Another double century under my belt, this time the Davis Double. With the exception of a sore back, all went well. While apparently in previous years the riders suffered mightily under stifling heat, this year, the weather was as good as it gets. Or as a friend of mine likes to say in a joking way: “It hardly sucked at all.”
For some reason, I got the notion this would be one of the easier doubles in the California Triple Crown series. Ha ha! Well, we did have 105 miles of fairly flat riding, but that of course means we had 95 miles of, er, … not flat riding. While mostly consisting of rollers that weren’t too bad, the main challenge of the day came at the 101 mile mark: a wee little hill called Cobb Mountain. This wee little hill kicked my behind something good, and then did it again, and again. But I survived, and so did my riding partner for the day, Scott. We both cruised to the finish in fine form. It would be a long 16-1/2 hr day for us, but it’s not like we were rushing things. The main idea was to enjoy the day, without dawdling too much and missing the very loose 1 am cutoff.
As the days pass, this ride gets more glorious in my mind, as all these events seem to do. I start to forget the suffering, and only remember the good parts. And Davis had lots of those. For one thing, this route is blessed with scenery, passing through rolling vineyards, mountains, and streams. For the most part, the roads have low traffic, and the 900 or so riders added to a festive atmosphere, which mostly surfaced at the well-stocked rest stops. And that “hardly sucks at all” weather? Lows 50s to start, and never much above the mid-70s the rest of the day. I never once felt too hot or too cold. There was the occasional wind, but for the most part, it was a non-factor.
All in all, another fabulous ride!
The Davis Double is a 203.6 miles loop (despite what profile says above), with roughly 8,800 ft of climbing, according to my GPS. Flat the first 45 miles, then 95 miles of rollers and/or steep climbs and descents, and then a 60 mile downhill with small rollers that gradually level off. Cobb Mountain is a tough climb, with plenty of 10% grade and beyond.
Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, 2011. Phoenix to Davis – a long way!
It’s a long ways from Phoenix to Davis, some 800+ miles. Scott and I leave Thursday afternoon and make it all the way to the big metropolis of Buttonwillow, west of Bakersfield, along I-5, some 100 miles north of the L.A. area. (Where the heck is Buttonwillow? Well now I know! And so do you!) It’s midnight. We stay at a Motel 6 for a whopping 33 bucks. Can’t beat that! And then it’s only another 300 miles or so to Davis the next morning. We roll into Davis – to a another Motel 6 – around 11 am on Friday.
At the pre-ride check-in that evening, we get our rider’s packets, and it’s then I realize what’s in store the next day. While I had seen the route and profile on the web some time ago, I hadn’t paid much attention to it, noticing mostly that there was some kind of climb in the middle of the ride. But that evening back in the motel, I start looking more closely, and realize that this climb is going to be a doozy. It appears there will be a significant amount of 10% grade. My back, which has been sore ever since I did a South Mountain 4×4 climb fest with Scott back in Phoenix (88 miles, 8,100 ft of climbing) starts to twinge at the sight of the Davis Double profile. Harbinger of things to come?
That night, I get five hours of solid sleep. I guess I’m getting the hang of these doubles. We wake up to the alarm at 3 am on Saturday morning.
Mile 0 – 4:41 am, Saturday, May 21, 2011, Veteran’s Memorial Center, Davis, CA
We arrive at the start on Saturday morning around 4:15 am, easily finding a parking space for Scott’s truck. A curious thing about the Davis ride: there is no sign-in at the start. The pre-ride check-in the night before apparently served that purpose. The only requirement for Saturday is to sign out at the finish. We had double-checked with several volunteers at the pre-ride check-in the night before to see if this was really true, for the packet we downloaded from the Davis web site insisted we had to start between 5:15 and 5:45 am. Apparently, though, those times were just a “suggestion”, so we’d be assured of having open rest stops early in the ride.
