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DBC’s Davis Double Century

Oof that was tough. Heat set in again and I was struggling at stops 6 and 7 similar to Hemet. Thankfully some ice in the jersey and soaking the skull cap in ice water eventually did the trick and I was able to bring it home. More details later.

When I first signed up to do this ride I had the full intention of doing it solo. Despite riding from Canada to Mexico to home, I still needed to prove to myself that I had the ability to complete a DC by myself. Kinda funny how our brains work that way ain’t it? As fate would have it, Robert and Caleb had to bail on the Hemet DC and that ride would become my solo DC.

Earlier in the year, Caleb had mentioned that he was looking for an event in May as a training run for RAW a few weeks later. I shot him a text asking if he was up for joining me. I was going regardless and already had a room with double queen beds. He said he was game and with that things were set.

The drive up was your typical road trip. I left the house early so I missed my usual Friday breakfast. After a quick stop to pick up Caleb we were off. Google had us taking some back roads to get there and the scenery was very pretty. We even got the opportunity to drive one of the passes that is a part of the Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge. It’s one of the doubles that Kant and Caleb are trying to talk me into doing. After making that climb in both directions in my truck, I’m not sure if that’s going to be a ride I tackle this year.

We arrived plenty early and got settled in straight away. I hung out in the room while Caleb went out for a quick shake down spin. Once he got back, and after a quick shower, we drove over to the Davis Veterans Memorial Center to check-in and receive our numbers. Once we were done there we drove over to a local joint named Froggy’s for a quick dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to see a few awards for “Best Overall” in a recent Davis Downtown Burger Battle. It’s funny that both of us settled on the same burger, the Cali Burger, with tots and a drink. I will say the burger and tots were great! After dinner we made our way back to the room and it didn’t take long for me to pass out.

Caleb and I had decided that we wanted to start around 5:00 from the Veterans Center which was the official start. Despite going to be early, both Caleb’s and my alarm going off simultaneously in the morning kinda wrecked me. I was in deep REM sleep in the middle of a crazy dream when they went off. I slowly but surely started getting ready. I’d picked up some canned Starbucks the night before in order to get my caffeine fix in and I devoured the overnight oats I’d brought along from the house.

We left the motel around 4:45 and made our way over to the start. It ended up taking us nearly 30 minutes because the course I’d made to get us there had us riding several trails and paths. I think normally this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but still being pitch black out made it more difficult than it needed to be. If there is a next time I think I’d stick to surface streets instead, especially considering how much cycling infrastructure there was.

Rolling up to the Veterans Center I ran inside to get Caleb and I checked in. I was surprised that we really didn’t have to check in if we didn’t want to and they were only doing check-ins for those who wanted their times recorded. So with that quickly out of the way Caleb and I were off the races.

It didn’t take long before we were out in the sticks. By mile six we were leaving town, and by mile 10 we were in farm country. The roads were nice and quiet, and any cars happening by gave us plenty of room. Caleb and I were able to ride side-by-side for the most part allowing us to chit chat for quite a while. I told him that riding along these quiet country roads was exactly like my tour. I absolutely love riding down the center of a road without a care in the world on a beautiful morning.

As we rode west along County Road 27 we had a few groups roll past us. There were riders of all ages, types, and experience levels out. While they went by, Caleb and I discussed how some of the riders in the back were going to blow themselves up, and, after a left onto County Road 89, we passed up a couple of those riders.

One of the earlier groups which Caleb and I had gone back and forth with along County Road 27, was made up of four ladies and one gentleman. The five of them were out ahead of us when we’d made the turn onto CR 89. However, we eventually caught two of the four ladies and they jumped on our wheels as we went around them and as well two other gentlemen who had tried to stay with the first fast group. We rolled into the small town of Winters with a decent sized group on our tails. We did catch up to the other three riders, two ladies and one gentleman, of the group of five and I joked as we all came together, “Hey we brought them back up to you, they’re your responsibility now.”

One of the two ladies we’d pulled replied with, “Oh no, you’re stuck with us now!”

That got a good laugh out of all of us. Unfortunately, for them at least, Caleb and I would peel off just outside of town for a quick bathroom leaving them to their own devices. Of course as luck would have it not three miles later we would pull into the first rest area. Caleb and I made it a quick one and rolled out less than five minutes later.

