Tag Archives: Davis

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.

Davis … Hot, Brutal, and First DNF

Every year, a precursor to summer comes around to Davis, as flocks of fit, athletic riders either finish their triple crown, start their triple crown, or end their hopes of completing a triple crown with the Davis Double.

FYI, a double is 200 miles … yes 200 miles. But Davis is set up so that you do all your climbing from mile 30 through 135, then it’s all downhill and tailwind from there.

Got to Davis Friday night, around 6:30 pm, and registered (as the group is leaving at 4 am). It was really nice to have pre-ride dinner at the same place where registration took place. This meant not having to drive to a restaurant, wait to get seated, wait for food, then getting back to the hotel and possibly getting to bed by 10 or 11 pm. This had to have saved 2 hours in the preparation over night (especially if we are to get up at 2:30 am). Major kudos to Davis for just doing this little bit.

With temps expected to be in high 90’s, and low 100’s, heat and hydration would become an issue. With this in mind, I decided to bring my camelback. I could also stuff a lot of junk in there.

As promised, we all took off at 4 am. The goal was to finish the ride in daylight. We started out in pitch blackness, which was a challenge in itself. Since we took off before the supported start time, directions could be challenging. Normally, a yellow flashing light at an intersection would warn you about a turn, but the turn to the first rest stop was not there when we got there. This added an extra 1-2 miles to our ride. When we made the U-turn, we did see the flashing light, and the flagman. We all said “That wasn’t there when we first approached it. Major failure on that course marshall!”

Probably the most famous rider in the double is this little girl, who rode stoker on the tandem with her dad. Someone asked her dad if she contributed any power during the ride, and he said no. That’s quite impressive for him to pull the whole load, especially with all the climbs we did.

After a short stop, we continued, and got into a nice paceline. I was riding behind Pete, and didn’t call out a big 6 inch pothole, that I couldn’t avoid. Next thing ya know, 1 mile later, I flatted. The group went on ahead, while I fix my flat. I figure I should be able to catch up with them later … NOT!!! Dang it … if only the pothole was called out!

Sun came out as we do our first climb, up Monticello Dam. As always, fantastic view as we pass it.

I eventually caught up with Dan (LanceOldStrong), my roommate at the second rest stop. Good … I didn’t want to ride the rest of the double solo, and neither did he.

We rode together, trading leads for the next 50 miles or so. Everything was going fine, until just before reaching the rest stop before the Cobb Mountain climb. Two things happened … first, a tandem flatted on a really fast descent, and wound up in a ditch on the other side of the road. They eventually had to be airlifted. Hope they come out okay. Second, on the flat stretch coming into the 4th rest stop, I leg cramps up. This was the first time my leg cramps up like that … oh, this is not good, especially with the toughest part of the ride coming up. I had to stop off to the side of the road, and Dan comes along to help out with some very useful stretching exercise, and e-caps.

After a bit of rest, and re-fueling, we’re off to Cobb. Dan went up ahead, and that’s the last I saw of him. I struggle up Cobb Mountain climb, and the heat at this point was just getting unbearable. Not only was I battling leg cramps, and heat, but Cobb is 17% at some stretches. It got so bad, that I had to abandon my pride and get off the bike, and yes, walk it for about 1000 yards. There were about 20 others who suffered the same fate. In fact, one of the SAG drivers saw so many suffering, she parked her car halfway up, with water, and to douse our heads with water. That felt great. Why is it that the end is a lot further along than you were anticipating it to be?

I finally caught up with Dan at the lunch stop, but he was ready to roll, so we bid goodbye at that point. I was really hurting bad, and I just needed to take a long rest here, and more importantly, eat. So I devoured a full bowl of pasta salad, plus a turkey and roast beef sandwich. I was hoping this would be enough to take me through Resurrection, but it was not in the cards. Resurrection is not that tough a hill, but it is long and more gradual. The heat was getting to its peak in the low 100’s, and that was draining my energy. I was in my granny gear, and still couldn’t get more than 3 mph. I ended up stopping a few more times on that climb, and it was not even in the shade.

It’s strange, I know it’s hot, and need to stay hydrated, but no matter what I did, after taking a swig, my mouth still had this cotton dry feeling. It’s like no matter how much fluids I intake, it wouldn’t go in. It was also a bad sign that I didn’t have to pee. I know I was drinking, as I did have to keep filling up my camelback, but I was still not staying hydrated enough. I wasn’t cramping anymore, but I still couldn’t get any power into my legs. I just couldn’t turn the crank at all. All the preparations I made … Wine Country in the rain, Primavera in the heat, and it all didn’t prepare me for this. I guess I didn’t have enough heat training.

At the Resurrection rest stop, I decided I cannot go anymore. I know there is a little down, then a little up, then it’s 60 miles downhill or tailwind all the way back to the finish, so the climbing for the most part was done. I normally would have just gone on ahead, but my leg was cramping so badly, and energy was so low, I just couldn’t go. Major failure here … first time I’ve ever DNF’d and SAGged in a ride. What’s worse, I’m sagging in, wearing a Triple Crown jersey. Oh well, I guess it’s better to save it for another day. This just means no triple crown this year. The exact same sentiments were heard from other riders, and they were wearing Death Ride and Terrible Two jerseys!

I did hook up with John (Dauphin) on the rest stops. Good to see him for a change. He was not suffering as bad as I was, but he was still willing to accept a spritz from the gal at the rest stop. I’m not sure who had more fun, the spritzer or John?

It was a long day … 136 miles and 7500 feet climbing, and my leg still under recovery, so no riding today.