Thursday, May 23, 2013

Solano-Lake Berryessa Century (2013)

(May 18, 2013) Solano-Lake Berryessa Century, 113 miles, 7,000', w/ Ward & Christine and sometimes Jack.  16.4mph

With Tour of California taking up our home base it was time for an out of town ride.   I wanted to do Marin-Mt. Tam-Bolinas (and hopefully run into artist doing Burmese art we saw a few years ago.)  But weather report called for mild temperature and high winds along the Coast---done the high wind thing to many times this year.  Another alternative was the Gold Country but a long drive and will try to do that next (Memorial Day) weekend.

Ward came up with a last minute great idea--the Solano ramble.   Relatively benign--a few climbs but nothing rough unless you are on a recumbent.  Two long sections--Pleasants Valley Road and Berryessa Road among the best riding you can find-smooth, scenic, no traffic controls, and little traffic.  On the rest of the ride the road is a little chewed up and mild traffic---not alot but every other vehicle seems to be towing a boat.  With Lake Berryessa in decline--some of the grocery markets en route have close and never reopened.

Unfortunately both Dr. Dave and Barry Bonds were at the Tour of California so they couldn't join us.  Ward thought best that we leave an hour early, at 8:00am, which was a good call.  Christine was in so we had the same good group that we had at Santa Rosa, whereas we all watch out for each other.   Jack joined us and sometimes rode with us but mostly did his own ride.

Jack mentioned at the start that we might run into the tail end of the Davis Double morning rest stops--wow--I forgot that today was the Davis Double.  We'd be going by their rest stop #2-Cardiac, #3-Moskowitz Corner & #4-Pope Valley.  Of course even with our early start we'd be leaving 3 hours after most riders start, and we were starting as far away from the rest stops as they do--so if we saw any riders they were in big trouble.

It was a strange day--usually this route full of racing cyclists.  With many cyclists at Mt. Diablo watching the Amgen race and many Davis Bike Club folks working the Double, most of the cyclists we saw were on hybrids and unaware of a major bike race or a Double Century ride.

Windy and cold in the morning so of course I overdressed.  Shit--if I didn't take knee warmers and arm warmers that I really didn't need in 30 minutes and I could have left the handlebar bag home.   Flat with occasional rollers on picturesque Gordon Valley Road.    Ward and I getting on Ms Giants Christine for not recognizing Barry Bonds from the photo Dr. Dave took on Mt Diablo yesterday.  "Oh that Barry"
Scenes from Pleasants Valley Road...Christine laughing at me for wearing knee warmer etc (PC)

Jack still riding with us (PC)

Someone is overdressed (WI)
Ward trying to fool me--we don't make a right turn yet (PC)

Sunrise Run (WI)

On Pleasants Valley Road we saw a big road closed--special event sign.  Momentarily thought road was closed for the Davis Double--but Davis Double doesn't go this way (Knoxville Double does.)  Up ahead one lane of traffic was shut down as a running event was coming towards us.  We had no problems getting through and saw a long stretch of what looked like the tail end of the field.  Many of the runners looked very unhappy/ zonked out but an occasional runner let out a wave/ cheer when we went by and we returned friendly greeting which got everyone stoked.
Ward is President of the Diablo Cyclist Wise Acres.  I'm in charge of European outreach and chair of the Weisenheimers, but alas, no street sign for my group (PC)

Our group about to top the Cantelow Climb (PC)

Half way down Pleasants Valley Road was a cutoff for a steep but relatively short (1-2 mile) climb--Cantelow Road.  Jack didn't want to do it but we always do it--so we did it again.  When we were about to make a left handed turn onto Cantelow a huge young racing group came in from the other way and made the right in front of us.  Not trying to chase today--first order of business was to stop and pull off vests and arm warmers, which was a good move. 

We kept our quartet together down to Lake Solano Park for our first rest stop.  Off came the knee warmers.  Power bars paled in comparison to guy barbecuing (probably tri tip) next to us.  Unfortunately market next to the park is now closed, one of many stores along the way now shut down. .
Why go to Hawaii--Christine at the Lake Solano resort (PC)

We then started the Cardiac Climb--which is long in this direction.  Ward-Christine and I kept together, we weren't pushing the pace but we lost Jack.  Its a two summited climb--we waited at the top of the first summit but after losing Jack again we said we'd start the downhill and regroup at our standard regroup stop at Moskowitz Corner.  Moskowitz Corner has a nice shaded seating area off to the side--nice on a day that was rapidly getting warm.  Maybe it is cause the restaurant and the gas station/ market across the street are now closed, but Jack didn't stop but passed and continued up the road.

