When Rick messaged me about doing this ride, I had to consider. Rick's way faster than me, but he knows that and asked anyway. I haven't ridden with him in a while and we have some memorable riding experiences together over the last...~20? years, including this ride multiple times, as well as some of the most memorable rides of my cycling life. Also, he offered to drive. I decided to upvote his suggestion, recognizing that I'd miss my regular Saturday Morning Ride up Diablo.
Check in went fine - really nice atmosphere with tons of cyclists of all stripes. I determined to go with Clif Bars and Hammer Gel, bypassing the pastries and other offerings. We clicked START at about 7:30AM and were on our way.
Segment 1 was fast, and we were mostly passing big groups of riders. I felt damn good, but knew I needed to hold back a little bit because CENTURY. I imagined that the other riders were envious of my smooth style and obvious hardman-ness. Somewhere in here I thought I smelled Parmesan Cheese... but then I realized it was cow poop.
Segment 2 was hilly and pretty, climbing around the south side of Lake Berryessa. Still felt great and still passing most everyone because I am a climber! Rick seemed happy with my pace. One woman passed us who was of notably admirable physical condition, and Rick recognized her as ex-pro cyclist now triathlete Ali Battig.
Segment 3 was hilly and windy, I still felt good but welcomed Rick's offer to do most of the pulling. I started to get the first twinges of leg cramps and let him know. I reasoned that the switch off between fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles is what triggers my cramps. I drank some pickle juice at the rest stop (these guys GET IT!) and a few more electrolyte capsules, and kept the cramps at bay.
Segment 4: Rick says "Scott, I think you're running out of gas." No use denying that, so I said "You're right, but I feel OK and I know how to pace myself, but that means slowing down a bit. I'm digging a little too deep for 15 miles to go." So we dropped our speed a hair and rolled on. After a while he asked if I was ready to burn another match and I figured I had a couple left so I gave him the OK and he pulled at about 22mph for about 5 miles. I told him "No use to finish the ride TOO strong." I've finished centuries much more spent than this one; I felt perfectly used up, without feeling wasted. Under 6 hours ride time; seems like that was good. Under one Diablo worth of climbing though, spread out over 100 miles.
Post ride lunch was acceptable - I bypassed the tacos and just ate a huge plate of salad with some tortilla chips and an ice cream bar. The dining room atmosphere was classic cycling event with classic cycling people and I felt a warm sense of belonging and shared culture with a couple hundred folks with whom I shared part of my identity.
I'm pretty sure the photo guys caught us at least four times, but I could only find this one: