Friday, October 12, 2012

Solano-Berryessa Ramble Century (2012)

This post dedicated to Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Team--officially declared "the best" this week.
Thx to Dr Dave and Cisco Dave for the happy athlete photos
"The evidence shows beyond a doubt that US POSTAL PRO CYCLING TEAM ran the MOST SOPHISTICATED, PROFESSIONALIZED, and SUCCESSFUL DOPING PROGRAM that sport has ever seen."-USADA   Please pass me the Giro Livestrong helmet.    (The English translation: "the MOST SOPHISTICATED, PROFESSIONALIZED, and SUCCESSFUL DOPING PROGRAMME that sport has ever seen" )

(Oct 6, 2012) Solano Ramble-Lake Berryessa Century, 111 miles, 17.5 mph, 7,000' climbing w/ Ward, Toby, Rebecca, Jack and began ride with Diablo Cyclists

WI elevation trace of the ride-I added blue blob that is supposed to represent Lake Berryessa.
#32 Century or more done this year

This is the Diablo Cyclists' feel good extended ride.  Usually, once our MPH is around 16 mph someone proposes adding some killer climbs until our MPH falls like home prices.  This ride has a long but relatively easy climb-Cardiac, lots of rollers, and its a speedway back to the start.    We had a good group that worked together well (or raced to the county lines) so speed was kept up all day.

Damn--I though Jack put down that this was a water gun ride--but its too damn cold at the start (CB)

Where is the giant helmet to cover the giant brain at the Solano Health Faire? (PC)
Ward, Dr. Dave and Toby scouted out the short course--the Solano Ramble portion on Thursday and confirmed that quite a few stores around depressed Lake Berryessa had closed.    Around Lake Solano this would be OK, but we best be stocked when we started riding up Pope Valley.   Rumor also spread that they borrowed a lawnmower and carved a political message on a nearby hill.

Did Dr Dave, Ward and Toby really lawnmower "Occupy My Butt" into a nearby hillside two days before this ride? (WI)

Toby Calling For His Favorite English Recording Artist while passing a farm on Pleasant Valley Road 

Our ride starts at Solano Community College where they were holding a health faire.   A few people wondered if I was there for the run (funny how I was asked and not Toby or Rebecca, our elite runners.)  Then a car stopped to give me a map for the 35 mile bike ride.  It was nice and sunny but I was cold--luckily Christine and Rebecca (no vests) shamed me into leaving behind my knee warmers.

Ward on Cantelow climbing loop (PC)

Christine on Cantelow Road (PC)

I'm coming up with Christine on another "hit me roller" on the Cantelow Loop (WI)
Ride starts in farmland that goes through a neighborhood and then winds up on that great 13 mile stretch--Pleasant Valley Road--that I rode 3 times last weekend.   This time we took a mid road detour on the Cantelow Loop--not a long climb but pock marked with sudden double digit grades.  It is a rural road usually void of traffic but today nearby road work put some cars on it, with some dick in a pickemup truck yelling to the back of our group "I'll run you over."--no doubt his meth supply was going on sale at the outlet stores a few miles away and he was pissed at having to detour.

When we got to the bottom of Cantelow a group from the Davis Bike Club gathered, and they started up the road at the same time we did and a few of their members got intertwined in our paceline--all good as they were steady.  One member of their group told his folks to drop off our line--which they all did except one guy riding a bamboo bike.  Our high speed line toward Lake Solano was suddenly cut short when Ward got stung by a bee.  Ward usually has a crap reaction to insect stings so Toby slowed the line down and I went to the back to keep my eye on Ward. 

Peacock inspecting Don's fixed gear at Lake Solano park (PC)

Christine and Rebecca discussing the outlet store bargains (PC)

Toby and Stephen trying to remember where the  county lines are after we leave Lake Solano (PC)
Long time at Lake Solano rest stop while Ward rested and we bs'd with a few club members who were now turning around--all under the observation of the roaming peacocks.  Ward recovered well and we had a nice paceline out to the Cardiac Climb until we all remembered the two county lines within a half mile of each other.  While our county line sprinter--Stephen--claims he's reformed we still don't trust him.

On the Cardiac climb we saw Kitty doing a short brevet, so we rode a little with her and reminisced when I hurt my ankle and were climbing Knoxville Road together years ago, and I almost barfed after she told me what she hoped to eat at lunch.  When we got going Toby-Rebecca and June were up the road and Ward-Stephen and I paced each other up the climb.  On the long downhill I was behind the pack, as usual, and had a nice view of a PARK RANGER in a pick up truck passing Stephen/ Ward on a tight curve--1/4 in the opposing traffic lane.  About 10 seconds later a car in the opposite direction appeared--had he been 10 seconds quicker and there would have been a major collision.

