The third double of the year for me is Davis. This is one double that I attempted a couple of years ago, and had to DNF (did not finish), due to heat exhaustion. This year, with all the rains, the temps were considerably cooler, and the conditions should be considerably better … and they were.
I rode with Curtis and Dan, at 4 am. Wow, that’s early, but I figure by starting this early, I’ll try to finish this before darkness settles in. We all tried to make sure we conserved ourselves in the beginning. The first 40 miles are really flat. In the past, I made the bad mistake of joining a pack, and hammered to keep of with the pack at speeds in excess of 25 mph. This time, we made sure we maintained an average of 18-20 mph, so that we don’t burn ourselves out.
First hill was up to Monticello Dam, at Lake Berryessa. The sun was clearly out by this time, and it really felt good. Soon after reaching the dam, we found out Curtis had a broken spoke. Uh oh .. well he adjusted the spoke a bit, just enough so it wouldn’t be rubbing against the brake pads. Looks like he’ll be riding the next 170 miles with a wobbly wheel.
It’s pretty odd, I kept hear from other cyclists how much they feared Resurrection Hill. but in my mind, Cobb Mountain is the one to fear. I guess maybe the reason why they feared Resurrection is that it starts after lunch, and around the 130 mile mark, but it doesn’t climb as high.
Cobb Mountain on the other hand start about mile 99, and sustains 9-11% for about 3 miles. It does have a false summit, and descends for a little bit (and you think you’ve crested, but it pitches up again to you get to the next rest stop. After all, it does feature a 1250 foot climb, with pitches between 9-11%, and it sustained That’s nothing to sneeze at, and even when you seem to get to the top, it descends, then keeps climbing up again.
The last time I did this, it was really hot (triple digit temps), and they even had a sag wagon stop, with water, to refresh ourself, halfway up the climb. We didn’t need that today, so I kept grinding away up to the rest stop. Curtis and Dan went on ahead, as I stayed a bit to rest.
Continuing on, we still had climbs to do, before we got to the descents on Loch Lomond. This was a really steep descent, and easily got up to 47 mph, before I tapped on the brakes enough to slow me down so I can maneuver the turn. That was hair-raising.
I got to the lunch stop, but by that time, Curtis and Dan were ready to head onwards. We would maintain the schedule for the rest of the day.
The support at Davis was great. Lunch spread had just about everything you needed to form your own sandwich. No pre-ordered Subway sandwich here … just the ingredients, and you build your own sandwich. I also grew a fond affection for strawberries this day. I don’t know why I didn’t notice before, but it sure feels good in the middle of a ride.
Ok, next hill is Resurrection. Part of the problem with resurrection is that it is on Hwy 53, and not only do you climb, but you climb on highway traffic. As I mentioned before, it is not as long, but it is annoying enough to make you wish it were over.
Two years ago, when I got to this point, I was totally exhausted due to heat exhaustion, and could not continue. It’s a different story this year, since we didn’t have to contend with the heat. I felt pretty confident at this point, and even think I might be able to finish before dark (that’s a first).
The route took up along Hwy 16, and we paralleled a nice little creek, was so serene and peaceful sounding. This was also a stretch which didn’t have a lot of car traffic, and I went into my pseudo-time trialing position. I knew there wouldn’t be very many ascents, so I could afford to do that.
A little later, Hwy 16 got trafficky, which meant having to worry about car traffic. I was soon passed on the left by a group of 6 riders, and one guy yelled “come on, get on”, and so this pelaton grew from 6 to 7. We maintained a paceline for a good 10 miles, and we were passing other groups, tandems, etc … one by one. It did get a little dicey at one point, where the shoulder turn to dirt, then that where two riders’ wheels crossed in front of me. The guy immediately in front of me went down, but at least it was in the dirt, so no injuries (just a small scrape). Needless to say, we decided to go single file from here on out.
The rest of the way was completely flat, and we had no headwinds, until mile 190. That was tough to ride through that headwind. We then see the last rest stop at mile 195 (7 miles from the end). You may ask, with only 7 miles to go, why stop here? Well, the firestation chili bowl is famous, and you have to stop here. Oooh, that felt good.
Ok, last 7 miles. First, it started as a pack of 5, then suddenly, I noticed a bunch behind me, and we had a pack of about 15 people coming into the finish. It felt like I was in the pelaton, and we were rolling in after the sprinters made their charge to the line. I wound up back at the finish around 8:15 am, just in time where I didn’t need to use lights.
So this is my third of the year … 2 more for the 1000 miles in double centuries. The next one will be Grand Tour in Malibu at end of June.