could have ridden the Grizzly Peak century today, but that
wouldn't have been challenging enough. So instead I did something
far more brave- I took my 12-year-old son out for his first
organized ride- the 50k (actually 35 mile) Stockton Delta Century.
Given that he hasn't ridden more than 10 miles at a time before
this, it had the potential to be a rather trying day. And the first
half of the ride did drag a bit, as we rode almost entirely into the
wind and there was a bit of that "Are we there yet?" followed by the
far-worse "Why aren't we there yet?"
The reality is that 25 mile & 50k rides tend not to be as well
thought-out as their longer counterparts. In particular, rest stops
are too few and too far apart. For this ride, there were no
rest stops prior to the main pseudo-lunch-stop at New Hope School,
nearly 18 miles into the ride. 18-25 miles isn't bad spacing for a
100k or 100 mile event, but something like 8 miles or so would seem
more appropriate for the families, often with pretty young kids, who
do the shorter rides. This is not to fault the Stockton Bicycle
Club, which overall did an excellent job providing food, support &
even after-ride entertainment! Rather it's symptomatic of all
such events I've been a part of, and perhaps not recognized because
there aren't that many of us who do both 50k & 200k events
Once we hit the lunch stop/turnaround point, it was pretty
smooth sailing for the next 12 miles or so. The tailwind really
helped, along with joining up with all the returning 100k & 100
milers, many of whom Kevin was able to not only keep up with but
also pass (presumably these were 100k riders, as I doubt slower 100
milers would have returned by then). All was well until, with about
four miles to go, at a time when most of us would be motivated by
having the end in sight, Kevin's sore shoulders and butt were
winning the battle. Speeds that had been literally running upwards
of 15mph plummeted to 6 or 7, and all the logical talk of being
close to the finish, and how riding faster would end the pain
sooner, seemed to be in a foreign language that makes sense to Dads
but not their kids.
We did make it though, and he didn't seem too much the worse for
wear when it was over. It will be interesting trying to find the
next ride for him, as he's not a fan of hills (which may be a
reactionary thing to his Dad's love for them), and most of the rides
'round these parts involve a fair amount of climbing. But who knows,
maybe we'll make a climber out of him yet. No, probably not, but we
did have a really nice ride today. --Mike--
9:26am and we're
off & running! Down Kennefick Road, to be precise.
9:33am and we
encounter our first hill, the Highway 99 overpass.
tracks to one of many rail crossings, all nicely done.
10:37am At last,
the first (and only real) rest stop on the 50k. I should mention
that this (Thornton) is the only place you'll pass a store on the
settled in nicely with Gatorade, a banana and a bagel with peanut
butter. He'd been hoping for a sandwich, but somehow this was just
11:11am A minor
repair and someone's back on the road. Probably not gears; didn't
need 'em today! Total climbing was maybe 100 feet.
got that first-100-miles-down/100-miles-to-go Davis DC look mastered.
and we're back on the road again! 44 minute pit-stop; we'll do a
bit better next time. The first half of the ride was into pretty
consistent headwinds though, so Kevin needed a bit of a rest. Thank
goodness it finished with a tailwind!
We passed and got passed by the woman on the right many, many times
Here Kevin's showing his high-speed passing technique. He rode a
lot faster with people to chase down.
You can't chase down everybody though. Marty, a nice guy we rode
with briefly, is behind us here, but
will be passing us shortly.
11:41am This young woman not only passed us but, as you can
see in the photo on the left, was checking Kevin out as she did. Too
bad Kevin's only 12.
You'd think that mile after mile after mile of vineyards might get a
bit boring, and they do! Fortunately, past the halfway point you
join the riders returning on the 100k & 100mile loops, so you've got
plenty of people to try and chase down.
Thankfully we didn't see many flats on this ride. The dry weather
definitely helped, plus the roads were generally good.
more approaching the tracks, this one near the water stop with 8
miles to go.
If there was a most-popular rider, it had to be the Corgi, goggles &
all, getting a lift in the trailer. Mark & Catherine are doing the
work, and the Corgi's name was... Herra? [Nope, just one "r"- Hera]
unscheduled stop to give sore shoulders a break. The last few miles
were the toughest.
12:28pm After a
brief intersection with civilization we're back to the vineyards
there... almost... by this point Kevin was just about cooked.
Looking back as we approach the finish. Until we pulled into the
parking lot, Kevin didn't really believe it was over. 35 miles (a
bit more than the 25 I'd told him it would be), about 25 longer than
he's ridden before. About 3.5 hours to cover the 35 miles, actually
a bit faster than I expected. Not bad!
Kevin wasn't initially
thrilled with the food at the end; somehow he fancied an In&Out
Burger more than Tortellini. But he did come around.
Not too many Centuries
feature wine tasting, but since Woodbridge Winery was one of the
initial desire to make tracks (as if we hadn't crossed enough
already) and ditch the post-ride festivities evaporated when he won
a raffle for a water bottle and got to take the Corgi out for a
walk. My guess is that he now sees participation in the post-ride
food & gab-fest as one of the spoils of victory, something to be
savored for having done the ride.
Chain Reaction sells bicycles & accessories
from Trek, Gary Fisher, BikeFriday,Shimano, Pearl Izumi, Continental, Descente,
Sidi, Giro, Blackburn, Speedplay, Oakley, Saris, NiteRider, Bontrager,
Torelli, Look, DeFeet, Rock N Roll, Hammer, Cytomax,
Powerbar, Fox, Clif
Bar, CamelBak, Chris King, Profile Design, Craft, X-Lab and many more!