I entered last week with one thing in mind: Be ready for Saturday.
Tuesday’s ride was meant to be a slow 20 miles just to keep my legs spinning. I promptly scrapped that idea and headed back to the scene of our failed Everest attempt, Hillcrest Road.
I figured I would have enough days before the weekend for my legs to recover so I hammered to the top of Pineridge trying to beat the rain shower I could see coming straight at me. I stayed dry and pedaled back home satisfied with a good workout.
Once again, Wednesday found Mark and I back out in Jacksonville to join a few other hearty souls for a good climb up John’s Peak. While the weather was questionable enough to keep a lot of people from joining us we managed to escape any rain until we were just about back at our cars. It was a slow, easy climbing kind of ride and the legs were feeling good. With 2 days left I was in good shape.
Taking Thursday and Friday off, I was ready to tackle part 2 of my California Triple Crown goal, The Davis Double.
I rolled out of Davis at just past 5, ready for a big day of riding and excited to improve on my last double. Sadly, after only 6 miles of riding, I arrived at the scene of an accident involving a rider and a semi. The rider lost. I was immediately pissed at the driver of the truck, but soon found out the rider ran a stop sign while the truck had the right of way and no time to stop. My heart goes out to the rider’s family, as well as the driver of the semi. It won’t be easy for anyone involved.
Pretty shaken up, I decided to push on. Actually, the thought of bailing on the ride lasted about 30 seconds. I realize every time I ride on the road, I’m taking a chance. It’s what I love to do and this ride was no different. Don’t think about it. Just pedal. So I did.
About 10 minutes later a line of riders passed me and I caught on the tail end. I suddenly went from pushing into the wind at 18 mph solo to cruising with a big group at 24. YEAH!! I do prefer riding solo, but sometimes easier is better and it wasn’t long before we rode into Winters and the first rest stop 25 miles into the ride.
I grabbed half a banana, topped off my water bottle and glanced around to see if the group was reforming. It wasn’t. Ready to go, I took off again on my own and started towards Lake Berryessa where the first climb of the day started. After so much flat riding up to this point I was happy to get out of the saddle and I pushed past a lot of people leisurely pedaling up the grade.
By the time I hit rest stop #3 it was time to lose the jacket and start enjoying the sun!
Aside from the wind it was a perfect day. Temps were in the low 70s by the end of the ride and were never chilly even at 5 am.
One of the coolest parts of the ride was a 4 mile gravel section. I guess we are more used to riding gravel ’round these parts (I thank Thom for organizing his Honey Badger and Flahute rides as it’s helped my riding abilities greatly) ’cause I probably passed 100 people on that section. Half of them were complaining. I was just pedaling and smiling! Awesome fun!
The lunch stop was in Lower Lake. I had ridden 100 miles, felt pretty dang good and was ready for the last big climb. Riding along Highway 20 was not enjoyable. Basically, if you’ve ever driven East between Clear Lake and Williams, you know there aren’t many passing lanes. When you are lucky enough to find one, it’s usually on a steep hill. That’s where we had to ride.
Finally, I reached Highway 16 and started the long trek back along Cache Creek and back to civilization.
65 miles worth of 15 mph headwinds and horrible traffic later I was cruising through the college town of Davis once again. I was definitely spent, but improved on my Joshua Tree Double time by quite a bit, this time finishing in just over 12 hours, 40 minutes.
Having completed 2 of the 3 doubles, I can honestly say it’s just about as hard as I though it would be. Both times I’ve had moments where I wondered why I was doing such a stupid thing as riding this many miles and trying to do it at a decent pace.
You know what? Carpe Diem. Sieze the day. It may be your last. Or, for my fellow rednecks out there, YOLO!!
Now, I have two weeks until the first race in the Oregon Triple Crown. Oregon Gran Fondo, here I come!