Foxy’s Fall Century 2012 Ride Report
A month after riding the Tahoe Sierra Century, it was time to ride my second century, the Foxy’s Fall Century in Davis. Compared to the Tahoe century, this was much easier. We had trained for heat and high winds and will say that fortunately both the weather and winds cooperated and we had a very enjoyable ride.
The Asha riders drove out of the south bay headed for Davis on Friday 19th. To be environmentally conscious, we all carpooled. Anita, Raghu & I carpooled and headed out at 3 pm. It was fun ride and Raghu and I totally scandalized Anita. :)
We met up with Muthu and her family at Punjabi Dhaba. Got some yummy salt lassi, samosas and veggie pakoras. Sampada also joined us with her family. It was a a nice break and all in the name of ‘carb load’. The remainder of the drive to the to the Hallmark Inn was uneventful. We parked in the basement, checked in and took our bikes to our rooms. Simi had already arrived and Amit arrived soon as well. As a bonus, the hotel had free alcohol coupons till 7 pm. Some of the riders decided to enjoy the free drinks before heading out for dinner.
After getting together, in the lobby we enjoyed a leisurely walk to Thai Nakorn. We initially started with 15 people, but then 4 more joined in and finally 2 more. Thankfully there was enough space in the restaurant to add the extra tables for the additional people. After some awesome thai food, we walked back to the hotel rooms to stretch, roll and then ensure we had everything set for the ride. Sunny and Amey joined Raghu and me in our room and we were chatting about the final ride of the season and discussing plans for 2013. With the alarm set for 5:30 and plans to be at the starting line at 7:00 sharp, I went to sleep.
Got up with the alarm at 5:30, stretched and showered and packed everything up to put in Raghu’s car and we went down to the lobby. Raghu had requested the hotel to have breakfast available for us at 6:30. We all sat down and wolfed down some breakfast and being less nervous about the ride than at Tahoe, I was able to eat and enjoy myself. After breakfast, most of the other riders rode over to the starting point, a mile away. Amey and I helped Sunny fix his flat and then rode out to the starting point at 7:25.
It was very beautiful morning. There was a nip in the air, but not too cold. I knew that once we start riding, I would warm up and so left the arm and leg warmers off. We got to the starting point; the Veterans Memorial Center in Davis. By the time we got to the starting point, the 100k riders: Anita & Sampada had already started riding with some of the 100mi riders: Muthu, Simi, Amit A & Sunil. This left Amey, Sunny, Amit S, Aniruddha, Rajesh & me. So after checking in, getting our bands, we started our ride.
We had to ride a few miles on city streets before we got out of the city into the fog. We were sticking together at this point and being constantly passed by faster riders. As we got out of Davis and the fog started clearing up. We had lost Sunny somewhere, but the rest of us were together.
We could see hot air balloons as they were lifting off in the still morning air (best time for hot air ballooning). We turned left off the main highway and into roads that went by fields. At this point, we decided it was time to start drafting/pace lining.
I was the time keeper and called out ‘switch’ at 90 second intervals. I knew it was a little long for a rider to pull, but being still early in the morning, it was worth the try and it worked. We were cruising at 18-20 miles/hour pace. We almost got run over by a tractor on a bridge that was coming from the opposite direction, but we survived and continued to ride. After a turn, we actually faced some head wind, I changed the pull time to 60 second intervals. We passed Anita, Sampada, Muthu, Amit A and Sunil.
Before we knew it, we were at the first rest stop at mile 21. There were long long lines to use the rest rooms, so most of us got into line. We also grabbed some food and filled up our water bottles. Of course with Raghu not riding but playing the role of SAG, he came over and clicked some pictures of the Asha riders before we headed out. It was 30 minutes by the time we actually headed out of the rest stop.
Once again, Sunny, Amey, Aniruddha, Rajesh, Amit S and I stuck together. Just as we started to draft again, we actually hit a climb. We never draft on hills given that we all have a tough time keeping up with Sunny, Aniruddha & Rajesh. These were rolling hills, nothing big or steep, but still just enough to not allow you to speed up them. We rolled on and at mile 30, we had our own Asha SAG stop. Raghu, Muthu’s husband and daughter had parked on the side to cheer us on. We stopped, grabbed some snacks, cold water and enjoyed a breather. After the breather, we rode on towards the rest stop at mile 37.
This section was relatively flat as we headed south and then turned west parallel to I-80. As we rode into Fairfield to the rest stop, the road was rolling again. We were passed by a female rider riding her Cervello triathlon bike. It was really incredible to see her. Her upper body was absolutely still and hunched over, while her legs pedaled and the bike moved smoothly ahead of us.
We got together with the rest of the 100 miler gang at the next rest stop. One of the organizers was telling us that its going to be up hill from this point on and then the big climb would be ‘Cardiac Hill’. He warned that the road surface is not very good and told us to watch out. After some more photos, water and citomax refills, we headed out to the lunch stop at mile 50.