Ward & Christine up Cardiac (PC)

We wait for Jack at the first Cardiac summit (CB)

Yeah--there is no reason for diesels to get smogged.   Nice job getting this one Ward (quickest camera drawer in the west) (WI)
Eventually Ward-Christine-I left and we continued our strong paceline towards the Lake Berryessa cutoff.  Since leaving Lake Solano passed by a motor vehicle each minute--with every other vehicle towing a boat.

Been at the Moskowitz Corner rest stop dozens of times and never noticed the big rock topped by the cross across the street (PC)
Except for a diesel that spit our dark black smoke when passing, most vehicles were real cool and gave us alot of room.  Of course some dickhead in a Hyundai Grey Accent 4 door with 'Grandmas Angels Jonathan & Gianna" licence plate frame and licence 5RDF526
right before the Lake Berryessa cutoff shaved us and yelled something.  Not bright when stupidass then turned into a dilapidated storage unit a few 100' ahead,  where we exchanged pleasantries with idiot before he parked in front of looked like a perfect place for a meth lab.

Welcome to Knoxville Berryessa Road (WI)

Ward & Christine on Knoxville Berryessa Road (PC)

Ward at the BIG HOUSE (PC)
Davis Double SAG recognizes me from past years and wonders if I'm lost (WI)

Ward on Knoxville Berryessa Road (PC)

Christine on Knoxville Berryessa Road (PC)

Even though our trio faster we weren't going to catch Jack as between hard riding our trio (1) likes  to take lots of photos and (2) talk to cool people on the road.  We stopped at a small bathroom once we were on Lake Berressa-Knoxville Road, and a sag vehicle from the Davis Double pulled in, wondering if we were on the ride.  He must have followed us when we turned into Lake Berryessa, as though Cardiac-Moskowitz is on the Davis Route, we were now off course.  Ward told him we hadn't lost our mind, when I told the guy I had done the ride for the last 7 years (which may not be accurate but its close.)  We talked about the reroute back to the old beautiful climb of Big Canyon Road instead of the Cobb Mountain Highway.  Supposely Big Canyon, which was falling apart, now has its giant potholes filled in with gravel/ sand. 

Spanish Flat--I don't know if this is more comfortable than a bike saddle (CB)

Stefano of Cucina Italiana made sure we came in and saw his Bianchi (PC)

Golf? Rest Area a little further up the road. water + bathrooms (PC)

The Dr Dave Strava weather report would be 96 degrees, but it was only 85 (PC)

Through the magic of Hollywood we actually had a four person group for this photo at Berryessa (WI)
Our trio stopped at Spanish Flat--a small 3 store business district in the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden I thought I was riding back in Italy 9 years ago.   An exuberant Italian guy who owned the restaurant next to the general store ran out to see how we were doing and invited us to see his Bianchi proudly displayed in the middle of his restaurant.  Wish we were finishing the ride close to this guys place so we could have eaten there.

SCENIC WATER CROSSING--End of Knoxville Road for us--if we go straight we'll get to Lower Lake in 30 deserted miles (WI)

Jack is somewhere on the bridge we just crossed (WI)

Christine leaving Lake Berryessa (PC)

Ward happy he is wearing a black jersey (PC)

Jack leaving Lake Berryessa--I haven't seen him in a long time, think that's him so I want to get a close look. (WI)
We go a little up the road and Jack is coming back.  We all went to the visitors center nearby for water, and then continued on as a quartet--for a short time.

First rule on a sunny day, find a tree to get under when changing a flat.  Ward rather hold my bike and Christine take photos than either touch my mini-pump coated with sports drink (CB)
At the end of the lake we boomerang back on Pope Canyon Road--much of it an uphill roller grind and the road is a little chewed up.  We start on a flat stretch and all of a sudden BOOM, I get a back tire blowout.  Do a nice job getting to a stop without tipping over--Christine and Ward who heard the sonic boom stop with me, Jack pushes on. 