This curious arrangement means we could have started any time we wanted, and from anywhere, really. And yes, the thought did cross our mind that we could just hang out by the pool at the motel all day, and show up at the finish some time that evening to sign out and get our Triple Crown credit. Ha! Not that we would ever do such a thing. But you have to wonder if anyone did do this. Who would know? This is in stark contrast to, say, the Hemet Double, where we had to check in at every rest stop. Personally, I like the Hemet way of doing things.
It’s five miles from our motel to the Veteran’s Memorial Center. We could have stayed closer, but all the closer motels were twice the price. Didn’t seem worth it.
And to my mind, we could have easily ridden our bikes to the start. I had suggested this to Scott on Friday. But Scott was having none of it.
“If we ride to the start, that’ll mean 10 extra miles for the day, round trip,” Scott had reasoned. “That’s just crazy.”
“So?” I said. “Those miles are basically free. You won’t even feel them.”
“Maybe in your mind,” Scott said. “But I think at the end I won’t want to ride another mile.”
“If you can’t ride a measly extra five miles after two hundred for the day, you have no business doing doubles,” I said to Scott, then reassuring him that I’m just joking.
“But it’s not just five miles in the evening,” Scott argued. “It’s five miles in the morning too. That’s 10 extra miles.”
“Which are free. I keep telling you.”
And so the argument went, round and round. And just so you know, I was joking. And just so you know, I would have been more than willing to ride our bikes over – or not. It made no difference to me.
I had jokingly told Scott I was going to make him sign a declaration:
Being of weak mind and body, do proclaim that in no way, no how, am I riding my bike the five miles to the start of the Davis Double, and in no way, no how, am I riding back after the finish. That’s just crazy.
Scott said he’d have no trouble signing such a declaration, even if I publish it on my blog for all the world to see.
So here ya go, Scott!
All joking aside, we did drive over to the start line, but along the way we are pulled over by a cop.
“See?” I say, as the cop gets out of the patrol car. “What did I tell you? We should have ridden over.”
The cop comes up and informs us we have a headlight out, that’s all. So we don’t lose too much time, and aren’t hauled off to jail or anything. We reach the start in plenty of time to park, make a potty break, and unload our bikes. We are ready to leave by 4:41 am:
Scott and I are ready to head out at 4:41 am. It’s a pleasant morning, lower 50’s. I’m sporting a Bullshifters jersey, having joined the club since the last double.
We catch the morning Furnace Creek 508 train
The first section of this ride is flat, passing through farm land west and north of Davis. We roll out casually, gradually picking up speed to our pre-ordained 17 mph pace.
It’s not long before I begin to get a bit worried. I’m feeling queasy. I’ve noticed over the years that I get this way on mornings when the weather is cool, but not cold. It’s like my body doesn’t know what to do: commit to battling the cold elements, or letting the chill come. I’m hoping that’s all it is, and not something else – like coming down with a cold or the flu, or having eaten something I shouldn’t have.
Also, my left hip is stiff and sore. I’m wondering how it’s going to feel on the climbs, 100 miles later.
Since we started fairly early, we don’t see too many riders until 15 miles in. And then a fast moving pace-line zooms by. Up front are numerous riders all sporting Furnace Creek 508 jerseys, meaning this is one tough set of hombres. Also included are a few wind-busting tandems. Though the pace is faster than we were planning on doing, it’s not that much faster, (at least at first), so we latch on. As long as I stay away from the Land of Anaerobia, I’ll be fine.
We ride the morning 508 train all the way to the first rest stop, 23 miles in – at least, Scott does. A few miles before this, as the route begins a series of short segments with frequent turns, I drop off the back. For this train seems to be picking up speed, and they seem to like accelerating out of the corners. That’s something I’m not willing to do. Heaven forbid I burn any matches this early in the ride. I wonder how many Scott is burning.
