Davis 200K Brevet
By contrast to the SF200K brevet I did in January, this was a far more social experience. Not only did Lisa come along this time, but we managed to hook up in the morning with a group of 10 riders who agreed to ride Audax style in the early stretches. The pace was humane, conversations were lively; everything seemed really peachy.
Thank goodness the group was there to latch on to. Just 5 minutes into the ride, I had to take an unscheduled bio break. Guess I was too busy chatting up a storm with folks at the start to think about using the bathroom BEFORE the ride. And after peeing for what seemed to be forever, I found myself in a familiar situation: off the back of a brevet pack... by myself again. Uh uh, not this time. I got back on the bike and time trialed until I reached Lisa (a 10 minute hard effort). So, ya, thank goodness we found the Audax bunch shortly after that.
The group we rode with pretty much split up for the rest of the day when we hit Cardiac Hill (Monticello dam). I decided I'd push my pace a bit between here and the Muscovite store, where I'd pick up a couple of Payday bars and wait for Lisa. We'd then ride the rest of the way along Chiles Valley into the first control at Pope Valley together.
On the way to Pope Valley, Lisa hit a big bump on the road at a stream crossing and had her clip-on tail light launch off the back. Gone. This must be the third tail light she's lost in less than a year. Lesson? Quit messin' around and figure out a better way to keep these things in place.
The return leg of the ride seemed to go a little more slowly as the heat was starting to set in. Man, early Spring around here can feel like Summer in SF. And while we may have been retracing our route to the start, everything really looked different on the way back. At one point, I decided to snip a dandelion off the side of the road and place it on Lisa's saddle bag loop. Made a really nice accessory that invoked at least 2 compliments from passing riders.
There was a secret control on this ride that we were told to expect somewhere on the way back, after passing Lake Solano. Brevet administrators often install "secret" controls (which are simply check-in points whose exact locations are not disclosed, to ensure that riders stay on the official course). For reasons unknown to me then, Lisa was seeming really antsy about knowing when it would come up. Again and again, I'd insist I didn't know since I'd never done this ride before and secret controls might not be at the same place year over year. But I was assured we wouldn't miss it.
Later I'd find out that she had long given up on the Cytomax she was trying for the first time on a ride as it was not really agreeing with her tummy. In reality, the secret control was merely her next chance to dump the stuff and find a salty snack and some fruit to offset the lack of energy drink at this point. No more than 5 minutes after Lisa asked me once more where the control was, we found it. And it was easy to identify as the perpetually smiling Mark Behning was the volunteer enforcer of the day.
Winds picked up on the finishing miles through Putah Creek, Winters and Dixon. But the roads brought about familiar feelings of the Davis Double Century near its end and we just knew that we'd finish this ride in fairly good time, despite a far less-than-aggressive pace we carried all day. In fact, we clocked an official completion time 20 minutes faster than my SF200K time and I felt 10x more comfortable this time.
Lisa and I enjoyed dinner with Dana, Charlie and Mark at the Thai Bistro (when in Davis, look it up -- it's in the spot that used to be occupied by the Crepe Bistro, which I miss). I'd say it was a perfect finish to such a redeeming brevet experience for me. I really dug the vibe of the Davis Bike Club event and hope to do more of them in the future.