On Cardiac Climb we see clubmate Kitty slumming and doing a real short brevet--Kitty was first female to participate in RAAM--cycling race across America--back in the early 1980's (PC)
At entry to Pope Valley half the group headed back while Toby, Rebecca, Ward, Jack and I added a bonus loop around Berryessa.  Weather was now nice enough to get rid of t-shirt--in fact weather was perfect all day.   This whole ride was new for Rebecca and the bonus loop new for Toby.  Usually the bonus mile group takes it easy but with Toby and Rebecca aboard there would be someone setting a strong pace all day.  

Turnoff to Lake Berryessa-Spanish Flat (WI)

Rollers to Spanish Flat (PC)
Stores were all closed at beginning of Pope Valley. so we had t go another 15 miles to Spanish Flat store.  Nice paceline towards Pope Valley when we ALMOST got hit by two speeding motorcycles when we were all in the shoulder.  Honest.  Oh yeah--the motorcycles weren't traveling in our direction but were flying by a line of cars in the opposite direction and were suddenly traveling head on towards up--about 3' away.   Wish I still had the super soaker with me.

(top sign) With no bathrooms around our group will be making lots of stops in the next few miles--glad we don't need gas  (bottom sign) Nice crime watch sign (PC)
Then at @mile 50 we stopped 3x in about 10 miles--once at the grocery at Spanish Flat, stop at the Lake Berryessa visitors center, and stopped again at the same Lake Berryessa parking lot that was the rest stop before Knoxville Road climb last week.  Around Lake Berryessa it was mostly a series of  fast rollers, after the Lake Berryessa parking lot many more longer/ steeper momentum killer rollers.  On the latter section Rebecca and Toby took off while Ward and I were fn around with photos.

Rebecca on Lower Knoxville Road (WI)

Toby on Lower Knoxville Road (WI)

I'm climbing away from Lake Berryessa (WI)

Toby on Lower Knoxville Road (WI)

Ward either watching a movie or taking photo of Rebecca that appears first in this group of photos (PC)

Toby, Rebecca, Ward leave Lake Berryessa (PC)
Luckily we were all back together on the run in cross Pope Valley---the sun is almost in a perfect place for photographs and there is a nice background of grape vines.  We eventually wound up at the Pope Valley Store where I recreated my diet of last week right here--a coconut frozen fruit bar and a Gatoraid G.  In the small world department Jack recognized two other cyclists here who often ride Mt. Diablo--but they had parked much closer to Pope Valley than we did.

Jack looking for Rice Krispie Treats (WI)

Toby Rebecca and me enjoying the break at Pope Valley(WI)
When we started out a cyclist came shooting by dressed up in grab honoring "THE MOST SUCCESSFUL" DOPING TEAM, so I had to put in a dig to catch up to him--turned out to be a nice guy and had started just down the road from his house while we were on mile 70.

Jack on Lower Chiles Valley Road--Dr Dave's favorite recumbent road (PC)

Toby making his Lance-McKayla face on Lower Chiles Valley Road (PC)

Ward hoping the car coming up is a Prius and not a black pickup with an Oakland Raiders decal (PC)
Lots of rollers but I didn't think we'd see any significant climbs for awhile---I forgot about Dr. Dave's favorite recumbent road--Lower Chiles Valley Road.  Very nice unstriped backroad through some vineyards--with a few sudden short but double digit rollers.   We regrouped before getting on the main road and ran a strong 5 man back to the intersection we started Pope Valley at.

Diablo Cyclist bonus mile peloton thru Sage Canyon & Wooden Valley (WI)
When we got back to Highway 128--instead of going left, back over Cardiac, we turned right where we were met by a series of momentum killing rollers on a road that was freshly paved but not yet restriped.   A little disconcerting taking some turns not sure where your lane ended.   The payoff, however, was a fast run in back to Solano through Suisun Valley.  Slightly downhill, tailwind aided, smooth pavement--hell, I suddenly felt fast.  Group stayed together until Ward and Toby took off, ????, I put a sprint to get back to Ward while Toby accelerated again for---another county line.  Well, at least it wasn't for a Strava Time segment.  (While looking at for elevation reading for last weeks Knoxville  I was amazed at the posted Strava Segments--eg. 2nd fastest, of the few people recording w/ Strava, on 37 feet of a 200 mile ride while going downhill on Grandma's Driveway. Shit, do a timed double and see if you are 2nd fastest on the whole 200 miles.)

Suddenly back at the college.  Realized weather has been nearly perfect--never hot or cold, sunny and not windy.    Very good group both on the regular ride and then the bonus portion.  Another great ride.

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