Here’s a video one of the riders put up on You Tube of what I believe is the morning train we were on:
Mile 23 – Rest Stop #1, Farnham Ranch, 6:00 am
I arrive at the Farnham Ranch rest stop just before 6:00 am, a minute or so after the 508 train. I notice that most of the train does not slow down, and keeps on chugging to the next rest stop, some 33 miles away.
The food at the rest stop is very unimaginative: PB&J sandwiches, fig newtons, and the ubiquitous banana. I’m hoping it’s not like this the rest of the way. (It’s not. At each rest stop, the food choices get better and better.)
One of my few nits about this ride is lack of information before the event. I had no idea what kind of energy drink they’d be serving. And my worst fears are realized: Cytomax – and Gatorade. I can handle Gatorade if I have to. In fact, later in the day on long rides it has its own favorable qualities (it does taste good when you are hot and thirsty). But Cytomax?
Fortunately, I was carrying 140 miles worth of Perpetuem. Just wish I didn’t have to haul it around all day.
The skies gradually become brighter. The sun rises above low hanging clouds before we leave the rest stop:
The sun breaks through the clouds at the first rest stop: Farnham Ranch, 23 miles in.
Brisk pace-line riding marks the next 20 miles, followed by the first climb of the day
On the way to the next rest stop, we have another 20 miles of flat riding. We latch onto a decent pace line, cruising along at 21 mph, or thereabouts. This lasts until mile 44, where the first climb of the day begins. Our average speed to this point? 18.5 mph. Not too shabby.
I had been pulling my share of the time to this point, but I know my climbing strength is not up to snuff, and tell Scott not to worry if I drop off. I’ll see him at the next rest stop.
And sure enough, Scott latches on to a pack of riders that come up from behind, riding a pace I have no desire to match. A lot of people begin passing me. I’m not worried or bothered by this at all. I’m going to go at my own pace, and that’s that. At mile 46 I reach the top of the first climb, at Monticello Dam – the tip of Lake Barryessa. Scott is waiting for me there.
Cyclists round the corner and top the first climb of the day, 46 miles in, right next to the Monticello Dam. Cardiac Hill is up next.
Monticello Dam on Highway 128, at the top of the first climb of the day. This is the tip of Lake Barryessa. Doesn’t look like much here, but it’s a rather large lake.
Cardiac Hill, followed by thirty miles of rollers
Next up is Cardiac Hill, about 2 miles long, 660 feet of climbing. So we’re talking 5-6% grade. Though the name suggests otherwise, it’s not too tough. (It does look like an EKG pulse on the profile, though.) But again, people are passing me right and left. I notice it’s not just my left hip that’s bothering me now. It’s my left lower back too.
Following Cardiac Hill is a nice descent. About this time, a gal sporting a Fresno Cycling Club jersey pulls beside me. She mentions I’m the first Bullshifter she’s seen today. I tell her that’s because I’m the only one riding.
“I hope I’ll be representing the club well,” I say to her.
“Well, you’re here aren’t you?” she says. “That has to count for something.”
She says to say “Hi” to Mark Dehanke. I believe her name is Lori, (though I’m not sure I’m remembering correctly.)
So “Hi”, Mark!
Mile 56 – Rest Stop #2, Moscowite Corner, 8:25 am
There are a lot of people at the second rest stop. It’s quite the festive atmosphere. I follow a routine I learned from the Hemet Double: Grab some food and water, head for the porta-potty’s, and eat while waiting in line. Saves a lot of time. I’m ready to leave in 8 minutes. Though Scott arrived some time ahead of me, he’s still languishing, not seeming to have any urgency, even though we had agreed ahead of time to keep the rest stops to a minimum.
I’m having none of this languishing business. Taking the place of Jim, I’m Mr. Task Master, and insist we try to leave within 10 minutes of arriving.
Scott and I ride together for a while, before he slowly pulls ahead with a few others. Next thing I know, he’s out of sight. And next thing I know, I come to an intersection. Several riders ahead of me turn left. I glance at my route sheet. We are supposed to be turning right. I yell out to them, saving them from what could have been a lot of extra miles.
