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2003 Davis Double Century Ride Report
(Saturday, May 17 in Davis, CA.)

See also my photo album from this ride

After an unsuccessful Devl Mountain Double, I was ready to do a double I knew I could finish, having done it twice before. The weather forecast was favorable, and in any case, was sure to be better than the extreme heat of two years ago. I took a 2/3 day at work and drove up to Davis, arriving at 6'ish. My hotel proved to be pretty nice (Best Western University Lodge), and conveniently situated, a few blocks from downtown Davis, and just over a mile from the ride start. I walked downtown to find a bike shop that sells Hammer products, and succeeded in short order (that town has a lot of bike stores!). I was knowingly breaking every covenant of ultramarathon cycling by changing my diet, gloves, and jacket, all untested, before the ride, but oh well. After purchasing some endurolytes, sustained energy, and hammer gel, I drove over to the ride start at Davis High School to register. Pre-registration was quick and painless, and I briefly pondered buying the benefit pasta feed dinner, but decided to eat downtown instead. After a yummy roasted pasilla burrito and some last-minute bike adjustments, I hit the sack at 10'ish. I didn't sleep too terribly well as usual, and woke up at 3:40. I brewed coffee, suited up, and rolled out at 4:13.

Sunrise This was my first ride with my powerful Niterider light (which I'd had for almost 18 months, but had yet to use), and although it wasn't really needed (my backup light was sufficient for the well-lit city streets), I switched it on anyways to see how it worked, and found that the 15W beam is bright! I quickly arrived at Davis High School, and not finding any crowds bunched up, continued on to join the course proper. I rode with a few other folks, one of whom turned out to be the same guy I rode out with two years ago, riding a single-speed beach cruiser(!!). He said this was his twenty-something'th Davis Double. Before too long I arrived at the first rest stop, at the Forbes' Home (23mi), about half a mile past the usual first stop (the rest stops were shuffled around a little bit this year). There were no restrooms available here much to everyone's dismay. I didn't hear the straight story, but the staffers at this stop looked very unhappy about the state of things (understandably, as the Davis Bike Club has a (very well-deserved) reputation to uphold). Many folks were "watering" nearby trees, but I didn't think it was a good idea to pee on the trees of the nice folks who let the ride use their driveway for a rest stop. After mixing up another batch of Sustained Energy and Hammer Gel, I dropped off my good light for later pickup (this stop doubled as the 9th rest stop at mile 178), removed my outer jacket (which had proved to wick moisture amazingly well for a waterproof layer), and hit the road.

Soon after setting out, I hopped onto a fast, fast, fast paceline that flew through Winters and turned onto SR128. This paceline, while mostly a good speed, was inconsistent, waffling between 23 & 30mph, which made it alternately too-easy and too-hard for me. As we approached the foot of the climb to Cardiac Hill, I dropped off the back of the group to stop and hydrate the local flora. The road turned gently upwards as I climbed, mostly alone, to rest stop #2 at the Montecello Dam of Lake Berryessa (45mi) . There were no restrooms here either, which was a bit distressing, but whatcha gonna do? I again mixed up my liquid food, ditched my arm warmers and vest, and rode on before too much time elapsed.

'Cardiac Hill' on Highway 128 Cardiac Hill isn't a difficult climb, but my quads were protesting mildly, probably because I wasn't fully recovered from backpacking the previous weekend. After cresting Cardiac, it was a pleasant ride continuing along Hwy. 128 past Lake Berryessa and over gently rolling hills. Everything was green and lush, and there were abundant wildflowers alongside the road. I soon arrived at rest stop 3 on Lower Chiles Valley Rd. (64mi). Arrgh, no bathrooms here either! Someone really screwed the pooch on the porta-potty delivery! The staffers said there were bathrooms at the next stop, though, only 12 non-hilly miles away. After some light munching, I mixed up another batch of Sustained Energy and Hammer Gel, popped a few Endurolytes, stretched, and hit the road.

Pope Valley This next stretch of the ride is very lovely as it goes along the rolling green hills and vineyards of first Chiles Valley, then Pope Valley. There weren't too many riders around at this point, and I enjoyed riding in relative solitude. There were poppies, vetch, and lupine all along much of the road. I pulled into rest stop 4 at Pope Valley Grange Hall (76mi) soon after leaving the previous stop, since its a short and easy ride between them. I joined the (long'ish) queue for the restrooms, stretched, made some more raspberry-flavored calorie concoction, down a couple more Endurolyte pills, and prepared to ride out when I saw my friend Deb pulling in - cool! Deb's great riding company and I hadn't seen her since the Solvang Century in early March. She also spends much, much less time at rest stops than I do, so she was ready to go after just a couple minutes.

