Thursday, May 9, 2013

Santa Rosa Wine Counrty Century-Stockton Delta Century Weekend (2013)

(May 4, 2013) Santa Rosa Wine Country Double Metric, 124 miles, w. Ward and Christine (Arizona Bill solo'd most of the double metric course), 16.1 mph

(May 5, 2013) Stockton Delta Century, 100 miles, w. Don and Jack.  Don and I on Fixed Gears., 16.9 mph

Elevation for both rides. Blue is for Stockton Delta Century. Santa Rosa Wine Country, in green--though relatively flat it looks like the Death Ride in comparison 
This is usually a great training weekend for the hard doubles coming up.  I found doing back to back century rides harder than doing a double, as overnight I'd tighten up.  I registered months ago for the Santa Rosa ride (registration closes out in 1 day for the best century in the immediate Bay Area, #3 in Northern California) and held off committing to Stockton's pedestrian ride (flat-flat and flat) until the day of, to see how the weather was and how I was feeling.  Miracle product (discussed below) had me feeling better on these back to back Century rides than I had in awhile.

Arizona Bill* back from major bike accident will solo the double metric (Dr. Dave insists I add an asterisk) (PC)

The sign should have read "The Finish--NO Tri Tip For You" (PC)

We used to get a big group for Santa Rosa, unfortunately this year we are down to a trio. Bill had registered for the long course, but coming back from major injury he wanted to get an early start and left 45 minutes before us. We'd eventually see him on the side of the road bsing with a pickup truck driver, and spot him later bsing with a few more strangers.  I think he'll talk to anyone.  

Santa Rosa Wine Country Double Metric cemented their ranking as the Number #3 Double Metric century in Northern California, now passed by Chico Wildcat/ Wildflower with Chico's improved course.    Santa Rosa ride does most things exceedingly well, and a few things piss poor. Excellent course views of the ocean, rolling vineyards, and loads of unique, sometimes strange, man made artifacts.   Rest stops may be the best of any organized ride, and lunch stop where you build your own gourmet sandwich in a shaded park is also the best. Plenty of sag vehicles. So what's not to like?

Early morning with hot air balloons lifting off in the distance (WI)
#1, #2, #3--the road surface in Sonoma Country is the WORST of any Northern California County--where the hell does all that winery sales tax money go?? Potholes, crap raised patch jobs, and cracks are the norm for the day. We'd get excited seeing smooth pavement after rattling around for awhile--usually the smooth pavement would end in 100'. While the Santa Rosa Wine Country organizers can't do much about the roads, somehow they F up the end of ride meal every year. This year there was supposedly a tri-tip, turkey, and veggie option. When we finished (with the last rest stop behind us still jammed with people when we left) they just ran out of tri-tip, the turkey line was a block long and not moving, so instead of standing in the broiling sun we just got a plate of unsatisfying veggies.

Broiling sun--folks who have done this ride in the past must think I'm joking as usually misty or cool even when sunny. Well this year was the warmest Wine Country Century I remember, it hit a high of 89. The Dr. Dave weather report moment was when someone at lunch whined that his Garmin showed that it was 100 degrees--in reality the high for the day for the area was 89.

After a bleary early morning check in (numbers for jersey and bike?), Ward, Christine and I rode this at a businesslike but not killer pace.  Christine's hip hurting so Ward and I trying to keep the pace steady with no sudden surges.   No large club to organize into a slamming paceline, with the all out sprint to the Monte Rio rest stop a memory of the very distant past.  Met a few really nice people on the ride. 

On first Italian roller of the day some guy put in a few digs on the hill, so Ward turned on the gas and sped away  while guy vainly chases (PC)

Christine on rollers around Graton (PC)

OK, sometimes the steady pace went down the toilet.  At the beginning of the ride  there was a tremendous co-ed tandem that could climb, they dragged us back and past Recumbent Zach after he did "the demonstration" off a traffic stop.  Unfortunately the tandem cut off at the 100/ 120 mile split. 