I wonder if Scott had made the right turn. He’s nowhere to be found. I wouldn’t see him until the next rest stop.
We enter Pope Valley, in Napa County, going up and down over a series of rollers. It’s very scenic through here, with lots of vineyards.
Pleasant scenery greets us at every turn along most of this route. This is in the Pope Valley area, about 70 miles into the ride.
One of the many vineyards in Pope Valley.
Gnarly roads ahead
Each uphill on the rollers saps precious energy. But that’s to be expected. However, we are also robbed on the down hills. Turns out, the road through Napa County is quite rough, as in Pothole, USA, rough. And often, the roadway is shaded, so you can’t see said pot holes. It makes for dicey riding. I have to ride slower than I would like on the down hills. It’s a miracle we all make it through this section unscathed.
Mile 76 – Rest Stop #3, Pope Valley Grange Hall, 9:55 am
I notice at each rest stop that the food selection seems to be improving. We’re starting to see saltier foods, which I appreciate. On these long rides, I get sick real fast of eating sweet stuff. Now I’m seeing things like potato chips, which, because of the salt, hit the spot for me, though I know better than to eat too many of them.
Scott and I head out at 10:08 am, meaning a 13 minute stop. A bit more than I’d like, but not bad. Scott seems ever reluctant to get moving at these rest stops. I have to crack the whip to make him depart.
We soon do a 300 foot climb, 1.5 miles, nothing too strenuous, then a few miles of down hill, and then another climb, called Honey Hill. It’s a 3.5 mile climb, 425 feet, mostly gradual, the last part kicking up a bit. We top out onto a plateau and swing south around a small lake, near the Langtry Vineyards. It’s a nice, pleasant route. The next 8 miles are basically flat, and I try to recover from all the rollers we’ve done so far, and get my self psyched for what’s coming next: Cobb Mountain, the big kahuna of the day. Along this section I’m passed by two riders on fixed gear bikes. I wonder how they are going feel on that mountain.
Mile 95.4, Rest Stop #4, Middletown High School, 11:28 am. Time for a cattle prod.
On all these doubles, I like to reach the first 100 miles by noon, and 95 miles in, at 11:28 am, we’re on schedule. Our overall average on-the-bike speed to this point? A decent 17.2 mph. I know that won’t last, though.
This rest stop is quite a crowded and festive affair. There’s a wide variety of food here. They are making protein shakes or some kind of smoothies. I should have one, but don’t want to spend the time waiting for one to be made. This rest stop feels like a lunch stop. But that won’t come until the 117 mile mark.
I have lots of trouble getting Scott to depart. He seems to want to hang out, and is soon talking on his cell phone. (It’s a business call, so I’ll cut him some slack on that.) I have the feeling that, left to his own devices, Scott would lounge around here for another hour. I think he’s feeling some trepidation about the upcoming climb. Me, I just want to get rolling as soon as possible and get it over with. I want no time on my hands to contemplate how the next hour is going to feel.
I have to become Mr. Task Master once again, and whip Scott onto his bike. Thankfully, I have success. We depart at 11:40 am — a mere 12 minutes since I had personally rolled in.
(Note to self: Despite my success at getting Scott moving here, next time I’m bringing a cattle prod. Ha!)
Waiting for the slopes
Our next destination is the rest stop near the top of Cobb Mountain, at the 104.5 mile mark.
But we are riding on level roads at the moment, with some downhill even. I’m hoping the climb comes soon, for the longer we ride on the flats, the steeper the climb is going to be.
Four miles in, we swing around a curve and the road kicks up.
“The sh*t’s about to hit the fan,” I tell Scott.
Cobb Mountain brings shame and embarrassment.