We rode out, continuing on Pope Valley Road, past shiny Hubcap Heaven, and into Lake County. I seem to always suffer from long-term memory loss about the climb up Honey Hill. Its not particularly difficult, but the dastardly thing always sneaks up on me when I'm not expecting a hill! Before too long, though, we crested the hill and rode past the lovely Detert Reservoir, pregnant from the recent rains. I was feeling good on the flat-to-rolling sections, so I rode on ahead so I could get in a bit more stretching yet still be ready to leave when Deb was. There were again lots of flowers lining the road, mostly vetch and lupine (white, blue, and miniature), there was little traffic, and the weather was perfect, I'd say 77°F'ish. This is about as good as cycling gets! After a couple of turns, I pulled into Middletown High School (95mi). I again made my caloric brew, which was thus far proving to be quite effective at keeping me energetic and non-hungry, again munched a little on the solid food provided, especially boiled potatoes, which are always appreciated on any bike ride, and drank a can of V8 (also welcome on any ultra-distance ride). I found Deb and we rolled out together toward the second notable climb of the day, Big Canyon.

Big Canyon The lower stretch of Big Canyon passed very quickly due almost entirely to having Deb to talk to (or is that "talk at"?). Before too terribly long, we came to rest stop #6 (105mi), about 2/3 of the way up the climb. On a hot day, this stop is a godsend, but today it wasn't very necessary (especially since they didn't have restrooms), but we stopped there anyways to have a cold soda and stretch a little. We were soon back on the road, continuing the climb up Big Canyon. Its a gradual climb to the top, with really pretty views down into the valleys and out to the jagged hilltops beyond. I stopped a couple of times to take pics of the scenery and Deb, passed the Photocrazy photographer, and before too long, arrived at the "Top of the DC" as chalk on the road proclaimed. A passing rider asked what "DC" meant. It was, afterall, only painted on the road at every single turn for the past 106 miles (It stands for "Double Century" if you're still wondering)! It was a rolling descent from there, past the place my seatpost binder bolt broke last year, and on to a fast and fun descent on Seigler Canyon (much more fun as a descent in pleasant weather than it was as a climb in near-100°F weather on last year's Knoxville DC, the last time I was on this road), and into the town of Lower Lake. A couple of turns later and I pulled into lunch at Lower Lake High School (114mi). There was a long line for food (which I didn't really want anyways, having kept my belly full of synthetic foodstuff), so I just had a soda and did some yoga stretches while Deb queued up. It felt really good to do some longer and deeper stretching on the grass and soak in the lovely sun. Deb finished her lunch and introduced me to her friend Kim who was riding a 600km brevet - basically doing the Davis Double twice around, what a superstud (or, alternately, lunatic - you decide)! She'd ridden 314mi already and looked pretty fresh. We rolled out with Kim's friend Jose towards the last climb of the day, "the Resurrection."

Highway 20, 'the Resurrection' After a few turns through Lower Lake, we headed north on Hwy. 53. This is my least favorite part of the ride, as 53 is long and straight and not all that scenic other than a brief peek of Clearlake. It also has quite heavy traffic, much of it towing boats. Jose & I rode ahead, which suited me, as I was eager to get this stretch of road behind me. Before too long we turned on Hwy. 20 and began the 3-tier climb up the Resurrection. The first climb is short and not difficult, and is followed by a very fun and very fast downhill where I hit my max speed for this ride, 49.8mph. Then the climbing begins in earnest. Its long'ish, but never terribly steep. My quads were decidedly angry by now, despite many attempts to appease them with stretching, but I slogged onwards, confident that the rest stop near the summit would soon arrive. I felt hot, although I doubt that it was very warm temperature-wise. An unseasonably cold and wet April left me with no riding above 70°F, so even these temps, probably in the low 80s, felt more sweltering than they should have. After a little longer than I'd have liked, I arrived at the rest stop (133mi). I had another V8, mixed up my last batch of Sustained Energy, and snacked a bit again. Deb soon pulled in and soon left - I figured I'd see her at the next stop. More stretching and then it was off to enjoy the remaining 70 miles of downhill and flat.

Well, not quite. There's a small third climb after the summit of the Resurrection to the Colusa County line. Its not much, but I didn't like it anyways. After getting over that, its really pretty much all downhill back to the central valley. It was a fun and pretty fast descent on Hwy. 20, then onto Hwy 16. This is a beautiful road as it follows Cache Creek. A paceline led by 3 tandems went by, and I couldn't resist the urge to hop on. We fairly flew down the highway at around 30mph. Jose hopped on when we passed him, as did several other riders until we had a pretty long paceline going. The tandems rotated on the front, leaving all of us singletons a large and very welcome draft. It was great watching the miles melt away at a 2-minute-mile pace! After a while, holding onto the line began to wear on me, so I dropped off the back and contented myself with speeds in the low-20s, and the opportunity to take a few pictures. The highway dropped out of the hills into the very small town of Rumsey, and in five miles, I arrived at rest stop 8 at the Guinda Fire Station (160mi). I found Deb again, but she left quickly as usual. I spent a bit more time at this stop, doing some more deep stretching and snacking. Since I was out of Sustained Energy, I had to partake of the provided Cytomax, which is sweeter than I prefer, but whatever - its calories! I munched on some apples and chips, had half of a sprite, and headed out.

Highway 16 The road went past the Cache Creek Casino and through the small town of Capay, and traffic increased greatly - there were a TON of cars on the road for some reason. They were all courteous, however, which was refreshing. I rode on another paceline for a litle ways. This wasn't the friendliest line I've ridden on, but it melted away the traffic'y miles quickly until we turned off on a farm road and I dropped back. A few miles on numbered rural roads brought me to rest stop #9, serving double-duty as the first and ninth stop. My cellphone rang a minute before I pulled in, so I let it go to voicemail, figuring it was Sarah, and I'd call her back when I was stopped. It was her, seeing how I was doing, and after a brief chat, I did my usual rest stop routine of saying goodbye to Deb as she left :), stretching, and eating. Sometime during the day, the missing porta-potties had turned up. I picked up my (very unnecessary, as it was plenty light, and would be for another 90 minutes or so) lights, and headed on my merry way. Just twenty miles to go!

I wanted to see if I could finish in under 13 hours of on-bike time. This seemed like a bit of a stretch, but possibly do-able, so I rode at a pretty good clip. A couple miles out, I caught onto a paceline led by another tandem that must've been involved in a crash, as the stoker's shorts were missing a large'ish patch over her bum! The cheeky paceline pulled me all the way into Davis, bypassing the questionably-useful rest stop 10, which is just 7 miles from the ride finish. I fell off the back again as we entered the Davis town limits, as I was getting very tired. My lights weren't necessary, but I turned them on anyways just because I could, and pulled into Davis High School at 8:20, with a few minutes under 13 hours on-bike, but I wouldn't finish the whole ride in under 13 hours, as I still had a mile and a half back to the hotel, but close enough!

The post-ride food was a bit disspointing, just soup, salad, and some dessert-looking dishes. I wasn't hugely hungry anyways, so I didn't linger much after checking in and getting my patch and t-shirt. I rode quickly back to my hotel, and finally saw my odometer roll over 200 miles! Although I'd done six double centuries before this, none had actually measured 200+ miles on my odometer, so this was very exciting for me! After showering, calling my folks and having a beer, I walked across the street to Baker's Square and had a chicken fried steak with gravy (hey, I earned it!) and crashed out hard upon returning to my hotel.

This was a really fun ride. My first three-peat of a double made the scenery less exciting, but it was much greener than I've seen it before, and it was nice to do a double where I could mostly just ride and have fun, as opposed to worrying about being able/allowed to finish. Except for the bathroom debacle and somewhat thin post-ride food, the Davis Bike Club put on a fantastic event as usual!

Ride Stats:
Distance: 200.8mi
Total Time: 16h 27m
On-bike Time: 13h 4m
Average Speed: 15.3mph
Average Speed
(including stops):
12.2mph
Maximum Speed: 49.8mph
Calories Burned: 11,816
Total Climbing: ~7,200'

Ride Rating:
Difficulty: 4
Support: 3 - other than lack of restrooms at first three stops and somewhat unfulfilling post-ride food (which I didn't really want anyways), no complaints
Food: 3
Route: 4.5 - getting more familiar, but still very pretty, and especially green this year
Overall: 4


Last modified 08 February, 2011 MST
Copyright © 2009 Adam R. Paul
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