Then there were two butt of the day.   At the beginning of the ride some Club Sport Geek got po'd when we rode past his group in the small chainring, then immediately accelerated past us. That lasted until the road went slightly uphill and we had a nice three man that left him far behind. Later we saw him straggle in when we had finished our wonderful dinner--and I had heard someone in his group declare earlier that they weren't going to do the Dutcher Creek loop.  Hope the early digs he spent showing off contributed to his late finish.

Ward and Christine going towards Ocean Song rest stop (PC)

Ward leading into last roller into Ocean Song rest stop (PC)
Other ninny was guy in purple Death Ride Jersey riding two abreast on narrow road. (His twin was also in purple Death Ride Jersey.) We got passed by a young guy clad in all black who we'd ride with later. When he passed we picked up speed and we got on his wheel. That ended when we are going up narrow road and we yelled out on your left, and Death Ride Barney didn't move and inch, saying something to his friend like "I don't move when people say on your left." I had slowed and fallen off Todd's wheel because of this purple road bolder, so I had nothing better to do that to yell at Death Ride Barney.

Ward & Zach, Ocean Song Rest Stop (mile 26) I think Ward just asked Zach "I thought 'bents were supposed to be faster than tandems?" (PC)

I'm endorsing the FINEST wtarer bottle even made.  It keeps your drink cold all day and your coffee hot.   (Ward, did I read the copy correctly?) (WI)

The trio of troublemakers at Ocean Song.  Where is the traditional fog in the background (?)

On rollers toward Coleman plunge towards Pacific Ocean (WI)

Later, on the Dutcher Creek "bonus" through Chalk Hill, we'd trade pulls with two big guys, the black clad Marin Todd and Rio Strada Racing guy in white kit, who did a great job leading me into the rollers.. Todd told us later her was chasing us all day long, Ward told him he should have introduced himself and joined our pace line.

Another fun group we met when we arrived at the Pacific Ocean from the steep Coleman Valley descent from Ocean Song. On the way down someone from a race team was pulled over fixing a flat, and when we arrived at the Pacific the rest of the race team was regrouping. We filled them in that they lost one of their compatriots, and asked if they could take the picture of us at our traditional spot in front of the Pacific which they happily did. Ward then asked if he wanted us to take their group photo, and he was soon showered with two cameras and a smartphone for the photo shoot. A group of women racers then loudly exclaimed, "maybe we should take our shirts off" started unzipping their jersey, showing sports bra, but the thought better of it. Lots of fun.

Cushman Wakefield Race Team--but Ward, the quickest camera draw in the West, missed the Coed shirts off moment (PC)

Christine, Ward and I at the Coast, couldn't decide which one I like better (CW)

Ward and Christine motoring up Highway 1 (PC)
Bonus from racing group. Our English teammate, Toby, used to react to something frequently by uttering "BRILLIANT" which sounded great, and we loved when he said it but a little bit odd to our American ears. So one of the English racer chicks yesterday said, "your tie dyed jersey--BRILLIANT."    Wow, I thought Toby was the only person who talked like that. (Postscript--on the Delta Century the next day we took a ferry boat ride with an English Cycling couple, I asked them about the usage of "Brilliant," and they said it was very common in the UK--it was basically the English equivalent for the American "cool.")

Run in to Duncans Mills (WI)

Right before Monte Rio Rest stop, mile 44 (WI)

The Tostada Man (PC)

Ward at Monte Rio Rest Stop, great being able to dump off cool morning clothes (PC)
Shortly after passing the Death Ride Barney we all had to get off the bikes. Bad news--on narrow Dry Creek Road ambulance blocking road and someone asking us to get off bikes and walk the next 200.' Off to the side is guy getting CPR (found out later he died--just fell over. Our age.) Seems like in the next half hour while we traveled to lunch we saw a bunch of fire trucks and ambulances with sirens blazing.