The road ramps up to 6% grade, and then keeps on kicking up. Soon I’m seeing 10% grades and beyond. I don’t know the max steepness, ‘cause I’m paying too much attention keeping the pedals moving. At one point, the climb seems easier. I glance down at my GPS. It’s saying 12% grade. Okay, then. I guess 12% grade represents an “easy” part of this climb.
My left hip has been bothering me all day, and it’s still quite sore. Turns out, though, that it’s not my hip that’s causing the most issue, but my left lower back. On the easier grades it’s manageable, but as the road kicks up once again, I feel a sharp pain, and have to pull over and stop. I try to stretch my back, and wonder how I’m going to manage the next few miles.
People pass in a steady stream. I’m losing a lot of time. I click into the pedals and try climbing once more. My adventure lasts all of 50 feet before another sharp pain. I have to stop again. Okay, then. I guess I’ll get off the bike and walk. It’s certainly better than being completely stopped, and it can’t be much slower than what I was pedaling, (3.5 mph at times.)
I wear mountain bike shoes, so walking the bike is not a problem. But my walking speed is a lowly 2.2 mph. At this rate, I could be on this mountain for several hours. Well, too bad. Even if I have to crawl on all fours, I’m going to conquer this mountain, dad gummit.
More people pass by, some calling out, “Come on, Bullshifter. You can do it!”
Ah, yes. My Bullshifters jersey. I forgot I was wearing it. Am I bringing shame to the Bullshifters colors? What self-respecting Bullshifter would be seen walking his bike up a mountain? Maybe I should stop and turn my jersey inside out. Ha!
The grade eases off some, and I get back on the bike. I discover as long as the grade is below 8-10%, I‘m fine. But anything over that causes sharp pain and has me walking. It takes 45 minutes to reach what turns out to be a false summit, 3 miles into the climb.
Cobb Mountain False Summit, 12:52 pm.
The road begins to slope downhill. I click the lap button on my GPS, thinking we have just reached the top, and that the rest stop will soon present itself.
We have exactly one mile of down hill, and then the road kicks up again for another half a mile.
Something pink this way comes.
A weird sight comes into view on the right shoulder. Are those … pink flamingos? What are pink flamingos doing out here? … Oh, they’re fake.
Now, the fact that it takes a moment to realize I’m seeing fake pink flamingos speaks volumes about my state of mind.
The rest stop is just a few more feet. Thank goodness the climbing is over! (Oops! It’s really not …)
After the tough climb up Cobb Mountain, I began seeing things, like these pink flamingos along side the road. It takes me a moment to realize these are fake. Doh! The things your mind does to you after some tough miles! We’re just reaching the rest stop at the “top” of the climb – or so I think – at 2,640 feet.
Mile 104.5 – Cobb Mountain Elementary School, 1:00 pm. 2,640 feet elevation.
The Cobb Mountain rest stop 104.5 miles in, around 1 pm. By now the crowds have thinned out. Most of the non-pathetic climbers have long gone. (I’m teasing about the pathetic-ness, myself included. It does require a lot of toughness just to finish one of these rides.)
As I’m filling water bottles, I notice that the road still tilts upward past the rest stop. But … but … I thought we were already at the top!
Someone says, “Oh, don’t worry. It’s just another 100 hundred yards or so.”
It turns out to be another mile of climbing – and 400 feet of elevation gain. After a few corners, we finally top out at 3,050 feet. This would be the high point for the day.
We start descending, and I’m looking for the turn onto Loch Lomond Rd. It’s supposed to come at 2.8 miles. 2.8 miles comes and goes. No sign of said road. We keep descending. I still don’t see Loch Lomond Rd. We descend some more.
Oh, oh! Did we miss the turn somewhere? Are we going to have to turn around, and retrace our route, back up hill?
No way, no how.
I make a proclamation to Scott. This time, I’m the signee of said proclamation:
Being of weak mind and body, do proclaim that in no way, no how, am I retracing this route, and riding back up Cobb Mountain. I don’t care if we are going the wrong way. I don’t care how far off track we get. Just as long as I don’t have to climb that mountain again.
