Monday, December 17, 2007

"So oftentimes it happens
that we live our life in chains
And we never even know
that we have the key"
Eagles - Already Gone

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Light Ride

Recipe for Holiday Spirit or My Idea for the Perfect Date

  1. Chicago Fire Deep Dish Pizza after a long ride to Winters
  2. Snuggling in the backyard, pre-ride social with my honey
  3. Burrito Racer Cruiser
  4. Midtown Sactown Christmas Lights Extravaganza
  5. A giant horde of Cyclists from all walks on well lit and tinseled beater bikes; ages 0-99?
  6. Grapa stop at the ultimate bike shrine garage
  7. Completely taking over the road and having motorist actually cheer for you

How could it get any better? Next year I want to go all out with the decorations!!

I just needed a kitty in my basket to be the Bella on our jerseys.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Learning Curve

I guess everyone who cycles carries around an image or sense of identity; roadie, mountain biker, trackee, cruiser, messenger, even the kid who rides the trike around the block. Or rather, I should say there are two identities-- the real you and the one you pretend to be for the day. Who hasn't pretended that Phil is narrating your mundane little training ride or business park crit? That's part of the fun of it. If you take it too seriously and they meet face to face, it can be frustrating.

For me, that image has evolved a lot over my life on two wheels. When I really started to get into riding back in 2001, I had a lot of limiters. I settled for being okay as someone who gets dropped in the hills on club rides and being happy just to finish. Sure I get the whole zen, "I'm just happy to be out there and have fun" idea, but there is a competitive side of me that wants to win. A primal urge to go fast.

I wanted to start racing the day I watched my ex race in a criterium for the first time. He had already told me "you better not start racing, or you know you'll take it too seriously." It was a big concern for him, feeling like it would take too much time in my already busy life. Wanting to be the good wife, I wanted to please and was careful about how into it I got and how much I let myself dream. I settled for being someone who races occasionally who doesn't really care how she finishes.

Now all of the limiters are off. The only thing holding me back is myself. I have decent bikes, a fantastic team, a man who supports me unconditionally who happens to be a great coach, and more knowledge skills and confidence. Now comes the real work. What do I want? How will I get there? How do I get the balance right between work, rest, and cycling? What is my new bike identity? What am I good at? Where can I realistically improve?

I know that I want to compete in races where I can use my strengths. I love sprinting!

I know that I want to finish more doubles (especially the Terrible Two).

I want to experiment at the track more (I get my ass royally kicked every time, but it's still fun and I wonder if I can get better at it).

It's always a work in progress.

We're so cute (which one is the evil twin?)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday Night Points Race at the Track

I was so excited to get back on the track after being away since August. The trip out there seems to get shorter as I get more familiar with the drive to San Jose. We got there a little after 3:00 and set up the mother of all chairs (seriously, it's like a portable couch). We had two hours to warm up and mess around as old friends filtered in.

It was a fund raiser for locals Dave McCook and Shelley Olds get to four UCI World Cup Track races. Shelley's mom and dad had free barbeque and a keg of Boont Amber Ale. The DJ played lots of classic funk mixed in with other great tunes. I brought about four dozen oatmeal cookies.

Almost nobody signed up for the B's race, so most of them moved up or down. The start of the C's race was really fast. I tried to follow the attack from the start and got dropped. Luckily, after the first sprint, things regrouped-- after all it was a 50 lap race. The second sprint proved fatal to me. The D.J. played AC/DC's "Shot Down in Flames" (how appropriate). I waited up for them to lap me so I could latch back on thanks to the relaxed format of the race. By then the race had blown apart. After that I settled into a pace I could hold. It was great to have some Bellas out cheering me on. I kept hearing the announcer saying Dino's name-- he was a lone wolf chasing down the leaders-- One of the few who didn't get lapped. I think he ended up second in points even with the little gear he put on to make it fair racing with us C's.

