Ride Report: Davis Quadruple
After finishing the Devil Mountain
Triple I was wondering what's next. As it turned out, my friend
Jason Thorpe had a registration for the Davis Double that he couldn't
use, so he transferred it to me.
I really didn't know if I could pull off riding to and from the
double. Davis is far; really far. Just riding from San Francisco
to Davis is a pretty long day on the bike. Riding there and back to
ride a double century seemed like it might be too much. But I had
to try. Worst case, I could get a ride home somehow or take Amtrak
The Friday before the ride, my loving and devoted wife Christine
(who somehow has not yet divorced me for doing these rides) agreed to
buy some pastries for me to bring along on the ride. When I got home
from work, there were a ton of pastries. I couldn't possibly
imagine eating them all, but I duly packed them up in a tupperware
container to carry in my pannier.
I had a quick dinner, changed into a fresh kit, and got things ready
to go. At about 2040, I kissed Christine good-bye and set out. It
was super windy, and I was already feeling tired, like I wanted to
go to bed. Not a good sign, considering that I had over 24 hours of
riding ahead of me.
Riding through the city on a Friday night, I saw a lot of people out
to have a fun evening, including a group dressed like they were going
to a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show or something. I felt a bit
sad that I wasn't hanging out with friends, but soldiered on. I was
gonna see if I could do this thing.
Crossing the bridge and the ride up to San Rafael went
smoothly. Amazingly, the wind wasn't too bad on the bridge, and
crossing at night after it's closed to pedestrians is definitely the
way to do it: no other bike or ped traffic to get in your way.
I stopped in San Rafael briefly to turn on Google Maps directions.
My plan was to take CA-37 over to Vallejo and then meander through
Vacaville, Dixon and farmland to finally wind up in Davis. There is
a route that avoids CA-37 (going further north) and is probably much
nicer, but it adds a lot of miles and this was already going to be
a 400+ mile ride.
Google got me to the CA-37 on ramp no problem, where I saw some CHP
cars stopped. I confidently rode past them and on to CA-37, which I
believed was totally bike legal, but I did feel some trepidation here.
Sure enough, about 5 minutes later they came and pulled me over.
CHP: "Where are you headed?"
CHP (stunned): "Um, ok. You can't ride your bike here. There's a sign
on the on ramp that says no bicycles."
Me: "Oh, sorry, I didn't see that. I thought highway 37 was bike legal."
CHP asked to see my ID, then asked if I had any probation or parole or
had been drinking (no to everything), then went back to his car.
While he was gone, a ton of thoughts raced through my mind. Maybe
I have to call Christine (who is now probably sound asleep) and get
her to come get me with the car and drive me to the start, and try to
make up the miles on the way home. Or maybe I get an uber or something
to take me past CA-37 into Vallejo. Or...
CHP comes back: "Actually, after talking with my partner, you
are allowed to ride your bike here. Just be careful and stay
as far to the right as you can."
Phew. Hop back on, but it's not fun. It's totally dark, and even with
two bright L&M lights it's tough to keep track of all the shit in the
shoulder as fast as it is coming up on me. I don't really want to slow
down, either, because (a) this sucks and I want it over with and (b)
I have to get to Davis in time for the ride start. There's a lot of
stuff to dodge, too: hub cabs, rims, roadkill, discarded tires, etc.
A few minutes after my lovely CHP encounter, I run over something and
get a flat. Fuuuuuuck. I am really not in the mood to change
a flat on the side of the highway in the fucking dark, but I guess
that's what's happening. It's on the rear, and I notice that the tire
looks pretty worn (the white strip is showing in a bunch of places)
so I decide to just swap the tire; that way, I don't have to try to
look for the stupid piece of glass or whatever it was that gave me
the puncture (and yes, I always carry a spare tire on rides this long).
Even taking the 'easy' way to fix my flat, it takes me longer than
it should, due to not having much light and being tired and just
general incompetence, but I get it sorted and keep going. I am pretty
disappointed to hear Google tell me to continue on CA-37 for 15 miles,
but that's what I do.
Eventually, I make it off CA-37 and into Vallejo. This is a welcome
change even though Google is not exactly taking me through the "nicest"
areas. It's the middle of the night at this point, so at least traffic
Meandering over to Vacaville and then through farmland to Dixon and
eventually Davis goes pretty well, except for a few spots where Google
wanted me to get on bike paths that either didn't exist or I couldn't
see in the dark. I also made a wrong turn 5 miles from Davis that had
me confused for a bit. This whole section, from Vallejo to Davis, I
had a pretty sweet tailwind and made very good time. Unfortunately,
I knew that coming back it would be miserable. Still, given that I
lost time with the CHP and my flat, I was glad to have it.