Four miles from the Cobb Mountain rest stop, according to my computer, we reach Loch Lomond Rd. What’s up with the conflicting distances? It dawns on me. I had reset my lap counter at the false summit, not at the rest stop. That explains the extra miles. Doh!
A deceptive descent down Loch Lomond Rd
We turn onto Loch Lomond and begin descending. According to the route sheet, it’s supposed to be steep. But so far, it seems fairly mild.
A few miles further and I notice with some trepidation that I’m having a hard time slowing down for a corner. I squeeze my brakes as hard as I can, with little effect. After making the corner (somehow), I look at my computer. I’m doing 35 mph. And that’s after slowing down.
So! This really is steep! It’s just that, the way the road is situated, you can’t tell at all you are going down grades 10% and beyond.
The road gradually levels off and we reach the junction of Hwy 29, just a few miles from the lunch stop, near the shores of Clear Lake.
Mile 117.2, Rest Stop #5, the lunch stop. Lower Lake High School, 1:55 pm.
At lunch they serve turkey sandwiches, perhaps some other types of meat, some type of pasta, and other goodies which I can’t remember. We have a choice of sourdough or whole wheat bread. One of the servers says all the fast guys that came in earlier had chosen sourdough bread.
“Well, then, that settles it,” I say, also choosing the sourdough bread.
We stretch out on the grass and take off our helmets. Might as well rest here a while, and forget that rigid “10 minute” rule. 30 minutes would be good. But we end up staying for over 45 minutes. Oh well, it makes no difference.
On to Resurrection Pass
After leaving the rest stop, we turn north onto Hwy 53, and then a few miles later, east onto Hwy 20. Scott has pedaled on ahead, drafting with some other riders. I don’t feel like pushing the pace, and am soon left dangling in the wind. There’s another climb, nothing too significant, and then a downhill, and then we began the long, steady climb up Resurrection Pass, the last significant hill of the day. This 6 mile, 900 foot climb isn’t very steep, never much going over 6% grade. It’s the kind of climb I was used to when I lived in Colorado. I feel at home.
Scene along the steady climb up Resurrection Pass at around the 132 mile mark. Fortunately, this climb is not too steep. Nothing much above 6% grade. Good thing. I don’t think my back could have handled anything steeper. Weather-wise, we couldn’t ask for a nicer day.
Along this stretch a rider comes by, sporting an Alaska jersey, and says – as many have during the day – that I’m the first Bullshifter he’s seen on this ride.
Yesirree, the Bullshifters appear to be famous in California, way more famous than back in Arizona.
I again explain that I’m the only one he’s seen because I’m the only Bullshifter riding today.
“I hope I’m representing the club well,” I say.
“Of course you are,” he says. “You’re still here aren’t you? After all that climbing, and all these miles.”
Then I tell him about walking my bike up Cobb Mountain.
“Oh,” he says. “You’ll never want to tell the others that!”
Oops. I guess with this blog, I’m doing just that.
Mile 136.66 – Rest Stop #6, Resurrection, 4:10 pm, May 21, 2011, Judgment Day.
The prevailing topic of discussion on Resurrection Hill is the supposed rapture that is/was supposed to take place on this “Judgment Day.” After all, we are on Resurrection Hill, and we are at mile 136.66. (I don’t really know if those last three digits are 666, but it makes a fun story.)
Alas, none of us riders have been raptured, and I’m not able to claim a newer, fancier, “left behind” bike, either.
The climbing’s almost over. Yeah!
It’s a short ride to the real top of Resurrection, at 2,000 feet, and then we have a 1.5 mile downhill, followed by another one mile climb. But this climb is relatively mild, and we’re at the top before we know it. From here on, we’ll be having a sweet downhill, for nearly 60 miles. Well, it does level off towards the end, and somebody warned us not to be fooled, for there were more rollers to come, but they wouldn’t be notable.