After that, we watched McCook, Shelley and Mike Hernandez toy with the A's for 100 laps while we chowed down on BBQ and hung out. It was a great night.

Annual Sac Thanksgiving Day Ride

I thought I was a little crazy for waking up at 6:30 on a holiday to venture out into the freezing cold (35 degrees). But apparently, I wasn't the only one with a screw loose. I had been warned about this ride-- raging testosterone, brutal attacks on the dirt section, and flats galore.

When we arrived at Bella Bru I saw a lot of familiar faces; river riders, the coffee republic crowd and some old friends. After a photo and warning from Vince about "not wanting to race", we rolled out with about 100 riders. It had to be a sight to see!

Somehow, most of the group stayed together through the rolling hills south east of sac. One of the things I LOVE about road riding is being whisked along in a big pack. I love the sounds, the colors, the speed and seeing the herd flow along the road like a school of fish.There were no Gwavel Twucks on White Wock Woad fortunately. Not that many people could do anything about our critical mass display. It stayed social and nicely paced, although I was dying towards the end. D-know did point out to me that I should have eaten another cliff bar.

I discovered a new favorite! Christmas flavored Gu (mint-chocolate). Yummy! For every box you buy, 10% is donated to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Pictures to come!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Recovery Day

After yesterday it was a nice day for a sloowww pedal on the parkway. 15 miles in an hour and a half listening to music. I did run into Kyle and ride a little faster than I should have, but it's not often that I get to ride with him. Recovery rides really help the muscles.

Thanksgiving for:

a week off
divorce paperwork completed
keeping the house
keeping my car
my health

Test 1... uh...Is this thing on?

Another great weekend in happy cycling land.

was Powertap testing on the canal free of cars. It's kind of like a video game where you are trying to beat your best score: Go as hard as you can for five minutes, 1 minute, add some sprints. The weather was unbelievably warm. I can feel the benefit of the killer interval workouts on the trainer. I like having the feedback of a great coach and numbers. Otherwise, it's so subjective. Why is it that you can feel horrible and crank out the numbers some days?

Pioneer trail on the mountain bike (part duex). My fears subsided after finally getting the pedals dialed in so that I could be confident in clicking out. I still managed a slow speed fall complete with sound effects (umph). So beautiful and fun. We managed to make it to the horse campground, about 32 miles round-trip. We'll get to the end eventually.

On another topic... Can you relate? (and there's more in the cupboard)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

More Death Valley Pics...

It's been five days, and I'm feeling like my old self again. I got back on the bike for the first time today and my legs felt really strong. The energy wasn't bad either. I appreciated the parkway knowing that I won't be seeing it in the daylight during the week for a while.

The Start

My Little Friend at Scotty's Castle

(Raising Mucho $$$$$ for The Lance Armstrong Foundation & a strong cyclist)

D-Train at Ubehebe (say it again)

Race Results and More Event Pictures

Monday, October 29, 2007

Death Valley Double: The Northern Route

Double #13, 197 miles, 9000' of Climbing, 13 hours and 20 minutes

1st Solo Woman Finisher! Woo-hoo!

Moon Units Excited to Start at Furnace Creek: Mile 0

The First Half: Mile 96
It was a very mild day in one of the hottest places on the planet. A lot of people started with arm warmers and it only reached the mid 70s. The overcast sky hid the famous stars of Death Valley that I have yet to see. I was feeling super until the D-train drilled it and left a whole pace-line crossed eyed and shattered in lawn chairs at the Nevada border. Luckily, I have a knack for recovering. We needed someone to set the pace.

Lunch was at Scotty's Castle (Party Pad in the Middle O' Nowhere): Mile 120
We passed a really fluffy coyote on the climb up to lunch. He wasn't concerned about us at all. I had to tip-toe (you can do that on a bike, right?) around a tarantula in the road. I felt a lot better after a turkey sandwich.

