatest thing in the world is on B Street so we have to see that also.   So mid week we took a drive w/ mom down to Key West--unbeknownst to us it was smack in the middle of spring break.  Mom fit in--he has more to drink than me and my sister combined.    Oldest niece was the adult of our group and youngest one will rule the world one day.

Back to California and checked 5 day forecast for 300k brevet for the end of the week.  Also daylight savings started so can go up Mt. Diablo mid week.   No and no.  Forecast:  Monday-Heavy Rain, Tuesday-Heavy Rain, Wednesday-Heavy Rain, Thursday-Light Rain, Friday-Heavy Rain, Saturday (Brevet Day)-Heavy Rain.  ShitFuck

Which reminds me, one should check out Ward Industries' new adopted anthem .  Funniest video since 'Performance'

As it turned out it stormed on Friday night and for the 2nd year in a row we all bailed on the Davis 300k.  Next day sky was threatening and was cool but stayed dry as I cycled 50 miles around East County on my fixed gear in full rainwear (which I had never done) waiting for the deluge.  It never came and I was pissed at myself for not doing the Davis Brevet.  Came home and did some errands and going into Trader Joe's the sky turned black, it suddenly got cold, and the wind whipped up.  Leaving Trader Joe's, @5:30 it was coming down heavy & cold while people were running to their cars in the parking lot--and stayed that way for another 15 minutes whereas it then continued to rain but lighter for an hour or so.  If on the brevet I'd be about 30-40 miles out from the finish.

Scenes from East County (above) last two have Mt Diablo far in the background
Next morning you could hear the wind whipping around so I went back to sleep hoping that the wind would die down.  It didn't.   Oh what the hell--I don't want to go on the trainer--rather go cycling outside so figured I'd take my travel bike.  But tyres on travel bike had visible threads so I took out fixed again--so my cadence was either 122 with the wind or 37 against the wind.  Did the same loop as the day before.

If Central County where Mt Diablo, Palomares, Morgan and Calavares climbs are is the Tour De France area of the County--the windswept flat farmland and secondary roads of East County is Paris Roubaix.  The only climb of any note in the area--the dam in the watershed--is under expansion and will be closed for a few more months.  Even when it opens it pales in comparison to the choices in Central County.  Additionally, with plenty of disposable income, you can't go a mile in Central County without seeing a group of cyclists--but in foreclosure city-farmland-holyland East County you're shocking when you see one.  In the 100 miles I did in two days I saw 3 other cyclists--not counting the kids at the BMX park.  (I also saw 3 pit bulls on the loose which got my heart rate up)   But today windy flat barren East County was convenient and proved a good workout.

Postscript-3/25--a weekend later, more rain in forecast cancelling club ride up Mines Road.  Did the 50 miles Delta Pedaler loop again--adding a tour around Discovery Bay--a boating community that used to be pimped as only an hour away from San Francisco (by Fighter Jet.)  Came back 15 minutes before serious rain began.   Did see 6! cyclists today--but 4 were dressed in cheep (sic) suits and ties hawking god door to door.  So that's 5 cyclist in East Contra Costa County in 150 miles.   Cycling mecca it ain't.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Davis 200k Brevet (2012)

Century #7 for the year (March 3, 2012) Davis 200k Brevet-w/ Dr Dave, Cisco Dave, Christine and 1/2 with Jack. 130 miles, 17.1 mph, @4800' climbing

The Davis Brevet series is the best bargain for an organized ride in California. For a few dollars there are rest stops, support, and well organized. In Brest-Paris-Brest (yes I know) years there series is jammed with people wanting to qualify, But for those of us who think riding at night is a necessary evil, I stop at the 200k and 300k rides in the series.
Unusual cast of characters on the ride--even the relatively short 200k. Being a randonneur is like being part a religious cult-hub lights--giant safe-tee triangles--Brooks saddles (of course)--huge saddle bags that look they're packet for a world tour. On this ride about 10% of the hard core randonneurs are out in full dress.

