|The R60 Crew (l to r) Jose Plascencas, Patrick Herlihy, Andreas Schultz, Sarah Schroer, Paul McKenzie, Max Polleto. Elapsed time for the 600K ride was 23 hours 07 minutes. Immediately after the photo was taken, most of us collapsed on the ground.|
Sarah and I exchange the usual stream of emails prior to the event, getting everything planned. Lighting, bike prep, bags, what are you going bring for clothes? What about food? How many calories? What will be available on the course? Making time estimates and goals. Spreadsheets. Adjusting them to compensate for night riding, temperature, terrain, etc. etc.
With the night start (8 PM Friday night), how do we deal with sleep? Sarah and I decide to make it to Davis pre-rush hour on Friday, then try to nap in a park before catching dinner and rolling over to the start. This plan works reasonably well. We arrive in Davis around 3 PM, nap for two hours, head out for dinner, then get the bike and gear ready, finally heading over to the start to get ready to roll.
|After a nap and some dinner, we sorta look more or less ready to ride 600K! Photo by a fellow rider we flagged down.|
|With R60 Ace Patrick Herlihy (foreground left). Patrick completed the Santa Rosa 600K just a week prior... in 100 degree heat... on a single speed. And yet... here he is. Photo: Sarah Schroer|
|Just prior to roll out. Riders start to realize what they are in for, and look pensive, while Sarah flashes one of the best smiles in the business.|
|Dan Shadoan gives final instructions, with a good dose of needed humor. A 600K isn't always funny, so a little humor and light heartedness goes a long way.|
|With RBA Dan Shadoan at the start. We've battled a few times on long rides in the 90's, with Dan coming out on top more often than not. Dan had pacing down back then, when most of us didn't even understand the concept. Photo: Sarah Schroer|
|Rolling out of the start at dusk. Just 597K to go!|
|The sun has set and we prepare for night mode. There are a number of big, strong, Lads in the bunch, so the tandem isn't forced to do all the work.|
|Sarah handles the brevet card signing at each stop, and reminds me to sign in. I focus on keeping the bike running, lights working, and trying to keep myself alert and ready to keep us safe and fast. Great team work.|
Next stop is Oroville, a hotel room at the Budget Inn, an appropriately named run down establishment, staffed by and extremely enthusiastic and friendly volunteer. The herd has thinned a bit, so things are a little less hectic. We refuel and get on our way. So far the 85 miles of the ride ride have been dominated by the biggest, strongest brevet riders, and, of course, the Tandem. Most of the other riders have been shelled. I can't help but notice that two very strong female solo riders are still with the group, Cheryl Becker and Lisa Susan McPhate. Pretty incredible, since the pace in the dark has been nearly 22 mph!
There are over 60 riders participating, and by now we are down to the fastest 25 or so. We begin the climb up to Jarbo Gap Summit, a long ascent, that rises to over 2200' from the Central Valley.
Unbeknownst to us, behind us, perhaps an hour later, sometime in the 2-3 AM time frame, there is an incredible drunken, meth induced, redneck incident involving rider Chuck Shroyer. I'll just provide a photo of Chuck at the start, and let him tell his story in his own words...
|Chatting with "Don't Fuck with Chuck" Schroyer at the Start. Photo: Sarah Schroer|
Well this time I had it all planned out I love this route and was looking forward to a great ride. Great weather and a full moon, I should have planned on it being Friday the 13th.
It started out great a little fast 22mph pace but I was able to hang in there for 21 miles, at this point I dropped back and rode with a little slower pace line. We keep it up to Orville the 90 mile mark. After a short break I joined the first group leaving and found they had a pace that fit mine quite well.
The first big climb we stuck together most the way to the top a 3000ft climb. Nearing the top I was falling back some but felt good. As I passed the lookout, which was on the other side of the street I could hear a very loud person screaming at me and saying he hated cyclist and this was his road. I ignored and keep riding. I know that there was two girls coming up behind me, I then heard the loud person state that he had a 22 pistol and was going to shoot the next rider.
