Tag Archives: Cobb Mountain

Davis Double – No Ice Socks Needed Today

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.

Registration was right across from the US Bicycling Hall of Fame.  We got to see some pretty cool antique bikes.

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.

We would be treated with a series of climbs and descents, up till we get to the big climb of the day, Cobb Mountain, which was at around the 100 mile mark.

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.

Knoxville Reconaissance Ride – #30daysofbiking

With Knoxville coming up at the end of the month, I thought it would be a good idea to ride part of the course, so that when we do the ride, we will know when to expect the hardest part of the climb.  I met at Dan’s place, along with Curtis and Tricia.  The four of us were about to embark on this epic ride.

We started out at Pope Valley, which is a very small town.  We were trying to find the post office, and it was very hard to find.  Funny, we could see the ice machine from street view on Google maps, and that was the only way we were able to find this.

Sleepy Little Town of Pope Valley

How small is it?  Well, the same shop, is the post office, store, and probably a few other things, but was only open from 10 am – 4 pm.  I guess just being open on a Sunday is considered lucky.

Team NorCal Bikeforums

Rare Shot of Me in the Picture

It was a gorgeous start to the day, and it wasn’t that hot … YET.  We started out on a very easy pace.  Some of it was due in part to Dan having already done 100 miles, and 70 miles the previous two days, so it took a little time for his legs to get loose.

Group Shot with Lake Berryessa in the background

Not too many turns on this ride.  First turn was a left turn onto to Knoxville-Berryessa Road.  Off to the right, we saw a great view of the lake, over a bridge, and we just had to stop for a few pics.

Ok, we are now on this road for 38 miles, and with no establishment anywhere along this stretch.  That meant our two bottles of water had to survive that entire stretch.  Who knows how much climbing this has too, and the sun will most likely be beating down on us.  Should have brought my platypus bladder.

The gradual rollies kinda reminds me of Morgan Territory.  Nothing back false flats that seem to go on forever.  Plus some of the rough road starts getting you fatigued.  Big strong guy like Thor would love those .. come to think of it, Dan was saying the samething.

About 19 miles into this, the climbs start ratcheting up … up to 11% for a while.  I get to the top thinking we have summited.  I see this tunnel, but not sure what to think.  What do I see on the other side???

What? More hills?

This is where the hills start playing mind tricks with us.  We would climb for a while, and then turn the corner, getting ready for a descent, until they throw us more hills.  I keep telling myself this is good training … heat and hills … gotta keep dreaming.  Just to add to this, there is no shade at all, so gotta htfu.  About 28 miles past the lake, and about 2000 feet climbing later, we finally summit, and head into the town of Lower Lake, for much needed water and other refreshments.

I’ve been psyching myself out all day, knowing that we have to climb Loch Lomond.  I remember climbing that several years ago on Davis, and I had to stop in the middle of the climb.  This time, I didn’t have to, and felt really good climbing this.  I felt much better than the previous climb on Knoxville – Berryessa.  To me, the Knoxville-Berryessa climb was tougher than Loch Lomond, which topped out at 16%.

After descending Loch Lomond, we have a few slight bumps up Cobb Mountain, then a long 7% descent, then a steeper 11% descent.  I didn’t realize how high up we were until I saw the scenic overlook … wow, it’s a lot higher than I thought it was.

Now Dan’s route slip had us going on Hwy 175 all the way to the end.  One problem … Hwy 175 ended at Hwy 29 in Middltetown.  Uh oh … time to bring out my Droid X, and look it up on the map.  Wow, an actual emergency being solved my the map program on my Droid X.  Chalk one up to technology.

It turns out we had to make a left on Hwy 29, then a right onto Butts Canyon Road … yup, you got it … the road is called Butts Canyon Road.  Ok, I have a juvenile sense of humor.

This was a really nice road, with very little traffic on the last 13 miles of the ride.  I think there were 5 cars passing, and the road was pretty smooth.  It was mostly flat, or slight descent, and that’s when Dan started time trialing ahead of me.  I then started getting into a nice rhythm, keeping my cadence high, and eventually caught up to Dan.  I seriously thought he soft pedaled to wait for me.  It was a nice chase.  I felt really good at that point, and when we got to the final 11% climb, I just shifted down to my lowest gear, powered up, burying all the pain I was suffering through the day, and just let it out on the road.  That was a nice stretch … not sure if I’ll have the same energy on the double.

Finally got back to the cars a little before 6 pm.  Now that was a good tough ride.  Major kudos go to Tricia … hanging out with the boys.  She’s not even doing Knoxville Double, and doing this training ride with us.  Tough ride in mid-90 heat … she definitely htfu.  Congradulations Tricia … you did a great job.

Not sure if I’m ready, but it felt good being able to complete that loop with still some energy left over.

Strava upload of this ride can be found at http://www.strava.com/rides/176280

I was going to do Mt. Diablo the following day, but my old friend is meeting me for lunch in Palo Alto … oh darn, looks like I’ll have to miss that climb.  Some recovery ride, eh?  Still, even though it’s  a flat 30 miles, it was still 30 miles and with heat … was 95 F.