Saturday, May 21, 2011
Started in 1969, the Davis Double is one of the oldest double centuries in California. This is the 42nd year of a very popular long distance event put on by the Davis Bike Club.
The start/finish is at the Veterans’ Memorial Bldg in Davis. The route takes you through Winters, Pope Valley, Middletown, Cobb Mtn, Lower Lake, Cache Creek, Guinda, Capay and back. It covers 200 miles, crosses Yolo, Napa and Lake Counties and has over 8000′ of elevation gain. The course has three moderate climbs; Cardiac Hill (Hwy 128), Cobb Mtn (Hwy 175) and Resurrection (Hwy 20). There are plenty of rolling and flat terrains in between all the climbs. The event provides 9 rest stops (RS) along with a lunch stop at Lower Lake.
I’m on a tandem with Wyatt and Michael is on his single. We meet up with Ed at the start and head out at 5:02 AM. Temp 57F. There are course marshals directing us at every turn out of town. It’s a flat run out to the first rest stop.
I like the feel and sounds of riding out in the early morning; it’s quiet, calm and very relaxing. It’s a gentle awakening of all your senses. The best part of this
ride is being able to see the sun rise and cast its morning glow on the
vast farmlands, hayfields and orchards surrounding us. It really is a beautiful
sight and what a joy it is to be able to partake in this natural wonder!
We arrive at RS#1-Farnham Ranch, mile 23 at 6:20 AM. There are too many
riders at this stop, so we choose to bypass it and continue on.
We ride pass many orchards and more farmland before seeing Santa Claus
“Lee” at the corner of Road 25 and Road 89. He waves us through and
we continue on to Winters. The scenery out here is fabulous!
We roll through Winters and continue on Hwy 128 towards Putah Creek. We exchange greetings with Patrick G. as he rides pass us. Headwinds are upon us! We make a quick pit stop at the Putah Creek Fishing Area before continuing on towards the dam.
The climb up to Monticello Dam is less than one mile and starts after you
cross the bridge at the end of the Canyon Creek Resort. The gradient ranges
from 6-8%. You get some great views of Lake Berryessa at the top.
The sweeping descent from the dam takes us to the climb up Cardiac Hill. Its 1.7
miles long with a steady gradient of 6-7%. As we near the crest, I see the trailer home painted like the American flag, there’s music playing and it’s the Duran Duran song “Hungry like the Wolf”. There’s a guy out there waving at us and shouting out that he was the mayor of Monticello, which is now under water due to the construction of the dam in 1957.
The next few miles after Cardiac have us on a low steady gradient of about 2% all the way to our next stop. We arrive at RS#2-Moscowite Corner, mile 56 at 8:32 AM. We grab a quick bite of food and refill our bottles.
We stay on Hwy 128 for the next 8 miles. There are a few climbs and rollers
before the next turn onto Lower Chiles Valley Rd.
The flat rolling terrain on Lower Chiles takes us pass many vineyards with minimal traffic for the next 3.4 miles. We continue on Chiles & Pope Valley Rd for the next 9 miles on more rolling terrain.
We arrive at RS#3-Pope Valley Grange Hall, mile 76 at 9:51 AM. Temp 70F. To avoid the long porta-potty line, we made an earlier stop at the Pope Valley
Store. I exchange greetings with Ken E. He’s on his orange fixie for the day.
We continue on Pope Valley Rd and ride pass Hubcap Heaven and Aetna Springs Golf Course.
The first climb up Butts Canyon is a under a mile with the gradient ranging from
7-9%. After the descent, there are a series of smaller climbs and rollers. The
road will level out a bit before the last climb up Honey Hill. The temp is now
The descent on the back side drops us along Detert Reservoir. The terrain is pretty much flat, except for the one short steep climb as you hang the left
around the reservoir. There is the one dangerous left turn off Hwy 29 to St
Helena Creek Rd.
We arrive at RS#4-Middletown High School, mile 95 at 11:27AM. I chug down a V8 and grab some salted chips. They were also making iced frappuccino on the spot. I see Ken again, along with Mike K and Kitty G.
As we get ready to head out, Wyatt discovers that the tandem has a flat front
tire. We’re there for awhile as Wyatt goes about his routine of changing out
the tube. I exchanged greetings with Zach and Veronica as they roll in on the
tandem recumbent. Michael decides to start riding out first as he’s sure we’ll
catch up with him soon.
We continue on Hwy 175 towards Cobb for the next 9+ miles; be cautious of
cars, there is absolutely no shoulder area. The first few miles are relatively
flat. We spot Michael stopped along the side of the road; he’s experiencing
some cramping on his quads and hams. He’s going to continue on and take it
very slow and easy.
The climbing starts after you pass Anderson Springs Rd, the gradient starts off at around 6-8% under a canopy of trees. Enjoy that while you can because it will
get worse! The next few turns will have you fully exposed with no shade; the
gradient increases and steadily hits 9-12%. There are folks walking their bikes
and others stopped under what little shade there is.
Once you see the bank of trees on the right, the road does ease up a bit. The
steep climbing does continue on until you reach Whispering Pines. There is
another short climb up to the next rest stop with the pink flamingos.
