of the 1999 Delta Century! When I saw
the "Warning, High Winds" sign on the CalTrans electronic
billboard on the way to the Delta Century, I should have known things
weren't going to work out. Cold (49 degrees), wet & windy do not
a pleasant ride make. If I were on my own, sure, I'd probably go for
it, like the couple hundred hardy souls who did. But with my
11-year-old daughter on the back of a tandem, and without enough clothing
to keep her warm...maybe next year!
I did salvage the day just a bit by helping
these two out with a flat tire. First time I'd changed a tire in the
rain...can't say it's a fun experience! Also not sure they really
wanted their tire fixed...by this point a sag wagon was probably a very
pleasant thought in their minds.
the 1998 ride
(which was a much more pleasant day!
May 3, 1998 marked my 10-year-old daughter's first metric century on our tandem. We chose
the Delta Century for this "historic" event figuring that a flat ride would be
less challenging that a hilly one, and the Delta Century is nothing if not flat. In fact,
at the check-in they have a profile map on the wall showing each and every one of the many
10 and 23-foot "climbs" up to levees and bridges!
The day began at about 5:35am...much too early, but at least the sun was in the process of
making a showing. We were on the road around 6am and actually arrived somewhat earlier
than planned...definitely need to make a mental note for next year that I can get a bit
Registration was outrageously efficient with probably 10 people set up to process your
entry. Very impressive...I've been to events with far more riders that had maybe three or
four people processing entries. The Stockton Bicycle Club is to be commended in nearly all
areas for their handling of this event.
The weather was near-perfect, varying from 60-76 degrees (gotta love that TREK radar
computer with temperature) and relatively low humidity. Roads were generally very smooth
with just one or two sections that were a bit choppy (and tandems love
smooth roads), so I got very few complaints from my daughter...this is in marked contrast
to past rides with my wife on the back!
The best thing I did to make this first big ride for my daughter go better was to get an
inexpensive Walkman tape player for her...music definitely helped her pass the time and
establish her tempo. With that in mind, please note that the soundtrack from Titanic is
not the best to ride by, being rather slow and moody. On the other
hand, the recording I made for her of The Nightmare Before Christmas (a very
excellent Tim Burton film, highly recommended!) is exceptional riding music. That
really got her going early on, and kept her going later as she started to let me know that
her tail end was hurting just a bit.
(I should mention that my daughter threw a small fit over the fact that I wouldn't buy her
a mini CD-player, which, I would imagine, would give her special status with her friends
at school. Well, about 40 miles into the ride she dropped the Walkman onto the
ground and we had to stop, go back and pick up & reassemble the pieces. A $40
Walkman that still worked was probably a much better decision than a busted $80 CD-player
would have been! But such logic seems to work better internally with Dad than it
does with daughter...even though I brought this up at the time, she still didn't see the
She really enjoyed the rest stops...there was a real thrill in standing in line and
getting food, knowing that she'd "earned" it and it wasn't just a picnic.
One of many "proud Dad" moments!
Perhaps the only thing that might have made the ride go even better would have been a
third rest stop. 100k rides include a lot of first-timers, and I think a spacing of
about 15 miles between stops would be a bit better.
Oh yes, it would also be nice to include a few descents!
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