Leaving the first rest stop we started up a pair of climbs which started by taking us through the Putah Creek State Wildlife Area and our first glances at Lake Berryessa and Monticello Dam. This was when Caleb and I started passing up a solid handful of riders. I’m not sure if they were a part of that first group that blew by us or not, but either way I was, again, surprised at how many people there were riding this course.

It was also along this climb that I became acutely aware of how many jerseys associated with the California Triple Crown were being worn. There was the entire mix of jerseys on display. I’d wager the most popular was the 1,000 mile golden jersey, followed by the time trial finisher jersey, and the standard Triple Crown jersey rounding things out. I haven’t seen this many jerseys at any of the previous DCs this year.

Up until this point I’d done a decent job of keeping up with Caleb; however, once we started the descents down the other side the boy just took off like a rocket. I’ll be honest here, I’m not much of a descender, and I’m even worse on roads I’m not familiar with. Sure I may brave 45+ MPH down Democracy on my way to work, but that isn’t happening on a twisty canyon road. I’m always afraid of coming around a blind corner which also includes a decreasing radius turn. For me it isn’t worth the risk and I’ll just take it easy. Thing is that isn’t how Caleb rolls and it didn’t take long before he was well out of sight. It didn’t bother me because we’d talked about this exact thing earlier, and I’d told him specifically not to wait for me and to ride how he wants to ride. Besides with the number of riders out I was never really alone.

I would eventually catch up with Caleb at rest stop two at the Knoxville-Pope Canyon Bridge. This is when the number of riders really became apparent. There were bikes and riders everywhere in this little parking lot. I would guess there were at least 50 riders mulling about getting refueled before continuing on. It gave Caleb and I the chance to grab a couple bites, use the restroom, and snap a couple pictures before heading out ourselves.

Leaving the rest stop we were met with a gnarly climb straight out of the gate. A solid half-mile climb of some 200+ feet for an average of 7.6% with one section clocking in at 11%. I wondered if the stop was strategically placed to see if the organizers could get anyone to puke after trying to smash that climb.

Once again after a couple descents, Caleb was out stretching his legs again and I was solo. A short 30 miles later and I was rolling into Middletown for rest stop three and was reunited with Caleb again. I stopped for a quick 10 minute break and we left town together.

Maybe a mile and a half out of town is when we were met with the gravel section of the ride. It was a short four mile stretch of road. Some parts had some deep gravel that would try to swallow your tires, other parts were smooth and compact, while others were gnarly washboard. Again I tried my best to take things easy. I’d gone with Gatorskins instead of GP5Ks specifically for this section, and I’m glad I did. I spotted two different riders with flats. One of those was on tubeless and explained that it had taken three plugs to get his puncture to seal. On one of the rougher washboard sections I dropped a chain onto the inside of my crank which required me to stop, and with that it was the last time I saw Caleb until rest stop four.

Thankfully the gravel didn’t last forever, and once it was done we were dropped onto a quiet country road which had certainly seen better days. What the road lacked in smoothness it made up for in an utter lack of cars. Along the 15 mile section of the course I think I saw three cars coming in the opposite direction and was passed by a total of four of which one was a SAG car. The road surface, on the other hand, was atrocious. You were constantly dodging holes and cracks in the asphalt. I distinctly remember climbing miles 103-105 and weaving back and forth to avoid holes and patches on top of patches on top of more patches. Thank heaven there weren’t more cars on that road because I was all over the place except where a car would normally expect a bicycle.

The roads started to improve as I made my way towards Lower Lake and the lunch rest stop. Just before making the turn onto CA-29 I spotted a pair of riders stopped alongside the road. One of them was completely laid out. I slowed and checked in on them and the one still on his feet simply said, “Yeah he needed a quick break”. I gave a quick ok in reply and rode on. I was certainly starting to get warm, but I was surprised to see someone having such a hard time of the heat so early, relatively speaking, in the ride.

I made a minor routing error in Lower Lake trying to find lunch. I made a left turn a block early and I, and a few others I was with, had to double back on the route to arrive at the park for lunch. I pulled in to find a very well stocked spread. Then again every rest stop had been well stocked up to this point, but with this being the lunch stop it was just a little better off than the others. I caught up with Caleb and he was busy visiting with other peeps, and I pulled up a bench to get off my feet for a few minutes and have a bit to eat.