Mile 150 – Cache Creek, Davis Double riding at its finest.
We follow Hwy 20 for another 6 miles or so, and then we turn onto Hwy 16. Beautiful Hwy 16. For soon we are following a rushing stream known as Cache Creek. The scenery is fabulous. The downhill riding glorious. Legs fully recovered from all that climbing, we cruise along at a brisk 20-25 mph pace. Rollers come by from time to time, forcing us out of the saddle. But this is a good thing. It keeps our legs and our “behinds” loose and relaxed.
I’m not the world’s greatest climber, that’s for sure. But I do have a fair amount of endurance. With me doing a big chunk of the pulling, we start passing riders one by one.
A really crappy picture of Cache Creek that doesn’t do it justice. Hwy 16 along this creek is very scenic. There were better shots to be had just a little further down the road, but we were cruising along at 20-25 mph and I kept making split-second decisions to not stop and break our momentum. We’re about 153 miles in.
Mile 162.8 – Rest stop #7, Guinda Fire Station, 6:10 pm
They serve cup o’noodle soup at the rest stop, and I take advantage. One of the cops/firemen tells Scott, “If I were you, I’d be off this highway before it gets dark. There’s a special event going on at a casino up ahead, and there will be lots of traffic.”
Sure enough, we pass the casino, and beautiful, scenic Hwy 16 turns into a harrowing, dicey affair: High speed traffic and little or no shoulder. What shoulder there is often stops abruptly in the form of broken pavement. Fortunately, we’re only on this road for another five miles or so, and much to our relief, we turn off and begin a series of jogs on less-traveled back roads to the next rest stop.
Mile 181.1 – Rest Stop #8, Farnham Ranch, 7:20 pm
We turn a corner and a familiar sight greets us. It’s Farnham Ranch, the site of Rest Stop #8, and what was also the site of Rest Stop #1, some 158 miles ago.
The eighth rest stop at Farnham Ranch, 181 miles in, at roughly 7:20 pm. This is the same location that served as the first rest stop, earlier in the day.
Some 13 hours ago I had taken a picture of sunrise near this very spot. And here I am again for sunset, 158 miles later, with 181 miles covered so far.
Looking west towards the mountains we traversed earlier on this long, hard, but exhilarating and fun day.
This second to last rest stop is a festive affair. Everybody is all smiles. Everybody has a look of relief on their faces – glad that this ride is almost over.
But it ain’t over till the fat cyclist pedals in. We depart the rest stop at 7:30 pm, after turning on our tail lights. Though the sun will be setting soon, we won’t need our headlights for a while.
A few miles later we are passed by a rabid pack of Adobo Velo riders. (I’m joking about the rabid part.) We latch on to their wheels as they turn east, soon about to cross the 505 freeway, not far from Davis.
Mr. Alaska Jersey is lurking in this pack. I’m feeling good, and have a notion to swing around, pass him and the others, and put the hammer down – as a way of rehabilitating the Bullshifter image. (Ha!) But just before I’m able to do so, we cross the freeway, and have to make what turns out to be one more climb, up and over the freeway overpass.
That little rise brings shame once again. I’m off the back, just like that. And the little gap that opens up soon widens. They must have gotten the memo I was trying to pass by. (Ha!) Try as I might, (and I’m not really trying all that hard), I can’t catch ‘em. I moan to Scott about my pathetic abilities, and we are now riding mostly by ourselves.
As the miles accumulate, Scott starts to complain that this road seems to go on forever. (It’s seven miles till we turn south again.) I guess back at Rest Stop #8 he had counted the
chickens miles before they hatched.
Mile 196.9 – Rest Stop #9, Plainfield Fire Station, 8:26 pm.
