2000 > Davis 600K > Don's Report

How to lose 5 lbs and 25 IQ Points in a Single Weekend

   385 miles
    37 hours 15 minutes
    20 IQ points since regained
    20 th out of a field of 22
     4 pounds regained
     3 caffeine tablets
     3 bottles of Ultra Fuel
     2 really miserable feet

Slightly over 3 months prior to this ride, I fell prey to Daryn's route descriptions ("This year's brevet series will be relatively easy", "Considerable effort was made to design routes that combine pleasant scenery with lightly traveled roads") and an application form whose discount structure encouraged you to sign up for the entire series of rides well advance. I checked the boxes for 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k, not reflecting too long on the fact that I had never actually done more that 200 miles in a single ride.

The 200k ride went well. the 300k ride less so (hot), and I DNF-ed at the turn-around point of the 400k (HOT and WINDY, the hardest 200k I've ever done). Considering that I had bailed out of the 400k the previous year, I might have concluded that 200 miles was my limit and I had no business trying anything longer. (In hindsight, the correct conclusion is that I have no business trying to return to Davis from Kelseyville.)

The brevet series literature indicated that the course was going to be a 400k loop followed by a 200k loop. However, when the map arrived days before the actual event, it turned out to be a 500k loop followed by a 100k loop, altering the bail-out calculation - If I finished 400k and was back at the start, I would be happy just to have finished a 400k and might blow off the second 200k loop. However, if I finished 500k and made it back to Davis, just another 100k to finish the entire ride wouldn't seem like so much.

Having not yet adopted the decidedly non-Bikeaholic attitude of Morale Officer Ken, who was willing to write-off his 600k registration as a donation to a good cause, I planned to show up, take it relatively easy, and see if I could actually finish the entire ride.

So it begins...

At 6am on a Saturday morning, 22 riders set off from a parking lot in Davis into a strong wind from the North. In a highly unusual development, most of the group stayed together for the first 50-60 miles. (Davis Bike Club president) Amy barked out orders to organize our attack on the headwinds - "2 pacelines, continuously rotating clockwise/counterclockwise", or "single paceline, one-minute pulls".

About 10 miles out of Williams I went OTB as I was working too hard just to hang on. At least I was making better progress than the red-winged blackbirds going my direction, who were flapping furiously but getting nowhere. They looked like part of a wind tunnel experiment to design a better blackbird.

My legs were relieved to reach the climb into Sites, happy to get out of the windy flatlands. After a brief stop at the unmarked Lisa Antonino water stop (It was a hot and miserable day when the sag driver came upon the dessicated shell of a stoker stretched out along the side of the road - but that's another story). I continued up Grapevine Pass. The route from the top of Grapevine Pass to the turn-around at Black Butte Lake went through beautiful country filled with cows who had apparently never seen a bicycle before. A truck would drive by, it was ignored. A bike would ride by and a hundred head of cattle would watch its every move, frequently deciding that the appropriate course of action was to stampede.

In Stonyford, Ron Bobb was overheard on the phone trying to find out if he needed to be back home for a rehearsal Sunday evening. I was trying to imagine how it would be possible to do anything that required mental presence on Sunday evening.

A Rest Stop All to Myself

The turn-around point was a full-service rest stop, with a ratio of 2 servers [Craig & Daryn] per rider much of time I was there. Mt. Lassen had been making appearances as I neared the turn around, making it seem like I was covering some real distance. The trip so far: 156mi, 13 hrs.

Back to Stonyford, where Rick Anderson and Sam Beal were serving cold pizza. Why don't rest stops ever come equipped with a microwave? :-)

I stopped for a break and to admire the stars in a field near Grapevine pass at 1 or 2 in the morning. I don't know if it was my aroma or my flashing tailights, but somehow I had activated a nearby intruder alert. A trio of dogs from a nearby farmhouse filled the night air with song until their owner brought the impromptu concert to an end.

Descending Grapevine pass at 2am, I had to be careful to avoid the heards of wild reflective posts that threatened to dart out into the roadway. Back down on the flatlands, past the Kamikaze rats of Hwy 99, I rolled into Williams, 240mi, at 4:20 in the morning.

After talking, eating, and sleeping maybe 45 minutes, I hit the road again just as it was getting light. A new day, another 6am start.

Tire Tracks in the Dirt

Following the turn sheet in the Dunnigan Hills, I went right on Road 86. The road soon became a dirt road. I stopped to check the turn sheet again. It said to watch for potholes, and there were certainly plenty of those. Besides, I saw bike tire tracks in the dirt, so it had to be the right direction! By the time the road ended at Road 2, it was clear that I was lost, so some consulation with an actual map was called for.

The rest of the day was spend in a slight daze, thinking way too hard about where the next turn was and wondering why my feet hurt so much. After a brief stop in Davis, it was back out for the second loop, a mere 100k to Vacaville and back.

The turn-around point was at a 7-11 in Vacaville, where half a dozen young teen-aged girls buying slurpees no doubt wondered why there was a grown man sitting on the floor eating a large bag of potato chips and drinking a coke. (Answer: it was much more comfortable than standing in a long checkout line)

On the cruise back to Davis, the wind and I were finally going in the same direction, until suddenly it was over. At 7:15pm, I found myself back at my car with an unbelievable number on the odometer.

Final stats: 37;15, 385 miles, almost twice my previous maximum mileage.

Respectfully submitted,

Don Bennett <dpb@pobox.com>

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