Onto Ubehebe Crater (OOO-BEH-HEEE-BEE-- Say it! It's FUN)! Mile 130
It was a quick out and back with bad roads and a little climbing. You feel like you're in a parallel universe. It looks like you are going downhill but you are going 8 miles per hour generating 250 watts. Trippy. It can really mess with your mind. I think our minds aren't built to process the scale of a landscape like this. I felt like a little ant at the beach.

Down the Hill to Stove Pipe Wells: Mile 170
Finally some downhill after all the climbing. Thanks to Adventure Corps, the water bottles were always full and we had a nice little group. I was starting to get a little tired of the concentration required for drafting though.

Hell's Gate: Mile 184
It was about dark when we hit the last climb of the day. 6.5 miles with a couple thousand feet of climbing. So dark and so quiet. I felt like I was going to have a seizure when a ride came up behind us with a flashing front light. I let him pass to get away from it. They should ban those things. It was peaceful after that. Nice pavement and not as freakin' scary as it sounds.

Finish Line: Mile 197
There was a big group cheering our arrival including a group of women who had ridden the century who wanted to talk to me. They asked me why I do these things. My answer was that it teaches you a lot about yourself and I'm a little nuts. This says it better than I could:

"But you, by the grace of an ordeal in the night which stripped you of all that was not intrinsic, you discovered a mysterious creature born of yourself. Great was this creature, and never shall you forget him."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "Wind, Sand, and Stars"

It was a long but beautiful trip home up Hwy. 395
I got to stop at one of my favorite places, The Whoa Nelly Deli at the mouth of Tioga Pass

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"You can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out … and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbrush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail, you'll see something, maybe."

Edward Abbey

Friday, October 19, 2007

Next Weekend...

It's a strange beautiful place... like God took a scouring pad to the Sierras. You feel like you don't quite belong in Death Valley. What better way to enjoy it than ride your bike through it?

Notice the tiny little rest stop in the background below. Yep, It's Badwater with the disco drag queen RAAM veteran crew (seriously). It's a crazy world folks.

I'm excited, can you tell? Check it out at Adventure Corps.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Not the Perfect Cycling Weekend...

Can I Make a New Year's Resolution in October?
So I'm cruising up the bike trail, spinning like I'm supposed to, all ready to put in 3-4 hours of riding. Doing my share of pulling for a change and what happens? After about and hour and a half, I'm drafting the boyfriend up the bike trail and before I can even tell what happens I go into his back wheel. He magically stays up and has no marks at all. A dog on leash went across a narrow part of the trail and he sat up. I don't know where my mind was or how it happened. I mean, I know the whole part about looking up the trail etc. I was so frustrated. I banged up my right hand and got a pretty good bruise on my left ankle. I trashed my bar tape, screwed up my front shifter a little and bent a spoke on boyfriend's wheel. I don't think I'm a bad cyclist, but sometimes I can be a total airhead. DAngIt!!!! We limp home and Dino spends time getting the bikes back in running shape. It's just not right. I'm grateful that I bounce back after these things but they have happened with more frequency this year. Maybe I need to quiet the mind...

Sunday Went Down the Toilet
So I have a leaky shut off valve thingy on one of my toilets. The saga started about 11:00 in the morning, about an hour after getting out of bed. Again the boyfriend saves the day. I was all prepared to try it myself with him in the background just in case (I didn't want to do it on my own) and he jumps in with his magic touch & mechanical mind. Three trips to the hardware store later, and the leak is much better and the toilet can be used again. It's a good thing, since it's been a thing on the list to get done before going to Death Valley.

The Future
It was 4:30ish and two foot ball games later when we were done. I thought about getting on the bike. My body feels stiff and sore and I don't feel very peppy. I still have that nagging training nazi in my head saying you need to get out there. I'm glad it's there. It's what makes me better. It's easier to dismiss for one day now. I know I have the fitness and ability to rock the Death Valley Double. That's what experience has taught me. Days down the toilet happen. The body is more resilient than we think. There will be a lot of future rockin' cycling weekends.

The independent woman in me wants to be self-sufficient and hates needing help. I can be pretty proud and stubborn, but sometimes you just have to say "Thank You" to the man in your life. One thing for sure, the boyfriend should get a medal, "best all around". How did I get so lucky?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nagging Little Doubts

Those little voices pop up in my head from time to time... I'm not as fast as I think I am... I'll never get my energy back... I'm going to get dropped... blah..blah...blah. Rubbish. The longer I ride the more I see the big picture. It's more like "Get enough sleep, quit hitting the espresso, rest, rest, rest, quit yer whining and ride hard!". At least that's what I needed to tell myself today. Savage. That's all.

P.S. How many of you consider yourselves a "social cyclist"? I am. Can't seem to get quite the same motivation without a wheel to chase. Sigh.. big group rides are ending soon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Knoxville Double Century

Double #12, 202 miles, 12,600 feet of climbing

On some level I think that these rides get easier-- at least mentally they are being familiar with the route and all. I learned a lot this year, despite it being the 5th time round at Kx-ville. It was an off day for me this year.

Never take riding conditions for granted. I get sucked into the "Well last year I did it this way and it worked" mentality. I started out the day with arm warmers, a vest and short fingered gloves. It was adequate clothing in Vacaville at 4:30 am. By the time we had made it over Mt. George and into the Napa Valley it was beautiful and 35 degrees. I rotated shoving my hands under my vest riding one handed until the feeling came back in one hand then switched to the next. Hot cocoa saved me at rest stop #1.

A "relaxed social ride" is a relative term.
Amongst the Ultra crowd, Knoxville is known for it's low pressure gathering of ultrafastiebadasses (extraterrestrials) and the best support people. The best of the best of the best and all who are tired after a long season of hammering as fast as possible for 200 miles. Kx-ville doesn't keep track of who finishes first or even record times. BUT, it's still a hard ride and it's still 200 miles. You can't take that for granted climbing Cobb Mountain after 110 miles.

Hard Core Bike Riders are Special People. It's a small world really and all. Tough, crazy and nice. I rode with my former 508 rival and friend E. Coli Kerin and saw Monarch Butterfly. Lee "Fuzzy" Mitchell did the squigley wave back at me. Luckily, I didn't see our arch nemesis Chupacabra who nicked us out back in '05 in the last 2 miles of a 512 mile race. The Quackcyclists put on the best show around. They really know how to take care of every little detail. They are fantastic!

Even if you are having a bad day, you should still be proud of getting out there and finishing. I still had fun even though I didn't finish by 8:00 like last year. Emotionally and mentally, I felt the strongest that I ever have and the company was bar none. It's a grand tradition and I can't wait 'till next year. Plus, how could I miss Lito's Hubcap Ranch in the Pope Valley?

By the Way- The 508 is this weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pioneer Trail

Saturday I rode part of the Pioneer Trail with my brother and Dino. It is the perfect trail for someone like me-- strong legs, stubborn but lacking the mtn. biking gene which allows one to relax and flow over the bumps. As usual I made all of the mistakes I normally do after spending months off the mtn. bike. Some things I've learned but always forget:

1. Do not brake before every obstacle.
2. Do not overgear before steep climbs and stall (for goshsakes you have track sprinter legs!!)
3. Don't forget to breath and relax the upper body.
4. Mtn. Bikes do not turn like 16lb. carbon fiber road bikes in criterium-- you have to turn the handle bars vs. lean hard
5. Everyone makes mistakes mtn. biking-- that's what makes it fun. There is such thing as a "do over" in mtn. biking, unlike the anal sport of road racing. Nothing like a good mtn. bike ride to remind you that you are a mortal and two wheels are about having FUN and not taking things too seriously.

It was raining lightly for the whole ride. I kept expecting members of the House of Flying Daggers to descend from the trees-- beautiful misty tall pines. The smell was wonderful. The climb was fine. The descent chilly. We made it 8 miles and turned around. I was starting to get spooked-- more technical, more wet, ack!! Luckily the boys were fine with turning around.

On a personal note, I had fun watching of my naturally athletic brother and stupendous boyfriend. They are really fun to mtn. bike with-- the whole ride+++ maybe make it to the lake at the end???? are a "do over" I hope.

Here's the map:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to the Bike Trail

Today we took a nice easy spin up the bike trail to Beales Point. The air had that nice crisp fall feel to it and the people watching was interesting. The squirrels were running around like crazy. It felt nice to take it slow after a busy week.

I took Monday off then rode two hours in the evening on the bike trial with lights. I like how peaceful it is on the trail (and cooler). It's interesting how much things change at night-- the animals are more active and the bugs are loud!

Wednesday as back to school night, so no riding. I was so tired on Thursday that the Thursday South River Ride was tough going. It's a little annoying how work and other stresses interfere with cycling energy. It doesn't seem like it should work that way.

Yesterday was another River Ride + up to Hazel on the bike trail. These rides have felt like great training for the Fall Doubles coming up. Tapping into the endurance systems.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sly Park to Carson Pass

I wasn't really thinking about what I was doing when I planned this ride. The idea was to get in some long climbing miles before the Knoxville Double Century coming up later this month. Well, yeah, I just like to spend all day on my bike climbing up hills looking at the beautiful scenery.

Reality set in on the first steeper pitch when I wasn't warmed up and the bugs swarmed me. I felt so much better back on my triple spinning up the hills. I hope someday that I won't need it! Power to weight ratio-- argh! Although, I have 65cm quads y'all!!

Once I settled in things were nice. The weather was perfect and there were very few cars on the Mormon Emigrant Pass. It's a LONG climb. It pretty much goes up for 25 miles to Hwy. 88. I never would have dreamed as a kid that I'd be riding my bike up there. I think of all the times I drove up to Kirkwood to ski.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the email from the ride leader that the ride had been canceled, but apparently I wasn't the only one. It was four of us for the day, including a very experienced strong cyclist named Dan I. who proved nice company for Dino and I for the day.

We stopped at the Kirkwood A-frame super mini smallest store on earth closet for snickers and Gatorade and I stopped questioning my sanity. I got a great view of my favorite ski run- "Sentinel Bowl".

Carson Pass was just another 5 miles and about 1000 feet of climbing (it seemed like). The top was beautiful. Dino won the hill climb!!! Raised his hands for the victory. The nice docents and the Kit Carson Visitor's Center gave us water even though it was against the rules and then we were in for a long long descent with a few climbs thrown in.

The rain started pit patting on us after a couple of miles... then it got harder... then the hail started in. Hmm.. I was starting to see a connection. The last time I rode up Carson Pass with Dino on the Death Ride two years ago it hailed on us. Coincidence? I think not!!! We anger the weather gods!

Eventually, we outran the storm and powered up the last climbs.

85 miles with 8-10,000 feet of climbing!! Time to eat lots and lots!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

River Ride

It was a perfectly lovely day on the River Ride today... Not much wind, some fasties driving it on the front at a safe and steady pace, lots of good gossip and idle chit chat. It hurt less then it normally does. I was amazed to see Rich Maile doing intervals on the side of the peleton of 50+ doing intervals from back to front while we were doing 28-30mph. I can only imagine doing something like that! My silver bike is back in action and running better than it ever has (or maybe I am). After the sprint, I had a good chat with Steve Rex who just finished PBP. He is amazing and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Tomorrow, we're off to ride the Mormon Emigrant Trail up to Carson Pass. I'm digging my new expanded cycling lifestyle.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dunnigan Hills Road Race -- August 17,2007

I really didn’t feel like racing yesterday morning. After the crash at Timpani, it just didn’t seem as important or fun. My knee felt okay and my boyfriend was racing, so I decided to give it a go anyway. I saw Ryan before her race and wished her the best. I didn’t expect to see any more bellas, but ran into Angela who was racing masters. A new Bella, April was in the Cat 4’s with me. A slew of Velogirls and Hill&Co ladies asked about Tracy Loper and wanted to express their concern. I gave them what I knew and told them about Tim’s blog.