Soon enough the ninth and final rest stop comes into view. I’m not sure why this rest stop is here. It’s only another six miles back to the finish. But Scott had heard rumors of grilled cheese sandwiches and wants to partake. So we pull in. And why not? It’s not like this ride is being timed or anything. Might as well enjoy it.
As I grab a grilled cheese sandwich, I meet Bob, from San Diego. He recognizes my jersey, and asks if I ever do any of the Bullshifter rides back in Phoenix on Tuesday/Thursdays.
“I’ve done the weekday rides a total of once,” I say. “And you were there!”
Bob says “Hi” to everybody, by the way.
By the time we are ready to depart, it has gotten chilly – and we have full-on darkness. I don my arm warmers. Scott does the same, and dons a vest as well. Me, I’m not feeling all that cold. In fact, I’m feeling pretty darn good, for having just ridden almost 200 miles.
Most comfortable double yet.
With the exception of a sore hip/back earlier in the day, I have had few aches and pains – the main being sore left triceps.
Sore triceps? Heh!
On thing that hasn’t bothered me all day? My saddle. A few days before this ride, I had acquired new Assos bib shorts, and had gone on a 50 mile test ride. Those shorts were super comfy. So comfy that I had decided to risk wearing them on this double, even though they were brand new. That risk is now paying off. The Brooks saddle had already made the riding mostly comfortable, and now these Assos bib shorts, the T FI.Mille S5 model, designed especially for long distance riding, have solved any lingering chafing issues. Never have I been so comfortable for such a long day!
I had been told by more than a few Bullshifters that these shorts were the real deal. I can attest to that being the case.
Mile 203.6 – Final stop, Veteran’s Memorial Center, Davis, CA, 9:29 pm. We is done! Woo hoo!
It’s really a bit longer for us. For as we were coming into town with a group of riders, we aren’t paying attention and miss a turn, having to backtrack a ways to the finish. We end up doing 204.5 miles, at least according to my GPS. It’s the longest ride I’ve ever done (by about two miles.)
And no, I don’t ride my bike the five miles back to the motel. Although another rider does. As we are partaking of the post-ride meal (barbequed chicken, vegetarian lasagna, and salad), we talk to a woman who, as we get ready to leave, mentions she still has riding to do, back to her motel.
“Oh? Where are you staying?” I ask.
“The Motel 6,” she says.
“See, Scott,” I say, laughing. “If she can do it, so can you.”
Scott notes as we are loading our bikes into his Honda CRV that I had made no attempt of my own to join her on my bike.
“Ride my bike back to the motel?” I reply. “Why, that’s just crazy.”
Final stats for the day
Miles covered: 204.5 miles (we missed a turn at the end).
Elapsed time: 16 hrs and 28 minutes.
Time on the bike: 13 hrs and 39 minutes.
Time spent at rest stops, taking pictures, and what not: 2 hrs and 49 minutes.
Average on-the–bike speed: 14.98 mph.
Low elevation: 45 feet (Davis)
High elevation: 3,050 feet (Cobb Mountain)
Elevation gain: 8,800 feet, according to my GPS
Heart rate zones:
Below Zone 1 – 16 miles
Zone 1 – 116 miles
Zone 2 – 55 miles
Zone 3 – 13 miles
Zone 4 – 4 miles
Zone 5 – never
A great day, all told
All in all it was a fabulous day. Scotts says it was very hard for him. I guess it was hard, but now I’m having difficulty remembering that part of it. And I’ve had harder days. I think the Death Valley wind-fest in February was the hardest ride I’ve ever done, even if I did only complete 85 miles. I felt really good at the end of the Davis ride, and even Scott didn’t turn into a zombie like he said he did on the Solvang ride last year.
Next up: The Grand Tour Double on June 25th, some four weeks away. And then two weeks after that: Team Evergreen’s Triple Bypass, in Colorado. I know it sounds tough, but the Triple Bypass has few grades over 6%. It just goes up a wee bit high (12,000 ft on Loveland Pass.)