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.