Yesterday, just like in 2007, I rode the Party Pardee Century with Mike and his son Spencer. Howard Park in Ione greeted us with chilly temperatures. It was 29 degrees when we pulled in and probably didn’t get much above 30 for the first hour on the road. I dressed appropriately for the ride, meaning that I froze for nearly the entire first hour. My face was so cold I would have surely sounded drunk if you tried to carry on a conversation with me. I can deal with cold feet and legs. What made the first hour and a half tough was that my hands were frozen. Even though I was wearing long gloves, I felt like I had ice blocks on the ends of my hands. I rode 5 miles or so sitting up with my hands held tightly under my armpits. It helped a lot and allowed me to eventually to use my shifters. I also stayed in a lower gear then normal and tried to keep my cadence over 110 until I got warm.
The Sacramento Bike Hikers sure know how to put on a great century. This year’s theme was Puttin’ On The Ritz. Almost all of their volunteers wore top hats and they had costumed volunteers at all the rest stops. The check-in was very smooth and fast. They had tons of great food at the start and even better food at the rest stops. My favorite item was some concotion made with fresh blackberries and cream cheese. They had that sitting next to the container of Nutella spread. I grabbed a couple of quarter-bagels and slapped some of each on them. There were also a ton of fresh fruit and plenty of water, cytomax and lemonade. At every rest stop the volunteers were very friendly and supportive.
As for the ride, I was reminded why this is my favorite metric century anywhere! The route treats us to some of the best views in the foothills and by the Lake Camanche and Pardee Reservoir. Then there are the hills. That’s why I love this ride. This is not an easy ride-in-the-park metric century. With 4200 feet of climbing, it’s a good challenge for this early in the year. I still ride a triple and I was able to stay in my center ring over all of the climbs. Near the end of the day, on the last climb, I was tempted to pop down to my little ring but alas, I persisted up the hill without it.
Mike and Spencer rode very well. Spencer had not ridden in months and probably hadn’t climbed since the last time we did this ride. His strength continues to amaze me! Mike, the best riding partner a guy could ask for, fought the hills and came out victorious. Although he will tell you that he suffered (duh, we all did) through the hills he still made it to each peak and still ended the day strong! As he always does, Mike was there with plenty of encouragement and just a little bit of smack-talk.
The other thing I love about doing rides like these is the people. Riding all day and “talking shop” with a bunch of other cyclists is a great way to spend the day. At the last stop I ran into David who I met at last years Sunrise Century and of course Allan, the guy with the music. At the end of the day, as we packing up, I asked a passer-by to take our picture (the one above). The guy that took our picture just happened to be a guy that I found on Twitter the night before (@smflash). What are the odds!?!
Stats: 65 miles 4:51:00 on bike 13.4 MPH 4200’ of climbing 2 sunburned legs
Great job Bike Hikers! You put on another great event. See you next year!