The Monte Rio Fashion Mall (WI)

Scenic water crossing (PC)

After his vacation, Ward leaving Monte Rio (PC)

Cars were reasonable good also, except for 3. Porky pig and Mrs Pig on 4 wheeler riding up road near Occidental, buzzing all cyclists on far right of road while yelling "faggots." Then near Wohler Bridge rest stop lady in car ON OTHER SIDE OF ROAD was screaming at us--I figure maybe she had just gotten stuck on 1 lane Wohler Bridge. Finally, yuppie scum in Miada with personalized MATTWOOD licence plate buzzed all the cyclists on Chalk Hill climb.  (even money that's Matt Wood Real Estate or Matt Wood Insurance)

Tourist leaving Monte Rio Fashion Mall with flowers in her hair (WI)

Ward & Christine by the Psycho House (PC)

Wohler Bridge--scenic water crossing...oh, you don't believe me...see below (WI/PC)

As mentioned earlier, rest stops probably the strongest of any ride. Ocean Song is at mile 25--at this point almost all of the climbing for the ride is over. On a beautiful ridge line there is a great view while a nice assortment of food with a bike mechanic (no doubt truing wheels) is offered up. The 2nd rest stop in Monte Rio, mile 44, lets you drop off excess clothes while making fresh warm tortillas. The lunch stop at the foot of Lake Solano, mile 88, is also special--its in a heavily shaded grove and rest stop workers build you a custom made sandwich. My only two rest stop complains was over beverage service. The sports drink offered was unknown to me G??, didn't taste that great. Luckily I had some Fizz Tabs with me and ice was readily available at the lunch stop. They also didn't have soda for most of the day--and soda is wonderful when you cant take another sip of a salty sports drink. When they finally had soda, at the last rest stop--someone was miserly pouring it our of bottles into half filled cups.

Our run in to lunch down West Side & Dry Creek Road (PC/ WI)

After Ward underexposed lady with flowers earlier, at lunch we set up a bunch of slave strobes and reflective paper plates to get exposure of Christine just right (WI)
Product Review As mentioned earlier something worked out real well. Last year I started having throbbing vein problems after a ride, and sometimes during a ride the vein would get very sore. Doctor prescribed routine wearing of compression socks, which helps during the week, but the only time I tried high compression socks on a ride I was f'd. A week ago at Chico a guy was riding with and highly recommended calf compression sleeves--and then you can ride with your own socks. I tried on a bunch midweek and liked 2XU Calf Guards, which feel like arm warmers that are 2 sizes two small, but are pretty comfortable--at least in the store. Well, after wearing them to work on Friday, then riding with them on Saturday and Sunday, they were very comfortable--I hardly noticed them on, even in the heat, and no calf soreness.

After getting talked out of the Dutcher Creek loop last year by *, Ward and Christine didn't want to miss cycling by the beautiful pine forest. (PC)
So very warm weather had us drinking more than usual and zapped some energy.  Ward knew where all the turns were--and was amazed that I didn't ("how many times have you done this course.")  Truth be told is that we have now done this ride lots and lots of times, its increasingly a pain to get into this ride, its too close to motel but a drag to drive to, and a downer when they run out of food for the longer course.  Its also a drag we no longer have a large group to do this ride, as its perfect for a large group ride as almost all the climbing is over by mile 25.  But great time today with Ward and Christine on  a really nice but bumpy course.

Cinco de Toilets, Alexander Valley School, mile 110) (PC)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (HR has informed me that any caption to this photo will get me in trouble) (WI)

Leaving Alexander Valley rest stop, ride is almost over (PC)

Ward survives MATTWOOD and cycles past Chalk Hill Winery (PC)

Christine and Ward at the end of Chalk Hill, followed by Marin Matt and Rio Strada white clad rider, who we exchanged pulls with in the home stretch (PC)
Maybe next year I'll do the Dr. Dave schedule, Chico a week early, skip this, and then next week travel for another century ride.