As the two girls come by one was on the phone to 911 telling them what was happening. Just then a car come flying by me and up the road and pulled up next to the front group of riders I assumed it was the loud individual. The car then pulled out and did a u turn back towards me and the did another u turn and waited for me.
As I road by there was a man and woman in the car screaming at me stating that one of the girl riders pulled a gun on him and his wife and he was going to kill somebody. I politely told him and his wife to F**k themselves and started to ride off. He then stated that if I rode on he would run me over.
Rather than confront his car from behind I told him to get out, he did and came over and struck me in the head. He was about 26 years old and 5ft 9in, I decided that it did not need to go any farther so I took him down hard. I held him on the ground and told him stop, he did not stop but continued to try to hit me, at which time I slammed his head into the street until he decided to give up. This is where it gets dicey , his wife jumps behind the wheel of the car and spins it around to run me over, only I am on top and dive out of the way and she runs over her husband. She then backs up and he jumps up and attacks me again like nothing happened. When he came after me I slammed him back down on the street and decide to put him out by closing off both of his carotid arteries, as he is passing out his wife again tries to run me over only once again running over her husband this time he was totally rolled up under the car so far I could not see him. I could hear him moaning and crying for help. She backed off of him dragging him into the street.
He then popped up and came at me again what ever he was on made him impervious to pain, I then pinned him to the side of his car holding his carotid arteries and again he started to pass out. His wife then came out the window trying to hit me, I dropped him and grabbed her by the hair and dragged her out the window. As he recovered he once again came at me and I kick him in the groin, at which time he just stopped and asked me to apologize for kicking him their and of course I did. He was running out of gas and so was I, I did not wish to cause any permanent damage but I but did what was needed to stop him.
It was at this time that his wife drove up the embankment and drove over my bike and then drove off leaving him their.
At this time another rider came up and I asked him to call 911 the kid then directed all his attention to him and I just set there until the police came.
When the ambulance came he refused treatment and denied ever getting run over and that I had caused all the damage to him.
I did not press assault charges against him he was already in a world of hurt. He was arrested for DUI and she was arrested also for DUI and assault with a deadly weapon.
I got a bump on my head from where he hit my helmet and crushed it into my head.
I look back and think of what might of happened, if he had not come across me but went ahead and run over the other riders, he is in jail for only a DUI and he was the only one hurt except for my bike.
Cycling it is not a sport it is an adventure!!
As we begin to climb to Jarbo Gap, many riders succumb to the pace, and the group whittles down to less than 10. Sarah and I are climbing well, and are able to stay with the front group without trouble. We descend, then begin the climb up the Feather River Canyon. It's like 1:00 AM now, and we are one day past a full moon. The moon light dances on the canyon, creating a surreal effect, and the freight trains grind and squeak their way up the canyon, creating an incredibly unique form of entertainment for us brevet riders. I'm in heaven at this time. The views, sounds, lights, tunnels, bridges, moon light, and the company of fellow riders creates an inspirational experience I will not soon forget.
|We arrive at Tobin, mile 130, in the wee hours of the morning. The waiting crew is happy to see us, and takes really good care of us. So far, the staff at each stop has been incredible.|
As we make it to Indian Valley, just before sunrise, the temperature plummets. It's 39 degrees, and for me, it isn't picture taking weather. Icy fingers, long gloves, and extra layers mean steering the tandem and taking pictures is complicated, though Sarah and I did capture a photo or two in the Indian and Genesee Valleys. The sunrise does push away our desire to sleep — we are relieved that the daylight has refreshed us. A sleep break isn't in our plan, so fingers are crossed we stay awake and make it through.
