2004 Results

July 24-25

The 2004 season of Santa Cruz brevets came to an end with a pair of mountainous 200-kilometer brevets in the same weekend. Both had challenging routes, with Sunday's Kings Mountain event being a good bit tougher than Saturday's Skyline 200. Both days had good weather, a good thing since the riders didn't need anything else to make the brevets any harder. Riders remarked on the great scenery and wildlife on both brevets. Whether randonneurs chose to do one event or both, they were treated to some of our favorite cycling roads.

The Skyline event had 18 starters and 16 finishers; the Kings Mountain ride had 13 starters and 10 finishers. There were certainly some sore legs at the start on Sunday morning, but the determination (and gallows humor) shown by those riders doing "The Double" was inspiring. Overall, we had a good mix of randonneurs and randonneuses; new riders and "repeat offenders"; and locals and out-of-towners. Few riders cycled alone; most folks found someone their speed to ride with. Mary Woodside of Sacramento used the Skyline 200 to earn her special "200,000th 200k" award from the Audax Club Parisien. Mary is one of 100 riders around the globe invited to earn a unique award for doing a 200k in this, the 100th anniversary of the Paris club. We're honored she chose Santa Cruz Randonneurs event to do it on. Also, she and husband Wayne were the first riders to do one of our events on a tandem; hopefully we'll see more in the future.

All in all, it was a great weekend of randonneuring. A big "bravo" goes out to these hardy riders, and everyone else who attended our Santa Cruz events this year. Thanks! We'll have our 2005 dates up in October, and with the 1200-kilometer Gold Rush Randonnee approaching in July, next season should be a great year of randonneuring in northern California.

Skyline Finishers
315 ANTONINO Lisa Western Wheelers 10:03
- BOYER Rob - 7:45
2487 ERICKSON Roger Davis Bike Club 10:03
2477 GIFFORD Michael Randonneurs USA 9:58
19 GISHI Susan Davis Bike Club 10:50
1132 JOHNSON Ken Davis Bike Club 10:00
2442 NAWROCKI Dave Randonneurs USA 9:48
2638 MAURER Joseph Randonneurs USA 9:55
2664 MILTON Tom Davis Bike Club 8:30
813 RAFFERTY Amy Davis Bike Club 10:50
151 ROBERTSON Craig Davis Bike Club 7:05
20 SCHNEIDER Anne Davis Bike Club 10:50
8 SPRINGSTEEN Lois Davis Bike Club 10:50
2651 STIDOLPH Donna Fremont Freewheelers Bicycle Club 10:50
295 WOODSIDE Mary Davis Bike Club 10:42
296 WOODSIDE Wayne Davis Bike Club 10:42
Kings Mountain Finishers
1821 BROWDER Chris Davis Bike Club 8:21
19 GISHI Susan Davis Bike Club 11:56
542 HOLLOWAY Ken Davis Bike Club 8:06
1132 JOHNSON Ken Davis Bike Club 10:42
2638 MAURER Joseph Randonneurs USA 11:05
813 RAFFERTY Amy Davis Bike Club 11:56
151 ROBERTSON Craig Davis Bike Club 8:06
20 SCHNEIDER Anne Davis Bike Club 11:56
8 SPRINGSTEEN Lois Davis Bike Club 11:56
1085 WALDEN Reid Davis Bike Club 8:06

Night Owl 230k
July 2

Long, long ago, Frenchman Paul de Vivie--better known as Vélocio, the "patron saint" of randonneurs--used to undertake long rides over hill and dale, often alone. Sometimes he started after dinner and didn't return until breakfast time. Under a full moon, it was a great way to commune with nature and experience memorable long-distance cycling on empty roads.

