Ride Report: Davis Quintuple
Like the Devil Mountain Quadruple before
it, this one was hatched as an "improvement" over last year's Davis Quadruple. How could I "improve" it? By
riding farther, of course! Also, the stretches of last year's ride
on CA-37 in the middle of the night were really unpleasant,
so I definitely wanted to avoid that this year. So, in my head I
hatched a plan to ride 500 miles: 150 each way to and from Davis,
and 200 for the double century itself.
I honestly didn't know if I could actually pull this off. It would
be 100 miles longer than my longest ride, and having just done a
quadruple three weeks earlier that left me completely exhausted, the
thought of doing a longer ride was, to be honest, "unappealing". But,
I told myself, this one would be easier: it was longer and had less
elevation than the Devil Mountain Quadruple, so each individual mile
must be easier. At least, that was my story and I was sticking to it!
The Friday before the double century itself I had agreed to
ride down to work with a coworker. We met up at my local coffee shop and made our way down
to work, at a somewhat more "exuberant" pace than I had really wanted
given what was ahead of me over the next night, day and night.
I had gotten some of my stuff for the big ride ready on Thursday
night, and took an early train back on Friday to get home around 1730.
I quickly scarfed down some "dinner", packed up a giant batch of Kahnfections that Christine had
graciously picked up for me, applied ye olde chammy cream and rolled
out in a fresh kit at about 1840.
In retrospect, I probably should have left earlier. For the Davis
Double, you need to be on the course by 0515, and I didn't have my
number yet. That meant I needed to be at the start by 0500, so I
really only had 10h20m for the 248km mile ride. That might sound like
a long time (less than 25kph average, after all) but keep in mind that
includes all the time I would need to stop for bio breaks, eating and
what not. Also, the route I had chosen had a decent amount of climbing,
and for the first 70km the wind was definitely not in my favour.
As a result, I was actually concerned about making it on time for
probably the first 2/3 of the ride there. The route I had chosen took
me up CA-1 to Point Reyes Station, then over to Petaluma, down and
around to Napa and then up and over CA-128 past Lake Berryessa and
through Winters before finally reaching Davis. Incidentally, part of
the CA-128 section was also on the double itself.
Making my way up CA-1 was a bit of a slog. The winds weren't terrible,
but they were definitely slowing me down. By the time I got to Point
Reyes Station, I already felt tired. I stopped to eat for a few minutes
before pressing on. Fortunately when I turned east towards Petaluma,
the wind got much better.
The stretch between Point Reyes Station and Petaluma on the aptly-named
Petaluma-Point Reyes Road (which turns into Petaluma's D Street) is
very familiar territory for me, though it was odd to be there at night.
One of the wonderful things about this ride, on both nights, was the
amazingly bright moonlight. I really began to notice this on the way
to Petaluma, as dusk gave way to night and there were no other lights
I rolled right through Petaluma and on to Napa. I was feeling a bit
better at this point as progress had been a bit more steady. When
I landed in Napa, I was hungry and getting very tired. I found a
corner store that was literally called Kwikee Mart and stopped to
buy some Cokes and eat some more. I was a little worried that I was
already resorting Coke at such an early stage in the ride, but these
rides definitely require a "whatever it takes" mentality.
After Napa, it was north to CA-128 on Silverado Trail, which was quite
pleasant. Even though CA-128 was the "climby" part of the route to
Davis, it didn't feel all that climby for the most part. I finally
popped out in Winters at around 0330 and was pretty relieved, having
only about 30km to go to get to the start.
I got to the start at around 0430 and it was already busy with folks
getting ready. After almost 10 hours of solitude, it was nice to see
people again. I got my number, put it on, re-applied chammy cream,
ate more food, re-filled my water and got ready to roll out. I had
intended to use my second Garmin for the double itself, while I charged
the first one. Unfortunately, it was at this point that I discovered
I had forgotten the second Garmin at home. Amazingly, the one I did
have soldiered on for another 6 hours or so. At that point I switched
to a phone for a while and was able to get it charged back up.
The double itself was pretty good, although I had a few mishaps that
forced me to stop for longer than I otherwise would have liked. At
one point my seatpost began to slip, and after a while my left shoe
began to dig into my foot in increasingly painful ways. Eventually
I was able futz around with it and get it mostly comfortable, but it
took a few attempts.
Unlike last year, there were a few friendly faces on the double:
a coworker who was doing his second double, and an SF2G friend who
was doing his first. That was nice, since normally when I do doubles
I don't know anyone else (I guess most of my friends are too sane
for this shit).
I was dreading the last 40-50km of the double, since last year it had
been brutally windy and hot. I really lucked out this year, since the
weather was unusual (it sprinkled a bit) and the wind was pretty calm.
At 1840, pretty much exactly 24 hours after I had left my house the day
before, I rolled past the Davis city limit sign for the second time. I
landed at the finish at 1850, and took the opportunity to recharge,
in several ways: my Garmin needed topping up, I inhaled some pasta
and a bunch of coffee, applied more chammy cream and stole a bunch
of Cokes for the ride home.
As I was getting ready to roll out, a couple guys stopped me and asked
if I was "the guy who to and from the DMD". When I said yes, they both
insisted on shaking my hand and complimented me, then asked if I had
ridden to Davis and how I was getting home. When I said "Point Reyes"
they gave me quite the look. I felt both motivated and anxious after
this encounter, these folks having made me realize that Point Reyes
was actually far, and I still had a lot of work ahead of me.
I had several milestones in my head for the way back, the first being
to clear CA-128 and get back on Silverado Trail. Contrary to when I
had ridden it the night before, CA-128 seemed to go on forever
in this direction. After the initial climb, it got quite chilly and
when I finally popped out on to Silverado Trail, I was feeling pretty
shitty. I was tired again and just couldn't seem to warm up. I pulled
into a gas station in Napa and bought some (completely disgusting,
but — crucially — caffeinated) coffee and ate some food
in the heated store.
I felt a lot better after that, and pressed on to my next major
milestone, Petaluma. This was really the biggest milestone for me,
because I've ridden home from Petaluma many times and the roads are
all familiar to me from then on. I've also done that ride in a variety
of weary conditions, for example hauling growlers full of beer while
dehydrated on hot days, so I was pretty sure I could make it from
there even if I felt like crap.
Karl paid me a visit on my way to Petaluma, but it went quite smoothly.
It was a huge relief to make it there and on to D Street, which felt
like the "home stretch", even though I had at least another 100km
As I made my way up the D street climb, I found myself wondering when
was the last time I was there. Of course, it was the night before,
but that seemed so long ago now, like ancient history.
I stopped again in Point Reyes to eat before turning south on CA-1. I
had actually never ridden that section of CA-1 south to Stinson. It's
quite nice, though at this point I could have done without the rollers,
to be honest.
The sun was rising as I made my way through Stinson Beach and began
the climb out along CA-1. I really wanted to curse whoever had chosen
the route at that point, but since that person was me it wouldn't
have done much good.
After a long but beautiful grind, I finally reached the intersection
with Panoramic Highway and began the descent into Mill Valley. From
there it was definitely zombie autopilot mode up to the bridge and
over into the presidio.
As I was rolling back through the city, I spotted another SF2G friend
on his way out for a ride. Then, as I made my way down Valencia, it
started to dawn on me: I had actually done it! My longest ride yet,
500 miles, was just minutes away from being done. The excitement at
this prospect helped me wake up a bit, which was good because I still
had to slog my way up Bernal to get home.
When I opened the garage door, Christine woke to greet me, relieved
that I was still alive. My now "familiar" (and eagerly anticipated)
routine of Strava uploading, showering and passing out followed.