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50th Davis Double Ride Report (Belated)

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50th Davis Double Ride Report (Belated)

Old 05-29-19, 05:58 PM
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Lanceoldstrong
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50th Davis Double Ride Report (Belated)

Cccorlew asked me to write an old school Bike Forums ride report, anybody remember that custom?
So, here it is...

Lance Oldstrong's 50th Davis Double Ride Report.

I wanted this 50th Davis Double to be special and memorable, be careful what you wish for. This ride took as long, and took more out of me, than a DMD (Devil Mountain Double) Late in the ride it occurred to me to think of it as another DMD, the Davis Meteorology Double because of the almost continuous pouring rain and often strong winds.

I had put the call out to 4 of the strongest cyclists I know, to form a team for this.
They turned out to be smarter than me.

Weeks ago with a little, or a lot, of soul searching they all passed on doing this double century.

It turned out that blood is thicker than common sense. One day I was walking down a street in Santa Cruz after visiting my favorite bike shop, Spokesman Bicycles. My nephew, Peter, lives near Santa Cruz and I heard his familiar voice call my name from across the street.

He's a very strong cyclist, all glowing face, and eyes gleaming passionate about everything cycling. When he crossed the street to chat, he was excited to tell me that he was planning to do the Davis Double as his first double century. I played it cool with an "Oh, really, eh? Maybe we could do it together."

Fast forward to the night before the event, I said we should turn key at 4:00 a.m. in my van to get to the Start/Finish in time for a 4:30 start. The next morning Peter marveled at how I started the engine at 3:59. I couldn't have done it without his positive outlook and trust in my process for a clean predawn double century routine.

We started the ride at 4:26 a.m. and we were ready for whatever the elements would throw at us. For days we'd known the forecast was rain all day, and through the night, with rain to start at 10 that morning.

Bike Setups: we both had excellent lights, front and rear, from Cygolite.

I’d set my bike up with a nice set of SKS s-board and s-blade fenders, from Spokesman Bicycles.

From two Ass Savers. I made a custom extended one for Peter by successfully cutting down one and gluing it to the other. I also found an Ass Saver type front board fender for him in my bin of spare this and thats.

My wardrobe:

Neoprene swim cap stretched taught over helmet, thin wool ear flap cap under helmet, hard shell cycling rain jacket, fleece lined long sleeve jersey, wool base layer, fleece lined full length bib tights, neoprene cycling gloves, neoprene ankle boot shoe covers, and thick wool socks.

Peter's wardrobe:
Very thick wool cap under helmet, regular short sleeve jersey, soft shell rain jacket, 2 base layers, cycling shorts, knee warmers, arm warmers, soft full finger fabric cycling gloves, cotton socks, and a pair of "wind/dry" ankle boot shoe covers I’d loaned him, not water proof but at least an insulating layer.

With these kits we were as prepared as we could be with what we had available.

We had no rain until 10:00 a.m. and the highlights of that first 58 miles to the Cappell Valley Fire Station Rest Stop were: a very pretty sunrise, light wind, Hubcap Ranch, and Cardiac Hill at Lake Berryessa.

From early on and until Cardiac, Peter and I traded smooth consistent 5 minute pulls, and hooked onto 4 very fast high quality pace lines.

2 of these blew past us at that perfect, "I think I could catch on" pace, where if you hesitate, you don't catch on. Peter has great instincts and both times said, "Daniel, do you want to try to catch on to that one?” Well those who know me, know that's like throwing a stick for a dog. Both times I launched powerful long range lead outs to close down 200m of the 300m catch. Then I'd say, "Okay Peter, you finish it off!" He'd come off my wheel and tow me beautifully up the last 100m to the target pace line.

With this being my 6th Davis, I know the course by heart and while in the final fast pace line we caught, I knew my last chance to do a payback pull was coming soon. It’d have to be during the perfect rollers right before I'd get dropped on Cardiac. As the rollers approached, I surged from eighth to come along side the leader, and said, "Mind if I take a pull?" He said sure. So, Oldstrong the Tank Engine put down a proper 3 minute pull at the pace line's well established 20-21 mph.

