On Sunday, Mike and I rode the Primavera Century. We got an early start out of Stockton and pulled in to the parking lot in Union City a couple of minutes after 7 AM. I rode the 100 mile route in 2005 but Mike and I decided to ride the 100k. Mike and I both immediatley noticed that all of the departing riders were wearing long pants. We both neglected to bring long pants. "We'll be fine." I kept saying. We checked in quickly, got our 100k route sheet and headed out! We caught up with a couple of guys from Alamo and had a few good laughs as we rolled through Union City, Fremont and Milpitas. It was a little chilly outside but I was pretty happy that I didn't over dress for the day.
After the first rest stop and just as we approached the first climb at Calaveras road we saw a couple of guys riding fixed gear bikes. Wow, those fixies are amazing! These guys were easily 20 years older than me and were in amazing shape! Mike stayed with me for a minute or so until I punched ahead. I felt great and was happy to be climbing again! I waited for Mike at the top and we headed back down the other side together.
As we got to Sunol I was feeling great. I still ride a triple (52/42/30) but have been considering converting to a double for some time. After climbing very well up Calaveras in my middle ring I told myself that I would avoid the smallest ring all day.
About 30 minutes before Mike and I rolled in to the Sunol rest stop I got a text message from Dan on Twitter. Oh what fun Twitter is. I only recently decided to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, thanks to David at the FredCast (the internet's premiere cycling podcast!). I love Twitter and have been playing around with tracking keywords via text message. Besides tracking 'Stockton' and 'Lodi' I also started tracking 'Primavera' a couple of days before this ride. All I got was a bunch of stuff in Spanish and had to eventually untrack it. It was my tracking of 'Pleasanton' that introduced me to Dan. This guy flew through the 100k course! His stats were incredible... gave me chills reading it.
After a slight climb up Dublin Canyon and the final rest stop we approached my favorite part of this ride: Palomares Road. Here's a pic of the view in front of me.
This climb was tough but I was able to keep it in the middle ring the whole way up. Again, I felt really good on this climb and marched up the hill gritting my teeth and sweating bullets the whole way. When I got near the top the other riders that were waiting and cheering helped me crest the top. As soon as I could see the top, I stood up and pushed to the top. I waited for a few minutes and then went down about a mile or so to find Mike. I was happy to find him working hard to get to the top and after letting him rest for a a brief spell, I paced him up to the top. Mike often kills me on the flats but will freely admit climbing is not his strength. Given that, I was amazed at his perceiverance and proud that he pushed to get to the top the way he did.
Here's the top of Palomares looking down on the road I took to get here.
On the back side of Palomares, I flew down and enjoyed the prize of a fast descent, topping at 35 MPH! It was a good ride back in to Union City. After we loaded the bikes up we headed to the school for the post-ride meal. I was dissapointed with the food here. The food was just ok but was craving a Pepsi. I normally don't drink soda but have been used to a post-ride pop. Not at this ride. Water, gatorade, lemonade and instant tea (yuk!) were the only options. The lasagna was good but the bread and brownies could have doubled for hockey pucks.
All in all, I really enjoyed this ride. Very clear road markings and decent rest stops. A very, very nice course with great views and awesome hills. Check out the few pics I took here.
Final stats: 64.8 miles / 13.4 MPH
Primavera next year? Absolutely! Maybe I'll even do the 100 miles again. Next big ride - The Delta Century (100 mile).
Check out Dan's blog entry here.