1998 > Terrible Two > Craig's Report
(as related by Bikeaholics Übermensch Craig Robertson)
As Ken Holloway noted, I had a pretty good ride at the Terrible Two except for a repeat of the broken cleat spring. I stayed at the back of the lead group of about 50 through Santa Rosa, talking with Tom and Cindy Long (mostly Cindy) I climbed away from them and passed a few people on the Bennett Valley climb, but they zoomed by me on their tandem on the descent to Sonoma Valley.
I caught up with Chuck Bramwell early on Trinity. After a very brief conversation I continued on past him. After reaching the fire station, there was the usual twisting descent to the remaining easy climb on Oakville. I did my best try at being Gravity Boy and hit 50.9 mph - the highest speed my bike has ever reached. Considering that I ended up with my mileage almost 3% low, I may well have been over 52 mph.
One of the things I've learned on the Terrible Two is to take it easy up Napa Valley. I got on my aerobars and went my speed all the way to Calistoga. I let a couple pacelines go by. I got to Calistoga just as Tom and Cindy were pulling out. I was stpped for about 3 or 4 minutes - my longest stop of the day. Back on the road, I actually hooked up with a couple of other riders (I passed them and they fell in behind) We rotated pulls into the base of the Geysers.
About a mile from the start of the climb, I got up off my aerobars and eased up. I did this so I could do some eating and drinking, get my heart rate under control, adjust my clothing, etc. Andreas Schultz was parked right at the bottom of the climb, so I teased him a bit about letting him ride my bike the next ten miles.
As I turned up into the climb, I saw Tom and Cindy a couple hundred yards ahead of me. I was climbing to my heart rate monitor, but for this ride I had raised my limits to 165 on the climbs. I caught them after a while, and then slowed down to talk for a mile or two. This was a bit of a respite as my heart rate dropped to 145 or so. We caught up with Jim Kozera riding solo. I'm used to seeing him with his wife on a tandem, but she has said she never wants to do this one again.
I went off at my own speed and passed an old friend, Sam Beal. Sam and I had similar goals this year - beat 14 hours. Actually mine was to beat 13:53. Along came the steep descent and then the really steep uphill section follwoing it. Everyone has their worst parts of the T2,. the top of the Geysers and the Rancheria climb are my fears. Lorna was at the top of the Geysers, so I dropped my water bottles and Hammer Gel flasks and grabbed new ones from her. I was stopped less than 60 seconds. The next 20 miles to Cloverdale are pretty easy and a good to time to get some rest (if you can keep from breaking your seatpost) I probably put in one of my better descents - that means it was average for normal people and then dealt with the rollers over the last 10 miles.
Several of us got stopped for a minute or two at the light in Cloverdale, but this allowed us to form up in a group of 6 for the ride into lunch. At lunch I ran into a friend from Southern California, Jonathan Woo, and after filling my bottles with Cytomax, I left with him. He likes to chase uphills a bit faster than I do, so I let him wander off as I rode up the first section of Skaggs. It was nice that it was cool. I never understand all the whining about cold; as long as there isn't any frostbite, I think it's sure better than too hot. You can always put on more clothes. My wife has a very different opinion on this subject.
I caught up with Mike Schiff about this time. Lorna had told me that Mike was about 15 minutes ahead of me at the top of the Geysers. I think he might have gone out a bit fast, as he was not having a lot of fun at this point. I continued on and rode past the first Skaggs water stop. When I got to where I thought I was about half way up the second part of Skaggs, I came to the water stop at the top. This run through Skaggs had gone really well - except at the top I felt my cleat spring break as I twisted my foot around. Near the top of Skaggs 2, I had passed by Rich Boettner on his tandem. They passed me on the downhill into Gualala. I didn't stop for this water stop either.
At Gualala, I stopped and filled my water bottles with Cytomax again, then took off with Robert Freed. A couple of miles and it was going to be the climb I like least. It was just as I remember it; really not a lot of fun. About halfway up, my foot came off my pedal, so I used this as an opportunity to rest for a minute, then got back at it and got to the top. My first year at the T2, I had climbed this with Bill Ellis of the SRCC, and he had told me that I should watch for an old car in the bottom of the gulch to the right. When I saw that, it would be almost over.
At the top, there was Rich again. He had broken the freehub on his tandem near the top of the climb. He seemed to be in pretty good spirits; I would be about ready to kill. I went on down the bumpy descent and came to the second, much easier climb. At this point the scenery changes to one that looks like a temperate rain forest. Ferns grow between the trees, and there is moss and water around. All of a sudden one comes out to Stewart's Point and the Pacific.
We stopped for a couple of minutes and did some eating, then continued down the coast. I had to be careful not to jump off my saddle on the rollers, as I could pull my right foot loose. It gave me a chance to get some rest for the climb up Fort Ross. At the Fort Ross rest stop I ran into Andreas for about the seventh time that day. Dan Shadoan was also here. I drank a coke and then started up the climb; knowing that if I got to the top there was nothing really serious between me and the finish. The road had more gravel on it than normal, and on several occasions I slipped a bit when out of the saddle climbing. Again I slipped off the pedal once, but this time I started up right away.
Finally the top. Now it was time to be careful on the descent, then a second shorter climb and a descent down to Cazadero and a flat run along a creek for 6 miles. If you have done the T2 before, you know that the worst is all over - it's time to get to the finish. Onto 116, then turn into Monte Rio. Lorna was here - and so were a spare set of shoes. After changing shoes, I got back on the bike and could ride without worrying about my feet. After getting instructions about the route change, I pounded out of Monte Rio and got up to Occidental before I expected to. Bad news, we turned onto the aptly named Hill Street and it another fairly steep hill that isn't normally part of the route. The descent was rougher and had more rollers than Graton Road, but it did have a stop light at the crossing of 116. A couple of miles and a left onto Sanford which then went right onto Hall and back to the start.
I got in at 6:39 for a time of 13:09. This leaves a problem. I start to wonder what I could have done to take 10 minutes off my time. I'll probably obsess on this for the next year.