Note: Again with the no pictures. Over the R60 thing, but I was still figuring it would be a speedy(er) ride, and, having done a couple of rides lately sans camera, realized that there are some nice things about one less thing to think about – both during the ride and then the processing afterwards. Although it is fun to look through them, and the pictures sometimes jog my memory of things I might otherwise have forgotten. Hmn… not sure if that’s good or bad.
Hah. Oh yeah, there was wind at the start. Not sure if that was the earlier start time of 0600, it being later in the year or what. I was having a hard time, even with hiding behind – or to the side of for the crosswinds – anyone I could, and thinking DANG it’s windy when Max said it was nothing like the wind last year. Alrighty then. At one point things were shuffling around and the group started to split at me, but Jason covered me and I was able to dig enough to close the gap. OK get it together breathebreathebreathe holycrap that was hard breathe recover let it go whew
At some point either the wind died down or we somehow got out of its path, at least it did not seem quite so punitive. Whoa! Sheepies. An entire orchard full. Lots. of. Sheep. At least 7. Maybe even two times 7. Don’t make me do math. Left – NOT right – turn on Pleasants Valley and (secret control) then down through the outskirts of Fairfield. Back into the countryside oh this is on Knoxville Double Century, but before daybreak. Nice to actually see it. Very pretty and still green.
The road got a tiny bit rollery and um yeah, not sure if it was mental or physical, but I just wasn’t up for staying with the lead group. Had a bit of solo time – oh yeah, eat and drink – then got scooped up by Kris and the Dixon tandem. The sun was definitely up now, and warm. <Insert appropriate collective noun> of Ferraris out for a drive. Later it was a BMW club.
121 was open again, but only a single lane, and, after a brief debate, we decided to wait until the light was green our direction. OK, time to divest. Er. de-vest. For part of the traffic control area there was lane +, but the severest slide section had the K rail right at one lane, and it would have been a squeeze if a car were coming the other way. As it was, we just made it through when the light turned to allow oncoming traffic.
Deb and Mark were set up at the Church at Moskowite Corner. Heh. Church of Rotating Mass. I was surprised that the lead group – Max, Jason, Metin, GB, Barry, Anson, and two others (non-SFRs, pretty sure) – was still there. I asked Max, How long have you been here? 13 minutes – of course he knows. 13 minutes?! (Who are you and what have you done with Max?) “I’m trying to be social,” was his retort. Ah, new and different challenges.
Paperwork, PB&J, fluid rearrangement. When I got out of the bathroom everyone but the Dixons were gone. Not sure if anyone else would have waited if I’d asked, they’d seemed like they were on the brink of rolling out when we came in, and I’d decided I didn’t need the pressure today. So there. It was pretty sweet to have the tandem to tag along with though.
Back out on 128, a bit of a climb, then left – NOT right – and descended Sage Canyon. Did I say pretty sweet? No, that was SUPER sweet to follow the tandem down that. Total swoopy speed rush thankyouverymuch. The glow almost lasted down the interminable Silverado Trail to the next stop at Calistoga.
GB and the 2 non-SFRs were still there, and we all rolled out together. LEFT – not right (Terrible Two course) on Tubbs Lane. The climb up to the county line split us up a bit. I felt a pin prick on my thigh on the descent. Dangit, did I get stung? (It had been sort of a buggy morning – some close calls but I managed to not swallow any.) If so, the offender hadn’t stuck around, but I popped a Benedryl just in case. No systemic symptoms, just a small pink very slightly itchy bump. Hmn.
From the descent and subsequent flat to downward trending, the tandem scooped everyone back up again, and we continued on and over to Dry Creek Valley and up to Lake Sonoma. I was a little surprised to not see anyone heading back to Davis.
They – the lead group, that is – were at the lunch control, but had rolled out by the time we returned from our mile jaunt (half-mile out-and-back, well, slightly longer for one of the non-SFRs, but GB whistled at him) to the turn-around. Although he seemed to be everywhere on the course throughout the day, I kept forgetting to ask Dan, the RBA what that vestigial seeming little leg is about. Anyway, there was a very nice couple at the stop who wanted to make everyone sandwiches. I just had some turkey and cheese and chips and salsa. The salty-crispy really hit the spot.
Dan said, “the good news is you’re more than halfway.” One of the non-SFR guys quipped, “the bad news is I’ve used way more than half my energy.” From lunch it was retrace our steps to Calistoga and then Moskowite Corner. GB and the non-SFRs had gotten rolling before the Dixons and I did. No one else had come in while we were at the stop, but we saw many of the other 400k riders on Dry Creek Road. I’d been thinking maybe a beer stop at Jimtown Store, but GB had made the point of covering as much ground as possible during daylight, which, once he made it did sound like a good one.
Such a beautiful day to be out on the bike it was! ohhey that was El Toro (going in the opposite direction.) Then, a little further along 128, I could sense someone pulling up alongside me, they weren’t saying anything, and it felt awful close. WTH?! I looked over, GAH! It’s MarC, (Moons) one of the SRCC hard men, with 3 others in tow. They’d done the Pine Flat Challenge, with a side of the Geysers for good measure, and were on their way back to Santa Rosa. A pleasant chat with him helped the miles to Chalk Hill Road, where they peeled off, pass quickly. As they took their exit MarC instructed the Dixons to look after me.