Jack, Dr. Dave and I have done these rides before. So has CA. Mike but he's on the injured list. Ward probably would have done the ride for the first time but he's on the long distance injured list also. On the plus side Cisco Dave and Christine joined in the fun for the first time.  This could have been a great club ride.

Looking forward to this ride all week UNTIL TODAY when the alarm clock went off at 3:30am and it was 35 degrees. I knew it wouldn't be much better in Davis--surrounded by agriculture land. Unlike the dry gold country where it feels 10 degrees warmer--the damp area around Davis feels 10 degrees colder. Though the sun was out and no wind, at 46 degrees I was shivering uncontrollably at the red light right at the 7am start (last one for 130 miles.) Dr. Dave and Christine burning Yule Logs in their gloves.  Cisco Dave recorded 39 degrees once we were on the road with vast fields of dirt surrounding us.

Route covers much of the first third of the Davis Double, though the trip around the flat farmland around Davis is different. An out and back course the first and last 24 miles is pancake flat. Then there is 10 miles of serious rollers and one attention getting climb to get us into the next valley. The middle 30 miles is fast (slightly downhill) along a pothole covered road punctuated by some serious rollers--conversely the return trip is slow. This ride would only have one official rest stop at the 65 mile turnaround but we planned to stop 2 other places both outbound and inbound.

As noted previously laving Davis it was COLD and I was trying to warm up--our group started a nice paceline and before long we had a dozen "friends" behind us. One nice guy was on a fixed gear--he and another rider were part of a 4 person team who is going to do the 508 on a fixed. Later in the day we ran into someone who thanked our group for pulling in the morning. Most of the time we stayed at the front and pulled--maybe not a great tactical decision but I looked at this ride as a training ride.

Cisco Dave feeding peacock something to help it poop. (Dr. Dave photo)

We pulled into Lake Sonoma Campgrounds at mile 29--half the group kept going (those randoneers hate to stop) and the other folks went to the day park across the street. Our average with little effort was 19.1 mph. The campgrounds are nice and tranquil--with peacocks running around. Went to fill up water and Jack said, to late, "watch out for the peacock poop on the ground." Fuck--mashed in my cleats.

Pulled vest and one of two tee shirts I was wearing. Getting close to pulling glove liners--which I hate as can't get stuff easily from pockets while riding. Cisco Dave, Christine, and I did the Cardiac Climb together while Dr. Dave on the recumbent suffered. There is a tipping point somewhere--lets say its 15mph--for a 3mph difference between a recumbent and our diamond frames. If all of us are going 17 mph Dr. Dave on the bent can easily do 20. Then if we are doing something below 15 mph--climbing at 9mph Dr. Dave is going up at 6. Fortunately we've ridden with Dr. Dave so much that he ameliorates his speed on flat portions of the course and he's a real good climber so it just takes a few minutes for him to catch us on the subsequent downhill or flatlands. Climb was only section of ride with moderate vehicle traffic as folks taking their boats out Lake Berryessa.

In Pope Valley, mile 45, we regroup and get water. My odometer contacts have to be cleaned so it keeps cutting out all day and I only have 33 miles to this point. Pope Valley is generally fast punctuated by some steep rollers--and Napa uses NONE of their winery money for road repair so the surface generally sucks (on the 300km we go into poor Lake County which as roads as smooth as glass.)

Cisco Dave usually in front, I'm second wheel and will occasionally give him a short break. If road is real fast Dr. Dave in front of us--if we just met a roller Dr. Dave is behind us. I have a hard time riding in the drops and pointing out crap in the road (or stops where the road is crap) so have to sit up more than I like. I'm doing a study of brevet riders saddle bags-movie to come soon

MOVIE ABOUT RIDE & BREVET RIDER SADDLE BAGS --short low quality version

Quiz question--which of these people are NOT a randonneur?

Dr. Dave writes -- No seriously annoying riders out, although one young lady on a tri bike did make the mistake of saying "Good job" to me as she passed me cresting a hill. I felt obliged to bury her on the descent. For the rest of the day, every time Mr. Pumpkin  would pass me, he'd pat me patronizingly on the top of the helmet and say "good job."

