Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Ginny and I left home late Friday morning for the long drive up to Pena Adobe Park in Vacaville Ca., the start location for the event. The first time I did this event I had no idea where Vacaville was. When I arrived there I saw "The Nut Tree" lodge. Memories came back again of my flying trips with my Dad in his plane. We used to fly up to the Nut Tree airport for lunch on many occasions. They had a great restaurant on the airport.

We arrived at the park in the early evening on our way to the hotel. They had rider check-in for the event between 5-9 pm. I opted to check in then so I would not have to do it in the wee hours of the morning when I started the event. We saw our friend Terri Boykins there at check-in. She had just arrived from the Los Angeles area also.


I saw the ride organizer from "The Quack Cyclists", Scott Halversen, there. When he saw my name he went to his van and came out with my jersey I had earned on their last event, The Devil Mountain Double Century. I ordered it a while back and I was wondering when they were going to come in. I decided to where it on the event.

We got something to eat and checked in for the night.

I got up around 3:30 am, had a couple of cups of coffee and headed out for the ride start. In the pitch dark of the parking lot I could not see any of my friends so I got my bike ready for the roll-out.
I rolled at about 4:45 am.

The ride started out with a nice easy stroll through the park before heading out toward Fairfield, Ca.
Teresa and I rolling through Fairfield . Thanks for the Pic Ken!
As I was rolling through Fairfield I ran into my friends Roland, Teresa and Ken who had started sometime before me. We joined up and started the first climb toward Mount George.

 I was talking up ahead to Roland, better known as RoHo or "The Triple Crown Video Guy", when we heard a horrific sound behind us then Teresa screaming.
We stopped, went back and saw both Teresa and Ken laying in the middle of the road. They had both gone down in a crash. They and their bikes did not look too good. They both left quite a bit of skin on the road. Kens wrist was hurting pretty good. Found out later he had a small fracture that he rode with the entire 200 miles.....what a couple of studs!

Some things bent on the bikes but nothing broken. Ken and Teresa re-mounted their steeds and continued the ride. We continued up the road and started the climb over Mount George into Napa and Yountville. On the way up, we ran into some more friends, Kerin Huber and Linda Bott. As we crested Mount George we had the first light of the day. We were very careful on the descent down into the valley as it was still real dark. It was not as cold as in years past though. Every year I had done this ride, it was freezing going down into Napa Valley this early. It was kind of balmy this time. Did this mean Knoxville Road was going to have thermonuclear heat? I hoped not!

Scott Halversen and Frank Neil at check point #1
I got down into my aero bars and pushed real hard up to the first check point at Napa River. Mile marker 36.5 I waited there for Ken and Teresa to see how they were doing. I let someone know they were coming and would need some first aid and they were ready when they got there. Frank Neil was ready with the right stuff when they came in. Thanks Frank!! They had to ride about 25 miles with those open wounds before they got there. I am glad blood does not bother me that much any more. When I was younger I might have passed out.

I saw my friend Jim Cook while waiting there we talked a while with Chuck Bramwell. This was Chuck's 100th Double Century. Jim is the organizer of The White Mountain Double Century.
Jim Cook
Chuck Bramwell

 Jim and I followed Roland, Ken and Teresa out as the sun was rising in Napa Valley and the hot air balloons were coming up into the sky. What an awesome sight.
Jim with the hot air balloons rising in the sky
Sunrise over the Napa Valley area.
We rolled through this most wonderful of areas for a while before making the turn on Deer Park Road.

Just before the turn while riding toward the next climb, I got to ride for about a mile with Ultra Cycling legend Seana Hogan. Forgot to pull out my camera so below is a pic from this years Furnace Creek 508.

2011 Furnace Creek 508. Photo courtesy of Adventure Corps
We talked for a while before I had to dial it back. She is way to fast for me. I last saw her in 1993 when we rode some of the Grand Tour Quad Century together. Now back in the sport after a while, she just won "The Hoodo 500" in Utah. 500+ miles with 35,000 feet of climbing and she was first in the 50+ division (second overall woman), in the 2011 Furnace Creek 508 .
Here are a few more of her accolades :
First Place Furnace Creek 508:     91, 95, 96, 97, 2002
First Place Race Across America: 92, 93, 94, 95, 97, 98

 Now Jim and I started the climb out of the valley over Howell Mountain, a really nice climb over to the Pope Valley. I rode with Jim, Chuck and Chuck's friend Alan for most of the climb.

Chuck and Alan
Once we got to the summit we had a blazing descent down into the valley on the other side. You had to be real careful. It was a fast and technical descent. I melted a bike tire by braking so hard on my tandem on this descent a few years back. It could have been a nasty scene but again someone was watching over me! My tire did not blow up until I reached the bottom where the road was straight!! It was my front tire and it would have been a different story if it had happened in a turn.

