Cruising Chiles - Pope Valley Road

Cruising Chiles – Pope Valley Road

Here I am back at the Davis DC with riding partners Joe and Craig, the “Utah Boys”. This year is the 45th annual of the event and will be my 13th participation in it. Some in our group wanted to do this ride all in daylight, so we chose a start time of 6:00 am, just at sunrise. The only problem was that officially, all riders were required to start by 5:15 am! We rolled into the start area at 6:00 am only to find a ghost town, everything deserted, no one home. Well, all we could do was start anyway and catch up with the ride right?

Joe at the "top of the DC"

Joe at the “top of the DC”

We kept a pretty sporting pace for the first 25 miles to the rest stop #1 at Farnham Ranch. When we got there we did see another rider or two but we didn’t feel like we were back in the ride yet. Time to put the hammer down and do some catching up! Before rest stop #2 we started to catch some riders who were actually moving but it was not time to pat ourselves on the back yet! By rest stop #3 we felt that we were back in the ride but not where we should be! Rolling into rest stop #4, mile 95 at Middleton we finally felt like we had caught back up to the ride.

This year the ride resumed its classical route with the climb up Big Canyon instead of the less desirable route up over Cobb Mountain. Big Canyon Road was dropped from the route several years ago when the pavement got very bad. Then the county unpaved about a 4 mile section of the road and it looked like that road was gone for good. This year however the DBC decided to go for it and use Big Canyon Road, gravel or not! I personally thought it would be fine, but I know that the thought of riding dirt roads bothered a lot of riders. It turned out just fine! The un-pavee’ was mostly on a flat section and there was very little traffic. Most road bikes can handle these different road surfaces better than their riders so you can’t really blame the road if you have difficulty! Hey, it was no L’Eroica.


Departing the last rest at Farnham Ranch

For this ride I was back on my Pegoretti Palo Santo. It is mostly a Campy Record equipped bike but has a Veloce compact crank set. With a 29 tooth rear cassette it had more than enough gears to get me through the day. This bike is a pleasure to ride and you rarely see another Pego at an event!

I have always thought that this event had some of the better support out there among events. Club supported events almost always do a better job of support than the commercial type. This year however was different and the support was very much sub-par. Although there were a huge number of volunteers at the event and driving SAG support the rest stops were lacking. There was very little variety of food, particularly at the first three stops and later in the ride they ran out of sodas and lunch meat. We supplemented our needs at local food shops but you don’t really expect to have to do this at a paid event! It may be a few years before I come back to ride this double again. Thanks for the effort Davis but this year you came up short!