With that sort of thing in mind, three hardy randonneurs rode the 230-kilometer Night Owl brevet. It is a big loop that starts and ends in San Juan Bautista and has some of the best cycling roads in California. Following the 9 PM start, there was some superb cycling along lonely Highway 25 south of Hollister. Entrants were treated to gorgeous nocturnal riding under a full moo that brilliantly illuminated the bucolic countryside. Except for some howling coyotes on faraway hills, the only sound to be heard was the gentle hum of bicycle gears and the quiet conversations of the riders. It was great stuff.

After the climb over Bitterwater Road, the riders dropped into King City and half distance done. Alas, they also dropped into a heavy overcast covering the Salinas Valley, and it would stay with them the rest of the ride. But the lack of scenery bathed in moonlight didn't deter anyone; each of the riders kept pushing forward in the best randonneuring tradition.

Though small, the entry field was first-class. Chris Browder entered since he has Boston-Montreal-Boston on his schedule this August, and Paul Vlasveld is doing the Great Southern Randonnée in Australia this October. Both are seasoned campaigners and know a long night ride is just the ticket for such endeavors. For Viet Vu, this was his very first night ride and he did fine. He and Chris worked together amirably, with Viet learning valuable randonneuring lessons from the PBP ancien. Paul, on the other hand, forgot his cycling shoes and had to drive home to San Jose to retrieve them. With a two-hour handicap behind the others, Paul then had a long solo ride--but he didn't earn an R-5000 medal from being a crybaby afraid to cycle alone at night. All in all, it was a good ride done by real randonneurs. Nice job, gents--Vélocio would be proud.

Night Owl Finishers
1821 BROWDER Chris Davis Bike Club 10:50
108 VLASVELD Paul Almaden Cycle Touring Club 12:30
- VU Viet - 1:37

Big Basin 200k
June 26

The regulations of the Audax Club Parisien state that the time limit for a 200-kilometer brevet is 13.5 hours. Period. Most randonneuring events are judged against the Paris-Brest-Paris standard of approximately 5,000 feet of gain per 200 kilometers. That makes for a tough but fair day in the saddle. Still, the 13.5-hour time limit applies for any 200k route configuration, whether it is totally flat or completely hilly.

The Santa Cruz Randonneurs Big Basin 200k fell into this latter category-by a ridiculously wide margin. As stated in the pre-ride info, there was not a single section of flat riding anywhere on the out-and-back route, and some of the climbs were exceptionally steep and/or long. Accurate figures are not yet available, but a fair estimate of the total vertical gain would surely be more than 16,000 feet-at least double or triple the climbing found at most other 200k brevets. Like climbing Mount Everest one must ask, why?


Well, as the old saying goes, "because it is there." In this case, "it" is the great, if challenging riding found in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains. Everyone commented on the lovely route. Scenic the entire way, the brevet traversed the redwood forests that separate Silicon Valley from the Pacific coastline. Some out-of-area entrants were surprised by so many quiet roads so near the bustling Bay Area. It was a beautiful, tranquil day of riding with great weather-though it might not be accurate to use the word "tranquil" to describe giving 100% effort to slowly grind up Jamison Creek Road at three or four miles per hour! (It goes without saying that very low gears were the order of the day.)

Better than the route were the riders. Resolute, upbeat and supportive throughout, seven randonneurs and four randonneuses showed up to test their mettle on what has to be the hilliest 200k on the US randonneuring calendar. Incredibly, all 11 finished this arduous test (the pre-ride info probably scared off anyone doubtful about their fitness.) Our prediction of adding about 3 hours to one's usual time for a regular 200k seemed pretty accurate; most everyone finished other events this season about that much quicker. As it turned out, the cyclists were not too far apart in ability and they saw a good bit of each other at various times during the day. It was a great group; words, waves and cheers of encouragement were frequently exchanged when they saw each other. Most found someone their speed to ride with and only a few riders finished alone. There was also a nice mix of new and veteran riders.

From our perspective the ride was a big success. No one bailed out, the control services were adequate and spaced at good intervals, and there weren't any crashes on the steep descents. Best of all, everyone finished before the event clock wound down-it would have been a real shame for someone to ride so hard for so long and miss the cut-off. All in all, it was an epic ride-hearty congratulations to these 11 amazing athletes! It is an indication of their character that each and every one of them finished with a smile on their face, even the ones who were desperately tired and fighting the time limits.

Looking down the road to next June, randonneurs contemplating doing the Davis Bike Club's 1200k Gold Rush Randonnée will find this a good preparation brevet that will test their climbing legs. With this ride under their belt, they'll undoubtedly feel confident tackling the Sierra Nevada mountains a month later.

Big Basin Finishers
- BATTIG Isabella - 12:37
887 BEHNING Mark Davis Bike Club 11:34
- CAMPBELL Scott - 12:28
94 DEBRUIN Elizabeth Almaden Cycle Touring Club 11:34
- HADA Sterling - 13:21
1721 JONAS Charles San Francisco Randonneurs 11:34
2442 NAWROCKI Dave Randonneurs USA 11:34
813 RAFFERTY Amy Davis Bike Club 12:39
- SAYBOLT Rob - 11:15
8 SPRINGSTEEN Lois Davis Bike Club 12:39

San Ardo 400k
May 1-2

Randonneuring allows cyclists to plumb the depths of their willpower and the San Ardo 400k delivered on all fronts. As predicted in the pre-ride info, strong winds blasted riders on the return leg as they battled their way northward through the Salinas Valley. This made the brevet very difficult, especially after little or no helpful tailwinds on the trip southward. It seemed, as Willy Nevin said, "as if someone switched on a GIANT fan once we had made the turnaround." It was indeed a cruel wind that tested the mettle of even the most experienced randonneurs. Luckily the gales died after sundown and some lovely nocturnal cycling ensued.

Still, the riders did fine in spite of the adversity. Eight started and eight finished, a real testimony to their determination. All the usual randonneuring challenges were encountered along the way: excessive heat, gnarly winds, sour stomach, sunburn, wind-blown route sheets, dust storms, wayward skunks--the works. The vital 24-hour mini-mart at mile 230 was unexpectedly closed during the wee hours on Sunday too. That really hurt the second and third riders to pass through, but we got an impromptu tailgate control set up for those following them. The two affected riders shrugged it off and pressed onward to the next town, 15 hungry miles further on--such is the adventure encountered by audacious randonneurs.

Luckily the route wasn't too hilly. A post-ride consensus of altimeters indicated over 6,000 feet of gain--not much for such a long event in California. With the strong winds, overall riding paces were similar to an event with double or triple the climbing--but there were no fun descents to enjoy along the way. On the plus side, the nearly full moon made the night riding enjoyable, so too the tranquil roads with little traffic. Riders reported good manners from motorists the whole way, typical for cycling in the Salinas Valley.

Doing his first 400k, Willy Nevin wisely teamed up with super-experienced Paul "R-5000" Vlasveld and they rode swiftly together for the entire event. Two more seasoned campaigners, Dave "The 5th American" Leonard and Bob Habdas, hooked up for most of the return leg and they rode strongly together too. Recumbent riders Ron Bobb and Zach Kaplan teamed up as well. Zach started the ride with some rear sprocket spacing trouble, so the two of them made an early morning detour to Easy Racers in Watsonville for repairs. Alas, they lacked what Zach needed, but no worries--the good folks at Easy Racers quickly made him a new part on their lathe and they were soon on their way with little time lost. Speedy John Wagoner took a luxurious 6-hour sleep stop in Salinas and finished the final 50 miles strongly on Sunday morning. The others arrived at the finish between 00:30 and 04:45. Jim Kern was first rider back to Santa Cruz, but being somewhat unfamiliar with brevet procedures, he neglected to go to 226 West after getting his Santa Cruz receipts. We weren't sure of his whereabouts until the close of the event but it all worked out fine in the end. Good job on a strong solo ride, Jim!

All in all, it was a very tough ride but even tougher riders showed up and they all met the challenge in fine fashion. Way to go, gents!

San Ardo Finishers
- BOBB Ron - 20:30
1772 HABDAS Robert Grizzly Peak Cyclists 21:12
506 KAPLAN Zach Grizzly Peak Cyclists 21:02
1865 KERN Jim Western Wheelers 16:55
780 LEONARD Dave Davis Bike Club 21:12
2505 NEVIN Willy Randonneurs USA 20:10
108 VLASVELD Paul Almaden Cycle Touring Club 20:10
2463 WAGONER John Randonneurs USA 25:58

Pinnacles 300k
April 17

Fifteen randonneurs started the Santa Cruz Randonneurs Pinnacles 300k and endured a tough day in the saddle. With over 7,000 feet of climbing the undulating route was challenge enough, but the lousy weather made things much worse. The brevet had unseasonably cool temperatures all day (and night) and very strong headwinds on the return from the Pinnacles; a cold rain in the afternoon didn't help matters either. The tumultuous skies were the sort of thing that make landscape painters smile, but for long-distance cyclists they meant something very different.

Still, these hardy randonneurs are made of the Right Stuff: 14 of them finished successfully and the lone DNF was due to a catastrophic mechanical problem that could not be fixed on the roadside. The great part of this episode was that all those behind the stricken randonneuse did not ride past, but stopped and offered energy and ingenuity to help get her back in the event. That it happened in the evening at mile 150 with everyone cold, damp and tired shows real integrity. Alas, a successful repair was not to be made but everyone had the true randonneuring spirit of trying to help a stricken colleague make the finish under their own steam, even at the cost of a better finishing time and personal comfort. Poor weather and all, it was a good day of randonneuring. Bravo!

Pinnacles Finishers
315 ANTONINO Lisa Western Wheelers 15:40
604 BENNETT Don Western Wheelers 18:25
- BOBB Ron - 14:36
94 DEBRUIN Elizabeth Almaden Cycle Touring Club 15:15
1772 HABDAS Robert Grizzly Peak Cyclists 17:15
305 HARDING Mike Western Wheelers 15:40
203 JACOBSON Susan Davis Bike Club 15:40
1721 JONAS Charles San Francisco Randonneurs 14:50
506 KAPLAN Zach Grizzly Peak Cyclists 14:35
2318 KEHR Jim Davis Bike Club 15:50
1131 KNUTSON Ken Davis Bike Club 17:05
1820 RIES Paul Davis Bike Club 18:25
1907 SHOEMAKER Ken Alto Velo 15:40
204 TIGGES Michael Davis Bike Club 15:40

Half Moon Bay 200k
March 28

We had another fine day of randonneuring at our Half Moon Bay 200k brevet. The weather could not have been better, even the winds were light. This brevet had 13 starters and everyone finished well inside the time limit. Curiously, this ride was substantially more difficult than the Chualar 200k three weeks ago (7000 feet of climbing versus 4000 feet) yet many of the riders got back to Santa Cruz quicker this time. I suppose the winds on the Chualar ride hurt worse than the extra climbing on the Half Moon Bay event? Or riders' fitness is coming around? Anyway, everyone reported a good day of long-distance cycling with friends old and new. Most tended to hook up with riders of similar ability; small groups of twos and threes worked together and enjoyed the glorious spring weather. The very scenic route got a thumbs-up and no one reported any unusual problems. David Strong of Larkspur deserves special mention: on Saturday David finished the tough San Luis Obispo 300k and then made the long drive to Santa Cruz afterward. On Sunday he did a fine job on our hilly 200k. Wow! Way to go, David!

Dave Nawrocki Reviews the Route, Photo by Liz DeBruin

Half Moon Bay Finishers
654 BARTOE Joe Davis Bike Club 9:15
444 BARTOE Tim Davis Bike Club 9:15
94 DEBRUIN Elizabeth Almaden Cycle Touring Club 10:30
638 FABRICIUS Erik Almaden Cycle Touring Club 11:20
- GANNON David - 8:27
1772 HABDAS Robert Grizzly Peak Cyclists 10:55
2442 NAWROCKI Dave Randonneurs USA 10:30
2505 NEVIN Willy Randonneurs USA 8:51
1820 RIES Paul Davis Bike Club 10:55
- RUSH Torlach - 10:55
8 SPRINGSTEEN Lois Davis Bike Club 10:30
1225 STRONG David Davis Bike Club 8:51
204 TIGGES Michael Davis Bike Club 9:36

Chualar 200k
March 7

Photo by Jim Kehr

The inaugural event of the Santa Cruz Randonneurs was our Chualar 200k. It was fun watching the early morning surfing at nearby Steamer Lane before the start, but bigger adventures awaited out on the road.

The weather could not have been better. After a very soggy February, and with the most recent winter storm only a few days before, the weekend was unusually sunny and warm, but the winds were not always kind. The afternoon temperature in the Salinas region was a record-setting 82 degrees, so perhaps it was even a little warm coming so soon after winter. The mid-afternoon temperature at the finish in Santa Cruz was about 75 degrees.

Photo by Jim KehrWe had 7 randonneuses and 22 randonneurs depart the Santa Cruz Lighthouse and Surfing Museum at 07:30. The entrants represented the full spectrum of randonneurs; we had a nice mix of veteran and new riders. Some rode the brevet swiftly, while others took their time--but all reported having a good day on the bike in their respective manner. The first rider pulled in at 14:46 and the last ones at 19:50.

The route got good reviews from virtually all the riders, even with the urban riding through Santa Cruz on the first and last 8 miles of the brevet. A post-event consensus of altimeters indicated approximately 4,000-4,100 feet of climbing. As expected, the 5-mile pull up San Juan Grade before San Juan Bautista and the shorter, but steeper pitches on Carr/Anzar road near Aromas got riders' attention the most, though a few did recognize old San Juan Bautista from Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo".

Photo by Jim KehrThere ended up being 23 official finishers, among them a few hardy randonneurs who had also finished the Davis 200k the previous day! Of our DNFs, most found the distance a little long for so early in the season, while a few others admitted to not looking at maps sufficiently before the ride. They went off-course and burned up too much time and energy to ride the entire route successfully.

All in all, we were very pleased with how the event turned out. We had a few minor glitches, but nothing serious. We thank everyone who took a chance on our new series and hope we'll see them again on other Santa Cruz brevets.

Chualar Finishers
1931 BISWELL Mike San Francisco Randonneurs 9:38
- BOBB Ron - 9:14
- BORROWMAN Erik - 7:46
94 DEBRUIN Elizabeth Almaden Cycle Touring Club 10:40
- DUTTON Glyn - 12:29
638 FABRICIUS Erik Almaden Cycle Touring Club 11:25
19 GISHI Susan Davis Bike Club 11:20
1831 ISVAN Osman Santa Cruz County Cycling Club 10:18
506 KAPLAN Zach Grizzly Peak Cyclists 7:16
2318 KEHR Jim Davis Bike Club 9:51
291 LAWRENCE Tom Randonneurs USA 7:42
- MEAGHER Greg - 12:30
1700 MILLER Christine Davis Bike Club 9:41
2442 NAWROCKI Dave Randonneurs USA 10:40
2505 NEVIN Willy Randonneurs USA 9:36
1737 POMPEANI Robert Alto Velo 8:42
813 RAFFERTY Amy Davis Bike Club 11:20
151 ROBERTSON Craig Davis Bike Club 7:42
- RUSH Torlach - 12:19
1907 SHOEMAKER Ken Alto Velo 9:41
8 SPRINGSTEEN Lois Davis Bike Club 11:20
1225 STRONG David Davis Bike Club 9:36
1085 WALDEN Reid Davis Bike Club 7:42