As I got closer to Davis I started seeing some other cyclists. I soon
realized that these were folks who were already starting the ride! I
think the first one I saw was at 0350! I made it to the start at
about 0430, checked in, put my bib number on, ate a pastry or two, and
rolled out. I was really tired at this point, and there wasn't
any coffee at the check in. I was desperately counting down the miles
until the first rest stop, and entertained day-dreams in my head about
how good it would feel to stop and drink a metric fuck tonne of coffee.
This first bit of the Davis double is on flat country roads through
farmland. It's the kind of riding that can be quite monotonous, which
is terrible if you're tired. I found a friendly woman who was going
at about my pace and we traded pulls for a while, which helped make
things a bit more interesting.
After what seemed like an eternity we were finally at the first
rest stop. She rolled through but I was sure as hell gonna stop.
They had coffee! Glorious, glorious coffee. I must have had 6 or 7
cups, along with a bunch of food.
The sun was up at this point, and after the coffee, I was feeling
WAY better. The next 20 miles to the second rest stop flew by, with
some pretty climbing along the way. The rest of the ride itself
went quite well, now that I was 'awake': 20-25 miles, rest stop,
repeat. I stopped at all of them except one where it was only 10
miles since the previous one, and did a pretty good job of sticking
to a 10 minute time budget at each one.
On the way back in to Davis, the headwinds were FIERCE. This was what
had worried me from the night before. There were times it was a real
struggle to maintain 23-25kph, and I was NOT looking forward to the
many miles of headwind ahead of me on the way home.
The headwind and the heat had me feeling like shit for a while. I
hadn't been drinking Coke at all, but decided to throw one back at a
rest stop. Holy shit, that stuff is like MAGIC! I felt so much better,
and continued to drink Coke at all the rest stops after that.
I rolled in to the finish at around 1830, which I think is a fairly
respectable time but I really have no idea. The course remains open
until 0100, so I couldn't have been that close to Lanterne Rouge, at
least. (Since everybody starts at different times, you can't compare
finishing times in any meaningful way.) There was some food and stuff
at the finish area, but I didn't want to linger too long. I rested
for a bit and stole 3 of their Cokes, then headed to Starbucks to
drink a big Frappuccino, eat a few pastries and check email etc.
After filling my water bottles with Coke, I rolled out for the ride
home at about 1940. As expected, the headwinds SUCKED. There really
wasn't much I could do except slog through it. Once I made it to
Vacaville, it was a bit better since things were a bit more sheltered.
In my mind, a huge milestone was getting over to the other side
of CA-37. Once I was back in Novato, I knew I could probably make
it home. The ride to Vallejo was longer than I remembered from the
opposite direction, probably because I was slogging through headwind
instead of blissfully cruising a tailwind.
I did finally make it to CA-37, and had no issues with the CHP or
flats this time around. I did see the CHP stopped at the same on ramp I
had used the night before, but I was on the other side of the highway
and I don't think they saw me. Getting off in Novato, I felt a huge
sense of relief, but I still had at least another 40 miles to go.
It was again late at night, and traffic and (mercifully) the wind had
died down. I made my way (slowly) through the more familiar streets
of San Rafael, Larkspur and Corte Madera. It was a real struggle
to stay awake at this point. With my Coke supplies dwindling, I was
forced to resort to inferior caffeinated shot blocks. When I finally
finished Camino Alto and hopped on the Mill Valley bike path, I felt
like I was practically home. Rolling through Sausalito was incredibly
tranquil without all the tourists and traffic. The climb up to the
bridge was fine, except I forgot that I had to use the east side and
went to the west side first out of habit.
Back in SF and on the home stretch, I rolled down Arguello to find
the entrance to the park blocked off for Bay to Breakers. After a deep
sigh, I made my way around on Fulton and continued through the wiggle
and on to Valencia and then, finally, more than 24 hours after I had
left the night before, home! That container full of so many pastries
I couldn't imagine possibly finishing them all? Now almost empty :)
Christine woke up to greet me, I uploaded the stravas (of course),
ate almost a whole pint of ice cream, and then promptly fell into a
deep and satisfying sleep.