I started towards the back with April, with the plan of moving up as soon as I could. April went up front early on a picked up the pace for the group. Man, she’s got some power. Unfortunately, I was stuck further back with no way out. The whole race was nerve-rackingly slow and bunchie. I was having post crash nerves, but reminded myself to relax and be loose. It was rough when several times there were blood-curdling screams from other girls when someone ran over a bottle in the feed zone and another girl swerved a little to avoid a pothole. I wanted to blast off the front and end the misery, but knew that time-trialing in the wind would be foolhardy after just 10 miles. “Just be patient” I had to tell myself. I got yelled at when I moved closer to the more stable front and stole a wheel. “You’re supposed to signal!” I heard and “pick a wheel”. I was really careful about how I stole it really—the old parallel parking maneuver—get right next to the person in front and slowly gradually move back on their wheel. There was even a big gap there for me to get into. Sigh.

We were neuter-ized 1k from the finish, right before the right hand turn over the overpass. Track season paid off—the minute the motorcycle pulled off I attacked hard and made it to the top with a few others. I was blocked for a minute and then poured on the gas to get 3rd place. It was a close one. Another Velo Promo t-shirt for the collection. Time to send in for my Cat 3 upgrade. Yay! Thanks to everyone for support, advice, and fun.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hellyer Track & Burlingame Criterium

On Saturday I went to the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose. It was a blast. I took the beginner session ($5) which lasted about four hours. Riding a fixed gear in a closed environment is a lot of fun. My favorite was the Australian Pursuit-- were everyone spreads out at the rail (top) of the velodrome. If someone passes you, you are out of the race. The officials yelled "out of the pool" or "off the ice!". It was like a roller coaster for bikes. You use the banking to speed up and slow down. My brother Logan would love it. I attatched video so you could get a sense of it. We had about 35 people and 5 mentors.

Today I raced at the Burlingame Criterium (Just south of the airport in San Fran). It was in a cute little downtown area with some technical corners. I had one teammate in my race, but she wasn't very strong. I did the same as the last race-- worked my way to the front and held off any attacks. It was a lot faster than the last race though. I made my personal best for wattage. I won a prime worth $25 and got third place overall in a field of 35! They had a podium ceremony and there were a lot of spectators. I got a nice prize bag including a bianchi t-shirt, bianchi pump, dura-ace 10 spd chain (worth $60), protech skin care sunscreen, a dura-ace hat, CO2 cartidge, and some coupons for free lip stuff. I think it totals to about $120 worth of stuff. YAY!!!
It was a lot of driving, but luckily the events were in the morning, so the traffic wasn't that bad and I got home early to rest. Today was a great day!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday Breakfast Ride

Katie Norton Grade Part III

Who: Sacramento Wheelmen Thursday Away Crew
Where: Auburn, Bowman Park and Ride to Beyond Dutch Flat up Norton Grade
What: 72 miles with 5500' of climbing

The History:
2002: 1989 Univega with Downtube shifters and no climbing gears = epic and excruciating, fear of not making it

2005: 2004 Felt F55 triple + 1 flat that took 30 minutes to fix+ 90 degrees = hard work and fun with good friends

2007: 2006 Felt 3C Carbon compact double + powertap + racing = a long beautiful ride with lots of climbing and my good friends including Tom Goodwin, 82 years old (team old go fast)

Today is a rest day! Off to the track on Saturday to try out my new toy-- Bianchi Pista Track Bike!!!! Burlingame Criterium Sunday.

