Kevin’s first organized ride was the Delta 50k in 2005, 7 years ago, when he was 12 years old. Prior to that his longest ride had been 10 miles, so it was a bit of a challenge for him, to say the least.
He’s still annoyed that I billed it as a 25 mile ride (which is what I truly thought it was going to be at the time) but was actually 33.
Today, Kevin removed the last monkey from his back as he rode the 100 mile event (which was actually 98.1 miles, but who’s counting… I mean, besides myself, and Strava). You can find the write-up (and lots of photos) on his original ride here.
That photo on the left was, as they say, the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. From that first organized ride he went on to do several others of similar length that year, and was soon climbing Old LaHonda and later on, Kings Mtn.
Fast-forward 7 years to today. 100 miles is a distance Kevin can knock off without giving it much thought (he’s a pro at the Redwood City/Santa Cruz loop), and it probably helps that he’s 6 or 7 inches taller than in the old photo, and weighs substantially less. Yet today’s ride was one of his most-challenging in some time, because it’s virtually pancake flat, a whopping 420ft of climbing (even though Strava and Garmin erroneously report it at 1400ft), and also quite windy, and the combination can be a lot tougher mentally and an HC (beyond category) climb used in the Tour de France.
Did I mention it was windy? Pretty much the entire 50 mile outbound segment was into a pretty stiff headwind, something that’s not nearly as big a deal on a hilly ride as it is when it’s flat. And cross-winds strong and consistent enough in a few places that you were literally riding your bike at an angle.
Of course, there are advantages to riding into a headwind, because it’s something I can do relatively well, while Kevin struggles in the same conditions. It’s one of the few times I can actually ride him off my wheel if I wanted to. OK, it’s the only time I could do that, since any climb of substance and he’s way ahead of me.
So how was the ride? Flat, windy, and fairly warm (up to the mid-90s in a couple of places). Picturesque? After you’ve passed the 25th or 33rd or whatever boutique Lodi vineyard, they all look pretty much the same. The various bridges between the various Delta islands are interesting, until you realize that the curiously-looped course sends you a couple of them multiple times (three times for one of them, I think!). We started the ride just past 8:30am, finishing just before 3pm. Not too fast (that darned wind!) but still pretty enjoyable with good rest stops and friendly cyclists and darned few cars. Amazingly few cars in fact! There were a few levee roads that went on for several miles without a single car.
Will we do it again? Not really likely; a perfectly-flat century is one of those things on your bucket list that needs to be crossed off, and while you’re riding it, you question why it was on your bucket list in the first place. But that’s actually easy to explain; it needed to be revisited by the new Kevin. And I needed an opportunity to be the stronger of us again, something that’s not going to happen very often anymore. –Mike–