Unfortunately no shade (first rule of changing tyre on a hot day--find a tree.)  Christine grossed out when she touches my pump.   Field off the road is full of goatheads.   Big hole in tube but we cant figure out how it happened.  We focus on spokes coming though rimtape but everything is solid.   Pump up--good to go, but unsettling as I don't know what caused the problem and for awhile I'm riding gingerly--expecting another sudden blowout.

Heading back to civilization, Pope Canyon Road(WI)

Christine & me (WI)

Christine and I--add grapes (WI)

Ward and Christine.  When Jack's not around Christine gets into more photos (PC)

The making of a blog photo (PC)

Mood lightens when we get to a section with vineyards that usually has light in perfect position for photos.  Bike felt "weird," but I figured that was just my mind playing tricks.  So we get about 500' from the nicely shaded Pope Valley store where all I want to do is liquor up with a NON sports drink and down a frozen fruit bar and Christine says "what's the noise of air escaping??."  Sure enough, tyre is almost flat again.  F

Christine picks up a Hammar product at the Pope Valley Store (WI)
On the Pope Valley porch we finally find the culprit--the side wall is blown out.  Lots of help from Christine/ Ward under threat I'll touch them with my mini-pump.   Ward boots the tire.  Luckily I ride with a 2nd tube--which are now all gone  (Christine only has one pink tube and Ward has the two extra with the stems longer  than my mini pump that weight a few pounds), and we still have about 40 miles to go.  Jack takes off saying that he'll backtrack in his car if we run out of tubes. 
The start of recumbent friendly Lower Chiles Valley Road--Dr Dave endorsed (PC)

Next 20 miles are kind of a downer.  A little frazzled from two flats ruining a totally enjoyable day.  Of course Chiles Pope Valley Road is the worst road surface we've been on all day, with filtered light through the trees hard to pick out alot of the ruts.    Cutover on Lower Chiles Pope Valley Road--also known as recumbent heaven for the sudden short but steep rollers.    Then back to Moskowitz Corner but we'd be going a much shorter way back to our cars than the morning route.  Traffic picked up a little here--pass me/pass you ratio was 0/99 with 99 boats passing us.

Scare on Monticello Road.  All of a sudden I went over something and my bike shook hard.  I was convinced that I had flatted again--stopped and checked but tyre solid.  Then back on the fast Wooden Valley Road--slightly downhill with a nice shoulder and usually a tailwind.  Today crosswind picked up in late afternoon but Christine-Ward-I rode it nicely sharing the workload.

Fast homestretch on Wooden Valley Road--Mt Diablo far in the distance--hey, I can see the guy in the devil costume running alongside the racers (WI)
Wind really piked up when we got back to college.  In fact wind picked up so much I stopped on way back to pull bike off roof rack and stash in trunk.  More weary than I should be for a 7,000' century.  Last year did it much faster but we had no wind and a bigger group for pack riding.   Without the tyre blowouts and a little less wind, and a few more of our riding buds,  it would have been a perfect day of bike riding.
Back at the start/ finish--a rare Jack sighting as he checks his Strava time segments (WI)


Recumbent Brian said...

No wonder I didn't see you on Davis. Gravel re-route is no fun on a recumbent.

Was going to ask you about the Sierra Century, but maybe I'll just read your old posts instead; I'll be out there on an orange'ish Ritchey roadbike, seeing if I can sit on it long enough to finish Alta Alpina on it.

Pumpkincycle said...

Hey Brian
I'm retired from Doubles--though promised a few friends I'll do certain ones in a year or so if they sign up for them. I would have done 5 pass Alta Alpina this year but off to Flanders and the Mur de Geraardsbergen..

Looked a video of Davis and road surface still looked like crap. A few years back when I did the Davis Double on a fixie Dr Dave accompanied me on the 'bent and we dodged the moon craters on Big Canyon. That's a shame that road is falling apart, much nicer climb than Cobb (regardless of grade--Cobb is like riding on a highway).

THE SIERRA CENTURY IS THE BEST!!! CENTURY THERE IS BY FAR--THE DOUBLE METRIC COURSE IS GREAT. Email me and I'll tip you off to the secret bathrooms, etc. Best.