The line leader hopped on my wheel as soon as I pulled in front of him to begin my pull. After about 45 seconds of studying my unwavering form, proper junk pointing, and my enormous roluer's muscular ass, he laughingly mimicked my "Mind, If I take a pull?" with a chuckle that was the highest praise.

After my pull, I told him it was my pleasure and that I don't like to be a pace line barnacle, then I drifted back to eighth position. Then “voila!" Cardiac came up right on cue, and I was dropped by the younger and stronger.

Speaking of younger and stronger, Peter (27 years younger than me), got my blessing to go with them and wait for me on the flats at the end of some rollers beyond Cardiac. I stayed on it as hard as I could and I passed lots of folks as I worked it out on Cardiac, and the following rollers. Peter and I teamed up again on the flats, and we enjoyed Hubcap Ranch before getting to the 2nd rest top at mile 58. Here I enjoyed a donut with chocolate icing and blue sprinkles!

58 miles, with 1 stop, in just under 4 hours. 16 mph average speed, sure does show the power of our 2 man team work when we were isolated, and the benefit of grabbing those 4 paces lines.

The rain began as the first drops started to fall on us at the donut rest stop. I untied my tightly rolled rain jacket from my bars and got it on while the pavement was still mostly dry, but just a few with rain spots.

Peter has the same unwavering positive outlook on life as I do, and he naturally took to a vital concept I’d proposed the night before as our context for the ride. I borrowed it from a recent post by Alison Tetrick on her Instagram:

Forward Progess, she wrote; While cycling as in life, if your'e making forward progress, your'e on track. She went on to say if your'e not making forward progress be kind to yourself and gently ask, "What can I do to restore forward progress?"

With each pedal stroke, at every rest stop, fixing punctures (Peter had one), at a couple very quick stops for minor taillight mount mishaps, when we were sad that Middletown High School was not in fact the further out Lunch Stop at Lower Lake High School, at each we focused on Forward Progress. Either: Yes/How to Keep it, or
No/How to get it back. We always asked ourselves are actions we now undertake going to contribute to forward progress?
This was our touchstone and our life saver.

Peter kept saying he'd never known about the existence or beauty of this vast sparsely populated area north and west of Sacramento. It was a revelation to him. He's travelled all over the country by bike, and he said it reminded him of the Sierras, or parts of Idaho. His awe and enjoyment even in the rain and cold also helped keep my spirits high all day.

We absolutely railed the 4 miles of muddy gravel road that rolled through Big Canyon in between Middle Town and Lower Lake. We floated over the ruts and around the, who knows how deep, water filled potholes.

We were driving in that, just hard enough to float with power, gear they use in Paris-Roubaix.

I sure was glad that installing the fenders on my bike Thursday had put me nose close to my carbon rims. It was then I noticed the rear rim had a break from a horribly hard , full speed pothole strike the weekend before. So I mounted up brand new 28mm GP5000 tubeless tires on my indestructible HED Belgium+ rims. The tires measured almost 31mm mounted, making me super confident in the rain on the dirt/gravel road.

At the 112 mile point we reached the Lower Lake Lunch Stop, and the welcome warmth of a high school cafeteria with a furnace set to 11. I had a hot cup'o noddles. and some fig newtons. A big lunch doesn't sit well in my tummy, and I fuel all ride long with Perpetuem. Peter went full sandwich, chips, fruit, pasta salad, cake, and a Coke. Each of our menus did the trick for us.

Peter got to Lower Lake before me because I gave him my blessing and release to go, go fast, get to that warm cafeteria and get fed. He didn't carry food on bike or in bottles, and so all day he was kickin' it old school with semi-binge fueling at the rest stops.

When I got to Lower Lake, Peter was resting and digesting at a table where he'd saved me a spot. As I sat, he told me they'd pulled him over to the medical table where a nurse gave him an evaluation for hypothermia, and cleared him: contingent on him warming, resting, eating, and checking in with her again before he left. No clearance would have meant his ride was over.

