'05 DELTA 50K

I could have ridden the Grizzly Peak century today, but that wouldn't have been challenging enough. So instead I did something far more brave- I took my 12-year-old son out for his first organized ride- the 50k (actually 35 mile) Stockton Delta Century. Given that he hasn't ridden more than 10 miles at a time before this, it had the potential to be a rather trying day. And the first half of the ride did drag a bit, as we rode almost entirely into the wind and there was a bit of that "Are we there yet?" followed by the far-worse "Why aren't we there yet?"

The reality is that 25 mile & 50k rides tend not to be as well thought-out as their longer counterparts. In particular, rest stops are too few and too far apart. For this ride, there were no rest stops prior to the main pseudo-lunch-stop at New Hope School, nearly 18 miles into the ride. 18-25 miles isn't bad spacing for a 100k or 100 mile event, but something like 8 miles or so would seem more appropriate for the families, often with pretty young kids, who do the shorter rides. This is not to fault the Stockton Bicycle Club, which overall did an excellent job providing food, support & even after-ride entertainment! Rather it's symptomatic of all such events I've been a part of, and perhaps not recognized because there aren't that many of us who do both 50k & 200k events interchangeably.

Once we hit the lunch stop/turnaround point, it was pretty smooth sailing for the next 12 miles or so. The tailwind really helped, along with joining up with all the returning 100k & 100 milers, many of whom Kevin was able to not only keep up with but also pass (presumably these were 100k riders, as I doubt slower 100 milers would have returned by then). All was well until, with about four miles to go, at a time when most of us would be motivated by having the end in sight, Kevin's sore shoulders and butt were winning the battle. Speeds that had been literally running upwards of 15mph plummeted to 6 or 7, and all the logical talk of being close to the finish, and how riding faster would end the pain sooner, seemed to be in a foreign language that makes sense to Dads but not their kids.

We did make it though, and he didn't seem too much the worse for wear when it was over. It will be interesting trying to find the next ride for him, as he's not a fan of hills (which may be a reactionary thing to his Dad's love for them), and most of the rides 'round these parts involve a fair amount of climbing. But who knows, maybe we'll make a climber out of him yet. No, probably not, but we did have a really nice ride today. --Mike--
9:26am and we're off & running! Down Kennefick Road, to be precise.   9:33am and we encounter our first hill, the Highway 99 overpass.   9:54am Makin' tracks to one of many rail crossings, all nicely done.
10:37am At last, the first (and only real) rest stop on the 50k. I should mention that this (Thornton) is the only place you'll pass a store on the ride.   11:05am Kevin's settled in nicely with Gatorade, a banana and a bagel with peanut butter. He'd been hoping for a sandwich, but somehow this was just fine.   11:11am A minor repair and someone's back on the road. Probably not gears; didn't need 'em today! Total climbing was maybe 100 feet.
11:17 Kevin's got that first-100-miles-down/100-miles-to-go Davis DC look mastered.   11:21 and we're back on the road again! 44 minute pit-stop; we'll do a bit better next time. The first half of the ride was into pretty consistent headwinds though, so Kevin needed a bit of a rest. Thank goodness it finished with a tailwind!
11:35am We passed and got passed by the woman on the right many, many times today.   11:35am Here Kevin's showing his high-speed passing technique. He rode a lot faster with people to chase down.   11:36am You can't chase down everybody though. Marty, a nice guy we rode with briefly, is behind us here, but will be passing us shortly.
11:41am This young woman not only passed us but, as you can see in the photo on the left, was checking Kevin out as she did. Too bad Kevin's only 12.
11:47am You'd think that mile after mile after mile of vineyards might get a bit boring, and they do! Fortunately, past the halfway point you join the riders returning on the 100k & 100mile loops, so you've got plenty of people to try and chase down.   11:59am Thankfully we didn't see many flats on this ride. The dry weather definitely helped, plus the roads were generally good.
12:01pm Once more approaching the tracks, this one near the water stop with 8 miles to go.   12:14pm If there was a most-popular rider, it had to be the Corgi, goggles & all, getting a lift in the trailer. Mark & Catherine are doing the work, and the Corgi's name was... Herra? [Nope, just one "r"- Hera]
12:23pm An unscheduled stop to give sore shoulders a break. The last few miles were the toughest.   12:28pm After a brief intersection with civilization we're back to the vineyards again!   12:41pm Almost there... almost... by this point Kevin was just about cooked.
12:43pm Looking back as we approach the finish. Until we pulled into the parking lot, Kevin didn't really believe it was over. 35 miles (a bit more than the 25 I'd told him it would be), about 25 longer than he's ridden before. About 3.5 hours to cover the 35 miles, actually a bit faster than I expected. Not bad!   Kevin wasn't initially thrilled with the food at the end; somehow he fancied an In&Out Burger more than Tortellini. But he did come around.
Not too many Centuries feature wine tasting, but since Woodbridge Winery was one of the sponsors...   Kevin's initial desire to make tracks (as if we hadn't crossed enough already) and ditch the post-ride festivities evaporated when he won a raffle for a water bottle and got to take the Corgi out for a walk. My guess is that he now sees participation in the post-ride food & gab-fest as one of the spoils of victory, something to be savored for having done the ride.
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