Davis Double Ride Report 2007

Davis Double Report 2007

Why would anyone in their right mind want to ride their bike 200 miles in one day? For each person it’s probably different. For over three decades the Davis Bike club has put on the Davis Double Century, possibly the oldest and largest D.C. in the country. It’s an ultra-cycling beginner proving ground and family reunion or sorts for the small world of diehard ultra freaks. Over 1000 people each May spend between 8-17 hours peddling between Davis and Clear Lake.

I started doing it back in 2003 when centuries didn’t seem worth the entry fee, since I was doing them as training rides with the Sacramento Wheelmen anyway. After my first finish, I knew I was hooked. What I realize now is that they teach me how strong I am—not just physically, but they teach you what you are made of mentally and spiritually. I also loved the people. Yes, they were a bit off the deep end, but there was no room for whiners. You have to have a well developed sense of humor. The sense of accomplishment and doing something unique just couldn’t be matched.

This year proved to be a strange one. I planned on riding the coat-tails of Dino, my Cat 3/coach/uber-cyclist/boyfriend extraordinaire. I knew it would be a good day based on the fact that he has always been one of my favorite people to cycle with and is a steady strong wheel. We planned on meeting Steve Rex, builder of Rex Bicycles, and the mythical tandem train that everyone tries to stay with—last year they finished in nine hours.

When we met up with them, I spotted Fresno Bella, Lori Cherry-- one of my favorite people in the ultra scene and personal hero. Last year she won the Triple Crown Stage Race! We exchanged hugs and hellos and talked about the latest news. As we approached rest stop #1, I noticed the large group accumulating and make-shift road block. Davis bike club volunteers were turning us around. “There’s a fire up at Berryessa. We don’t know what’s going on, but word is that you’re going backwards.” This screwed up my plans for pacing and skipping rest-stops, but hey you have to go with the flow.

When it started climbing, we gave up on hanging with the tandems that sped us along at 24-27mph in the morning. I settled into a pace and felt my body start to wake up. We didn’t reach a rest stop until halfway up the first climb at mile 66, but I felt fine and remembered the cardinal rule of keeping hydrated and eating a lot.

The first half of the ride went quickly. Things got rough on the climb up Cobb mountain since I didn’t bring the gears I normally do. This was the first time doing a double on a double. Okay, it was a compact but it’s still not the same as having a 30X27! The ride down the hill was fun and we playfully harassed old friends Gilbert and Hooshang riding tandem. We also met up with Keith Cook, who always amazes me with how consistently he rides.

After lunch, I met my old nemesis, Resurrection—the last climb of the day. Why oh why does it always get me? I really don’t know. It’s not that steep or long. I felt trashed, but just kept peddling. I was bummed that I didn’t know where my brother Logan was—he had flatted early in the ride and wasn’t quite trained well enough. I told him that I was going for a personal best, but still didn’t like leaving him in the dust. Dino cheered me up with his wise cracks and encouragement.

At the bottom of the hill, it was time for some rollers and then the dreaded last 40 miles of flats. Time for the big pain riding the Dino-train. The big pace-lines of past years were nowhere to be seen. It was mostly us two in the wind. I never look at the miles, especially at this point in the ride. The time goes quickly, but the miles creep by. One rider came up and asked us if we were part of a tandem team after Dino pointed out a bump. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that this year, I would have been able to pay for my entry fee! Okay, I was getting grouchy, but I had an excuse after 170 miles.

I was so happy when I saw the Davis City Limit signs! People were cheering and clapping as riders finished. Even though I had been eating all day long, I gulped down ice cream and apple crisp, barbequed chicken and 7-ups. I finished a little bit faster than last year—11 hours on the bike, 17.7 mph average (big thanks to Dino). Overall it was a great ride. The Davis Bike Club did a great job saving the ride and providing good support.