As we prepared to leave, I saw the nurse watching me strip Peter strip to bare skin so he could put on a dry base layer from his big seat bag, and two tightly cinched Hefty trash bags before his jersey, arm warmers and jacket went back on.

Then the nurse, came up and asked him if I was his father, or his uncle. She was very perceptive of my manor and as I’d been hovering about him to make sure his kit was going back on with the right layers in the right order. Once established that I was his uncle and I would look out for him, she cleared him to leave.

As an aside, I really enjoyed messing with other riders at the lunch stop. My famously bad left knee got super sore and stiff on this cold wet ride. Off the bike I could barely walk. I had to limp lock legged on it like it was a rifle stock. Again and again, as I filled bottles, walked to the restrooms, returned to the bike to get my Garmin so could charge it (etc.), nice innocent shocked people would ask me, "What happened to you leg?"
My answer was, "Oh, I tore it up when I crashed... (pregnant pause), …on my skateboard when I was 14, and I need a knee replacement." Their looks as I'd let them dangle a second on the word "crashed" were priceless.

From there we were blessed with 2 hours of no rain. No rain and Resurrection Grade made for some more nice warming.
We really lucked out, because the 10 mile descent after Resurrection had us worried it would freeze us. Especially since the nurse at Lower Lake had warned us about not getting cocky the we were so nice and warm on the climb, and to keep the descent in mind. She also made sure we really believed we’d be up to the task of the final 40 miles of the course that’d be all headwind (more on those 40 miles later). I really liked that nurse at Lower Lake. I've seen her on several of my other Davis Doubles. I wish I knew her name to thank her in this post.

After Resurrection and the descent, we traded pulls smoothly until, again, it was time to release Peter to go 27 years younger than me speed to hurry on up to the Guinda Fire Station Rest Stop. He got to experience his first Davis Double Black Hole of "Will Guinda ever get here?” “Does Guinda even exist?” “Ok, this is a cruel joke, there is no Guinda!" and finally “Alleluia it's Guinda!"

We teamed up again at Guinda, and I really enjoyed Peter's delight in his first encounter with the mile, or so, of superb red brick bike path along the commercial main street of Guinda.

The run into to the infamous Cache Creek Casino segment had some of the best rollers all day, and we were hard charging out of the saddle warriors. Peter liked the Bob Marley lyrics that I sang through here:
"Get up stand up, stand up for your rights. Get up stand up, don't give up the fight."

The deep gorge below us was dramatic and on this wet day in a wet year, we were treated to sights of the white water rapids that made Cache Creek look like the Snake River in Idaho.

Then came what the route slip warns is:
“Cache Creek Casino. USE CAUTION: Heavy traffic and no shoulder next 7 miles.”
We got there about 7:00 p.m. and still had daylight. On this frigid rainy day there was almost no traffic, so we didn't suffer the nervousness and close passes here I've had in other Davis Doubles.

We skipped the next to last rest stop at Forbes Ranch with a determination to press on for the famous firefighter recipe chili that's been served by the engine company at the West Plainfield Fire Station for 50 years.

On the way to the chili, we took a wrong turn in the dark on a road that became a dead end. Maybe the road closed signs should have tipped us off. The brain doesn't work normally at mile 180 when you're tired, hungry, emotionally tapped out, and border line hypothermic.

At the dead end, we turned around, laughing about how the official 197.9 mile route would now be a proper 200 for us.

After we got back on course, we entered the second of the famous Davis Double Black Holes on the longest straightest Twilight Zone road possible. Good old Road 27. "Will Plainfield ever get here?” “Does Plainfield even exist?” “Ok, this is a cruel joke, there is no Plainfield!" "Who even wants chili anyway?" and finally “Alleluia it's the Plainfield Fire Station!"

For the final time I insisted on giving Peter my blessing and release to sprint for warmth and chili, but this time with the added insistence that he not wait for me there to catch up. Just get food, get warm, and finish (Plainfield is 8 miles from the Davis Start/Finish).

He really didn't want to leave me, but I knew he really needed to. I told him, "Peter, I love you. I only want what's best for you. You need to ride as hard as your 27 years younger than me can propel you, and get warm from the full gas effort. Then get in that warm fire station and get a hot cup of chili."

