"Plastics." That was the advice to Benjamin Braddock in 1967's "The Graduate." Maybe that was good advice, being as we're riding carbon fiber "plastic" bike these days. Still, Tricia's advice 26 years later is not "plastics, " but rather "layers."
When a simple bike ride has a temperature swing of around 40 degrees — 49 to 89 — there is a definite clothing challenge. Knee warmers, arm warmers, headgear and more are requirements for the sane, at least at the start. Sure, there are always a few folks that apparently have no cold-sensing nerves and roll with only shorts and sleeveless jerseys, but for the rest of us a bit of warmth is a requirement for being able to pedal.
But even with the cool start, the day eventually warmed up to near hot, and the clever Davis Bike Club provided "drop bag" service, delivering our bundles to the ride finish and sparing us from chipmunk-cheek jersey pockets.
This is a pretty darn flat Century, which makes for a nice fast start, but eventually becomes harder than one would think. Perhaps all that flatland fails to provide relief or variety. All I know is that I was very happy to get to the few hills that came after lunch.
Of course, even though I say I liked the hills, like every cyclist I'm always happy to reach the top of one. This sign for truckers may be one of my favorite signs ever as it announces the end of a climb and the upcoming pleasant downhill to follow.
The Foxy's Fall Century itself is the usual Davis Bike Club well-run affair, with traffic control, plenty of porta-potties, and well-stocked rest stops. They even have "rolling support" cyclists on the course. Tricia and I particularly enjoy the swap meet after the ride, where we pick up socks and, this year, a couple of wool jerseys at bargain prices. Our only complaint is, well, other people. As Charles Schultz said, "I love humanity, it's people I can't stand."
We had the usual few crazy car drivers, but not many. We were more annoyed by our fellow cyclists. What part of "don't ride six abreast" is so hard to understand, or execute? Early in the ride we watched a very patient car driver get stuck behind a large, but oblivious (or perhaps just self-centered) group for way, way too long before the driver had a chance to pass. There was no reason the cyclists couldn't slide right, but they didn't. Thanks for being stereotypes, and encouraging drivers to hate us!
As long as I'm on my rant, let me also point this out to some riders on organized centuries: Hey Joe Cool, you aren't as skilled as you think. If you were a pro racer you wouldn't be on this ride. You may be strong, but your bike skills and judgement are suspect. That's fine, but don't zig-zag through the frightened folk starting their first thirty-mile efforts, or try to pull clever maneuvers on your one-foot-unclipped descents. Try being a responsible community member. Heck, maybe we can create more cyclists if we don't scare them to death or run over them. Like your Mom used to say, be nice.
Other than a few unannounced wheel suckers and general bad bike handling demonstrations, the ride, despite the rant, was really fun and I don't have as many complaints as it sounds like.