It was cold and sprinking at the start of the ride. Chris Kostman said hey, this is Death Valley, so expect all kinds of weather. Anyway, he said, "This being the desert, it's a DRY RAIN". Everyone laughed.
The basketball legend BILL WALTON was in the group, he was doing the century. He was so exhuberant he kept repeating Thank you Chris Kostman / We love you Chris Kostman. Clearly we was a fan of the outdoors. Later in the ride he would joke with the other Adobo century riders Lester and Ricky, and even literally give them a push with his long arms. A friendly guy, that Bill Walton.
We rolled at 7AM. Many of the Adobo riders were going achieve important milestones in this ride.
VP DENNIS was attempting his first double. He had already purchased a Death Valley jersey in the spring, but didn't feel he earned the right to wear it yet because he missed the Spring double century due to illness. He was hospitalized with a lung infection, and in the aftermath vowed to get in shape, stay healthy, and complete the double. He showed great fitness during Adobo's TDF Frazier Park Century in the summer.
LESTER was trying to complete his first century. He attempted the Cruisin-the-Conejo century in the spring, but got drunk with friends the night before, so he did only the metric. Then he SAG'd the TDF Frazier Park edition for additional motivation. But most importantly he trained by doing multiple laps on GMR (for readers who are not familiar, that's Glendora Mountain Road in So. Calif., a 10-mile climb with 2,500 feet climbing).
VICTOR was one of the first to register for the ride, signalling his serious intent to complete his first double. He has been trying for the double for a long time now, but has had the bad luck of getting a cold/flu as the race approaches. Again he had the cold, but he's a trooper, so today he was doing the century, along with Lester and Ricky.
RICKY just had cataract surgery only a couple of weeks ago, so his training lost some momentum. But before that he was putting in serious miles, and lost weight and gained fitness. He was going to do the century today.
El Prez JESSE, who only completed his FIRST double just this year in the February Death Valley Double, was now gunning for his 5th double of the year, to achieve the California 1000-Mile award. He was looking strong.
EMILIO "JUN" was targeting his SEVENTH double of the year ! Last year he completed the difficult KOM series. His wife LINA and daughter ERIKA are very supportive, always presemt at these events as personal SAG support. However personal SAGs are not allowed by Chris, the organizer of this event, so they became official volunteers, manning some of the rest stops.
IMRE, the funny and always reliable and indefatigable adopted Pinoy (of Hungarian descent) was someone who could be counted on to be there rain or shine, either as rider or support. He was planning on doing the century, but decided to SAG due to lack of training. He SAG'd along with LINA and ERIKA
IMRE on right, with basketball legend BILL WALTON and fellow giant LESTER
PETE was a veteran of double centuries, this was going to be peanuts for him. But he wanted to come because he knew it was going to be great fun in a big group. Being one of the stronger riders, he would be relied upon for work in front.
LUISITO "LOUIE" F. also only completed his first double just this year at the Grand Tour, posting fantastic times for a rookie, and was one of the strongest Adobos on this ride. We were going to count on him to do some pulling.
MANNY has been very busy with work , so he was not in peak form. Yet he felt he had just enough juice to finish a double. He signed up for this ride to motivate himself to get back on training.
The always smiling JULIUS completed his first double at the Spring DV, and his second at the Grand Tour. He was on a roll, and was looking strong and his morale was high. This would be his THIRD 2x for the year, earning him the Calif. Triple Crown. (His wife made HOME-MADE ADOBO enough for everyone after the ride. She made it before the trip, froze it, and we heated it in the lawn outside our hotel room after the ride. Thanks Julius and wife)
SHANGRILA is a tri-athlete who completed her first double at the Grand Tour and quickly followed it with a Solvang double. She met the Adobos at the Grand Tour, and joined us for this ride. This would be her THIRD 2x for the year, earning her the Calif. Triple Crown.
ELPIDIO rides 400+ milies a week in the San Gabriel River bike trail, frrequently riding alone. He wanted to have some fun and camaraderie with the boys. He had done the Spring version of the Death Valley double many years ago, but not the Fall edition. He was looking forward to riding with his fellow Adobos.
FRANCIS, the one who started the double-century trend among Adobos, had just completed the 508-miile Furnace Creek race also in Death Valley just 4 weeks ago. That puts him in a class by himself. On this ride, he was going to help the other Adobos, taking the majority of responsibilities of pulling in front.
If the immortal Francis started the trend, it was ROSALIE who proved that even mere mortals could do it, blazing the trail by being the first Adobo (besides Francis) to complete the California 1000-mile achievement, and being a model for the rest of her fellow average mortals.
In any competition, there are always many "mini-races" going on. In this 2xCentury perhaps only the top 5 elite riders had a shot at winning. But it's not the only race going on, and not the most important. No, Really, it's not the most important.
The rest of the riders are in their own mini-races which rank more important to them.. Some of them have a RACE AGAINST ONESELF, attempting to outdo their previous personal best. Then there are the MINI-COMPETITIONS during the long ride, because usually you will chance upon anothe rider with similar abilities, and you race them during the whole ride or portions of it, until one gets dropped.
Yet others have a long-standing friendly mini-competition going on with a friend who has similar abilities. The running gag in this group was the "featured" mini-race was between LOUIE N and myself (MANDY). When we go up GMR or Crystal Lake, we watch each other. Often we do "mock attacks" on one another. But we have to be careful to do it, because usually we're evenly matched. If you attack, better make it stick. But Louie is definitely the stronger one.
Score: Louie: 2, Mandy: 2
Most of the time Louie has the upper hand. Both of us completed our first double at the Oct 2009 Death Valley double a year ago. But a few months later, at the 2010 Spring DV, he bonked early and completed only the century. Mandy 2, Louie 1. We joked about it on the drive home. At the Grand Tour I could not make it due to the flu. Louie completed it. Louie and Mandy tied 2 all.
It was a tight group. On Friday on our way to Furnace Creek we all had lunch at the Mad Greek in Baker.
Then like tourists we stopped along the road in Death Valley and posed for photos.
Then in the late afternoon we relaxed at the hotel and joked and told stories.
We had a communal dinner on the eve of the ride.
So it was only natural that we would all decide to ride together and finish together.
On the long stretches we pacelined, with the "A" riders taking rotations in front, and "B" riders drafting. On long climbs drafting does not help, so the B's would inevitably get dropped. We would then regroup at all the rest-stops. Anyway the gaps were only a few minutes. It was fun. And it strengthened group cohesion and fostered camaraderie. That's what a club is all about.
To be further continued. (Mandy G.)