I went on reassure him that this was my 6th Davis, my 16th double century, and that my experience would get me in.

Now began the darkest darkness on the edge of town for me. The hardest rain of the entire event began to pelt me and the wind was lashing me with 17 mph crosswind.

I was carried by the watch words, "Foward Progress" and two pearls of wisdom I got from Sarah Burke, one of the strongest riders I know.

1) In early days she told me that at the end of a double century, or an even longer Randoneuring event, if you need to be in your easiest gear because that all you've got left, be proud. There is honor in turning over the hardest gear you can. If that is 50x11, so be it, but there is equal honor in 34x36 if that’s hardest gear you can push.

2) On my first of two Devil Mountain Doubles, Sarah was the lone volunteer at a water station on San Antonio Valley Road on the way to the back side of Hamilton (Tour of California raced there this week. I was trained and lean, yet very tired and on my limit on that ride. Sarah told me when you're on you're limit the secret is, "If a pedal pops up, push it back down.'

As the Plainfield Black Hole got to it's darkest and most mysterious, I had to pee so badly it was affecting my concentration. I found myself weaving all over the road, and decided I needed to get off the bike for minute. I stopped at a ranch driveway and gingerly dismounted. As I nearly fainted, I put my back to the wind, and nearly fainted a second time as I carefully leaned my bike against my back. There with my bibs pulled down a bit, and Oldstrong Junior exposed to the elements, I couldn't get anything to start happening in the plumbing department. At least I almost fainted for a 3rd time.

I knew I had to get back on the bike and let muscle memory bring me on into Plainfield for chili and warmth. So I carefully got going again.

Fair Warning: if you don't care to read about a spiritual dimension of this ride.
Skip the next paragraph (easily identified since I've flagged it with --> to <--

- -> Here now, I recalled frequently that I had prayed at 4:20 a.m. and made an offering of the impending suffering to be endured on this ride for the praise and glory of the name of God, and for the repose of the soul of someone dear to both me and Peter. This sustained me and reminded me that in my personal spiritual tradition ones suffering can be a powerful offering, and achieve some good in the world. Keeping this offering in mind kept me from complaining to myself, and kept my spirits supernaturally elevated during the extreme toll now being taken out of me. <- -

Ok,back to a conventional ride report.

When I saw an airfield with a control tower and rotating beacon in the distance, I knew I was getting close to Plainfield. I remembered it cleverly named, because it is an airfield on a plain. Plainfield, get it?
The fire station's location is adjacent to the the airfield, right next to hangers for the small planes kept there by there owners.

At the fire station, volunteers dish out the delicious chili, no beans, but choice of meat or vegetarian. They also serve grilled cheese sandwiches, choice of cheddar or swiss. I got a full cup of meat chili and a half sandwich of each variety.

I was shivering so much and shaking so much, that the chili was sloshing around, and the white bread sandwiches were flopping to and fro.

A volunteer took the chili and sandwiches from me, and guided my stiff legged limp to a folding metal chair. Then she put a green wool army blanket around my back and shoulders and another across my lap. I sat there waiting for the shaking to ease enough for me to manage a spoon. Less dexterity was required for sandwiches, so I ate eat grilled cheese while I trembled.

This was in the high ceiling-ed garege of the fire station with red fire engines behind us. A fireman came through a door and asked if I wanted to come into the actual fire house with him where it was nice and warm. I said, no thanks and that I really wanted to be in and out. He smiled invitingly and said, "C'mon it's really warm, we've got comfy leather couches, you don't know what your'e missing." So I agreed, he helped me up and carried my chili.

He was a really good salesman, but I should have read the fine print.
Yes it was really warm, and the leather couch was super comfy, but I really should have read the fine print.

As soon as I sat down I was swarmed by paramedics and Gina the ER nurse. They put an oxygen saturation sensor clamp on my finger, took my pulse, had me strip to the waist, and took my core temperature with a handheld forward looking infrared gun: it was 96°. (98.6 = normal)

I said. “I'm fine, I'm an experienced rider, it's only 8 miles, let me get this chili in me and I'll go. Once I see the streetlights at the Davis city limits I'll get a burst of energy.”

Gina told me 96° means if I go anywhere, I'm going to the ER.
They put more blankets on me and chemical heating pouches under each arm.
l managed to eat all the chili, with Gina's encouragement.
After a 15 minutes or so, the infrared gun read my core temp had warmed up to 97°
(Remember, 98.6 is normal)

Gina asked me how long it would take me to cover the 8 miles to Davis.
I, somewhat optimistically, told her 30 minutes.
She said, “Promise me you can do it in 20, and I'll clear you to leave.”
She also gave me her number, and said,
“If I don't get a text in 20 minutes I'm rolling an engine company and an ambulance to come get you. You do not want to get that bill in your mailbox."

Right before I left Plainfield, I called Mrs. O and asked her to start our van and crank the heater in ten minutes. Gina approved.

After leaving Plainfield I was doing better. At 20 minutes, I could see Davis streetlights but they were still 3/4 mile away.
At 22 minutes I had a foot down under a streetlight, and texted Gina to let her know I wasn't at the finish, but I was just a few blocks way.

She immediately texted back that she wanted a “proof of life” photo of me in the van with Mrs. O as soon as I got there.

I finished at 11:30-ish, and by 11:40 I sent a relived Gina her proof of life photo.

TLDR: Great ride with my nephew, rain, was close to an ER trip for hypothermia.

Last edited by Lanceoldstrong; 05-30-19 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:03 PM
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Glad I lurked around the forum today.

Mr. Oldstrong you are amazing.
This was a fun ride report to read. I am glad you finished safe and sound (although some may question the latter). I am impressed by your resilience and strength.
It also reminded me of old good times riding with fellows from this forum. I only rode 3 doubles, one was the Davis Double with you. A fine souvenir.
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Old 05-30-19, 08:41 AM
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Thanks G! Riding that Davis DC with you is a fond memory.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:22 AM
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Any thoughts I may have had about maybe doing the DD someday ... have been erased; the files over-written, and the drive de-fragmented. No way I'm that tough.

My most exalted kudos Daniel.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:30 AM
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He's a very strong cyclist, all glowing face, and eyes gleaming passionate about everything cycling.
We are all like that in Santa Cruz.

If it is any consolation, the weather was equally bad that day, here.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:42 AM
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I didn't even do my normal ride that day.
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Old 05-30-19, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post

My most exalted kudos Daniel.
I’m honored, thank you.
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Old 05-30-19, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I didn't even do my normal ride that day.
My dogs had to be shoved out of the front door. Before it started to rain, it was 37°F.

That ride probably would have wasted me under ideal conditions.
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Old 05-31-19, 03:59 PM
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My excuse for not doing Davis Double ... I was in Southern California, viewing ATOC. Baldy Ski Lifts ... it was epic. And yes, even the pros say it was hard ... but hey, I'm used to it
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Old 06-01-19, 05:56 AM
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Great to see a ride report on this board again. Especially one this epic. And it does remind me of our BF glory days when there was less social media competition. Way to roll OldStrong!
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Old 06-02-19, 12:05 PM
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Wow, chapeau to you, Mr O, that was epic. The duration of the ride was about the same as my first DD about 3 lifetimes ago, but, yours with rain definitely awards you the Hardman title. Yes, I doubt there were any 2-3 tandem groups with 20-30 singles strung out behind to draft off of. You earned this one!
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Old 06-05-19, 03:10 PM
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Chapeau, old friend. Nicely done, and nicely written.

I composed a longer post with some memories of my last Davis Double (40+ years ago, and hot, not hypothermic) that your report brought back. Unfortunately, once again, the %$*^&$^%& Bike Forum technical gremlins sent it off into the ether, never to be seen again. So you'll have to make do "chapeau."
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Old 06-07-19, 12:38 AM
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Very impressive ride and report. You rode on roads that we ride, so that's kind of Tour de California cool. My longest ride was 120-ish mile on our tandem bike in Texas. It's a grind; good for you for toughing it out, despite the weather.
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