Can't wait for that Tri-tip, oh crap, what does that sign say.  Knew we should have gone on the 30 mile route option (PC)

Ward and Christine text messaging throughout the ride--it takes a long time to type out "on your left" (PC)

Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmmm, a large plate of rabbit food (WI)
Hadn't signed up for Stockton Delta Century and was thinking about no doing it.  Legs felt good.  But after waking up at 4:30 Friday (airport run) and 3:30 Saturday I wasn't looking forward to another 4:30 wake up.   In past years doing the back to back century rides were GREAT training, but this year I'm not training for anything.    So I considered skipping teh ride or taking a regular bike instead of the fixed gear but I dragged the fixed out, checked it over quickly.  When alarm clock rang instead of leaping out of bed as I usually do for a bike ride I tried figuring if I could go back to sleep and kept asking myself why am I doing this.

I figured I was doing this for two reasons.  Ten years ago the Diablo Cyclists were known for doing crazy rides on fixed gear bikes.  On one Davis Double there were a half dozen Diablo Cyclists with crazy argyle socks on fixed gear.   A few years later Don repeated the Davis Double on a fixed gear, and I accompanied him on my fixie.   I like fixed gears as a training tool (Don just likes riding them all the time) and every year have done one Century on a fixed gear.  Now Don's the only Diablo Cyclist left who does long rides on a fixie, and he had this one the schedule so I might as well keep my fixie mentor company and help carry on the Diablo Cyclist legacy.

Secondly, Doug and Joanie help run this event.  They ride many doubles and on some of the harder ones they do the staff ride and work the rest stops the day of events.  Its always a blast running into Joanie and Doug on a ride when you're half dead, or even when you're not.  Two nicer people you're not going to meet--even though the first time I met Joanie she was riding and yelling at everyone else on the road, and when we met Doug we were trying to drop each other.   I like to see them and remind them of how we met.  In any event going out to Stockton would be a good chance seeing them.

Scenes from registration (1) w/ Doug and Joanie who will do their 50th Double this year (2) Jack at checkin(3) The Tour de France Climbing Champ now that Lancy got striped of his placement (PC)

Unfortunately had that weird sensation all day where I felt dehydrated from the day before but had to keep going to the can as had drunk--alot--the day before--the night before--that morning--on the ride.   The Stockton route had changed (for the better) but the rest stops--using existing odd historic buildings, were disproportionately placed.  There were three rest stops to mile 36, then the next one was at mile 62.   At mile 40 I couldn't drink enough while having to go to a deluxe bathroom badly, with every minor bump on the road feeling like a moon crater.  You know you're in trouble when your odometer shows mile 44.5 and seemingly a half hour later it says 44.6.

 The fast beat of Switch (especially when the drums kick in at 5:10) from post punk Siouxsie and the Banshees--so welcome when going fast at Santa Rosa yesterday and at the beginning and end of today's ride, was still entering my head while I was falling apart--and now it was just annoying.  As I told Jack, if he said "do we need to stop" when we approached rest stop mile 62, as he had done at an earlier one, I would kill him.   We stopped and after that the rest of the ride was fun.

The Stockton ride is on roads past corporate vineyards, but unlike the rolling vineyards of yesterday these are perfectly flat fields--matching the farm roads we were on.  Then the route diverts onto the Delta levees, the only thing that is above sea level for miles and miles.  We go over lots of old style drawbridges and actual scenic water crossings.  The only climbs of note is getting out of rest stops back onto the top of the levee.  100' at 15%.    This is recumbent heaven and sure enough they have alot on this ride--including the recumbent polka dot climbing champ.   (What, he beat Dr. Dave?)  The only challenge of this ride is that sometimes the wind is howling down the Delta, but today mild headwinds going out,  I should say mild cold headwinds--it was 15 degrees cooler today than yesterday, which is not supposed to happen as today nowhere near the ocean.

Start of the ride is in a picturesque winery with chickens running around cackling.  We decided to start at 7:30 when most 100 mile riders left an hour earlier.   Saw Joanie and Doug at the start--they'd be cycling providing sag support.  Then Jeanie showed up, trying to do something close to home after Jim's passing--she'd start with us but take the 60 mile route when we split up.  She forgot her water bottle--luckily Jack had an extra in his car, and I had a soda bottle filled with Vitamin Water.  I had to check out the outhouse again, so we actually didn't start until 7:45.

