The Davis Brevet series is the best bargain organized rides in California. For a minimal fee you get rest stops with some basic food, some surprise sag support, and real friendly volunteers. In years that people are trying to qualify for "P-B-P" (just know that it's an insanely long ride in France with minimal support over 3-4 days and nights) the brevet series is crowded; this is not a P-B-P year so chatter about hub lights and sleeping in fields for 30 minutes was at a minimum. As it was a brevet huge reflective ankle brackets coupled with reflective triangles, and antique looking bike bags that look like mini-suitcases were prevalent.
One of the traditions of the Davis 200k and 300k brevet is that there is always a 30-40% chance of rain. This year the threat was more serious than in the past as it rained here more in the last 4 days than in 4 months. During the frequent thunderstorms of the past week riding 130 miles on Saturday was the furthest thing from my mind--when I called Mike on Friday to confirm we were gonna bag it, Mike said something like "it's only a 30% chance and drizzle at the most. Yeah, we're riding." Fn Mike, he's a bulldog.
So I hurriedly pulled the backup bike off the trainer--cleaned it, filled two bags with rain gear, change of clothes and food, and pumped up the heavy but sturdy wheels that go with the steel GT. Speed wasn't important for this ride--most brevet riders aren't that fast, but they have an inordinate ability to ride 60 miles before having to stop. Oh yeah-print application, find checkbook, freeze a half bottle of Perpetuem and a bottle of post ride recovery protein drink..
Morning started out "great!" Woke up to the sound of moderate rain and my rear wheel was flat. Lesson learned long ago--pump up tyres night before in case something happens--like a sheered valve stem (which, upon autopsy, was the cause of the flat,) I'm starting to have a collection of rear wheels so a replacement should have been easy, but for a variety of reasons it came down between two "race" wheels--at 4:45 I mistakenly picked the light climbing wheel. As this Davis brevet is relatively flat the aero wheel would have been a better choice--and with a bike that weighted 10+ lbs over my regular ride loaded with crap saving 200 grams didn't really matter..
Cleaned out the trunk yesterday so bike shoved in there, and need to run windshields half way up to Davis. Matt and Mike are already at the start when I pulled in with 20 minutes to go--not a lot of time to register, and set up bike with rack bag, handlebar bag and lights.....I was just about putting toe warmers on the shoes and grabbing cycling gloves when everyone cued up for the start.
Skies were dark grey all around but it wasn't raining--for about the first 3 minutes as we skirted around the edge of Davis. Two groups took off down the road--a few years ago our group would have been with them but no more, we settled in with a large 3rd group. Many people had fenders on their bikes--oh crap--I took a front fender but left it in the car. One guy who looked out of place in this retro group was wearing a pointy time trial helmet.
As soon as we got out of Davis and into the flat ag land between Davis and Winters it started to rain. Just a little drizzle at first and then the rain picked up. Never heavy but light to moderate.
There was no wind and temperatures in the 50's so rain was more annoying than a hindrance. What worked well--cap under helmet so glasses didn't get constantly blotted by water, long sleeve undershirt which kept me warm, and Shower Pass rain jacket. Fun thing is that Shower Pass seems to be the official rain jacket of brevet riders but only Mike and I had the lightest clear Shower Pass jacket that is easy to stuff . Wool buff was perfect.
What didn't work well were rain socks--as I wasn't wearing rain pants water wicked on my calf guards and my foot was eventually sloshing around in the socks. I had waterproof gloves--but they were in the rack bag and it was never that bad/ cold that I needed to dog them out. If the rain was heavier or had continued rain pants would have been nice--I think my leg seized up after the ride from being wet with the wet knickers earlier in the day.
|Mike near the front taking a pull on very wet roads.|
In any event we had a group of about 20. Some farm fields were flooded with a spillover onto the roadway which let to a rapid fire succession of warning. A few times I started to get cold so I'd go to the front and as soon as my heart rate went up my core temperature was OK. Rain tapered off after an hour but with a rain jacket-vest-jersey-undershirt, it was hard digging camera out of pocket, no, check that, it was hard returning the camera to my jersey pocket hidden in some layer.
Nice stretch on tree lined (as opposed to farm lined) Putah Creek Road were the rain let up and I had the grand vision of taking off my rain jacket. We got to Lake Solano--mile 30--and Mike, Matt and I pulled into the campgrounds as most people would stop across the street in the day use park. Actually most people just kept going but we figured we catch many of them by the turnaround if we didn't stop again.
|At Lake Solano campground--I'm checking for rain along with the men in blue, for some reason Mike is happy we are getting rained on.|
|The fire marshall of Monticello cheers us on|
|At a scenic view Matt gets a flat while Mike helps increase the elevation recorded for the ride.|
|Matt on Lower Chiles Valley Road--rustic, and gets fast at the end. Which of course means slow climbing coming back.|
|Mike looking for a vegan tofu sandwich--with none existing he is ready to "pull a Jack" and take off. Matt leisurely eating in the background (top) while I enjoy my whole wheat protein Liege Waffle (with Pearl Sugar!!) (below)|
|Olive Tree landscape on Lower Chiles Valley Road (top) --pygmy pony by the dental floss bush (below)|
|Mike and I mugging for photos as life (or brevet riders) pass us by.|
|Mike and Matt coming off of Hwy 128|
|Mike thinks he deserves the James Brown treatment for reaching Lake Solano again at mile 101.|
|Matt and Mike back in the agricultural land around Davis.|
|The flooded agriculture land...what water shortage??|
|Matt in front of bike sculpture.|
|Mike out of gas or he would have sped up to ride with this female time trialist who was getting battered in the wind.|
|Here comes the sun--6 hours too late.|