Yes Fearless, I am.
Next Sunday (May 1) is the Stockton Bicycle Club’s Delta Century. 25-, 60- and 100-mile routes through the vineyards and levee roads north and west of Lodi. It is the Club’s major fundraising event, and we donate about 90% of the net proceeds to a variety of local charities.
Many club members, including me, spend anywhere from 4 hours to several days performing volunteer functions. Course marking, shopping, moving club equipment, rest stops, sag driving, registration, and the dreaded clean up detail, which always stretches into the cocktail hour because some under-prepared riders vastly overestimate how fast they can ride. So the week before the event our club ride does a ‘pre ride’ of the course. Yesterday the 65 mile option drew a nice group of 12 or so, including Stoker and me riding the tandem.
Riding in the Delta the first week in May can be windy, broiling hot, or cold and rainy, but Saturday was almost perfect. Temperature around 50 at the start warming to the low 70′s, and a gentle (for the Delta anyway) breeze from the northwest that made the first half of the ride much harder than the second half. The skies were blue with white puffy clouds, the fields and orchards and vineyards were green, and the previous day’s rains left the air clean and clear.
We started in Woodbridge, rode to Walnut Grove, crossed the river, and headed for the J Mack Ferry. This short ferry boat ride across Steamboat Slough on Hwy 220 is a highlight of our Delta Century, and our group was all smiles on the brief but entertaining crossing. Then it was on to our break at the Courtland Market, 2 1/2 hours of pedaling and 40 miles into the ride. I hadn’t fueled up there for a long while, so I was pleasantly surprised to see they now have an excellent deli with sandwiches and Mexican food.
Stoker opted for two chicken tacos, and even though she is a light eater and the tacos were larger than expected, she ate them both and pronounced them delicious. I ordered a chicken burrito. I tend to be an enthusiastic eater not fazed by large portions, but this 2.5 lb. behemoth looked intimidating even for me. It turned out to be quite delicious, a little spicy but far from excessively so, and I was pretty hungry, so I devoured the whole thing.
My friend Fearless took a look at my lunch and asked me if I was really going to eat all of it. I told him I certainly was, and he acted a bit incredulous that someone would consume that many calories all at once in the middle of a ride. But it didn’t have any negative digestive repercussions. If anything, I rode better and harder over the last 25 miles back to Woodbridge.
Many serious endurance cyclists consume special bars, gels, powders and energy drinks, in carefully regulated portions, during their rides. They ‘eat to ride’, but I am certainly more of a ‘ride to eat’ type of cyclist. Stoker too!