November 13, 2009

Veterans Day 100 Mile Bike Ride to Davis!




Today was Veteran’s day and there is no better way to spend a day off of school than in the saddle for 100 miles with my fellow Cal Tri hotties! I’m going to keep this short…not! Well anyways, here we go! For your information, this story was written under a massive endorphin high, so you may see random thoughts pop into my head.


We departed from North Berkeley with twelve studs at 8 am on a crisp Veteran’s day morning. As soon as our cleats hit the pedals, the singing began. Due to the amazing vocal chords of Louis Vayos, the entire group was quickly serenaded by an eclectic assortment of songs. Basically we had a human boom box, which comes in very handy for long bus rides, car rides, and most importantly bike rides. Well we were doing just that, a long bike ride, and we never stopped singing. As someone who finds trouble remembering lyrics, Louis was the perfect remedy. And so we rode…over the Berkeley hills, down the twists and turns of Wildcat, and up over the three bears (three hills that in our case go in decreasing steepness).


Side note: In last year’s Bearathlon tri race that our team hosted, I passed the one and only John Dahlz while on the bike after being over 2 minutes down after the swim. I was feeling like “the man of the hour", until suddenly I got a flat on the last of the three bears. With no way to fix the flat, I then proceeded to pull my feet out of my cycling shoes and run for the remainder of the bike course over rocky pavement and drains, barefoot. Some say I ran half a mile, others say five miles. Well with the help of my trusty Garmin, I was able to set these myths straight, and calculated accurately that it indeed was 2 miles of barefoot running that later led to 2 large blood blisters, one on each of the balls of my feet. Well back to the adventure…


As I was saying, we hauled ourselves over the three bears with our human music box alongside as we all sang ‘Aint no sunshine when she’s gone’, John Mellencamp’s ‘Hurt so good’, and ‘Be our Guest’ from Kevin Haas’s favorite movie, ‘Beauty and the Beast’. With music, we headed out onto the Pig Farm route (named so due to a pig farm that now does not exist, most likely due to the swine flu epidemic). This is where the first of two flats occurred. CJ, a stud, got this early flat. With the Kevin & Kenny Pit Team (“KK Pit team”) right there to help, the mysterious thorn was removed and the fun continued. I’m just going to jump to the crossing of the Benecia bridge because it was epic. The crossing was amazing. Period. That’s all there is to say about it. Well and the fact that we were crossing…“The 1962 bridge that consists of seven 528-foot (161 m) spans which provide 138 feet (42 m) of vertical clearance, carrying four lanes of traffic in the southbound direction, as well as a pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists.” Yes, that was from Wikipedia if you were wondering. We then continued singing into Benecia and along the waters of the Suisun Bay. We then stopped at a local gas station, GAS CITY. A quality establishment, they even put up a sign on the Women’s restroom entrance that reads, “No guys in here!” While at this fine gas station, many snacks were eaten. Some were purchased such as Snickers and some were beautifully made prior to the ride. I was part of the group with premade treats as well as Melissa Peabody. We both rocked 2 whole-wheat PB&J sandbos, sooooo good. Sooooo good! And then more riding…


The next segment was fun, fast, and foxy (sorry just wanted three words to start with ‘f’, sudden alliteration impulse). We started up a mean pace line of 10. We cruised at around 24 mph for about 20-30 minutes. I lost track of time; I was having a ball. We setup a standard pace line with the front guy pulling off into the wind. We then stopped to wait for the group and proceeded to sing Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘Californication’, Bob Marley’s ‘Buffalo Soldier’, and a few Reggae tunes. We then continued on together until my rolled up jacket fell out of my jersey pocket. I went back to pick it up and the group didn’t slow down one bit, they actually made a pace line and cranked the power as almost everyone was blown out the back of the train. I was far behind now, well actually only 2 minutes behind. As I pushed forward to catch the leading 2 guys, Kevin and Ron, I passed many of the casualties of an increased effort. While passing the human jukebox, I said “Hop on!” and the two of us, with rather low volume on Louis’s vocal chords, headed off on the chase. I would pull hard and then Louis would do a darn good job while I recovered for another push. With twists and turns, ups and downs, we finally saw the faintest glimpse of the breakaway. They were putting 100% effort on their engines as we got excited for the kill. I rested once more and then we sprung on them like bats out of hell. And all I hear from Kevin is “Sh@t! I told you Ron! I told you…we eased up to 90% and they got us. F@#k!” Sorry for the language, but I want to document this with facts, not a fictional censored version. We then continued on, Kevin still making a fit about how they were so close to keeping us away, as we headed for the nearest water stop. Next to the hose for water was a fenced area that contained the friendliest horse, which allowed us to pet. In just a few miles, we were in the small town of Winters for a delicious big burrito. Before we got there, Kevin, Ron and I stopped at a random fruit stand on the side of the road to buy fresh handpicked strawberries, carting them off to the Mexican joint.


After stuffing our faces with large amounts of burrito and strawberries, we made the journey over the last fifteen miles to Davis. On our way we sang again, including ‘Tootsie Roll’, ‘Great Balls of Fire’, and ‘Free Fallin’. We all got went single file as we passed many farms with trees transplanted into mature trunks of trees previously cut down. This gives the newly transplanted tree a pre-existing root system, but also will limit the size of the tree so that it suits the needs of the farmer. Learn more by watching the Discovery channel, in general and about trees. As we moved onward, we came across a neat little bridge with graffiti all over it, where we stopped to take some model pose pictures. Great fun! The last few miles were relaxing as we found ourselves in the town of Davis, which we later reflected on as a “great family town; genuine, down-to-earth, and free from the worries of the world.” Sadly, we didn’t spend much time in Davis. We headed straight for the Amtrack train station, bought our tickets, and then laid around on the ground waiting for the train. With 45 minutes to spare, I began to do what anyone would do, lead a core workout with an Australian accent. Five of us began to do pushups, side plank, bicycles, and mountain climbers, mate! Of course we were shirtless, only way that Crocodile Dundee would have it.


The train arrived and then we had to stuff our bikes in the seats of the front car after arguing with one of the train conductors. After storing the bikes randomly, we headed upstairs to the train’s bar and bought ourselves some cold beers and red licorice. We sat around and enjoyed the view as the sun was setting over the hills and bay. The long day of fun in the saddle was coming to a close. We got off the train in Berkeley and headed into the darkness up the hill to our respect homes with our warm showers and enormous dinners hopefully waiting upon our arrival. It was a good day…soooo goood!

Directions:

1. Pig Farm ride – down wildcat, over the bears, up and over pig farm.

2. L at Alhambra Valley Road

3. Stay on Alhambra Avenue

4. R at Marina Vista Ave

5. L at the Benicia Bridge

6. L on park

7. R on Jefferson

8. R on Military E

9. R at East 2nd Street

10. Continue on to Lopes Road

11. L Lopes Road (at 680) 7.4

12. X Gold Hill Road/Mini-Mart for Food

13. R Lopes Road 2.5

14. S Green Valley Road (begins N of I-80) 2.9

15. R Rockville Road 4.3

16. L Abernathy Road 1.8

17. R Mankas Corner Road 0.7

18. S Mankas Corner becomes Waterman 1.6

19. L Hilborn Road 2.3

20. L Lyon Road 2.2

21. L Cherry Glen Road 0.8

22. L Pleasants Valley Road 12.5

23. Stop in Winters for Massive Burritos!

24. L Putah Creek Rd

25. Then magically appear in Davis at Amtrack station, last part is blurry

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