This time I flew down with no problem and rolled out into the beautiful Pope Valley.

Left to right: Doug Patterson, Roehl Caragao and Chuck.

We re-grouped with a few other riders. Roehl Caragao and Doug Patterson who just did "The Race Across America" on "Team JDRF", an all tandem team. Doug and his tandem stoker Clay Sharp were clocked at 76 mph going down Wolf Creek Pass in the Colorado Rockies. Holy Crap!!!! Doug told me that when they were going a little slower they actually had to swing out into a faster lane and pulled up along side a semi that was going slower. Man I would have liked to see that drivers face!!!! I guess they asked him later and Doug said the guy said they were going over 60 at that point.

Into Check point 2 we rolled. Lake Berryessa. Mile 72. I stayed around there for a while and talked to more friends. Jason Pierce, Ken Emerson, Alfie Estrada and Richard Hoff who is the organizer of "The Bass Lake Double" and another 100 Double Club Hall of Fame'r. Jason, Ken and Alfie were staffing the ride. I also saw Craig Robertson and Lori Cherry on the tandem. They just finish doing Paris- Brest- Paris. The oldest non stop bike race in the world. 1,200 kilometers from Paris to Brest and back. Lori, just before that, won "The Race Across America" on "The 4 Raw Milk Cats" all women team, setting a new all time world record for all women's age groups. One of her team mates Jeanine Spence was also riding on her single bike. Wow this ride was turning out to be a who's who of ultra riding.
Who knows who some of the other riders were who I did not know.
Fellow 100 club inductee, Richard Hoff.

Craig Robertson and Lori Cherry motivating up Knoxville Road
  Out of check point #2 I rolled for the long 37 mile trudge to lunch at mile 109, most of it up hill and hot with some grades of 14%. This climb is how the ride got its name. It was much cooler this year and I felt real good. In fact I felt great to this point. I saw my friend Terri on the way up after talking to her at the rest stop. She was doing great too. Terri is the one who did her Hall of Fame, 50th Double Century, with our tandem group on the Grand Tour this year. Congratulations Terri!!
Terri Boykins
Hot and steep at this point!

 I cranked it up the hill past all the pot holes, (many many of them), to the water stop at mile 93.8 where I joined Chuck and Alan again. We thought the climbing was over but ohhh noooo it just kept coming. In fact they had little notes written on the ground, teasing us about it being the last climb when it wasn't. Very funny!!

Into lunch I pulled and quickly filled my fuel and water up. I did not have any solid food due to what was to come. Siegler Canyon and Loch Lomond Rd to get over Cobb Mountain. Ouch. I saw my friend Ron Ng there having lunch and talked for a little bit. We were all real tired from that climb!

We had a cooling breeze in our face this year. It was really refreshing on these next two climbs. Siegler was not too bad but had some grades over 10%. Loch Lomond was a different story. We were showing grades on our computers of 17-18% at a few points but most was around 9-10%. Only about a 4 mile climb though so it was not too bad. Could be a much different story with a full load of solid food in your stomach. Last time I did this climb was after a huge lunch with Vince on my tandem and I don't want to go through that again!! I rode up with Chuck and Alan again then ran into my friend Rick Burneson who was also getting inducted into the Hall Of Fame. All Right Rick!!!
Chuck and Rick Burneson on Loch Lomond climbing Cobb Mountain

Chuck and Alan coming up

Alan Ptak cranking it up Cobb Mountain

Around mile 118 we had the most incredible descent off of Cobb Mountain to the town of Middletown. Then it was some flat roads with cross winds to the next check point at Pelican Lake. Mile 136. Again I watered up, fueled up and spent maybe 10 minutes there. I was feeling somewhat shaky and I know that I was experiencing the onset of the infamous "BONK". I caught it plenty early though.

 Now we had a tail wind. Never had that all the other times I have done this event. We now had mainly rollers to another return to the Pope Valley. We had a couple of good little climbs and descents to get there and then a real good climb to get out of the valley.
We passed wineries throughout this event. Got to get up for a tasting sometime!

Sun getting low in the Pope Valley

We were now on the West side of Lake Berryessa and dropping down a incredible and long descent to Lake Hennessey and check point #5. I gobbled down a nice salty hot dog with a ton of mustard and started up the hill with legend John T. Clare. 70 years young and 150 double centuries under his belt....wow!! I feel like a wimp!! And he did all that since 1999.
Lake Hennessey

John T. Clare
Can you believe this 70 year old? Awesome!!! 150 double centuries!

