Davis Double Century 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The parking lot of the Veteran’s Hall was filling up rapidly at 4 a.m. I can sense the high level of excitement and energy in the air from all the other riders preparing for an earlier start to try and beat the heat. I too am psyched. This is will be my second Davis Double Century and this time it is on a tandem.

Mark Abrahams and I were ready to roll out at 5:10 a.m. along with Barb McQuinn, Sue Jacobson, Bill Schultz, and Dick Ferrer. Brian Aldrich and Paul Bartlett were already out on the road. The GPC tandem was leading the group out with other cyclists following close behind. There’s a quiet stillness as we ride into the pre-dawn hour. It’s a purely flat 23 miles to RS#1-Farnham Ranch.

Along the way there, one of the rear lights of the tandem flew off. We got out of leading the pace line to stop and pick up the fallen Cateye. Dick stopped along with us and rode back along the road to help retrieve it for us. I was later told that Rob Hawks was the one who yelled out to us about the light. Apparently he and Bruce Marchant were riding behind us from the very beginning. Who knew? I couldn’t see anything in the dark but all the little headlights behind us. Mark
had cleverly strapped a camera onto his Camelbak with no worries of it falling
off.

Another great thing about being a stoker: I can ride with no hands. I take a photo of Santa Claus as one of the corner marshals. The economy is hurting everyone; even Santa has to take a day job. He was looking kind of lean too. From a distance, we could see scores of people at RS#1. Mark and I decided not to stop. We both still had enough water and food on hand to ride another 32 miles to RS#2-Moscowite Corner. The temps were still fairly mild. The tandem was holding 5 water bottles, 2 handlebar bags and a rear pack. We had everything but the kitchen sink. As we were rolling by, a couple of cyclists decide that the center of the road was the best place to stop and lay down their bikes. *@!&?* What were they thinking! Mark is hollering at them to get the bikes off the road. I’m just shaking my head in disbelief.

We pick up a lot of riders heading on Road 89 out to Winters. The best spot to wheel suck is behind a fast moving tandem and everyone was on it. We caught up with Paul and rode steadily along with a tailwind. The sun had risen and I caught a glimpse of the tandem’s shadow, pretty cool looking. I snapped a shot of that with Paul’s shadow along with ours. We left the group at the turn onto128 for a brief stop.

Continuing on 128 towards Putah Creek and Monticello Dam, we both noticed the increase of headwinds. The view of Lake Berryessa atop of the Dam is gorgeous! The climb on Cardiac Hill was easy paced. Last year, at the very same spot, there were swarms of butterflies. We spoke with quite a few people along the way who were mostly asking questions about the tandem. Unlike our local rides, no one shouted out “she’s not pedaling”. It’s not easy; we’re hauling around a 50lbs bike. Another reward for a heavier tandem is the blasting speed you get when descending. It’s very exhilarating!

As we approach RS#2, we can see that the lines for the porta-potties were super long as were the water lines. It must’ve been at least 25 riders deep. We did a quick water check and the decision was made to skip this stop too. It was another 20 miles to RS#3-Pope Valley Grange Hall. We can do this! All along, I’ve been munching on food out of my handlebar bag and handing food to Mark too.

Continuing on Lower Chiles Valley Rd, Mark spots another club member, MikeKuenzli, wearing his vintage helmet. SNAP-got a shot of Mike. By now, I’ve decided to take a picture of every GPC member we encounter along the way. We spot Mark Homrighausen as he rides pass us. Another photo op was passing us by; we give a little chase and SNAP-got a shot of Mark H. He drops us and we’re approached by Diablo Cyclist Jay Kleinwaks, a.k.a. pumpkincycle (orange helmet& bike, you kinda get it, right?). He’s outright friendly and talks up a storm before leaving us behind.

RS#3-Pope Valley, first thing I do is hop off the bike and head for the porta-pottie line. I always think there are never enough of them for everyone’s use. I see Rob, Paul, and Toshi Takeuchi. Mark’s taking some photos of everyone. I’m guzzling a V8, downing a can of Coke and eating some chips. I have a plastic baggie that I fill up with fruits and pickles. Everything goes in the handle bar bag. I eat as I ride. It’s much easier for the stoker to do than the captain. Water
bottles are filled and off we go.

Heading up Pope Valley Rd, we encounter another tandem team on a beautiful new Pearly white Co-Motion. After a bit of chit-chat, we’re going pass Hubcap Ranchand heading toward the climb on Honey Hill. We did a brief stop at the top and I watched the other tandem couple descend ahead of us. We’re back on the bike and as we’re descending, we see the tandem couple that was ahead of us lying on the opposite side of the road. An accident had occurred; it was not a pretty sight to see.

We spot Bill M as we pass Detert Reservoir. SNAP-another pic taken. He rides with us all the way into RS#4-Middleton. Reaching mile 95, we’ve almost completed half the ride. Yes! It’s only another 100+ miles to go. This RS was packed. They were running out of ice, but yet, the volunteers decided to use what little ice they had to fill ice socks instead of filling water bottles. It didn’t make much sense to me. Filled my baggie with more food and onward we went.

It was at the beginning of the climb up Cobb Mt that we saw Zach on his recumbent. SNAP-another photo op. The climb was slow and steady. It didn’t feel that bad. The guy with the water hose and lawn chairs was out there again. He was spraying most of the cyclists passing by. We declined to be sprayed. We didn’t want to get the camera and cell phone wet. I took a pic of Toshi standing in the shade. The stop at RS#5-Cobb Mt was pretty brief. It’s trickery when you think the RS is at the summit, but it’s still a bit of climbing before the descent down Loch Lomond and Siegler Canyon.

Got into the lunch stop at Lower Lake and saw Brian, Rob, Bruce, Toshi, Jack Holmgren, and Kitty Goursolle. Everyone’s sitting and relaxing in the shade. Prime time for photo op of everybody. The lunch stop took a bit longer than expected. Mark was walking around with no shoes and prickly, dry weed stickers are stuck on his socks. It was a bit comical watching him remove all the little bits.

We leave Lower Lake and ride out with Kitty towards Hwy 53. The final long climb of the day is approaching; Resurrection. It’s a long climb with a full exposure to the sun. There’s a string of cyclists ahead and behind us. I thought we were doing pretty well despite the high temps. We reach the top of Resurrection-RS#6 (101 degrees) and I catch a shot of Santa Claus without his red outfit on. Now I know who Santa really is, it’s Lee!

Fully reloaded, we head out once again. A big group of us got stopped at the bottom of Hwy 20 due to construction work. The turn onto Hwy 16 was all gravel with lots of heavy machinery parked along the sides. This section will turn out to be the favorite part of the ride for me. After the turn, the tandem team of Fenn and Ken from Marin Cyclists passed us by. We decided to give chase, caught up, and from that point on it was tandemania, we took turns pulling each other, rolling at 25-31 mph! It was 19 miles of pure fun, it was a blast!

We rode all the way into RS#7-Guinda Fire Station with Fenn and Ken. I
remembered from last year that Guinda had popsicles. That was a must have. At
this point, I had enough of eating junk food. I was craving real food-MEAT!

The temp was now at 102. Not as hot as last year. Throughout the day, I’ve been putting ice chips on the top of my head through the helmet vents. It worked quite well. With only 40 miles to go, we rolled out of Guinda wit Rob in tow. With Rob’s help looking back for traffic; we made it through the harrowing sections of Cache Creek Casino and Capay. It was such a relief to turn onto Road 85B and away from all that traffic. It was another 4 miles to RS#8-Farnham Ranch. We decided once again to bypass this stop and continue on to RS#9-Plainfield Fire Station. It was a quiet ride all the way to the Fire Station.

We reached Plainfield around 8 p.m. It’s a mandatory stop for Mark to get the chili and grilled cheese sandwiches served there. All the volunteers there were extremely friendly. With only 7 miles to go, we’re almost done. Lights are attached and turned on.

We arrive back at the Veteran’s Hall at 8:36 p.m. and I can hear the clanking of the cowbells and lots of folks are still sitting out on the lawn cheering everyone in. It’s the greatest feeling ever to come in with a warm  welcome! Being able to finish this ride in a decent time and still feeling good  at the end of the ride is just fabulous! You will never hear any complaints from me.

I ate double portions of salad, BBQ chicken, lasagna and baked beans. Probably drank more soda than I should have and noshed on a mint It’s-It ice cream sandwich. The best part of the ride is at the end. Sitting with all the other club members eating, talking nonsense and just plain laughing!

Thank you GPC for having such a fine group of people as members. Much thanks to Mark for doing such a superior job captaining the tandem and pulling my butt for 204 miles.

Stats:

Miles: 204
Avg Speed: 16.0 mph
Ride time: 12:50
Total Time: 15:26

Temps reached a high of 102F

Food/water: Lots

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>KEEP MOVING!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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