We pass about a dozen brevet riders but no big paceline forms. Only excitement is when a tri-girl who is not on our ride shaves past without saying anything--I jump on her wheel and on teh next roller Cisco Dave and I take off. When the road becomes fast again Dr. Dave zooms by--and then does tri-girl. I get on her wheel again and she shouts something like "I want to ride with your friend on the recumbent" (I think I have this on film--have to study it like the Zapruda film)  Cisco Dave and I drop off but Dr. Dave races tri girl to the control. His karma payback--flat tire right when he pulls into the control.

Nice and warm at the control. Lori & Mr. Lori--who've we've ridden long distance rides with before working the rest stop. Knee warmers off for the first time all year--my handlebar bag is now stuffed. Deli and Bread sandwich. Jack ready to leave right away--he's 2 steps away from being a randonneur--and yelps at Dr. Dave "YOUR GOING TO SIT DOWN??!??" when Dave finally gets comfortable to eat after changing the flat. Jack eventually takes off solo.

Now like riding in quicksand with general uphill--and wind from the side has picked up a bit. We hit a backroad section that Dr. Dave loves--its a recumbent killer--very short rollers but very steep that you can't take a charge into. Cisco Dave has to make an emergency stop and I wait for him then we haul butt to get back to Dr. Dave and Christine.

Now going back over big climb on the ride and I get lazy. Not on the climb but the fast run in to it. Dr. Dave takes off--Christine and Cisco Dave get on his wheel and I just wave bye-bye. I figured I'd get back to Dr. Dave on the climb--but was amazed how fast the trio could get out--Cisco waited for me at the base of the climb--I eventually got past Dr. Dave--but Christine was almost to the top.

Fast downhill and another stop at Lake Solano. Surprisingly my thighs were tight---usually my cardio goes before my legs but I was having trouble as we hammered the flats--of at least when Cisco picked up the pace to 22. Payback for all the work this morning. Cisco and Dr, Dave then kept the pace at 20 and did almost all the pulling--but a long climb would have been so much easier than POUND-POUND-POUND the pedals. Its funny--I feel great from the climbing Mt Tam Double with roller after roller but always feel like crap after the flat ending to the Davis Double--and feeling like crap was happening again.

I'm happy we stopped for a map check--I need the rest (Cisco Dave photo)

Unlike last year we passed a few riders but hooked up with no large group. Got my second wind after the magnificent, majestic Pendrick Climb---a freeway overpass--only climb in 24 miles. Secret control a few miles from the finish in case anyone tried a direct route through Davis instead of the circumnavigation we had done. Guy at control was one of the ride organizers--and shocked I don't do these rides to qualify for P-B-P. Hell, its just fun.

Back a little before 4:00--same as last year. Not bad--130 miles--1 traffic light at the start/ finish and maybe 4 Stop signs en route. Weather turned out great-- I probably could have pulled off tee-shirt. Legs felt like crap at the end of the ride--loosened up when I walked to a clothes store for some thing I needed to pick up for vacation. Need to be smarter on the 300k and don't put in a lot of work early on and don't race tri-girls. That ride should be epic.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pulaski Bike-2012

Quick post--doing brevet in two days then leaving for family visit--don't think I've seen my sister for 8 years.  Hopefully she'll correct my faulty memory.  Too close to brevet-trip to start taxes--so writing something is a good excuse to procrastinate.

Item 1--Found my long lost cycling brother.   Check out this great blog entry:

If I can ever get the Domo Farm Mercyx Team SC frame on the cheap its going up on the pot shelf over the entrance way

Item 2-Don bought a new bike while antiquing.  Dr. Dave says it reminds him of the Tappan Zee Bridge.  I think the frame is designed more like the Pulaski Skyway.


Majestic Tappan Zee Bridge to the left--funky General Pulaski Skyway (look at that drop at the end of the bridge) to the right.  Images from Wikipekia

     But maybe it is simple enough to compare to a Altamont train trestle