Last vineyard before dark

I think I smelled the barn at this point because I got a second, third, wind if you want to call it that. I felt great!! 162 miles into the ride, I decided to turn it on. No cramps, cool temps, setting sun....my engine was firing on all cylinders. I hammered up Hwy 128 then down then back up a few more times before going over Cardiac hill near the top of the Dam on Lake Berryessa. Down I went alone to the final check point where I checked in but did not stop.

I dont know what I was doing right this time. I have been doing these rides a long time and sometimes the biorhythms are just spot-on. I tried something on this ride I had not done in a while. I had a camel-bac with straight water. I had one bottle for only Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem, (2 scoops), which I drank the entire event. In my other bottle I kept water with one tablet of Hammer Endurolytes Fizz Electrolytes. I used Cliff Blocks in the Margarita flavored with the extra sodium on and off during the day especially when hot. I had a Coke at lunch and a Mountain Dew at CP #4.  I had no solid food other than that all day, (except that Hot Dog of course) It sure tasted goooood at that point in the ride. I never had a stomach issue, my legs never got close to cramping and I had no soreness in my quads at all and I had all that energy at the end. My back bothered me some as usual but that's normal for me.

Thank you to all my  CLIMB/HEAT-FEST cycling buddies for all the great training rides we did to get ready for this. We trained on intense climbs in intense heat at times. Many of them were on this event and did awesome. We really missed you guys who were not! Thank God the heat was not as bad as it usually gets on this event!! The temps were perfect in my book!

A right turn on Pleasants Valley Rd. and I was on the home stretch with just a few hills but now a head wind. I barely missed about 6 deer in the dark on this stretch but I was not going too fast so it was not a problem.

With about 7 or 8 miles to go I saw some light coming behind me. I thought it was a car at first because it was coming so fast. Then I realized it had to be a tandem bike. Way too fast for singles in the head wind. Low and behold, here comes a tandem with two guys I have ridden with before. I never got there names but they both had the black and white Furnace Creek 508 bike jerseys on. They had two guys in tow sucking their wheel. Eric Norris who I have known for a long time and one other guy. As they were coming up I just put it into a big gear and started sprinting before they got to me. I then pulled in behind in the draft but could not quite get into it and I lost it. God was with me as a hill came up and I was able to sprint back into the slip stream and that did it. I stayed with them the whole way back. THANKS GUYS!! Again!!
Just before the end at full tandem speed we almost hit two dogs who started to chase. One was the size of a Mastiff and all white. The guy on the tandem yelled bad dog and it backed off....wow!

We pulled in a little after 8:45 pm. The Quack Cyclists had a great catered feed at the end. I had to eat in the car though because my engine cooled down so fast I got the chills. I ate my food and headed back to the hotel. I had to get some sleep so I could get up in the morning and help out with the big breakfast.

Thank you to Scott and all the Quack Cyclists group especially all the volunteers who put in the long hours to make this such an awesome ride for all of us. WHAT INCREDIBLE SUPPORT!!

#101 Complete.....WHEEEWWW!
Total Miles: approx 203
Ride time: 14:26 hrs
Average riding speed: 14.30 mph
Altitude gain: around 13,000 ft
Average climb: 4%
Max climb: 17%

Ride with GPS link to the route @

I went back to the hotel for a much needed nights rest so I would be ready for the work in the morning.

Ginny and I got up at 5am and were out the door at about 6:15. We headed out to the park for the California Triple Crown Awards Breakfast held every year after the Knoxville event. It is the responsibility of we Hall of Fame'rs to prepare and cook for the mass of hungry attendees.

We met my friend Lynn Katano, (the boss), as well as many others and we all started to get everything ready for the breakfast. We got all the cooking equipment set up then we all did different things to get ready. Ginny scrambled eggs while myself and two others cooked them. John Long was in charge of the beans! We all had a great and fun time cooking before the festivies began.
Right before we started cooking, Ginny presented me with an apron she made in the hotel room while I was doing the event on Saturday. She brought her sewing machine and said she was going to work on some projects while she waited. Thanks Ginny!!
Lynn took this picture of us...thanks Lynn!!

Me getting them beans ready for John Long
Cutting up fruit and firing up the stoves

Roland setting up the video

Congratulations to Terri Boykins, Rick Burneson, Kitty Goursolle,  Lori Cherry, Ken Shoemaker, Tony Martinez, Mark Martinez, Russell Cammel, Ron Quitoriano, Mike Aberg, Phil Auriemma and Francis Ignacio who were all inducted itnto the 2011 Hall of Fame.

 Congratulations to Chuck Bramwell and Richard Hoff who were inducted into the 100 Double Club. Awesome people and fantastic people to ride with!!

All the pictures of the Double Century Event and the awards breakfast can be viewed @