We saw Charlie, the Redding Randonneur, around the plum tree tunnel, and then the lanterne rouge (at least at that time) tandem just finishing the climb up on the Napa side of the county line. I was feeling a bit scattered from the effort of the morning and then riding in the heat (OK, it wasn’t really THAT hot, but warmer than I’ve ridden in for a while) – visions of cold slices of watermelon and popsicles – and couldn’t quite focus to keep up with the Dixons on the descent. Oops, I should have warned them that might happen, but to just go on, since it wasn’t much further to the stop in Calistoga. It looked like they were soft pedaling once it flattened out, so I hurried to catch up and after the fact said no worries about them going on. Jonathan said, “but we told MarC we’d take care of you.” “Aw. Well, I don’t think that was any sort of binding commandment.”
Saw GB and the guys briefly at the Calistoga stop. GB said he was seeing 92 degrees on his Garmin, but I don’t think it was quite that toasty. Nothing seemed particularly appetizing, but I knew I needed to keep the calories coming in. I asked for half a PB&J. (Which, had I been doing it, I would have taken one piece of bread, cut it in half – or maybe not even that – just put the PB on one side and J on the other and folded it, but the nice young man made a whole sandwich and then, when I re-iterated that I just wanted half, cut half for me. Well, I suppose the other half got eaten by someone else.) I was still thinking about popsicles, and that we would be going by a little market… but I ended up having some soda, which wasn’t quite the same, but close enough.
Rewound the Silverado Trail, and then up what was the superdooperswoopyfun descent of Sage Canyon in the morning. Past the intersection of make the correct choice here or you will be sad, a little more climbing and then a nice restorative descent. Continued on 128 and back at Moskowite Corner. Shift change, no more Deb and Mark, but a nice fellow who offered us virgin sandwiches. Real virgins?! Oh, that was just his way of saying that no one who’d come through before us had had one, so the cheese and meats were unopened. Hmn… let’s see. Oh, cream cheese, that actually sounded good, and I spread a thick slug on a piece of bread. Yes, that hit the spot. And THEN Dan appeared with THE RICE BALLS and SOY SAUCE. I really wanted to eat the whole box, but didn’t.
Back out on the road and oh yeah a super fast descent, I couldn’t quite hang on to the tandem. A slight gap opened, I was spun out and … there they go. The road bumped up after Markley Cove and I was able to catch them. Whew. Fortunately the big truck/boat trailer traffic was not bad, and the few we did see were polite. The one vehicle incident we had was actually a sedan – Camry or such – that made a poor timing choice about going wide to pass us on a horseshoe curve, and then, when they realized there was an oncoming car, cut back into the lane and couldn’t make the turn so went wide right in front of the tandem. Fortunately no collision, but not nice.
It was twilight, and a sunset was trying to happen, but there wasn’t much color. We stopped by the Lake Berryessa Dam to reflective gear and light up.
Whoa! Fresh pavement. They’ve been busy today, I don’t remember seeing this on the outbound. Ohduh, we didn’t come this way on the outbound.
Cruised along 128 to Pleasants Valley. OK, THIS (past Putah Creek Road) we DID do this morning. Yeah, you could go on to Fairfield, go out for another lap… um, sure, I’ll get right on that.
I was just thinking how country it still seemed and then we rolled through a neighborhood, hit an intersection with a traffic light, and there was the penultimate control. Oh Thank Heaven. 7-11, that would be. As we were parking the bikes some guy asked where we rode from. Um, Davis. The scenic way.
YES!!! They had the meat wrapped cheese sticks! Oh that really hit the spot. And some water, and we were all ready to finish this thing off. Well, I know I was. Twenty something ish miles to go? I wasn’t exactly sure, and so cannot do rando math on the fly. Jonathan predicted 2300 ETA, if not before. That sounded good to me, I’d never finished a 400k on the same calendar day I’d started it, but had been kinda shooting for that once I’d shelved the R60 idea.
It seemed like we were going back the same direction we’d come. OK, not the same road, but yeah, Dan had said it would be north out of Vacaville. For navigation’s sake I was super glad to be with folks who knew the route. I did try to guess which direction we’d go at intersections as we were getting to them, and for the most part I was correct, but I would have been doing a lot of second-guessing and cue sheet consulting if I’d been flying solo.
Now that the sun was down, the air was getting chilly, some places quite so, but then we would ride through pockets that were still warm. Crazy.
Started thinking I was seeing a bike tail light up ahead of us but wasn’t quite sure. Eventually we caught it – yes, one of the non-SFRs – who seemed very thankful to have a wheel to follow the rest of the way in. OH! Fireworks. Off in the distance, no idea quite where or what for. Hmn, no, this wasn’t the road with the church on it, but we did turn left. Then a bit later it was the road with the church on it and we were on the last stretch back to the Park-N-Ride.
Final categorized climb over the overpass, and rolled back in for a total elapsed time of 16:30. Again PR for the course and the distance. Max and Jason were still there, after having rolled in first, along with Metin, and EricW was on special welcoming committee with beer detail, which was super awesome. Hung out for a while chatting – well there went the bonus time of finishing the same day! Well spent though, and another fine time on the bicycle.
Ride date: April 16, 2016