|We gain the cool Indian Valley at dawn. It's 39 degrees. Photo: Sarah Schroer|
|At Genessee Store, (l to r) Max Polleto, Dan Shadoan, Sarah Schroer|
|The incredible food spread at Genesee Store. We'll pass through twice to take advantage of this great opportunity to eat well|
|The shitter at Genesee Store. It's a nice shitter. I don't take photos of funky shiiters. For example, you won't see a photo of the duct taped toilet seat we found at the Control hotel in Oroville...|
|Leaving Genesee. All is good when that smile is goin' down.|
|Indian Valley on the return, a bit warmer.|
|This rider and I exchanged snapping photos on the fly as we head down the valley. I hope to get his! We're inbound, they're outbound.|
|Well, Jenny Oh found the matching photo to the one above. As I am taking this photo of Greg Kline, he is taking one of our lead group. Paul and Sarah followed by Andreas Schultz, Max Polleto, Patrick Herlihy, and José Plascencas. Photo: Greg Kline|
|STC time, people. (Super Tandem Country) Get on the wheel, fasten your seat belts, and enjoy the ride. This is your Captain speaking. Down the Feather River Canyon we go, faster than a freight train. Double bridge behind.|
|The famous Feather River Canyon Double Bridge. The railroad passes over the roadway. Rail enthusiasts love to visit the Feather River Canyon, and this is one of the reasons.|
|Your caption here... In the background, R60 Boyz refuel, Patrick, Max, and Andreas. With the incredibly enthusiastic Jason Pearce (foreground right).|
After Tobin we have a long climb up and over the Jarbo Gap again. Sarah and I are stomping on the pedals fairly well considering the fatigue, and we get over this thing in good time. I'm really happy with this climb, but my energy is about to die. We scream down the last descent after a pee stop at the top and start the flats and rollers back to Oroville. It's here where the fatigue starts to show and things begin to go sour. It's getting hot and windy. We've been riding now for something like 15 hours straight. I start to feel like I just don't have any more to give. And yet, we are on great time, we have a great group, and we are ahead of schedule to meet our sub 24 hour goal. Only one thing to do... suck it up and keep pedaling, fool.
|Crossing the bridge and beginning the big climb to Jarbo Gap on the return. Photo: Sarah Schroer|
|Andreas didn't read my Tandem 101 blog, and digs in hard on the rollers, dropping the tandem. Sarah and I fight back, but it will take its toll. I know this is how Andreas rides, he likes to maintain his speed on the uphill side of rollers. He's excused.|
The 35 mile slog to Sutter, with 50 miles to go is painful. Each mile takes and eternity. The farm land is flat and boring. My butt is sore. Sarah and I stand frequently to try to get some relief. We finally make it to Sutter. Sarah goes in the store and I try to chill. I'm having doubts now. Not sure I can keep the bike upright, much less pedal strong enough to make it home. But others are depending on me. I try to use that as motivation. It's partially effective.
|In Sutter I'm hurting. I truly have doubts I can make it. If there is any doubt about my ability to keep the bike upright, we'll have to stop. The realization that this could happen with just 50 miles to go is devastating. I persevere...|
|The beauty of the Sutter Buttes takes my mind off of the pain momentarily|
We roll the last miles back to Davis. These are the slowest passing miles I can ever remember on the bike. Each mile seems like an eternity. It seems like punishment, a bad nightmare in which I can never finish the last miles of a ride. Finally, with just about 3 miles to go, I realize I am going to make it. Sarah will have her R60, and I will be able to get off this bike! We arrive at 19:07, (7:07 P.M.), sign in, and fortunately, I have the presence of mind to capture a group photo of this remarkable group of riders, before we all collapse on the ground. Another epic ride completed, with superb camaraderie all the way. A big thank you to Sarah Schroer, Max Polletto, Patrick Herlihy, Andreas Schultz, and José Plascencas. You are all incredible riders, and wonderful companions on this epic adventure.
|Passed out at the finish, Max Polleto, Patrick Herlihy (with beer), Andreas Schultz.|
|I'm passed out in the weeds at the finish. Photo: Patrick Herlihy|
I can't say enough about the wonderful support we received from Dan Shadoan's Davis Bike Club crew. These folks are all riders themselves, and they know what we need. A huge thank you to all of them. Without this staff, our accomplishment would not have been possible.
Further reading: For a great view from the middle of the pack, read Jenny Oh's Ride Report.
Our Strava File:
Further reading: For a great view from the middle of the pack, read Jenny Oh's Ride Report.
Our Strava File: