Saturday, May 4, 2013

What goes around in Tobin

Waffle batter, check. Oatmeal, hot water, coffee, check.

On long rides food is incredibly important. Food is what fuels the experience. If you ask me it has to be the right kind of food, with protein, carbs, and sugar. It has to be appealing, too. You have to be able to eat it.

Dan and Ann are the reason I'm up here in the Feather River Canyon in a cabin that is half  ramshackle and half charm. Taking photos at midnight, because when riders arrive there will be no free time. Dan is the organizer of this ride, the Taylorsville 600K.

The cyclists started at 8pm on what was a freakin' hot day in Davis, CA. They are riding through the night to get here. This is Tobin Resort in the Feather River Canyon, about 200K out. Highway 70. It's OK if you don't know where this is; no one does. There's nothing here, which is why we're turning the cabin into a food truck.

The fasties arrive just as the first batch of waffle batter is hitting the hot iron and the coffee maker is clicking on. 4:06am. Real food for people who have been up all night.

It's tough to say when I first met Dan & Ann. Probably the brevet series in 1999. They rode a beautiful Erickson custom tandem. That year the Davis Bike Club sent ~93 riders to Paris-Brest-Paris, the most of any club in the world. The most female finishers too. We beat out Audax UK by one woman.

After the first riders head out it's time to wake up Dan. I knock on the door of Cabin 10 and hand him a cup of coffee for the road. He'll head up to Taylorsville to make omelets.

The toilet in Cabin 9 needs filling before use.
In those days Davis had the only brevets in Northern California. The support was (and still is) legendary. They basically took the support model of the Davis Double Century and ported it to long-distance randonneur events. We had rest stops with food, water, tools. We had SAG drivers with floor pumps. We had (a lot of) volunteers signing cards at all hours of the day and night.

That's how I launched as a randonneur in my second year of cycling, before learning to fix a flat. No kidding! The club really took care of us. Riders like Dan & Ann showed how it was done. I finished PBP in 83:05, severely sleep-deprived. But I finished. No flats.

Yes, the waffles are popular! I don't really understand why but it's the right kind of food. The oatmeal sells out too. OJ, Peet's coffee, hot chocolate. Yogurts. Bananas.

By the time the riders come back in the afternoon, back from Taylorsville, it's all about burritos. Nearly every rider orders one with refried beans, cheese, salsa, rotisserie chicken, guacamole. Chips and a Coke. Fruit smoothies. Potatoes with salt. Hard-boiled eggs. Grapes.

A lot of familiar faces pass through. From Death Valley Chuck Schroyer and Thomas Maslen. From other brevets Paul Vlasveld, Kitty Goursolle, Don Bennett, Todd Teachout. These are all Bay Area people; the crew from Davis has mostly moved on. Ann and I agree; it's like a recurring dream where the people rotate through but the setting remains the same. The riders are universally polite and grateful.

Working at the control you don't sleep much and that might be why it seems like a dream. In the afternoon one of the riders said 'long day for you?'. To which I can only say 'long day for you, too'. If this seems like a lot of work it's nothing compared to what it takes to organize a 600K. It's simpler to ride one.

Next week I'll do that, too.

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