April 30, 2011

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, a beautiful day, clear blue skies, quiet country roads, a perfect day for a bike ride right? But what this picture does not show are the ridiculous winds that we had endured up to this point. Almost immediately the vicious winds broke the ride into 3 or 4 smaller groups and by mile 30 the entire ride was down to bunches of two’s and three’s. For the rest of the story click

The first access to services came at mile 45 and most riders stopped for some supplies. This also also offered an opportunity to regroup with other riders. We were now in the foothills and although still headed into the winds we got a little shelter from the brunt of it. There was only one significant climb in the morning, a couple of miles up Wildcat Canyon before our first official control at mile 65.

The Davis Bike Club has a reputation for putting on great events and their brevet series is no exception. They provided a great variety of food at several of the controls with enough variety for just about any riders tastes. This goes far above the level of support most people would expect at a brevet. It is not neccessary that they do this but it is definitely appreciated by all of the riders. .

Hwy 128 can at times, and in certain places be pretty busy, but this quiet stretch of it was cycling heaven! We rode for miles through quiet Oak Forests and alongside clear streams with only the occaisional passing car. This is rare enough in much of the country let alone in California. Good job DBC on the route selection! Along with my riding partner Anthony and another rider we cruised this section.

And then, suddenly in the middle of nowhere you come across a traffic signal? Not to worry, this one was just for a construction zone. We only had to wait for a few minutes before proceeding. This signal had the unique effect of consolidating the traffic to a group of cars, then nothing for 15 minutes. It was a nice if unintended consequence of what might have otherwise been an inconvenience!

The roue continued to our next control at Sonoma Lake County Park. This was essentially the far end of our route but it required a climb up to the lake to find a mysterious sign before returning to the control. Most riders complained about this seemingly un-neccessary addition. Pictured here is newly minted RBA Richard Stum from the Salt Lake Randonneurs. Richard has accomplished quite a lot since his first brevet in 2007.

The temps here reached their highs for the day in the upper 70’s, and for riders like myself it was wonderful. The winds had also diminished somewhat and we were enjoying the day! We were now at mile 131 and finally headed back home.

Richard and Anthony and I now grouped up and made for home. We had favorable if inconsistent tailwinds but made great time on the return. All of us being from Utah we enjoyed the many vinyards we passed thru. Springtime is much more advanced here than at home, green grass, wildflowers and all kind of fruit were a feast for our eyes. Except for the clock I could have justified stopping for some wine tasting!

The control at mile 165 had our drop bags and this would be the last control we would see in the daylight. Once again it was well stocked and the event staff did a great job taking care of us. Richard and Anthony and I were still riding together. There was really no draft all day with the shifting winds but our small group supported each other anyway. We set off again into the fading light.

Darkness fell before we hit control #6 at Moskowite Corner. We stopped briefly and added some warmer clothes before continuing on. We tackled the last climb of the day over Cardiac Hill and were pleased that it was not as tough as we had anticipated. Then, a great descent followed by some rollers on Pleasants Valley Rd and we soon pulled in to the last control on the route in Vacaville. This was a receipt control and it was after midnight. We got the usual looks from other quickie-mart customers who thought we were an odd sight. I don’t get it, what is strange about lycra-clad men sitting on the floor, eating a frozen burrito and drinking a red bull at midnight?

After Vacaville we left the rolling hills and were back in the valley which is characterized by long straight stretches and then a turn. We zigzagged our way back towards Davis over what is in daylight a pretty featureless stretch. At least the wind had died down now from the 35 mph we had experienced earlier in the day.

We finally pulled into the finish just before 2:00 am, our overall time was 19:55. I think that we were probably mid-pack on this ride but I have not seen the official results yet. Davis Bike Club does a great job with these events, both in route selection and how they take care of the riders. Now if they could just do something about the wind! Thanks to Richard and Anthony for their company during the day.