(1) Ride starts on packed grave through vineyards, (2) Jack leading our early morning paceline, (3) One of the many scenic water crossings coming up (PC)

Ride starts going through hard packed gravel through the vineyards.  I had a psychotic meltdown, I didn't post the mileage to the rest stops to my top tube, and it felt strange not knowing this (nor did I take the ride map, figuring I just better stick near Don, and he'd keep the group together,)  Don, I and Jack took turns at the front, on turns to the North hit by a cold headwind--the wind didn't bother me as much as being chilled and dehydrated/ warm at the same time.      We passed lot of people to mile 10 buy Jeannie wanted to get sports drink at the water stop, and I didn't mind getting rid of sports drink, so to Jack's consternation we stopped.  We were not going to set any records today.

Only hi jinx was a guy with deep dish carbon wheels who got on and sat at the end of our paceline, which was fine.  But when we got about 500' to a woman he knew he flew off our line, so I had to stay on his wheel while his carbon setup made a racket.   Jeanie got into calling out "scenic water crossings," something I do on long rides to kill time--even if just going over a pipe culvert.  But these were actually scenic water crossings--wish I would have had the camera out when we passed over pastel blue water with a solo guy fishing from a rowboat with the reflecting sun bouncing off the water.

At a Delta turn Jeannie departed onto the 60 mile route, and we continued on.  Noticed the course changes--so they coud use the same rest stop in Courtland (pear capital of California) as 1 & 3.  Beautiful Sugar Mill was rest stop 2, looking forward to this one.  Was cool when we rolled in and Jack had actually called out "does anyone need to stop" when we passed.  Don is great to ride with, will take as much time as a rest stop as need be and set any pace, but Jack is king of skipping/ getting out of rest stops.  In retrospect I should have spent more time hear getting liquored up.  Within 5 miles of leaving my ride quickly turned South, even though weather was nice, levees had no traffic (only yelled at/ buzzed by one pickup truck), and main road usually rolled over a drawbridge.  888

(1) Don coming our of Sugar Mill rest stop. (2) Don on Delta Road, (3) Jack will be the first to teh County Line that starts at the drawbridge (PC)


Most fast people who were doing the 100 started way before us, so no illusion that though we passed everyone but Mr Recumbent, most people we saw were Century beginners.   (Recumbent that looked like the Oscar Myer wiener with measles passed us early on a Delta levee--sounding like a washing machine)

After rest stop at mile 62 was ferry ride at mile 76 and final rest stop at mile 82--so ride finished nicely.  Truth in advertising--don't think paddle wheeler--the ferry ride is basically a raft on a rope.  Cued up next to an English couple, woman was doing her first Century.  I asked them about the term Toby and Englisher racer we met yesterday used "brilliant"--they clued me it that it was like we use the word "cool."

After the ferry ride we were hauling past lots of riders--Don and Jack taking long pulls and I taking short ones as I still felt dehydrated but at least I could now ride in the drops.   Now were riding with a slight tailwind, and Jack likes a fast course.  My slower speed caused Jack to get impatient and come back to the front.   At one point three young/ big guys down the road, we gradually caught them. If up to me I'd have sat behind them but Don took us right around them.  I was convinced they were sitting on our wheel as we didn't seem to be going much faster when we passed  but about a mile down the road I looked back and they were nowhere to be found.

(1) We never get the good ferry (2) Don at the last rest stop (3) End o ride venue (PC)

Zig zag back on farm roads and back on the gravel through the winery vineyard.  Now the Stockton Century did something the Santa Rosa Wine Country has an impossible time doing--very nice end o ride meal.  Nothing fancy, just a nice size piece of lasagna and pedestrian salad, with the tables set up in a shaded meadow.  No diet soda left so I grabbed a regular while apologetic worker said they ran out.  Ten minutes later they interrupt the music and DJ announces that more diet soda has arrived.  Nice.  In such a nice area Jack, Don and I hang out and bs for an hour, all of us seeing other people we know.  Just a nice picnic.


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