We arrive at RS#5-Cobb Mtn Elementary School, mile 104 at 1:07. Temp 84F. I
exchange greetings with Roehl and his Adobo Velo team mates from SoCal.
We’re not done, there’s about another mile or so of climbing with the gradient
being around 5-7%. The descent takes us to the turn on Loch Lomond.
Loch Lomond is not all downhill; you have another mile give or take of a
slight climb, it’s nothing too steep, but yet still annoying. Thereafter, it’s
a fast steep descent for the next 3 miles to Siegler Canyon, the
descent continues on Siegler for the next 4 miles on nice smooth pavement. WOW!
We arrive at the Lunch Stop-Lower lake High School, mile 117 at 2:10 PM. I have a chicken cup o’ noodles and a slice of roast beef wrapped with lettuce, some
fruit and a sip of soda.
Michael feels much better after sitting a bit, eating and hitting the porta-pottie.
After lunch, the route takes us on Hwy 53 for the next 6 miles. Traffic is very heavy on this stretch of road, ride with caution! There are several climbs before the turn off to Hwy 20. Michael is still cramping a bit and we stop on the side of
the road for a few secs and continue on.
At mile 124.7, we make the right turn onto Hwy 20. There is one climb as we round the bend and thereafter it’s a big drop down into the canyon. We’re on a
partial downhill and flat terrain for the next 5+ miles or so. We ride pass the
Hidden Valley Sand & Gravel Company towards the Cache Creek Management Area and cross the bridge over Cache Creek.
The Resurrection climb starts at around mile 131 with a low 2% climb and gradually increases to a range of around 4-6%. There are sections that hit 7-8% max. Temp is 92F.
Wyatt has a spell of hot foot and we stop to soak his inner right shoe with ice cold water; instant relief, for now.
During the last climb up to the rest stop, the following scripture is written on the
pavement; “you shall gain strength and the dead will arise”.
Inspiring? Yes, no, you can decide that!
We reach RS#6-Resurrection, mile 136 at 4:36 PM.
There is still a climb ahead towards Walker Ridge and the Colusa County Line.
Thereafter it’s a blasting fast descent on sweet pavement all the way down to
Hwy 16. The tandem is just flying- WOW!
We head south on Hwy 16 for the next 14 miles. We’re on rolling terrain (perfect
for a tandem) that hugs along Cache Creek. The landscape and scenery here is
beautiful! I don’t recall seeing any cars along this quiet stretch of road. How
great is that?
We cross the bridge over Cache Creek and head towards Rumsey to our next rest stop. It’s a flat 8 miles all the way to Guinda. We arrive at RS#7-Guinda Fire
Station, mile 162 at 6:18 PM. I eat another cup o’ noodles and chomp on some
salty chips and chase that all down with a few chugs of Coke.
We’re now set to head out again on Hwy 16 towards Cache Creek Casino & Resort. This is the most dangerous part of the ride; there is no shoulder area for the next 7.5 miles and you’re sharing the road with very fast moving traffic, lots
of it! Be cautious! You get a bit of relief when you ride pass the town of
Capay with its red bricked shoulder area, but that is fairly short lived as you
get back on the narrow road with traffic before the right turn on Road 85B.
There’s a huge sigh of relief once we take the turn onto Road 85B. The remaining miles to the next rest stop is all flat with no traffic. We reach RS#8-Farnham Ranch, mile 181 at 7:40 PM. I eat a few red potatoes sprinkled with salt and take a few sips of Coke. It’s only another 22+ flat butt sore miles back to Davis. Everyone is given a glow in the dark bracelet for the ride out.
For the next 4 miles, you need to watch out for the A-frame construction signs to make the correct turns or you’ll be riding around in circles. The sun is slowly
setting and the golden hue it cast on the open fields is absolutely stunning! I
get to see the sunrise and sunset all in one day, how glorious is that? I can
hear the sounds of crickets and frogs croaking as we pass the open farmlands and canals.
We stay on Road 27 for the next 8 miles to Road 95. We arrive at RS#9-West
Plainfield Fire Station, mile 196 at 8:42 PM. This rest stop has the best food;
grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chili. Many cyclists are inside the station
enjoying the hot foods being served.
It’s now only 7 miles back to Davis. Once you see traffic lights, you know you’re
close to town. The streets are lined with Jasmine bushes and the sweet
fragrance is very noticeable as you ride on by.
We arrive at the finish-Davis Veterans Hall, mile 203.97 at 9:15 PM. It was a perfect day of riding under great weather conditions.
There is a post ride meal served to us all; BBQ chicken, vegetable lasagna, baked beans, salad and bread with a variety of drinks and fruit popsicles. We sit and share our day with Mick, Zach, and Veronica. As we’re getting ready to leave, Barb M comes in from the ride. Congrats to everyone for finishing!
Thanks to Wyatt for tandeming 200+ miles with me! It takes much concentration and skill to pilot a tandem-great job! He also deserves his hard earned
California Triple Clown Award tattoo. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck! We also had Jesus
Christ riding with us all day long, just in case, for the Rapture thing you
Elevation: 8490 feet
Avg Speed: 15 mph
Saddle Time: 13:33:16 hrs