Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 Winters 200KM Brevet

126 miles, 3100 feet total elevation, 10:10 total time (8:27 on the bicycle)

I had a chance to do another brevet this past weekend. It was organized by San Francisco Randonneurs, who also held the one I did three months ago. Most of the route was new to me, which was the main draw. The ride started in the town of Hercules and immediately crossed the Carquinez Bridge. It then continued on back roads to the town of Winters before looping back and returning to Hercules.

7:00am, 0 miles, 0 feet total

I left home at 5:30am and arrived at the start at 6:40, giving me just enough time to set up and register. After checking in, I proceeded to get my bicycle ready. I discovered that the box I packed with some of my gear was left at home. I needed to quickly assess if I was missing anything crucial that would require me to abandon the ride.

I had my helmet and prescription goggles. I had my shoes. I was already wearing my cycling clothes, so that was not a problem. I did not have my GPS unit. However, I had studied the route closely and I could simply navigate with the paper map (the organizers had extra copies) and my odometer. I definitely needed to carry water and I did not have my water bottles. One of the organizers had one on hand that he gave me. I filled it with the water I had in the car for the drive. I was missing my headlight, but we were starting after sunrise, and my normal pace should get me done before sunset. I did not have my gloves or ear covers. It was a chilly morning, but I could deal with the cold until the day warmed. My ride would not be unsafe without any of the items I forgot, so I was comfortable doing the ride. The whole group started at 7:00am.

The route started at the southernmost point, followed the loop counter-clockwise, and returned.

8:40am, 24 miles, 300 feet total

The first stop was at a store in Fairfield. Here I bought some bottled water, and made my selection based on which bottle would best be carried on my bicycle and could be refilled. Now I was back to carrying two water bottles and did not have to fear the heat. Through this part of the route, many of the cyclists were bunched together. There was very long line at the checkout. I was buying a small cake for a snack. Since I was just waiting in line, I ate the cake and by the time I reached the clerk, she just scanned the empty bag.

After this stop the cyclists became more spread out. I chatted with a couple other cyclists when we were keeping the same pace for a while. As we neared the next stop, we missed a turn because we were talking to each other. We reached an intersection that did not correspond to the route directions, and so realized we had missed a turn. We backtracked and found the correct branch to take. It was just a two mile diversion.

11:00am, 59 miles, 1000 feet total

Although brevets are unsupported rides, this one unusually had a staffed lunch stop where food was provided. Since this ride is one of the last in the group's calendar year, they do it as more of a social event, and so provide lunch. It was the halfway point distance-wise, but none of the significant climbing had yet started.

The next stretch of the route was the most scenic. It was the middle of the day and hot in the direct sun. There were a couple big hills. The climbs were relatively long, but not as steep as what I usually train on. I had no problem keeping a strong pace.

1:30pm, 80 miles, 2900 feet total

The next stop was convenience store in the middle of nowhere. I only took a short break here and continued. I almost missed a turn again at a junction without road signs. There was a crew of firemen on the side of the road and they were able to confirm for me that the road I needed to take was indeed the one at the junction. The riders were all spread out at this point so I was seeing few of my fellow cyclists by this point.

The remainder of the loop was flat again and not particularly interesting. This section was through Napa Valley, and consisted of vineyard after vineyard. Eventually the route returned to the convenience store which was also the first stop. The loop part of the route was finished. Since it was near a highway, I was able to call Vaishali and update her about my status. I did not have phone reception earlier because the roads were so remote.

3:30pm, 100 miles, 3000 feet total

There was only one other cyclist at the store when I arrived, but several came in while I was there. One of the guys I was riding with earlier suggested we ride together, so I waited an extra five minutes for him. The remainder of the route was the same as the morning. I returned back the the start at the time I expected to.

5:10pm, 126 miles, 3100 feet total

This group is holding their final ride of the year next month. It is also a 200KM brevet, and I will probably attempt that one too.

No comments: