On Saturday, Team Velo Girls member Diane Blattner fulfilled her goal of riding the Davis Double Century. By her side, during training and the ride, was teammate Lyn Roberts. Diane shares her experience with us:
|Lyn and Diane on the Davis Double|
I'm so glad Lyn was with me on the Davis Double. She has more stamina and resiliency than almost anyone I know and it is hard to imagine a better riding partner. It a was long and challenging day and night. We started at 4:20 AM and rolled back into Davis about 10:20 PM. Of the 18 hours, I think I was rolling about 15.5 hours.
There are three major climbs with the hardest one in the middle, a ten mile climb starting around mile 95. It is so tough, the organizers put a water stop just a mile from the top; just before the stretch that is a 14% grade. At the beginning of this segment were four miles of unpaved, hard-packed dirt. Yuck!
The ride passes both Lake Berryessa and Clear Lake. I've never been to either before and it was great to ride amidst such incredible beauty. Around mile 90, I ran into my daughter's work friend from the UC Davis Bike Barn. There was a charming little lake right there, so we stopped to take a picture and texted it to my daughter and to his mom. It was just too daunting to stop at the pretty parts when there was so much riding to do so aside from the un-scenic rest stop photos, these are the only pictures before mile 200.
One thing that stood out to me was this funny shack about halfway up the last big climb called the Oasis. Even in my exhausted state, it did not seem too Oasis-like to me.
The miles between 140 and 160 were the most challenging for me. My computer stopped working and my Strava app lost the GPS signal, so for 20 miles I had no idea how long until the next rest stop. Beautiful as those miles were, they all looked the same... no turns, no change of scenery. I couldn't tell if I was bored or tired; I guess both.
We made really good time on the next stretch, which is a highway with no shoulder that runs by Cache Creek Casino -- there was a nice tailwind and we were motivated and determined to get off that road as quickly as possible to avoid the shift change at the casino. I scored my Strava Queen of the Mountain segment in this stretch, which I got to keep for one day until another rider uploaded her results to Strava. Still, after 160 miles and more than 8,000 feet of climbing, it feels good to know I was still capable of setting a record on that stretch of road.
We were met at the end of the ride by my lovely daughter, Beccy who is a freshman at UC Davis. It was the first time anyone has ever met me at the end of the event. She's on crutches from a knee injury, so having her there was even more significant because of the effort it took for her to get there and back from her dorm. Finishing was both emotional and exhilarating.
Given all the time I had to be introspective on the ride, I discovered a shift in my thinking. As a young woman, there were many things that I thought I couldn't do, that I would never dare to imagine. Now that I've climbed many thousands of feet, completed numerous cycling events, a whole bunch of half-marathons and jumped out of a plane, it is no longer an issue of whether I think I can do it, but if I am willing to challenge myself more and the answer is Yes. I understand that it is not just the physical fitness, but also the mental toughness and resilience that get you through.
I thank Lyn and Laura for joining me on all the extra training rides, and all my teammates, riding, and training partners and Velo Girls club members who rode with me and encouraged me all winter. A few weeks ago, before the Grizzly Peak Century, Team Velo Girls member Winnie said to me,"you can and you will" and then I did.