After lunch the ride was more of the same. I’d hang with Caleb for a bit and then he’d ride off. Stop five was at the top of the final climb. Grabbed a couple snacks before heading out. With all the climbing out of the way I was looking forward to a nice chill ride back to the finish.

Unfortunately, just before stop six I started feeling a little worse for wear. I’m not entirely sure if it was the heat, like in Hemet, or a lack of fueling. I pulled in and did my best to relax off my feet. Fearing it was the heat I did my best to get cooled off. I dunked my skull cap into a bowl of ice water and put it back on and threw some ice into my jersey. I ended up staying at that stop for nearly 30 minutes before I finally felt well enough to get back on the bike. I didn’t eat much, but I did manage to get a couple fig newtons down in that half hour.

I started feeling the same way as I came into stop seven, but even a little worse. A lot of the riding between stops six and seven were into an odd wind. It was a cross headwind coming in from just off to the right. Anytime I made a turn to ride east it felt like an amazing tailwind. Approaching stop seven were several zig zags that would have you into the headwind and then a tailwind and back again. I was thrilled when I finally got into stop seven and could recharge my batteries.

When I did Caleb, being the beast he is, looked fresh as ever and ready to go straight away. I let him know straight away that I was hurting and I’d be hanging out for a while before riding the last 20 miles. I refilled both of my bottles with straight water and grabbed a Coke out of the cooler. I found a cooler to sit down on to get off my feet for a bit. Similarly to Hemet, I was feeling completely gassed. Looking now I’m surprised that I ended up only staying for 20 minutes.

Finally feeling better I got myself put together and started making to roll out. While I was getting ready, I was approached by a young rider asking if she could roll back with me. Of course I agreed letting her know, jokingly, that I was going that direction anyway.

As we started rolling, I took the lead to allow her to have a wheel to draft from. We started chit chatting a bit and I tried my best to keep an eye on her so as to not blow her legs off. I’d learn River Bull was only 15 years old and this was her third year of double centuries. She’d already earned a Triple Crown back in ’22 and joined the Gold Thousand Mile Club in ’23. Hell she’s on the Board of Directors for the Santa Rosa Cycling Club for heaven’s sake. Quite the impressive start for one so young!

As we rode, I’d round a corner and she’d fall back a little and I’d let up so she could get back on. At one point she came up next to me and said, “Hey I think I may need to just stop and lay out in some grass for five or so minutes. It’s something I do to help me finish. You don’t have to wait up for me.”

I’d like to think that you all know me better than that. I’m not going to agree to ride to the finish with someone and then leave them along the side of the road. Of course that led to the typical back and forth argument that seems to always happen in these cases. The “weaker” rider insists that the “stronger” goes on without them. The “stronger” rider refuses to leave the “weaker” rider to go it alone. I felt a little more awkward in this “argument” because the other rider is a 15 year old girl. After a little more back and forth I said, “Hey, let’s ride to this final left turn which will give us a tailwind and see how it goes after that. We’ll just roll it easy.” She agreed, and it was at this point that I really started chewing her ear off in the hope that the more she talked the more it would distract her from wanting to stop. With 192 miles down, we made that final left turn and enjoyed the nice tailwind pushing us into town. We continued on with our conversation which is how I learned all the interesting facts about this amazing young woman I shared above.

Three miles later disaster would strike when this poor thing got sick and we had to stop. While we were talking I heard her gag a couple times and she professed that she was going to be sick. I looked over and saw her retching. I said stop and did as well alongside her. She jumped off her bike, I instinctively grabbed it from her and said I had it while she took a couple steps into the grass to finish. When she was finished she exclaimed, “Oh thank heaven. I’ve been waiting for that and I’m glad it’s done.”

As she walked back over to reclaim her bike, I jokingly said, “Well now you’ve given me one more thing to carry on these rides, breath mints.” That got a laugh out of her.

She grabbed one of her bottles, took in and spit out a mouthful and then said, “Ok let’s go.”

That girl jumped right back on that bike and rode in those last three miles like nothing had happened at all. When I shared this with Caleb he coined it a “puke-n-rally” from back in the days when he was in the service. I have to admit it totally applied because she certainly rallied and finished strong. I straight up told her, “I know people that would have called it a day right then and there, you’ve got guts to get back on that bike and finish.” It was cool to ride into the finish with her and to be able to meet her father who was waiting for her to come in. As we went to check-in I had a brief conversation with River’s father and let him know she was an awesome young lady.

I met up with Caleb and at first I was feeling like I wanted nothing more than to get back to the motel, lay down in bed, and die. Rolling into that final stop I could feel there was some potential for cramping. In talking with fellow riders it seems we all have certain “tells” when cramping might crop up, and I definitely had a few of those. When I rolled out with River, the legs were feeling ok and actually I was surprised how good I felt, but as we continued riding I started having the occasional cramp. Things got worse as we dialed things back and the absolute worst immediately after she was sick. Not sure if this is the same with everyone, but for me it seems that if I stop or go easy my cramps get worse or more frequent. Usually the best I can do if I’m cramping on the bike is to push through it. Regardless, the entire time I did my best to let on that everything was fine, but honestly having her with me gave me the motivation to keep going. The papa bear in me coming out. I guess you could say we helped each other finish.

Anyway, as I went inside and checked in to let the organizers know I was done and they recorded my time. One thing that helped change my mind about wanting to head straight back to the hotel was walking around the Veterans Center in only my socks. You see, one of the rules of the facility is no cycling shoes allowed inside. The cold floor seeping up through my socks and into my feet made me feel so much better. I grabbed Caleb and decided to grab a quick bite to eat before heading back to the hotel.

They had a nice spread of salad and burritos ready to go along with your soda of choice. After eating the first round, I packed up two more burrito halves into a pair of bowls and stuffed them into a jersey pocket. They just barely fit, but it would do to get me back to the room. I made a quick stop to say goodbye to River and she asked for my cell number in the event that we both end up at another event, which I’m pretty sure will happen looking at the DC calendar. With that done and dusted Caleb and I mounted up and rolled back to the room.

Overall an absolute banger of a DC. This is one I would definitely do again. Generally, the route is a huge loop with minimal out-and-back. Of the 202.13 miles I rode, 195.36 were unique. Less than seven miles being repeated! It definitely made it more enjoyable. Yes the roads were nightmarish in spots, but the scenery, lack of cars, and the turnout all make up for it.

Oh! I forgot to mention that each rest stop was stocked to the rafters with goodies. Plenty of food and several different sodas available. You never felt like you were “settling” for what was left over. They had large bottles of water in several locations as well as pre-mixed hydration, like Noom, in huge containers as well. Easily the best stocked DCs yet and living up to the advertised moniker of “one of the best supported double centuries in California”.

I’m bummed and frustrated that I nearly bonked again. Looking back at Hemet, I was at mile 167, 5,700 ft of elevation, and had been riding 9 hours and 20 minutes when I came into the fifth rest stop feeling woozy. On this ride, the same thing happened at mile 158, 8,400 ft of elevation, and having been in the saddle 9 hours and 40 minutes at rest stop six. Of course there were stops on both DCs immediately after that I also rolled into not feeling that great either. I’m not entirely sure if the cause was the heat or falling behind on my fueling. Eastern Sierra is right around the corner and I’ll be keeping a better track of what I’m eating in hopes of avoiding a similar outcome.

New bike fund: $59.90 (+$0.00)
🎷🐛 195.36 new miles — From
530 vehicles @ 2.6 per mile, 0.7 per minute, Speeds: 41.0 mph (avg), 72.7 mph (max) — by
Give your activities the names they deserve. — by
Mostly cloudy-Mostly sunny, 53°F-65°F, Feels like 53°F-63°F, Humidity 89%-60%, Wind SSE 4mph-SSW 8mph — by Report —
Weather Impact: 5.3%
Headwind: 63% @ 4.4-30mph
Longest Headwind: 01h 15m 14s
Air Speed: 17mph
Temp: 54.1-73.2°F
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —

Total distance: 202.25 mi
Max elevation: 2081 ft
Min elevation: 34 ft
Total climbing: 9629 ft
Total descent: -9609 ft
Total time: 15:04:35
Published inAdobo VeloCyclingDouble CenturyEvents

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