22 June 2019
2/A/97 – Davis Invasion
I knew in advance it would get windy and warm, but I sincerely believed I could make it. At worst, I would need to throttle my speed and would still arrive in time for the 1601-train, at the very most the one after that. Furthermore, I was able to purchase a ticket, normally $27 for some redeemed points, since I am member of AMTRAK’s Rewards program and had collected credit over the years.
Nobody was interested in joining me, so it turned into another solo ride. This meant I could maintain my own pace without regard to others. I was also interested in how my new route to Butters would work out, up Fruitvale, then left on Tiffin, right on Waterhouse, left Clemens, finally via Leimert and Park. This worked out quite well and is the quickest, easiest and safest route to get there.
My stops along the near-century route were altogether a total of 18 minutes and averaged 4 minutes, since I dislike eating and gulping sticky gels on the bike and prefer my body not to relax too much. My GPS computer settled on an estimated arrival time of no later than 1500 hours, but after I had reached the Benicia-Martinez Bridge at 1025, things were starting to get more challenging.
The wind from the North and NNW was picking up, about 20 mph, and was mostly a headwind all the way from there. Also, the heat was increasing, remaining in the mid 90’s, sometimes spiking higher. After reaching Pleasants Valley Road, I needed to slow down a bit, since I was starting to overheat. It was along this section the only really unpleasant incident occurred, when a driver passed me at 45 mph, nearly hitting my left elbow with his sideview mirror. I know it was intentional, because he checked back with the same mirror to see whether he had succeeded in upsetting me. It was close, only inches!
Twice I slacked the boa laces on the right shoe to reduce my swelling foot and at Mile 80 I found a house with a hose in the front driveway. I asked permission and was finally able to douse my head and feet in cool water. I did not even spare a glance in the direction of the bridge into Winters at Mile 82, but bypassed it, because now I felt a lot better and I only had to steer straight in a crosswind. I arrived into Davis at 1450 with an average speed of 15 mph over the entire course.
At Tres Hermanas Davis, I met cyclists from the Veloraptors, who had started in Martinez. Since they could paceline, their average speed was about 16 over the 60 miles, but a few stragglers appeared later on as well. I had a cold Coke and some fried ice cream, to cool down my insides and generate some cheap energy. I was still not hungry after I returned home just after 1800, but I am glad I did not go the opposite direction and tackle the Oakland hills at the end, because the train journey is a very nice way to relax and enjoy the scenery, knowing one must not ride all that distance again anytime soon.
With up to 95 degrees heat, this ride can be tackled safely, depending on your heat resistance of course. It is a great ride, because the rolling terrain after the East Bay hills is not demanding and allows you to gauge your effort over the remaining distance more easily. If I had had the benefit of a paceline, I would have arrived into Davis even earlier than my personal best of 1450 hours.
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