Once again, rolling hills and riding through the outskirts of Fairfield, we encountered some traffic, but the police was directing riders in the right direction. We started the slow climb into the hills and I pulled as we drafted for some distance. But once we hit the climbs, we spread out and rode at our own pace. The sun was starting to warm up nicely and the temperature was perfect. The ‘Extreme Fire Danger’ signs were fun to look at, although it was no way as hot as we had expected it. The slow climb towards Wooden Valley school for lunch was tiring.
We got to the lunch stop and this was plush. There were food lines where they were assembling sandwiches (like Subway) to order. There was chips and cookies and fruits. But the best thing: cushions. They had laid out blankets and cushions to sit and rest on. We all spread out on the blankets and enjoyed resting our sore bottoms on soft cushions (well I did). I grabbed a nice sandwich with cheese and mayonaise and dijon mustard. It felt like heaven. I had no taste for the sweet stuff anymore. It was a long 45 minutes of eating, waiting in line to use the restroom before we finally headed out.
We immediately hit a climb. The road was newly surfaced and very smooth and the heat was rising up from the asphalt. As the climb continued, it was not a nice feeling to be climbing on a full stomach. My goal was definitely to get to the top without any stops and so I slowly climbed. As I go to the top of the pass instead of bells, I could hear Sunny, Aniruddha & Rajesh. We were soon joined by Muthu’s husband, Venkat. I was very happy to see him as I was able to fill up my bottle with ice from his ice chest and the cool water was very refreshing after that tough climb. And with some downhill coming up, followed by ‘Cardiac Hill’, I didn’t know what to expect.
We rode down form the pass towards Cardiac hill. I decided not to go down in the drops as I didn’t want to risk my front wheel shaking (shimmying) again. Finally as we rode down and reached Cardiac hill, I got ready for the climb.
Before I know, the climb was actually over. No, the climb itself took some time and was a couple miles long, but we had climbed hills as part of our training that were way tougher. This I guess is a testament to the coaches and captains of Team Asha who had prepared us really well. ‘Cardiac hill’, which I expected would be major climb, was actually just a ‘meh’ climb. I got to the top and waited for Amey to join me and as soon as he did, we rolled down to the Monticello Dam.
We had no clue where Sunny was, but Aniruddha, Rajesh, Amey and I stopped at the Dam, to take a quick breather and snack. We discussed how cardiac hill was not at all difficult. We then rolled on again to the final rest stop. Once again, with rolling hills, we couldn’t really draft, but were keeping a good pace. We rolled into the final rest stop and found Sunny, who had gotten there a while ago. Raghu joined us as well we took some photos and chatted for a bit, before heading out to finish this ride.
Right out of the rest stop, we climbed the last climb and then rolled down hill to start the final 30 mile stretch of the ride. This was a completely flat section and with six tired riders, we began drafting once again. We did 4 rotations which took us about 25 minutes and quite a few miles ahead, but we were really tired at this point. With another 15-18 miles to go, we slowed down a bit and the road surface not being very good, we were hurting quite a bit. We started drafting again, but could only sustain 3 rotations.
As we turned left at some point, our Asha SAG team and friends cheered us. Although I really wanted to stop and say hi to my daughter, on Aniruddha’s persuasion, we continued on to finish the final 10 miles. Not having much energy to draft much more, we did 1 rotation, but by then got to the main road. The bike lane being narrow and there being a lot of traffic passing us, we decided that we would not draft and switch any more. But I really had to stop and take a breather and drink some water.
After this short stop, we finally entered back into Davis. We rode though some well surfaced city streets and finally took the turn to return back to the Veterans Memorial Center.
As we got in front of the end point, we realized the distance had not yet hit 100 miles. So instead of stopping and being welcomed by my wife, we actually continued rolling and took a small loop around the block. This got our odometers to 100 miles, except Rajesh, who rolled some more. Finally we parked our bikes in front of the Veterans Memorial Center and were welcomed by our friends and family. It was over. We had just finished the final ride of the season. And we finished strong.
We headed into the building and grabbed some salad, pasta and soda. As we were all chatting and eating food, the rest of the Asha riders rolled in and we congratulated each other on completing the ride. For Muthu, Simi, Amit A, Amit S, Sunil, Aniruddha & Rajesh, this was their first 100 mile ride. For Anita & Sampada, their first 100k ride. We took some final photos of the riders + families (sans Sampada and family who had already left).
It was a wrap (so we thought). We loaded our bikes, said goodbye to everyone and headed to our friends place.
After a shower, chai and namkeen at Prashant’s (our friend from Redlands) place, we actually met up with Raghu, Amit A (and family), Sunny, Amey and Anita at the G Street Wunderbar for some super duper spicy wings.
Well finally we headed out back to the bay area, and I was so glad that my wife was driving because I could not keep my eyes open. I slept all the way home and had enough energy to think about… the next bicycle to buy, now that I was done with my first season of riding with Team Asha.