Sunday, June 05, 2011

Davis Double Century - Two Down, One To Go

Davis likes to call itself the most bicycle friendly town in the world. True to form, the support for this ride is exceptional and you feel right at home with your two-wheeler there. The Double Century heads west toward Napa Valley, north along it's eastern ridges toward Clear Lake, and back to Davis via Cache Creek.
The ride starts off flat leaving Davis, but once out of Winters, the climbs begin, endlessly for about 100 miles. You definitely need to train not just for milage but for climbs. The good news is once you hit mile 136, it's mostly downhill to flat. Riding at 4 a.m. in pitch-darkness, this is all you see. Luckily the turns were marked with blinking road hazard lights. My 400 lumen MityCross is enough candlepower to keep me out of trouble. I also have a helmet mounted light to read my cue sheet. The first hill climb at mile 40, up Cardiac Hill to the Monticello Dam with views of Putah Creek below.The warmth of the rising sun, breaking up the morning fog was a welcomed sight.This is going to be a good year for the wildflowers. The scenery is one of the reasons this is one of the most popular double centuries. There were about 600 riders this year. After cycling for 100 miles we got rewarded by the Cobb Mountain climb - 10 miles, 1,920 feet, 10-11% grade in the hot sun. The Davis Double is NOT a flat ride. The roads are also very rough for the whole ride!The last 10 mile climb up a double peaked Resurrection Hill.This was the reward for 136 miles of riding and 8,660 feet of climbing- a breathtaking 40 mile descent along the Cache River. The haze of the afternoon sky and the glow of the setting sun reminded me I had only a few more hours of daylight. The last 30 miles were flat, the winds were mostly agreeable, and I took advantage of a long train of riders behind an energetic tandem. I easily made it before dark. Total time was 16 hours, 20 minutes. Ride time was 14 hours, 44 minutes. There were very few traffic signals so most of the 2 hours 30 minutes stop time were at the 9 rest stops (average 18 minutes per stop). Turkey sandwich at mile 117, cup-noodles at mile 162, and boiled red potatoes at mile 181 was much appreciated. (Missed the chili and grilled cheese at the last rest stop.) Broke my speed record: Max speed 46.9 MPH down Pope Valley Road, average speed for ride was 13.5 MPH. Coasting time was only 19% of the ride. On the Hemet Double my coasting time was 26% -much more work on this double. Energy used: 10,000 kcal. Temperature ranged from 48 to 93F

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