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!